Sunday, February 21, 2016

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows Or As The Bible Calls It Unequal Yoking (Or Why You Shouldn't Join Glenn Beck In Fasting For Ted Cruz)

Speaking of unbelievers, here we are again. The apostle Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians or as Donald Trump calls it "Two Corinthians":
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." - 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
This is usually applied, understandably in our culture, to believers marrying unbelievers but it goes much deeper than that. It applies in any sort of relationship where our relationship with God is tainted by unequal yoking with unbelievers. This temptation is especially powerful in the realm of politics where voters who are devout Christians will often make cause with those who are not to advance a political agenda. That is dangerous primarily when the political world bleeds over into the religious world, as often is the case in America.

I have often written on the danger posed by radio entertainer Glenn Beck. As a mormon who is ostensibly a political conservative, Beck says things that appeal to a lot of Evangelical Christians who are overwhelmingly also politically conservative. He also tends to lace his political talk with a lot of religious talk and often positions himself as part of the same faith as Christians, a linkage that far too few of my brothers and sisters notice or object to. Many Christians of various stripes have appeared on his show to express solidarity. Something else I have frequently commented on is the marketing shift by mormonism away from emphasizing the difference between mormonism and Christianity and now trying to point out alleged similarities. It has gone from "join us because we have a better religion" to "join us we have the same religion just better".

Anyway, Glenn Beck has endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz for President, a somewhat unusual move for a radio talk show host. Of the remaining candidates I probably like Ted Cruz the best although I don't care for his pandering comments about "rebuilding our military" and unquestioning support for Israel. Late last night after the South Carolina primary results showed a big win for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz coming in third just a hair behind Marco Rubio, Glenn Beck put out a call to fast for Ted Cruz, our nation and the upcoming Nevada caucuses to his listeners, viewers and social media followers:

Now fasting is a Biblical thing, right? So what is the problem? Well because I would say this is precisely the sort of thing Paul warned the church against, even though it happens in a fashion that he couldn't have imagined. Set aside the problem of Christians praying specifically for a political candidate. Should Christians be joining intentionally with a mormon to fast and pray? I would say unequivocally no.

Let me ask you this. Would the people who are claiming to be Christians and joining Glenn Beck in fasting be just as willing if the one calling on them to join he and his family in prayer were Muslim? Or Hindu? Probably not but those faiths are about as "Christian" as mormonism and a false god is a false god, whether the god of Joseph Smith's imagination or Allah or Vishnu. I find it abhorrent to fast and pray with someone who is praying to a false god.

Fasting is a very specific and frequently mentioned practice for Christians, not as a matter of ascetism but as part of prayer and worship of God through His Son Jesus. Fasting for mormons is a once a month ritual done primarily for the purpose of setting money aside to give to the poor:
Fasting is a commandment from the Lord where we humble ourselves before Him by voluntarily refraining from eating and drinking (see D&C 88:76).
In the Church today, one Sabbath day each month is set aside for the purpose of fasting. Members of the Church go without food and water for two consecutive meals in a 24-hour period and then contribute the money that would have been spent for that food to those in need (see Alma 34:28).
 (Taken from the webpage topic Fasting and Fast Offerings, February 21, 2016)
Notice that the support for this practice is taken from the mormon "scriptures". While reference is made to examples of fasting in the Bible and one brief mention is made of fasting not associated with donations to the poor, the manner it takes place in mormonism is very different from what the Bible teaches. I am all for giving to the poor. I am all for fasting and praying. What I am not for is yoking ourselves to an unbeliever and worse a pagan blasphemer in a religious act that seems to make an equivalence between the ancient faith of followers of Christ and a recent religious movement that sprang from  the vivid imagination of Joseph Smith. 

If you want to fast and pray for our nation and her leaders, by all means do so. Just don't hold hands with a heretic while you do it.

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