Raymond Moley (1886-1975) became known as Franklin D. Roosevelt's most trusted adviser and speechwriter in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1932. FDR tasked Moley with forming a kitchen Cabinet, which became known as Roosevelt's "Brain Trust."
In 1933, Moley broke with Roosevelt over the radical drift of the "New Deal" and its hostility to business and increasing involvement in foreign affairs. Moley's conservative progression over the years established him as senior adviser to three Republican presidential aspirants: Wendell Willkie (1940), Barry Goldwater (1964) and Richard Nixon (1968). Moley authored 19 books.
In 1970, Raymond Moley was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. Nixon honored him as "a master of scientific analysis applied to politics. A man of thought and a man of action, he has not only studied and analyzed the history of our times, but also helped to make it."
Moley's 40-plus years in politics afforded him insight pertinent to political truths and principles as to influence and affect the public square. He noted, "Politics is not something to avoid, abolish or destroy. It is a condition like the atmosphere we breathe. It is something to live with, to influence if we wish and to control if we can. We must master its ways or we shall be mastered by those who do."
Religious conservatives have been "mastered by those who do" over the last century. It is the reason America lost its once biblically based culture laid down by its Founding Fathers. With his nearly 50 years of observing America's political landscape, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich commented in 2016: "The greatest challenge we face is not money. The greatest challenge we face is thinking."
So about thinking, let's ask this question: When did President Donald Trump's impeachment by the U.S. House begin? Answer: on Election Day, Nov. 6, 2016, when an estimated 80% of evangelical and pro-life Catholic Christians declined to exercise their civic responsibility and vote.
Unintentionally or otherwise, they thereby elevated Nancy Pelosi to speaker of the house, Adam Schiff to chairman of the Intelligence Committee and Jerry Nadler to chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Another misstep occurred on Nov. 1, 2018. For those knowledgeable on grassroots, precinct-level organizing, a red flag was raised a mere five days before the national election when The Jerusalem Post reported that certain key evangelical leaders were in Riyadh, meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, instead of being focused on the contested congressional districts for control of Congress.
Evangelical leaders will have to take their faith-walk to the next level if America is to survive. Taking a trip to the Holy Land two weeks before an election, being away on a mission trip on Election Day or taking leave through autumn is a far cry from being strategically positioned to muster and marshal troops to the voting booth. Rather than being won by Sunday sermons, religious liberty will be won by organizing. Though Sunday sermons might serve the purpose of educating and nurturing the flock, they are no denominations of political currency.
Yet, since politics is downstream from culture; no one will make the mistake of believing that politics will save America. Unless the ideas and values of its people return to the whole counsel of God, and prayer is resurrected in America's churches, America will not remain free. The kingdom of God will not arrive on Air Force One, says Charles Colson.
California Cavalry Chapel Pastor Rob McCoy was elected to the Thousand Oaks City Council in 2015 and became mayor of Thousand Oaks four years later. Pastor McCoy contends that politicians dismiss the church because Christians don't understand political currency, and therefore, have no ability to get people elected. "Pastors," he says, "don't do politics, and pews don't walk precincts."
Which reminds us of the story told by former Ohio Congressman Bob McEwen. In 1998, Bob was sitting in his Capitol Hill office when his Dad called, "Hey Bob, I'm coming to Washington, D.C., next week."
"Well, that's great Dad," Bob replied, "what are you going to be doing here?"
"A million of us are going to do a Jericho March around the Capitol, hold up our Bibles and pray."
"Well that's great, Dad, what's that going to cost you, $300?"
"Oh my goodness no, Bob, it's a lot more than that."
"Let's say it's $400; that's 400 times 1 million. You can buy the Congress for $400 million."
Congressman McEwen's dad ended the call with: "Well, Bob, I guess we're just doing what we know to do."
Pastor McCoy meets across the nation with pastors, asking them: "1 Timothy Chapter 2 says to 'pray for those in authority so that we can lead quiet and peaceable lives.' Can you please tell me the names of your local school board members that you've been praying for, by name? You don't know them? Can you tell me the council members that you're praying for, and the top five issues before the school board and city council that you've been praying about? You don't know that either?"
A.W. Pink in the Exposition of the Gospel of John, assessing the decline of Christian seminaries and schools in the U.K. wrote: "One of the principal Bible training schools in England closed down some years ago, and the fact that one of the leading Institutes in this country is constantly sending out urgent appeals for financial help is conclusive evidence that it is now being run in the energy of the flesh."
Which brings us to contemporary Christian operatives and organizations who have become adept at fundraising—direct mail, telemarketing, text-to-give, text-to-tithe and text-giving—but still have very little impact on the culture. To survive, contemporary Christendom will have to find men and women of Issachar, who know the times and what to do where competition is fiercest, that is, in the public square. Those harming or wronging our country will then be confronted by the kingdom assignment put forward by Jesus in Matthew 16:18. As His ekklesia in the marketplace, this mandate was not religious but governmental.
Praise be to God that Gideons and Rahabs are beginning to stand.
David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.
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