Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of Patriots and Disciples

This one's gonna be all over the place, folks. Leave now (if you are prone to mental motion sickness) or buckle up and hang on.

Politics and religion. The two things you're not to talk about in polite company. I get that. I really do. Especially this election cycle. People on both sides are ALL keyed up and tense. oooohweeeee.

Keyed up. and *tense*.
(picture my quick, violent head shaking, lips loosely flapping).

So, after determining that the old adage is, in fact, more than just a 'serving suggestion' (at work, anyway), I have ceased 'talking politics' at work. Religion (of all things) seems a tamer topic. Go figure.

Problem is, for me, religion and politics cannot be separated. Not, "I choose not to" separate. Can. Not. Be Separated. The one (religion), absolutely defines the other (politics). They are a meld-y, gooey, intertwined salt-water-and-light-taffy whole.

So, here's where I'm at with religion and politics and why.

I became a Christian in 1992, when GHW Bush was in office. And he was elected after 8 (glorious and unappreciated by the former me) years of leadership by conservative poster-child Ronald Reagan. My politics were radically changed as I grew to know and love Jesus more and more. I effortlessly aligned my political allegiance with conservative Republicans (oooh. I said the 'c' word).

And so, I voted Bush ('96) and Bush ('00) and Bush ('04). And I noticed that when the Dems were 'in the house', my pocketbook was fatter (education and health care tend to do better, therefore my salary increases. This is, of course, off-set by the TAX increases that also come with Dems, but we are not talking about that now). So, over time the joke in my mind was, "Hmmmm...should I vote my conscience or vote my paycheck?" haha BTW, my conscience wins every time. There really is no question of that at all.

So, here we are again. Same place we were after 8 years of Reagan and 4 years of Bush Senior, which led to 8 years of Clinton, which led to 8 years of Bush, which will lead to ....sigh. It's all just a bunch of backlash every few years. As the nation looks to a political party to change the nation in the way they hope and are sorely disappointed, the tide shifts and the 'other guys' get in. Am I right?

This was my aha moment (actually I had one moment and one sloooow realization): the aha moment came as I listened to live radio, as the votes were counted regarding the impeachment hearing for (then) President Clinton. And the Republican-led Senate, who at the time, had quite a swell of emotion and momentum from the citizens and the House of Representatives, *refused* to do what I felt was their duty: represent their constituents, uphold the law and impeach the President.

(from Wikipedia...
Former President of the United States Bill Clinton
was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998, and acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. The charges, perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power arose from the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Paula Jones law suit. The trial proceedings were largely party-line, with no Democratic Senators voting for conviction and only five Democratic Representatives voting to impeach. In all, 50 senators voted "not guilty," and 50 voted "guilty" on the obstruction charge. The Senate also acquitted on the charge of perjury with 55 votes cast as "not guilty," and 45 votes as "guilty."


Big. Bad. Bummer.
But oh well. Next up, was GW Bush's Presidency.

W. The man who I admired for stating that "Jesus Christ" was the person who had had the most influence on him.
Was I happy? ummm...duh. Yeah. I was thrilled. This wasn't just some random guy who happened to think like I do, but a very important someone!; someone who just happened to be the head of the nation and the leader of the Republican-led Congress. Woohoo! *Now* things were gonna start happenin'!!!

And they did....sort of. Faith-based initiatives were put into place, but they were so restrictive in their micromanagement that most agencies found they couldn't work effeciently within their confines.

That's OK. Let's move along. We can overturn Roe v. Wade.

Slooooowly, so slowly, it dawned on me that that was not going to happen. It wasn't even on any 'politician's' radar, really.
And I could hear the echoes of my wise, Mennonite friend, Julie, saying, "They are just men. You cannot expect a political party or an elected official to change the nation. It's not going to happen."

And she is right. I am so sorry to say that she is right. You cannot legislate morality (that's a spin on Julie's wisdom).

I love my country. You would be hard pressed to find a more patriotic husband and wife team, than M and I. We love our land. We study our country's history. We study the founder's journals and writings. We pray for our leaders (whomever they are). We hug soldiers. We attend parades. I cry at national cemetaries. I cry when soldiers come home to be buried. We place our hand over our hearts as the "Star Spangled Banner" is played/sung or the flag passes by. We teach our children to do the same.

I believe that our nation was founded by Christian men to *be* a Christian nation. I am aware that this view is not deemed to be savvy, hip or cool.
But I believe it is true.

I also believe that our nation is the best example of a Christian government experiment that has ever been established. Based upon Judeo-Christian values, our nation owes it's greatest thoughts, men, laws and documents to the Bible itself. I pray our nation will continue to prosper, to bless others for a long while.

But ultimately, I already know how the story of the world ends. The God Team wins. But, the Bible is clear. it will be uhhh-uhhhh-ugly*, before that happy day comes.

So, from this point on, by head is clearer. My heart is undivided. Will I cease voting my conscience? Not at all. It is a great, priceless privilege to be able to cast a free and secret ballot for the persons who will represent me. I will vote. But I will not place my complete faith and trust in mere men. Even those who profess Jesus as Lord, are but men.

So, I will vote and I will pray and I will continue to tell others of the wonderful, loving Person that created me, saved me, changed me, loves me and leads me. And I will pledge my ulitmate allegiance to Him.

May God continue to bless America.

2 Chronicles 7:14

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

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