Day 20

Every person should place themselves under the authority of the government. There isn’t any authority unless it comes from God, and the authorities that are there have been put in place by God. So anyone who opposes the authority is standing against what God has established. People who take this kind of stand will get punished. The authorities don’t frighten people who are doing the right thing. Rather, they frighten people who are doing wrong. Would you rather not be afraid of authority? Do what’s right, and you will receive its approval. It is God’s servant given for your benefit. But if you do what’s wrong, be afraid because it doesn’t have weapons to enforce the law for nothing. It is God’s servant put in place to carry out his punishment on those who do what is wrong. That is why it is necessary to place yourself under the government’s authority, not only to avoid God’s punishment but also for the sake of your conscience. You should also pay taxes for the same reason, because the authorities are God’s assistants, concerned with this very thing. So pay everyone what you owe them. Pay the taxes you owe, pay the duties you are charged, give respect to those you should respect, and honor those you should honor. Romans 13:1-7, CEB

Yesterday I wrote that I don’t usually worry too much about who is elected president because, essentially, things are never as bad as they’re made out to be. Fear sells. If the Richmond Times Dispatch kept printing, “In comparison to the rest of the world, we’re pretty much doing just fine,” then they wouldn’t sell as many newspapers.

I also don’t worry too much because I can only do my part, and I must live in acceptance of whatever outcome happens.

What is my part?

A few things. Responsibly educating myself, as I’m sure we all do. Uphold the dignity and respect of those around me and even the candidates themselves. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t disagreements from time to time, it just means disagreements are handled in a respectful manner in accordance with a commitment to charity in all things.

Lastly, I think that, as a religious “leader”, it’s my part to point out when I think people are using faith language to manipulate faithful people. They say the “evangelical” vote (as if we’re all the same) is really important. So candidates train themselves to talk about God, the Bible, perhaps even quote verses from time to time to get us to think that they’re faithful too. But really, politics is about power. There isn’t much that’s Christian about it. I don’t care which candidate you’re following, when they are in office, their Christian values won’t take precedence over their desire to be popular, to gain power or control, to get a bill passed, to leverage a political relationship into a future policy that might get that person highlighted in a history book.

Elections aren’t about faith, at least they aren’t anymore (if they ever were). I’m not saying we should avoid voting for candidates who say they’re Christian. I’m just saying that certainly shouldn’t be the only reason we vote for that person (because there’s a fair chance it’s a manipulation anyway).

 

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