By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor
“Religion should stay out of politics. Do you[r] job and preach what is important. The Lord our savior. Don’t get the two confused.”
That was a comment left on my Facebook page. The man (not a church member) was clearly unhappy with my posting. I was thanking Bishop Bruce Ough, the president of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. Ough was denouncing President Trump’s alleged expletive-filled comments about immigrants. Ough said he found the comments “not only offensive and harmful, they are racist.”
Honestly, I’m not sure if the man who posted those words was aiming his remarks at the Bishop or me, and it doesn’t really matter. The fact is that there seems to be a lot of confusion about the role of religion in relation to politics. If any Christian thinks Jesus was non-political, well then, that person is missing the point of a lot of Jesus’ teachings.
“Religion should stay out of politics.”
How many times have we heard Jesus speak of the kingdom? That’s a political statement. His goal was to show the kingdom of God was in direct contrast to the kingdom of the political elite. “My kingdom is not from this world … my kingdom is not from here” (John 18:36).
As we work our way through this Lenten season, we look toward Easter Sunday and the joyful message of a resurrected Lord. But we must get through the ugliness of Good Friday to get there. The execution that ended the life of Jesus of Nazareth was political. People who posed a threat to Roman authority would find themselves nailed to a cross. Jesus’ execution was a political statement by leaders who hoped it would put an end to this movement. As we sit here two thousand years later, I am grateful for the brave followers of The Way of Christ. The violent end to his earthly life would not stop his message of salvation, love and social justice.
“Do you[r] job and preach what is important. The Lord our savior.”
This is actually a great reminder to me. Preach what is important, and that is indeed the peaceful teachings of the Lord our Savior.