The Common Good
August 2007

Pitfalls of Power

by Corbey Dukes | August 2007

Like many in the Christian community, I became greatly disillusioned with the Religious Right.

Like many in the Christian community, I became greatly disillusioned with the Religious Right. The more I grew in my relationship with Jesus, the less comfortable I was with what seemed to be a quest for power. Too many resources were being focused on securing a "Christian" government that then could right our moral wrongs. We lost focus on Jesus' clear teaching that laws do not equal obedience—which starts in the heart.

I started to read Sojourners and authors who rejected this march toward achieving Christian morality through government legislation. I could see the falsities behind the "Christian nation." After reading the May issue on trade justice, I have to ask if the Christian "Left" has learned any lessons from the Christian Right.

Articles debating action within the body of Christ are excellent and needed. Articles affirming the action of individuals within and outside the body that relieve suffering and raise people up are also excellent. However, some articles on free trade have the same feel I got from the Right. Christians need to ask ourselves if we believe we will be any more successful in legislating compassion than in legislating morality. All government, as Gregory Boyd put it so well in The Myth of a Christian Nation, is by its very nature prone to power, protecting its self-interests. Trying to wield the government to enforce compassion is not the way of Jesus.

Corbey Dukes
Pawleys Island, South Carolina

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