Pastor Clay Schmit
Politics and Truth
A powerful politician named Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus, “What is truth?” A fair question for someone in government service. Because partisanism drives almost all that happens in politics, the truth is, at it best, shaded with bias. When we hear politicians debate, we can tell pretty quickly that each is giving their own slant on the truth. And, to some degree, both of the views are right—as far as they go.
Here is an old Jewish joke: Maury comes to the Rabbi and complains: “Abraham stole my goat. He should be punished for it.” The Rabbi agrees. Then, Abraham comes and says, “I took the goat because Maury owes me money and the goat is my payment.” The Rabbi agrees. That night, the Rabbi’s wife says to him, “You have made a grave mistake. You agreed with both men, but they cannot both be right.” The Rabbi thinks it over and replies, “Yes dear. You, too, are right.”
St. John tells us that the Word came to pitch his tent among us, full of Grace and Truth. As we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of Jesus (as we did last Sunday), we are reminded that Jesus was baptized in order to fulfill his humanity, being identified fully with us. And, in our baptisms, we become fully identified with Jesus. With him, then, we honor the truth. We tell the truth, seek the truth, and promote the truth.
With all the incivility around us, let us as followers of Jesus be committed to honest communication. Let our debates be filled with grace. Let our words be filled with truth. Of course we will each have our biases—and these will always color our understanding of what is right. But, if we listen first to scripture before we listen to our bias, then the Gospel will trump politics.
In the capital uprising, the cross of Christ was carried into the melee beside a Confederate flag. The implication was that Jesus was in support of the violence.
Here is one simple, unalterable truth: the cross of Christ will never be on the side of hatred.