This tactic is especially horrifying when it comes from a Christian perspective, because Jesus was crucified by the Roman Empire as an enemy of the state. Yet those who desire to wield the state’s power seem to forget history when it comes to their personal ambitions.
Using Jesus to attain votes betrays what he stood for, which led to his crucifixion. He stood beside the poor, the sick, the prisoners, the hungry, widows and orphans, and he warned his followers about the idolatrous power of Caesar and his puppet kings in the Herod family.
Perhaps an even more despicable political tactic is the use of religion by politicians to divide people. The Latin root of “religion” means to bind together. Yet religion seems so often to divide us. And when politicians do this on purpose for their own political gain, this is especially destructive to the Body of Christ if the political tactic is targeting Christians.
The latest wedge tactic concerns birth control. Some politicians want it banned, others want to make it difficult to purchase by women using their insurance. Birth control is often a necessity for health, it prevents abortions, and even most Roman Catholic women use it (80 or 90 percent I read somewhere).
Yet the outcry about having insurance policies cover birth control seems to come from predominately men — men in Congress, men running for president, and Roman Catholic bishops (who are all men).
In all the debates about this issue in the pews, in the halls of Congress and on the campaign trail, were women brought into the discussion? It is very difficult for me to take seriously the pronouncements of Roman Catholic bishops on this subject when most were silent on the sexual abuse of children in recent history; and when they know little about what it feels like to make a baby, carry and raise it; or what it feels like to be raped, even by one’s own father. Then, for women to be told by male politicians and male clergy that they should — or must — have a child conceived by rape and incest simply makes these women a victim a second time.
One final point. The church is not the clergy; the church is the body of the faithful where each baptized member is just as important as any ordained person.
Women make up more than 50 percent of most churches, as proven by who attends each Sunday. So listen to them rather than, or at least along with, male clergy and politicians.
— By The Rev. Henry Idema, former pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church in Grand Haven.