Your donations enable us to create and share theologically progressive resources that nurture our faith journeys and are used in church communities around the world. If everyone reading this right now gives just $10 we would be able to continue offering these for free.

Why Religion and Politics Cannot Be Separated

 
As long as we treat Biblical and political statements as distinct, we have given up the power of the divine message.

God’s message from all three Abrahamic traditions is communal, not individualistic. Adopting God’s values necessitates right treatment of others, not mere cognitive enlightenment for oneself.

The Word of God is not for the purpose of making some people feel good about themselves, but creating a siblinghood of all creation where justice and peace reign among and between us. This requires adopting and implementing political policies and social practices in which everyone is treated as equals in worth, and respected not for their individuality but for their relationship to the whole society, environment, and world.

What are the 10 Commandments but political policies instituted to get us to be in right relationship to God and each other, a “how to” on treating each other justly? The same is true of the Great Commandment and the Golden Rule. They are not about segregating belief from conduct, but rather integrating the two, along with spirit/attitude/motive to create genuine faith.

Politics matters because people and creation matter. Biblical statements ARE political statements. They not only propose ethical conduct by which to live in physical and spiritual harmony with others, but rejected failed attempts made by empires and governments that sought to control and dominate people rather than treat them lovingly as family.

The practices and politics of Egypt, Assyria, Rome and others were rejected and resisted by those who conveyed “God’s Word,” for these regimes divided the peoples and creation into those who were considered worthy and unworthy. The Biblical politics is that we are all worthy, each born with the image of God within us and also united as brothers and sisters as the children of God who created us all as good.

Anyone who wants to divorce their religious faith from the care for others and the world are irreligious and self-interested. Politics and religion are irretrievably mixed. To pretend otherwise is to adopt an individualistic, if not narcissistic, spirituality (not religion) in which piety excludes social and environmental justice, and faithfulness is a solipsistic rather than a communal endeavor.

— Rev. Bret S. Myers, 12/29/2018

Review & Commentary