Religion and politics – the great dividers

Published 11:48 am Monday, October 24, 2022

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Clanton First Assembly of God

It has been said that nothing divides people quicker than religion and politics. I think most of us  to some degree understand the validity of that statement. I personally have the reality of that truth manifested on both fronts.

In terms of religion, when conducting door-to-door outreach in our communities, it is reported that the people most resistant to ministry are not the unbelievers, but church people who are offended that someone from another denomination would dare knock on their door presuming to tell them about Jesus. In terms of politics, we have all heard about those holiday gatherings that degenerate into an all-out shouting match between family members whose political ideologies come from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Each squaring off against the other convinced that their political or social persuasion is the panacea to all America’s woes. It is unfortunate that the two things that should unite us are often the very thing that more times than not divide us.

When approached with the proper perspective religion nor politics need to divide us. In terms of Christianity for example, there are a number of pastors in my life whom I consider dear friends who hold strikingly different biblical views than myself. However, the overarching unifier is that we agree that Jesus is the Savior of the world, that His blood cleanses us from all sin and unrighteousness and that He is the only way to God the Father. All the other elements are peripheral issues that need not divide the Body of Christ. It is as a dear Church of Christ pastor once said to me, “If you call Him Lord, I call you brother.” Divisiveness is not worth the damage that is caused by division. I hold very strong biblical views. Views which I am convinced are scripturally accurate. However, biblical arguments that are not relevant to the salvation of the soul are not worth squabbling over.

There are some within my own congregation who hold very different political opinions than me. I am set in my political persuasion. I’m unmovable. I’m unwavering. I am so convinced that my political views are what’s right for America that it’s hard for me to see how anyone could see it differently, but the reality is that some do. Does that make them less Christian or any less American? Of course not. They are sincere Christians who love God and love this country. It is unfortunate that good, decent, well-meaning, patriotic American Christians on both sides of the political spectrum allow scriptural nuances and political opinions provoke vicious attacks on one another.

My Methodist friends have a saying, “The main thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” How true that is. Instead of majoring on minors, perhaps we should focus on the common objectives we share; love for God, desire to win the lost souls whom Christ died to save, and love for America, the greatest nation to ever exist on planet earth. The nation that was blessed by God to be what President Ronald Reagan called, “A City on a Hill.”

The old adage says, “Together we stand, divided we fall.” Unity doesn’t mean always agreeing. Rather, it means working together despite our differences for the common good.