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Religion is a good thing but it can fall on bad times. It
is because religion is made up of sinful people trying
to be better but sometimes quite naturally stumbling
and slipping as they climb the hill of grace. This
is only natural and to be expected.

I describe the good times in religion as transcendent,
life-affirming, grace-filled and caring. I describe the
stumbling and slipping times as holier than thou, self-righteous,
vindictively using a false morality to hide the meanly done
or to appear respectable. As we all know there is a real
morality and a “front” morality. In bad times religious people
can put on a moral mask to hide a mean and graceless heart.
The man in the mask is a politician gathering votes.

Jesus compares false religionists to wolves in sheep’s
clothing. Religion is often the sheep skin used to hide the
real matter of concern. This is shown in many ways as wolfish
interests deeply involved in social, colonial, economic, imperial
or political subterfuge hiding under a sheep skin of religion
to add respectability to some cause and garner votes.

A clever trick of political advertising takes “we want” and
to adjust it to “God Says.” This is done at times everywhere, and
by all different religions. JUST BECAUSE CAUSES ARE GIVEN AS
RELIGIOUS DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE RELIGIOUS. We must beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Religion is inclined to be used like a
Trojan Horse by political and economic groups. Therefore do
not be gullible believers. Examine if your faith is being used
by wolves to give the image of lambs. Do not entertain wolves
unaware. If you find yourself in a common cause with wolves,
do not believe in innocence by association anymore than guilt
by association. Know the nature of who you work with. Keep your
backs to the wall with politicians. Don’t be fooled.

Be wary in politics. Politics is the art of compromising.
Religion seeks the ideal of God. Yet if you seek to be
ideal and refuse to do your part in corrupting politics then
government will grow up in weeds from no activity against evil.
Politics cannot be left to the corrupt although politics corrupts
naturally because it is seeking a compromised consensus.

The art of compromise is the art of politicians. It
satisfies no one. No one is happy with a compromise, therefore
life is always irritating. To have to be governed by
compromisers makes constant resentment. Thus there is nothing
as bitter as politics.

It is best the churches not take part directly in politics,
because whatever ideals the churches push can be made into laws
only in compromised and ridiculous form. The churches should
influence politics indirectly. But if churches take part as
direct semi-parties, whatever ideals faith stands for will
be made ridiculous through legalism. The church will be left
holding a bag that started out with righteous intent but was
made ridiculous through the compromise and cheapening of
politics. Therefore let churches be cagey politically.

An evil in politics is politicians trying to get elected to
enjoy dominance and power, but also to try to force on everyone
their political views. If the politicians were right in their
ways, it might be evidentiary, and the people could see it and
do it. But the way of politics is to compromise, argue, stall.
The ultimate end of politics is usually to use force or law. The
use of self-righteous force to help to further idealism is wrong.
Thus religions should be above politics broadly if not on some
issues. The churches may then influence but they should not
force. Nor should they back politicians wanting to usher in the
moral by use of the violent. How can the moral be brought in
by the immoral? Can policies from hell create or make a heaven
or even a fair haven on earth?

I do not tell you what to do! That would be VIOLENCE AGAINST
YOUR CONSCIENCE. I pray you consider that which is possible
on earth, and that which is not possible on earth due to the
limiting nature of clever, selfish and mischievous mankind.

Above all consider what is good, and what is not good. Consider if
and when God is in organized religion. In these times I see
not much of Him. Consider if Christ is speaking through any
Pulpit. Anywhere Christ is preaching incognito, and He does
this, listen to Him.

Preaching is good, but service is the best preaching. What
service are you doing mankind in Christ’s name? How in your
life are you preaching Jesus? There is much talk of God, but
the great need in the world, as well as the best preaching,
is the silent doing of good hearts that admire and love
Christ. If Christ is in your being, you must be doing.

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.