There is a full page religious/political ad in The Kansas City Star today, which I'm sure is in many other newspapers as well. It is a message from Billy Graham urging people to vote biblical values on Tuesday.
In the ad, Graham says:
I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.
According to a news item in the same issue of The Kansas City Star, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been running a similar ad in which he warns Christians that their votes, “Will affect the future and be recorded in eternity” and that they must cast a ballot that will “Stand the test of fire.”
Graham and Huckabee are only the most prominent evangelists for the Republican cause. Political sermons instructing the flocks to vote according to a right wing interpretation of the will of God have become increasingly common.
I personally believe that when it comes to living by biblical values, particularly as espoused by Jesus, Democratic candidates have a clear edge over Republicans. Republicans may do a better job of protecting the unborn, but Democrats do a much better job (perhaps too good a job) of taking care of the less fortunate among us who are already among the living.
I am much more comfortable with the positive message of Jesus in the New Testament than with the angry God of the Old Testament. I am among the growing number of people who identify themselves as being “spiritual, but not religious.” I believe in God. I subscribe to the biblical description that God is Love and God is Light. I believe in, and try to live by, The Golden Rule. Beyond that, I don’t claim any special knowledge of God, or God’s will.
I do suspect that if hypocrisy and bearing false witness can cause a politician to fail “the test of fire,” there will be no shortage of politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, going to the hot place.
I know that I am not alone in believing that mixing religion and politics is dangerous. Particularly when Republicans appeal to biblical values to win votes and then use the power of government to serve moneyed interests instead of promoting the common good.