How can a government designed by and for flawed human beings of diverse philosophies and beliefs be anything but flawed itself? If truth and justice must be submitted to a committee for approval, how will either survive? These are the kinds of questions that this staunch supporter of our American government and Constitution wrestles with. Our founders recognized the enormity of the task before them and did an excellent job of crafting a system of checks and balances that they imagined could keep human nature in check. Yet even they realized it was not really up to the task. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
We get angry when our leaders compromise, but everything we have is built on compromise. Compromise is both the boon and the bane of any system that relies on democratic procedure. When the people can vote for what they want, the system only works when the people want what they should. Someone always loses, and if the majority turns their hearts to evil, it will be those on the side of truth. The fall of the society is not far behind, because whatever the prevailing belief system is, nations that neglect truth and justice eventually destroy themselves.
If I am to be ruled by men, I would prefer to live under a government where at least some mechanism exists to keep evil in check. Ours comes closer than anything that has gone before. If there is an argument against that statement it is God’s design for the nation of Israel before they demanded a king, but again that only worked when the people were willing to obey Him. The same is true for us, and that is the dilemma that confronts the Christian in our society. We stand for freedom, but that same freedom works just as well for the believer in lies as it does the believer in the truth. I say that in a political sense.
How far does our freedom go? The vast majority of us would agree that it is limited at minimum by things that would cause harm to others. We are all against murder, though some of us don’t seem to mind it too much as long as the victim is an innocent unborn child. We’re all against theft unless we can get the government to do it for us. Somehow it isn’t a crime anymore if we do not personally assault or even see the victim. We could free up a lot of jail space if we applied this principle uniformly.
What are we to do when the truth and the law are in conflict? We’re told to obey the law, but is that obedience unconditional? For example, does God require a Christian mother living in China to abort her second child because the law says she must? Where do we take a stand? I think that our founders would say it was long before now. Read The Declaration of Independence. This isn’t China, but if some among us have their way someday it could be.
I do not suggest we take up arms, but I do suggest that it is well past the time for the church to become unashamedly involved in government. Contrary to what you may have been taught, our Constitution does not forbid this. It only prevents government from establishing a national religion, understood at the time to refer to a particular sect of the Christian religion. I keep saying this because I believe it is essential to our survival. We have not only the right but the obligation as Christians to steward well the power afforded us by our Constitution. Stand for the truth, remembering always that the real solutions lie in the hearts of the people. Be involved in government from the local to the national, but always be ready with the message of the Gospel, where our true salvation is found.