I wanted to take a quick moment and relay an “in the trenches” type conversation I had this past Tuesday in Lansing with a ranking member of the Michigan House of Representatives who reached out to certain local pastors and asked for help/ideas/etc. in retaining several seats that are up for grabs in the upcoming election. According to the data he shared, several seats could be lost by a mere hundred or so votes depending upon voter turnout. In the midst of the discussion, he explained to me that one particular and somewhat liberal bill was going to be dealt with on the floor of the House very soon, and would probably pass—and it’s one that guys like me would never support—but the purpose was to garner moderate opposition support while at the same time keeping the bill off of the ballot in November because it would most likely draw out opposition voters who don’t typically participate in the larger elections. If this happens, it’s likely that the conservative majority would become the minority.
It was the purest image of political maneuvering, and while I’m well familiar with it happening, in that moment between just the two of us, it made me sick to my stomach. And I told him as much.
I reminded him that while I understand our system of government and the need to maintain certain levels of power to accomplish what needs to be accomplished, while this was the obvious intent of the conversation, simply keeping power was not the endgame for folks like me. It needed to be more. I explained that what seems to happen so often is that Christians are encouraged to do what they can support certain candidates and see that they are elected, and those candidates are sold on the platforms of Pro-Life, pro-religious liberty, and pro-sanctity of Marriage—all things that matter to the Christian church and her ability to function in a society where the Gospel is free to be preached and the Christians are able to live in peace and quietness. Big promises are made—such as defunding Planned Parenthood as soon as the elections are over and the candidates are in office, passing legislation that supports traditional marriage, and engaging with the courts to protect the Church from legal assaults against Biblical conscience. But when they do finally take to their seats for the business of governance, those thing never seem to happen—even in super-majority situations. For example, here I sit and Planned Parenthood is still having Michigan dollars directed to its coffers while at the same time receiving a cut of my Federal tax dollars—all of this even after so many conservative candidates were elected on the promise to stop this.
Anyway, the reason I share this is because I felt you needed to know that while I remain committed to engaging in this way, it really is for no other reason than to intercede with those in authority on behalf of the Church, and while doing so, to make sure that they understand that we are not seeking power, but rather faithfulness to good governance. When they fall short, they need to know. When they succeed, they need to be commended. In that particular moment, I expressed my concern and disappointment.
Nevertheless, and in the end, all of this serves to highlight that there is only One in whom trust is not wasted: Jesus Christ, the Savior of the Lord. It is by His gracious rule that we make our way in this life, humbly following His lead and seeking to remain in connection to Him and the gifts of forgiveness that He provides—gifts that preserve us for eternal life—namely Word and Sacrament.
God bless and keep you. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out and to let me know.