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The Good Life: Campaign ad using Jesus goes too far
May 11, 2012 Lisa Betz   

Read more by Lisa Betz
This week I was faced with a serious dilemma. An ad was submitted to the paper that frankly, boiled my blood. A candidate for the U.S. Senate hoping to represent our great state of Nebraska, Pat Flynn, put out an ad that essentially suggests that Jesus, Lord and Savior to Christians around the world, endorses he, Pat Flynn, to be our next senator.

As a Christian, albeit one who doesn’t fit very well into the constructs of many traditional denominations, I was flabbergasted, then outraged. This is grievously wrong! Jesus should not be used in an ad campaign, nor a sales pitch for a political candidate.

What happens when a candidate who has been elected as Jesus’s personal representative on Earth, but later gets caught in some shady deal or is found in the wrong bed with the wrong someone? It happens over and over. What kind of damage does this sort of public moral failure do to a religion when it happens?

This kind of behavior cheapens the Christian faith and tarnishes the religion of Christianity.

Sometimes this world is a place I no longer recognize. This is a world in which friends post images of Jesus on Facebook insisting you must “like” the post or you are clearly embarrassed to claim Jesus. This is a world where women are seriously fighting for access to birth control, yet unwanted, abused children are growing in numbers every single day. You don’t believe me? Have you noticed how many abuse intakes there are in our very own public record each week? You’d be amazed.

There are many things that go on in our world today that disturb me but I keep my thoughts to myself most of the time lest I be misunderstood. This time I cannot be silent.

The founding fathers intended separation of church and state for a good reason. Some may disagree but I believe they were wise to do so. I believe that religion and spirituality, which are not always related, should be personal and private. I adhere to the following verse of the Bible from Matthew 6:5-6: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men....when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret....”

This verse does not mean it is inappropriate to pray with friends, family or loved ones or a congregation of any like-minded group. It criticizes only that prayer in public that is motivated by a desire to show off, is wrong. Pat Flynn’s desire is to get elected and he is working to do so by showing off his religious beliefs.

We’ve all gotten used to seeing politicians in prayer groups, town hall meetings at churches and certainly, there are many prayers said before group activities, but by putting Jesus in an ad, Flynn takes our political dialogue in a new direction that I believe is detrimental to Christians and to the health of our country.

I urge readers to look at all of our candidates’ voting histories, work histories and associations and listen to them very closely. I am not suggesting that Flynn is insincere nor that he isn’t telling the truth about his beliefs, but I will say one thing, if people vote for him solely because he has featured Jesus in his advertising, then our country is in worse shape than I thought.

And so back to my dilemma, should I run this campaign ad that I believe is damaging? After ruminating on it, I’ve decided that it must be run, because if I chose not to run this ad, it would mean that I have lost my faith in the ability of others to think for themselves. It would mean that I have lost faith in my fellow Nebraskans to recognize this ad for what it is, a shameful ploy to win votes using something sacred to Christians throughout our country.

Personally, I believe it is sacrilegious. I know many will disagree with me. But I could not in good conscience run Mr. Flynn’s ad without saying so.
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