By Dr. Mark H. Creech
It is said during election time, a certain politician decided to visit the local reservation to gather support from the Native Americans.
They were all assembled in the Council Hall to hear his speech. The politician had worked up to his finale, and the crowd was getting more and more excited by the minute. “I promise better education opportunities for Native Americans!” said the politician. The crowd suddenly went wild, shouting, “Hoya! Hoya!” The politician was a bit puzzled by that native word, but was encouraged by their enthusiasm, nonetheless. “I promise gambling reforms to allow a Casino on the reservation!” “Hoya! Hoya!” cried the crowd, stomping their feet. “I promise more social reforms and job opportunities for Native Americans!” The crowd reached a frenzied pitch shouting, “Hoya! Hoya! Hoya!”
When the speech was over, the politician was touring the reservation, and saw a large herd of cattle. Since he had been raised on a ranch, and knew quite a lot about cows, he asked the Chief if he could get closer to take a better look. “Sure,” the Chief responded, “but be careful not to step in the hoya.”
I don’t mean to be irreverent, but we are certainly living in a day when there is an abundant amount of “hoya” coming out of the public arena. This is why I can’t understand the arguments of Christians who say followers of Christ need to stay out of politics. What? Did not our Lord say Christians are the “light of the world” (Mt. 5:14)? Light arrests, pushes back, and exposes the dangers of the darkness.
Many years ago, Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Watch Tower Society, was selling a grain called “miracle wheat” that he said, would produce ten times as much as regular wheat. Farmers were spending a lot of money on the new grain and it wasn’t working any better than regular grain. But Russell made a critical mistake. He started selling the grain via interstate mail, with explicit claims about what it would do. And that lead to his being hauled into court on the charge of mail fraud.
During the trial Russell kept saying he had been given a divine revelation and sited the Bible for proof. When the prosecutor asked him to share what Bible verse to which he was referring, Russell told him the verse and the prosecutor looked it up. The prosecutor paused to read it and then said, “Mr. Russell, this verse doesn’t say anything like that at all.”
Russell then argued the English Bible was a bad translation and the Greek text verified his position. Russell was then asked if he was an expert in the Greek text and Russell answered in the affirmative. At that point, the prosecutor pointed out that Russell was still under oath and called for a recess until the next morning.
By the next morning, the state brought in a professor of Greek from a theological seminary to testify. But as it turns out that was unnecessary. The prosecutor took a copy of the Greek Bible, opened it at random, and asked Russell to read from it. Russell had to admit that he couldn’t do it. So Russell was convicted of perjury and fraud, and the “miracle wheat” case proved his teachings were a sham and designed to victimize the gullible.
My point is this kind of hoax is still with us today, not just in religion, but also in the public square. And Christians have been given the capacity, as well as the responsibility to confront it. Certainly believers are called to do well in the world. Yet, they are also called by God to expose the works of darkness.
Of course, when this is done, liberals like to picture evangelical Christians as the purveyors of gloom and doom. But let me encourage you to watch their tactics closely. I would suggest it is they who always advocate gloom and doom, but with a unique twist. They crank up the hysteria by trying to convince voters everything will be out of control unless we elect those that have a liberal stripe – only they and their policies can possibly save us.
Christians, however, have a different message. Our bad news comes with a message of hope. We argue for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and those eternal verities that are not only proclaimed in the Bible, but proven by social science and life experience. We strongly believe that God – and God alone can save and keep us as a nation. Our God is a God of redemption, but salvation depends on whether we will turn to him and his ways.
The argument that Christians need to stay out of politics, well, that’s just a lot of “hoya” too.