Are you ready for the coming task of helping to restore America's greatness. Not one right-thinking citizen could have gone untouched by the recent news of corruption and scandal coming out of our nation's capital. Yet, to most of us this does not come as a surprise. What may come as a surprise is the staying power of those who are in positions of power and gain.
There seems to be a renewed call to action among those whom faithful Americans revere as having special insights into future events and trends. Some in the religious community are doing exactly what Alexis de Tocqueville said the clergy must do: Fuel the flame of freedom, stress morality, alert the citizenry to dangerous trends, and urge the people to get involved.
An Enemy Hath Done This
...Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence hath it tares?
He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. - Matthew 13:27-28
Wise men throughout history have raised warnings voices concerning the very things which are unfolding before our very eyes today. Listen to America's favorite and most persuasive orator, Daniel Webster:
"I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe.... Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy." (Daniel Webster, June 1, 1837; Works 1:403)
Long before Daniel Webster gave that sermon, another historian in ancient America recorded in the Book of Helaman what happened when wicked men captured the leadership of his country:
"And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats--having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men; condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills--"
Another ancient American historian, Ether, seemed to sense the pattern of nations who let evil people conspire to get control of their government. Wrote he:
"And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed."
Then writing as though his message would be read by later generations he warned:
"Wherefore, ...it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain--and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you. Wherefore, ...when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you...."
Modern Day Clergy Sense This Same Condition Among Us
It is no secret to observant Americans, including a vigilant clergy in many of our churches today, that the condition spoken of above is upon us. Truly, An enemy hath done this to our country. Voices are now being raised for those who will recognize Jesus Christ as the God of this land to become more involved in political affairs. This is not a new cry, but it is one receiving new attention.
Pope John Paul II is crying out to his people to hold on to moral standards in a very immoral world.
Dr. D. James Kennedy, Senior Pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, has raised a warning voice for years for Christians to become more involved in government affairs to stem the rising tide of secularism in our country.
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, has been a consistent voice helping Americans to get involved in issues which will strengthen family bonds.
Perhaps the most recent religious leader to speak out with force on the subject of getting involved is Gordon B. Hinckley of the LDS Church. On January 15, 1998, he issued a letter to all of his local church congregations in the United States on the subject of Participation as Citizens in governmental affairs. Said he:
"We wish to reiterate the divine counsel that members "should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness," while using gospel principles as a guide and while cooperating with other like-minded individuals.
"Through such wise participation as citizens, we are then in better compliance with the scripture:
"Governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them."
"Therefore, as in the past, we urge members of the Church to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs. Members of the Church are under special obligations to seek out and then uphold those leaders who are 'wise,' 'good,' and 'honest'.
"Thus, we strongly urge men and women to be willing to serve on school boards, city and county councils and commissions, state legislatures, and other high offices of either election or appointment, including involvement in the political party of their choice."
Preparing to Serve
The NCCS has received hundreds of phone calls over the past few years from parents saying that they or their children have received blessings or strong impressions that they would stand in positions of leadership in government, local, state, and national. These people always ask, "What would you suggest we read in order to be prepared?", to which we say, "The writings of America's Founding Fathers."
Qualifications for service
We must exert our energies to support wise men and women wherever we find them. Former NCCS president Andrew Allison wrote:
"The Founders taught that we have a sacred obligation to elect wise and virtuous leaders. For example, Noah Webster, who was also one of America's greatest educators, gave this charge to his students: 'When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers 'just men who will rule in the fear of God'. The preservation of our government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded....In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate-look to his character....It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for public stations....[T]he Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men 'who rule in the fear of God, able men such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness....If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.'
"The Old Testament proclaims, 'When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.' America won't be healed until we're willing to entrust the powers of government only to true statesmen who will 'rule in the fear of God.'
"Nowadays, commentators of all political persuasions claim that a man's private morals have no bearing on his ability to govern effectively. But this was certainly not the Founders' view. Samuel Adams wrote: 'Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.' He also said the task of the electorate is to choose those whose 'fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken.' And Webster added, 'When a citizen gives his [vote] to a man of known immorality, he abuses his trust; ... he betrays the interest of his country.'
"Our forefathers urged us to elect only the 'wise and virtuous' to public office because both of these traits are essential to America's survival. We need leaders who have, not only a reputation for morality and integrity, but also a sound understanding of constitutional principles and how to implement them. Of course, this means that 'we the people' must be wise and virtuous, because a nation's leaders are often a reflection of its citizenry. This is why John Adams declared that 'our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.' And we must also know the Founders' 'freedom and unity' formula so that we can recognize when a candidate's proposals or an elected official's actions are unconstitutional.
William Penn explained: "Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them .... Wherefore governments rather depend upon men, than men upon governments. Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad .... But if men be bad, the government [will] never [be] good." He continued: "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 [lack] good men ... but good men will never [lack] good laws, nor [allow bad] ones."
"Jesus taught: 'Ye shall know them by their fruits .... Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit .... Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.' Using this as a guideline, we should diligently examine the character, beliefs, actions, and motivations of political candidates and incumbents-and become actively involved to help place good men and women in office. Such efforts will enable us to render an acceptable account of our political stewardship to the 'Lord of the vineyard.'
Called To Serve
The natural tendency of nearly all people is to encourage others to run for office, but not get involved themselves. The Founders knew we could never enjoy strong self-government unless this general perspective were changed. They wanted it to be counted an honor to be drafted into "politics." A popular quotation from Cicero emphasized this theme. He had said: "For there is really no other occupation in which human virtue approaches more closely the august function of the gods than that of founding new States or preserving those already in existence."
John Adams wrote: "I do not curse the day when I engaged in public affairs....I cannot repent of any thing I ever did conscientiously and from a sense of duty. I never engaged in public affairs for my own interest, pleasure, envy, jealousy, avarice, or ambition, or even the desire of fame. If any of these had been my motive, my conduct would have been very different. In every considerable transaction of my public life, I have invariably acted according to my best judgment, and I can look up to God for the sincerity of my intentions."
John Adams had this to say about the high calling of a servant of the people in politics: "Politics are the divine science, after all. How is it possible that any man should ever think of making it subservient to his own little passions and mean private interests?....What is to become of an independent statesman, one who will bow the knee to no idol, who will worship nothing as a divinity but truth, virtue, and his country? I will tell you; he will be regarded more by posterity than those who worship hounds and horses; and although he will not make his own fortune, he will make the fortune of his country."
Is it time for you to step into the arena of service? If you feel a little timid, take some advice from J. Edgar Hoover, former FBI director: "In the battle for the life of our nation, ...we must look to those who enter the arena of active struggle; whose faces are stained by dust and sweat and blood; who strive valiantly to overcome temporary obstacles; who, supported by faith, enthusiasm and devotion, assault the enemy stronghold with the sword of patriotism."
A Little Help from NCCS
The most important first step a person can take in becoming involved is to gain an understanding of a few basic principles of good government. It is assumed we all agree God's Law is the basis of good government, but how does one transfer principles of God's Law into government? One of NCCS's supporters, Ron Christensen, has produced a video to help any citizen do just that. The video, called The Link, includes Ezra Taft Benson's classic speech on The Proper Role of Government. Every donor or purchaser of NCCS products this month may receive this video merely for the asking. See the enclosed flyer for details.
God bless you in responding to the call to serve your country.