Most of us agree that mankind, in and of itself, is not the sole solution to America’s challenges. If that’s the case, then what is needed to realign our core values and reverse the moral and spiritual decay we are currently facing in this country? I believe it’s going to take a sovereign move of God coupled with the prayerful actions of citizens who continue to recognize and acknowledge our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.
For too long, people of faith have relinquished their God-given influence in a number of ways—in prayer, at the polls, and in the public arena. Many may feel insignificant and disempowered in the democratic process; however, these thoughts must be met with the reality that we still have an important role to play. Our Founders created a form of government for the people and by the people. This means we have to be actively engaged as members of society, especially when our nation’s future hangs in the balance.
At the same time, citizens across the country have grown weary of rogue politicians who fall far short of the expectations and standards set by the God-honoring leaders of America’s past. Yet, it is encouraging for me to know there are still many holding the banner high—statesmen and stateswomen all over this nation—who love their country, love their Lord, and love the ideals and principles upon which the United States was founded. When leaders refuse to succumb to the pressures and temptations that come with holding public office and model a genuine faith, they are more willing and able to make the tough decisions required to set America back on course. These individuals understand and are deeply committed to American Exceptionalism and the awareness that God’s favor and blessing have long graced our history.
So, what is an American statesman? He or she is a person of honor and integrity, someone who seeks to uphold the Constitution while resolving to rise above the pettiness of an entrenched political culture. A statesman leads while a politician follows the crowd or latest snap poll—refusing to bow to the partisan bickering that often passes for opposition or compromise personal values and beliefs for the sake of expediency. The statesman follows the same path blazed by John Adams who said, “Always stand on principle even if you stand alone.” and reinforced by his wife Abigail when she wrote to a friend, “A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox as an honest man without the fear of God.”
Our incredible nation was founded by statesmen—men of noble, though imperfect character, who held principle and ideology in such great esteem that no threat of pain or death could deter them from their dream of a constitutional republic guaranteeing liberty and justice for all. Today, their words would be a breath of fresh air to many:
“Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?” John Quincy Adams (6th President of the United States)
“The right to freedom being the gift of the Almighty…” Samuel Adams (Father of the American Revolution)
“It is the duty of mankind on all suitable occasions to acknowledge their dependence on the Divine Being…that Almighty God would mercifully…unite our hearts and strengthen our hands in every undertaking that may be for the public good.” Benjamin Franklin (signer of the Declaration of Independence)
“I sincerely esteem [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.” Alexander Hamilton (signer of the Constitution)
“In matters of religion I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government.” Thomas Jefferson (3rd President of the United States)
“Religion is the basis and foundation of government. We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all out political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” James Madison (4th President of the United States)
“The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth.” George Mason (Father of the Bill of Rights)
“The only foundation for a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.” Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence)
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. The liberty enjoyed by the people of these States, of worshipping Almighty God agreeable to their consciences, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights.” George Washington (1st President of the United States)
Now more than ever, there is a deep longing for authentic leaders who can pick up freedom’s torch and preserve that dream.
I have the privilege of working and interacting every day with leaders who fit this criteria as I travel on behalf of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. Hundreds of lawmakers form the Congressional Prayer Caucus and serve over twelve State Prayer Caucuses. Men and women who have committed to praying regularly as front line defenders of religious liberty and our First Amendment rights. Please keep them lifted up in prayer. Consider sending a note or email of encouragement to show your appreciation. They have made tremendous sacrifices by taking a public office and need our support.
With the next election cycle quickly approaching, this is a critical period in our nation’s journey and it remains our responsibility to discern between truth and false declarations, between light and deception, between political gamesmanship and a sense of genuine integrity. We must seek out and elect those who align their governance with a value system that recognizes the central role of spirituality in our country’s historical narrative. Actions usually speak much louder than words and we must practice sufficient due diligence to clearly identify whether a leader will conduct him or herself with honesty and godly behavior. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
America can still be a city on a hill and a light to the nations as long as our confession remains, “In God We Trust.” Let these values continue to reflect in every decision we make as stewards of this great nation.
*All quotes taken from: Federer, W. J. (1994). America’s God and country. Coppell, TX: FAME Publishing, Inc.