Real Power?

On the eve of the Republican National Convention, Republican Senator Olympia Snow of Maine, a pro-choice Senator, pointed out in a television interview that addressing abortion is not in keeping with the non government intrusion position of the Republican party. She further pointed out that 57 percent of all Republicans oppose the official Republican pro-life view, and only 6 percent of Americans support a ban on abortions. Yet the Republican Party has had an anti-abortion plank in their platform since the first Reagan presidential campaign.

Republican party whips, fund raisers, doorbell pushers, have raised the issue time and again when pressed to distinguish themselves from the Democrats. Having ceded the economy to the Democrats after the recession following the Reagan-Bush years, and finally recognizing that Americans do indeed care about the environment in which we live and must leave to our children, the Republicans have fallen to the age-old trick of invoking God when all else fails; and abortion provides a rallying call hard to measure against individual action and one which few major Party faithful openly opposed until recently.

Lest you misunderstand, I am not encouraging abortion. On this single issue, the Republicans are right! But I am beginning to doubt they have stayed the course out of conviction. They know what has only recently been made clear to the rest of us by their recent convention which highlighted pro-choice views previously hidden from the public--while the pro-choice/pro-life issue can be used to garner votes, it is not an issue to be effectively addressed by government, but one that must be decided in the heart.

For us, abortion can be treated no differently than any other issue on which real change is needed. All major issues can be addressed effectively only as Christians use the weapon left us by Christ: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

What is important in 2 Chronicles 7:14 quoted above is what is not said. The Scripture does not read, "If you people . . .
"If the Democratic or Republican Party . .
"If my people fund victorious parties . . .
"If my people seek and hold office . . .
"If my people compel others . . .

God speaks to His own; He hears His own; He protects His own; He makes His own victorious. While all political camps will profess their good intentions and ability to solve the problems we care about, all are woefully unable to bring about needed change in our economy, our community, our character.

Only God can make a change where it is needed most---in us. And as this change occurs we can impact the greater society not by our incessant preaching to them about what they should do, but by our prayers which affect them and us. In reality this is a far better approach as it does not allow our opponents to draw attention to our weakness as we struggle to do as we profess and as we say they should do. Rather, it acknowledges our weakness to God who can strengthen us all. It is really a totally selfish approach when you think about it--we focus on us by asking for God's help in any area of weakness, and as God strengthens us, we strengthen our community.

This year we must exercise real choices as we approach the November elections. We must exercise these choices knowing that there is no party (or candidate) that espouses views synonymous with our faith in Christ in every respect.

The recent Republican National Convention has served us well by reminding us of the historic beginnings of the Republican Party as the party of emancipation, and of the inclusive nature of all current political parties. The two major parties, and perhaps the third (the Reform Party of Ross Perot), all have something to offer as they put forth good candidates and promote our ideas. We should thus not follow a mistaken belief that we must align ourselves with one or the other for the sake of gaining political power. What former President Jimmy Carter said seventeen years ago when referring to America's dependence on foreign oil remains true today, "All the legislation in the world can't fix what's wrong with America."

As we align ourselves for success, we must always remain loyal to He who has all power and promised to strengthen us as we call on Him.

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