You may be profoundly disappointed after the recent national election, even discouraged or wrestling with a sense of defeat and hopelessness; perhaps you feel differently. Many are disturbed at how the Church, faith and values have seemingly lost their flavor in a growing postmodern culture.
If you are weary from months of investing time, energy, prayers and funds to a cause you embrace passionately, strengthen yourself for we cannot and will not give up. We serve at the pleasure of a Sovereign Creator, “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace…to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Regardless of whether or not your candidates won their respective races, the nature of time is that it goes on. There are seasons for everything as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, “And there is a time for every event under heaven” (3:3). Let us resolve to maintain the right perspective and stay focused on the mission at hand. Most assuredly, the Lord is neither troubled nor is He out of rest (see Psalm 2).
One encouraging sign is that the nation apparently does care deeply about the value and importance of religious liberty, as nearly every member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and State Prayer Caucuses who ran for re-election were re-elected to another term. This means that the battle for the soul of America will continue as we endeavor to touch the hearts and minds of everyday people–to champion the cause of faith and its free expression in the public square. There remains a committed network of leaders just like yourself, who understand the need to press onward and believe that by God’s grace, the tide can and will be turned.
So what then is required of citizens who trust in God and are called to manifest His precepts? The results of the election can be interpreted in a number of ways, but it seems clear our Founding Fathers understood that a free society–at every level–and especially one that gave rise to the voice of faith, would create the moral fiber and character needed to help set the stage for American Exceptionalism. The oft-cited Thomas Jefferson–beyond the debate over the separation of church and state–expressed the following sentiment in words that are now engraved on his memorial in Washington, D.C.,
“God, who gave us life, gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?”1
Jefferson further noted:
“No power over the freedom of religion is delegated to the United States by the Constitution.”2
The signers of the Declaration of Independence, “held these truths to be self-evident.” We must now hold true to that vision and purpose and refuse to be silent, for the consequences of ignorance and passivity are great and fraught with danger.
Across the centuries and even into the 21st century, almost every dictatorship, every evil regime, every oppressive government system and totalitarian state that has attempted to restrict the religious beliefs and practices of its people, has eventually led to a culture of corruption and abuse. More often than not, the transition is subtle as voices are gradually silenced and freedoms, once taken for granted, are choked of their very life. Americans must learn from history and choose a different outcome.
Martin Niemöller, a well-known Protestant pastor who spent seven years in a Nazi concentration camp in World War II for his outspoken criticism, had a profound insight. During postwar reflection, he lamented that German Christians and the leaders within the church were complicit through their silence for the horror of the Holocaust. What grieved him the most was saying and doing too little and when he did, it was too late.3
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Would it surprise you to know that the American Humanist Association just sent a letter to all newly elected Members of the U.S. House of Representatives specifically asking them, “not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus and to actively work to ensure that the wall of separation between church and state is strengthened and maintained.“4 You can rebut this attempt by sending a letter urging the newly elected Members to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus.
From where does their belief system flow? Consider the opening preface of the Humanist Manifesto II, along with further statements made regarding religion: 5
“As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in a prayer-hearing god, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers and to be able to do something about them, is an unapproved and outmoded faith. Salvation based on mere affirmation, still appears to be harmful, diverting people with these false hopes of heaven thereafter. Reasonable minds look at other means for survival.” [emphasis mine]
“We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race. As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity… But we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.” [emphasis mine]
The Congressional Prayer Caucus, State Prayer Caucuses, as well as our Foundation, offer a stark contrast to this empty philosophy. If this country–as much as we love it and appreciate all of God’s blessings throughout history’s course–is our end all and be all, then it makes sense to feel despair and with a diminished hope every time an election result seems contrary to our values and beliefs. The Lord is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named” (Eph. 1:21). Our mission focus is never only the result of a single election, so we must keep our eyes on the bigger picture and pray, believing that anything is possible with God.
Life, like the defense of faith and religious freedom, is an endurance race, not a sprint. Be encouraged; hold fast and stay focused like the Apostle Paul who said. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Ultimately, our hope can never be in anything or anyone but Him, for it is in God We Trust!
1 Peterson, M. D. (1984). Jefferson writings. NY: Literary Classics of the united States, Inc.
2 Commager, H. S. (1991). Documents of American History. NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc.