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Dear Friends,

The central irony of Christian citizenship is that no country will find better citizens than those willing to defy its laws if those laws demand a loyalty to the state greater than that owed to the God of the Bible. As Declaration of Independence signer and Princeton president John Witherspoon put it,

Another reason why the servants of God are represented as troublesome is, because they will not, and dare not comply with the sinful commandments of men. In matters merely civil, good men are the most regular citizens and the most obedient subjects. But, as they have a Master in heaven, no earthly power can constrain them to deny his name or desert his cause.

In other words, to be good citizens in time, Christians must be ever mindful that they belong to an eternal kingdom.

Political engagement by Christians is, at a foundational level, unavoidable. If you pay taxes, if you serve in the military, if you get a driver's license, if you sign a property deed, if you have medical or life insurance, if you turn on the shower or pay a heating bill, what you are doing is in some way touched by government regulation and law.

This engagement does not need to be consuming, of course. Not everyone is called to be equally active in the public square. However, the other extremes -- of passivity and pretending politics neither matter nor really exist, or of withdrawal and despair after one's (false) expectations are dashed -- are a matter of either an impoverished grasp of Scripture or, worse, mere religious pretense, not fidelity to the Bible. Never to vote, never to speak, never to defend those without a voice, the weak and powerless and helpless, is to accede to evil.

"Do good unto all men," writes Paul the Apostle (Galatians 6:10). This is a charge with an active voice. Christians cannot fulfill this command unless, in the public arena, we stand for truth with a gracious but undauntable spirit. Our fellow citizens, and our country as a whole, deserve no less.

Sincerely,

Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice President

Family Research Council

P.S. What is the status of conservatism in America? Family Research Council's Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, Ken Blackwell, appeared on CNS News August 12, 2011 to discuss the conservative movement in our country today.


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