Monday, October 15, 2012

Sticks and Stones Break Bones – Words Are Deadly

An e-mail I received today said, effectively, what I have felt since the election of Barack Obama in 2008. It came from a thoughtful and compassionate friend who is disturbed, as we all should be, by the tone of political rhetoric in our land. Here is a part of her comment: 

I’m hoping the political rhetoric will die down after the election. I am a conservative…not a member of any political party…but I believe President Obama when he says he is a Christian. Our job as brothers and sisters in Christ is to pray for whoever is in places of authority—Christian or not. Can you imagine how much grace and confidence it takes to hear these negative statements from millions of people across the country day in and day out? I don’t know how these people in positions of power can handle all that negativity when they are doing what they think is best for all of us. That is something else people don’t think about—these people have to do what is best for ALL kinds of people on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between. They need our prayers, and once they have won the election; they need our support also. 

I hate politics—in the church and out there in the world. 

It has been a fact throughout the history of the Christian religion that believers in Christ are just as likely to be attacked, imprisoned, or even killed by others claiming to be Christian. It is a tribute to the faith of those under attack that they maintain their affiliation with the Church given the awful treatment they sometimes receive at its hand.

No politician can expect to escape criticism. Much of it will be unwarranted and even vicious. George W. Bush most recently endured harsh judgments by his Democratic opponents. But I would be hard-pressed to find any place where he was accused of being anti-Christian, or even anti-American. Democrats can be terribly unfair in their assessment of Republican candidates but they seldom reach the level of personal belittlement that I’ve found in the e-mails received from Evangelical Republicans. Here is an example of what I’m talking about, excerpted from an e-mail my wife received yesterday from a professing Evangelical Republican: 

With all my heart, spirit, mind, and soul; I believe him (President Obama) to be an antichrist, an imposter, a arrogant liar, extremely anti-Christian, anti-American, an extreme Muslim sympathizer, a traitor, a betrayer, and one who has evil motives and plans to carry them out. We will see. The truth will come out; I promise you that - if he is re-elected. 

His heroes are, and always have been, Stalin, Lenin, and Hitler. This comes from the mouth of people who have known him all his life, people who roomed with him in college, people who have seen his hypocrisy in the churches he attended, people he has worked with, on and on. He has an agenda that came from his extreme American-detesting father and an older black man who has deeply mentored him since he was in his mid-twenties. That agenda is extremely anti-American. This is very well known. He offered the infamous America-hating Reverend Wright, his VERY GOOD FRIEND of 22 years, $150,000 to "keep silent about their true affiliation."  Yet the liberal press never reported this. There is so much being covered up.

Wow! And this spoken by one who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It is an embarrassment to me, as a fellow Evangelical believer, to be associated with such hate-filled rhetoric. In fact I refuse to be “associated” with it. Those who speak in this way do not speak for me. Nor do I believe they speak for their Lord.

Jesus once said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” It should be obvious what is in the heart of one who would make the assertions cited above without documenting in minute detail why they are true. Of course they are NOT true and one could search for the rest of their life for any valid documentation.

It is my opinion that both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are flawed men. But neither of them is a devil. A Christian can safely vote for either one without endangering his/her soul or even imperiling the nation. No doubt one of them has better ideas regarding the ways to guide our nation but no one really knows which one that is. And no one knows that the person with the better ideas would be more successful than his opponent if elected. Too many other factors play into the affairs of nations to predict who will succeed and who will fail.

We need to tone down the rhetoric, show respect for those with whom we disagree, and pray for the peace and prosperity of our world, regardless of who is leading it.

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