What in the world does faith have to do with politics? Does it have anything to do with politics? In the 21st Century we live in a very compartmentalized world. Most people avoid the "big" questions in life. They just live; running from one activity to another not really contemplating how they got here, who they are, why they are here, or where they are going. Bear with me. I am going to get us to politics. However, I have to lay a foundation.
The foundation is that we all adhere to a faith or value system. Atheists don't believe in God. That is a value/faith statement and it affects consciously or unconsciously how they live their lives. Agnostics are not sure about whether or not God exists. That, too, is a value statement. Their value is one of uncertainty and will surely affect their lives, affect what they teach their children, and ultimately what legacy they leave.
Evangelical Christians believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God and is the only reliable standard for faith and life practice. Christianity has changed the world in the last 2,000 years, when lived accurately, for the better. They believe that Jesus is the Son of God (fully man and fully God), sinless, that He died on the cross for the sins of the world, and rose from the dead to change the lives of those who trust in Him for eternal life which begins at the moment of a believer's decision and lasts forever in Heaven. He is their Savior and Lord over their lives here on earth. That is a "faith commitment" and it affects all of their lives or it should affect all of their lives.
Serious Muslims make a commitment to their faith and it affects their whole lives. The same could be said of any "faith" where the believer takes his faith seriously.
Now I hear some of you saying, "What about the separation of Church and State?" First of all, we need to get straight about this thing brought up all the time--- "Separation of Church and State" is not to be found in the Constitution of the United States of America. It was a letter written to a pastor to assure him that the United States government wouldn't be "interfering" with his church. It was in no way meant to prohibit or discourage Bible-believing Christians from being involved in the political processes any more than we would discourage any citizen of our United States from participating in the political processes. The United States was founded as a Republic on the philosophy of freedom and a participatory citizenry in the political processes. We can no more separate a person's belief system from themselves than we can separate their thoughts from themselves.
Now one can make the case that no one lives perfectly by their belief system.
Some folks obviously do better than others. There is a word for folks who claim to have one belief system and have a pattern of behavior that is totally inconsistent and outside the parameters of their belief system. That would be a very Biblical word known as hypocrite.
We have seen many examples of hypocrisy in the political process recently. It happens on both sides of the isle and that is because it is a human nature/moral problem not attached to one political party. I believe that there are people in the House of Representatives who need to seriously reconsider whether or not they should stay in their seat given their pattern of behavior, which in no way reflects what they claim to believe. All actions have consequences. Folks might look like they get away with things that are wrong, but they don't. They know and God knows and now all Chattanooga Times-Free Press readers know.
I am an Evangelical Christian and embrace a Christian-world-and-life-view. We all do wrong things. We are all capable of anything given the right circumstances. However, recently we have observed once again a pattern of behavior. If I were in this person's shoes, I would step down. The damage that has been done to the conservative political philosophy that this person says they believe is immeasurable. What more does this person have to do before the Republican Party says---"enough is enough?" Maybe, I don't want an answer to that.
Today, I observe their behavior and am embarrassed and ashamed to call myself a Republican. I don't believe the ends (correct votes) justify the means (a hypocrite in office). Our life is our life. We are who we are. There should be no compartmentalization in a life lived with integrity. If we can't do better than this, we need to start over. This person is not the kind of leader we need in office. What am I supposed to say to the millennial generation (19-29 years) who have a hard time getting up the enthusiasm to even get registered? They are looking for leaders, role models, and Conservatives who believe, live and vote consistently. I don't believe that this is too much to ask of our elected public servants. Is this "pattern of behavior" (hypocrite) the kind of role model we want to point them to?
I am no "Pollyanna." However, there comes a time when something has to be said. I choose not to endorse their behavior by my silence. This paper has been extremely thorough in reporting the lives of our politicians. Many of you are regular readers so I will not repeat all of the details.
We are interdependent. We are not islands. One person's actions---good or bad-affect others. When in leadership, they affect many more people. They are supposed to set an example of "good" behavior. We have allowed the harming of the cause, the Conservative political movement---family values, etc. and ultimately, the Republican Party by allowing folks to remain in office. Especially when they are holding themselves up as a leader, while endorsing their hypocritical behavior if they stay in their seat. Representation is based on trust. Trust has been broken on several levels, not to mention the fact that one would hope that our leaders would actually be people of integrity that we would want other people to emulate.
Meanwhile, the millennials who are paying attention will make fun of our system; a Constitutional Republic that has been blessed by God and flourished for 236 years. Its worked.
God has promised in the Scriptures, "If we humble ourselves, pray, turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear and forgive our sin and heal our land." We all need to do just that.
Political Conservatives come in many faith-stripes. We need to look for people who are true Conservatives who believe it, live it and vote it.
You don't fool the young adults. And that's the way it is.
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Sabrina Daniels wrote a very articulate piece on the reality of faith and/in politics. I applaud her in taking a stand more of us should take.