17 March 2022

Politicians Get a Free Pass


Why do church leaders excuse lying, adultery, and other serious sins when committed by their political allies

Early in my Christian walk, I was taught to strive for holiness in every area of life, and as a disciple of Jesus, I must remain “separated” from the fallen world, not physically, but spiritually and morally.

Jesus warned his disciples that anyone who loves a father, mother, or child more than him is not worthy of him. Instead, we are called to “deny ourselves, take up his cross, and follow after him.”

That is not exactly a formula that encourages compromise with egregious sinners! And Paul was the great teacher of grace, but of a grace that is not entirely free of conditions - “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

Today, at least publicly, most if not all church leaders will agree with such stated principles, though implementing them may be a different matter. It seems that whenever these biblical mandates are applied to the political arena, the Great Exception rears its ugly head.

PRINCIPLE OR ENDS JUSTIFIES THE MEANS?


In politics, Pragmatism prevails over principle, especially so when politically active Christians exploit the political system to push their social and political agendas.

Paul warns believers not to be “deceived,” for the “unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” And that category includes “fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners.”  And I dare say that the average politician is guilty of at least three or four of those ten sins, and that means they are excluded from God’s kingdom.

Or take the list of sins in Revelation that will land you in the “Lake of Fire” – The “fearful, the unbelieving, the abominable, the murderer, the fornicator, the sorcerer, the idolater, and all liars will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.”

The category of “liar” is especially stressed in the passage by the addition of the term “all,” and politicians are not exactly known for forthrightness and honesty in their words.

So, if lying or adultery condemns a man before God, why is it that in the political arena prodigious liars and serial adulterers get a free pass if they support “Christian” policies?

Even worse, in some cases, church leaders make excuses for the “mistakes” of their political allies. “Boys will be boys, after all!” Certainly, they will denounce publicly any politician from the “wrong” party who is caught in a lie or accused of sexual sin, but not the liar or adulterer who promotes the favorite causes of politicized “Christians.”

Repeatedly over the last fifty years, I have heard the same tired arguments from Christians who are determined to immerse themselves in politics and support morally questionable men running for elected office:

  • “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”
  • “I agree with you, brother, except when I operate in the political arena.”
  • “You can’t accomplish anything in politics if you refuse to compromise your principles.”
  • “That’s how it works in realpolitik.”
  • Etc., etc. ad infinitum

Of course, the excuses only strengthen the case for non-participation in the whole sorry mess by committed disciples of Jesus, and they all boil down to the same thing. You must do evil to accomplish good!

HYPOCRISY


Compromise, sin, and hypocrisy are the inevitable fruits of participation in an inherently corrupt system, and Jesus calls his people to something far higher.

And hypocrisy quickly becomes the defining characteristic of church leaders who replace the biblical mission of proclaiming the gospel with an agenda of social, political, and national “reformation.”  And if resorting to partisan politics necessitates compromise, hypocrisy, and sin, that alone answers the question - Should disciples of Jesus be involved in politics?

Human society is in trouble due to sin, not because the wrong set of sinners is running the government. Sooner or later, politically active Christians will find themselves sleeping with very strange bedfellows. That they excuse the sins of their political allies and good buddies only demonstrates how they have compromised their commitment to Jesus. Never mind the great damage they are doing to his gospel!

Paul warned of the coming “apostasy” that he links to the “man of lawlessness” who will seat himself in the house of God. Over the decades, I have watched and waited for that inevitable reality to appear, but it is distressing to see it unfolding before my eyes as so many church leaders climb into "bed" with politicians, parties, and agendas that are the opposite of Christian.


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