Blog & Pastor Letters

Politics, Religion and Justification

10-27-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

Many years ago, Catholics were taught that politics is a dirty venture and that politicians speak from both sides of their mouths. They say one thing today and tomorrow their interest shifts to another. Henry Kissinger, the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Secretary of State once said, "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests." While the interpretation of this saying can vary depending on political ideology, this makes the subject of politics a heated one. Politicians do not have permanent friends or enemies but self-interests that serve their goals. The three presidential debates leading to the US elections on November 8, have given us inklings to what politicians can do or can say just to clinch the exalted position of president.

Religion is part of our human life. It teaches us how to value human relations. A person can be haughty, loud, and noisy so much that he underrates others and considers them unimportant. Such a person needs to moderate his attitude to see others as creatures of God with equal respect. The point of religious practice is to evoke a balancing act by changing being haughty or naughty to sane and godly behavior in interpersonal human relations.

The attitudes of the Pharisee and the tax collector in the story of Jesus illustrate how we approach God. We choose to approach God either as the Pharisee thinking we are righteous, godly, or spiritual or we choose to approach God with humility, contrition, or self-pity like the tax collector. From the two perspectives, these individuals acted according to how they molded their characters. The reward of behaving in such a manner even in the presence of God depicts who we are. The story concludes with a lesson for Christians: "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." We can justify our actions with detailed lists of behaviors and still fall below the standard God desires. God loves righteous, godly, and spiritual persons but not a boastful one. God cannot be fooled by our haughty behaviors. The appreciable behavior in God's presence is characterized by holy fear, trembling, contrition, self-pity, and humility.

In the plan of God, man was brought in to be the caretaker, not above him but under heaven. The position of man is derived from God's delegation of responsibilities to him. Man has no right to deride God and exalt himself as most important to the degree that he disrespects values itemized by God.

Many centuries of man's growth have not replaced God's supremacy over the universe and all within. In modern times, man should be aware that politics and politicians may shift our understanding based on their interests. For the most part, they want us to shift our understanding to suit their political agenda. We need to listen carefully when they speak from both ends of their mouths. They justify their positions with detailed lists of actions to make us forget our values and where we stand before God. So, we adjust our positions of yesterday to meet the needs of today if politicians say so and not God. The action of shifting gears towards political correctness is the direct reason politics was termed dirty by some Catholic authorities by making evil look good, and goodness seem evil.

The lesson this week is about using your religious mind to moderate excessive compulsion to lies, and more lies, in order to capture laurels that are temporary and worldly. The laurels that should justify our actions are won by simple actions of humility, justice, kindness, and acts of surrender. Politics is not dirty; the players make it dirty. Let us encourage politicians to bring God in politics, and then justify their actions with godly behaviors. Keep praying!