Politics and Religion

It has been said that when you mix politics and religion, you get politics.  Well, there has been a lot of mixing of the two in this presidential election cycle on both sides but what we witnessed this past week in Cleveland is not just mixing of religion and politics but just bad theology.  Religion and politics have been mixed since the beginning of time, and that will not change.  However what we see in this presidential race borders on blasphemy.

On the opening night of the convention; the Prosperity Gospel Preacher Mark Burns of South Carolina (this is the same preacher who stated that Senator Bernie Sanders, a Jew, had to be saved) prayed against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.  In his opening lines of the prayer this “man of God” has this to say:

“Hello Republicans! I’m Pastor Mark Burns from the great state of South Carolina! I’m going to pray and I’m going to give the benediction. And you know why? Because we are electing a man in Donald Trump who believes in the name of Jesus Christ. And Republicans, we got to be united because our enemy is not other Republicans — but is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.”

Sure both parties disagree on what will make America great, I feel that America is pretty great right now, but to call another person evil is just bad theology.  Actions are evil but all people are created in the image and likeness of God and therefore are children of God.

In the second paragraph of his, thankfully short “prayer” he mentions that he is thankful that God is giving Mr. Trump words to unite this country.  Well I am not sure where Mr. Trump is getting his words but they surely are not from my God.  My God is the God of love and acceptance of all people.  My God is the one who said we need to welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and feed the hungry.

This was nothing more than partisan dribble wrapped in the cloak of religion and Mr. Burns should be ashamed of himself.  These are the sort of things that give all Christians a bad name.

Rabbi Jack Moline, President of the Interfaith Alliance, a group that celebrates religious freedom in America released a sharply worded statement shortly after the “prayer:”

“I have rarely heard a more inappropriate contribution to political proceedings as the benediction by Pastor Mark Burns at the opening session of the Republican National Convention. The idea that a member of the clergy would invoke his God’s name and, in the next breath, declare the candidate from the other party to be the enemy seems to be an attempt to replace ‘nomination’ with ‘ordination.’ However, invoking religion to launch such attacks devalues faith and disrespects the people of the United States who are hoping for a debate on the issues, not an ‘ex cathedra’ pronouncement. Republican delegates should decline to respond ‘amen.'”

I disagree with Republicans on almost everything they stand for but I do not believe they are the enemy.  They have a different view of what America is and should be and that is fine in fact that is great, disagreement is what makes America great!  But when you start to use my God for your personal political gain, and when you wrap your version of Christianity in the flag of our country, A flag I spent most of my adult life defending, then you have crossed the line.

I agree with Rabbi Moline; this was not a prayer by any definition it was hate filled dribble that has nothing to do with the God of Love and the God of compassion.

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