Voting our Values
It took approximately one hundred years for the principles of freedom embodied in the heart of the Declaration of Independence to be granted to all Americans regardless of race, creed, or gender. The expansion of freedom in our nation’s history resulted from men and women who understood the idea of self-government established by the founders and got involved in the process of making that a reality for every American. The Declaration of Independence would be nothing more than an archaic document today if not for the men and women who dared to live by what it says.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
From the start, the frame found in those precious fifty-six words in the heart of the Declaration of Independence would have amounted to nothing more than a hoped for ideology. It was the actions of the fifty-six Signers who embraced those ideals that turned them into a living reality. Our Founding Fathers had the faith to back up what they believed with action. We must do the same today.
We know the importance of faith in action. The Good Book reminds in James 2:26 that “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” What good is freedom of religion if we are not exercising our faith in every arena?
One action that should be taken within the faith community is a reversal of the mindset that encourages a divide between the secular and spiritual aspects of our lives. This split mentality has only served one purpose: to neuter the voice of people of faith and remove us from having a positive influence on our culture.
I am always hearing from good people who tell me that they do not want to get involved in politics because of all the unethical, evil, and corrupt people in that arena. Believe me, I know the truth of that from personal experience, but that fact only reinforces the reason why values voters ought to be taking more of a role in the process of governing our nation.
The political world can be a corrupt environment at times. I have experienced the dirty side firsthand, but I look at it this way. When our sons play in mud puddles, my wife does not abandon the boys; she simply washes away the dirt. When our house gets dirty, we do not move; we get out the disinfectant and start scrubbing. The political arena is no different. Rather than walking away from it because some have muddied the waters, we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work cleaning up the mess. After all, this is our home. Our government belongs to us. It was designed to operate by the consent of the governed and the reason we do not see more Biblical principles at work in the political arena is simply because not enough people of faith are taking part in the process. Too many have walked away and left the other kids playing in the mud!
What will be left to our children and grandchildren, unless people of faith determine today to once again be a part of the political process? We must perform our duty as stewards of the torch of freedom which has been entrusted to us.
President James Garfield, who was also a revival preacher in the Second Great Awakening, said:
Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.
If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.
Who represents the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation?
So let us each do our part to let our voices be heard and our values counted. That requires our participation in the process by voting and letting our elected officials hear our opinions throughout the year. It means voting our values and then holding the elected officials accountable to make sure they do in office what they said on the campaign trail they would do.
The best way for you to help increase the number of faith voters is to hold a voter registration drive at your church or synagogue. I highly recommend “Champion the Vote” and their tools found at ChampionTheVote.com, especially the church voter registration drive kit found here.