This Tuesday, we have the opportunity to participate in what may be an historic midterm election. As discussed in part 1, there are no moderate candidates. In this election, we will choose between candidates who support policies that turn our nation away from calamity and candidates who have vowed to impede and reverse these—returning to policies that may provoke God all-the-more quickly to judgment. As Christians and as citizens of the United States of America, we will soon use our influence to chart the course of our nation (Jer. 18:7–10). As noted in the article, “Should Politics Matter to Christians?”, “Leaders don’t just represent their nations, they steer them. … When we engage in political processes, we help shape the spirit of our nation, and, obviously, its economic, defensive, and legal direction as well.”
For decades, America has celebrated, flaunted, and exported many of the specific sins that provoked God’s judgment upon nations in the past. However, we now find ourselves at a unique crossroads in the history of our nation as we now have a president who is actively striving to turn our nation away from these sinful practices that invoke God’s judgment. We’ve already considered how President Trump is confronting a culture of lies, endeavoring to stop the shedding of innocent blood, and is providing aid to those who are oppressed, helpless, and poor. However, there are more areas where President Trump—whether he realizes it or not—is working to stave off calamity by resisting the very things that invoke God’s judgment.
In his acceptance speech during the Republican national convention, President Trump declared, “I have a message to every last person threatening the peace and safety of our police: When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country. Believe me. Believe me.” In the days since then, he has delivered on his promise. He has stood as an advocate for Angel Families—families whose loved ones have been killed by illegal immigrants. He has championed the police. He has exposed rampant corruption in the Department of Justice (DOJ), leading to the firing, demotion, or resignation of at least 25 top level DOJ employees. He has taken “the shackles off” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), freeing them to better protect the border. And he has made human trafficking a priority of his administration. Within his first month in office, Trump’s administration oversaw 1,500 arrests for sex crimes ranging from trafficking to pedophilia, in Operation Broken Heart, more than 2,300 pedophiles were arrested in a nationwide sting targeting online sex offenders, and the Department of Justice has dismantled 42 criminal enterprises engaged in child sex trafficking.
Furthermore, President Trump’s administration is now responsible for appointing one out of every six circuit court of appeals judges. He set a record for the most federal appeals judges confirmed during the first year of a presidency. And he has appointed two Supreme Court Justices who are strong Constitutionalists.
Despite all this, perhaps we best see the president’s heart for justice in the matter of pardons. He has repeatedly pardoned or commuted sentences of individuals based upon a sense of justice rather than political expediency. He even posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion who was convicted in 1913 for transporting a white woman across state lines.
Mistreatment of Israel
The Los Angeles Times reports, “The Trump administration has gone further than any previous U.S. government in expressing full-throated support for Israel”. Likewise, Aaron Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and veteran peace negotiator in the Middle East, notes, “What we are seeing is a preternatural effort by the administration to identify itself with the state of Israel and this government of Israel.”
In response to conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians, President Trump’s administration has not called for restraint or levied blame upon Israel. “Instead, they lay the blame entirely on Hamas, the Islamist militant group that governs the Gaza Strip,” according to The Los Angeles Times. Furthermore, Trump’s administration has withdrawn hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid to the Palestinians.
Perhaps the most significant display of support for Israel came with the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This was in fulfillment of his campaign promise and a 1995 law that required the U.S. to move its embassy to Jerusalem—except that every president had signed waivers preventing the move. The move signified official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by the United States—something highly disputed by the Palestinians. According to a White House briefing, “Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”
There are many ways to encourage wickedness, but perhaps the greatest is to convince a nation to forsake God and its Christian heritage. Former President Barack Obama sought to convince Americans that America is no longer a Christian nation. Newsweek magazine published an article titled “The End of Christian America.” The author of this article, Jon Meacham, wrote a New York Times opinion piece titled “A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation,” and Norman Wirzba wrote a Washington Post opinion piece titled “Why We Can Now Declare the End of ‘Christian America.’”
In contrast, President Trump has sought to reclaim our nation’s Christian heritage. In his state of the union address, President Trump declared, “Together we are rediscovering the American way. In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy are the center of American life. The motto is, ‘In God we trust.’” Furthermore, he has taken care to note that our rights come from God, that God is mentioned four times in the Declaration of Independence, that our currency declares, “In God we trust,” that our pledge of allegiance says, “We are one nation under God,” and that the words “praise be to God” are etched atop the Washington monument. And he has promised to make protecting and preserving religious liberty the first priority of his administration.
To accomplish this, he signed an executive order allowing the IRS to opt not to enforce the Johnson Amendment which restricts political speech in churches. Later he attempted to repeal the Johnson Amendment as a part of his tax reforms. Additionally, he has created a Department of Justice religious liberty task force focused on protecting and promoting religious liberty. And he has established the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, saying that it would focus on protecting religious freedom and ensuring that “the faith-based and community organizations that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the federal government.”
Perhaps most significant is that he has appointed judges who will preserve religious liberty as a Constitutional right. This is best embodied in the president’s appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. According to Justin Walker, “Judge Kavanaugh has been a steadfast and fearless supporter of religious liberty for decades. When he was in private practice in the 1990s, he chaired the Federalist Society’s Religious Liberty practice group and worked pro bono on cases defending religious freedom. He wrote pro bono amicus briefs defending religious believers in high-profile Supreme Court cases. He represented a synagogue pro bono in a local zoning dispute. He advocated for the selection of judges who protect religious liberty. And as a judge himself, his record of defending religious liberty is unparalleled.”
Certainly, it requires more than one man to turn the heart of a nation. Nevertheless, 2 Chronicles records five periods of specific national renewal and revival in Israel. In each instance national revival was ushered-in by the actions of Israel’s king—Israel’s government:
- When King Solomon dedicated the new temple to the Lord, there was a powerful display of God’s presence (chapter 7).
- Revival under King Asa, who wanted to please God and had all of the pagan shrines destroyed, and then commanded his people to seek God instead (chapter 14).
- Revival under King Jehosophat, who commissioned a national Bible teaching tour and restored the kingdom to proper worship. Even surrounding nations felt the fear and presence of God (chapter 17).
- Revival under King Hezekiah, who sent runners throughout the land imploring people to return to God and to attend a massive Passover celebration (chapter 30).
- Revival under King Josiah, who found the Books of the Law in temple ruins and had the whole nation gather to hear God’s Word, purify themselves, and set course to obey the Lord (chapter 34).
National leaders matter because they chart the course for the nation. Fortunately, we have a president who is steering our nation away from the very practices that invoke God’s judgment. We have a president who is:
- Exposing our culture of lies
- Seeking to stop the shedding of innocent blood
- Aiding the oppressed, helpless, and poor
- Battling injustice
- Supporting Israel
- Encouraging good rather than evil
It will be interesting to discover on Tuesday how the remainder of the nation feels about these policies. Either our nation will embrace this turn away from behavior that invokes calamity, or it will appoint leaders pledged to return to policies that may provoke God all-the-more quickly to judgment. To say that the results of November 6 will have a lasting effect upon our nation is likely an understatement.
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31. Ellis, Jenna. “Trump and Jeff Sessions Prioritize Religious Liberty with New Justice Department Task Force.”
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34. “Should Politics Matter to Christians?” Forerunners of America, October 24, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2018. https://forerunnersofamerica.com/blog/should-politics-matter-to-christians/.