Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Vice President at Family Research Council. This article appeared on Townhall.com, Novemer 4, 2014.
Some propositions for Christians in a nation of representative self-governance, a republic composed of 50 states, three branches of government, such semi-autonomous bureaucracies as the Fed, FARC, Fannie Mae, and the IRS, and uncounted numbers of city, county, state and other spheres of governance:
- Political action for the sake of life, liberty, family and marriage is a matter of faithfulness for believing Christians. Bravery, prudence, diligence and fidelity to changeless truth should characterize our actions.
- Some things matter more than others. For example:
The candidate who will work to protect the lives of unborn children and defend their mothers from a predatory abortion industry but whose understanding of, say, federal irrigation policy is modest merits the support of faithful Christians. The candidate whose grasp of agriculture issues is comprehensive but who believes in the legality of abortion-on-demand does not.
If someone has an encyclopedic understanding of public housing policy and is full of good ideas about improving it but supports same-sex "marriage," a vote for him or her is a vote against the very future of the family.
Say that a nice guy who votes wrong on key moral issues is opposed by someone socially awkward but good on those issues. Scrap nice; vote principle.
- The Founders of our country believed that the rights of man come not from the beneficent determinations of the state but the hand of God. They regarded it as "self-evident" that our Creator bestowed to us "certain inalienable rights;" as Alexander Hamilton wrote, "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the Hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power."
- Government is, thus, a servant, not a master, whose job is to secure the divine rights of all men, not define those rights. "To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," says the Declaration. "Deriving their just powers" from the consent of those governed: Near-novel concept, that, in the era of a massive state that rejoices as a strong man to run his race.
- The Founders also believed that reason, conscience and divine revelation were the interlocking building-blocks of the country they were creating. As Robert Novak of the American Enterprise Institute has written, they contended that "What faith taught, reason supported. What reason taught, revelation reinforced" (On Two Wings, p.39).
- Fallen man will never create a political paradise in America or anywhere else, now or ever. No victory is ever permanent (impermanence is endemic to the state of nature) or comprehensive (sin will remain a seeping presence in our lives and our world until Jesus makes all things new).
- What we can seek, and do so realistically: A society in which we create a "more perfect union" through encouraging personal virtue, strengthening families, enacting good laws and fostering public safety and ordered liberty. The means by which we do these things should be myriad, and the energy with which we pursue them should be unflagging. The freedom we enjoy and must preserve demand it.
Churchill said, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." So, whatever the outcome of the election today, Christians, let's continue advancing and defending faith, family, and freedom.