Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics by Eugene Cho
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I chose this for the CBR15 Passport Challenge in the “New to You Author” category.
Eugene Cho is a pastor in Seattle who became increasingly uncomfortable with the rise of Christian nationalism leading up to, and after, the 2016 election. “Thou Shalt Not be a Jerk” is his reminder to readers that if they claim to be Christians, then Jesus should be the center of their lives and informing their politics. He cautions against politicians who speak about their policies being Christian and therefore Christians should vote for and support them.
Cho’s views occasionally stray into actual policy in which he explains how those policies betray or support the gospel as preached by Jesus. I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, but as a person of faith in the Christian community I have become disturbed by the rise of Christian nationalism. There’s so much evidence in history that religion and politics never mix well. While my beliefs influence my politics I certainly agree with Cho that politics shouldn’t be influencing your beliefs. I also think it’s a gross misreading of the gospels to attempt to create a Christian nation, forcing everyone to follow what a certain Christian sect believes is right. Religion should be a choice and forcing those beliefs on others is just not supported in the gospels.
All in all, I felt that Cho focused more on attitudes and mindsets rather than actual policies allowing readers to make their own informed decisions based on their understanding of the gospel.
I think this would be a good book to read and discuss in Bible stud groups, book clubs, and for personal devotions