How Politics Turns Idolatrous

“There is nothing idolatrous about political activism or about advancing skilled politicians whom you feel will push things in a good direction. The idolatry arises when we begin to think that things will be so much better if “we can just get this law enacted,” or “we can just get this person into office and that person out of office,” or “we can just mandate this book for the history curriculum and that book for biology.” Certainly leaders and policies make some difference— Proverbs speaks of the blessings and curses of good and bad leaders— but not as much as we sometimes think, given our sprawling polity and selfish hearts. How easily (and unfairly) we tend to blame elected officials for the social ills of our time, as if greed, family problems, uneven pay scales, failures in education, and inner-city violence were simply the government’s fault. Those in office bear responsibility and their decisions affect our lives to some degree, but such scapegoating, which appears with a vengeance during election years, reflects an unrealistic and idolatrous reliance upon the machinery of government. We often grow to hate certain administrations and figures because we once loved them too much. Just think of the astonishing political reversals in the 2010 midterm elections.” -Charles Drew

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