Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Christians in Politics: A Brief Analysis of Issues in the United States

Recently the Republican party claimed a majority in the Senate and increased their majority in the House of Representatives.  Elections were held on the local, state, and federal level.  In 2016 a new president will be elected.  So... who cares?

It's important that Christians and non-Christians a like take part in the political process.  Citizens need to hold their elected officials responsible for the decisions they make.  Unfortunately we live in a time of unparalleled corruption in the government process and in the private sector.  It's making life in the United States very difficult.  So we must hold our elected officials accountable for the decisions they make, and we must also even more so, be in constant prayer for our leaders, purposeful, specific prayers for individuals and their attitudes and ideals. 

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV) First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  

It's difficult to hold elected officials accountable.  People go into politics, participate and very quickly they can become jaded and discouraged.  But it has to be done.  Though our primary purpose is sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, many of us are also called to participate in government.  

What about "separation of church and state?" someone might say.  Well, that statement actually comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson.  It's not actually a part of any legal document in our country.  But of course we don't have or want a theocracy.  We don't need that.  We have a democratic republic, with citizens who have freedom of religion.  Perfect, let's keep it that way.  But of course Christians can participate in the government of the country they're a part of.  It's a responsibility of any citizen.  In addition, mention is often made of "God" such as on our currency when it says "In God we Trust."  There is nothing wrong with that, no one is being forced to believe anything, yet the founders included certain references to God in the original framework.  Anyone trying to change that has stepped outside the bounds of the Constitution.  That should remain indefinitely in the framework of our country.  Why?  Because it works, it's built into the design of the country.

As John Adams said, "“Human passions unbridled by morality and religion…would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.” (Source: John Adams Historical Society)

So what are the issues?  What's going on in this country?  We definitely need to get educated.  I'll come out right now and say that I am a conservative leaning Libertarian.  Both parties have failed this country in their own unique ways in the past fifty years.  I tend to vote for 3rd party candidates, Libertarians or Constitution party candidates.  I also vote for Republicans and some Democrats, depending on their voting record, but I do my homework before voting for anyone. (A good resource for checking voting records is a site called On the Issues.)

The United States has been slowly progressing down a dark path since World War II.  I think a lot of us see it.  We're not going to go all the way back to the 1940s, but let's consider the past fifteen years, since the events of 9/11 occurred.   

The presidency of George W. Bush will forever be a scar on the honor and dignity of the United States of America.  It was a time of the curtailing of civil liberties, economic trouble, corruption, surveillance, the bloating of the federal government, deficit spending, and illegal war.  The war on terror began, a war that will probably never end.  During the presidency of George W. Bush we saw illegal wiretapping, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions act, financial industry bailout, and of course the invasion of Iraq.  Then came the economic collapse.  

Then comes on the scene the charismatic senator, Barack Obama.  He campaigned on ending the war in Iraq, closing Guantanamo bay, restoring the Constitution, restoring civil liberties, dealing with corporate corruption, and going after Bin Laden in Afghanistan.  I voted for Barack Obama in 2008, because I was so desperate for hope and change.  

Unfortunately, the presidency of Barack Obama from 2008 to today has been very similar to the Bush presidency.  We've seen continued building of the surveillance state, NDAA indefinite detention of American Citizens, scandals like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, and the NSA surveillance scandal. The Obama administration even threatened to withhold social security checks from veterans and the elderly if Congress didn't raise the debt ceiling.  Obamacare came out, a piece of legislation clearly written by the health care industry and for the health care industry. (IE: Guess who sets the rates?)  President Obama's cabinet is full of lobbyists, including a former Goldman Sachs employee running the treasury and a former Monsanto lawyer running the FDA.  Under Obama the drug war was expanded, and Federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries continued (in violation of state laws).  Obama has given a lot of lip service to "protecting whistleblowers" but his administration has come down even harder on whistleblowers than the Bush administration did.  The Obama administration has bombed Yemen, Libya, and very nearly began a war with Iran.  Voters came out in force against any kind of bombing of Iran though, and that misguided venture was stopped.  Of course there is also Obama's drone war in Pakistan which has left 2,400 dead, civilians included.  I haven't even gotten to the wallstreet bailout, or the Federal Reserve's money printing, but I think we've established the high level of corruption.  Need I go on?  

Our leaders are not being held accountable, to the point that as I've previously mentioned Princeton and Northwestern have analyzed in a study and found that the United States is no longer a democratic republic, but an oligarchy, where a wealthy elite control the country.   

The question must then be: How can be begin to hold our elected officials accountable?

Let's look at a few possibilities:

1. Be in contact with legislators via letters, email, and phone calls.

2. Sign petitions & share causes on social media

3. Write to local newspapers regarding key issues

4. Participate in local politics, councils, and committees

5. Talk to friends and family regarding important issues

6. Expose evil and promote the good

7. Run for Office

Perhaps you're wondering, what does all this have to do with Christianity, and the gospel?  Well, probably more than you think.  Consider abortion, since the Supreme Court ruling over 56 million dead.  They have a word for that, genocide.  How can I share the gospel with dead children?  The answer is, I can't.  As the culture becomes more and more depraved and sex obsessed, it becomes more difficult for Christians to stay faithful, and it becomes more difficult for people so lost in sin to come to faith in Christ.  Corruption begins to infest every level, academic, economic, scientific, media, politics; everything becomes infected by the greed and depravity caused by people living without the Holy Spirit.  

Spiritual principles are required to guide the hearts and minds of citizens; guided by moral beliefs people prosper and the free market can function.  Without it, laws upon laws have to be added to protect against this, and prevent that, and eventually it all falls apart.  Or as G.K. Chesterton said, "If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments.” 

In conclusion, let's just briefly go through some key national issues that I hope you'll pray about, and get involved with as you feel called to do so.  I'm not going to go into a lot of details on each particular issue but I will include a link for each issue, for further study.  There are many, but these are some key issues:

1. Religious Liberty - if we lose freedom of religion, then we've lost our ability to freely be Christian.  We must fight for religious liberty.

2. Civil Liberties - Hitler said that the best way to take power is very slowly over time, piece by piece.  Slowly but surely our freedoms are being taken away in this country.  Commit to restoring the freedoms that make America great.

3. Abolish the Federal Reserve - this agency has caused huge amounts of inflation of the US currency.  As a result average Americans suffer, paying higher prices for the same products.  Help Audit the Fed, help End the Fed.  

4. Repeal Citizens United Ruling - The citizens united ruling by the supreme court has allowed billions of dollars to flow into the political process.  It's a fatal wound on democracy.

5. Abolish Abortion - Pray about this issue, pray a lot.  And get involved!  People need to get educated about the science behind abortion.  It's not even debatable based on the science alone, much less the moral implications. 

6. Protect Net Neutrality - the internet is the last hope for the free exchange of information, other it's just the television "programming."  Consider being an advocate for a free and open internet.  Otherwise internet slow lanes may become a reality.

7.  Label Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) - Monsanto has been fighting hard to prevent genetically modified foods from being labeled.  Never-the-less people are fighting back, and there is a growing demand for organic food.  The health effects on the United States people is obvious.  Heart disease and cancer are out of control in the USA.

8. Protect Traditional Marriage - Some would prefer that government stay out of marriage entirely, but at this point, best to protect the traditional view of marriage. 

9. Repeal Obamacare - This corrupt piece of legislation must be abolished.  Pray about this issue.

10. Turn off the Television - boycott television media, refuse to watch the corrupt media corporations like CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and the other propaganda networks.  Support alternative media, and internet news.  

11. Deal with corruption in Banking & Corporations - How can we deal with the issue of corruption?  More laws, less laws?  Prosecution?  Prayer?

12. Non-interventionist Foreign Policy - We as a country and a people are over 17 trillion dollars in debt.  The wars in the middle east need to stop for financial reasons and moral reasons.  Bombing countries and constantly manipulating events and installing puppet dictators has made us enemies all over the world.  Supporting Israel is of course important, but invading countries and manipulating politics in the region has been a dismal failure over the past sixty years.  Bring the troops home, bring the bases home, keep Israel protected, but 700 bases across the planet is too many.    

There are many key political issues and all of them need dedicated champions.  Get involved if you can, and be in constant prayer for the new leaders in the republican controlled Congress: for wise decisions, humility, character, and perseverance against corruption.  In conclusion, as Malcom Muggeridge said "It would be difficult for anyone looking around the world today to resist the conclusion that something has gone very badly indeed with what we continue to call “Western Civilization.”  This awareness tends to be distorted and muffled – if not obliterated – by the media, which manage to induce us to take for granted the continually explosive situations that confront us on every hand, and to see as an enlargement of our freedom and an enhancement of the quality of our living the steady and ominous erosion of the moral standards on which our traditional way of life has been based." - The True Crisis of our Time

Good luck and God bless.  We'll need both.
"The most effective way to do it, is to do it." - Amelia Earhart  

Psalm 33:12 (ESV) Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! 

Works Cited
Blanks, Jonathan. "Obama Says He Ended the ‘War on Drugs.’ Don’t Believe Him." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 18 July 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/18/obama-says-he-ended-the-war-on-drugs-dont-believe-him/>.
Boren, Zachary. "Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 16 Apr. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.businessinsider.com/major-study-finds-that-the-us-is-an-oligarchy-2014-4>.
"Bush Administration Scandals." The Center for Media and Democracy. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Bush_administration_scandals>.
Chulov, Martin, and Helen Pidd. "Defector Admits to WMD Lies That Triggered Iraq War." The Guardian. 15 Feb. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/feb/15/defector-admits-wmd-lies-iraq-war>.
Dreisbach, Daniel L. "The Mythical "Wall of Separation" How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse." The Heritage Foundation. 23 June 2006. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/06/the-mythical-wall-of-separation-how-a-misused-metaphor-changed-church-state-law-policy-and-discourse>.
Goldfarb, Zachary A., and Karen Tumulty. "IRS Admits Targeting Conservatives for Tax Scrutiny in 2012 Election." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 10 May 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/irs-admits-targeting-conservatives-for-tax-scrutiny-in-2012-election/2013/05/10/3b6a0ada-b987-11e2-92f3-f291801936b8_story.html>.
Kirchner, Lauren. "The Obama Administration’s Pursuit of Whistleblowers Is Taking a Toll." Columbia Journalism Review. 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/us_drops_in_global_press_freed.php?page=all>.
Lennard, Natasha. "Obama Signs NDAA 2014, Indefinite Detention Remains." Salon.com. Salon, 27 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.salon.com/2013/12/27/obama_signs_ndaa_2014_indefinite_detention_remains/>.
Lubin, Gus. "20 Lobbyists Infesting The Obama Administration." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 26 Apr. 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-lobbyists-inside-the-obamas-administration?op=1>.
"Military Commissions Act of 2006." American Civil Liberties Union. 13 Mar. 2007. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <https://www.aclu.org/national-security/military-commissions-act-2006>.
Miller, S.A., and Sean Lengell. "Bush Signs Wall Street Bailout." Washington Times. The Washington Times, 4 Oct. 2008. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/04/bush-signs-wall-street-bailout/?page=all>.
"Obama's Numbers (April 2014 Update)." FactCheckorg. 1 Sept. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.factcheck.org/2014/04/obamas-numbers-april-2014-update/>.
O’Bannon, Randall K. "Abortions Top 56 Million since Roe v. Wade | NRL News Today." NRL News Today. 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2014/01/abortions-top-56-million-since-roe-v-wade/#.VGI7J8kYTkg>.
Sledge, Matt. "The Toll Of 5 Years Of Drone Strikes: 2,400 Dead." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/23/obama-drone-program-anniversary_n_4654825.html>.
"The Patriot Act." Constitutional Rights Foundation. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.crf-usa.org/america-responds-to-terrorism/the-patriot-act.html>.
Volz, Dustin. "Despite Obama's Pledge to Curb It, NSA Mass Surveillance Wins Rubber Stamp." National Journal. National Journal, 13 Sept. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/despite-obama-s-pledge-to-curb-it-nsa-mass-surveillance-wins-rubber-stamp-20140913>.

Related Posts:
The Entrenched vs. the Minimized: Five Paradigms of Western Society 
Nine Presentations on Atheism, Intelligent Design, Cultural Marxism, and Evidence for God's Existence 
Five Causes for the New Christian Activist to Champion
Pray for the World
The Topic of Liberty from a Libertarian attending Liberty University