I confess that I don’t have much idea with what’s currently going on with the Presidential primary process but can assume that things are heating up as candidates ratchet up rhetoric about all things including their affection for Christ, faith, religion, evangelicals, etc.
And why does this make sense? Because supposedly, America, is a Christian nation – or at the least, a religious nation.
Statistically, in the United States, 83% claim to belong to some sort of religious denomination 40% claim to attend services nearly every week or more, and 58% claim to pray at least weekly. The majority of Americans (60% to 76%) identify themselves as Christians… [source]
All this to say that it makes perfect sense why politicians and political parties would want to politicize religion or faith – however genuine their faith is or not. This is why it made perfect sense for President Obama’s opponents and critics to question, Is Obama really a Christian? And that’s why it makes sense & smart strategy for Rick Perry to throw down some religious rhetoric to say “I’m one of you” when he promised in a recent political ad (click here for RSS readers) to:
“end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. ”
He goes on to say…
“there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”
While some folks holler and scream about Rick Perry’s ad, the blunt truth is that this has always been the consistent strategy of modern day politics.
Sadly, religion has become fair game for politicizing – at its best or worst depending on your perspective. What I’m saying is that I while I really dislike Rick Perry’s ad and strongly disagree with his assertion that President Obama has waged war against religion. But that’s not the point. My point is that we’ve allowed the politicizing of religion (and other things) to be FAIR GAME.
Listen folks: I’m not criticizing Rick Perry (or other candidates) because, truth be told, we’d probably do the same politick-ing. I’m actually critiquing you and me. I’m critiquing us.
And as such, voters (and especially people of faith) have to realize that political parties and candidates (all of them) will engage, distort, manipulate, cajole, emotionalize, tug, and whatever other tactics to “speak” to our religion and faith. And if we’re not careful, we can be dumbed down and influenced in such a way that “religion” becomes the ruling or dominant way we decide to vote. Who cares what a respective candidate’s views are about economics, jobs, immigration, poverty, education, foreign aid, blah blah blah as long as we know that a particular candidate and I are “equally yoked”?
Don’t get cynical. Get smart. We have to remain engaged because politicization aside, politics really do matter.
This is why we need discerning, smart, thoughtful, and deeply engaged voters. Folks that will dig beyond the politicization (and manipulation). We have to attempt to humbly and discerningly become “the new evangelical voter.”
That’s why I was really encouraged by these two young women’s video, “A Christian’s Response to Rick Perry, in response to Rick Perry’s commercial. I would have rather they titled it “Two Christians’ Response…” since they can’t possibly speak for all Christians.
Some might think it’s too simplistic. I don’t because what I hear is this:
“Our faith is important but please don’t politicize our faith. Rather, we want to hear: What’s your substance for the Presidency of the United States?”
What do you think?
Agree or disgree with what I shared above? Your thoughts about the videos?
Here’s the message of the two girls and their videos below:
We’re not ashamed to admit that we’re Christians, but we don’t think that being in a pew on Sunday is what makes you one.
We know there is something wrong in this country when you can spin the name of Jesus Christ, the living body of love and grace, into a political platform. Especially when this platform demonizes the very people who sacrifice their own lives so that you can have that platform at all.
Rick Perry, you said that you’ll end the war on religion. We’re waiting for a president who doesn’t dilute religion into a mere political constituency, but instead embraces it as a powerful way to bridge the gap of vast differences among our fellow Americans.
Grace is what makes us strong, and will make us strong again because not our country, nor Rick Perry, nor either of us deserve it.
We’re gay, we’re straight,
we’re black, we’re white,
we’re rich, we’re poor,
we’re conservative, we’re liberal,
we’re Christian, we’re not
…and Jesus loves the little children.
All the children of the world.
We strive to love you all extravagantly…
the way that Jesus loved.
We’re sisters, and we approve this message.