By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
Much Ado About Something
This summer, Vice President Dick Cheney made a mistake. In a heated moment on June 22 on the Senate floor, he told congressman Patrick Leahy to “go f— yourself.”
When this happened, I was lucky enough to work eight hours a day in close quarters with two anti-Republican, anti-Christian men. The two men knew I was a Christian, and although I never came out and said directly that I was a Republican, they assumed I was.
They thought that Cheney’s slip was brilliant; it gave them one more example of hypocritical Christianity. I don’t think I could even count how many times I heard some variation of the phrase, “I bet he went and confessed to George W. and prayed to Jesus for forgiveness, then cussed someone else out.”
Now I respect the fact that President Bush and Vice President Cheney claim to be Christian men. However, instances like the one that occurred this summer make me cringe when I realize that more than the just my two coworkers probably reacted with glee when Cheney lost his temper.
I know that Christians are not perfect. I know that we mess up like everyone else in the world. But non-Christians don’t know that. Many see Christians as goody-two-shoes who are supposed to be perfect. If we’re not, we’re hypocrites.
This puts a lot of pressure on Christians, especially Christians in the public spotlight. Although it is important for Christians to let their light shine and be unashamed of the Gospel of Christ, I sometimes wonder if it would be better if the world did not know that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were Christians. Every time either of them does something-no matter how small and insignificant or earth shattering it may be-it reflects on all of American Christianity. That’s a lot of pressure to be placed on two human men.
The same goes for Christian personalities, like Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and Jesse Jackson. These men have great intentions of spreading the Gospel, and they do a wonderful job of bringing people to Christ, but every little thing they do reflects on all of us. As Christians we’re not supposed to care what the world thinks about us because we are aliens and strangers in this world. But Christians in the spotlight can mar the image of Christianity as a whole and turn people off from Christ.
The mixing of Christianity and politics is a dangerous thing. It is great to have leaders of our country who share some of the same values we do, but it quickly becomes a slippery slope. Christian politicians can do great things in our country, but they are constantly in the public eye; Christians and non-Christians will evaluate everything they do. Cheney’s slip of the tongue is just one example. People didn’t give him a chance to explain to every American that he messed up and he’s sorry; he couldn’t explain that he’s not perfect and that his religion doesn’t require him to be.
I have no problem with Christians participating in politics. I’m sure any job involved in politics may be difficult for a Christian. However, the faith of public figures should be known by their actions, not their words. When people see the works they do, they will ask the public figures why they act the way they do. Faith should be shown by lifestyle and actions, not just words alone. Because when the wrong words are said, that’s all we’ll ever hear about.