Over the past couple of weeks, I have had an opportunity to interview a number of candidates who have stepped forward and decided to run for public office in Kentucky this November.
As a political junkie with roots which can be traced to the era of President Ronald Reagan, and as someone who believes that we need to raise up people of faith to engage in the political arena, I will candidly admit that the reason I volunteered to participate in the candidate interviews was somewhat selfish. I wanted to know firsthand if there were still citizen legislators with the courage and conviction to stand in the gap and oppose the shifting sands of the new and evolving cultural definition of morality.
These past years, I have often turned to the words of Ronald Reagan as a starting point to consider the many complex issues we face as a nation, issues which so often bring us to a crossroad which will define the very future of America as a Christian nation. As such, join me for a moment and consider a simple quote from a speech Ronald Reagan delivered on “Politics and Morality” at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in August of 1984.
The truth is, politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality's foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church because only those humble enough to admit they're sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.
After this past session in Frankfort, and especially after the fight over pension reform, I was left wondering whether any man or woman of faith would want to run for public office and expose themselves, and their families, to the expected attacks. Undoubtedly, many candidates of faith will be painted and defined with a broad brush as religious fanatics who do not understand that morality as defined by our founding fathers is an evolving concept which must be accepted in this new and enlightened time, a time when people of faith are being asked to abandon their faith values in the public arena, so we can all just get along.
Recently, I was introduced to the word ecclesia which finds its origins in ancient Greece. An ecclesia is defined as “a political assembly of citizens of Greek states; especially, the periodic meeting of the Athenian citizens for conducing public business and for considering affairs proposed by the council.” This single word defines what people of faith should expect and demand from our citizen legislators who represent us at the federal, state, and local levels of government.
Considering the importance of the future of not only Kentucky, but our nation, and the need for people of faith to enter the political arena, it is not only incumbent upon us to support candidates of faith, it is absolutely critical to elect men and women of faith in order to ensure that America will endure as a Christian nation.
There is little doubt that we cannot survive as a Christian nation unless we elect an ecclesia of citizens who still believe that “politics and morality are inseparable.” As people of faith, we have an obligation to support candidates who are willing to stand in the gap, candidates who have a depth of conviction which will allow our political candidates to accept the simple words of Ronald Reagan when he said that “morality's foundation is religion, [and] religion and politics are necessarily related.”
So, this year, when you consider the hundreds of pieces of political advertisements for the candidates which will be mailed to us, emailed to us, and also, those political advertisements which will mysteriously appear hanging on our front doorknobs, take the time necessary to consider each of the candidates who want to join the ecclesia.
More importantly, consider which of the candidates you believe will represent your definition of morality at the ecclesia, that is, will they be candidates who believe in an evolving definition of morality, or will they be candidates who believe in a definition of morality based on religion.
So, as I often do, I would invite each of you to join me on my imaginary mountaintop to spend some quiet time to consider each of the candidates who you will be on ballots across the Commonwealth this November. Instead of asking each of you to help me shout loudly a message to our fellow citizens about the importance of this election, this time I would simply ask each of you to consider the candidates who will appear on your ballots, and then I would ask each of you to quietly enter the voting booth this November and cast your vote for those candidates who still believe that morality’s foundation is religion; and, that religion and politics are not only related, but are essential to the future of a America as a Christian nation.
Mark Wohlander, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, practices law in Lexington, Kentucky.
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