They say politics and religion don’t mix. I say this campaign has relentlessly mixed religion and politics. In fact politicians use religion far more than religion uses politics. They say “separation of church and state.” What I’ve seen is Obama’s Jeremiah Wright and Palin’s Assembly of God association used negatively to define the candidates. Doesn’t sound like separation to me. You might be able to separate the state from the church but you sure can’t separate the politician from religion. I think in the end what some people are afraid of is having religious values placed in the fore front, in the middle of the market place of ideas. They say, “I’m not going to force my values on others. So they shouldn’t force there’s on me.” I say, what is a society without values? It’s anarchy. And the values that are found within religion, and for us, within Christianity, have been the very values that have shaped the world for hundreds of years.
And so I ask you: What is the state without the church? What is a politician without visible values? What is life without faith? To borrow the words of Paul, “It is nothing. It is a resounding gong, a clanging symbol.” Zacchaeus recognized this. He could not be in the presence of Jesus and not be moved. Moved to right the wrong in his life. He was a tax collector, part of the government, who had taken advantage of many people. Lied to them. Swindled them. Skimmed off the top of his collections. And beyond all this, he had ignored the poor.
Now it’s Tuesday morning for old Zacchaeus and he has to walk in the election booth and pull the lever. He is either going to vote for the state or for the faith. He is either going to vote for himself of for those he has defrauded. He will either cast his vote for Rome or for Christ. Come Election Day, who is he gonna’ vote for?