In 1796, during George Washington’s Farewell Address, our first President made the following profound statement which speaks volumes to our current political condition. As he began to identify things which may, “disturb our Union” he said,
“Men may endeavor to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party [in order] to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts; …the alternate dominion of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge …will gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; … (also) it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find and facilitates access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.” (Italics mine)
In essence, George Washington describes for us what he considers to be a danger to the very fabric of this great nation. He warns that if we are not careful, “parties” will develop and become so divided that they will be more concerned about defeating one another than they are about representing the people. He suggests that there will be such hatred that they will aim to “misrepresent” the position of the opposing party.
The Ends Don’t Justify the Means!
The description we read given by this man of God some 200 years ago still rings true today. We are living in a nation that is segregated into two major political parties (which didn’t exist until many years after our founding). There are fringe groups in each party that seek to undermine any and all efforts by their opponents by any means necessary. Their mantra, which must help them sleep at night is, “The ends justify the means”. They truly believe that the exaggeration of facts (lying) and their endless rhetoric is noble, if in the end it means a victory for their party.
This would be bad enough if it stayed in the political arena, but much to God’s displeasure this same “Spirit of Party” has crept into the Church. It seems that Sunday morning has become the most segregated hour of the week. We are segregated in every way possible; spiritually, racially and even economically. We make excuse for our exclusion by exaggerating the beliefs of our opposing “party”. We cite examples of some fringe religious group and make as though this group represents the majority when in actuality we know that they only signify a minority at best.
The Gospel of Bitterness is a Popular Message
There is nothing Christians love more than to hear some locally or nationally known preacher ripped to shreds from the pulpit on Sunday morning. This is partially because there is a deep desire and longing hunger to hear the piercing prophetic Word of God preached. However, there is a difference between the precise, penetrating Word of God that cuts straight to the heart and the general, ignorantly based and bitterly spoken opinions of men.
Away with Party Politics in the government as well as in the Church! It’s not only time to tear down the wall of separation between Church and State but it’s also time to tear down the wall of separation between Church and Church.
“Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to a political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. They are essential pillars of society. …Your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and the love of one ought to endear to the preservation of the other”
“They will know that you are my disciples, when you love one another.”
Jesus of Nazareth