The Gospel is Desecrated by Politicians

( [email protected] ) Sep 04, 2004 03:52 PM EDT

It seems that the politicians have desecrated the teaching of Christ through their blatant use of religion as campaign propaganda. 40 prominent religious leaders have responded by contending in an ad placed in the New York Times (Aug. 30) titled, “God is not a Republican or a Democrat.” Sojourners, a Christian magazine and organization sponsored the ad.

Evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have been telling people that God has chosen Bush to be President, UMNS reports. Bush has used his Methodist background to its full potential—by persuading Christians to vote for him because he stands for the Word. For example, Bush is against homo----exuality, which the bible also condemns.

However, the ad states, “We believe all candidates should be examined by measuring their policies against the complete range of Christian ethics and values…We also admonish both parties and candidates to avoid the exploitation of religion or our congregations for partisan political purposes.”

The Reverend James A. Forbes, senior minister of The Riverside Church in New York City and primary speaker of Mobilization 2004, a campaign advocating justice for the poor questioned why there is a cross on the speaker’s podium at the Republican National Convention and has called the use of religious symbol inappropriate and sinister in its overtly subliminal message that “Christianity is representative of both God and America,” according to the organization’s news release.

UMNS reports that Philip Amerson, president of the church-related Claremont School of Theology near Los Angeles, a Methodist like Bush says, “Frankly, in recent years, we’ve taken the Gospel, bent it, broken it and wrapped the American flag around it. I’m disappointed that some folks are using churches in partisan ways as they’ve never been used before.”

“Well-known Christian leaders signing the ad include evangelical author Philip Yancey; Glen Stassen, an ethicist at conservative Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.; Robert M. Franklin Jr. and Alton B. Pollard, professors at United Methodist-related Candler School of Theology in Atlanta; Duke Divinity Professor Richard Hays; and Baptist pastor and evangelical speaker Tony Campolo” (UMNS).

The ad also provides an opportunity to sign your support in order to stop this desecration of the Lord and His name, and donate money to get the ad into newspapers across the country, states a UMNS news report.

As of Sept 3, signers numbered 59,020 and 4,102 donors gave money to introduce the ad to other newspapers, according to Sojourners Web site:

Each of the issues that are on the platform including the war in Iraq, rising poverty, and declining civil rights in this nation are all religious issues.

Sojourners has made it clear that it is not endorsing Democrats either. For example, they have criticized Democrats earlier this year condemning party leaders for not taking religious issues such as poverty, hunger and other social problems seriously.

However, the blatant subversion and reshaping of the Gospel so it can fit into political party agendas is dangerous. The Rev. Forbes calls it “evil” in a press release. “This behavior by the Religious Right — ordaining George W. Bush as ‘God’s candidate’ — is theologically outrageous,” agreed The Rev. Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners.