I have received thousands of pieces of mail, e-mails, and social media posts this election season. One stands out above all the others. It came in my e-mail this morning and it was from the Ammon Bundy campaign. It asked for prayers and fasting. It certainly did not ask that we pray for a victory in his gubernatorial campaign. I would like to share my thoughts regarding prayer during the most contentious campaign season that I can remember. I am sure my prayers are not unlike the prayers of so many people of faith. The greatest prayer—The Lord’s Prayer should always be our model. Our Founding Fathers prayed privately, publicly, and often. The marriage between Enlightenment and Judeo-Christian Principles was at the time and remains today unique amongst the nations of all of history.
One of the definitions of The Natural Law as defined by St. Thomas is, and I paraphrase, “a law imprinted in the hearts of all men made known through the faculties of REASON and REVELATION” To pray, to talk and write about DIVINE PROVIDENCE and THE NATURAL LAW was the common predicate that informed our political and economic philosophies. Not all our Founders were Christian or Jewish. A few were “Deists” who recognized Natural Law Principles especially the idea that our rights come Providence that liberty can only exist within a context of virtue. Loyalists to the British Crown at our Constitutional Convention like John Dickenson prayed. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin prayed. George Washington prayed in front of his troops and 80-years later Abraham Lincoln prayed in front of his generals and his war cabinet. FR. Robert Sirico has posited:
“There is no vision of a free and virtuous society….(that is not) abstracted from the context of free and virtuous responsible individuals acting on conscience rooted in religious principles” A political or economic philosophy not grounded in such principles will never succeed. At one time arguably the largest political party in the world was India’s Bhartiya Janata Party that sought to define its political philosophy beyond Hindu philosophy and theology. They turned to a Catholic theologian Jacques Maritain to help them define their political philosophy rooted in Thomistic and Enlightenment Natural Law Theory. They used our Constitution as a model.
Despite many people on the political left who harbor “woke” ideas believing otherwise, in our country and throughout the world there is no group of people who are being marginalized more by governments and their political allies and sycophants in the media than religious people—many are Christians and Jews, but in places like China Muslims also. In many cases it is “the woke” who are the most abusive.
The biggest difference between progressive liberals who use words like “Democratic Socialism” and “Existential Threat to Democracy” to describe a litany of perceived threats from global warming, to Covid, Y-2K, and Republicans winning elections, and modern day conservative political philosophy, is that any form of totalitarianism—socialism, communism, economic fascism, seeks to organize society from the top-down through a deterministic and materialistic point of view. Conservatives see the individual from both the material and spiritual point of view. The individual exists not to serve government or a master, but to serve God. The bases of freedom and capitalism—political and economic philosophy is service to God and to others—not to governments or organizations. We get so mixed up in our lives when we get our priorities mixed up.
C. S. Lewis said it perfectly:
“If your religion is your god, then God isn’t your religion.”
Religion in the first instance could be politics, your job, your golf game, or even an addiction. God first, then family, then everything else—including politics. For me, the reason I have become interested in politics in my later years is because of the sense of stewardship I feel to my children and family. I want them to always live in a country where they can always have the choice of putting God first. If we lose that perspective, then it is easy to become a slave to a political and economic system that sees the individual only as an object to serve a political and economic order. Materialism is the bases of liberal progressivism and any of the “isims”. The government or the organization becomes the god. Not recognizing the spiritual nature of man, makes the individual a slave to other men. This was the great struggle before and after our Founding. The 15,000-year history of modern man has been a march toward acknowledging the unique material and spiritual nature of everyone. We were made from dirt and God gave breath to man—Genesis 2:7. We are all made in God’s unique image. We are made to first serve him and then each other. Bondage to another man, or organization, or government is not consistent with the LAWS OF NATURE and NATURE’S GOD.
So, in this season of “Political Noise”. Ammon Bundy is the only politician to openly acknowledge his practice of prayer and who has asked me to join him. Not to pray for a political victory, but to pray for forgiveness, and mercy and humility, and guidance and for another GREAT AWAKENING in our State and Country.
THY WILL BE DONE.