If today's politics are enough to make you want to pray, that's understandable.
It's when people start preaching about them that we have a problem.
On Sunday, The Post and Courier's Adam Parker reported on a sermon U.S. Rep. Tim Scott delivered recently to Seacoast Church. In the course of his remarks, the congressman talked a little about deficit spending and the "financial condition" of the country, which has been the focus of the nation's political discourse since, well, the Republican Party lost control of Washington.
Now, some cynical people might say Scott was advancing his political beliefs to a captive audience. Others would say he was just doing what the church says its lecture series is designed for, examining relevant contemporary issues.
The problem is, politics pervades every contemporary issue today -- and it really shouldn't. There ought to be one place where people are not constantly being spun. Like a church.
In other words, is nothing holy anymore?
There is nothing new under the sun. Politicians have always used religion.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis called for several days of fasting and prayers during the Civil War, which was a fairly prudent suggestion for the South.
Before and since, people of both parties have tried to co-opt religion, arguing that their side is the morally right one. Usually, it doesn't turn out so well. In 2008, it didn't look good for Barack Obama when the media publicized some fairly overt political statements his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, made about the country and 9/11.
For years, conservatives have accused black churches of organizing the "black vote," which is allegedly overwhelmingly Democratic. Not only is that hypocritical, it's conveniently ignored when, say, black and white churches banded together to politick against the South Carolina lottery a decade ago.
Truth is, the Republicans are the masters of this -- primarily just because they are better at politics. For three decades, the GOP has gone out of its way to paint itself as the party of God. And they are very Old Testament about it.
They have to be because Jesus was anything but a conservative.
Politicians make a big deal about turning this country back to the good ol' days. Which, for some, might mean the time before civil rights and women having the authority to vote. But whatever.
One thing we all should miss is the time when politics didn't permeate every single facet of life. Before politics was a sport, people could disagree on an issue and not call one another "socialist" or "nutjob." It should still be that way in church.
Scott didn't quite cross the line in his sermon at Seacoast, but other politicians routinely do. And if that's the way a particular church wants it, fine. Let them be political -- and help the deficit by taking away their tax-exempt status.
Because there is nothing divine or nonprofit about politics.
Follow Brian Hicks on Twitter at @BriHicks_PandC.