Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Evangelicals and the White House.

In my mind, I really pull for the good in people to come out. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt; sometimes even a little too much.

But that's just my hopeful side coming out. In reality, people are absolutely selfish. Some people do a wonderful job of thinking about others first, but only after they've overcome that first instinct to protect themselves. Especially in politics.

That's why I don't doubt David Kuo's story of how the White House views Evangelical Christians. Kuo was deputy head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for Bush, and is now coming out with a book about his experience. Kuo says that he doesn't doubt Bush's faith, but that the president has treated Evangelicals as a way to win elections. Here's a quote from the excerpt of the book in Time:

"...President George W. Bush is a politician and is ultimately no different from any other politician, content to use religion for electoral gain more than for good works. Millions of Evangelicals may share Bush's faith, but they would protect themselves--and their interests--better if they looked at him through the same coldly political lens with which he views them."

I've had numerous discussions with my parents and others about faith and politics, and all that I've concluded is that religion and politics don't mix. I went to the Southern Baptist Convention with my dad this year and was dismayed at what I saw. The word "liberal" was being thrown around as a surrogate for "evil," and all the political talk just came across as hateful. Isn't the church supposed to care for poor and hopeless? Where in the Bible does it say that the church should slander political opponents? Where does it say the church should take political positions at all?

While there are still millions of people dying from disease and starvation in the world, churches have better things they should be doing.

I wish Evangelicals and all religious organizations would stay out of politics. Of course people have the right to organize and lobby the government, but not under the name of a church or religion. "Republican" does not equal "morally right," and the Bible doesn't belong to a political party. Reputations (and more) are damaged on both sides when churches and the government do business together.

As Helen put it, "People need to stop being so naive." But then again, David Kuo has a motive: he has book to sell.

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