Religion & Politics are like oil & vinegar

After reading Dannika Nash’s blog post about marriage equality and the church, I wonder if Dannika is missing the bigger point;

I’m writing this because I’m worried about the safety of the Church. The Church keeps scratching its head, wondering why 70% of 23-30 year-olds who were brought up in church leave. I’m going to offer a pretty candid answer, and it’s going to make some people upset, but I care about the Church too much to be quiet.

Someone said to me the other day, “I’m too smart to be a Christian.” Pretty poingnant. People like Nash who are constantly questioning their religion will find themselves leaving that religion. Sometimes these people leave their certain religion for another one, some just choose to float into outer space (agnostics). Others just give up on God all together. Myself, I believe in a higher power, I just don’t believe it belongs to a church or a religion. The problem with religion is that it constantly wants to be a political force. God is NOT a politician. I believe God created us to make wise decisions on our own, and we don’t need clergy to tell us how to vote, where to work, who to be friends with and certainly NOT who can be our lover. I think there is a conscience inside of all of us that tells us when we are doing right or wrong. I think this is also a gift from God. Religion tells us how to think, how to act, who to love. This is why I choose not to have a religion. I think someday Ms. Nash will figure out that the combination of religion and politics is just a recipe for disaster. This is why our country and world is so divided. Not because of our skin color, or because we love a certain person, but this belief that OUR God is the ONLY God to follow.


I can’t tell you what to believe, nor do I want to. But you must find PEACE with your own God. And if you find that in a church pew, good for you. I’m just saying that religion is not always the answer to your questions. Dig deeper. THINK. God wants that from us.


#1 Scott on 04.16.13 at 1:54 pm

Her blog post was interesting, but I think the most intriguing part of the story is that she lost her summer Christian gig because of it. That move kind of proved her point.

#2 Scott on 04.16.13 at 1:54 pm

Although I can’t imagine being inspired to do anything because of a Macklemore song. 🙂

#3 Detroit Lewis on 04.16.13 at 2:22 pm

She will realize someday that churches have gotten too wrapped up in political beliefs instead of teaching love and peace.

#4 Daizi46 on 04.16.13 at 2:33 pm

YEAH…I soooo agree with your expression of Organized Religion and the Belief of a Higher Power. Raised a Methodist (which is actually a pretty liberal church) and involved in everything from choir (age 7 to adulthood-mid 30’s), attending and also teaching Sunday School (children and adults) and Bible School, sitting on boards, giving a sermon, assisting Minister on Sundays, etc. I do not attend an organized religion now and haven’t for 15 years, but do meditatepray daily, talk to and with Spirit/God/Goddess daily, see and experience the greatness of life all the time….we are in a shifting mode…for the better I believe.

#5 Mike on 04.16.13 at 3:44 pm

I tend to agree with the gist of her message, but the one thing I can’t agree with is for her to say that it is “an open letter from my generation to the church.”

I’m too old to assume she is speaking for me, but even if I was young enough I do not remember who appointed her the spokesperson for a whole generation.

I would appreciate the message much better if she only spoke for herself as opposed to presuming to speak for all her peers.

#6 Angry Guy on 04.16.13 at 4:22 pm

You’re all going to hell… I’ll save you a seat in the readin’ & writin’ section.

#7 Scott on 04.16.13 at 5:53 pm

I’ll be in the music dump, writing stories on Hank, Jimi, and Sid. Unfortunately for me, Mr. Strummer will not be available as he will be in that other holier place.

#8 Testor15 on 04.16.13 at 6:42 pm

It reminds me of Martin Luther’s trip to Rome & his reform movement to take the greed / money out of religion.

#9 Winston on 04.16.13 at 6:56 pm

I consider myself a Christian. For what it is worth, my deceased elder brother was an ordained Lutheran pastor.
A graduate of seminary, who had read the original scriptures in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin – unlike, many of the bible college pastors we have in South Dakota today, who have only read the english translation of the Bible; my late brother aways warned me about these members of the cloth.

The reason I bring-up my late brother is because it makes me sad that I no longer go to church and I feel I am not only dishonoring my faith, but also my brother’s work and his life devotion. But there is no doubt in my mind, that many established churches today have been hi-jacked through the political ambitions and necessities of some and this realization has caused me to, thus, be shy towards organized religion.

Case in point, I and my family stopped attending church on a regular basis, when believe it or not my daughter brought home literature from Sunday school about Barack Obama and the true meaning of “Change.” “Are you kidding me,” I asked? I do not remember bring home literature from Sunday school in my day about LBJ or “Tricky Dick.” (Heck, these two characters make Barack Hussein Obama look like a saint.)

This same church also submitted into the church bulletin a piece about how we should be opposed to “ObamaCare” because it could lead to Federal funding of abortion. What? So in other words, my fellow parishioners, you are opposed to Medicaid also? Since an amendment could be made to that Act, which has been on the Federal books since 1966, as well? An Act which currently (even prior to ObamaCare) offers health care to many indigent Americans? So according to the church’s logic, we must also be opposed to Medicaid and offering health care to the poor as well, with or without ObamaCare, just because of the abortion fear?

The Obama piece and my church’s abortion phobia were the final straws which broke my back in relation to my church and my church attendance, as well as an continual oppressive obsession which my church had towards the gay marriage issue.

My late father-in-law, a couple of years ago, was asked by a priest, while on his death bed, as to why he no longer went to Mass over the past few years. My father-in-law responded by saying, because the church had turned Mass into a Republican Party meeting by having legislative candidates in attendance stand-up and the parishioners were then told to vote for these particular candidates… utterly amazing….

Historically, churches have played a part in the politics of the past. The two that come to my mind first were the instrumental use of Black churches in the 1960s in the Civil Rights movement and the “Liberation Theology” movement within the Catholic church in the Americas during the 1970s. But it is one thing for the church to advocate a moral question or challenge, but it is a totally different thing when they force or suggest a political directive, where the directive affects another group rights without lifting their own rights to parity and equality, and where they are not trying to protect their constituency’s right to exist, but rather it’s right to force it’s values upon others. This is the difference between Blacks using churches to mobilize a movement for their own civil rights, or mobilizing peasants in a third world country to establish their presence and rights, verses churches today that are trying to force their values upon others and in so doing denying rights to others, like women and gays.

In the final analysis, the organized churches of today are failing in their mission. They may believe they are protecting the fetus, as an example, but such a logical inference cannot be made without seeing women as the equivalent of a political state or a landowner’s interests.
States and economic interests are the folly of man and his laws, while a women is an individual, and a creation of God if you are religious. To treat women as a political or economic entity is to allow man’s secular institutional beliefs to supersede God’s work, such thought to me, as a Christian, is mere heresy. The church has the right to raise the questions of moral implication which come with the issue of abortion, but to advocate and promote a particular political outcome of such an act is to go beyond advising and into a world of dictation using man’s laws to control the acts of a godly creation, that being the women and her body and her innate reproductive rights.

What about the fetus? That is a good question to ask and the church should ask that question, but do not use man’s laws to affect the outcome of such a possible concern. The relationship between the woman and her fetus is not the same as the relationship between a individual and their state or a peasant and their landowner. All three have moral implications, but the latter two have implications created by the acts of man and his institutions, while the former has implications, although aided in modern times with the help of technology, which come from the innate rights of being, that for a Christian come from God and not man nor his institutions nor his directives… Let God be the final judge and not a judge.

If the church wants to maintain its relevancy and bring people such as I back into the pews. It needs to start doing its job. Morally it will always have its calling, but politically it must identify oppressions, which if uplifted, will not in turn oppress others unjustly, and they could begin by taking a greater interest in an advocation for political equality, greater economic equality, and a respect for the planet, which for some of us, our God created.

#10 Karl Kroger on 04.16.13 at 9:37 pm

As a young United Methodist pastor in the Dakotas, I was so pleased to read a bold, young, progressive faith voice in South Dakota. For those of you who have given up on organized religion because of bigotry, hypocrisy, and fundamentalism, I understand that you had enough, but I miss your presence in the Body of Christ. God wants followers of Jesus, and God wants them to transform communities and the world. Sadly, many Christians have distorted the faith, and often the very people they run out–are the ones who are most closely following in the way of Christ. I have not given up my intellect to follow Jesus, and I refuse to pretend I can seek justice, show love, and offer compassion all by myself. We need each other, and the Church needs you. Grace and peace,

#11 LJL on 04.16.13 at 9:52 pm

The common thread is everything is becoming too politically driven. And the more politically divided we become the more corruption in politics grows.

Much like religion, most of the things we believe in are like each other. But do we ever hear about that common ground in politics…Never…. Always the fight over so very few things.

When it comes to social issues, I am always amazed at those who think religion should change to meet their moral beliefs. Unfortunately self centered seems to be the new normal.

#12 Detroit Lewis on 04.16.13 at 10:03 pm

“Much like religion, most of the things we believe in are like each other.”

You are right. I have friends on both sides of the aisle who I consider ‘Good Friends’. We have great convos/debates about politics. It is too bad religions cannot do the same.

#13 l3wis on 04.16.13 at 10:14 pm

Karl Kroger, would agree the teachings of Jesus have been distorted by the members of your congregation. You have a lot of work to do. I am going to go listen to Bob Marley.

#14 John on 04.16.13 at 10:32 pm

The western church doomed itself when it fails, nearly daily, to live by its creed. When the church governance cannot, will not, walk-the-talk then the rest of us will walk.

It’s a good time to re-read Martin Luther King Jrs, Letter from the Birmingham Jail. Eight Birmingham clergy chastised King for leading the non-violent protests – the great white do-nothing crowd in the midst of injustice.

The modern Catholic Church’s active protection of serial pedophiles leaves one wondering why anyone would leave or raise their children amidst such racketeering conspirators.

The western church in the US is taking itself down the same road of immolation as is the case for the western church in Europe. Have a sheriff’s sale. Then we can tax it and yield some real public good from it.

Good riddance.

#15 rufusx on 04.16.13 at 11:09 pm

One word – pantheism.

#16 Tom H. on 04.16.13 at 11:13 pm

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

“Religion” is man-made; faith in Jesus Christ is a relationship. There are a lot of Christian religions, but there’s only one Christ.

#17 anominous on 04.17.13 at 12:38 am

#18 I am so important on 04.17.13 at 9:09 am

Mike wrote:

“I’m too old to assume she is speaking for me, but even if I was young enough I do not remember who appointed her the spokesperson for a whole generation. ”

Welcome to social media / blogging. It makes people feel that they and their opinions are a lot more important than they really are.

#19 Pathloss on 04.17.13 at 10:50 am

Your faith is yours as per your definition, plain & simple. Corrupt politicians will filibuster but still go to hell. Don’t worship Mikey. He’ll say he’s god but thou shalt not worship false prophets.

#20 Alice15 on 04.17.13 at 10:51 am

Church should be a tool to enhance your faith, not “be” your faith. Unfortunately – I did not realize this until I was 30 years old, but my inner strength and belief is a sense of peace now instead of an obligation.

#21 Craig on 04.18.13 at 10:38 am

Most religions fail to evolve, but society never does. Some faiths continue to discriminate against women even though the world around them has moved beyond those antiquated ideas.

Now many faiths continue to fight against gay marriage by trying to pretend they control “traditional marriage”. Society is quicking learning that these churches and their leaders are out of touch. They are bigots and they spread hate. They pick and choose which portions of their guidebook to follow, and this explains (in part) why so many people are leaving the churches never to return.

You don’t need a church to have a belief, and you don’t need organized religion to have a personal relationship with whoever you wish to believe in.

The amazing thing is this isn’t just an American trend. We are seeing the same trends worldwide – people are moving away from organized religions, and agnostics and atheists are growing at an ever increasing pace. I read something from a leader in the Catholic church recently (I forget if he was a Cardinal or a Bishop) where he admitted that they have nothing to combat atheism and that eventually a non-belief is inevitable.

In short – religions don’t adapt. People do. Science makes discoveries which eliminate the “unknowns” and which make it harder and harder for people to trust books that were written thousands of years ago and that really have no supporting evidence other than themselves.

People will always have their own beliefs, but I think we are finally getting to a point where children are comfortable enough to question the beliefs held by their parents. People are realizing that they don’t need to follow the same religion or political party as their parents or grandparents, and that opens a lot of eyes ot what is out there. Social media and the Internet have educated millions of people about the options that exist, and the trendline is clear.

100 years from now, I have no doubt that most major religions will be in serious decline, because the one thing that most churches fear is an educated society – and you can’t exactly stop the evolution of society.