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We Can No Longer Operate on a Do-Nothing Model for Civil Engagement

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
(Reuters photo)

Newly inaugurated President Donald Trump appears ready to follow through on his campaign commitments:

  • Repeal the Johnson Amendment—the "Christian Gag Rule"
  • Defund Planned Parenthood
  • Restore local control of public education
  • Move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the city of Jerusalem
  • Scrap former President Obama's disastrous Iranian nuclear deal
  • Reinstate the "Mexico City Policy" on abortion

If so, then we are entering a period with an opportunity to restore America her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a biblical-based culture. Christianity was moved from the margins to the center in America last week. Jesus Christ was high and lifted up at the swearing-in ceremony of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Did you know that at least 10 believers have been chosen by President Trump for his Cabinet? They include: Mike Pence (vice president), Betsy DeVos (Education), Jeff Sessions (attorney general), Ben Carson (Housing and Urban Development), Rick Perry (Energy), Mike Pompeo (Central Intelligence Agency), Scott Pruitt (Environmental Protection Agency), Dan Coats (director of national intelligence), Tom Price (Housing and Human Services) and Sonny Purdue (attorney general). In addition, Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, is a Christian.

Except for a few interruptions, one party or the other has dominated the political scene through stretched out periods in American history. This has been the historical pattern over the last two centuries. The other party then serves more as an opposition party to keep the dominate party in check. For example, Andrew Jackson founded the Democrat Party in 1828, which became the majority party for the next 40 years or so, until the Civil War. The Republican Party won the 1860 election with Abraham Lincoln and became the majority party from 1865-1932. In came Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the New Deal and led the majority party until 1980.

But since 1980, we've had a divided nation, an anomalous, a deviation from the norm.

Since the law has been basically drained of all truth by secularists and relativists on the Supreme Court during the past 75 years, the standard for truth now seems to be whatever five Supreme Court justices can agree to on any given day. In contrast, in the preceding centuries of American history, judges recognized the intrinsic connection between morality and good government.

To date, recent Republican presidents have about a 50 percent success rate in picking conservative Justices for the U.S. Supreme Court. But Democrats are 100 percent successful in picking justices aligned with their worldview. During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump pledged to nominate a "strict constructionist" to the Court. We anticipate he will do as he committed.

In this battle with the secular left for humankind's future, the left is aided and abetted by a media that has swallowed large doses of revisionist history and lacks basic journalistic ethics. So to combat the left's advantage, we must recruit the next group of leaders to run for city council, county commissioner, school board or even park commissioner. The recruits will need training and molding by seasoned political operatives. This is the model for the 21st century.

Evangelical and pro-life Catholic Christians can no longer operate on the model for civic engagement entrusted to us from the last generation, a sort of do-nothing approach.

The currency in the political arena is: 1. how many votes can you bring to the table, or 2. how much money can you bring that brings votes to the table. Press conferences, mass distribution of press releases and getting an interview with Megyn Kelly is public relations–useful for boosting one's reputation, improving one's image and promoting one's self.

Christian leadership today too often operates on a worn-out model. In a sense, the difference between the "policy" approach and the "seasoned operative" approach is the difference between playing checkers and chess. The same board gets used for both, but the game is played with totally different pieces and strategies. The difference between the two approaches is the difference between strategy and luck.

Christians won nothing on Nov. 8 except an election. To re-establish a biblically-based culture and save America from moral collapse, we must engage the public square with biblical values. Organizing is the largest denomination in political currency. Speechifying is way down on the list of political currency, worth maybe a half-nickel. A Sunday sermon is not a denomination of political currency.

Christian conservatives have a task in front of them. Having forfeited to secularists the pillars of influence of society (public education, higher learning, media, big business, the Supreme Court, federal courts and Hollywood), we must ask God to produce change agents and place them in positions of influence. It is here that our culture will be won or lost.

Prayer is the key. We must reestablish prayer, led by the senior pastor, in America's churches.

William McKane notes in his commentary on Proverbs: "Wisdom does not recoil from the rough and tumble of the market-place with its busyness and noise."

Those in possession of biblical wisdom, willing to stand where competition is fiercest—the public square—deserve the love and thanks of every citizen. It is at this intersection where the folly of secularism, multiculturalism and political correctness, i.e., "a diverse and pluralistic society," competes for space, offering alternative and competing philosophies, ideologies, and values; the dimwitted and gullible fall here.

Where do we find this biblical wisdom and those in possession of it?

Well, that's the hard part. A.W. Pink observed, "The Bible is no lazy man's book. Much of its treasure, like the valuable minerals stored in the bowels of the earth, only yield themselves to the diligent seeker."

But, we are beginning to find Gideons and Rahabs standing.

David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.

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