Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
For the past three years I have worked on a book project dealing with the 30-year failure of the Religious Right to win on a single policy issue despite all of the elections its won, the money its raised, and the headlines its generated.
Titled We Won’t Get Fooled Again: Where the Christian Right Went Wrong and How to Make America Right Again, the book features interviews with several leading figures in the Christian Conservative movement, answering questions about why the country is worse off than it was before the movement trying to save it even began.
After concluding this project I learned several reasons why a generation of Christian political engagement tragically failed to accomplish any of its goals, but one conclusion stands above the rest.
We put a corrupted process ahead of faithfulness.
Christians acted as if they were sovereign over the process, and not God. We forgot Founding Father John Adams’ wise axiom that “duty is ours but outcomes belong to God.” We behaved as if God is powerless to act until we do, and then arrogantly presumed He would bless those faithless actions because our intentions were obviously so good.
That pagan paradigm gave way to some stinking-thinking. We debated who could win instead of who should win. We supported candidates with positions, and not candidates with convictions. Because of this we have been fooled time and time again by well-funded sellouts and weak-kneed opportunists. As a result, we have not only sadly misspent at least some of our Christian integrity in the political arena in full view of the American people, but have also needlessly wasted valuable time pursuing a Faustian bargain for a seat at a very wobbly table.
In concert with the Republican Party establishment repeatedly turning its back on its own base and its own platform, we have at least been unintentional accomplices to the cannibalizing of our own efforts to preserve our freedoms and liberties for future generations. Which is why in the end we always seem to get more big government, more depravity on demand (a lot of it subsidized), and more of what the radical left wants even when the Republicans win.
By going for “the winner” as opposed to the most faithful, we (and our children’s futures) often end up being the biggest loser.
The main reason rewarding faithfulness should matter to Christians is because the Bible is clear that God rewards faithfulness, and He doesn’t necessarily covet the same qualities we the people do.
His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
Our national anthem puts it this way:
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
The Christian faith is unique to all religions in world history, because it doesn’t base its claims on teachings, doctrines, or creeds. Rather, it bases its teachings, doctrines, and creeds on the objective truth of a supernatural act by posing this question: did God supernaturally intervene in human history by raising His Son from the dead or did He not?
When Christians act faithlessly (like follow polls and fundraising numbers more than their principles) they act contrary to their own faith. God commands faith with works, not works with faith. We are to do what God wants us to do and the way He wants us to do it, and then trust that a God who loves us enough to offer up His own Son in our place will see fit to bless our obedience.
Some of you reading this will bristle at the very notion of rewarding faithfulness with pleas for pragmatism. However, what could be more pragmatic then basing your decisions off of the example set by a sovereign God who is undefeated for all of eternity?
Besides, there is ample evidence that this pragmatism isn’t pragmatism defined as doing what works at all, but really defeatism at a slower pace. For a generation Christians have practiced this defeatist paradigm, and what do we have to show for it? Is the government any smaller? Is the culture any less secular? If you know a tree by its fruit, then this tree is in dire need of a good pruning.
So what do we do when our choices in the general election are the lesser of two evils? Simple, you take part in primaries to ensure you don’t have to make that choice. Take this presidential primary for example.
There are several good candidates running, and I’m still an undecided voter myself. But there is one candidate running whose worldview lines up almost completely with my own. This is also the only candidate that doesn’t have a YouTube’s greatest hits of flip-flops, tough-to-justify endorsements of pro-infanticide RINOs, a comfy couch moment with Nancy Pelosi, nor any hint of scandal.
That candidate is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann didn’t cave on the debt ceiling fiasco, she didn’t cave on the unconstitutional (illegal?) TARP, and she’s never caved on life and marriage when it came time to go on record as a lawmaker. Frankly, she’s shown more chutzpah than most of her male contemporaries. Instead of blogging about who can win or playing wannabe king-maker, this modern day Deborah deserves an “atta girl” from some of the men she’s shown more principled and determined leadership than.
That’s not to say Bachmann’s principles alone qualify her for the presidency, but it’s a good place to start. Sure, she still needs to better and more specifically explain how her principles will shape the way she governs going forward, and she needs to explain the implosion of her campaign following her victory in the Iowa Straw Poll. Being a good president is just as much about administrative capability as it is moral consistency.
But no other Republican presidential candidate running this cycle has been more consistently faithful as a public servant both in their personal and public life, so she at least deserves every opportunity to make her case to the voters before we move on to the “more electable” candidates and potentially get fooled again.
By the way, as for those “more electable candidates” here’s something to consider. In the last 10 years Bachmann has won seven truly contested elections – including becoming the first woman ever elected to Congress from Minnesota – if you count the Iowa Straw Poll. How does that stack up with a few of her campaign rivals?
Rick Perry: 4 (2002 Texas governor’s race, 2006 Texas governor’s race, 2010 Texas gubernatorial primary, and the 2010 Texas governor’s race)
Mitt Romney: 3 (2002 Massachusetts governor’s race, 2007 Iowa Straw Poll, and the 2008 Michigan presidential primary)
Herman Cain: 0
Newt Gingrich: 0
Rick Santorum: 0
Are there things Bachmann has said and done I do disagree with? Absolutely! Heck, there are things I’ve said or done that I now disagree with. Nobody’s perfect, so there’s no need to make the perfect the enemy of the good. But we’re not looking for perfection. We’re looking for integrity, which I define as a moral consistency between belief and behavior. It’s pretty clear that Bachmann has that integrity, which is why she has also been found faithful.
Maintaining that integrity is more important than ever, because the clock is ticking on our civilization. Historically-speaking, nations that embrace the moral and financial bankruptcy crippling this nation don’t last very long. We do not have another generation to waste on bargaining with an ineffective and immoral system that seeks to snuff out all virtue at all times We need to challenge this failed system with integrity, and stop pouring new wine into old wineskins.
It is vital that we as Christians cease playing the political process game that has led to us being fooled time and time again, and instead do what is right no matter what the politicians, the pollsters, or the people around us are pressuring us to do.
We can start by supporting candidates that have proven their faithfulness, regardless of what those unfaithful to our Constitution and “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” try to tell us to do. Why would we take advice on how to do what’s right from those who don’t know right from wrong?