This morning as I read the news, I noticed that US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain has rejected the endorsements of the well known Christian televangelists John Hagee and Rod Parsley. Of course, this is not the first 2008 presidential candidate to sever ties with a Christian voice. Earlier this year US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama ended his association with the Pastor of his local church, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
The actions of both Senator McCain and Senator Obama have come about as a response to the comments and publicly expressed views made by these preachers which many Americans find to be insensitive, hateful, and a distortion of reality. But more importantly, the views expressed by Hagee, Parsley, and Wright are of such nature that they are considered to be damaging to the credibility and the campaign efforts of each presidential candidate.
From the sound bites of what I have heard articulated by Hagee, Parsley, and Wright, let me first point out and make it very clear that I completely and entirely disagree with the views articulated by each of these preachers.
Beyond this, however, there is a valuable lesson for Christians living in the United States to learn. The nation’s political machine, represented by both presidential candidates, is only interested in the endorsement of Christians so long as that endorsement is beneficial to their political goals. It is very clear that neither candidate is interested in any Christian endorsement that is attached to a view deemed too radical or too unpopular with the voting majority. But here is the pickle: the Christian message, the gospel of Jesus Christ, has never and will never be a mainstream (non-radical) or popular message. At what price are Christians willing to pay for aligning and associating their faith with a particular politician as an endorsement? For it is becoming increasingly clear that such endorsements and associations are only accepted so long as we Christians proclaim an acceptable message to the popular culture.
Here is the lesson: Christian association and/or involvement with national politics has a price attached with it. Is the price really worth it?