A few weeks ago Franklin Graham, the son of televangelist Billy Graham, was ranting this nonsense to a crowd in Topeka:
“We need Christian politicians. We need Christians in politics so that they will bring God into politics.”
As a Christian, I adamantly say no, we don’t.
What this country really needs is to become far more successful at keeping God out of politics — at the local, state and national levels.
We especially need politicians and their supporters to stop using the deity, the Bible and misguided religious fervor as crutches for blatant and even horrific discrimination against poor people, same-sex couples, women who seek abortions, the LGBT community, immigrants and other minority groups.
In the name of Christ, too many issues have been embraced in recent times.
A bogus “religious freedom” bill in Missouri.
The bigoted bathroom law in effect in North Carolina and being sought in other states.
Pro-life efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in Missouri, Kansas and elsewhere.
And the fake welfare reform laws that cut off meager funds that help feed the poor.
God gets sprinkled into many conversations that are prejudiced against others.
▪ Don Hinkle, director of public policy for the Missouri Baptist Convention, promoted the fortunately stalled Missouri measure that would allow people to discriminate against same-sex couples because of religious beliefs.
“We are all equal under the law,” Hinkle said. “But we will not yield our conscience to the government or any man-made group because God is the only lord of our conscience.”
Sorry, but Hinkle and the rest of us live in a world of man-made laws. Want to express your religious “conscience”? Go to your church and do so.
Plus, not every religious denomination holds the same views as the one Hinkle follows. Is God really picking sides between, say, the Baptists and Episcopalians who are far less judgmental on this issue?
▪ Last year, as Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon properly ordered state officials to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriages, Pastor LeRoy Glover of the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ stood up and told Nixon and gays in the audience:
“We just can’t do that. It’s not that I hate you. I don’t. But I do have to honor and obey my God.”
Good for you, pastor. Go to your church and condemn homosexuals all you want.
But in the real world, where man-made laws prevail, Nixon had the perfect response: “This is about making sure the people’s rights are protected.”
At the same time in Kansas, the oh-so-faithful Gov. Sam Brownback was in full denial mode. He sought to protect state government workers who might claim their religious beliefs wouldn’t let them do their taxpayer-funded jobs in allowing same-sex marriages to occur.
▪ Republican hopefuls Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal especially lashed themselves to Christ, God and religion in their presidential bids, all unsuccessful. (Thank you, God?)
Cruz at one point defended Kentucky clerk Kim Davis after she had been jailed for her unlawful refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, saying: “Praise God that Kim Davis is being released. It was an outrage that she was imprisoned for six days for living according to her Christian faith.”
No, she was imprisoned because she failed to follow man-made law and do her job.
More than ever we need a separation of church and state, and to honor the First Amendment prohibiting a law establishing a U.S. religion.
That’s true no matter what Franklin Graham and fervent followers across the political landscape want.