Putting politics before God

I used to think it strange that anyone would put politics before God. There was a local politician several years ago who happened to be a Catholic and lifelong Democrat who clarified things when asked about the difference between the two beliefs. He said something along the lines of being baptized Catholic, but born a Democrat.

There are a lot of people, both Jew and gentile, who put political party above everything, including God. God should be above petty things like politicians and political parties, but far too often God is second, third, or even further down the list to not being believed in at all. When God is not above all things, the focus moves away from where it should be.

The Ten Commandments found in Shemot, Exodus in English, Chapter 20, is in a very specific order, which is not by chance. Everything God does is with great purpose behind it, including the order of the Commandments themselves. The order shows God, then family, followed by those outside our family.

The first four Commandments are all specific to God, including that of having no other gods besides God. Note the word besides, rather than before, which is how most English translations are worded. There is a vast difference between besides and before, but poor translation leads to poor understanding of the entirety of the Tanakh.

The fifth Commandment is specific to family. We are to honor our fathers and mothers, which is considered to be the most difficult Commandment to follow. Parents are imperfect, but there is no exception to the law for imperfection.

Chabad had a woman who sent a question who struggled with honoring her mother, who has done nothing to earn respect from her own daughter. This goes beyond an imperfect parent, but not beyond the Commandment.

Rabbi Aaron Moss responded with, “Your mother brought you into the world. If you honestly think your mother is all bad, without a good bone in her body, then on some level you will see yourself as another one of her failures. Your existence stems from her. Respect for parents is a base for self-respect… Respect does not mean accepting her failings or excusing her misdeeds… You don’t have to respect the life your mother has led. But, for your own sake, you do have to respect that she is your mother.”

https://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/381403/jewish/Honor-My-Mother.htm

The Commandment to honor our parents goes much deeper and far less one way than it appears. Parents have a duty to raise their children in a God-centered home. If God is not the most important part of a family, then the family will have greater struggles. Parents remain imperfect no matter how devout, since imperfection comes with being human.

A previous Commandment, the one regarding the worship of idols, speaks of generational sin, which can be found in other places in the Tanakh. If all sin can be forgiven, as is part of the Jewish faith every bit as much as the Christian faith, then how can God punish generations yet to come for the sins of their parents? It seems a departure from what we know about God being just.

It is not a guarantee that future generations will sin, but children do learn from their parents from an early age. Bad habits develop from one generation to the next, unless the sin is done away with. God forgives all who ask for forgiveness, but the request must be sincere. Parents lead by example and only a God-centered house can raise God-centered children.

The remaining Commandments are prohibitions against what man does to man. Those prohibitions come down to treat others as you wish to be treated by others with love and respect. All the prohibitions are broken when there is no love as God intended, since sin is not from a place of love.

God, family, country if the country is place that allows the free worship of God, is what is needed over everything else. By putting God first and family second, followed by the less important role of country puts things into better perspective, since there is a point of commonality.

The first king of Israel, Saul, was not putting God above everything else. There was no need for a king, yet the Israelites were envious of other nations who had kings. Rather than be judged by the judges God chose, they wanted to be judged by man as was the case in other nations, which was a sin against God.

Just as the Israelites sinned when they put Saul in place of God, so to do parents sin when they put politics above God. Politics is divisive, which drives us apart from where God wants us to be. Rather than looking for points of commonality, politics drives a wedge as vast as a canyon.

Politicians, much like parents, are not infallible, with some worse than others, but all fall short. When a political party is placed above God, as is the case far too often, the flaws of those who run under the preferred party are minimizes or ignored as the flaws of others is maximized on those who run under an opposing party regardless of being a real flaw or not.

By raising children in politically centered homes, children learn man is more important than God. Without God as the most important thing, parents fail their children every time. This is what happens to bring about generational sins passed from parents to children until children choose to place God first after growing into adulthood. If parents do not raise their children as God intended, children will not honor their parents as God intended.

About the Author
Bob Ryan is a science-fiction author and believes the key to understanding the future is to understand the past. As any writer can attest, he spends a great deal of time researching numerous subjects. He is someone who seeks to strip away emotion in search of reason, since emotion clouds judgement. Bob is an American with an MBA in Business Administration. He is a gentile who supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
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