Christian Politics

Politics and Religion; their connected history in the United States of America, and the future of the Christian voting block.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Understanding How Your Vote Counts

Understanding How Your Vote Counts

Too many people suffer from election apathy.  Some people truly don’t care about politics others don’t understand how their voting habits actually impact the nation.  Every vote counts, from the local offices to national elections, the way you vote has the potential to impact the outcome.  The important point is to understand that until you establish your voting parameters and actually cast those votes, it is only a potential. 

There is a conundrum among voting habits, however.  This conundrum often negates a person’s vote.  As a single example, look at Missouri in the 2000 elections.  Missouri voted for President Bush, a Republican, yet in the gubernatorial contest, voted for Bob Holden, a Democrat.  The effect of this can be seen in state political positions versus federal political positions.  In Missouri, an estimated 62% of the people are in favor of banning gay marriage.  However, the democratic state legislature and democratic governor oppose banning gay marriage.  In the federal race, Missourians clearly spoke up about their values by which they elected to run the nation, yet at the state level a different party was elected and the result has been an inability to pass a measure banning gay marriage at the state level even though the President supports banning gay marriage. 

Most people have no problem stating that the condition of our nation is in shambles, from a moral standpoint.  An overwhelming majority of people in the country claim an affiliation with a Christian denomination.  By proxy, one can infer that those people who believe in Christianity also believe in the morals taught by Christianity.  Used as a measuring stick, it is easy to see that the morals of the country as a whole do not jibe with the morals attributed to the majority of the populace.  People bemoan the state of affairs, yet do little to change the tide, and often they inadvertently feed into the trends that affect our country and the policies we live under. 

Consider this scenario.  At the state level, a suit is filed by an individual.  In the state courts, the suit is upheld by liberal judges, appointed by a liberal governor.  The plaintiff appeals to the federal level where the decision is overturned by a conservative panel of judges, appointed by a conservative President.  The state loses money on all accounts because of the lengthy and costly process.  However, if a state voted consistently among the elections, placing a conservative governor in the statehouse and a conservative president in the White House, many of these issues would become moot.  Not only is there inconsistency between state and federal governments, but there is inconsistency in state government.  It is commonplace to elect one party as governor, while electing the other party into a majority of the legislature.  This results in party politics torpedoing legislation and killing bills that are important to the citizens. 

At the federal level you have the issue of appointed judges who interpret the laws.  Many of these laws are ambiguous at best, and interpretation of them winds up being solely dependant upon these appointed judges.  If you don’t like the direction the country is going, one of the primary areas to look at is the federal bench.  We don’t get to vote on these appointments, we are left at the mercy of the people we elect to the Presidency and our federal legislators.  The Supreme Court justices do not retire often.  These are lifetime appointments.  Often the jurists on the bench time their retirements to coincide with their party’s control of the White House, in an attempt to ensure that a philosophically like-minded jurist will be appointed to fill their vacancy.  This is a deliberate hijacking of the Supreme Court by the very people who are charged with interpreting our laws.  The entire timbre of our country could be changed in as little as 12 years, through consistent voting habits. 

Those who are fed up with the direction our nation has been going have the power to change that direction through time and perseverance; through voting consistently in all elections for those officials who promote a positive change.  In the span of 12 years, if the federal legislature and the White House were staffed by elected officials who were dedicated to improving the values of our nation, we would see laws enacted to remove the vulgarity from entertainment, laws to protect traditional marriage, laws to protect the unborn and laws that will lower health care costs.  At the same time, we would also see several Supreme Court justices reach an age where retirement was imminent, setting the stage for judges to be appointed who truly reflect the values of the majority of our nation, rather than activist judges using the bench to promote their own social agendas. 

At the time of this writing, our country is run by those who hold minority opinions.  For whatever reason, the majority opinions get shoved to a back burner or hidden from public view.  After all, it isn’t politically correct to defend you beliefs unless you are in a special group that constitutes a minority.  The majority of people in this country do not support gay marriage, do support malpractice lawsuit capping, do not support abortion and do not support the current misinterpretation of separation of church and state.  Yet we are forced to live with the minority held opinions because we do not harness our collective voting ability and exercise the right to vote in line with our conscience. 

Ironically, there was a recent uproar in the Kansas City Missouri area when local pastors and priests dared to suggest their churches should be more involved in the political process.  From out of the woodwork crawled many democrats who decried this idea, and immediately instituted a policy of sending ‘undercover agents’ to local churches to make sure pastors were not “campaigning” for any candidates.  Not surprising, the Republicans had no such outcry.  This is a clear example of the moral division between the two parties.  The Democratic Party does not want the Christian Voting Block to unite and they will do whatever they can to prevent unity from developing among Christians.  One talk show host even made the comment that it was wrong for any person to consider their own values when voting. 

The time has come for people who believe the moral direction of the United States of America needs to change to unite in their voting power; to consistently elect officials who will work to promote the values of the majority of our nation.  We need to elect officials who will not hide behind the façade of being politically correct, catering to minority groups over issues that affect us all.   The time has come when we should no longer allow ourselves to be cowed by the minority and forced to live with laws that violate what we believe in.  The time has come for us to stand together and draw the line in the sand over the erosion of morals.  The time has come for us to demand accountability from our elected leaders; to expect and receive an explanation from those who vote on our laws as to why they vote for laws that do not reflect our wishes and vote against laws that do. 

Unity is the key to winning this battle.  We must learn to set aside our individual differences and work to the common good.  In 1992, Bill Clinton won the presidency, even though the majority of Americans did not vote for him.  How did this happen?  Lack of unity among the voters.  Ross Perot split the Republican Party vote.  Combined, more people voted for George Bush, Sr. and Ross Perot than voted for Bill Clinton, yet Clinton ended up in the White House.  More people voted for a candidate other than Bill Clinton, than those who voted for him.  Those who are committed to improving the values of our country can no longer afford to allow wild cards to influence their voting habits.  A look at the Clinton administration is all that is needed in order to understand why.  We cannot afford to allow our individual agendas to detract us from voting for the main candidate who promotes our values.  The disastrous result of such distraction is that we inadvertently allow yet another morally devoid person take over our nation.  Because of this, every vote does indeed count.  You may feel your single vote for an independent candidate can’t really cause any damage, but in fact it can – and it does. 

Make your vote truly count this year; cast a vote for morals, for values, for returning our country to the people.

The voting booth is our soapbox, the ballot is our microphone.  It is time to stand together and send a mighty cry unto the nation that we will not allow the minority of people lacking solid values to continue dictating public policy for the rest of us.  
 

Friday, July 23, 2004

God, the Voting Booth, and You

God, the Voting Booth and You

 
More than two centuries ago, the United States of America was founded.  One of the most prevalent influences in early American society was the influence of God, religion and individual churches.  In turn, the people who cast votes for elected officials often used God and religion as a measuring stick for those people running for office.  The common good of the nation took precedence over the individual goals. 

Today we have two main political parties; the republicans and democrats.  Each party claims to serve the interests of the American people.  However, each party has a very different view of the American people and how to meet those interests.  Additionally, the media plays a tremendous role in convincing the American people what they should believe in.  The media influence is insidious and has done an enormous amount of damage to the values of our nation.  Before you cast a vote, you should give a critical analysis to the information you are fed by the media and as Christians, compare that information to what you know about the morals God expects His followers to adhere to.

On the surface, there is one main difference between the two primary parties.  One party believes in smaller government and more personal responsibility.  The other party believes in larger government with more detailed control over the citizens.  The Republican Party seeks smaller government with less government control over the smaller details of life.  The Democratic Party promotes larger government with more social welfare programs that require more government involvement in the smaller details of life.  This article isn’t about debating the merits or downfalls of either government approach, however it is important to have a fundamental starting point. 

Once a person has formed their own opinion of what approach better suits their ideals regarding government, they are left with the “issues” to determine what direction they will vote.  In some ways this is acceptable, but in other ways it is not.  With radio and television, with the advent of mass-produced and nationwide publications, the media has become the single biggest influence in terms of “the issues”.  No longer do people have town meetings that involve the entire town or city, to determine what is important to them.  Instead, we turn on the television or pick up a newspaper and read about what is important to our neighbors, based on what a third party is telling us is important.  More importantly though, is how the media dictates a left leaning agenda in the guise of telling us what is “politically correct”.  When you combine that with the fact that ‘separation of church and state’ has made it un-politically correct to profess faith in God or adherence to the principles of the Bible, you have a recipe for denigration of society; comfortably hidden behind the guise of being “popular opinion”. 

First, let’s take a look at the media’s role in politics.  Most media organizations lean left.  In a profession that is supposed to be unbiased, careful steps are taken to cover the bias, and yet it still exists just under the surface.  Word choice and phrasing carrying a great deal of weight in the written word; connotation of words usually escapes direct notice, yet the impact remains.  For example, here are the opening sentences from two articles, one article each about President Bush and John Kerry.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush tried to sow doubts among black voters Friday about their longtime alignment with Democrats as he sought to win over a group that overwhelmingly opposes him. (http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/23/bush.friday.ap/index.html)

DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- As John Kerry winds his way across the country and ultimately to Boston to accept the Democratic presidential nomination next week, he'll be talking more about something he hasn't discussed much in his campaign -- John Kerry. (http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/23/kerry.friday.ap/index.html)

In the first sentence you have three separate instances of negative word choice and phraseology.  “tried to sow doubts”, “sought to win over” “overwhelmingly oppose”.  In the second sentence there is not one negative word or phrase used.  This is just one example of the tactics used by the media which influence voters.  While there is not an overt display of bias, the way things are worded clearly indicate the journalistic bias.  Consider the same two sentences and read these revisions.

President Bush met with voters Friday as he sought to share his message with a diverse voting block and explain how his party works to help minorities.

Presidential hopeful John Kerry plans on disregarding the issues next week when he accepts the Democratic nomination, choosing instead to focus on himself during his speech instead of the issues which matter to his potential constituents. 

Both sentences convey the same information, but in a very different light.  This is very typical of all major news organizations in how they report on candidates from the two main parties. 
The media is charged with giving us the news.  In turn, they depend on laws that enable them to get information to pass off as news.  The entertainment industry as a whole suffers from this problem.  Restrictions on viewing content continually are eroded.  These restrictions deal with moral values.  Unfortunately, sensationalism sells and the entertainment industry depends on the erosion of morals in order to continue to out-do the next media outlet on the block.  In general, the Democratic party has been viewed as more tolerant of relaxing the moral values, while the Republican party has been viewed as the moralistic party.  Sure, there are Christian Democrats and non-Christian Republicans, but as a whole the two parties represent two very different sides when it comes to moral values and supporting legislation that protects morality.  It’s a vicious cycle cleverly designed to keep the average citizen from keying in what is taking place.  The media feeds us their interpretation of what is important; their decisions about what we should believe is important to everyone else.  The Democrats support the erosion of morals, which in turn enables the media to delve deeper and deeper into depravity in broadcasting.

How does it happen?  In what ways has society been forced to accept the subtle influences that contradict our beliefs?  Homosexuality is a key point.  The media would have us believe that homosexuality is “ok”.  The Democrats support gay marriage and/or civil unions among gay people.  In turn, they label the Republican party as prejudiced for not agreeing with this stance.  The media has had a field day with this, taking every opportunity to pounce on how gender-biased those who oppose homosexuality are.  Have you tried pointing out that the Bible is very clear on God’s opinion of homosexuality?  Have you heard even one secular news broadcast that has mentioned this fact?  Of course not.  Gradually, over the years, the media has subtly exploited their influence to the point that society now accepts a behavior that only 30 years ago was considered morally reprehensible.  The same thing happened with abortion.  Hidden behind the ‘politically correct’ label, is the actual truth that we have been slowly fed a diet of poison until we have entire generations of people growing up unaware that the issues which they believe are ‘acceptable’ are actually contrary to the very fabric of the Bible.  It has become almost a death knell for any politician who dares to speak up and disregard the ‘politically correct’ current ideals. 

The media may be one of the most influential factors, but in the end it boils down to the average Joe Voter.  Average Joe has stopped voting with God’s agenda in mind and replaced it with his own agenda.  Partly, that can’t be helped because the media doesn’t want us to think about God when we vote, or else they may actually have to tone down the language and amount of skin they show in a movie.  But, even people who claim to be devoutly religious lack the understanding what they are voting for when they put their own agenda before God’s.  Recently I was speaking with a woman at church.  This woman had claimed to be devoutly religious, believing that abortion is murder and that homosexuality is a sin that should not be condoned.  Further in the discussion she said that it didn’t matter to her.  She was afraid that her soon to be 18 year old son would end up in Iraq and so she planned to vote for the Democrat.  Knowing that the democratic candidate supports abortion and civil unions for homosexuals, this person who claims to be Christian is going to willingly vote for someone who wants to further lead this nation down a path away from God.  I’m sure she never stopped to think about it, she was too wrapped up in her own agenda.  Ironic that being so wrapped up is exactly what keeps the Christian voting block from getting together and harnessing their voting strength to return God to His rightful place in our country. 

An estimated 69-75% of the US population claims to be affiliated with one of the many Christian religions.  Imagine if that percentage actually voted for candidates who followed God’s teachings and who would work to ensure that God and religion were no longer forced to the back room of an empty house.  Picture the affect of God dictating your vote instead of your personal agenda dictating your vote.  Most people complain about the condition our country is in, yet they refuse to see the direct correlation between votes for a person who does not follow God’s clear teachings, and the gradual removal of God from all public life. 

No party is going to fully meet all of any one individual’s personal agendas.  For this reason, we should put aside our agendas and think about what the Bible teaches us about morals and behavior.  God’s plan for man should supersede our personal goals.  When we focus on God first, He provides for us.  It is truly time for all Christians to unite their voting strength and promote God first.  When we finally manage to do this, our nation may finally get back on track and in touch with God.  God is not concerned with being “politically correct”, God is concerned with man obeying His commands. 

There is only one question left, and only you the reader can answer it for yourself.

Is your faith in God sincere to the point that you truly intend to follow God’s commands, sincere to the point that you will vote only for those people who will preserve God in our nation, or do you merely pay lip-service to God and hope He doesn’t pay attention to politics?
 

 


The Intention of "Separation of Church and State"

The separation of church and state is an issue that is debated frequently, but rarely interpreted correctly by the mainstream media or average citizen.  The reasons for this are simple.  The media has a longstanding history of leaning to the left on all issues because the political left is where the media gets their “freedom”.  The average citizen in this country depends on the media for interpretation of politics and current events, and generally doesn’t study historical content or context of the Constitution and its framers.  In order to truly understand the intent of separation of church and state, several factors must be taken into account; factors which are conveniently overlooked by proponents of this separation. 

I don’t think anyone doubts that the United States of America was founded, largely, on the premise of religious freedom.  Our ancestors suffered tremendous persecution for their religious beliefs and so sought out a place where they could follow their own religion(s) independent of government edicts.  However, the country was not founded by atheists.  Our founding fathers did not intend to create an environment hostile to religion, but to create an environment where people were free to worship; Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. 

To understand why separation of church and state was not intended to vilify Christianity, you have to look at the way of life as it happened during the time the Constitution was drafted, and those decades leading up to the Revolutionary War. 

Religion was a major part of everyone’s life 250 years ago.  In fact, going back 400 or more years, you can still see that religion was the focal point of all walks of life.  The church was central to life and relationships.  Church socials were held on a regular basis allowing the younger generations to interact with each other, and eventually marry.  Town meetings were held in church buildings, typically opened with prayer.  The moral values of the Bible dictated the conduct and behavior of the people.  References to God were commonplace in conversation and public speeches.

John Winthrop, in 1645 gave a speech at Plymouth Colony in response to a legal suit involving an elected militia official.  In this speech he used the word God 7 times.
 “The covenant between you and us is the oath you have taken of us, which is to this purpose, that we shall govern you and judge your causes by the rules of God's laws and our own, according to our best skill.”  At this point, Winthrop clearly makes the case that our laws are based on God’s law.  “The other kind of liberty I call civil or federal; it may also be termed moral, in reference to the covenant between God and man, in the moral law, and the politic covenants and constitutions, amongst men themselves. This liberty is the proper end and object of authority, and cannot subsist without it; and it is a liberty to that only which i is good, just, and honest.”  In this section, Winthrop is discussing the two types of liberty, natural and civil/federal.  Earlier in this speech he refers to natural liberty being the liberty of man due to his nature, which is corrupt.  Here, he makes it clear that civil/federal liberty should provide the moral compass, again, based on Biblical principles. 

Samuel Adams delivered a speech on August 1, 1776 in which he referred to heaven four different times.  While he did not specifically reference God, religion or Christianity, the references to heaven show that his belief in the existence of heaven.  As heaven is the home of God, it is safe to interpret that Samuel Adams believed in God. 

Many different opinions exist as to the religion, or lack thereof, among those we call the founding fathers.  In general, deism was the predominant belief among the founding fathers.  Deism is basically a belief in God, but nothing more or less.  Many people use this to further advance misinterpretation of ‘separation of church and state’, but in truth this is one of the biggest supports to the original intent.  Under English rule, there was only one allowed religion.  The founding fathers wanted to ensure the people of this new nation would be free to worship in the church they chose.  They also sought to ensure that government did not depend upon a specific religion to fund the federal purse.

Still, we have not answered the question of relevance.  In order to understand how belief in God and/or Christianity influenced the phrase “separation of church and state”, you must now look at religion in context of the era.  Up to this point it is clear that, deist or theist, religion and belief in higher authority existed almost universally among our ancestors and founding fathers.  These people did not merely pay lip-service to religion, but sincerely believed in it.  Religion and personal convictions permeated all aspects of their lives; reference to God and/or a high authority were commonplace in the conversation of all people, politicians and citizens.  Knowing that these people held a deep belief in God or deity, it is impossible to accept the notion that they would craft a Constitution that would force God and religion out of the realm of publicly acceptable conduct.  A person with deep belief in God is not going to enact public policy which detracts from God.  These are men who so strongly believed in their convictions for a free nation they were willing to go to war, and die, to gain it.  Are we supposed to believe they had less conviction in terms of God when the impetus for this desire for freedom were based on belief in God?

By understanding that religion was a part of daily life for these people, we can see that the intent of separation of church and state was not to remove the church from having authority or influence, but to prevent the state from dictating religion.  So, why would the founding fathers not have more clearly phrased their intent?  Again, the answer is simple.  Because religion and belief were so deeply ingrained in the lives of all people in the nation, the idea that a day might come when religion was shoved to a back burner was a completely alien concept.  Just as our founding fathers could not conceive of an orbiting space station, they could not conceive the possibility that their constitution would be used to force religion from the public eye.  Religion and belief in God were such an integral part of life and had been for centuries prior, they literally had no possible way of thinking an era would come when that was not the case. 

Separation of church and state was not intended to keep religion out of politics, but to keep politics out of religion.  Separation of church and state was not intended to undermine the moral fiber of the nation, yet it has been turned into that very weapon by taking God out of all public locations.  In courtrooms around the country, God and the Bible are taboo even though the very basis for those laws come directly from the Bible.  In schools where our nation’s children learn the fundamentals of social and peer relationships, we have forced the moralistic teachings of God out of the classrooms.  We wonder why we have an increase in teen pregnancy, teen violence, school shootings and juvenile crime yet no one speaks up about the lack of moral values taught to our children.  We, the people, have allowed the far left to undermine the morals of our country while hiding behind a false interpretation of “separation of church and state”.  Until “we the people” stand up and draw the line in the sand, the erosion of our nation will continue until we no longer have a nation. 

 
Next installment:  God, the voting booth, and you.

Friday, June 18, 2004

General Overview

The focus of this blog is to encourage Christians to unify their voting power in promoting God's agenda over man's personal agendas.

This goal can be accomplished by first understanding what "separation of church and state" was originally intended to accomplish, based on historial accuracy, not modern interpretation. Second we must look at the principles taught within the pages of the Bible and how those principles apply to our daily lives. Finally, we must compare those teachings with the professed goals of those seeking elected office and determine if their positions are in line with the beliefs of Christians.

Why is this important? Over the years, Christians have allowed themselves to become lax in electing people who will protect their rights and freedoms as Christians. Instead, we have allowed non-Christians and Christians without Christian values to win office and set policies we must live under. More than simple apathy, many Christians have neglected putting God first in the voting booth, choosing instead to vote based on personal agendas that lack God's direction and desires for man. If unified in the purpose of promoting God's will in our nation, the Christian population has the potential to be the largest voting block in the country, crossing all socio-economic ranges and encompassing all races.

Stay tuned for the first article, "The Intention of Separation of Church and State".