Given the amount of column inches and air-time given to politics, one could be forgiven for thinking that politics is actually a religion, or even a deity with Sovereign and Savior-like qualities. But no one really believes that do they?
In the communist era maybe, but not today, right?
In Russia maybe, but not in the USA, right?
In the extreme left of the Democratic party maybe, but not among conservatives, right?
Think again, last week, in the USA, a highly respected conservative journalist revealed that politics is his god. Dr Charles Krauthammer (yes, I’m afraid so) used his Washington Post column as a call to worship with him:
For all the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics and other manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane, frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics…Because if we don’t get politics right, everything else risks extinction…
We grow justly weary of our politics. But we must remember this: Politics — in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations — is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it…
Fairly or not, politics is the driver of history. It will determine whether we will live long enough to be heard one day [he means heard by aliens – I’ll get to that!]
I find this so hard to believe, coming as it does from a man whose opinions I respect and whose character I’ve admired. “Everything depends on politics…politics is sovereign…politics is the driver of history…politics determines the length of our lives and of the earth’s existence.”
(By the way, if you substitute “Jesus Christ” for “politics” in these quotes, you come pretty close to an orthodox confession of faith. But that would never have got past the Washington Post censors, would it!)
I found it doubly hard to believe because it came in the same article that Krauthammer expressed the opinion that extra-terrestrial life exists and that it shall soon be discovered, even within the next few years!
At this point, my incredulity was so far off the scale that I double-checked to see if it was all written tongue in cheek. I wasn’t sure which claim was the most outlandish, that politics was God, or that ET was just around the corner. But I couldn’t find any evidence that Krauthammer had written with his tongue in his cheek or with a New Year’s dram in his mouth.
And people say believing in God is difficult! For all my interest in politics, I find it easier to believe that ET will phone us one day than that politics is our last best hope. If ever there was an opportune time to call everyone away from vain hopes of societal transformation via politics, it’s now. The problems are too huge, the people are too small, the proposed policies are too trivial.
While Christians should strongly support the political process and play an active role, we must do so with the base belief that neither the best personalities nor the best policies give us any hope of “saving” a nation. If we believe otherwise, we are dishonoring God by substituting an idol for Him, and risk therefore forfeiting His all-too-necessary blessing. We are also doomed to despair.
We so desperately need politicians who recognize and confess the limitations of even the best politics and policitians, and who will say instead, “Everything depends on God…God is sovereign…God is the driver of history…God determines the length of our lives and of the earth’s existence…Therefore let’s seek His blessing by honoring Him in all we say and do.”
Alternatively, and more briefly: “In God we trust.”