Loving Political Power Over People

Instead of trashing the Christian Right and sacralizing the Christian Left, there should be greater acknowledgement of the commonalities between them, as they both seek a City on the Hill

Mattson essentially accuses conservative Christians of succumbing to the Satanic offer of worldly dominion that Jesus rejected. But is the Religious Left absolved for grasping political power because its agenda is reputedly more generous? Do religious liberals ever err in their promotion of ever larger more powerful government? When did Jesus, or the Apostles or prophets, make this statist demand?

 

This Stephen Mattson essay in Jim Wallis’ Sojournersessentially chides religious conservatives for loving power over people, as they exploit Romans 13 to justify wielding the sword in defense of nationalism, hyper patriotism, greed, sexism, xenophobia, racism, deporting immigrants, defunding poverty programs, withholding health care, and overall sputtering of hatred.

So:

When Christians love political power more than people, instead of exuding love, joy, peace, happiness, and self-control, they spew hate, fear, war, bigotry, and unrestraint.

And:

When Christians love political power more than people, “Christianity” becomes a campaign strategy to gain more votes instead of a transformative faith that draws people closer to God and the rest of humanity.

Plus:

When Christians love political power more than people, Christianity is replaced by Christendom, where the supernatural power of God is rejected for the worldly power of faith-based organizations, institutions, and politicians.

And:

When Christians love political power more than people, they simply stop being Christ-like.

Then concluding:

For American Christians — especially those privileged to hold political, economic, and social power — these are often hard truths to accept, but we must recognize the reality that the Christian faith can be hijacked and turned into something God never meant it to be. Far more important than whether we’re a Democrat or Republican is whether we’re actually following Jesus and loving everyone around us. Because What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:36)

So there’s the deplorable conservative Christian path, dripping with hypocrisy and blood. And then there’s the pure path of Jesus.

What does that pure Jesus path look like politically? For Sojourners across decades it has been a larger welfare and regulatory state, no military, and a government that, without using “violence,” still imposes a strict egalitarian vision on the whole of society. Sojourners founder Jim Wallis and his followers have invested many years in pursuing political influence and power to enact this agenda that supposedly heeds the Gospel.

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