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Political Issues With Biblical Foundations

The Truth that I am Committed To in this blog (and in my life) is not a political theory of social organization and government. However, the truths found in the Scriptures do have political implications.

Following are excerpts from some of those that I have explored over the past 3+ years. Links to the full articles are embedded in the titles of the articles.

How values should inform our votes in Elections Have Consequences:

Early in his administration, President Obama did not mind reminding us that the election was over – and he had won. That is right. Elections have consequences. Sometimes those consequences are eternal.

I just received a link to a You-Tube production by the Catholic Church. It is a fabulous call for basing your ballot on values that will stand the test, not only of time but also of eternity.

[You can view that production here. And read my comments here.]

Three significant ethical issues in The Manhattan Declaration, which I signed about a month after it was first presented to the public almost 3 years ago:

The first draft of this declaration was presented to a group of Evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox people at a meeting in Manhattan in late September 2009. Originally drafted by Chuck Colson, Robert George, and Timothy George, the document was revised after the September meeting with input from many individuals and released for public distribution November 20, 2009.

The document expresses biblical truths concerning three areas where political action impinges on ethical and moral issues: protection of the life of the most weak and vulnerable among us, preservation of the institution of marriage in the face of the myriad of threats against it in our culture and laws, and maintaining freedom of conscience for all.

You can read the full 8-page document here or a 2-page summary here. [You may read all of my comments here.]

How our nation has drifted galloped away from the founding principles of our national “fathers” in The Book That Made Your World.

I recently read a book by the Indian (from India) scholar, Vishal Mangalwadi that made me appreciate the legacy we have in the culture of Western Civilization much more. It is called The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created The Soul of Western Civilization. Dr. Mangalwadi outlines how the Bible has given us all of the things that make Western Civilization unique – and constantly asks questions about why other cultures have never done the things done in the West, particularly America. However, he also questions whether America – and the West as a whole – is losing its soul by forgetting its roots. Any serious student of American culture and its roots would do well to get a copy of Dr. Mangalwadi’s book and read it carefully.

Mary Jones, the compiler of the following information, has asked that this be shared widely. [The information that follows contains quotations from at least a dozen former presidents, supreme court justices, educators, and revolutionary war era patriots. All of these indicate deep faith in God and speak of the importance of the Bible in the governance of the United States of America. It also speaks of the public acts initiated by those early patriots in support of the Christian faith and use of the Bible. These contrast sharply with supreme court decisions beginning in 1949 when a simple prayer was outlawed from schools. In 1965 students were forbidden to say an audible prayer over their food in the school cafeteria. In 1980 the court outlawed the display of the ten commandments in schools. Read the entire collection of quotations and facts here.]

Responsibility and Integrity in exercising our freedom of speech in Email Myths: ACLU & Crosses in Military Cemeteries. I wrote this after receiving a false claim about a lawsuit the ACLU was supposedly pursuing.

My question for you in this blog is not whether or not we ought to be outraged at some of the ridiculous law suits brought by the ACLU on behalf of anyone who has a grievance against Christianity.

Instead, I suggest that we need to react to our outrage more rationally. It took me less than 30 seconds to find this article of disclaimer on SNOPES.COM. I was tempted to forward the item on myself. After seeing how SNOPES quotes ACLU sources explicitly denying they have opposed crosses in military cemeteries, I decided not to forward it.

Now, there are some “cross removal” suits where the ACLU is aggressively involved on the side of removal. It is easy for us to miss the “fine points” of the law that the ACLU draws to distinguish the different situations.

But should we make false accusations because we are outraged? Does this descend to what (in other circumstances) we would call “gossip”?

There is another, very practical, consideration. Remember the old story about the boy who cried “Wolf” because he was lonely in his job as a watcher of sheep. When the real wolf showed up, no one would pay any attention to him. Do highly emotional complaints such as this make people who can affect outcomes pay little attention to legitimate complaints? If so, when we mindlessly pass on items like this, we aid and abet the cause we oppose.

Energy Policy in To Have Abundance, Get An Ox – based on Proverbs 14:4.

In the pre-industrial world, prosperity depended on animal power plus human ingenuity and industry. If there were no animals to pull the plow, there would be no prosperity. If we could only grow what we can cultivate on our own human power, we will all go back to subsistence levels of living….

If we, as a nation, do not develop a sane energy policy we are destined to fall into poverty.

Is a sane energy policy sustainable? I believe it is. This means we must look at sources of energy other than carbon based combustion – and even beyond nuclear.

However, without the continued use of our current forms of energy, we will not have the financial or physical means to transform our economy into a sustainable use of energy – unless we are willing to settle for a level of prosperity far below what we presently enjoy. That level will likely be not much above the level traditional in Africa, India, and the rest of the so-called “third-world” nations.

Immigration policy in How Should Christians View Illegal Aliens? – based on Leviticus and Luke 10:25-37.

What is the solution? A political solution will be extremely difficult. Emotions are high on all sides of the issue.

One thing a Christian can do is to attempt to fulfill Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In coming to this command, we need to remember that when the Pharisee asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied with the story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan, of course, was an uninvited foreigner traveling a Judean road when he met the man who had fallen among thieves and befriended him.

Another thing we can do is to attempt to lower the emotional temperature by attempting to put ourselves into the place of the person who illegally crossed the border to find a way of feeding his family. What would you do if your family were starving – and there was wealth beyond your experience or imagination just a few miles away across an unguarded border?

If we will do these things ourselves – and encourage others to do the same – eventually we may be able to turn the rhetoric down enough to find a sensible solution. That solution is not likely to be a mass deportation of millions of people – many of whom have been in this country for a long, long time.

This, by the way, is one reason I have no desire to be president or even a congressman. I do not have the wisdom of Solomon that would make it possible to “solve” the issue with a simple solution pulled out of a hat. All I can do is try my best to follow the principles of Jesus in applying them to the circumstances in which I find myself.

Will you join me?

Will you also join me in applying Christian principles to our politics. Each of the issues discussed in the articles above ultimately are moral issues that deal with how we treat people. Certainly we can teach the ways of the God of compassion, mercy, and grace – the God who IS love personified – without stooping to HATE speech or hateful actions. Can’t we apply the principles of God’s kingdom to our lives in this world as citizens of God’s kingdom in such a way that others can see Jesus living in us?
If we will do this, and vote accordingly, will it improve the world we are in? I believe it will. This world will not be perfected until the Lord returns in the New Heavens and the New Earth. But until then, if we will live as citizens of Heaven here on earth this will be a better place – and will open more doors to lead (not drive) others to do likewise.

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