Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Religion and Politics

                We have heard much about the danger of losing our Freedom of Religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe there is real reason for this fear. I also believe that we – collectively as Christians and as a nation - brought this problem on ourselves because of our lack of integrity.

                We say that we believe certain things, but we live our lives differently from what we say we believe. How else can we explain that we have Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the candidates for President of the United States? If we as Christians were living our lives according to the teachings in the Bible, we would have chosen God-fearing candidates. We had many to choose from!

                Steve Deace at Conservative Review shares some interesting thoughts on this subject. He begins, “There’s been a lot of justifiable hand-wringing regarding the Christian vote in this election cycle. Unfortunately, the reality is even worse than the perception.
                “That’s because data suggests that what’s driving many believers to vote isn’t their beliefs as much as it is their racial/ethnic identity – just like the electorate at large. In other words, voters coming from the institution charged with preserving America’s vitally important moral foundation – the church – collectively aren’t approaching the ballot box any differently than the secularly-minded.”

                How can people who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ support abortion, living on the dole, or violence? We see people see in our nation who claim to be followers of Christ but do not live His gospel. This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and values. It will survive on those same principles or values or fall. Followers of Christ must live their lives differently than other people!

                After discussing the state of the Catholic vote, Deace cites a survey completed by LifeWay Research that draws “distinctions between voters who simply identify as evangelicals and those who actually have evangelical beliefs. Overall, the survey found among whites who hold evangelical beliefs Trump overwhelmingly leads, 65-10. Meanwhile, Clinton holds almost the exact same lead among non-whites with evangelical beliefs, 62-15.
                “For the sake of its survey, LifeWay defined evangelical beliefs as the following: [1] Trusting in Jesus Christ alone for [2].  Believe they have a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with others. [3] Believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives.
                “What’s unsettling is how those who claim they `believe the Bible is the final authority in their lives’ could have such starkly different voting patterns. Especially because the Bible makes it clear the Christian is to set aside their worldly identity (race, ethnicity, gender, family legacy, nation of origin, etc.) in order to find his/her identity in Christ first and foremost.”

                Later in his article Deace explains why this “trend spells certain doom for American Exceptionalism if it continues.” He quotes John Adams as stating that the self-government established by the U.S. Constitution was “meant only for a moral and religious people.” President Adams was not the only Founder stating this belief.

                Deace continues, “It’s no coincidence that as the culture has become more decadent the government has gotten bigger. The less moral restraint we have, the more government is needed to suffer the consequences of our actions.” The cycle simply continues with people calling for more government control. In order to have limited government, morality must also be present.
                “This is why great spiritual awakenings came before liberty in our history, and then later revivals were required to secure that liberty for future generations once it was established. Spiritual revival leads to a morally-restrained people. A morally-restrained people require less government to restrain them.”

                Deace’s article reminds me of a statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he was asked how he controlled the members of the growing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.”

                The Book of Mormon is another witness for Jesus Christ and includes many of His teachings. The book is also a history book about various civilizations. It shows the human tendency to move in cycles. When people are humble, the Lord helps them to prosper. As they prosper, they become proud. As they become proud, they sin more and eventually suffer. When they suffer long enough, they become humble enough for the Lord to bless them again.

                This cycle is shown over and over again in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and it continues in our day. This nation was blessed by the Lord in its beginning. There is no way the colonists could have beaten Great Britain, the greatest military in the world at the time, without the help of God. There were numerous miracles from God that helped Americans to win independence.

                Years passed, and Americans begin more wicked – as shown by putting other human beings in slavery. This wickedness continued until the nation was consumed in a terrible war, a war that killed more Americans than all the other wars combined.

                America is a promised land to people who follow Jesus Christ and live His teachings. Prophets in our day teach that God will have a humble people living in the promised land of America. All other people will be swept off the land. At least two great civilizations have lived, prospered, and been destroyed on this continent because they forgot to follow Christ’s teachings. The prophets teach that people will either humble themselves, or He will humble them. I prefer to humble myself. If we desire liberty, we must follow Jesus Christ!

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