Friday, June 17, 2005

The Gospel of John (Danforth)

Charging RINO has an interesting post this morning about religion and politics. Being an ordained minister myself, I found it all worthwhile, especially today's Op-ed piece by for former Missouri Senator John Danforth. The Republican and ordained Episcopal priest, talks about the importance of religion and how some conservative Christians have used faith to divide and not unite people. He says:

People of faith have the right, and perhaps the obligation, to bring their values to bear in politics. Many conservative Christians approach politics with a certainty that they know God's truth, and that they can advance the kingdom of God through governmental action. So they have developed a political agenda that they believe advances God's kingdom, one that includes efforts to "put God back" into the public square and to pass a constitutional amendment intended to protect marriage from the perceived threat of homosexuality.

Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers.

But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.

He is right in that Christians are called to follow an ethic of Love and not rules. In the Gospels, we found Jesus reaching out to those that were considered outsiders and shameful people and loved them. It was the religious folk of his day that created rules that divided people. Jesus sought to unite people.

Moderate Christians need to be more forceful in showing their faith. Fundamentalist Christians have had the loudest voice and in the end make it seem as if all Christians are like them which of course is not the case. In the end it makes people think that Christianity and maybe all religions are full of narrowminded people who have no room for love.

I'm thankful for this oped not only as a fellow Christian, but also that a fellow Republican is speaking out against the Religious Right that has such a hold on our party, which too often is neither.


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