pastors and political advocacy

Who should religious leaders advocate for in political dialog? I'm not of the opinion that pastors should wear political muzzles, they are indeed participants in the societies they serve. However, should they affiliate themselves with people or parties? Who did Jesus affiliate with? He pissed off every political party in his neck of the woods, the religious parties (Pharisees and Sadducees) and the political party (the Herodians). Jesus said he came for the sick not the healthy (self-righteous). He sided with the outcasts repeatedly, the lepers, the handicapped, the poor, the traitors, the whores, the drunks, the half-breeds, the non-Jews, the women and children, all who were marginalized by those with political power. He had a pleasant conversation with one insider in particular, it seemed the the guy was getting it, Jesus' message of a kingdom based in hearts, not land. So Jesus told him all he needed to do was sell everything and give it to the poor. The guy left crestfallen because he was rich.
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 
Jesus seemed to interact with and on behalf of individuals and principles rather than compromise with parties. I believe that is our model as sojourners and pilgrims, citizens of a heavenly kingdom. In the United States, one party claims to advocate for the poor and marginalized yet also advocates the murder of the unborn. The other major party claims to advocate for the poor by advocating for those who employ them and take advantage of them hoarding their cash reserves and laying off thousands or squandering their retirement investments in a self-induced "froth" of economic bubbles or underpaying them in a low employment economy while also claiming to care about the unborn but not willing to fund healthcare for those mothers most likely to abort.

The two parties rake in hundreds of millions of dollars from those who exploit. They affiliate with news organizations who serve as propaganda voices on their behalf. In the meantime, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. We are still surrounded by the least of these. Jesus teaches, Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' When Christian leaders parrot the talking points of political parties we ally with that party. When we ally with a party, we unnecessarily exclude those who think in a different way politically. When Christian leaders parrot the talking points of Jesus, hopefully, we'll annoy all political parties, and show our alliance to the "least of these," the "sick" that Jesus came to heal. Who are the least of these, Jesus lists a few,
Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 
Here are some of Jesus' talking points. Food for the hungry. Water for the thirsty. Welcome for the stranger. Clothes for the naked. Comfort for the sick and imprisoned. The church can't do it all. Some laws need to be changed to enable us to do these things. Those laws would be a stick in the eye to both parties. Can we please fail to compromise and advocate from the pulpit, from Twitter, from Facebook, from our blogs and published essays, these kinds of policies? Can we stop regurgitating the crap of the major parties? Can we get off their bandwagons?

For full disclosure, over my years, I have voted for both major parties, but I also vote third party frequently wishing we had a more parliamentary system and encouraging those outsiders.


geoff said…
Love it. Great stuff John :)
Joe K said…
Here is an interested read.

Should Christians vote for the lesser of two evils?

As posted, “The Constitution does not mandate (as in a law) its citizens to vote. The Constitution designates “Voting” as a “right”; therefore to ‘not vote’ is not disobedience to civil authority (Romans 13:1)."

What are your thoughts?
Joe K said…
Oops, cut and paste the wrong link.

Try this:
John Umland said…
Not voting is the choice some religious communities makes, such as the Amish. I like having the freedom that so many in the world do not have.
God is good

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