Perhaps nothing is as demoralizing as religious hypocrisy; it destroys not only perpetrators but witnesses. Every time a non-believer observes adherents acting in contradiction to the precepts of their faith, the non-believer is only strengthened in his resistance to God’s call. We are not talking about the usual human failings but outrageous, repugnant, destructive violations. The scandal of false Christianity forms an insurmountable stumbling block for some who are being called to conversion. For this reason I am exposing the hypocrisy of Tea Party members who claim they are defending Christianity–a way of life they don’t follow.
Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus exhort his followers to be nationalistic. All that Jesus said regarding the political state was that we must pay our taxes. Believers ought instead to be patriots of heaven, as Paul explains in Philippians 3: 20 “For our citizenship is in heaven…” Nor did Jesus instruct his followers to stem the tide of what the world considers progress by force, but to be set apart as pure examples of godliness. For the end times we are told only to prepare for Jesus’ return by keeping ourselves in fit spiritual condition. In fact, Jesus reserved his direst warnings for members of the church themselves, whom he warns against false teaching and ear-tickling; even love of country can be an idol or a kind of heresy if placed before love of God and fellow man.
Jesus never delegated the authority to judge the nations to any of his followers. Instead, he promised to come back and sort out sheep from goat. Jesus clearly states that only those of his children who do his will, that is: feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked and visit prisoners and the sick, will receive the reward of eternal life. The good news we are told to spread in the Great Commission is not the gospel of economic doctrine or political philosophy, but the message that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Some of the fruits we can expect when we do God’s will include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That sure doesn’t sound like the Tea Party rally to me! When we disobey God’s will in favor of our own however, the results can be anger, greed, division, strife, gossip, ugly speech, hatefulness, and every manner of uncleanness.
We have seen some fruits of the Tea Party movement which many consider a dangerous faction exploiting tough economic times and the fears of suffering people to prosecute a political agenda. In seeking to control and manipulate a society they claim to be “saving”, they are only succeeding in tearing it apart. Individuals in the Tea Party who claim to be Christian have a lot of explaining to do, for biblical teaching is full of calls to submit to secular authority, trust in God, and to pay taxes. “Pay everyone what he is owed: if you owe the tax collector, pay your taxes; if you owe the revenue collector, pay revenue; if you owe someone respect, pay him respect; if you owe someone honor, pay him honor” (see Romans 13: 1-7). No exceptions were allowed. Paul did not say to pay only as much as you feel is right. He did not say you could feel sorry for yourself to the point of open rebellion. He did not say submit only to those authorities of whom you approve, but said to give respect where it is due. The president of the United States is owed the respect of all Americans.
If conservative Christians are concerned about a world which seems to be falling apart, their duty in obedience to Christ is to pray, fast, be holy, serve others and spread the Gospel. We are to begin with ourselves. We are to evangelize our own families, churches, workplaces and immediate communities. We are to pray the prayer of the humble tax-collector (reviled then as now) “O God! Have mercy on me, sinner that I am!” and not the prayer of the proud Pharisee, “O God! I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity–greedy, dishonest, immoral, or like this tax-collector!” (“Thank God I am not lazy like those people on welfare; that I am so hard-working and deserving of all my riches!”). Isn’t it ironic that early Christians under pagan Roman rule flourished in holiness and martyrdom, yet today some Christians manage to feel persecuted while living in the greatest democracy in history and enjoying material blessings undreamed of by their distant kin? Jesus warns them: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18: 10-14).
Katherine Dobay is a born again Christian and lives in Marble Falls.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of The Texas Observer. The author is solely responsible for its content.