Beware the perils that await any saint who enters the public square.

1 To try to use God as an instrument for achieving our own ends rather than humbly serving God as instruments for fulfilling his purposes.

2 To offer simplistic nostrums for problems that are extremely complex and for issues that are inescapably ambiguous.

3 To argue that only one position on a multifaceted matter is biblically mandated, when actually there may be several viable approaches.

4 To equate personal piety with legislative and administrative competence, refusing to admit that spirituality is not the same as statecraft.

5 To identify our insights and programs with the truth and will of God—absolutizing the relative, dogmatically declaring, “Thus saith the Lord,” as if we knew exactly the divine mind—and refusing to admit that the policies we advocate for healing society’s ills are at best the fallible prescriptions of finite minds.

6 To refuse to compromise, even on matters that do not involve moral principles, forgetting that politics, as the art of doing the possible, requires give and take.

7 To forget that our country is not a covenant nation standing in a unique relationship to God, but a pluralistic, secular society where justice for all faiths must be maintained.

8 To fall back on sub-Christian means to achieve our ends: forsaking the claims of honesty, fairness, and courtesy; scathingly caricaturing an opponent; failing to state a rival policy position accurately and fully; stereotyping a person who disagrees with us; employing questionable fund-raising techniques.

9 To believe the siren voices of demagogues and fanatics, not critically analyzing a deceptive rhetoric.

In the end, the issue is humility—not letting our religious fervor blind us to ...

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