In his centennial address to Congress in 1876, President James A. Garfield 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 [one hundred years from now] 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.” (James Garfield, “A Century of Congress,” Atlantic, July 1877, p. 63-64)
I do not know of any greater group of people to reflect the morality of this nation and restrain political forces, than those who represent our churches. Whether or not we choose to engage, I assure you that others who do not share our values already are. Absent our influence, their values will by default be reflected instead.
Please don’t think for a moment that I am implying that America’s greatest need is a political solution, it is not. America needs the touch of God to stir our hearts in a national revival. What I am describing however, is our responsibility to step up and engage in the political process. Throughout American history, our pulpits have proclaimed biblical truth. God has used these messages to stir a nation to collectively remember its conscience. This preaching, and the action that should follow it, is desperately needed today. We cannot expect elected leaders at the state or national level to vote consistent with biblical values, if our pulpits or the people in the pew remain silent on these matters.
It is to our shame that such a high percentage of people who hold to biblical values, remain unregistered to vote – or simply refuse to vote. Let me remind you that unless we engage, we have no right to expect anything different from our elected officials. Names like Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner and Vito Lopez will continue to appear on ballots so long as we permit it.
When Christians engage their government, we can win, but we have to suit up and show up on game day. Thank you for your support that allows us to remain on the field.