Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Politics is the art of leaders inspiring people to follow them, and often, it is also the art of inspiring people to hate the leader’s opponents. The goal of politics is to gain control over something; to gain power. Religion, at its best, is the antidote to the hatred part of this, and the excessive pursuit of power. Jesus told us to love our enemies and to help others, and this is the part of religion that government needs to temper the worst side of politics.

We have leaders today who stir us up to hate the other half of America. And yet, we all love our children, and we all want them to grow up in a nation that allows them to thrive and be free and healthy. The big difference between the left and the right is that we are listening to different leaders, both of whom give us a one-sided picture and claim that only they are the good guys.

Would Jesus be a liberal or a conservative today? How can we say with certainty? Today’s political positions were not around when Jesus lived. What is clear is that Jesus told us not to hate anyone. I think leaders who stir up hatred for their opponents are not on the path that Jesus preaches.

When people want to turn their religious convictions into laws and force others to obey them, they aren’t preaching religion. They’re preaching politics. Religion gifts us with a very simple message. Whenever possible, treat others with love and kindness, not hatred, and efforts to control them.

What we can do as voters is to ask ourselves whether our leaders inspire us to hate their opponents, or to listen and try to understand them.

Richard Thomas


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