Friday, October 5, 2012

The Future of America

By Dr. Roger Gilbert

In the past few articles and sermons, I have pointed out that the biblical teaching is that we are to respect our government and be good citizens of our country, while putting service, devotion and worship of God in first place. We are to be careful not to confuse patriotism with Christianity. This relationship has often been described as the separation of church and state. The government is not to have authority over the church and the church (or any religious organization, institution or group) is not to have authority over the government.

We need to be clear, however, that this does not mean that one’s individual faith is not to influence one’s personal political opinions, votes, and participation. It also does not keep the church from addressing moral and ethical issues that affect our nation, state, or community. Neither the church (nor any preacher) should tell individuals how to vote or which party to support. But the church, and any pastor, is free to address the issues of the day.

Having said the above, I want to address a matter that should be of grave concern to every American, whatever your political persuasion. Associated Press reported that in the month of June the Obama and Romney campaigns combined raised $177 million in political contributions. Add to that fact that the total amount invested in these campaigns is unbelievably, astronomically higher than the one month total of $177 million. We are talking about billions! The changes in the law that removes the limits on contributions and makes disclosure optional has opened the door for individuals and groups, possibly even foreign entities, to anonymously have enormous power and control. It is obscene. It is frightening. The “buying” of political office is becoming more and more a reality. In the long run, the only “winners” in this maddening trend are the media businesses who are doing right well airing the campaign ads. I understand that each party says they have to do it because the other party is doing it. Yet, there must be some way to bring about reform.

I know that individual citizens and even groups of citizens feel so powerless to have any influence on this run away political nightmare. I feel the frustration. I also know that in this election year the greatest concern of each party is “we’ve got to win.” And yet, if we believe in democracy at all, we know that when enough of the citizens let their voices be heard, changes slowly but surely take place. I am sure that many of you are a lot wiser in these matters than I am, but it seems to me that one move surely is for us as individuals to let our elected officials know that we the citizens are serious about positive changes. It is not a matter of the Republican or the Democratic parties. Nor is it just a matter of this election. It is a matter of the future of America. The land of the free and the home of the brave is in danger of becoming something very different.

Roger Gilbert is the pastor of First Baptist Church, Mount Airy, NC. This article originally appeared in their church newsletter, "The Announcer."

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