Somewhat overshadowed, however, is the new emphasis on religion in this election. Oh, we've always had religious men running for office and even being elected. But this year we have added the possibility of an evangelical Southern Baptist minister in the White House.
Yeah. Let that sink in for a minute.
I consider myself a religious person, but I have a lot of problems with organized religion. My biggest issue is that I believe that we all have God within us, and that we are born with this goodness. Life is a journey to nurture and develop that goodness. This does not mesh with most organized religions, which generally believe we are born sinners, and that life is an arduous duty to repent, with the promise of some greater reward "beyond."
I have a problem with that outlook.
Organized religions are all run by people, usually men, who stand between me and my God and dare to interpret for me what God wants. The power and authority held by those individuals corrupts, and the true meaning of their religion is lost. Add in a dose of politics, and you have a dangerous mix.
As one writer recently observed:
As churches have organized into broader structures, they have gravitated toward a political organization (where authority and power prevail) rather than following the servant-leadership of Jesus.So when you have someone like Mike Huckabee, who says "My faith is my life -- it defines me. My faith doesn't influence my decisions, it drives them," running for office, I am scared for our country. As a minister, he is the last person who should be interested in being President of the United States. This would be the worst of all possible worlds, combining such a deeply committed, bible-thumping, evangelical Christian with the (arguably) most powerful job in the world.
If Scripture accurately records the teachings and life of Jesus, then his ways are the exact opposite of the corporate top-down structure we see in so much of the politicized Christian church today.
When the “authority and power” aspect of politicized Christianity is finally decimated, the church will return to being a freedom bringing-place, where the most important people will be the children, the impoverished, the widows, and the afflicted.
When did the religious people of this country go from doing good work, as described in the letters of my grandparents who were Baptists missionaries in China, to Mike Huckabee, running for president?
Hat tip to BagNewsNotes for the image of Huckabee autographing the bible. Yes, autographing the bible.
UPDATE: Here's a headlines from today's WaPo that should make you squirm: