Greatness, goodness, and God


I’ve never voted for a Democrat, at least as far back as I can remember. As my brother said to me recently, what does it say about this election that I was even remotely considering voting for one now. Crazy times we’re living in.

But as I revealed last time, my streak will continue through this presidential election anyway. Even apart from Hillary Clinton’s baggage she is an undesirable candidate in my view because of the policies and values of the political party she represents. Let me see if I can explicate (another good word I don’t use in ordinary conversation but can take full advantage of here) my position in such a way that even my Democrat family members will find compelling. Or at least worthy of respect. (I didn’t include friends because I probably only have one or two who vote Democrat. You know what they say…you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family. 😉 )

I must begin, as do each of us, from my worldview. As a Christian I believe a) God exists, b) we have a responsibility to live according to his will, and c) his will is what’s best for us individually and as a nation. As a God-fearing Christ-follower it naturally follows then that his will is (or should be) what orders and guides my actions, attitudes, persuasions and positions. I discover his will primarily through the testimony of Scripture…the Bible. Whether or not that’s a valid epistemology is a whole other matter that I’ve addressed elsewhere. Just telling you where I’m coming from right now.

So exercising my faith involves so much more than just going to church on Sunday mornings. It would be downright farcical to profess belief in the God who created and governs the entire universe and everything in it and completely disregard him unless you happen to be in church. Who does that? Unfortunately, plenty of folks, myself included sometimes. But if this sovereign God is real, then ignoring him as we interact with others, work our vocation, choose a leisure activity, and choose a president would be like a newlywed wife living as single in her own place, bar-hopping with her girlfriends every night, sleeping around, and never even acknowledging her husband. Except in a pew on Sunday mornings.

God matters. A lot.

The overarching distinction between the Republican and Democratic parties, generally speaking, is that Republicans get that and Democrats don’t. Now, I’m not saying nor implying that Democrats don’t believe in God…I know my one or two Democrat-voting friends do, and that their desire to follow Jesus is at least partly what motivates them to vote for the party that is seen as more intentional about caring for the poor and disadvantaged. But judging from the party’s intentional support for unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage, lack of support for traditional marriage and the crucial role it plays in a stable and peaceful society, and mischaracterization of religious freedom as being limited to what a person believes and where she worships, it appears to me that the Democratic party is guided by secular humanism rather than God.

The party’s decision to remove any mention of God from the platform in 2012 only to reinstate him over objections from what sounded like at least half of the delegates on a voice vote, was indicative of their attitude about him. Acknowledge him officially but superficially, and consign him to myth or indifference when crafting policy. The Democrats retained mention of him in the 2016 platform, but he’s in there only three times and all are humanist deferences to one’s “God-given potential.”

The Republican party platform, on the other hand, mentions God 15 times and though many of those also reference what we have received from him…our natural resources, rights, talents…it more importantly speaks of our dependence on God, his role as our ultimate lawgiver, and our faith in him as extending to “the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives.”

Since God is in fact not a myth nor indifferent to our everyday lives, I fear for our nation if Hillary Clinton is elected and the Democratic party gains more power and influence. Not because I think God will respond with punishment of some kind, but because that would signal and support a further retreat from acknowledgment of and dependence on him. And a people unanswerable to an authority higher than one like themselves will suffer the natural consequences of human nature unrestrained.

Hillary Clinton’s repeated assertions that America is great because we are good is a reference to an observation attributed to French statesman and social philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville after touring the United States in the mid-19th century. Here’s the quote in context. Note where he discovered the “secret” of America’s greatness.

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. (1)

Our goodness cannot be sustained severed from the source and foundation of all goodness. So our greatness will be but a fond memory if we, in a secular fervor to be free of accountability, turn our backs on God.

(1) William J. Federer, America’s God and Country, Encyclopedia of Quotations, pg. 206