Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ramblings: On Politics, Culture, and Religion

Dalai_Lama_Tibet_UnrestI must admit, the first page I turn to whenever I read a broad sheet (yeah, I still read the morning paper) is the editorial cartoon. I appreciate how these artists capture the important or big events of the day in simple caricature –indeed; a picture speaks a thousand words. More often, I care more what they want to mean in those drawings than what the editorial is. Why? Because they unabashedly convey truth in those few strokes.

Philip Yancey, one of my favorite evangelical journalists, in his book entitled: Finding God in Unexpected Places, opined that cartoons reveal a lot about the general drift of culture. I agree. He shared some of his collection and remarked:

  • The New Yorker Magazine pictures a waiter in an expensive restaurant explaining the menu to a patron: “The ones with asterisks are those recommended by the religious right.”
  • A nationally syndicated political cartoonist drew a church building with a “Christian Coalition” sign on the front. From inside comes the voice, “Reverend Falwell, Reverend Robertson, there’s a gentleman waiting outside to see you. He says he’s not a republican.” Their reply: “Tell him to get lost!” Outside the church stands Jesus.
  • Yet another political cartoon depicted a classic American church building with the sign out front, “First Church of Anti Clinton”

The culture wars have been heating up on both sides. Even as Christians feel like an embattled minority with their values under constant attack, the surrounding secular culture sees Christians as a growing threat.

This issue is as old as the church but still is an ongoing debate. Politics, civil actions, environmental concerns, and other issues have always divided us. Much more, religiosity somehow always managed to pull a cape of hypocrisy in the guise of dignified righteousness. When we address morality and corruptions in the government, we could not even raise a finger to do something about it except preach against it.

Obviously, we shield ourselves on the pretext of separating church and state. I see this inconsistent. In matters of managing the affairs of the state, yes, let religion be separated. However, in matters involving morality, culture, values and other concerns, religion should be on the forefront. We cannot allow morality to be dictated by those who govern us. Although, it is incumbent of them to exemplify it.

I cannot help but go back to the ideals of Martin Luther King. Again, for without his staunch stand against apartheid, which led to his martyrdom, we will not be enjoying freedom and equality today.

Election is fast approaching, for whom do we raise our banners? Where do we stand for? Good governance over questionable morality or bad governance over above reproach morality?