Jesus feeds the multitude

Jesus feeds the multitude

So, let me get this straight.  School employees in Florida face fines and jail time for prayer at school, thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union.

However, the President of the United States, in a conference call with religious leaders, can use references to scripture (saying that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, saying that his detractors are bearing false witness), in order to convince religious leaders of the need to pass health-care reform.

Is this a disconnect, or am I just a simple hick?  I mean, maybe I have no idea of the intricacies of this sort of thing, but it seems to me that using religion when it’s convenient and then prosecuting it when it isn’t represent the worst sort of misuse of faith and power.

So, what do we do?  What about those of us who are religious, but suspicious (yeah, that was intentional) about the proposed reforms?  What about those of us who have served in churches and understand something fundamental?  That is, you can want a new building or new roof, you can want a new playground or new program, but if you can’t pay for it, you can’t have it!

What do churches do in that situation?  They improvise.  They work with what they have.  They give, save and make money.  And they do something else:

They pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to give them the ability to do what they are called to do!

The government is deceptive when it divorces true Christian spirituality from a vague Christian public ethic about ‘being nice’ or ‘being fair’ or ‘helping those in need.’  The church is called to all of that; but within the framework of recognizing the profound spiritual need and fallen nature of mankind.  The church is called to help the physical needs of the world.  But the church is also called to meet the spiritual needs of the men and women it reaches.  The need for healing of the heart, forgiveness of sins and regeneration.  The need for new life.  The need, oh so desperate, for belief in a God who loves them more than they can fathom, and came to them on earth to save them!

Yes, the president is correct.  We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.  Yes, we must not bear false witness, in politics or anything else.  But the attempt to excise one facet of Christian life out of the greater doctrines and use it as a tool for passing an unpopular policy, well, that’s unfair and false.  And religious leaders on those conference calls should make the same point, despite the gleam and allure of being asked to talk to the president.

As long as this president is an ardent supporter of abortion rights,  as long as groups like the ACLU prowl about looking for productive citizens to jail for imaginary crimes, as long as the president feels that his enemies ‘cling to God, guns and antipathy,’  I really can’t buy into the whole effort to use faith to pass health-care reform.

It just seems a little too convenient, a little too slick and a lot too inconsistent.


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