What would Jesus really do?

Christians seem to have forgotten that politics, by its very nature, stands in stark contrast to what Christianity is supposed to stand for. Politics does not operate out of love, speak truth to power or seek the best interests of people. Indeed, politics is driven toward division, compromise, deceit and, inevitably, corruption.

Jesus Christ rejected politics as the solution for what ails us. Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), for example, and you will get a clear sense of his priorities. He was all about helping the poor, showing mercy (even to your enemies) and being a peacemaker. He did not bless the powerful; rather, he said, "Blessed are the meek."

Neither did Jesus seek political favors or power. He was apolitical. In a sense, he could even be described as being anti-politics, given his tendency to attack and undermine political power. He had no qualms about getting in politicians' faces, so to speak. Even with his back ripped open and bleeding, Jesus stood before Pilate, the man who had the power of life and death over him, and spoke truth to power: "You could have no power over Me if it were not given you from above," he admonished him.

Jesus understood that the legitimate use of power does not include using it to impose one's will upon others. From the Christian standpoint, the proper use of power is to seek justice for all. Thus, if Christianity is to serve its true purpose and be a moral compass of society, Christians must remain clear of the constraints and compromises entailed in political affiliation and take stands for truth. Inevitably, speaking truth to power will mean standing outside the political establishment and criticizing the political Herods of this world, i.e., the government and its policies.

When it comes right down to it, the most appropriate role of religion in politics lies in its ability to define moral issues and speak truth to power. The voice of moral authority, enabled and enhanced by its spiritual roots and raised without dependence upon the legitimacy of the state, will always be the highest expression of true freedom.

[Excerpt of an article by John W. Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute]

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