A sermon on hospitality to the poor set me to thinking. I mean, in America, we have strong views about the poor. Give or volunteer at the soup kitchen, but no more illegals in our country. Give in times of disaster, laugh at the lazy dude "working his shift" in front of Wal-Mart with the "homeless and hungry" sign. It kind of seemed to me that we must have some fundamental flaw in our thinking. We Christians trumpet conservative political causes, yet Mikhail Gorbachev once called Jesus "the first socialist." And there was that meme of my friend's that I dissected a while back. It had some pretty flawed structure, but it made a handful of reasonable points. So where is the truth?
Let's take a look at the things we as Christians take a stand for when we become political. Wikipedia has a list that I'd like to use. First on the list is Education, specifically the voucher system. In this, basically taxes are remitted a bit for those going to Christian schools to make up for the government dollars spent on public school that these students wouldn't benefit from. This has been a big fight in Indiana, and to a certain point I see the logic. Yet, in asking for it, aren't we asking, "I want the same cost as everyone else, but a better benefit"? Would Jesus stand with us and cry out for fairness and balance, or would He ask, "Is not the pearl of great price worth more?" I'm not positing an answer here, I just want to make you think.
Second on the wiki list is creationism vs evolution. This is a bit more difficult, because it involves belief systems and not economics. And it involves a place where the enemies of God will brook no compromise. If something scientific can be postulated as proving there is no need for God, that we are forced to believe is "gospel", and no other teaching is acceptable. Recently, and this will actually appear on a MWN post later, Bill Nye warped the section of the Constitution involving patents into saying that the government had a duty to protect and promote science, therefore Biblical teaching was unconstitutional. Which, while proving mainly that Bill knows as much about the Constitution as he does about science, also shows the depth to which those who hate God will go to expunge Him from public thought. A truly open, scientific mind would be able to see the room in the Bible for both a "big bang" beginning to the universe and evolution- IN ANIMALS. However, we MUST draw the line at man, for man is made in God's image, and God does not change.
Third on the list is sexuality. I will just touch on this to say that this is the clearest of Biblical principles, and hardest to follow. We rail at the schools for how they teach it, but how do we teach it to our kids? How do we obey it ourselves?
Fourth was homeschooling, which has become a point of persecution in pagan Europe. I have many friends who have homeschooled for Christian reasons, and most of the students have turned out just fine. I went to a tiny Catholic school, and also turned out fine. And I have many friends who went to public school who retained the faith of their fathers or learned Christ on their own. To me, the Spirit shall find you if God wills it. What matters is what YOU teach your children. If you can do that most effectively by homeschooling, then you should have that choice. But I wonder if we are not losing a wonderful opportunity fighting the dichotomy of the educational system vs God by letting the children see both and giving them an educated choice. And in that, we should not expect the school to be the one teaching God's side.
Wiki next has a catch-all "politics" section, with several subsets. The first of those is "the role of government"- small government, with fiscal conservatism and freedom of the marketplace. On the surface, this could be handled by what I have said many times before- that government is SECULAR, and designed for the secular world. But the recent battles over the religious freedom legislation prove that it isn't always that easy. And on that subject I have had my say before- there are Christian ways to fight this battle, and there are legal ways to fight it- and we should choose the way that gives most glory to God.
Abortion and Biotechnology take the next two slots. Again, abortion is an area I have covered before. I believe it is wrong, it is a lazy way of contraception, it is murdering an innocent. But if we are busy protesting in Washington or carrying signs in front of a clinic, who is at home teaching our children?
All of these political battles remind me of someone having a fever in the Middle Ages going to a doctor and having blood let. These evils in society are symptoms, and we are spending way too much time trying to surgically remove the symptoms and leaving the true virus to run rampant. Same with the final thing on the wiki list- sexuality. WE WILL NEVER END HOMOSEXUALITY BY TELLING THEM IT IS EVIL. But we can save lives one at a time by teaching that God is good.
And the subject wiki ignores is the one that really got me thinking- illegal immigration. For a long time, I thought like most "Christian Conservatives", or conservatives in general, do. That being, that when we open the door to illegals, we bring our economy, our nation, to their level. The Romans did this when they started to use tax dollars to change the word "barbarians" into the word "frontier army". Honestly, I am a big anti-NAFTA, protectionist dude. I would like to see our nation remain great, and free. But... If Jesus was a border guard, what WOULD he be doing? Building the fence higher, arming the guards with orders, "Shoot on sight?" Would he say, "Sure, it's okay to show charity by supporting a sponsored child in Guatemala, as long as you don't bring him here"?
And I know you can say, "But even if we gave them these privileges, what about the ones that abuse it?" I get that, and I've no doubt that more than most will be advantage-takers. The hardest thing in all this is that to do the right thing may make you look naiive, "the big dumb Christian sap". But you have to follow the examples set by two great men of God.
Noah spent 100 years while the ark was a-building, preaching to his neighbors, trying to get them to turn from their evil ways. Not one of them came aboard.
Abraham pleaded for the people of the five cities, asking God to spare them if there were 50 good men, then 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, and finally 10. God agreed to do so... but the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah still fell.
Get the point? We do what is right, and let those who will listen, follow. To me, the most powerful verse that Jesus ever said was when Peter, having been told of his final fate, questioned if John was to be so treated.
John 21:22: Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?