Hypocrisy, n.

Hypocrisy, n.

  1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
  2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.

Check out the following words spoken by a grandstanding, “Christian,” political TV character against unknown perpetrators of a bombing tragedy, in its aftermath.  At least in its videographic presentation—and, I think, at its very root—this is a striking example of hypocrisy:

We will be just, and we will be swift, and we will be ruthless. . . .  And Sally_Langstonnow, let us pray.

So said Sally Langston, a character on “Scandal” who

♠ was serving as U.S. Vice President
♠ was billed as the “Christian right” candidate as she ran for the office of President
♠ seemed to be motivated by thoughts of political grandeur instead of by her faith-related mores, which nevertheless troubled her bipolar conscience periodically
♠ had recently stabbed her homosexual husband to death and covered it up

In the coming months, there will doubtless be real-life characters who will exhibit just as stark Christian pretense in the course of political pursuits.  Many of them will possess genuine Christian character and dreams as they begin . . . but those traits will tend to decrease, because politics must increase.

I am always, always wary for those who seek to bring good into any fallen political system.  It is not that these people are bad people — far from it.  Few there are, though, who can continue to honor their God, hold unswervingly to their standards, and still do a decent job in the governmental sphere.  Most will sacrifice something more important in order to serve the earthly citizenry, and they will pull others in with them.  (If you’re an introvert like I am, you might be thinking most about the individual, so this paragraph might resonate because it deals with the individual.  But . . . )

If you’re an extrovert, or if you tend to think more grandly politically or nationalistically, you might be more interested in the good these Christians can do for the masses than in the effects of politics on the individual soul.  I submit to you that the good intended by Christians in politics is very real, but the actual good they can do, very limited — and, more to the point, decidedly temporary.  I’m not convinced that it’s worth it, even from an earthly vantage point.

In a paper my grandfather wrote some six decades ago, he pointed out that the pronouns in Romans 13 betray that 1) the government is the government, and 2) the Christian is the Christian.  In other words, a human government, while it certainly can be used by God, is in Romans 13 referred to in the 3rd person, where as the Christian is addressed in the 2nd person.  Paul addresses Christians and reminds them of responsibilities to them, to it (the government).  This little insight is but one that continues to persuade me that the Christian’s primary concern must be something other than the world’s government; his true allegiance, to something eternal.

Now, I know that the scripture-based delineation between the Christian and government is not always absolute.  For instance,  . . .

I know Cornelius was a centurion, and that there is no indication he left his office.

And I know Paul appealed to Rome (for the sake of Christ, not for the sake of Israel) on political grounds.

And I know that Paul told Timothy to pray for leaders (for the sake of peace, not for the sake of manifest destiny or other kinds of politically based motivations).

I also see unmistakable evidence that Jesus called people to something that transcends politics, government, military machines, and anything else resident in this life.  That something is often called the “Kingdom of God.”

If a Christian sets his sights on political office, he almost certainly has good intentions.  I just don’t believe it’s very likely that a Christian politician can be the Christian s/he could have been if s/he had not become a politician.

Let us dream, and be, and do primarily for the Kingdom of God.  Inasmuch as we attain to those ideals, we will be following in the footsteps of Jesus and of Paul.

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