I wonder what Jesus would say about the "religious right" in America today? Just today, I was listening to NPR on my short commute to my office. The local news report was about how the Louisiana legislature passed a bill called "The Pastor Protection Act." Basically, it creates a specific law that says pastors cannot be compelled by the government to perform a gay wedding. Views about gay marriage aside, the fact of the matter is the government already cannot do this. The first amendment and separation of church and state already provide pastors with this protection. As I listened to the report, I shook my head and all I could think about is what would Jesus think about this? It was nothing but political pandering/grandstanding by politicians who identify with the religious right. The bill they wasted time on drafting and debating changes nothing. It accomplishes nothing. It provides not a single ounce of legal protection that was not already there. All it does is allow politicians who want to wear their religion on their sleeves and who want to "make America great again" to be able to go out on the campaign trail and bloviate about passing "The Pastor Protection Act." Meanwhile, Louisiana is the second poorest state in the nation. Meanwhile, we face a $1 billion budget shortfall. Meanwhile, we have a serious lack of healthcare and education funding. Meanwhile, we have a serious epidemic of public health problems related to substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, toxic waste in our environment, and improper funding for those with physical and mental disabilities. Meanwhile we hand out more money in corporate tax breaks than we collect in tax revenues. On and on, I could go. We have major, major problems and inequities to solve related to social justice, but instead politicians were taking up precious time during their legislative session to debate and pass "The Pastor Protection Act" so that that they can self-righteously politicize it to their conservative constituency. Do you think Jesus might tell them, "You hypocrites! You strain at gnats while swallowing a camel"? I think so!
By the way, it is not my goal here to debate religion and politics. I am not trying to mix religion and politics here. I am making observations based on how it is already being mixed in our current socio-political milieu, just as Jesus spoke out and addressed the unhealthy cocktail that was mixed in his day. I invite civil and respectful responses as they apply to the subject matter.