Ramon Arias | July 25, 2016
Every election cycle is a reminder of the profound divisions in this nation and the polarization that opposing social worldviews cause. People elect individuals whom they prefer to govern the affairs of society at the city, county, state, and federal levels of government. The winners feel empowered and have a sense of command, regardless if they won only by a small margin.
We have many political parties, but only two of them dominate the elections. The road to social decadence has been a slow one, but it has been accelerating in the last 70 years; this is not a good prognosis for our country. Both of the main parties have contributed to the present chaotic national condition and, to some extent, they have also impacted the world.
From the beginning of the American governmental experiment, we were warned of the dangers of political parties, but were also given the solution to make it work and how to avoid these dangers. In President George Washington’s farewell address, he said:
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.
John Adams stated:
There is nothing which I dread that documents much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. 1
Adams acknowledged that it was very probable that the Constitution was going to be used to promote evil agendas from those who have total disregard for the forefathers’ original vision of a society built upon biblical principles. Evil is a biblical concept, which exposes it and makes it well understood even by atheists. We live daily with the ever-present menace of evil and its results; to deny the facts will only accelerate the increment of evil.
In a letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776, John Adams wrote:
Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion [biblical Christianity] and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may their promises once collected and be free their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies. 2
Moral character shapes the conviction on godly principles, and the outcome is doing the right things knowing that we answer to a higher authority that is above all men and institutions. Failure to acknowledge this eternal truth has always brought down civilizations. Adams reminds us that without pure virtue elections will only change one tyrant for another.
In a letter to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813, John Adams said:
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were … the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. Now I will avow, that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system. 3
We will do well to take Adams’ admonition to heart by remembering that our history was shaped by the biblical principles of Christianity, failure to do so will leave no one to blame but ourselves.
Elections determine who will be in office and the policies that will be implemented. If they are not the right policies, they will continue to bring deeper divisions and destruction, if they are the correct ones founded on true virtue they will unite and rebuild. The burden falls upon those who want to see this nation take the right course, those who want to remain on the sidelines by not voting should know, and must not kid themselves into thinking that there is such a thing as “not voting.” Not voting is already a vote. When a person says I am apolitical, they are denying, or allowing themselves to be deceived into accepting the nonexistence of such a belief. While it is true that most elected individuals betrayed their constituents, it is also true it is not a valid excuse for citizens to not participate in holding them accountable. Even though they have been elected, they can now vote them out of office.
Consider what William Penn (1644 –1718) said:
But lastly, when all is said, there is hardly one frame of government in the world so ill designed by its first founders that in good hands would not do well enough, and story tells us the best in ill ones can do nothing that is great or good; witness the Jewish and Roman states.
Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them, and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavour to warp and spoil to their turn.
I know some say, let us have good laws and no matter for the men that execute them. But let them consider that though good laws do well, good men do better; for good laws may want [lack] good men, and be abolished or invaded by ill men; but good men will never want [lack] good laws, nor suffer ill ones. ‘Tis true, good laws have some awe upon ill ministers, but that is where they have not power to escape or abolish them, and the people are generally wise and good; but a loose and depraved people (which is to the question) love laws and an administration like themselves. That, therefore, which makes a good constitution, must keep it; viz., men of wisdom and virtue, qualities that because they descend not with worldly inheritances, must be carefully propagated by a virtuous education of youth, for which after ages will owe more to the care and prudence of founders, and the successive magistracy, than to their parents for their private patrimonies. 4
Christians beware of self-righteousness and get back into the real world where God wants us to make the difference by being “salt and light.” The political and social amphitheaters of life demand our contribution to make everything better. True Christians are not intimidated by evil; rather they run towards evil not only to expose it but also, to present better options that come from God’s absolutes. Ungodly rulers can never produce proper legislation; only the righteous can do it as King Solomon made it clear in Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”
Who is better qualified to understand godly principles? Only biblical Christians, exercising those principles, are the lasting foundation of political, judicial and educational systems. Biblical principles reveal that God is the source of true and lasting freedom; no other system has ever been able to accomplish it—if you don’t believe it—check human history.
It is entirely unacceptable for biblical Christians to be apathetic, politically and socially inactive; this perspective does not represent the full counsel of God as revealed in His Word. Our loyalty should never be to a political party, rather to God’s government, that is the only reliable solution, not only to turn this nation around but also to impact all nations. For far too long most Christians have allowed themselves to be trampled by men’s laws, which defy all common sense; this is the reason why it must be corrected, sooner rather than later, and begin to promote the biblical principles that shape the moral character of people, which makes a nation great.
You can expect me to write more on this subject during this election cycle.