A church member referred me to an article on the front page of last Monday’s Marin IJ about “election stress.”[i] Yes. Yes indeed. Can I see a show of hands of people who will be glad when this presidential election is over, even if you do care desperately about the outcome?
And so it’s with some trepidation that I bring up politics, especially when many of us need a break, a Sabbath, from all the craziness and incivility. I’ll do my best to land somewhere short of crazy and uncivil this morning. This fall, we’re looking at the questions people have about faith, and one very common question is whether the church ought to be “political.” “Political” is in quotation marks because it can mean everything from elections to governing to anything to do with the use or abuse of power, and often what people really mean when they ask this question is, “Should the church talk about things that make me uncomfortable?”
Oddly enough, some point to today’s passage in Matthew as proof that God and politics should be kept separate. Others have cited this passage as proof that Jesus taught that our duty as Christians is to support the government no matter what.[ii] But something else is going on here; something entirely different. We’re told from the outset that the Pharisees are plotting to entrap Jesus. To do this they join forces with an unlikely ally – the Herodians. This is one of those, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” situations. The Pharisees were highly observant Jews who despised Rome and Roman rule of their homeland. The Herodians, on the other hand, supported the Romans. They both want to get rid of Jesus. They form a super PAC. Read more →