People ask me questions--most often about eschatology--because I solicit such questions.
But since the 2008 presidential election, things have changed. While President Obama remains personally popular, polls show his policies (as well as those of the democrat congress) are not. The economy has not turned around and shows no signs of doing so. In fact, one more unforeseen crisis--like an oil shortage caused by some interruption in supply--would surely push us into deep recession (if we are not already there).
In my circle, layoffs have hit hard and many people are struggling to make ends meet. And since most Christians (even Reformed Christians) tend to be social and economic conservatives, more and more people believe that America is now well along the path to socialism. People are worried. Rightly so. And they come to me with questions. And I'm not much help.
As a pastor committed to a two-kingdom theology, I make every effort to keep my political opinions to myself. My close friends, who know and understand how I view the two kingdoms, have heard my political rants. But many who don't know me as well assume that my reticence to speak about partisan politics in public means I don't have strong political views--or that my views tend left. Whatever. I will tell you that I've come to despise partisan politics and am saddened that far too many people whom I love and respect vote to elect people to office about on the same basis that they vote for their favorite on "American Idol." "I really like them." "They gave such a good speech." "They care about me." "They'll bring about change" In other words, people naively believe all those political sound-bites designed to create precisely this reaction.
My calling as a pastor demands that I not confuse my personal politics with preaching the law and gospel to all political partisans. I take that calling very seriously. Yet I do feel some sense of obligation to answer honest questions, even if those questions go to the political . . .
So, here are two things I urge all my readers to consider. These are non-partisan, but get to the heart of what is wrong with the American political process as it currently functions.
First, support Ron Paul's HRES 216 IH. OK, I realize that the mere mention of Ron Paul's name will send some of you over the edge--but read this first, and then react. This procedural resolution simply calls for any bill coming up for a vote to be published (on-line) for ten days before the vote can take place in the Congress. This gives both the public and the members of Congress time to actually read and debate all proposed legislation before Congress votes on said legisltation. Paul's resolution is but one paragraph long. Read it! Click here: Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)
The House of Representatives just passed one of the most far-reaching bills in American history (the so-called "Cap and Trade"), and that bill had not yet even been finalized when it was voted upon! Not to mention a 300 page amendment was submitted at 3:00 AM on the day of the vote. In other words, this monumental bill was passed by members of our Congress who had not even read it! This is irresponsible in the extreme.
What can you do? Ask your congress person to support this resolution. Don't vote for them again if they don't. Call, or email their office and ask where they stand on this. In my mind, members of Congress who vote for legislation they have not read disqualify themselves from holding future office.
Second, repealing the seventeenth amendment would knock the legs out from under the pompous partisan hacks we know as a "US Senator." The US Constitution, as written, assumed that the states would each send two state legislators to Washington to represent the interests of their state before the US Senate. The senators represented the states which sent them (primarily), not their respective political parties which now control them.
The seveneenth amendment called for the direct election of senators, and this created a year-round resident of the Washington beltway, who now does the business of his or her political party, not their respective states.
Here's blog devoted to the repeal of the seventeenth amendment (it is a mixed bag--Click here: Repeal the 17th Amendment). Here's a great FAQ explaining why the seventeenth amendment was passed and what the ramifications would be if it was repealed. Click here: Why Repeal 17th Amendment?
What can you do? Talk this up. Whenever the subject of the behavior of our Senate comes up in a discussion, raise repealing the seventeenth amendment as an option. If repealing this amendment ever catches on in the popular imagination, the sheer terror of what this might do to the pompous political hacks living in the Beltway, might bring about more responsible behavior.
In any case, the seventeenth amendment has brought about distarous consequences and needs to be repealed. Start the ball rolling by talking about this whenever you can!