We have two sets of friends that we have always wanted to put together in the same room:
Set A is classic U.S.A. Republican party, and they worship George W. Bush. The world ended on the day he left the White House, and if they believed in saints, George would be greater than Peter.
Set B is pure Democrat. They don’t need to believe in saints, because Barack Obama is equivalent to, or greater than, Christ.
Ironically, we think they would get along famously together, as long as one didn’t mention the name of their respective human Messiah. So focused is each set on the marriage of political beliefs with God’s way of doing things, that they can’t separate the two.
Conservative versus Liberal
On a surface level, one can see how this comes about. Set A points primarily to the Republican’s platform against abortion, as well as its “tough stance” against “bad people” (the definition of which is flexible, depending upon what Fox News says that week). Speakers, political leaders, and celebrities receive the stamp of approval when they announce their belief in God, country, and the pledge of allegiance — and they regularly attend church. This latter activity, I find, is a major component in whether or not a person is considered godly and worth listening to. (Rumor has it that people in the Democrat party attend church as well, but it’s not the same thing, somehow.)
Set B points to government programs designed to help the poor, about whom they accuse Set A of not caring. (Set A assures them that the money trickles down from the wealthy corporations — many of which Set B supports but pretends not to — and makes it into the hands of the poor.) Set B is against war, but curiously accepting of the fact that it is continuously raging, and does not push its leader to actually do anything about ending strife.
Both groups snipe and snap at one another, and we’re always told that nothing can get done or is getting done because of partisan politics, but somehow, life for the ordinary person never really improves, regardless of who is in power. At base, both parties look sort of the same: rich, powerful, and alienated from the masses.
Religion Marrying Politics
In Acts chapter 4, the apostles Peter and John appear before the Sanhedrin, consisting of the “rulers, elders, and teachers of the law.” (4: 6) The high priests, Annas and Caiaphas were there, and we find the same (politico-religious) crowd that delivered Jesus to the Roman authorities in Luke 23. In other words, despite being overtly religious, these people had power, or access to power at a secular level, and they used it.
Upon being released, Peter and John “went back to their own people” (4: 23) and quoted Psalm 2: 1,2:
“Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.” (4: 25, 26)
I find the term, “their own people,” telling, in that Peter and John, despite being Jews, did not associate themselves with the politico-religious leaders, but with the new followers of the Way — Christians. Set apart and disenfranchised from the Jewish leadership sect, the followers of Christ were not represented, or even cared for, by either religious or state ruling classes. Top Jewish leadership, however, worked cunningly and well with Roman rule, for the mutual benefit of each.
The Kings of the Earth
The losers, as usual, were the ordinary people.
Another term of interest in the passage above is “the kings of the earth,” who on more than one occasion are interpreted in less than stellar light. Revelation 17: 2 tells us that “. . . with her (the great prostitute) the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”
It’s not much of an extrapolation to deduce that the “kings of the earth” are its leaders –religious and secular — and they do not, actually frequently don’t, follow God. It doesn’t matter whether you call these people kings, emperors, governors, satraps, presidents, congressman, priests, religious speakers, financiers, CEOs, partisan talk show hosts, Republicans or Democrats — the kings of the earth rule — or think they do. In actuality, they are under the King of Kings, whom Christians follow, and it would be wise for us to recognize that what the “kings of the earth” propound and what Christ says, are at frequent variance with one another.
The Republican party is not the Christian party. Neither is the Democrat. They are political systems, set up by men, and ruled by the kings of the earth. Regardless of which party we ascribe to — if any — or corporate news media station we insist upon tuning into, we must remember that we have more in common with fellow Christians than we do with members of any human-based organization. One of the goals of the kings of the earth is to divide us from our shared fellowship in Christ, and encourage us to set upon one another, as opposed to asking, “What are those kings up to?”
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity where today’s post was prompted by a Christian on Facebook who asked, “How come the news media doesn’t tell us more about the Christians being persecuted in Iraq?”
Because the news media, my dear friend, is run by the kings of the earth. But it’s supported, financially, by people who think that it’s seeking, and telling, the truth.
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