Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

human government

12/29/13

 

I marvel at how some Christians see human government as the correct administrator of legal requirements but not of moral/ethical imperatives, leaving that to the church. Quite often these same people trumpet the desire to frame our government in accordance with the Bible. In claiming the Bible as the basis for our legal system, they concurrently suggest it as the basis for our moral requirements.

 

Most would have to admit that some Bible mandates receive much greater emphasis than others. Thou shalt not kill, steal, or rape are high on the list. Thou shalt not lie, cheat, or fail to pay your taxes- not so much. When addressing issues of a moral/ethical nature, the focus is often placed almost exclusively on sexual sins or some church defined impiety, like not attending regularly or failing to tithe. The Golden Rule with its call to feed the poor and heal the sick is too readily dismissed as socialism, a handy pejorative with which to label any governmental benevolence activity.

 

It is especially noteworthy that in the current hysterical political environment many government employees are being vilified as lazy, incompetent, unnecessary, and often the facilitators of societal parasites. The glaring exception to this marginalization involve those government agents who are involved in law enforcement or national security. These ones are routinely honored, almost deified, in fact.

 

My point is not to denigrate the police or military personnel in making this observation, but rather to illustrate the dichotomy that exists in the minds of many between government as an enforcement agency and instrument of retribution versus government as the instrument of benevolence. The former is deemed legitimate, even essential, and the later so often is seen as unjust and invasive.

 

The associated question of how effective and efficient the government operates in addressing issues of benevolence is a necessary one, subject to constant reevaluation. However, that necessity is hardly a valid reason to restrict the role of government as insisted above and then claim the Bible and Christ as our example.

 

The proposed distinction between proper and improper governmental roles lead some to point out that Jesus was not a political figure when he shared the Golden Rule, suggesting apparently that politics is not rightfully subject to this injunction. I then ask why drag the name of Jesus into our political debate at ever opportunity as we witness routinely. I agree that Jesus was not political; but, if we only want a part of the Bible to affect how government works, who gets to pick which part and on what selection basis?

 

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