The events of last month surrounding the confirmation by the US Senate of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, revealed a new low for the respect of America’s government, of the people, by the people, and for the people.
The two major political parties seem to be as far apart as they have ever been. The written document called the party platform shows the difference of key issues facing the present health and future of our country. But the dangerous divisions lie even deeper. We seem to have lost respect and dignity for the process that keeps people on track in assuring virtue and honor are attached to the ideas most valuable for the good of families and communities who make up America. The biggest problem of all is our distance from respect for God’s ways, and importance in keeping us on track. So political power seems more imprtant than it really should be.
This power hungry trend showed up strongly in the confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh had gone through the vetting process already a number of times (for the lower court positions he served in), had a proven record for fairness and responsible decision making, and his qualifications were impeccable. A group of people driven by the ideology of one of the political parties mounted a coordinated effort of falsehoods, character assassination attempts, physical violence, and other tactics demonstrating the lowest level of moral character ever in the history of our political system.
Perhaps most troubling is that this trend downward is encouraged by the top party leadership. Published reports of Hillary Clinton’s comments on 9th of October quote her as saying there should be civil unrest until their party gets it way. This party’s Congressional Representatives have made public statements wishing physical harm on political opponents. Other party leaders have made statements that are code words for things like, “lying is okay,” “hurting people is okay if they don’t agree with you,” “whatever it takes to win is justifiable.” Followers and the sources donating to these political figures are encouraging and financing mobs to stir up division and unrest, taking forms of racism, sexism, and the like.
Civil societies must rely on rules of engagement. Playing a sport is a good illustration of how this works. Imagine the fans response to a referee who seems to make up the rules as he goes. From the players perspective, knowing the rules and how they will be interpreted by the referees, is vital to success on the field. Competent execution of teamwork can only be possible if all the team members are familiar with the rules, and interpreting them as one unit. Declaring a winner in a game is predicated by both teams playing by the exact same rules. The referees job is to ensure that happens.
If our elected officials are the players, then we the voters are the referees. We are endowed with the task of insisting that these players play by the rules. Each individuals vote counts toward keeping the elected officials honest in governing so the best interests of the people are served, and not the elected officials themselves. To vote intelligently, we must make judgment calls regarding actions performed by the players. In this process truth becomes a vital concern.
Truth is the foundation for all moral judgment, but truth does not always line up with public opinion. Public opinion is largely formed by the traditional journalism media. This has become a problem because about 93% of the media endorse one particular political party. This is a serious conflict of interest. For decades, the media have shown more and more favoritism towards so-called liberal ideology. The so-called fake news of recent years proves to us that media cannot be trusted for unbiased information upon which to base judgments regarding the best candidates in elections. Moreover, the party they choose to favor is the party trying to create the most division in our social structure.
Several years ago I quit watching network television news for many reasons. It shapes public opinion, one mind at a time. I realized I could not stay clear of their bias without totally abstaining from their influence on my mind. I don’t want the negative narratives of the media to influence how I think and respond to life events. Much of their spin on the truth is designed to create a negative emotional response based on fear. At best this amounts to manipulation, but at worst this amounts to propaganda and the rapid spread of evil. Mixing this dynamic into the political arena (for example the way Mr. Kavanaugh was treated), is one of the most dangerous threats to the well-being of our nation.
I am not saying all this to be alarmist, or to attack specific individuals. I wish I had more space to share more thoughts and evidence. Here are some books I’ve read recently, or have on my reading list to reveal the truth. I encourage the reader to check them out. A great short book is Andy Andrew’s book called, “How Do You Kill 11 Million People: Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think.” Another book is Eric Bolling’s “Wake Up America: The Nine Virtues That Made Our Nation Great--and Why We Need Them More Than Ever.” Another is Tucker Carlson’s “Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution.” Another is Howard Kurtz’s “Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War Over the Truth.” Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer wrote, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President.” Writing from a faith perspective, the well known journalist Joe Bartaglia has written, “The Politically Incorrect Jesus: Living Boldly in a Culture of Unbelief.” Another is Erwin Lutzer’s “The Church in Babylon.” Authors Eric Metaxas, George Barna, Josh McDowell, and many others are warning of trends that need to be reversed for our nation to survive. Of course the Bible is the greatest source of truth and books like Proverbs share wisdom that transcends all peoples, places, and times.
God is the source of all truth. Respecting God is the beginning of all wisdom (Proverbs). There was a time in our nation when our leaders showed much more honor for God (and his guidelines for living) than we see presently. In our system of government, each individual has the responsibility of helping referee our leaders’ commitment to truth. Our voice (whistle) is a vote in an election. God followers must pray, engage, and vote for candidates who are demonstrating actions which honor God and honor his created people. Speech doesn’t cut it. Many candidates say the right words without actions consistent with a true meaning of their words. We are called to pray and seek God’s guidance.
Sometimes it is difficult to discern who is telling the truth. Seeking out voter guides from reputable organizations who monitor positions valued by people of faith is helpful. It has become necessary to drastically limit exposure to media with negative narratives to deceive and divide. We hear a lot of talk about how divided we are, but I think we are more deceived than divided. We are seeing more and more good-willed people being decieved and believing things that simply are not true. Don’t allow yourself to be one of them.
Regardless of political party affiliation (or non-affiliation), we must take seriously our responsiblity to engage our system of government. We must hold those in office and seeking office to standards of truth. A quote by Edmond Burke I heard many years ago still rings true, “The only thing necessary for the evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. History has proven this over and over again. In the Germany of the 1930’s and 40’s, Deitrich Bonhoeffer also had it right when saying, “Not to speak, is to speak. Not to act, is to act.” Hitler’s lies deceived multitutdes because truth was treated casually. Speaking up and taking action are essential. A person can only be a friend of truth by applying the truth in his or her own life, AND in everything touching their life. Truth requires participation, or the foes of truth may win. There is no middle ground. Truth and passivity cannot co-exist.
Prayer is important. Uniting in prayer with others is also important (see PrayinUnity.org). But prayer is not a substitute for action. Becoming informed takes action, A great source Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), has just launched a 24 hour news channel (see CBNNews.com). Voting is a necessary action. I heard prayer warrior Cindy Jacobs say, “Voting is a spiritual act because, we are called to steward our nation.” Some may be called to further action through service in elected or non-elected government offices.
When I hearChristians say, “politics is not the answer, but Jesus is the answer,” I am in agreement. However, politics is part of an answer that cannot be avoided. Living out the Truth in all areas of life is commanded by Christ himself, in order to be called a follower of Christ. Christ did not come to this earth to bring political revolution, but he did come to bring a counter revolution to political systems. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The political arena is yet another sphere where the glory of God is meant to shine on the earth. Let’s do our part in making it happen. Pray, seek the truth, and take action!
by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry