It is time to pray! Long before the United States began the current slide into moral decay, Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, admonished people of faith when he said, “…Half the Christians in America aren’t even registered to vote, and of those who are, only half go to the polls… When we withhold our influence and participation, we yield by default to those who promote immoral and destructive policies.”
For most of us, we have probably never seen or experienced an election cycle quite like the one playing out before our eyes. In a few days, we will choose our 45th President and perhaps set the course of our nation for decades to come. Some say the country has not been this divided since the tragic days of the Civil War when the United States was nearly ripped apart by the angst that flowed through its citizens.
Today, it’s left vs. right… liberals vs. conservatives… progressives vs. Constitutionalists… the secular vs. the religious. Promises are made by candidates and campaign slogans fill the airwaves, while accusations and counteraccusations pertaining to character, integrity, and trust have bombarded us for nearly two years. Yet, every political party in the public discourse still has their candidate standing in front of and waving the American flag.
So, perhaps it would be good to take a few steps away from the “noise” of this political season, humbly seek God for His discernment and wisdom, and ask ourselves, “What does the flag stand for really?” Citizenship comes with responsibility and for people of faith, so much is at stake in this election.
There is wisdom in reflecting on some of the strong voices that helped shape the nation. Daniel Webster, one of the greatest orators in U.S. history once said, “Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.”
Founding Father, Samuel Adams, offered a sober reminder to a fledgling country in its early formation, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he [or she] is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual, or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” He goes on, “If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men [or women] in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men [or women] will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded.”
We need to pay close attention to the positions, the platforms, and the core principles that each side stands for; as well as the people they are surrounding themselves with. John Quincy Adams, the sixth President, encouraged his constituents to, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost… The church must take right ground in regards to politics. The time has come for Christians to vote for honest men [and women]… God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. offered great perspective when he quoted the late Franklin D. Roosevelt,“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President, and senators, and congressmen, and government officials, but the voters of this country.”
And President Ronald Reagan drew us back once again to our essential core when quoting Peter Marshall, twice appointed Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, “The choice before us is plain: Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration. I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as American citizens. The time is come; it now is, when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship. America’s future depends upon her accepting and demonstrating God’s government.”
I cannot tell you how to walk out your sacred trust as a voter, but I do want to encourage you to prayerfully stand for godly principles, the sanctity and dignity of human life, our Constitution and those who will judge its meaning, and for our religious freedoms.