Some Politicians Get a Pass

Why do church leaders excuse lying, adultery, and other serious sins when committed by their political friends and allies? 

Early in my Christian walk, I was taught to strive for holiness in every area of life. Sin must not be tolerated in thought, word, or deed. “Do not evil that good may come!”  As a disciple of Jesus, I was to live “separate” from the fallen world, not physically, but spiritually and morally. His follower must not be “unequally yoked” with sinners.

After all, Jesus warned his disciples that anyone who loves a father, mother, or child more than him is not worthy of him. Instead, we are called to “take up his cross and to follow after him!” Not exactly a formula that encourages compromise!

The Apostle Paul was the great teacher of grace, but of a grace that is not entirely free of conditions. “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

Today, at least publicly, church leaders agree with such principles. But when applied to the political arena the Great Exception rears its ugly head. Pragmatism prevails over principle when it comes to using political means to push the “Christian” agenda. All’s fair in love and war.

Paul warned the Corinthians not to be “deceived,” for the “unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” That category includes “fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners.”  I dare say, the average politician is guilty of at least four of the ten sins listed that will exclude someone from His kingdom.

Or take the sin list provided in Revelation that will land you in the “Lake of Fire” – The “fearful, the unbelieving, the abominable, the murderer, the fornicator, the sorcerer, the idolater, and all liars will have their part in the Lake that burns with fire and brimstone.” The category of “liar” is especially stressed by the addition of the term “all,” and politicians are not exactly known for their honesty.

So, if lying or adultery condemns a man or woman before God, how is it that in the political arena prodigious liars and serial adulterers get a free pass, that is, if they support “Christian” policies? Even worse, in some cases, church leaders make excuses for the “mistakes” of their political allies. Certainly, they will denounce very publicly any politician from the “wrong” party who is caught in a lie or accused of some sexual sin, but not the liar or adulterer who promotes their favorite causes.

I have heard the same tired arguments repeatedly. “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” “I agree with you, brother, except when I operate in the political arena.” “You can’t accomplish anything in politics if you refuse to compromise your principles.” “That’s how it works in realpolitik.” Etc., etc.
Of course, the excuses only strengthen the case for Christian non-participation in the whole sorry mess, for they all boil down to the same thing. You must do evil to accomplish good!

Compromise, sin, and hypocrisy are the inevitable fruits of participation in an inherently corrupt system, and Jesus called his people to something far higher. And hypocrisy is the inevitable result of church leaders who replace the biblical mission of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations with an agenda of social, political, and national “reformation.”  And if resorting to the political means compromise and sin, that fact alone answers the question:  Should Christians be involved in politics?

Human society is in trouble due to sin, not because the wrong set of sinners is running the show. Sooner or later, politically active Christians sleep with very strange bedfellows. And perhaps one day they may even find themselves in cahoots with the “Beast.” And why not? That they ignore and even excuse the sins of their political friends and allies demonstrates they have thoroughly compromised their faith and principles.

Paul predicted the coming “falling away,” the “apostasy” he associated with the “man of lawlessness” who would take his seat in the house of God. Over the decades, I have watched and waited for that inevitable reality to appear, but it is distressing to see it unfolding before my eyes.



The Living Word

The Suffering Servant