A few months ago, I tried to ramp up my political awareness. This being an election year, it seemed the perfect time to not only start caring and becoming personally invested in the goings-on of my nation.
And I even found a presidential candidate whom I really liked — Ron Paul — and I even voted for him in the primaries early in May.
Still, I remember looking at the voting screen during my brief visit to the polling place and feeling ashamed at just how few of the names I recognized. Sure there were John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul, but who were all those other names?
How “interested” in politics can I claim to be if I don’t even know who represents me at the state or national levels? To be fully honest, at this very moment, I can’t even recall the name of Connersville’s current mayor.
Even so, I have grown to respect the Constitution — whether they were Christians or not, our founding fathers knew how to run this nation. And like Ron Paul — or the Constitution Party, for that matter — I would love to see a return to a more minimal federal government, allowing the individual states to govern in a way which more closely reflects their unique populaces. In every American history class I ever took, we were always taught that one of the reasons America was the greatest nation was because of diversity.
But I wonder if I’m shooting myself in the foot for approaching the Constitution with the same sensibilities I bring to the Scriptures? It isn’t a popular thing to stand firm on the, for example, Calvinistic doctrines of Christ and Paul, yet to not do so would be a betrayal of my faith, a rejection of the very text which defines what I must believe. And so when taking an interest in politics, I do what feels most natural: I cozy up to the Constitution, and through the writings of various Constitution Party members as well as Republican Ron Paul, I see that the federal government has outgrown its britches, so to speak, overstepping the bounds so carefully set down a few hundred years.
The strange thing is that remaining faithful the Scriptures is a seemingly easier task. There are no more prophets, no more apostles… the Word of God is settled forever. I can learn the book, and fifty years from now I will be able to be confident that there is no new revelation which I would need to learn. The Bible would still be the Bible.
The Constitution, though, is just one of innumerable legal documents which define America — its laws, its codes… everything. The Constitution itself (which ought to perhaps be required reading prior to any voting at the polling place) seems to have become almost irrelevant, being drudged up only by opponents to religious freedom (i.e., the separation of church & state folk) or opponents of civil freedom (i.e., the Federal Marriage Amendment folk).
I wonder, too, if politics ought to begin locally. Yes, getting into the presidential elections is a great thing, but what if the principle of Acts 1:8 applies not just to spreading the gospel but also political values? Wherever your Jerusalem is, start there. I can’t believe I’m referencing him, but in one of his campaign commercials Obama lauds the power of a voice to change a room, a community, a city, a state, a nation, a world… I think he’s right. It jives with what Acts says, anyway. Start at home and move outward, “to the end of the earth.”
Looks like I may be needing to work a newspaper subscription back into my budget.