Mini Maos

Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976) to centralize his power and influence, and purge capitalist, traditionalist, and nationalist elements from Chinese society. His campaign led to abuse where millions of people were stripped of profession, livelihood, possessions, liberty, and even life, all without due process on the basis of a simple accusation by a member of the Red Guard or other complicit political group. Physicians were forced to clean toilets, builders and engineers were made to harvest crops by hand, business leaders were stripped of the businesses they built and forced into labor camps, university professors were required to attend reeducation sessions (indoctrination), and all of this based on unsubstantiated accusations. Contrary to Mao’s intentions, these actions paralyzed China politically and severely damaged its economy and society. His actions did, however, utterly destroy countless innocent lives in the process.

It’s striking to me to watch an American version of this develop in our freedom-loving nation where our citizens are now guilty until proven innocent and due process is just a dusty and irrelevant concept of a bygone jurisprudence.  What’s more striking is that the source of so much of this incitement is a growing list of politicians who inspire mob rule, encourage violence against colleagues they disagree with, promote harassment in public places including restaurants and retail centers, and slander with the cynical partnership of a media that can’t discern the truth if it bit them on the behind. Eclipsing all of this is the complete destruction of a public servant’s reputation and family with a methodology and fervor that would make Mao proud.  These politicians, most of them lawyers by trade, were taught early in law school about due process, the presumption of innocence, and the meaning of corroborating evidence, but choose to set aside these sacred elements of the American legal system for political reasons (the same motivation as Mao). Flipping our legal system upside down may seem like a good idea when it potentially benefits a person or group, but what happens when that system is then flipped on them?

To say our nation faces a political identity crisis is an understatement. Many Republicans have become Democrats and many Democrats have become Socialists.  One thing we don’t have to be confused about is our foundational and shared values as Americans. It is obvious, and sad, that some of our leaders have slipped into a political abyss by adopting Maoist tactics to advance their standing and power. My hope is that Americans of all political persuasions who value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, who honor our constitution and institutions, who respect the rule and process of law, and who put our country above their own self-interests would rise up, reject, and resist such practices and return to a spirit of civility. Those who are perfectly willing to trade principles for power by employing these tactics must be held accountable.  The best way to do that is during this election cycle. Vote for those who share our American values and not for the mini Maos.

The Consequences of Standing on the Wrong Platform

democratic-vs-republican-party-in-america-republican-democrat-xlc8wc-clipartJesus told the story of two houses built upon two entirely different foundations, one on sand and the other on rock. When the storm came, the house built on sand collapsed, but the house built on the solid foundation survived.  What was the reason for the differing outcomes?  Was it the type of house?  Was it the severity of the storm?  Was one builder just fortunate?  No, the outcome was entirely based on the integrity of the foundation.  During the 2016 election, a choice will be made to once again either build upon the sand or a solid foundation.  That foundation is the official platform for each of the major political parties.

Like a building foundation, the political platform, a party’s statement of official values and positions, will affect how well our nation weathers future storms and challenges. Political candidates will come and go, but the ideas, values, and agendas remain for generations.  Too many Christians have bought into the lie that the presidential election of 2016 is about two personalities.  The truth is the election is about two different views of the world and two different directions for the United States.  Both candidates are deeply flawed but we must look beyond the personality and potential time in office and discern and project what policy and cultural legacy they will leave behind for the next 50 years.  The two major party candidates represent two very different platforms, and the values, views, and policies reflected in those platforms will impact our country long after the candidates are gone.  

The consequences of standing on the wrong platform will be severe and lasting and why I believe this truly is the most critical election of my lifetime.  We will have Supreme Court justices who bend the constitution to suit political ideology and persuasion. We will have the unrestricted slaughter of the unborn, including late term elective abortion such as partial birth abortion.  We will have an all out assault on our right of religious expression, teaching, autonomy, and practice.  We will watch our right to bear arms watered down and severely restricted.  We will see rampant wickedness and abomination further normalized in our nation.  We will watch the greatest healthcare system in the world devolve into a single payer system where medicare and social security are raided and destroyed, where healthcare premiums skyrocket, and where quality is compromised.  We will lose our national autonomy to the march of globalism putting world interests above the interests of our people.  Socialistic policies will continue to drain our national wealth rather than increasing it.  The national debt will balloon to nearly 30 trillion dollars.  Corruption and collusion in the government between the Justice Department, the FBI, the State Department, the White House, and the Clinton campaign will never be brought to accountability.  The economic stagnation experienced under Obama (the only president with no quarter with GDP at 3 percent in U.S. history) will continue because of poor tax policy and over regulation.  Our foreign and military policy will continue to lack common sense, vision, cohesion, and execution trying to control monsters like ISIS instead of releasing our full war capabilities to annihilate them. We will continue to follow immigration policies that violate our current laws, disregard rules of fairness, and ignore our security.  Energy policies will continue to destroy American jobs while failing to tap our own  resources toward energy independence. Inner cities like Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, and Milwaukee, completely neglected by Obama, will continue to crumble under the weight of crime, unemployment, degradation, and failing schools.  

As believers we have the responsibility to evaluate the platforms of the political parties through the eyes of Scripture.  For the purposes of comparing the most critical components of the platforms, consider where the Republicans (R) stand, where the Democrats (D) stand , and where the Kingdom of God (K) stands on the issues:

The Sanctity of human life:  (R) Life begins at conception and should be protected.  (D) Abortion should be on demand, without restriction and funded with tax money.  (K) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Marriage:  (R) Marriage is between one man and one woman.  (D) The definition of marriage should include anyone a person loves.  (K) “God made a woman and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22).

Religious liberty:  (R) Religious speech and practice is constitutionally protected.  (D) Religious speech and practice is subservient to protected lifestyles.  (K) “Preach the truth in love” (Ephesians 1:5).

God in government:  (R) Rights given by God trump human or government given rights. (D) God has no legitimate role in government or place in the platform.  (K) “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

Israel:  (R) The security of Israel is supported unconditionally and it’s capitol is Jerusalem.  (D) There should be a two-state system with no claim of Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol.  (K)  “I will bless those that bless thee, and curse those who curse thee” (Genesis 12:3).

America’s security:  (R) ISIS is an existential threat to our security and way of life and must be destroyed.  (D) The greatest threat to our national security is climate change. (K) “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason.  They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4).

America’s place in the world:  (R) The interests of the United States should be placed above the world.  (D) The interests of the United States are subservient to those of the world.  (K) “The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth” (Daniel 7:23).

Like many of you, I find different aspects of each candidate disappointing and distasteful. But I have made the quality decision to look beyond the personality and the limited time each would be in office and consider the long-term implications of their policies and agenda on our nation, our children, and our children’s children.  Instead of the candidate, I am voting for the platform and the future impact of that platform on the country I love.  I am voting for the platform that best aligns with the Kingdom of God. Christian, if you believe that abortion, redefining marriage, restriction of religious liberty, the exclusion of God from government and public life, the manipulation and persecution of Israel, lip service to threats to our national security, and advancing globalism at the expense of our national interests lines up with the Kingdom of God, then please do vote for the Democrat. If, however, you reject the death and darkness of the Democratic platform choosing instead life and light, then you should join me in supporting the Republican nominee for president.  I encourage you to assess which platform is better for building a great nation, sand or rock?

 

Trump, Clinton, and The Cyrus Effect

clinton_trump_splitLike many God-fearing believers around the country, I have struggled to make sense out of this election cycle. After suffering the radical progressive policies of the past 8 years, I long for someone to take the helm of this great nation who has the spiritual and leadership credentials to bring restoration, healing, security, and prosperity back to our country (you know, someone with the moral and spiritual depth and maturity of a Billy Graham mixed with the economic, policy, and communication prowess of a Ronald Reagan).  After a long and contentious primary season that feels like Alice in Wonderland, we seem to be left with Tweedledee on the right and Tweedledum on the left.

I realize there are some Christians and Christian leaders who will exhort us all to just preach Jesus and stay out of the political arena altogether, but that position is out of sync with our nation’s history and inconsistent with God’s demonstrated concern for the nations as indicated in the prophecies to the nations in Isaiah. No, God is very much concerned with the governance of nations and He uses the nations throughout time as instruments of his purpose and plan.  I believe He still has a great plan for our country. The truth is we have a Scriptural, moral, and civic responsibility to participate and not in a LBJ IRS amendment “churches keep your mouths shut kind of way.”  We as Christians are citizens of the United States and we did not forfeit our citizenship or constitutional rights when we joined a church or accepted the call into the ministry.  We simply cannot stick our heads in the sand while our national fabric is unraveling, our country is being drained morally and financially, our future is being held hostage, and our people are being slaughtered around the world with no clear champion to defend them.

Between 597 B.C. and 581 B.C. the Jewish people were exiled to be held captives in Babylon where they cried out to Almighty God for their deliverance: “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion” (Psalm 137:1).  If you were to gather the rulers and elders of Israel together in that captive place and asked them what their deliverer from captivity would look like, I’m sure they would be thinking of a Moses or a David like historical and biblical figure to execute that deliverance. Shockingly, Isaiah prophesied that Israel’s help would come from a total pagan ruler, Cyrus, and worse yet, God would have the audacity to use messianic terms to describe him: “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him…so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.  For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen…though you do not acknowledge me” (Isaiah 45:1-5). Cyrus came to power 170 years after the prophecy, captured Babylon in 539 B.C. and two years later decreed Israel’s return to their homeland, the rebuilding of the temple, and that the treasury of Cyrus would pay the bill (2 Chronicles 36; Ezra 1).

I mentioned to my sister back in January of 2016 that I believed something is going on in this nation that transcends normal politics, political parties, and political alliances.  By the millions, born again Christians have been crying out to God on behalf of our nation for years, a country being held captive philosophically and spiritually. God’s dealings with man throughout history reveal one important lesson that may have some application to our nation’s current election cycle – we have the right and liberty to cry out for deliverance, but just like the Jewish leaders in Babylon, that does not mean we get to choose through whom that deliverance will come.  Too many Christians are looking for a president that would qualify for a deacon, Sunday school teacher (Jimmy Carter was a great Sunday school teacher), or pastor in their church forgetting that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:9).  

I believe we are experiencing our own Cyrus moment in the United States this year.  My candidate of choice in the primary did not survive the process (and considering his behavior at the RNC I’m glad) so it looks like I have a choice between Tweedledee (Trump) and Tweedledum (Clinton).  Despite the misgivings and ambivalence I may have toward both candidates, the question is simply who is most likely to be an agent of that deliverance?  Who appears to have the favor of God?  To me, Tweedledum has demonstrated failed leadership as a Senator and Secretary of State, she holds policies and values that are completely contradictory to mine, and she does not possess a clear moral compass as indicated by the never-ending ethical issues.  Tweedledee, a recently born again believer, is a brash, blunt, bold, and successful businessman who lacks the polish and couth (but also lacking the veneer) of a seasoned politician, but says things that resonate with many disillusioned and alienated Americans.  

I have concluded during this election cycle given the enormous stakes, including the fact that the next president will most likely appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices, to put away my grocery list of likes and dislikes and attempt to discern God’s big picture agenda and his Cyrus for this moment in U.S. history.  At the risk, well, of alienating everyone, and although as distasteful to some Americans and Christians as Cyrus was no doubt to the Jews who benefited from his political, military, economic, and human rights policies, I believe the mantle of Cyrus is on Tweedledee during this turbulent and unprecedented election season as an agent of change, not based on his spiritual or political credentials, but based simply on God’s sense of humor, penchant for irony, the prayers of his people, and directional sovereignty. Of course, time will shortly tell.

 

 

The Tower of Babel, Version 2.0

Tower of BabelSociety generally teaches us today that our ultimate success and direction in life is not so much about our decisions, our choices, or our actions, but the impact and influence of the societal collective. This is the essence of a culture focused on dethroning God and replacing divine authority with human consciousness, intelligence, and ingenuity. We’ve seen this before many times in world history including the infamous building and subsequent destruction of the tower of Babel where man basically snubbed his nose at a holy God declaring, “we don’t need you – we can get along nicely all by ourselves.” Thus is the essence and arrogance of socialism – a man-centered attempt to direct his affairs, chart his own course, and solve his own challenges. The problem with this reasoning is that the more man strives to fix the problems his own darkened understanding has created, the worse things become. The secular and humanistic leadership in the United States is taking up where the Babylonians left off by trying to resurrect a philosophy that will only result in the falling of whatever is built upon it.

Never before in my lifetime have we faced a more ominous threat to our nation than we do right now. Our nation today inaugurates the poster child of America’s incarnation of socialism, President Obama, for a second term. Without the drama and the pomp of the first inauguration where we rightly celebrated the election of the first black President in our nation’s history, today’s ceremony seems to be tempered by a weak endorsement of a leader whose slogan the past four years seemed to be, “it wasn’t me” (but at least he “doesn’t wear magic underwear” and can “sing a mean Al Green”). Our mandate as believers from Scripture is clear. We are to pray for our leaders and for those in authority so “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Let us pray fervently for the President and his administration, but let us look beyond the gleaming White House and Capitol Building to the face of God for the deliverance and restoration of our nation. For if the deconstruction of the Judeo-Christian ethic and influence in this nation continues, there will be no philosophy of man that can deliver this nation. History shows without exception that the nation that divorces itself from God and embarks on a course of so-called enlightened social theory and governance is destroyed. The hope of America is an awake church, a praying church, and expectant church that will press in and look for the very hand of God to manifest in our nation bringing the greatest awakening this nation has ever seen.

The Ministry of Voting

Voting is one of the greatest rights and privileges we have as citizens of the United States. Many, due to detachment or apathy, see no need to register to vote or make the relatively small effort to trek to the polling place during election season. As believers, we need to understand that voting is not just a right or privilege, it is a sacred responsibility and duty. Too much blood of our fighting men and women has been shed for the rights we enjoy in this land. Our people have been too blessed by God not to honor the unique place we have in the world as Americans by taking the time to seek God’s face and cast our vote in local, state, and nationwide contests.

In reality, for believers, voting is part of our ministry which means we are to let God’s love, will, and purpose flow through us in the context of voting. Ministry is service rendered in the name of the Lord and the Lordship of Jesus and our responsibility to minister is not suspended on election day. Our mandate as believers is to see voting as part of our ministry and we are therefore to minister our vote as unto the Lord following His direction and leadership.

This means grandpa’s political party is not the deciding factor in your vote. This means that the personal likeability of the candidate is not the deciding factor in your vote. This means that long standing alliances. affiliations, and affinities are not the deciding factors in your vote. As a child of God with access and understanding to the principles of the Word of God, we have a responsibility to minister our vote in a manner consistent with the values and standards of our God as revealed in that Word.

As we approach election day, it is important to remember that we are primarily and ultimately citizens and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God with a higher standard and different agenda than the world around us. We are, by the nature of our profession of faith, bound to allow the values of the Scripture to guide us in everything we do, including who we vote for at any level of government. As the Lord’s ambassador, your vote is even more important than, for example, the declaration of the will of the U.S. government at a vote of the UN security council. We all understand that the ambassador to the UN does not make up his or her mind how to vote, but they carry with them the will and directives of the administration that appointed and sent them to the UN in the first place.

As God’s representatives ministering our vote on His behalf we should keep in mind (1) the sanctity of human life, (2) the sanctity of human marriage as between one man and one woman, and (3) the integrity of Israel as a sovereign state. Any public servant that will not protect the unborn, will not openly support God’s standard for human marriage and sexuality, or will not boldly declare and back up with action our national support for Israel does not deserve the vote of a child of the Kingdom of God. Christians are allowed obviously to care about and express their opinions on the more carnal elements of an election cycle like how this affects us financially or how green our jobs are, but we must be careful to honor God’s heart and values when representing Him to the world through the election process and the casting of our vote.

Eyes Wide Open

At the risk of shocking most of the people that know me, I can’t stand quietly by when the President is attacked for making the best decision of his term – supporting the UN resolution endorsing the no fly zone in Libya and averting a sure massacre of thousands of people (my only problem is the delay of our response). Right now Obama is having a revelation that naive campaign rhetoric about U.S. military involvement is no substitute for the NSA briefings that come across his desk as the actual President.

Current and past Presidents must smile wryly at the bold declarations of candidates knowing full well the solemn realities that will face that person if they manage to win the election. Coming to terms with that reality, Obama has shunned the voices of isolationism and pacificism to do the right thing, for to whom much is given, much is required.

Great nations must embrace the cost and sacrifice of their prosperity, prominence, and power. Most powerful nations throughout history have used that power to control and oppress. Despite the internal and external voices of the America haters, this nation with a true sense of right more often than not, uses that power to help, support, and empower. True imperialists do not defeat their enemies then pay for their reconstructon. Truly oppressive nations do not invest billions in the infrastructure, food production, and security of non allied nations. I am glad to witness Obama embracing that legacy to follow in the footsteps of Presidents of all political parties who have chosen in times past to do what is most consistent with our national conscience and values – even if we don’t know the end from the beginning.

Vote the Blessing

I find it interesting in a nation whose founders were composed of a group with diverse backgrounds, occupations, and interests that the media and entertainment elite would attempt to vilify and ridicule candidates all over the nation who do not share their educational pedigree or political ideology. If a candidate meets the local, state or federal requirements for office, he or she should be applauded for being willing to step into the fray to make a difference. I mean really now, how have these well-seasoned and often Ivy League educated lifetime politicians handled our interests? Ironically head knowledge when it comes to public policy rarely translates into common sense or wisdom. Enough said.

As you head to the polls for midterm elections in a couple of weeks I want to challenge you to be “blessing minded” rather than “party minded.” Too many Christian Americans are tied culturally or politically to a robotic loyalty to a particular initial behind a candidate’s name rather than the quality of their character. This year I want to encourage every believer to look for candidates at all levels of government that walk in the blessing or empowerment of God. God’s blessing, a function of an individual’s standing in God, gives one the power to succeed, increase, excel, bear much fruit, and have longevity. Our nation needs God’s super added to our natural and we need men and women with an understanding of what it means to possess the blessing, walk in the blessing, and be a blessing.

With the blessing of God our representatives can turn this nation back to a place where God is honored in the corridors of power. With the blessing our elected officials can begin to receive insights, ideas, and concepts for solving our nation’s economic woes. With the blessing our public servants can perform at a level of understanding, expertise, efficiency, and excellence that is impossible otherwise no matter how well-educated or experienced a candidate may be. Overcoming the complex and challenging issues of our time requires a great amount of humility and a revelation that nothing is too hard for the Lord (as long as the Lord’s counsel on our problems is consulted and honored).

So, as you head to the voting booth this November, remember that it does not matter if the candidates are Independent, Republican, or Democrat. What matters is whether they have the blessing of God on their lives for public service. Listen carefully to their words and observe the fruit of their lives. You won’t be able to discern whether someone has the blessing on their life by listening to the talking heads on cable television (regardless of their political predisposition). We cannot afford to let ideologues of all kinds to demonize or marginalize ordinary citizens who raise families, run businesses, and honor God, and who feel the call to serve their countrymen in this critical hour.

This is a great year for throwing out the professional politicians and electing housewives, farmers, doctors, preachers, teachers, and laborers who will go to the state capitals and to Washington D.C. and do what is right rather than what will produce the most pork or score the most political points. Vote the blessing this year and watch the blessing begin to produce wisdom, solutions, and prosperity once again in this nation.

Mission to the Crescent Moon

“But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun–almost as hot as it is here today–and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out–then we must be bold.” – President John F. Kennedy, Rice Stadium Mission to the Moon Speech, September 12, 1962.

There is much I would not have had in common with President Kennedy had I lived during his presidency. His values and priorities differed from mine in many ways. But one thing I treasure from his time in the White House was his clear and exciting vision for space and space exploration. Kennedy tapped into and managed to execute some fundamentals of vision casting that the current administration should discover. For example, the vision must be huge (beyond anything we have ever attempted), compelling (able to capture the imagination of the masses and foster enthusiasm), focused (limited in its scope), time-based (a deadline for the goal must be set), and functional (matching the vision to a particular resource that can functionally accomplish the vision). Further, any great leader must possess the ability to see the vision, communicate the vision, allocate resources in the direction of the vision, and then persevere until the vision becomes reality. But it all starts with a bold vision and one that complements an entity, group, or agency rather than contradicting it.

This past year we saw the gutting of the greatest space exploration agency in the history of the world. Gone are the days of visionary leadership reflected in Kennedy’s historic speech on our national adventure to reach the moon. My own niece, after pursuing a graduate education for the express reason of serving within NASA and becoming decorated for her efforts together with her team, lost her job in the fray. Would we realistically shoot for Mars or set any other grand vision for NASA and our great nation or would some other purpose be established for our space agency that has been the envy of the world for fifty years?

Well, the answer is in. This past week the NASA director in the Obama administration revealed to news organizations that his chief goal for NASA, as directed by Obama, is to reach out to the Muslim world to encourage them for their contribution in math and sciences. Huh?!? I’m really starting to feel like Alice in Wonderland here trying to figure out how this agency would be pushed so far out of its charter to become the personal ambassador for Islam under this administration. Could you imagine if a sitting president made the NASA director’s top goal to reach out to the Jews or strengthen ties to the Vatican? President Kennedy cast a vision for a mission to the moon while our sitting President pushes a mission to the crescent moon.

I don’t like the socialistic bent of this administration, the out of control spending, the propensity to apologize on behalf of our nation for every ill ever known to man, or the shady back door deal making and intimidation that would make G. Gordon Liddy blush. But I (at the risk of going Glenn Beck for just a moment) simply cannot stand by and watch the ridiculous redirection of our nation’s agencies and resources to further an Islamic agenda when they should be activated for the accomplishing of a function that is consistent with the agencies’ stated purpose and resources and consistent with our long-term interests as a nation. We must pray for the eyes of our leaders throughout the nation to open to the reality that we are in a spiritual war that manifests itself as a cultural, political, or military war. This revelation will go a long way to slow our national descent down the slippery slope of false expectation and appeasement.

Mediscare

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance” (Psalm 33:12, NIV)

Today marks the historic signing of the landmark healthcare bill touted by some as the salvation of the nation and regarded by others as the final decent in to Armageddon. I don’t like the bill (and I’ll tell you why later), but I don’t think that any one piece of legislation is as good or bad as the voices in our land are portraying it. What concerns me more is the fear permeating every aspect of this process by everyone, every party, every media voice, and many of our citizens. We can take action, forge legislation, and make changes without throwing out common sense and faith and succumbing to fear. The fear surrounding this debate has given the enemy an opportunity to deceive, divide, and denigrate our people and our nation and this is why this healthcare initiative deserves the title, Mediscare, because it is proposed and opposed out of fear and fear always de-evolves into rancor, irrationality, and personal attacks by and upon all sides of the debate.

Right up front I will plainly state that I do not like the legislation for a litany of reasons. First, I don’t appreciate the manner in which the legislation was drafted (despite Obama’s promise repeatedly to create and draft this sweeping legislation with everyone’s input and televised – not the token roadshow broadcast recently). Second, this concept has been tried in earnest in Massachusetts and failed miserably (that effort proposed by a Republican) and in part in Tennessee with the same results. Third, our European friends that have already wandered down this path with one voice have warned us not to follow them. Fourth, the American people overwhelmingly have said (important in a democratic society) that they do not want this approach but that they want the government to start all over working together to forge substantive change in a bipartisan way. Fifth, when you have to basically bribe senators and congressmen in smoky back rooms out of the public eye and scrutiny to secure their vote it does not instill confidence in the product or the process. Sixth, this bill relegates control of over one-sixth of our economy to a federal bureaucracy that has proven its amazing management skills with such government entities as the post office, Amtrak, the Veteran’s Administration, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (need I say more). Seventh, as every nation that has adopted this direction in healthcare can tell you, healthcare quality and availability go down and the costs skyrocket. Eighth, our nation simply cannot afford a one trillion makeover when we already owe fourteen trillion in debt. The U.S. government apparently cannot seem to understand what every working family knows. If you can’t make the payments on your fifteen hundred square foot house, you don’t fix the problem by buying a ten thousand square foot house. If you can’t make the payment and insurance premiums on your clunker you don’t go out and buy a BMW. Ninth (wow), to mandate that individuals must purchase the privately sold product of healthcare insurance or face an IRS imposed, controlled, and collected fine (they call it a tax) is blatantly unconstitutional (and they know but don’t seem to care). Finally, I can’t stomach the expanded funding of abortion on demand with my tax dollars (you should know that no executive order trumps legislation). The right to life is the right that supersedes all other rights and should be protected at all costs and it is unconscionable to expect that pro-life believers should have to not only accept abortion, but fund it.

Despite these reservations, there is something troubling me more than the bill itself – the fear that has invaded every aspect of this debate and process. The debate should center around the merits (or lack thereof) of the legislation and not party affiliation, political philosophy or race. It grieves me and I know it hurts the heart of God for someone to oppose something on the basis of affiliation, philosophy or race. It is just as grievous to support something for the same reasons alone. But fear is like that. I mean when fear shows up sanity and critical thinking disappear and people default to what makes them feel secure (even if it is morally repugnant and biblically in error). It is racist to oppose legislation on the basis of the race, creed, or color of those that either initiate the proposal or benefit by the proposal but it is equally racist to say that because of a person’s race their views or proposals should not be criticized as if to say that because of their race their ideas will not survive scrutiny (that significantly devalues that individual).

I don’t lend my voice to politics or political parties (although I will vote and express my views on issues in light of the Word). My voice and allegiance are at the disposal of the Lord Jesus Christ and with that in mind I want to exhort people of faith from all parties, philosophies, and races (the Bible truly only teaches one race – the human race, but for understanding only do I use this term) to get back into faith concerning this initiative and any other initiative proposed by our government. Fear opens the door to all sorts of evil and believers have no business hooking back up to the enemy just because they have strong opinions on a civil matter. Our hope is the Lord, his Word, and his Kingdom. If we win or lose the argument or succeed or fail to pass the legislation we want, let’s remember that we are citizens of heaven first and we should never compromise our royal decorum as kings and priests together with him to feel, speak, and act like the world regardless of the importance of the issue. No debate is worth losing our witness and way as believers and no issue is worth losing the blessing on our lives, families, and churches.

So, have and express your opinion (I’ve expressed mine and I will vote in November accordingly because I too am a citizen of this nation), but if you have slipped into fear over this as evidenced by the venom in your heart or mouth for any party, philosophy, or background, knock it off, repent, and be the Christian you need to be in this messed up and confused world we live in. The fact is no political party truly represents the interests of the Kingdom of God so we are left with the task of evaluating political efforts and decisions in the light of the Word and not their platforms, websites, or press releases. Join me in believing God for legislation that is the product of faith rather than born out of fear or opposed out of fear because, “everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23, NIV).

Honor the King (but honor the Word more)

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, KJV).

“Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17, KJV).

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the 2008 Presidential election and the consequences of the decision of the American people on our future. As an individual American with strong values and convictions I could take this opportunity to decry the western European neo-socialism voted into power yesterday. I could bemoan the even greater threat the unborn will face with a chief executive with radical abortion views and a Senate Judiciary Committee controlled by individuals that are openly committed to picking Supreme Court Justices based on an ideology rather than qualifications. I could express my disappointment that the American electorate once again, like the election of 1992, voted on the basis of perceived economic expediency rather than on moral conviction. Finally, I could rant about the complete and total breakdown of journalistic integrity by most of the media in this nation. The double standard and bias were so obvious that it made me laugh out loud in disgust and talk to my television set on more than one occasion.

But I’m going to resist that temptation and take this opportunity to help believers respond biblically to the reality of the election of an administration that does not represent their values or interests. First, we should all be glad that racism has taken a huge punch in the face during this election cycle. From Obama’s Democratic caucus win in Iowa to the support he received among white voters from Maine to Colorado to North Carolina in the general election, it is clear that Dr. King’s dream that individuals be judged by their character and not their skin color is much closer to being realized than ever before. Second, we should all be thankful for the amazing way this nation transfers power. Come January, one administration with access to unbelievable resources and influence will peacefully and deliberately hand that power over to a new administration. This special transition, literally the envy of the entire world, is cause for all Americans to be very proud of their democracy. Third, regardless of who we voted for, the Scripture is very plain. We have the responsibility to “honor” our leadership (even though the previous President has been shown contempt beyond comprehension) and pray for those in authority. Our job now is to pray for the new President and believe that he will act in the nation’s best interest and in a manner consistent with the wisdom of the Scriptures. Our ability to live quiet and peaceable lives and achieve success in our primary mandate to share the gospel depends on true Christians in the United States standing in the gap for our leadership.

Don’t get me wrong though. When this administration veers down a path of contempt for the laws of God I will raise my voice through any means available to challenge that direction. I will not sit idly by (nor should you) if the new Department of Education attempts to nationalize the use of pro-homosexual materials in our nations elementary schools. I will speak up against the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion used erroneously in the name of the mother’s health and the expansion of abortion in this nation in general. I will not hold my peace if our State Department moves to alienate and pressure Israel to accept yet another false peace brokered at the expense of even more covenant land. After all, I did not surrender my citizenship the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ and I have every intention of doing my civic duty to bring some moral accountability to an administration that will have unprecedented political pressure to govern from the extreme left.