Originally published in the Jacksonville Observer
It is impossible to keep religion out of politics. Why, you ask? Because a few folks involved in politics actually know God, and others have strong religious beliefs that supersede and drive their political agenda.
Our religious beliefs may have everlasting significance. In comparison, the history of the United States spans less than three-hundred years. Our First Amendment right of religious liberty ensures that each man and woman has the right to seek the truth about the existence of God without interference from the government. Our First Amendment right of freedom of association recognizes that we join with like-minded individuals in order to ensure that our political, social, religious, and philosophical beliefs will prevail. This is the essence of politics.
My personal testimony is that God continues to interact with mankind. Surely, the living God can make Himself known to anyone He chooses. Therefore, it follows that an individual should not accept blindly the claims that others make about the nature of God, including the claims that I make here. In the political arena I rely on the idea of natural law, believing that God is the author of it. God’s law is not capricious but rather is it supremely practical and logical. Therefore, when we make political arguments in support of a particular policy, we must make rational arguments based on natural law that may reasonably be accepted by adherents of all faiths and by the atheist as well. This is our responsibility as members of a civil republic where freedom of thought and religion is acknowledged, and the rights of all are protected.
Those who know the Lord God and are known by Him, have an obligation to seek, and obey His will. We are also called to cooperate with each other. We should have pity on, rather than condemn those who have not met Him and befriend, be of service to, and pray for them. After all, aside from being the recipients of God’s grace and Christ’s mercy we are of no better character than our fellow citizens, and are frequently much worse.
Both atheists and believers can be liberal or conservative. An atheist or a believer in God may be honest and upright or a low-down skunk, as is clearly evident in both the Republican and Democratic parties. What then are citizens to do in order to ensure that their opinions and beliefs are adequately represented? They have no choice but to make it their business to know both their neighbors’ character and beliefs. To be represented they must find, associate, and cooperate with those who have similar views and work to select and elect candidates who actually represent them. They must also punish severely those candidates who do not effectively represent them when Election Day rolls around. It is not enough to merely vote, or occasionally show up at a rally. We must act now to secure our families, our neighborhoods, and county precincts, if we are to once again secure our state and the nation. In this Advent season, those who lift up the name of Christ may take up their political duties confident that God’s Kingdom will, at the last, come.
(Louis William Rose is a political philosopher and the parliamentarian of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Northeast Florida. You can contact him at http://www.louisrose.com)