Contemporary Christian theology generally maintains “Churches”
should involve themselves in politics, but if they do, unless
they take the standard line the anemic liberal politicians want,
the so called liberals are furious at the churches.
Their agreement is almost impossible when conservative
groups trying to live the Gospel are balanced against
non-conservative groups like the Vicar serving the parish
Of The Church Of England who says publicly he does not believe
How is this Vicar stirring up Christ in their hearts? It boggles
minds. But we who have a message from Christ to carry, have a
message from Christ to carry. We cannot stop for a freak
preacher set up by a Museum Denomination. This is an example
of the decadence and religious exhaustion of the times. What
Grace is called for daily! Yet show in your life the words of
Christ proven in the life of the Apostle, “My grace
is sufficient for thee.”
In politics I doubt there will ever be much agreement
between the deeply religious in the church and the non-religious
that happen to be churched . Therefore let me once more
repeat it is not unanimity of intellectual or social agreement
that holds the church together but unanimity of love. I believe
in positive strategies within the bounds of common
concern to get things done. I believe where there is
violent disagreement, non-violent strategies should
be used to make progress with no war and no hatred
I suggest it is unanimity of love that should also bring
the state together even though different individuals must
have different interests. Group interests may be different,
but the good of the whole is put first. Violence is
not the way to solve issues, although it has been
unfortunately often resorted to. I suggest the world
is gradually beginning to note great spiritual leaders
on non-violence have been right. Their views were broader.
Their eyes were higher. We can only support so much
violence on a small planet. Each day our common planet
is becoming smaller.
So may I then comment that my politics will probably
not be your politics? I believe everyone is called upon
to be interested in government, and I served a small
time in it, as I felt I ought, but people’s interests
should be far bigger than government and politics alone.
Politics assumes an answer to many problems, some of
which are frankly unsolvable. Citizens active in
politics often work so intensely in politics
to find answers that I suggest they forget some
problems cannot immediately be solved. By the time
some of these problems can be answered, their variables
will have shifted, so solutions will continue to evade.
In other words we must work for answers. We can’t just
sit there. To just sit there passively and watch things
politically or in any other way roll down hill is my idea of
giving in to “original sin.” (To me original sin includes the
tendency in persons to do nothing, to remain passively removed
from sympathy with humanity as well as empathy and admiration
for a Suffering God who did not have to suffer for us. What
you have is a “ never mind,’’ but what you are in quality of
spiritual development, compassion, sharing, learning, excellence
of mind, is part of your “being.” What you become is your gift to
God just as what you are is His gift to you.)
We are obligated to work for answers, but the answers
we get are usually “partial answers.” Sometimes the answer
is, as in the possible devastation of the world by violence,
simply to endure. Nowadays for humanity simply to endure is
an answer. If you are the mother of a starving child, the
answer is to keep the baby fed, then if you can keep
the child fed, you can see the answer of what the child will
turn out to be.
What should I say of politics? I suggest people in politics
take politics much too seriously. Too many people in government
are endeavoring to bring in what they consider the perfect
political system as a answer to the imperfections of the human
race. I have Gospel news. Political systems are only a partial
answer. Mankind will not be made perfect by political systems,
but will probably survive in spite of them.
What deeply worries me is the bigotry in politics.
Every political group feels it has the right system.
Each feels strongly it has “the way” or there is no way.
The expectations of the political groupings are too high,
and the feelings about them are too intense.
There is a law of diminishing returns that means above
a certain point, the more energy you put in, the less
you get from it. I suggest in our age politics has reached
or is about to reach this point.
I suggest in the religious sphere a diminishing point of
returns was reached at the time of the Thirty Years War
in Europe. Participants began to feel amidst the
ruin, rage and destruction that DENOMINATIONAL WAR was not
worth this. (This analysis of the time may be wrong.)
I suggest that our point of diminishing returns in the
political wars fought as intensely as religious wars has come.
Therefore people should and things hopefully will become
calmer in politics. The Russian Revolution of 1917 is over,
the Chinese Revolution is over, the First and Second World
Wars are over, the Cold War is over. The rage and destruction
has been noted. People are not into political war as they were.
This is very good. As the Spiritual Song, “Deep River,”
goes, perhaps it is time to “cross over into campground,”
or to meet together spiritually. I hope so.
Let me share this with you. In Christianity today, only
Christianity, there are scores of religions. Thus there are
many different types of political church governments
in denominations that literally fought to the death,
burning and beheading about these things.
The Roman Catholics have an absolutist Papacy
considered infallible on matters of faith and morals
when speaking from a “holy chair.” This I do not believe
in, but they do. Then the Anglicans in England have bishops
to rule. These bishops are approved by the government. The
Methodists elect bishops to rule. The Baptists have elections
by congregations. The Presbyterians have elective districts
called Presbyteries. The political systems go on and on.
This is the point: While I do not happen personally to
agree with many of the political forms of government that
many of the denominations use, there is not one that has
failed to produce something good at sometime. On every
church someone has said, “Can anything good come out of
this Nazareth?” Out of every Nazareth has come something
The churches have not always been benevolent. Sometimes
they have been beastly. What they should have done
is not up to me to judge. It is up to God. Yet where
there was hate, there has been much healing, and now
some common respect for each other exists. Ah, progress!
What was wanting to improve relationships were being
neighbors, being tolerant, re-evaluating values and
attitudes, and a resolve to do better. Time also
Someone remarked to me that the religious denominations
and faiths of this world began to get along together when
they realized as neighbors, they were going to have
to live together. It was also remarked they didn’t learn
to live with one another until they learned there weren’t
enough on any one side for one side to win in a war.
Likewise, a political battle of diverse systems would be a
slaughter. I have remarked, in the dim memory of mankind the
Thirty Years War was the turning point in horror. Few wanted
to relive the religious massacres. Fewer now would want to
relive again the political idealistic wars, massacres and
slaughters of the 20th century.
I would suggest that political groups profit by the example
of religious history. Let political toleration emerge. There
still might be a few wars of religion going on, but they are
reduced and relieved since prior times. Opposing idealistic
political groups need to consider this. I believe they are.
I hope they are. I pray they are. The world is weary of
idealistic political wars.
In the light of what I have shared with you, I then
want to ask a question the Spirit has laid upon my
heart? Why is American as a country seemingly
doing everything it can to force on the world one particular
political system, American style democracy on countries whose
citizens do not want it, are not ready for it, and not
psychologically in a emotional mode to accept it.
Talleyrand, the foreign minister of Napoleon, saw the
definition of what constituted ‘‘legitimate government”
change from the divine right of kings as “legitimate government”
to include “democracy” after the American and French
Revolutions. It has not been but two hundred or so years since
1776 that the legitimate forms of government have included
democracy. But the advocates of the latter are trying to
drive the former off the stage.
The psychological predisposition of the Russians against
democracy is demonstrated in their governments. The Russians
are Tsar-empire oriented. After the last Tsar, Nicholas II,
was shot, Lenin another Tsar but not called “Tsar” ruled.
After him came Stalin another Tsar not called a “Tsar.”
Then came a line of small tsars followed by the supposed
A few years later the new ruler, Putin, soon was busily
trying to set himself up like a Tsar. Why force the Russians
to go against the grain in democracy? Why back them into
a system they have no social experience or expertise in?
Let them work to develop their own genus in government.
(I think they need a ceremonial Tsar for empire and
an elected prime minister for politics, like Great
Britain, but they are too busy imitating political
science book patterns from books, rather than be creative and form
political patterns from life that will work.)
If you are so brain washed as to believe that somehow
using the structure of democracy wards off trouble,
then may I remind you how Hitler came to power?
He was elected.
Do we as citizens of our country really think the
leopards of the world will change their spots due to
a general election? After the Kaiser’s fall, Hitler
was voted in a newer, better, charismatic but equally
crazy “Kaiser.” New bottles may demean old wine.
Are we not often just confusing and demeaning by
insisting the old mixture be poured into new bottles
and then think the basic mixture has been changed.
People today are really superstitious about using the
term and instilling the mechanics of democracy. They think
when shot at a political situation it changes it as when in
movies the wolf man is killed by the magic bullet.
Democracy or a Republic suggests to me something of
a “Covenant.” Certain things must exist before a
a covenanted condition can be. The virtues must
exist before. They do not necessarily follow after.
There must be a ‘‘conscience” inside people, a middle
class inside the nation, some morality and some sense
of purpose, a sense of reverence and awe for the Creator
and His laws.
In America the foundation ‘‘virtues” existed in many of
the founding fathers and their associates. We had not all, but
enough to supply the straw of character needed to make the men
and women who were our bricks, build a democracy.
Now our democracy has fallen on amoral, excessive, decayed
and troubled times. Formerly we met the challenge of the times,
but our response is inadequate today. Gone is the straw of
belief, desirable to make character, vanished are the bricks
that were our men.
We cannot just go into strange places and set up a
democracy. We may plant the seed of a democracy to grow.
We may support some evolutionary ancestor of democracy,
some monster like Henry VIII, but we cannot just go in
and set up a democracy and expect the bustard to fly.
Here may I remind you that charity begins at home!
Are we off training to set up others in democracies
when ours at home is collapsing? Ours is economically
shrinking, morally decaying, spiritually insensateing
and at home sympathetically unfeeling towards others.
The needs of ordinary people and our poor are not being
This whole business reminds me of Jesus’s talking
of zealots who went long distances to set up
what they did not understand anyway. I suggest
to consider if we are not spilling blood in trying
to make “overnight” democracies by applying literal
violence with armies or applying spiritual violence
to minds through propaganda. That is wrong, dead wrong.
When the time for democracy in a land has arrived,
democracy will appear. Things come in their season.
How long do we again try forcing uniquely strange
countries to be democracies which is like holding a
gun on an apple tree and telling it to make the apples
turn red. Where is our spiritual wisdom? Great
Jehovah. If it comes to that, where is our common
These remarks are offered in the spirit of the
Book of Job 5:28, “Hear it, and know thou it for
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.