Politics is a fickle thing. At a moment’s notice, followers can become doubters. And existing doubters can become enemies.
Circumstances change, and policy goals are different. But human nature remains the same. Whether one is liberal or conservative, we all desire the same thing. A political savior.
White evangelicals & black evangelicals have both gotten their opportunity to elect their “political savior.” It certainly didn’t work out for white evangelicals with George W. Bush. And it doesn’t appear that it is working out for black evangelicals with Barack Obama.
It is commonplace now to complain about any and every politician that comes into office. Just like we do with car drivers in the city we live in. They are always the worst, aren’t they?
But the problem is really deeper than George W. Bush, Barack Obama, or any other politician you want to insert here. It starts with each one of us.
I’ve spent countless years defending the war in Iraq, because I thought George W. Bush was a good man. Who truly knows what information President Bush was presented with when he made the decision to go to war in Iraq. But there certainly is room for debate on the merits of the war among other policy issues. Likewise, there are many Barack Obama apologists who have defended every move he’s made (like I once did with W.), who I hope will one day see that leaders have flaws and are capable of evil things just like we are.
We have major problems here in America. But a big one is our tendency to idolize. This is nothing new. Look at world history or at the Bible. God’s own people, the Israelites, did this all of the time.
But it is a characteristic that is dangerous to a society. If we call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ, any other person or thing more important in our lives than Christ is an idol. It could be Tom Brady. Tim Tebow. George W. Bush. Barack Obama. The Florida Gators. You name anything you spend way too much time thinking about or supporting, other than Christ, it is an idol.
Cult of personality is a political science term that is used to refer to political candidates who possess an image or demeanor that appeals to the masses. We, as individuals, have collectively contributed to this term being successful in American politics by our unwillingness to see beyond what is in front of us.
We are blinded by elegance and eloquence.
If we call ourselves Christians, we have to do better than this. The only standard we seek should be the one set by the life of Jesus Christ, not by any political leader who sounds good or presents a good message. We must end the blind support of political leaders and realize that they are fallen, sinful individuals who may or may not know Christ. Whatever our reasoning for liking a candidate may be, it is secondary to anything the Word of God says.
Politics will not change unless Christians do something about it. That goes for all races, denominations and party affiliations.