I am drawing near the half-way point in my quest to compile, along with Matt Frise, a spiritual resource of sorts that speaks out of the SSU community. My eyes are blurry and I am over-caffeinated and over-matteinated but the work must go on! my deadline is sunday night so pray for me and send me encouraging little notes like, “your face is nothing like that of hugh grant, nor is your humour anything like that of ricky gervais!” Cheers; here’s a wonderful quote that I painstakingly transcribed from audio (so you’d better love it!). Don’t tell me if you found a transcript of this online; I don’t want to know.
In a discussion panel on the relation between scripture and politics, Stanley Hauerwas challenges the notion that engaging in the political process makes Christians complicit in the decisions that their particular government makes. “In a recent article, one student argued as to why we ought to vote. He said,
‘Matthew 22:21 says to render unto Caesar and to honor the emperor. But what do we, in a political system operating upon the consent of the governed, do in response to this text. In today’s context we are Caesar, ultimately we are responsible for our government’s actions at home and abroad, we govern ourselves. When we render unto Caesar, we participate in the action of our government. During wartime, we as taxpayers are in part responsible for the actions of our government whether we vote or not.’
So what he’s saying is that since we are now Caesars, we democratic citizens, we should vote. Well if there’s anything Christians aren’t, it’s Caesar! In regard to the illusion of democratic politics, it’s time to get over the co-option of that crap! First of all, it’s just of course descriptively wrong, those of us in our classes simply get to choose which elites are going to rule us. So the idea that we Christians have become Caesar because we are now democratic citizens, plunking down that meaningless little vote, is exactly what is now corrupting the Church and why it is that the Church isn’t interesting politics. A Christian people that are interested in politics would know when the President says, “We have to resist aggression whenever it occurs and therefore we’re going to bomb Iraq,” must know that that “we” isn’t us. And if you think voting makes you that “us,” don’t vote for God’s sake. Because if you do, you will betray yourself and you will betray your brother and sister in Christ. You are not Caesar; you do not want to be Caesar.”