Have you noticed there is more “God talk” lately? Hard times tend to do that! The pain, suffering, and confusion related to COVID 19 is unsettling. When we feel insecure, we tend to be more open to ponder what life is really all about. When we associate hard times with government and politicians, they usually get brutal scrutiny. Being born free in a democratic republic, we are not restrained from being critical of religion or politics. Nobody can force us to believe anything, and there is good reason to always force the government to justify itself. Critical analysis is essential in both arenas. For those of us who believe in free speech, and in the Supremacy of God, we believe we can “blame” God even while taking solace in “Divine Providence”. On the other hand, there is no king or despot to blame because we (the human sovereigns of America) don’t authorize monarchs in our government. In either case, it is only human to evaluate the powers outside of ourselves (God and government) as part of the review of our options and responsibilities in life. We cannot build a world view about human government without answering the question, “Does God exist?” “God-talk” mingles religion and politics which is both rational and good. It is irrational to expect to be able to completely separate the two.
In America it gets awkward quickly when we are judgmental or self-righteous about our government because the criticism ultimately comes back to roost on us. The foundational authority of our government is the electorate — we have the power to authorize (ratify) and amend our Constitution — (“We the People”). The insightful, wise, founders built in a brilliant solution for if the American culture drifts to an inaccurate view of God. They included the First Amendment to ensure open dialogue, to allowing truth to precipitate in political and religious speech. We dare not discredit or ignore the importance of our freedom of religion and speech in sorting out what our human government “should” do! Politicians who claim they have a “right to privacy” about their religion deny critical voting information. A person who is incapable of explaining his or her values should never be elected to represent us in our republic. Every one of our nation’s laws and regulations is a value statement impacting our society. Not only do we have the incredible First Amendment, we have the wise prohibition of government banning an official version of “God talk” to manipulate political and religious values. This would violate the forbidden government establishment of religion. The freedom of speech and religion work together so truth can preside — BUT ONLY if we vote!
Human government “grew-up” in history when America was built!… no more childish dependency on rulers! When we get hit by an earthquake, hurricane, or COVID 19 pandemic, the government is not accountable as though it could prevent or fix any damage discomfort. Free Americans are globally significant and respond well to any challenge. My sincere desire is the “God-talk” will lead to individual renewal which will, in turn, via the complex processes of our Constitution and referenced in our Declaration of Independence, result in a national re-affirmation of “Divine Providence” under the Creator, Supreme Judge, Nature’s Law and Nature’s God.
It is wonderful to live in a country where we are free to say or read anything we want… or not… with impunity. The only risk is whether our words make us a liar, a fool, or a dupe. In other words, truth matters! Our wonderful freedom gives us extra responsibility to maintain a healthy world view as it relates to God. Politicians should use the “power of the gavel”, to ensure EVERYONE equal opportunity to speak— especially those who make us uncomfortable with religious talk to allow a free market of religious thought! Truth is not in danger and will always remain.
Statesmen are now speaking more freely of God’s protection, healing, providence…. (If you doubt me, do a quick Google search using words like prayer or God with COVID-19). This confirms a recurring historical pattern: when America gets hit with national human catastrophe something spiritual happens. It is a loop we can see even in the secular media! We go from catastrophe >>> to repentance*, confession, “God-talk”, prayer >>> to recovery, prosperity, security (answered prayer?) >>> to forgetfulness, fast living, hard hearts >>> then, back to catastrophe >>>…! *[“Repentance” is the act of turning toward the God of this universe and “turning away “from whatever has distracted us.]. This national “repentance loop” is normal. The Torah and Old Testament record historical national “repentance loops” and we can see them in real time.
If we follow our Constitution, we should never see a law to force repentance. Contrary to common perceptions, Christians do not judge or condemn you if you disagree because they/we are just as guilty as any other human until forgiven. Condemnation, or not, is between each person and God!
Considering whether America will, or should, repent is a valid and appropriate consideration. Israel’s history is an example of a record of cycling between repentance and obedience — oppression and blessing — (check out Psalms 106** for example). In America, as I have pointed out, we have no king to take the sovereign responsibility. Our designated authorities cannot officially “repent” or cause repentance for the nation, but “We the People”, God’s anointed U.S. sovereigns, as individuals can. If we follow our Constitution, we should never see a law to force repentance. National repentance cannot be measured or documented other than by looking at electoral results. As a nation, we are only as strong as the worldview of our most influential citizens. We have only indirect influence on our societies religious consensus, so it of utmost importance for many to avail themselves of truth and make choices in the realm we have complete control… our faith.
There is a myriad of religious options, but only one final truth. America says, “in God We Trust”, meaning the one and only true God learned about in Judeo-Christian history. I commend the Biblical “Good News” that this God has provided access to Himself through the God/Man, Jesus Christ, and is available as King of Kings, personal Lord and Savior, Defeater of death and Satan, the Good Shepherd. This is a very common belief in America, so this is extremely visible to research and test. Contrary to common perceptions, Christians do not judge or condemn you if you disagree because they/we are just as guilty as any other human until forgiven. Condemnation, or not, is between each person and God! I am convinced for myself and commend Christianity to any fellow human being who cares. Christian doctrine is the very highest declaration of human freedom and dignity because it acknowledges each person’s autonomy to choose. You cannot make an informed choice without information, so Christianity promotes education and reading. My hope is the Covid 19 crisis gives opportunity for many people to educate themselves and make deliberate decisions. Truth will ultimately win. The result will be to return to being a blessed nation. In the Old Testament, Samuel said to the ancient nation of ancient Israel, “…do not rebel against the command of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the LORD your God, then all will be well. But if you disobey the LORD and rebel against His command, then the hand of the LORD will be against you…” (1 Samuel 12:14 ff**).
To me, it seems obvious for political candidate debates to include religious debate and transparency. Campaigning politicians should include their religious faith statement. How else can a citizen with his or her own religious freedom know if he or she is being represented? Squelching “God talk” is self destructive to the nation.
**While I would always encourage you to look Scripture up on your own, I realize it may not always be possible at the moment to do this – for a variety of reasons. I have linked them here for your convenience:
1 Samuel 12:14
The majority of this post was also submitted as an article to The People’s Paper.