All we ask is that our politicians begin to redeem the words by which they govern us, and the work they perform on our behalf, by making their “yes” mean “yes” and their “no” mean “no.” And we want them to do so at the very beginning of their service, as well as throughout.

But many will say, “It is unreasonable to expect politicians to govern us as unto the Lord, according to their invocation. We are not a Christian nation.” I do not believe that we should not hold our public officials to their word; if we are to do so, then let us take one of two courses.

First, let us consistently and continuously remind our politicians that they are not acting in the performance of their office according to their words of invocation. Let us become like Elijah or Micaiah, who troubled the King of Israel by their constant insistence on his acting in good faith toward the God they pretended to serve. Let them deny publicly any intention of seeking the Lord in prayer, of leaning on wise and Godly counselors, or of allowing the Word or biblical precedent to inform their actions. Let them stand before us all and say, “I didn’t really mean that. It was just a formality, you know.”

Then, second, if indeed such is to be the case, let us dispense with the formality. Let legislators, presidents, and judges say what they will at their swearing in. Let us require them to declare their sources, invoke the help of particular advisors, known political philosophies, and their own best hunches.

Let them resolve in solemn oaths to look to the god of reason, or prosperity, or political advancement in all their actions. Let them be required, in other words, to tell us, right up front, what they will depend on in governing us, to whom or what they will look, and what will be the formative influences in all their actions as our leaders. And let them say clearly to what extent, if any, they intend to look to God for help at all.

For I rather suspect, given the large Christian population of this nation, and the staying power of a long tradition that—to the chagrin of many—will not go away, that any public official who would choose that course, and who would declare beforehand that he will not look to the help of the Lord in the ways we have described, would find his hopes for attaining political office severely diminished.

For reflection

Is this a reasonable expectation for Christians to hold out to public officials? How might you begin to practice such expectations?

T. M. Moore is dean of the BreakPoint Centurions Program and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. Sign up at his website to receive his daily email devotional Crosfigell, reflections on Scripture and the Celtic Christian tradition, or sign up at the Wilberforce Project to receive his daily study, ViewPoint, studies in Christian worldview living. T. M. and his wife and editor, Susie, make their home in Hamilton, Va.
Copyright © 2009 Prison Fellowship. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
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Crosswalk publication date: August 3, 2009