Tag Archives: public morality

Pastor, Who Are You Voting For?

By Dallas Henry

Have you been asked the question yet? The questions are coming from members of the church I serve. “Pastor, who are you voting for?” Of course, by law, we are not permitted to endorse candidates from the pulpit, but when people ask us, we can legally share our opinions with them and why we have them.

There was a talk show that included a discussion of candidates for president and their faith. The host remarked, “What a person believes really shouldn’t matter because religion and politics don’t mix.”

That is a well known phrase. In any group of people there will be varying political opinions, but it incorrect to say that religion and politics do not mix. In fact, the Bible addresses many political issues. Government was an issue that Biblical writers frequently addressed. Scriptures talk about the role of government, how we should respond to government and, in besides, much of our laws are taken from the Bible. It is fair to say that Christians should be concerned about politics because God seems to be concerned about politics. I Peter 2:13 tells us that we are to submit to the governing authorities and I Timothy 2:1 urges us to pray for those who lead us. Saying that religion and politics do not mix is often an excuse for people who are not involved. It’s interesting that it is okay to sing patriotic hymns in church and politics and religion can mix on that realm, but they cannot mix when we talk about elections and the issues.

It is vital that Christians be involved in the process. We should be concerned about all elections. We should be concerned about who is leading us because they decide what freedoms we have and don’t have and what rights we have and don’t have. But, just how do Christians interact with government? What does the Bible say about issues that relate to this? In this critical time in the history of our country, it is important to be informed and to see what our Biblical responsibility is with government and not to simply withdraw and avoid it all. Remember government is; “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

All citizens have been given the freedom and the responsibility to vote. This freedom is our only chance to voice our opinion. We are all influenced to vote the way that we do for different reasons, but Christians, especially, must guard against the false notion that voting and religion do not mix. A Christian’s faith does come into play in the decision making while voting.

It is important to remember that God, His Word and His Son Jesus Christ are foundational parts of our government and that should never be forgotten. There’s a good reason that In God We Trust is on our currency and a good reason our Pledge of Allegiance contains the phrase “One nation Under God” and there is a good reason that The Declaration of Independence speaks of the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and of certain unalienable Rights endowed on them by their Creator. We hear a lot today about the separation of Church and state, which is not in our constitution, no matter who many claim that it is.

In a few months the primaries will be over and the various candidates for each political party will have been chosen, on the national, state and local levels. The campaign ads will be over, the commercials will stop airing, for the time being, and then it’s time for Christians to do their homework.

It is important for us to take time and look into the Scriptures and see, first of all, what the Bible has to say regarding the purpose of government, secondly our responsibility as Christians, and thirdly how the church is called to Biblically interact with government.

Romans 13:1-7
“Let every soul be subject to the higher authorities. For there is no authority but of God; the authorities that exist are ordained by God. So that the one resisting the authority resists the ordinance of God; and the ones who resist will receive judgment to themselves. For the rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the bad. And do you desire to be not afraid of the authority? Do the good, and you shall have praise from it. For it is a servant of God to you for good. For if you practice evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword in vain; for it is a servant of God, a revenger for wrath on him who does evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes. For they are God’s servants, always giving attention to this very thing. Therefore give to all their dues; to the one due tax, the tax; tribute to whom tribute is due, fear to whom fear is due, and honor to whom honor is due.”

Christians should not have an anti-government mindset because God has established governments that exist. God had a reason for appointing government. Continue reading

Is This the Best We Can Do?

by Gary Palmer

In his centennial address to Congress in 1876, President James A. Garfield said, “Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless or corrupt, it’s because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.”

He added, “If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

When I read that statement, my first thought was of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) who is at the center of the most recent scandal in Congress. Weiner, who was widely viewed as a rising star among Democrats and a possible candidate for mayor of New York City or governor of New York, was accused of texting raunchy pictures of himself to at least six women around the country.

As is so often the case with integrity-challenged politicians, he initially tried to lie his way out. And, as is so often the case, he ultimately had to admit what he had done to the great embarrassment of his wife, family, Congressional colleagues and many in the left-wing media who hopelessly tried to defend him.

Speaking of how some in the left-wing media have reported on this, Barbara Walters made a bizarre attempt to make Sarah Palin’s bus tour somehow the equivalent of Weiner sending lewd pictures he took of himself. And MSNBC talk show host Chris Matthews even implied that Weiner’s actions were his wife’s fault.

With the exception of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) who has called for him to resign, Republican members of Congress have largely remained quiet about Weiner. That is not surprising. Most recently, Rep. Christopher Lee and Sen. John Ensign both resigned because of sex-related scandals. Apparently, the difference between Republicans and Democrats caught in sex scandals is that Republicans are expected to resign, Democrats are expected to stay in office.

Since 2000, there have been at least 16 members of Congress embroiled in sex scandals. And those are just the ones who got caught in Washington, and only involved sex scandals. The list does not include Congressmen charged with other offenses such as tax evasion and public corruption.

The future of America depends largely on the character and courage of its people, and that in turn must be reflected in the leaders we elect. It is of paramount importance that the majority of members of Congress in both parties have reliably high standards of morality and integrity. While their ideas about the role of government and taxes and spending may still be suspect, we should at least have confidence that the vast majority don’t cheat on their spouses, send lewd photos and messages over their cell phones, cheat on their taxes or engage in corrupt activities. If we can’t trust them, then the people must shoulder the responsibility to elect people we can.

The vast majority of people expect representatives at every level of government to exercise good judgment, conduct themselves with integrity and to a great extent, to be role models, regardless of their political party. Moreover, most people want to conduct their own lives by high standards of good judgment, morality and integrity.

Given that, why is it that the weakest and least trustworthy among us keep getting elected?

In my opinion, as President Garfield warned, it is because those who shape our enterprise, our culture and our morality have not been of “… aid in controlling the political forces.” Too few people with the ability to shape our enterprise, culture and morality have been willing to speak out while too many qualified people have written off politics as too dirty for honest people. Consequently, by steering clear of politics, good people allow those with less character, less moral restraint and oftentimes with less ability, to be presented as our only choices.

The question we have to consider isn’t whether or not politicians such as Anthony Weiner or John Ensign are the only ones we can choose from. That question is answered every time a good man or woman who is qualified to hold office decides to run or not to run. It is also answered every time voters cast their votes based on their allegiance to a political party or their own self-interests, instead of the character of the candidates or what is truly best for the nation.

In that regard, given the current state of the nation and its present course, President Garfield’s statement is a stinging indictment of the choices we have made. With so many scandals involving our elected leaders, we have to ask ourselves … is this the best we can do?

Gary Palmer is president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.