Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I found this bumper sticker the other day and I just had to get it.
Jesus Called. He wants his religion back.
This has been, from a clergy person's perspective, a pretty awful year for clergy involved with political candidates.
John McCain has had to distance himself from John Hagee who referred to the Roman Catholic Church as the great whore in the Book of Revelation and who made bizarre statements about Hitler, God's will, and Judaism.
Barack Obama has distanced himself from his former pastor and, I presume, now former friend Jeremiah Wright. Wright was defended by many of his colleagues and then he went to the press club and found a wall to completely go off of.
John McCain has had to distance himself from Rod Parsley, a mega church pastor in Ohio who knows it all and seems to enjoy hating others.
Barack Obama has distanced himself from Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest who preached at Trinity Church a couple of weeks ago and, frankly, sounded like an lunatic.
I am a strong, a very strong believer in the separation of church and state. I vehemently want the church to be able to have the ability to speak the truth to power and to not bed itself with that power and become indebted to the power. Besides, I firmly believe in the freedom of religion for people who choose to be a people of faith; and a freedom from religion for those people who do not make that choice.
These members of the clergy, in my mind, ventured into a territory that no preacher ought to venture. McCain and Obama were right to disavow these guys; their comments were dreadful and unbecoming of who they ought to be.
Often Christianity bears little resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. I was reading some of Rod Parsley's comments on poverty and the war on poverty. He made the observation that poverty has won that war. True enough. He spends the rest of his time decreeing that the Gospel tells us that government shouldn't be feeding the poor and providing social programs for the poor, but churches and individuals ought to be doing that.
Actually, the Gospel doesn't say that. It speaks about feeding and aiding the poor. Period. It doesn't say how. How is a political issue. Feeding the poor is a Gospel issue. How we do it is a political choice----and the Gospel doesn't tell us how we ought to do it, just that we ought to do it.
Jesus called. He wants his religion back.
I hope he gets it.