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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Friday, February 01, 2008

Idolatry takes many forms, #8: God Is The God Of Politics

Immediately following the recent Republican debate in Florida, Mitt Romney received much attention for his expressed fear of having Bill Clinton back in the White House again. He went on to separate his approach to the various concerns of the day from Hillary’s, stating that he wanted to respond to her on the basis of her platform, not on the basis of her husband. Nonetheless, the statement for many couldn’t help but bring to mind Bill’s infidelities during his time in office. While Bill did admit he was wrong, it was only after he outright lied about it and was caught. And while I believe we must accept Bill’s statement of repentance as sincere, it doesn’t mean that he should be trusted in influencing matters of national policy again, which he would be undoubtedly doing were Hillary to win the election. Hillary’s policies are enough to keep me from voting for her, aside from the fact that I don’t believe, based on Scripture, that a woman should be in a position of authority like that. Combine this with Bill’s wickedness and the shaky family life manifested in all of this, and the Clinton’s are the last couple I want to see in the White House.

Since the debate, another well-known adulterer, Rudy Giuliani, has dropped out of the race. I rarely sit through even a few minutes of the 700 Club, so I don’t know who, if anybody, Pat Robertson has taken to endorsing since Rudy’s withdrawal. When Robertson first endorsed Giuliani, the Christian conservatives of the country were vocal in their disbelief that Robertson could endorse someone who is “pro-choice”. Robertson responded by pushing the abortion issue to the side and expressing his great concern over the “war against terrorism”. How the one issue could trump the other is beyond me, aside from my disagreements with Robertson over the war. More important to me, though, is Giuliani’s marital infidelity. How could a man who couldn’t keep his vows to his wife be trusted to keep his vow to uphold the Constitution? And how could this not concern someone like Robertson? This will continue to be an issue with Giuliani if, as may be the case, McCain wins the Republican nomination and chooses Giuliani as his Vice-President.

One thing that the Clinton – Lewinsky scandal proved, as does the case of Rudy Giuliani, is that for most people in our time, the character of a person is irrelevant. It is irrelevant in daily life, and it is equally irrelevant for those in positions of authority. Sure, there are things that a person can do that will destroy his chance of running for office – murder, for instance (that is, murder not sanctioned by the Government). But sexual immorality is largely considered a private matter and unrelated to one’s qualifications with regard to public office. I would disagree strongly with such a belief, and, more importantly, so does Holy Scripture and the God of Holy Scripture.

There are also other character issues involved that go relatively unaddressed, such as the fact that excessive taxation is theft, irresponsible fiscal policy is bad stewardship, and the Nanny State is forced slavery and an attack on the image of God in one’s fellow man. These are ignored even more than the issue of sexual immorality, but are equally worthy of consideration. But other than mentioning these in passing, I will have to reserve the discussion of them for another occasion.

On the basis of this, I offer the following quotes from the 19th century Southern Presbyterian minister Robert Lewis Dabney on a Christian approach to electing government officials. The third paragraph is especially of interest in the current debates, as it addresses the need for officials who are careful in the speed at which they send troops to war. Note also Dabney’s warnings of the judgment of God. For him, God was not to be reserved to some sort of religious realm, as distinct from politics or other social matters. God is the God of everything, and those Christians who would seek to put aside their faith when entering the “political arena” are, in effect, betraying the God to whom they belong.

Here, then, is a prominent duty, if we would save our country, that we shall carry our citizenship in the kingdom of heaven everywhere, and make it dominate over every public act. We must obey the law of God rather than the unrighteous behests of party, to “choose out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such over them to be rulers,” of God will assuredly avenge Himself for our violated allegiance to him. The Christians of this country must sternly claim that wicked or reckless men shall no longer hold the helm of state; that political orthodoxy shall no longer atone for the worst offense against citizenship, a wicked life.

…When you elevate a bad man, you give to him a hundred-fold more power of example to corrupt your sons, and your neighbor’s sons by his evil acts. Those acts are a hundred-fold more conspicuous and more weighty to attract notice and imitation than if you had left him in his deserved obscurity. When you delegate your money, influence or civic power to a bad man, you make his wicked official acts and influences your own; he is your chosen agent, and acts for you, and be assured a jealous God will not forget to visit the people for the guilt thus contracted.

…And when the rash representatives in our halls of legislation and our newspapers shall have sown the wind, who will reap the whirlwind? When they have scattered the dragon’s teeth, who must meet that horrent crop which they will produce? Not they alone, but you, your sons, your friends and their sons. So that these misleaders of the people, while you so weakly connive at their indiscretions, may indirectly be preparing the weapon which is to pierce the bosom of your fair-haired boy, and summoning the birds of prey, which are to pick out those eyes whose joy is now the light of your happy homes. For your own sakes, for your children’s sake, arise, declare that from this day no money, no vote, no influence of yours shall go to the maintenance of any other counsels than those of moderation, righteousness and manly forbearance.


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