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Be a person of principle, not politics

I’m not from around here; I’m a ‘transplant.’ Though I come from a similar close-knit Indiana community, there are many differences in, well, let’s just say, there are differences. The way I see it, though, I’m still ‘home.’ I’m still in Indiana. (Sorry, I don’t feel like imitating Jim Nabors singing, ‘Back Home Again, in Indiana!’)
Indiana is a state like no other. It has two time zones, race cars, basketball, the mother state of many movie stars, musicians, poets, presidents and popcorn! Did you know that Indiana has the largest number of different interstates and highways in the United States? And, Indiana is separated geographically at both the top and bottom by major water ways. Indiana is, in essence, a crossroads, a true ‘bridge.’ We help join the rest of the nation together. If only we carried that bridge into the political arena …
No, this is not an attempt to sway all of you die-hard Harrison County Democrats. (Yes, it’s true. Not everyone who works at O’Bannon Publishing is a registered Democrat.) In fact, let’s pretend for a moment that there’s no such thing as the Republican or Democrat party, no liberal or conservative labels. Let’s not even talk politics, about federal spending or budgets, Iran or Iraq, no children or soldiers left behind. Let’s talk about where we came from, our nation’s history, our heritage. Let’s go back to the time when our nation’s founding forefathers relied on something more substantial: Their faith.
Faith. Take away the h for hope and you only have fate. That’s what the Pilgrims escaped from, their doom. They sought asylum from the Anglican Church of England which had force-fed their religious-freedom-starved nation. No wonder their hearts had been hardened! Whose wouldn’t be after such a pounding?
Whether you are or aren’t a person of faith, you do live in a nation founded on faith, by faith, with faith in the Christian faith. It’s our history, our heritage. It cannot be rewritten. Much to the chagrin of our godly forefathers, many politicians through the years have undone what they so gallantly fought for and believed in. For example, the First Amendment, as written in The Constitution of The United States, says, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’ (Adopted in 1791)
Thanks to courts and ‘civil liberties,’ this amendment is now known as the ‘no religion in government’ amendment. Where is the word ‘separation?’ Where is the word ‘wall’ or ‘state’? I do see the word ‘of.’ Bear with me. Some of you, I’m sure, know where this is headed.
Good ol’ T.J., our second president, Thomas Jefferson. He was a brilliant man, inventor, curator of the Christian faith, and, yes, an adulterer. But he understood why we became a nation. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence. The phrase, ‘wall of separation between Church and state,’ was Jefferson’s phrase. Not contained in a declaration, law, amendment or constitution, but in a letter written in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut:
‘ … I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.’
Jefferson was not condemning the freedom of religion, he was merely reassuring the Danbury Baptists that the newly formed government of the United States would not go down the one-religion path as England did! Quite a contrast to how it’s interpreted today.
Why the history lesson? It’s to support my opinion that Americans have become so wrapped up in here and now that we forgotten the why and for whom. We’ve become a nation of politics rather than a nation of principle.
I’m not encouraging all Christians to vote Republican. And I’m not saying that if you are a Democrat, you’re not a Christian. What I am saying, in this decisive election year, when the wars we are fighting are much more than physical and territorial, when religious and political persecution is equal to execution, we should look to who rules our lives, understand where we want to go, and seek leadership in government that follows in the same direction. If your faith governs your life, your ‘government’ should be ruled by the same faith.
It takes more than authority to rule. It takes reliance on a higher authority. Past presidents have lived and died proving it, protecting it and preserving it. And I believe our current president is trying to once again produce it … One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.