Letter to the Editor: Jesus ignored politics, let governments alone


In his come-to-Jesus column of May 23, a column self-admittedly inspired by Hollywood Biblical epics, Andy Schmookler breaks new campaign ground: by opposing his political goals, one is also opposing the teachings of Jesus Christ! It’s Christian mercy versus selfish Republican politics and government — that is the Schmookler paradigm.

I must observe that neither our Founding Fathers nor their successors (Abraham Lincoln comes to mind) ran government and religion so seamlessly together as does Schmookler’s Bible-quoting column. I would guess that not even Liberty University (which he describes as an object of “elemental repulsion”) … not even Jesus Christ himself is so theocratical!

I wonder whether Schmookler does this out of deep Christian conviction, or uses Christianity to give his goals some religious gloss and to beat his opponents over the head. Whichever the motive, he is badly out of step: our founders tended toward church and state separation, toward a government operating well outside of the religious day-to-day. Although their government would be seriously limited by a constitution, it could take measures for self-preservation and against tyranny: fiscal responsibility, equality under the law, individual and state liberties and an effective armed defense (which includes, by extension, the securing of borders). There is nothing inherently Christian or merciful in most of it, nothing which calls for Schmookler’s criterial application of “What Would Jesus Do?”

Our founders were well aware of the abuses wrought by Bible-quoting theocrats, well aware of the tyranny produced in Calvin’s Geneva, Knox’s Scotland, in 15th-century Spain and 16th-century England (whether by Catholic or Protestant). Jesus seems to have ignored politics and let governments alone, to rise and fall on their own. I do not believe Jesus asks that we apply to American government and politics Schmookler’s political test of “WWJD?”

Richard Hoover, Front Royal