June 5, 2007

Faith and the Political Process

I was amused to read the headline, "Sen. Clinton: Faith Got Me Through Marital Strife." It is so interesting to watch the national media attempt to get a handle on this religion thing. It is really a simple matter. It is an unavoidable fact that faith and belief inform one's decisions. Therefore it is an important matter for people like me (who, according to most surveys, make up the vast majority of Americans) to know from what foundation my leaders will make decisions. Faith is important. Our founding fathers are noted for their strong sense of belief and were unapologetic in their pronouncements concerning the role of faith in the public life. Note the following quotes.

John Adams stated, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

George Washington stated,
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible."

“The Law given from Sinai [The Ten Commandments] was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code.” John Quincy Adams. Letters to his son.

“ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel." Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention of 1787

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” Patrick Henry, May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses

Let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God [Exodus 18:21]. . . . If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted . . . If our government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws." Noah Webster, The History of the United States

It would seem that not much has changed in over 200 years. We may bicker over whether or not the 10 commandments should be displayed publicly, but to deny that the foundations of our nation are laid on biblical bedrock is to have one's head in the sand. The very reason that people of differing belief systems are able to co-exist in this nation is because the founders believed so strongly that God has given every individual the right to believe as they will. We deny this truth at our own peril, the peril of someone arising and insisting that all believe and behave as they say. So, I say hooray for John Edwards speaking openly and frankly about his faith. Hooray for Hillary stating that her faith helped her through a difficult time. Hooray for all who will stand and say, "This is what I believe." It helps me to know who they are.

Likewise I say boo to those who would hijack any faith for the purposes of political gain. Boo to those who will simply use the words of faith without living the life dictated by that faith. Boo to those who utilize faith as a whip to enforce their pet point of view. Boo to those who have utilized faith as a means to financial gain.

Our nation is a nation of faith and I say that faith has a powerful role in the political process of our nation. What do you say?



1 comment:

Panda said...

So many good things we have inherited are based on the Bible. Just look at the judicial system in the free countries of this world - remove the biblical notions from the Law books and say goodbye to justice and freedom!
We must be suspicious of political leaders who use religion to justify themselves or to get as many votes as they possibly can. Only God knows their deepest thoughts and true beliefs. But I agree with you - it is good when politicans are open about their personal beliefs. And just like all other human beings, they will be judged by their deeds too!