Pocket Universe

Gee, I’m getting all sorts of information from my conservative Christian opinion sources about how to be a politician like Jesus (!).

HSLDA is an organization that loves to promote political action unrelated to homeschooling, and here and elsewhere they got a little too aggressive with the NRLC, accusing them of backing off from an issue for “political” reasons. Their readers, who are used to urgent calls for action, started harassing the NRLC. The HSLDA chairman had to issue a tearful retraction, claiming that not everything sent out in his name is read by him, and that no one should harass NRLC over their political positions because “it is not the way that friends should treat friends to ask you all to call them in this manner.” What a weenie—his politics emasculated him and caused him to compromise his personal values.

This guy has been spending a lot of time over the last year feuding with other Christian commentators over their involvement in Republican politics. Just Google “howse” and “dominionism” and you’ll see. I remember when he spent all his time telling folks how much God wanted Christians to get involved in politics and save society, but once a bunch of Mormons, New-Agers, and flaky NAR nuts started taking front row at Republican rallies, he changed his tune. Now he has disowned one of his previous books and refuses to reprint it, telling people that salvation is more important than political compromise. I used to be annoyed by him, but now I’m impressed.

These guys send me a regular newsletter talking about how important it is to train future politicians at their political boot camps. I’m not going to respond right now to their latest nonsense:

It’s pretty much impossible to understand the message of Jesus without understanding the political context. . . . We have to understand the context into which Jesus proclaimed the Gospel and its deeply politicized idolatry.

Yeah, that’s what it was all about, you know: getting the right guy in power in Rome by telling a bunch of Jews to go out and baptize people, then getting himself killed. I’m thoroughly disgusted by these people.

There are lots of things that are a waste of time besides politics. Business is a waste of time if you neglect your personal life, because eventually the business will move on without you. Reading is mostly a waste of time, especially fiction. Almost everything that most people use the Internet for is a waste of time. But those are the mixed cases. Unless it is related to a career or a personal performance, 100% of one’s time spent on sports, movies, music, and television is absolutely wasted.

Politics is not by definition evil, stupid, or a waste of time. It is just another human endeavor, another aspect of life that one should think about. It’s OK to think about it and form opinions, along with every other subject that one could learn about:  art, literature, music, geography, history, carpentry, plumbing, math, auto repair, theology, physiology, astrophysics, philosophy, psychology, computers, medicine, law, sewing, macrame, gardening, dancing, bicycling, video games, lacrosse, foreign languages, fishing, etc. etc.

But that’s all it is—just another thing to think about—unless you make money from it, spend money on it, produce something dependent on it, or spend time working for people who do those things. Your political opinions have no temporal significance otherwise, and they will never have any eternal significance. It is no more important than picking out your favorite brand of toilet paper or discussing what kind of smelly cheese you like. If it has some greater significance for you beyond your finances, your time, or your creative productivity, then it is not just your opinion, it is your religion.

It is your idol, a little symbol that you pull out of your pocket occasionally to reassure yourself that you are thinking right, feeling right, acting right, and judging other people right. Take it out, reflect on the perfect image you made, tell yourself smugly how stupid all the people with the wrong idol are, and then put it away with your little sports idol, your little cola idol, your little flag idol, and your little Jesus idol.

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