We are one year away from the
Before announcing his non-candidacy last Friday,
Appearing at the Iowa Freedom Summit in
This sounds a little like the cheers one hears at high school football games: "We've got spirit, how about you?"
In modern election cycles there has been a presumption among conservative Christians that if a politician goes to church, can quote Scripture, and mentions the name of Jesus, he is more qualified to become president than, say, a circumspect Episcopalian, or even an agnostic or atheist. The thinking is if "one of our own" gets elected president, his divinely inspired policies will trickle down to your adolescent daughter, who will stop sleeping with her boyfriend.
Recent history has proved the fallacy of that belief. The moral quality of America did not improve during the two terms of
The greatest warning against trusting politicians to improve a nation's virtue comes from
Jesus of Nazareth said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). Just as a nonbeliever has difficulty convincing an evangelical Christian to accept liberal beliefs about abortion, same-sex marriage and a host of other social issues, neither should Christians expect those who have a different theological perspective to accept their views absent a spiritual transformation.
It then becomes a power game, Christians being just one more "interest group" to be placated with a few breadcrumbs tossed at them by politicians seeking their votes.
What does true faith look like? The apostle James wrote to believers: "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." (James 1:27, New Living Translation)
Unfortunately, politicians can't raise money on that agenda and the likelihood of one getting elected on such a platform in our day is nil. But by embracing "true religion," one ultimately affects the social order in ways that the political system is incapable of doing.
This is not to say people shouldn't pray for those in authority, including those for whom they did not vote, because Scripture commands believers to do so. It is to say conservative Christians who salivate when politicians speak their "language" should heed