In the half century of my lifetime and in my study of history, I have never seen a time in the United States when things are as they are now.
As the son of a Southern Baptist preacher who pastored churches for more than a half century, I find it so ironic that we have more freedom of worship in this country today than anyone in history has ever had because of separation of church and state.
Yet, the Christians in this country, for the most part, believe they are losing their freedom.
Since 1976, Christians now commonly known as the Religious Right have had an unprecedented and organized participation in politics.
The Christian leaders have sought to dominate the political arena by endorsing candidates and telling their people how to vote. During Bill Clinton’s time, some preachers in this country were prophesying that a “great man of God” would be elected in 2000. As the new century arrived, we had Christians saying: “If you do not vote for Bush, you are not a Christian.”
In 1900, William Jennings Bryan ran twice for president, claiming that is was God’s will for him to win. One of his big issues, along with the gold standard, was evolution.
But he lost to William McKinley. It must not have been God’s will because we eventually got Teddy Roosevelt as president, one of the greatest in history. Ironically, T.R. a Republican, did everything exactly the opposite of Bush and was also one of the most popular presidents ever.
If we had learned from history and actually knew what the Bible says, we would never have put George W. Bush in the White House. In the middle of his first term, it looked like Bush might have been God’s man because he had a 90 percent approval rating.
But his incompetent decisions about the Iraq war and selecting cronies for important positions have changed the opinion of the American people dramatically.
While former President Clinton did some bad things, the allegations of corruption in this current administration may have topped those of Richard Nixon’s time. How could Christians have voted for Bush?
Why is it that we do not have religious leaders speaking out against Bush? Why are they not admitting to their people that they were wrong and told them to vote for the wrong man?
In the next presidential election, it would truly be helpful if the Christians sat out and did not carry on a public campaign for a particular candidate. We might get another Teddy Roosevelt if the church doesn’t cloud the thinking of the people.