[Thanks to Barb C for this.]

The leaders of the religious right are not dangerous because of their politics. Even the worst of the current political issues are temporary and as the book of Eccesliastes points out, will all mean nothing in the end. They are dangerous because they lead their followers away from God.

They lead their followers away from God by representing their beliefs as synonymous with Christ and Christianity.

As much of a tragedy as abortion is, we were not asked to fight this battle, although the practice existed in Jesus’ lifetime. We were asked to care for the sick and the poor, and the extent to which we have neglected that responsibility was revealed to us by Hurricane Katrina. These victims went to the back burner when the opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court justice became available. Is someone who continues to neglect the poor while fighting abortion really a follower of Jesus?

We have seen the recent acrimony about putting the Christ back in Christmas. But where is the Christian love in not respecting the feelings of others? Or the Christian humility in punishing retailers who do not pander to them? Is the true lesson of the humble birth of our Lord and savior that we should look for Him in the nearest department store? We’re more likely to find Santa Claus there than Jesus.

This year some churches are not holding Christmas services so that people can spend more time with their families. While that sounds nice superficially, it is one more step towards worshipping themselves rather than God. As I’ve mentioned in other comments, if you ‘focus on family’, you’re probably not focused on Jesus, the center of our faith.

They are also dangerous because they have succeeded in leading many of the rest of us away from God as well. This happens when we let the frustration and anger they inspire in us get the better of us. When we lash out at their hypocrisy, we also bring attention to our own lack of Christian love. One of the reasons Jesus said to turn the other cheek is that when you fight evil with evil, evil still wins. Right now evil is winning.

The answer to the danger of being led away from God is not in arguing with or about the religious right. The answer is to do the things Jesus asked us to do in the spirit of Christian love and humility. Love your enemy. Donate to a homeless shelter. Or if the spirit moves you, wish someone you don’t know “Happy Holidays�.