God Or Man?

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” So said George Washington. Contemporary politicians don’t quite agree with the father of our country, especially those who tilt to the port side.

Every re-election cycle, one of my former liberal legislative colleagues was renowned for the speed with which he would rush from church to church on Sunday mornings, wedging in beside the pastor and greeting and shaking parishioners hands as they emerged from the service. Few would know that he had never seen the inside of their church.

Another incident bears repeating. After speaking to a Christian congregation in the San Fernando Valley, the pastor generously thanked me and then commented that another one of my Christian legislative “brothers” had addressed the Church a few weeks before. Curious, I asked him who? I was shocked when he told me his name. The Senator in question didn’t believe in the Christian gospel and professed a faith that denied Christ’s Divinity. Later, I queried the Senator about his ability to speak to Christian audiences and be perceived as a “brother.” “Oh,” he glibly answered. “When I was in the military, I was stationed at a small base in the south — on Sundays I handled the religious services for my faith; then when the Protestant minister left the base I took over his job as well.”

Can you imagine that? How can one preach The Gospel of the Messiah at one service, then at another, preach that He’s yet to come? Obviously you can’t and still be honest with either faith. This particular “brother” was later indicted, convicted, and sent to prison. My first thought about his dual Sunday ministry in the military service was “who kept what was left in the collection plate?”

Unfortunately, reason and logic based upon the Bible is rarely used or, if used, given much credence by left–wing legislative leadership. It’s considered poor taste, tacky; in other words, it’s not “in.” Nor is it considered politically correct.

Biblical wisdom was the criteria I used for my votes and my legislative actions. I wanted to do what was right in the eyes of God. I’m not smart enough or wise enough to be all knowing so I have to depend on someone who is. No one else but God fits that bill, man certainly does not, nor does a vote by a majority of legislators make any thing righteous. Experience, faith, years of study, and age have taught me that God’s laws are just as relevant today as when He gave the Commandments to Moses thousands of years ago.

Did I come to this conclusion overnight? Did I have a flash of inspired revelation, see an angel in my dreams or come to the Lord in a Sunday revival sermon? No such luck.

Like doubting Thomas, I had to see for myself, I had to figure it out the hard way, The fact is, I came kicking and scratching to Christ.

The journey started in the early 1960’s when a minister was invited to our home at the suggestion of a very close friend of my wife’s. Barb was interested but to be frank, I don’t remember if I was or not—In all probability, I wasn’t too hot for the idea. Neither Barb nor I attended religious services, nor did I feel a need to. As a child, Barb attended church but the only contact I had as a youngster was occasionally visiting a local church. Why? Because they had a Ping-Pong table in the basement.

I thought I was a “good guy” — who needed to listen to some pastor from a local Lutheran church to tell me about morals? Certainly not I. I believed I knew right from wrong, and besides, I didn’t need saving, I was already found! I was a success in the business world, an adult 34 year old, street-wise and financially successful. I was president of a graphic arts firm servicing the top advertising agencies in the Los Angeles area. We lived in a beautiful, spacious home in the exclusive highlands of Arcadia. I drove a foreign sports car and my beautiful wife tooled around in a paneled, baby blue station wagon. We had money in the bank, a summer home in the Idaho Mountains and three beautiful, healthy children. What more could I ask?

I thought I had it all. Listening to a minister talk about salvation didn’t compute. However, Barb wanted to listen to him and I was hubby wise enough to know that if I weren’t polite and pretend to pay attention, I’d hear about it later.

This preacher was tough. He directed most of the conversation at me. Any of my intellectual comments to the contrary, he punched holes into — big holes. Irritated over being referred to as a “sinner,” I quipped “Well, the Lord must love me because look at all He’s given me.” He looked me dead in the eye and casually said, “So can the devil!”

That stuck in my craw. This preacher was different. Out of curiosity, Barb and I started to attend his church; we didn’t attend regular services at first because all that singing and formal liturgy stuff didn’t appeal to me. I attended the adult Sunday school classes and kibitzed from the back of the room. Months went by and we started to attend regular church services — next thing I knew I was an usher and shortly thereafter, a teacher of fifth grade Sunday school. Gad Zooks…. I was hooked on Christianity.

That pastor was a very wise man, he taught me a truth that I will never forget, he said. “The Bible is shallow enough for a baby to wade in and deep enough for an elephant to drown in.” He was absolutely right. I have been trying to keep my head above water studying Scripture for forty plus years and I am still in awe over the sea of recorded history and knowledge the Bible reveals. I tire of other books but every trip through the waves of the old and New Testaments is an enlightened learning adventure.

I’m not the only politician who thinks so. Theodore Roosevelt stated, “There are those who believe that new modernity demands a new morality. What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a new morality. There is only one morality. There is only true Christian ethics over against which stands the whole of paganism. If we are to fulfill our great destiny as a people, then we must return to the old morality, the sole morality.”

It is impossible to study our founding fathers and subsequent American leaders without recognizing their dependence on Scripture for insight and political guidance. Washington, Adams, Madison, Patrick Henry, Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, the list is endless and great company to emulate.

When I first entered the Senate I soon noticed that the Bible was practically never used as a reference in debates on the floor of the Senate. When it was referred to, only a few paid scant attention to Scripture as a reason to vote either up or down. Special interest considerations carried much more weight. The Lord was obviously not a relevant “special interest.” Left-wing organizations, environmental groups, some self-serving large businesses and a wealth of labor unions who gave big contributions — they had the muscle. Those who could affect the outcome of elections got most of the attention. This taught me a very valuable lesson. Logic and reason based on traditional American values played a very small part in the decision making process.

To quote and rephrase an old cliche, “There are two things politicians don’t talk about, religion and politics.” Ever heard that one before? Usually, the person making that statement knows little or nothing about either subject whether or not he or she is in or out of politics. No one likes to talk about subjects which they are abysmally ignorant or which they believe will bring about a heated discussion where they may be bested. The fact is, it is difficult if not impossible to discuss either religion or politics without involving moral values [religion] and the manner in which such morals are implemented amongst people [politics]. Both are the cornerstones of human action. Religion and politics are inseparable, always has been, always will be.

When people ban together to form governments, they make laws governing the citizens behavior. From the most insignificant to the most severe law, punishment of one form or another is prescribed for those who break the law. Ordinances, regulations, codes, laws of all type are not mere suggestions for the citizenry to follow but each one prescribes a manner of punishment for those who choose not to obey, from fines to incarceration or even death. All laws therefore, establish a right or wrong by some ideological standard. Some one or some group of people use their morals to formulate the laws and the prescribed judgment.

Legislators are not special; they are also instructed by God’s Tenth Commandment that it is morally wrong to covet that which belongs to another. That means land, money, goods, produce, belonging to someone else. Correspondingly, legislators as well as individuals have a Biblical responsibility to protect the property of others, not to covet them. To forcibly take from anyone or any group of individuals is stealing, the breaking of the commandment. “Thou shalt not steal.” The mere election by a majority of those who vote doesn’t grant the elected official the right to circumvent Gods direction.

Well, one might say. “How about taxes in order to run the government? Isn’t that a covetous act?”

Some are and some aren’t.

When people ban together to form governments they can agree to tax each other but… under certain circumstances and conditions. The tax must have a direct relationship and benefit to the person taxed and the tax must be in direct proportion to benefits received.

As an example, a local property tax can be fair and just when the taxes are used to provide police protection, sewage, street lighting, fire stations, and proper administrative costs. The property tax should be in proportion to the amount of services received by the property.

A legislator gets us all in trouble when he thinks his job is to redistribute the citizen’s wealth. No matter how “good” he thinks the cause may be, he and those who vote with him are doing nothing more than engaging in legalized plunder, stealing, taking from one to feather the nest of another or some special interest.

It is the nature of government to become corrupt and oppressive when its leaders believe their power to tax and regulate is unlimited, uninhibited by any moral constrictions, other than their own desire.

The hard fact is, we are either ruled by God or man. American history has taught me our forefathers chose the former rather than the latter. It’s good enough for me. How about you?