Reading the Gospel of Mark, chapter three the other day, I read a phrase that got me thinking - oh dear! :) It was the section from verse one to verse six. I stopped at verse six because just those six verses were quite a lot to digest. But what caught my eye were the Herodians, a group that joined with the Pharisees to plot to kill Jesus. I wondered, who were these Herodians?
"Herodians: Influential Jews who favored the Herodian dynasty, meaning they were supporters of Rome, from which the Herods received their authority. They joined the Pharisees in opposing Jesus because they feared he might have an unsettling political influence on the people"*. An unsettling political influence on the people...why? I don't know the answer to that except that the common fear of the Pharisees and Sadducees was the allegiance the people might give to Jesus, upsetting their own influence. But it seems to me from the description above that the Herodian individual must have been influential first, political second, Jews last. Ego first, power second, person last. And it is obvious that they did not recognize who Jesus was.
We should vote and as a citizen of any country that allows you to do so, should be grateful that you can. Organized groups that share common beliefs to further the goals of those beliefs should be allowed. But I am very, very, very wary of any individual or group who use their faith to force an issue because ultimately, what is their true motivation? What is really driving them? Where are the true allegiances?
Years ago I read Chuck Colson's book Kingdoms in Conflict (it has been republished under the name God and Government: An Insider's View on the Boundaries Between Faith and Politics). I highly recommend it. My opinion of Chuck Colson is that of a man who allowed the humbling and mistakes he made to become part of being a much better human being. In this book, Colson gives several examples of clashes through history with politics and religion such as Hitler, Chamberlain, and Nixon. I came away from reading it grateful to have read it.
Since we are in this election phase of our country, perhaps this post on this particular subject might be timely; the push and influence of groups towards influencing a populace. In all the different ways we live more and more in a virtual world, where words and images have become king, our own accessibility to witness the actions of and have personal interaction with the people running for office become less and less. We should stop and take a moment to really pray and meditate on who we should vote for and be driven less and less by people and groups with a possible "Herodian" motivation.
*Note - NIV Study Bible, Zondervan