Memo on prayer and the Nov. 7 election
By Wayne Grudem
Friday, November 3, 2006
Please continue in much prayer for the election coming up November 7th.
Every day as I pray about this, and as I have been reading through 2 Chronicles at the same time, it does not seem to me that our country is in the same situation as ancient Israel in that period, where the leaders were all corrupt and led the people astray, and God brought judgment. Yes, there have been some corrupt people exposed in both parties (as the Lord in his providence “cleans house” and brings sin to light), but they surely do not represent the vast majority of people in politics today.
As I think through the different branches of US government (executive, beginning with the President, then the legislative branch, and judicial branch), and think about many people in leadership at the state level, I know of many, many people who are seeking to do right for our nation and are praying earnestly that God would grant blessing and success to their efforts. Many of them openly profess their faith in Jesus Christ, and many others are unbelievers but (by God’s common grace) are genuinely seeking to do what is right for the nation and have basically good goals for the nation (or so it seems to me).
Particularly with regard to President Bush, I was praying this morning, asking, “Lord, if you will not help this kind of a courageous President who earnestly seeks to follow you, and continually seeks to walk in paths of righteousness, then what kind of President will you ever help?” He has been frustrated by a wayward and timid Congress, and especially by a foolish Senate rule that effectively requires 60 votes to pass anything, but he himself has steadfastly done just what I (at least) had hoped he would do with regard to:
(a) appointing two excellent Supreme Court justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito,
(b) appointing dozens and dozens of Circuit Court and District Court judges who are committed to just interpreting laws, not making new laws from the bench,
(c) defense against terror – astoundingly, he has kept us free from attack for over 5 years (and been criticized and attacked for every part of that effort), and he has seen democratic governments established in the Afghanistan and Iraq, setting in motion a movement to change the history of the world by marginalizing Islamic terrorism in Muslim countries,
(d) school choice, doing what he can to promote this most significant of all needs to help overcome poverty,
(e) abortion – he signed the partial birth abortion ban law that President Clinton vetoed twice (1996 and 1997), and he has consistently been pro-life,
(f) support for a Constitutional amendment on marriage (which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling last week shows we clearly need),
(g) the economy, pushing through several tax cuts that help everyone, and as the tax cuts have helped the economy they have done much good for the poor who need jobs, so that the economy has weathered both 9/11 and the 2001 recession and is now booming, the Dow Jones average is at its highest point in history, and we produce three times more goods and services than any economy in the world (we now produce about 33% of the world’s goods and services, and no other nation comes close),
(h) creation of jobs, with economic policies that have given a strong economy so that people who want jobs can find them (the unemployment rate today is only 4.4%, the lowest in years), something again that especially helps the poor,
(i) wise use of the environment, resisting the immense pressure to bring us onboard with the foolish Kyoto Protocol that is now harming European economies and helping nothing, and wisely supporting more domestic production of energy (especially ANWR in Alaska),
(j) embryonic stem cell research (that is, the creation of the beginnings of little babies just to harvest their parts), restricting federal funding and taking immense criticism for it,
(k) huge increases in aid to overcome AIDS in Africa, along with promotion of abstinence-based programs, for which he has again taken immense criticism,
(l) Social Security – he told the truth, and had plans to rescue it, but the timid Congress didn’t have the courage to touch it,
(m) faith-based programs – by executive order he is ending the discrimination against faith-based social services that actually work in changing lives through the power of Christ, and he had other excellent ideas, but couldn’t get Congress to go along,
(n) a sensible, comprehensive immigration program that included securing the border, some kind of path to citizenship for those who have broken no other laws and have been here working for some time, and also a documented guest worker program – good ideas, to my mind, in line with biblical injunctions to care for the “alien and sojourner,” but also including measures to punish those who do wrong — but the Congress would not do much about it,
(o) racial justice and reconciliation, appointing prominent African-American and Hispanic citizens to high government posts, and pushing for education reform, which would do more than perhaps anything to overcome persistent Black poverty (but the Democrats and the public school lobby have fought this tooth and nail),
(p) seeking to repeal the wrongful “death tax” on personal estates (but the Democrats blocked it in the Senate, because of the foolish rule needing 60 votes to pass anything, never intended by our Constitution),
(q) appointment of wise, tough diplomats to key posts, like John Bolton at the UN, Condoleezza Rice as Sec. of State, and Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank,
(r) personal conduct that is “above reproach,” giving moral leadership to the nation by example of life and by kindness that amazes me toward those in politics and in the press who continue relentlessly to attack him,
(s) probably many other things that I have by now forgotten.
(t) And all this in the face of a relentlessly hostile and negatively-biased press, and many people who simply attack everything he does, plus facing the daily responsibility of guarding our nation against the deep evil of worldwide terrorism.
What more could I ask from a President of the United States? You may differ with me on these things – it’s a free country! But these are my convictions, built up over six years of watching George Bush’s presidency.
Of course I have a few disagreements – I wish President Bush had not signed the McCain –Feingold bill to hinder campaign contributions and freedom of speech (but I don’t know what the alternatives were at that time, and perhaps McCain would have made any other legislation impossible for years). I also wish he had played more political hardball with Congress over greatly increased, wasteful spending (but I don’t know what the trade-offs were regarding votes for crucial issues of national defense and protection of the country from terrorism, and I know he sought a line-item veto to reign in spending and Congress would not grant it).
But overall I am so very very thankful for an outstanding, I think excellent President. He has done right. And he is changing world history in a right direction, a direction that will give more freedom for everyone to determine their own governments and their own religion, and (of significance to me as a Christian), more freedom for the proclamation of the gospel around the world, so that people would have a fair chance to hear and consider (but never ever be compelled to accept) that good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What about the Iraq war? It is just that – a war, and wars are not won quickly or easily. We were attacked in an act of war on 9/11, and we had been attacked by similar terrorists many times before that. Finally we are fighting back, against an invisible, very skillful, very evil enemy.
When people complain, “It’s not going well,” I just think, “What you are saying is that we haven’t won yet. But that is because there are still evil people in the world who want to destroy Iraq and eventually destroy Israel and destroy us, and in some countries their governments are not stopping them yet. So this is a huge task, but we have no choice but to go forward. There will only be one side left at the end of this war, and I want it to be us, not the Muslim terrorists.”
It seems to me that what we need as a country is to unite behind the President in this war, not attack every move he makes (isn’t this what a country usually does in war?). For every U.S. soldier who dies there are many times more terrorists who are caught or killed (which I think in light of Rom. 13:4 is the right thing for civil government to do), and the terrorist movements simply cannot and will not continue a losing battle forever. Criticism of the war sounds to me like people are saying, “There are still some evil people in the world, therefore Bush is a bad President.” That is misguided reasoning, because there will always be evil people in the world, and the God-given solution, according to Rom. 13:1-7, is to prevent them from harming others through the use of superior force by our military and police. That is what President Bush is doing, and I don’t know if anyone else in the world could do any better. (Many nations are not even trying, just sitting back and letting us do the dirty work while they criticize!)
So I think President Bush has done a very good job as President, in an amazingly difficult time.I think if we did not have such a hostile press the President’s approval rating might be well above 60%, if people were just aware of all the good this President has done. But his approval rating is low, and that affects the election. And I know that this election is more about him than much of anything else. What then will happen?
President Bush’s plans and goals will be stalled and he won’t be able to do much of anything if Democrats take control of Congress, for they will then control all bills that come to the floor, and probably start to launch endless “hearings” out of retribution for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and they will seek to cut off funding for fighting terrorism (all spending bills must originate in the House), and probably “leak” more national security secrets to the New York Times (as the Times, I think in order to harm President Bush, already destroyed our ability to listen in on terrorist phone calls and to track terrorist funds without the terrorists knowing it). Democrats in control of even just the House would just make President Bush’s last two years miserable. And so I pray, and ask, Will the Lord allow that? Would that please him? I hope not. I pray not.
So I continue to ask God if he will still hear the prayers of so many millions of his people, who are still seeking after many years to change the Supreme Court so that abortion could be prohibited by law in our country, so that marriage could be protected and the homosexual agenda would be stopped, so that Muslim terrorist attacks against Christians and against the basic human freedom of people to govern themselves could be defeated rather than encouraged around the world, so that true reform and true parental choice could come to our failed public school systems that are robbing millions of poor children of a chance to be productive citizens for their whole lives, so that wise policies concerning the use of the world’s resources could be implemented, so that the tax cuts could be made permanent and even expanded, to further strengthen the economy, and so that the judiciary could be sufficiently reformed that the will of the people, rather than the opinion of judges, would be the determining factor in the laws of our nation. All this and more is at stake, and much of it will become simply impossible if the Democrats take control of either the Senate or the House.
I can become troubled and discouraged (and astounded) by the polls that I see in the news media, but I continue to be encouraged that God is still in control of the affairs of nations (Ps. 75:6-7; Dan. 4:17; Rom. 13:1). And so, I call out to him to have mercy on us (for certainly the sins of our nation are many) and to hear the prayers of his people for the good of this nation and of the rest of the world (Matt. 6:10; 1 Tim. 2:1-2). The Lord could certainly intervene remarkably in events and in people’s hearts in the next few days.
Please pray with me for this (if you feel the same way).