The current political situation in the United States is quite troubling and sad. This can be illustrated by looking at an identifiable group on each side of the political spectrum. On the “right” are the “always Trumpers”. They repeat the White House’s talking points on every issue. A clear example is the current spike in the Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. President Trump has downplayed the severity of the pandemic. He has repeatedly claimed that the high numbers are due to the greater number of tests the United States has administered and that the U.S. has a low Covid-19 rate. The “always Trumpers” have echoed these claims even though they are absolutely false. On a per capita basis, the U.S. has NOT administered more coronavirus tests than most European countries, and the European Covid-19 rate is much less that the rate in the US. In fact, the U.S. has the fourth worst per capita rate in the world. In their desire to support the president, the “always Trumpers” are in denial of reality.
On the other side of the political spectrum are the “never Trumpers”. For them, Trump is so detestable that everythihng he says or does is false and evil. They have such a knee jerk reaction to Trump that they must be against everything Trumpian. For example, Trump has pushed a ¨Warp Speed¨ vaccine for Covid-19 for rapid research and actual production of millions of vaccines. Although it is obvious that Trump is urging this project largely for election purposes, the ¨never Trumpers¨ are unwilling to acknowledge that moving swiftly toward the development and distribution of a safe vaccines is good and necessary.
If people are totally “pro-Trump” or “anti-Trump”, they have abandoned their use of logic and reason. Their absolute political loyalty distorts the use of their minds. From a Biblical point of view, an absolute commitment to any human or institution is idolatry because we are worshiping the creation and not the Creator.
Unless people want to be classified as “pro-Trumpers” or “anti-Trumpers”, it is easy but not helpful to put our “opponents” in one of these categories. It is easy because we can then dismiss any evidence they offer without examining it. Because too many of us categorize others in this way, we are becoming ever more polarized. When our favorite political party or politician receives a criticism, our default mode becomes a defensive posture. Instead of seeking and acknowledging the points of truth in the criticism, we grasp for any argument that helps our position, no matter how flimsy.
Since both of these extremes are dangerous for the advance of truth in our world, I suggest the following. Identify the three strongest criticisms against your favorite politician or political party. Are there any grains of truth in these criticisms? If so, do we acknowledge and act on them? If not, we are treading on dangerous ground.
Let´s keep seeking the truth and it will set us free.
8 thoughts on “Idolatry and Politics”
This is one of the best things I have read from you. It’s concise, timely and laden with truth and empathy. Bravo!
Thanks for your comment. If we are going to solve our national problems, we will need to overcome our ideology idolatry.
I like your post.
I am wondering if there could possibly be a grassroots movement for third party (write-in) candidate(s) in the fall election.
I am very concerned about the election of either candidate as we move toward
Voting for a third party is acceptable, but is largely a protest vote. In an email, I will answer you at some length.
I continue to be grateful to read what you write. I resonate with you.
The entire post was helpful to me but especially this:
From a Biblical point of view, an absolute commitment to any human or institution is idolatry because we are worshiping the creation and not the Creator.
ps- I read with JOY and gratitude the “newsletter” you put together from those who were connected with you at OU. To my surprise, I do know the daughter of Nick and Tammy Channell whose name is Christy. I am familiar with their work with Cru here on the OU Campus.
Thanks for your comment. Most of us in the modern, sophisticated world tend to think of idolatry as those activities practiced by “primitive” societies with false gods. Nevertheless, the Bible is quite clear that greed is idolatry (Colossians 3:5) which would include many of us. We need to be aware of similar absolute commitments that draw us away from the true God.
Well stated Lindy. Hope you are doing well. We miss many things in these times, but are grateful that our health is good and that we have access, at least electronically to visiting with our family and others. I appreciated the message you’ve shared.
I am glad you are safe and healthy. Although it seems strange and a bit trite, one of the best ways to love our neighbors during this pandemic is to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and buy groceries for those who are most vulnerable.