When the Founders wrote in the Bill of Rights,”Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion”, it was to keep America from having a state-mandated, state-supported church as they had in England. Yet liberal left-wingers, bent on their own secular agenda, have used this as a cudgel to keep Christians out of the public square. So what must Christians do? Yes, we all know that heaven is our ultimate home, but for now we must ‘mow the grass and weed whack’ on this planet. Leaving the government to God-dishonoring people would be a travesty of our calling as Christians and humans. Here are five duties toward government to consider:
Pay for your government: Paul wrote,”For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues; Tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” [Rom. 13:6-7]. Whether it’s income tax, sales tax, fees, or whatever, we are required to pay them. Even Jesus paid His taxes. That is not to say that taxes are always fair. Remember, our government is just as fallen as we are because of evil and the influence of evil. If taxes are not fair, that’s our signal to get involved and make sure the evil of over-taxing is restrained and people are rewarded with lower taxes so they can make their own financial decisions. If you don’t like how much government costs, get involved and help make changes. Be ready to offer constructive solutions. It will not get done by complaining.
Pray for our government: Paul also wrote,”Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” [1 Tim. 2:1-3]. You might have to pray for your senator or representative or the president through gritted teeth…but you should still do it. Prayer works, even on those in power. Proverbs 21:1 informs us,”The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; He turns it to any place He will.”
Praise our republic: The Bible says to give honor to whom honor is due. [Rom. 13:7]. Also, “Honor the king’. [1 Pet. 2:17]. Some Christians feel conflicted waving an American flag because the Bible says our ultimate citizenship is in heaven. But that’s like not being proud of the earthly family in which God placed you. It’s sort of like we are legal aliens living in a temporary country. For the time being we are Americans. There’s nothing wrong with patriotism. It’s a way of honoring a country to which honor is due. Our churches need to take time to remind congregations as to the good fortune we have as dual citizens.
Preach to our country: God’s people dare not be silent. As long as they are murdering babies and practicing infanticide, we should not be silent. As long as we have a government that is trying to normalize sexual perversion, we should not be silent. As long as they are handing out condoms to high school and junior high school students, we should not be silent. As long as a free-born American is told he/she cannot pray out loud anywhere, we should not be silent. We must not hesitate to preach to our government. We, as citizens, and as members of church organizations must say to our government,”Whatever is morally wrong is not politically right!” We must do this without fear of offending anyone or we could end up ‘offending’ God.
Participate in our government: Jesus said,”Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. [Mark 12:17]. Our highest allegiance is to God; our lesser allegiance is to our country. By great fortune and the will of God we are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If we do not participate in this government to the extent that we are able, we have not rendered to our “Caesar” the things that belong to him. So how do we do this? First of all engage. Don’t hide from what is going on around you. Be a regular consumer or checker of news websites and radio shows. Don’t shy away from TV news programs of all ‘flavors’. See what each have to say about the ‘facts’. Know when to raise your voice about a certain issue and learn to know what to pray for. That will equip you to share your informed perspective with others. And of course frequent time in the Bible will help in your decision process. Secondly, join something local. Some options include the school board, parent groups, or neighborhood associations. These form the lowest rung of civic participation. They are great places to learn how to deal with people. Be a breathing part of the American experiment. One day you may even be called Mayor, Council Member, Commissioner, Senator, or Representative. Who knows? Finally get to know who represents you in government. Follow their actions and drop them a letter, e-mail, or phone call to let them know how you feel about their performance…either supportive or non-supportive. Don’t be a stranger to those who represent you in government. None of this is difficult; it just takes diligence. If we don’t tend to our ‘civic lawn’ the ‘weeds’ will take over. Churches always have and can still play an important part in this process.
Next week we will start to take a look at the great unraveling that is trying to find a home in the United States.
– Bob Munsey