George Washington Prophetically Speaks On Party Politics

Ol’ George predicted this current American mess a long time ago with harrowing prophetic insight. He saw the creeping danger of partisan parties (before they were even a factor in American politics) in the early constitutional republic he helped found. On his way out of office (1796) Washington warns us today:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

…Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”

Farewell Address, George Washington

 

A Dead Brit On Modern American Politics (Chesterton)

GK Chesterton (1874-1936) is (probably) my favorite dead political/religious commentator. Compare him with some of the modern hacks who make appearances on the FoxNews/MSNBC celeb circuit.

The “Apostle of Common Sense” would be shocked to witness the un-commonness of such a virtue in the political/public arena of our day. Most all of these quotes are found in publications leading up to, or immediately after, World War I. Many are in reference to Great Britain, yet they also apply neatly to the current state of American politics.

On government:

“All government is an ugly necessity.”

“Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.”

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”

“Men are ruled, at this minute by the clock, by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern.” – The New Name, Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays, 1917

On the Declaration of Independence:

“The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man.”

On patriotism:

“My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

On war:

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

“War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.”

On political progressivism:

“Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.” – New York Times Magazine, 2/11/23

“He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.”

On the economy:

“There cannot be a nation of millionaires, and there never has been a nation of Utopian comrades; but there have been any number of nations of tolerably contented peasants.”

On liberty:

“The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.”

On his journalism career:

“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”

Can’t Pray for A Secularist and Can’t Vote for A Mormon?

Election season seems to bring out the best (sic) in those who profess Christ.

I’ve heard variations of the two following statements:

“I can hardly bring myself to even pray for Obama because of his secular…..”

or

“I can hardly bring myself to vote for Romney because of his Mormon….”

To hold either view, one would have to ignore the thrust of Paul’s argument in Romans 13:1-7. Namely, that God is sovereign over even overtly pagan rulers and He has brought about their rule for our own protection and provision. Whether we like it or not, the one who is in “authority is a servant for your good.”

Ancient Roman reign brought about a terror and totalitarianism that modern American politics has little or no context for. For 250 years Americans haven’t known what is like to be occupied by a foreign nation, much less a nation that ruled according by the whims and fancies of psycho Caesars like Nero or Diocletian. The Roman Christians Paul wrote to were a generation away from being burnt at the stakes and ripped apart by lions for national sport.

And Paul says subject yourselves to…them?!

The overriding issue of the ancient Jews was that an alien Roman bully had conquered and enslaved God’s chosen nation of Israel. And yet the ministry of Jesus virtually ignores that great elephant altogether to focus on loving the scum of society and confronting the hypocrisy of religiolites.

Now.

We are fortunate to live in a First Amendment driven democratic government where free speech is largely valued. If re-elected, I can disagree (vehemently) with the president’s policies on abortion without fear of a Communist shakedown on my family and I. If elected, I can disagree (vehemently) with Romney’s religious leanings without fear of a Mormon Illuminati attack on my personal liberties.

Whomever is elected this year, I can continue to speak out against the infanticide of abortion and the cult of Mormonism in reference to our respective president at the time. Roman Christians of old and Chinese Christians of new could not even imagine such a sacred privilege being thrust upon them. The individual privilege of voting and speaking for or against chief governmental leaders keeps this American experiment ticking.  But with that privilege comes great responsibility. Not to necessarily cast our lots with right or left leaning ideologues, but to vote in a way that both laments and rejoices at such a right.

Yes, I say to both lament and rejoice as a way to honor our right to vote.

We should lament because our only choices on this side of eternity are between two flaw-filled sinful men. Men who will always over promise and under deliver. Men who will say every word and make every action according to a careful diabolical political theory. Men who may have the very best of intentions, yet will undoubtedly fail at bringing the soaring hope of peace and prosperity their rhetoric guarantees.

We should expect as much from, well, men.

Do vote. But vote with a hint of lament and longing gripping your soul.

And we may rightly rejoice as we vote too.

Rejoice that we have an eternal hope in the gospel of Christ Jesus. His is an eternal righteous reign with no end, not a term of four/eight lackluster years (Isaiah 9:7). We haven’t chosen Christ in an election of false promises, He has chosen us with the permanently sealed promise of his own Spirit and blood (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Many men have assumed the office of president. As a subject of another kingdom you must pray for the man who ends up holding that office, even moreso if he doesn’t pray to the one true God revealed in Scripture. And as a responsible and conscientious citizen of a free nation you should vote for the best flawed man available, whether or not he holds your biblical view of God.

But Jesus is the only King.

He is working out his rule and reign within the hearts of His true subjects here on earth (Luke 17:21). This paradoxical rule will not be denied no matter the election results. His Kingdom is here already. So Rejoice! His Kingdom is not here yet. So Lament! Voting may be a small way to honor His Kingdom. But the best way to advance it is by an unwavering commitment to the King’s final commission to us:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Bryan Daniels

Post Election: The Donkey Wept

A few musings about Election Night 2010:

1. Big props to Steve and Steve. Or Steve squared. Or….whatever. Steve Moss won his local school board seat. Steve Southerland won the Congress seat over an entrenched incumbent, Allen Boyd. Both are stand up Christian family men who will be an asset to their community as public servants.

2. “The events suck for the Democrats tonight,” was Chris Matthews exact somber words last night. That tingly feeling he used have run up his leg seemed to be replaced by a swift kick to the man region. The MSNBC crew displayed snide remarks, sarcastic observations and sore loser syndrome throughout their election broadcast. Brewing bitterness was their food all night long.

3.  Conversely, Fox News was the epicenter of giddy school girls at a Justin Bieber concert. When I turned the channel to “America’s Newsroom”, confetti and silly string literally exploded out of my TV, hit me in the face, and fell into my bowl of cereal. The “Mastermind” Karl Rove and the “Martyr” Juan Williams waxed poetically about the massive conservative shifts in Washington.

That either Fox News or MSNBC would claim objective journalistic integrity is disingenuous at best. Both tend to serve as political lap dogs, one for the left one for the right.

4. God is sovereign (Daniel 4:35-36). We must pray (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We must pray for all our leaders, not just the ones we have a political affinity for. The Obama administration, leftist loons, redneck right, red state and blue state. It doesn’t matter. God is the only wise, loving, powerful KING in the universe. His Son is the only living hope for this nation; not reform, new bills, less taxes, or more populist uprisings. Let’s approach Him boldly, and He will grant the only change that will last in the end (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Bryan Daniels

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