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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Word For The Week

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Matthew 5:33-37
As we approach election day I am reminded of the fact that one thing that I absolutely cannot stand is mealy-mouthed politicians trying to play both sides against the middle, cowards who lack the courage of their convictions. This was my biggest problem with the junior senator from Massachusetts, the whole "I voted against it before I voted for it" thing. Triangulation was a useful tactic for Bill Clinton in many regards because he genuinely was a middle-of-the-road politician, he genuinely held positions that could appeal to both the Left and the Right, but it is at best disingenuous for a pure progressive to try to portray themselves as a middle-of-the-road moderate or for a conscientious conservative to try to say that they are a mainstream moderate. In both instances the politician should state what they believe forthrightly and stand up for it if they truly believe it.

I understand the political reality that President Andrew Sheppard pointed out - the problem isn't that they don't get it, the problem is that they can't sell it - but Jesus commands those of us who are called by the name of Christ to let our "Yes" be "Yes" and our "No" be "No." We are to deal with our neighbors with integrity, with love, and with the character of Christ. You do not deceive those whom you love; you do not obfuscate your intentions with those about whom you care - you deal with such people respectfully and clearly state your intentions, your thoughts and your beliefs honestly. Love has very little to do with politicians getting elected - they often appeal to hatred because it seems to be a more effective motivator in getting people to the polls - but we are called to live a life of love, dealing honestly with everyone, such that when we say "Yes" everyone knows that we don't mean "Maybe" - we need not define the meaning of the word "Is." Deception is of the evil one, and when he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

White Evangelicals appear to be awakening from their self-induced slumber as it pertains to the Republican Party. Since Roe v. Wade there have been 9 Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices and abortion-on-demand is still the law of the land. Every year the Republicans seem to push another tax cut through Congress at the expense of great political capital but no political capital is spent on the agenda of social conservatives - a little speech of Terri Schiavo here or a ballot initiative on gay marriage there, but the GOP leadership hasn't done anything substantive for the social conservatives within their coalition, and White Evangelicals are beginning to understand that they are being pimped by corporate lackeys within the Republican Party.

We are commanded to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God not as some arbitrary limitation on our activity but for our own good - when you deal in integrity it is obvious when people's intentions toward you are less than noble, when their "Yes" means "Probably not" and their "No" means "You never know." November 7th will be a day of reckoning for the Republican Party, a time to reap the harvest that they have sown, but the lesson that all of us need learn from this is that when we say that we are going to do something then we need to follow through, and when we say that we won't do something then we need to stand firm on our convictions. When we try to stand on someone else's convictions - "Read my lips, no new taxes" - we inevitably fall. Hopefully the Democrats have learned that lesson.


May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you walk in integrity,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

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