We must elect leaders who are reverent to God

Published 11:18pm Friday, October 26, 2012

The American founding fathers declared that our rights are endowed by God. As in all other areas of life, we enjoy God’s gifts and will one day give account for our use of them. America is a stewardship from God. We enjoy marvelous benefits and must use them responsibly, including participating in the most basic exercise of democracy—voting in every election.

Churches cannot endorse candidates, but we can underscore the kinds of candidates who should be elected.

We must elect leaders who reverence God.

King Solomon noted that “reverencing God is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7).

Reverencing God means that we avoid a haughty spirit and don’t have an inflated opinion of ourselves. Winston Churchill once cut a pious colleague down to size when he said, “There, but for the grace of God, goes God.” Wise leaders know the supremacy of God and never confuse who he is with who they are.

We must elect leaders who are servants of the people.

Our founders envisioned “citizen legislators” who would give up several years of their lives to serve, and then return to their communities. This concept ensured the elected would remain close to the people and that other citizens would have opportunity to serve.

It’s arguable today that we have a number of career politicians—a “ruling class” who have made a lucrative living in government. Many conservatives believe that term limits is a positive thing, reminding leaders that government is “of the people, by the people and for the people,” as Lincoln said.

And we must elect leaders who make moral decisions. Politicians deal with routine issues like bond issues and road construction, but also deal with issues of life and justice. These latter issues require prayer and consultation with people of faith who are charged to protect life and defend the weak.

An election holds leaders accountable. It’s a time when the people speak out on the direction of the country and the decisions leaders have made. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts when asked by the media about “the Kennedy seat” he sought in the U.S. Senate noted that the seat belonged to the people of his state. In a democracy, government belongs to the people and we exercise ownership at the polls.

A church treasurer told me years ago about a man who complained the most when her congregation spent money, but didn’t give any himself.  Most of us would agree that he had no right to complain.

It’s also true that those who don’t participate in democracy have no right to complain when it falls short of what it could be and what it ought to be.

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