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The weekend the Starr report was released, I was a guest in a
Portland, Oregon, church. The nation was in turmoil. Spin-doctors
had hit the airwaves like pollen during a bad allergy season. And
in the church service I waited. Not for a whole sermon. Not for
condemnation. But for some mention, if only to ease the pain and
confusion that those not prepared for the report’s contents had to
be experiencing.

Nothing. There were no sermons, no songs, no prayers. Not one word
about the turmoil affecting so many lives.

If those in the world look to the church for anything, it is for
moral leadership. That church, and as I later learned my own
church, failed them.

If Christians cannot be heard on the great moral issues of our day,
we have indeed become irrelevant. It means that we have bought –
hook, line, and sinker — the secular argument that religion has no
place in American society.

I beg to differ. And I hope you will, too. Christians have a long
and loud history of being heard in America. It’s time we reclaimed
that heritage — if necessary, over the objections of our fellow
Christians. But before I suggest how, a little ammunition in the
form of history.

It was Charles Finney (1792-1875), the great American evangelist
and President of Oberlin College, the first college to award
degrees to women and Blacks who said:

    The church must take the right ground in regards to
    politics. … The time has come for Christians to vote for
    honest men, and take consistent ground in politics or the
    Lord will curse them. …

    God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which
    we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right
    ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a
    country as this, and Christians must do their duty to
    their country as a part of their duty to God. …

    God will bless or curse this nation according to the
    course Christians take in politics. (All quotations from
    America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, by
    William J. Federer, 1994, Fame Publishing, Coppell,
    Texas.)

But even further back, at the very beginning of our nation’s
history, when the Continental Congress had stalled out over
disagreements on June 18, 1787, Benjamin Franklin rose to address
the assembly:

    I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live,
    the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that
    God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow
    cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it
    probable that an empire can rise without His aid? ….

    I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers
    imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on
    our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning
    before we proceed to business, and that one or more of
    the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that
    service.

The entire delegation reassembled on July 4 in the Reformed
Calvinistic Church and heard a sermon by the Reverend William
Rogers. He prayed:

    We fervently recommend to the fatherly notice … our
    federal convention. … Favor them, from day to day, with
    thy inspiring presence; be their wisdom and strength;
    enable them to devise such measures as may prove happy
    instruments in healing all divisions and prove the good
    of the great whole … that the United States of America
    may form one example of a free and virtuous government…

America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations reports:

    Virtually every one of the 55 writers and signers of the
    United States Constitution of 1787, were members of
    Christian denominations: 29 were Anglicans, 16 to 18 were
    Calvinists, 2 were Methodists, 2 were Lutherans, 2 were
    Roman Catholic, 1 lapsed Quaker and sometimes Anglican,
    and 1 open Deist — Dr. Franklin who attended every kind
    of Christian worship, called for public prayer, and
    contributed to all denominations.

In our own century, President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
stated:

    Progress has brought us both unbounded opportunities and
    unbridled difficulties. Thus, the measure of our
    civilization will not be that we have done much, but what
    we have done with that much. I believe that the next half
    century will determine if we will advance the cause of
    Christian civilization or revert to the horrors of brutal
    paganism. The thought of modern industry in the hands of
    Christian charity is a dream worth dreaming. The thought
    of industry in the hands of paganism is a nightmare
    beyond imagining. The choice between the two is upon us.

What can one person do? More than you might think. At the urging of
some in the leadership of my own church, I drafted the following
resolution. With considerable courage, our church leadership has
approved and recommended to the full church this resolution, with
the changes detailed below in brackets. As one person said during
the debate, “We can send it to Congress. It’s important they know
where we stand on this.”

Indeed it is.

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, we acknowledge but one God, Creator, Sovereign Ruler,
Reigning King and Righteous Judge of both Heaven and Earth and all
that is within them;

WHEREAS this God, who is Ruler Over All, presides equally over the
Public and Private, Holy and the Unholy, Sacred and Profane,
Government and Individual, and nothing that is done is beyond the
reach of His Authority and Law;

WHEREAS Almighty God has ordained in his Word, revealed to us in
the Holy Bible, made flesh in the person of His Only Begotten Son,
our Blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, certain laws of conduct
and pronouncements regarding behavior among men and women by which
are bound all persons, Great and Small, Saved or Lost, Public or
Private;

WHEREAS our government was founded by men who feared God, as a
government of laws, not of men, meaning that all men, great and
small, regardless of position, power, and prestige, are bound by
these same laws of God and man;

WHEREAS Our President elected to preside over these United States,
by his own admission has broken God’s laws, in that he has
committed adultery even while on the public payroll and in full
view of the nation, then he lied, to his family, his government,
and our nation, obstructed justice, tampered with witnesses, and by
his thoughts and deeds did seek to subvert the course of justice in
order to prevent his dark deeds from being exposed to the light of
day;

WHEREAS such behavior is sin, an affront to Almighty God, injurious
to our nation, hurtful to our families, spouses, and children, and
is a disgrace and a reproof that we dare not bear before the God of
the Universe lest His righteous anger be kindled against us;

WHEREAS we are His Church, His People, and His Representatives on
Earth, we are compelled to be heard on this matter;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT

WE DO HEREBY condemn the actions of William Jefferson Clinton,
President of the United States, his adultery, his lying, his
obstruction of justice, and the shame and disgrace he has brought
upon our nation, and demand that he remove himself from office, or
be removed by the civil authorities to whom he is subject, and that
after removal he shall be subject to the full force of the law
regarding punishment for his crimes, and

[My church leadership amended the paragraph above, substituting
after "nation," above: "and recommend that he do the honorable
thing and remove himself from office." The balance of the
resolution was struck.]

FURTHERMORE, we remove our consent to be governed by William
Jefferson Clinton as President of these United States. We do not
consent to, nor are we in any way bound by his laws,
pronouncements, orders, edicts, or actions or anything that bears
his signature or his authority. We declare his actions from the
date he committed these offenses to be invalid, unenforceable, the
pronouncements of a usurper, the actions of a despot who is intent
only upon using the powers vested in him as President for his own
evil purposes, and for the destruction of our nation.

[Readers are free to use this resolution, amended as needed, as a
model for their own church resolutions. I would love to hear the
outcome at your church.]

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