I could comment on any number of items pertaining to this. But for now I'm going to direct my thoughts toward what one prominent "Christian writer" is suggesting, because in the past several hours I've seen his very hypocritical gesture spread like wildfire across the Intertubes. Joseph Farah, founder of WorldNetDaily, is actively encouraging Christians in America to pray that Obama will "fail".
As much as I disagreed, even admit to have disliked the man, I did include George W. Bush in my prayers for the past eight years, for all the good that it did. When 9/11 happened, I held him up in prayer along with everyone else involved in the tragedy one way or another. 'Course, since then I've realized that it's a futile gesture to pray for God to grant wisdom to those who adamantly refuse to acknowledge that they require such wisdom... but that didn't stop me from doing it anyway. Just as I pray that the American people as a whole might seek that wisdom needed to govern ourselves. Just as I will also keep Obama in my prayers.
So let me tell you why Farah's stance is horribly wrong. Why it flies in the face of the teaching of Christ Himself. And that if the Christians of this land do harbor such bitterness in their hearts, then they do so at the peril of the America that they claim loyalty toward.
It's regarding what is chronicled in the Book of Matthew, chapter 22... and it has nothing at all to do with what most people think when they read this passage.
Matthew 22:15-22 tells us that...
Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"That's one of the most quoted - and among the least fully understood - passages out of the entire Bible. It's been used to justify quite a lot of things over the years, from an overzealous desire to separate all things spiritual from anything pertaining to government, to the obscene notion that Christians must somehow "shut up" and let the state roll over them without apology.
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
"Caesar's," they replied.
Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
But none of that has anything to do with the point that Jesus was brilliantly making to those trying to trap Him.
In Palestine of the time of Christ, there was nothing more hated among the people than how their country had come under the yoke of the Roman Empire. Pompey annexed the land for Rome in 63 B.C. and then a few years later the puppet government of the Herods began. Israel's dream of a Messiah came in the form of a military leader who would vanquish the Romans and return the country to the heirs of Abraham...
...but the people of Israel would have never lost their land to begin with if they had stayed a people faithful to God, instead of putting their faith in worldly politics and their own military might. It was a brief but bitter civil war between the Hasmonean rivals Aristobulus II and Hyrcanus II that so weakened Israel as a nation, that after a century of independence there was practically nothing to stop Pompey and his boys from taking over.
Had the people of Israel not fallen for the lusts of political power, they would have most likely had solidarity enough as a nation to stave off Roman rule.
That is the harsh lesson that Jesus was teaching. He reminded the Pharisees - who shared much of the blame for the civil war - that it was their own fault that they had chosen to "render unto Caesar", and sought the institutions of this world, rather than put God first in all things.
As we know well, the lesson was lost on the Pharisees. And it so incensed them that they all the more sought to destroy Jesus.
And so it is, that what this passage (the same story is also shared in Mark 12 and Luke 20) is telling me as it applies to our own day...
...is that the same Christians who are bitter and angry about how they have "lost power" in America really have no one to blame but themselves.
And it also tells me that they aren't going to win anything by trying to "over-compensate".
It was wrong for the Christians of this land, in the name of God, to seek after political power. It is still wrong. And I believe that it is more than accurate to say that after all this time, we should realize that God has not blessed our efforts. The Republican Party is not the anointed vessel of the Lord, George W. Bush was not divinely appointed to be President (to believe so invalidates the concept of free will) and so-called "Christian leaders" like James Dobson and Pat Robertson stand revealed as wanting nothing more than to "sit at the king's table".
In none of this have I seen it recommended at all that perhaps what this country needs, if there is to be an America to pass on to our posterity, is for those who most loudly boast of following Christ, to surrender their lust for power, to cast themselves down in humility and penitence, and sit among the proverbial ashes and finally, at last, and for real, turn their hearts to God!
But that is not what I am seeing Joseph Farah and other "Christian authorities" telling us to do. What they have in mind, is the furthest thing there can possibly be from coming humbly before the Lord, and asking Him not only for forgiveness for seeking after our own hearts but also for the sin of pursuing the folly of our own "understanding".
The "conservative Christians" of America are the ones who have the least excuse to complain about whatever they believe might have happened to this country. They looked to the idols of worldly affluence for their deliverance... and God only played fair by handing them over to their lusts.
Hey, He's done it before. He didn't want Israel to want a king either, but when they clamored for one He instructed Samuel to accede to the will of the people.
But as we also know from that particular tale, sometimes God has a way of taking our own iniquity, and making it work to give Him all glory and praise.
Those who claim to follow Christ in this land, might have just such an opportunity before them...
...that is, if they want it. If they are willing to do what is necessary.
Well... are we?