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While some of us non-Catholics have significant theological differences with Pope Francis, generally it is a good thing for him to travel the world representing – among other things – freedom of religion. It was good when he visited Cuba, where Castro’s government has repressed religious freedom for a generation.
However, it would serve the Pope well – and the cause of religion well – for him to avoid comments on such issues as the environment and immigration here in America. The media makes him sound like a political “liberal” venturing into political and social issues which a church does not need to address.
Is it biblical to lend a helping hand to the poor, the oppressed, refugees, etc.? Of course. But many sincere Christians believe America is doing its part already – and to some extent should limit and/or control the rate of immigration.
Is it biblical to be a good steward of the world God has given us? Of course. But many sincere Christians do not buy into the unscientific evidence that the world is undergoing manmade climate change. And again, America is doing more for the environment than most any other country. Visit around the world – as I have on missions trips. You will see immediate evidence of smog and pollution that is unbelievable. A few years ago, on a missions trip in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I found that when I returned to my room at the end of the day – and washed my face with a white wash-cloth, the cloth was black from the pollution in the air! I asked the missionary, why is America criticized for the environment? He blamed leftist politicians.
A number of Scriptures, such as I Peter 2:13-14, tell us as Christians to submit to the government – even when we do not agree with it. Obviously, many Christians do not agree with the various rulings handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years.
So, what can we do?
In a democracy, we have a right to be heard. We also have a responsibility to stand up for what we believe in. Far too many Christians pronounce a “curse on both their houses” and fail to pay attention or participate in the political process. But we should be involved. If we fail to be involved, we turn the entire process over to people who may or may not agree with our values. Here is what we can do:
- Register to vote and vote regularly. And vote intelligently. We need to keep abreast of the issues and the candidates and vote for people who stand where we stand. If you do not vote for pro-life candidates, then why complain that abortion is the law of the land?
- Write your senators and congressmen. I do not hesitate to email them – either to protest their vote on a past law or to urge them to vote on a future law. I have read where your voice carries weight, because studies show that for every letter you write, there is a certain percentage of the population which stands where you do. You can “Google” and find any legislator’s email address online.
- Treat politicians with respect. If you attack them personally, naturally they are going to be defensive before they even listen to your point of view. Besides, it is the Christian thing to do – to treat all people with honor and respect (I Peter 2:17).
- Write letters to the editor. I do not write very often, because I have other forums – such as this blog, etc. But I recently sent a letter to our local newspaper. Let your view be heard!
- Pray for our leaders. The Bible tells us to pray for all our leaders – I Timothy 2:1-2. As a pastor, I had the opportunity to visit one of our lawmakers in his office – a legislator with whom I rarely agreed and for whom I did not vote. However, it was obvious he was pleased, when I asked him – could I pray for him before I left the office? We bowed our heads, and I prayed that God would bless him and use him, watch over his family, etc. Not only was my prayer sincere, but I believe my effort improved our relationship.
Biblical history is replete with God’s people taking a stand on conscience instead of following the dictates of man — Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Paul, Peter & John in Acts 4, etc. So, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis is on solid ground in standing on principle — even in the face of man’s law. This is a battle she does not have to take, and it is a battle she is not going to win. But two interesting things have come out this week, in my view.
a) Our friend, Cal Thomas, says in a column that if Kim Davis is to stand on principle, then she should not issue a marriage license to any sinner, as homosexuality is one of many sins mentioned in Scripture. This is a faulty analysis. The problem with issuing these marriage licenses is not the qualifications of the recipient, it is the end result of the product. She is not denying the marriage license because the candidate is gay. She has no idea how many marriage licenses she has issued to gays, alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. — all for “legal” unions between man and woman. We ALL qualify as sinners. All of us who are married received marriage licenses issued to sinners — us and our spouses. The concern of Kim Davis is with the product — a homosexual marriage. Neither Scripture nor 10,000 years of human history establishes nor condones such a marriage.
b) As the liberals nearly always do, rather than argue with her on the issues, they are attacking her lifestyle and “sins” of her past. In other words, her credibility as a sinner. What nonsense! The Apostle Paul was a sinner, as was Moses. As we all are. Our credentials are not at stake. The question is whether or not it is right to approve of gay marriage.
Like I said earlier this week, I cannot help but admire her.