By Garret Kell
A great tragedy unfolded less than one week ago on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
The tragedy was not found in the celebrations of elected officials or the concessions of defeat. It was not colored red or blue, and it wasn’t wrapped up in meaningless campaign promises.
The tragedy of the 2012 election is that in this land of the free and home of the brave, many people were not allowed to vote. Their voices were silenced. Their votes were not cast. Their opinions not expressed. Why?
Because they were dead.
The great tragedy of the 2012 election is that roughly 33 million would-be voters had been murdered. From 1973 to 1994, roughly 35 million babies were aborted. That’s roughly 35 million 18- to 39-year-olds who could not vote from the grave.
This is an unspeakable tragedy.
They did not have the chance to learn what makes our nation so great. They did not have the chance to watch the results roll in with their friends and family. They did not have the chance to rest their heads on a pillow in the land of the free.
But this tragedy is not over.
In 2016, roughly 5 million more voices will be unheard. Why? Because more than 3,500 babies will be killed today. And each day leading up to Tuesday, November 8, 2016. In the three minutes it takes you to read this article, seven babies will have been aborted in the United States of America. Their voices silenced. Their freedom robbed. Their bravery unknown.
Close to Home
This is a tragedy that hits close to home. When I was 19, I chose to end the life of my first child through an abortion. My friend and I were in a scary place, we didn’t plan to get married, and we had nowhere else to go. So we opted to end the life of our child.
That child would be 16 today. They’d be excited about driving a car and, in just a couple of years, they’d be excited about voting. But they won’t be doing any of that. We won’t be sitting down together as I explain how to think about policies and the candidates who represent them. I won’t be able to tell them about freedom and justice for all. I took that freedom away with my injustice.
I cannot undo what I’ve done in the past. None of us can. Only Jesus, who shed his blood for sinners like me, can heal those wounds. Jesus gives us great hope in the midst of this tragedy, and all the other tragedies we face in this life.
Refuge in Jesus
If you have committed an abortion, I want you to know there is a refuge in Jesus. He will heal your wounds. There is no sin so great that he cannot forgive and no sin so small that does not need to be forgiven. If you will confess your sins and turn to him in faith, he will wash away all your guilt and all your shame. Come to Christ.
If you support abortion, I encourage you to spend time in prayer and ask God to show you if abortion pleases him or not. Ask a Christian to help you learn what God’s Word says. I know you already have deeply rooted ideas. I did too. But I encourage you to take the time to read what God says about life and who has the right to give and take it away. I encourage you to start with Psalm 139.
If you are a Christian, be patient with those who view things differently. But also speak truth in love to those who are in need. Find ways to help those who are struggling through unplanned pregnancies. Investigate options for adoption and invest in the lives of those who are facing difficult choices.
I have on my wall a picture of a 3-year-old boy in cowboy boots. He nearly wasn’t with us today because his mother was in a difficult place. She was unmarried, pregnant, and scared. But my wife met with her, prayed with her, and took her to a Christian doctor who showed her the baby in her womb through a sonogram. That young mother had the courage to keep her child.
That young boy’s smile reminds me that God can save children, one at a time. He does this by using his people to come alongside the struggling to lovingly show them the Christ who can walk them through any terrifying situation—even an unplanned pregnancy.
I believe the only hope to turn the trend of this tragedy is for people to turn their hearts toward the God who made them through the way paved by his Son Jesus. Jesus changes hearts, and changed hearts can change a nation. May God give us grace as a country, and may God give us courage to stand up in the midst of this tragedy so that, if he tarries, many more will cast votes in 2030.
Lord Jesus, we need your help.”
Russia and China today both enjoy the same grand-strategic advantage against the United States that the United States enjoyed through the 44 years of the Cold War.
The Soviet Union was then the superpower of the left, as the left had been globally understood since the French Revolution. It was the state committed to the promotion of revolutionary change across the world.
The United States, by contrast, was the superpower of the right. It was committed to the maintenance of stability and continuity in government systems around the world.
The United States won the Cold War. The craving for stability, peace, and continuity among governments and populations alike proved infinitely stronger than the fleeting flashes of revolutionary fervor. The Soviet Union eventually became physically exhausted and globally isolated by its ideological commitment to revolutionary change.
Today, however, the roles of the two great powers have been reversed. Since the advent of Madeleine Albright as secretary of state in 1997, the United States has become increasingly ideologically committed to the spreading of “instant powdered democracy” in every nation of the world, as defined and approved by the United States. Russia and China have become the main “conservative” or “right-wing” powers committed to preserving the status quo.
Ironically, the U.S. commitment to continual revolution around the world is a revival of the discredited concepts of Leon Trotsky. Josef Stalin abandoned Trotsky’s ideas in the 1920s when he took power in the Soviet Union. This gave him the ideological flexibility to create the Grand Alliance with the United States and the British Empire that won World War II—the Great Patriotic War.
But Nikita Khrushchev revived Trotsky’s disastrous concept: he and his successor, Leonid Brezhnev, drained their superpower dry by pouring resources into promoting revolution throughout the developing world, from 1954 in Egypt to Afghanistan in 1979-87. This led to the collapse of the Soviet system. It also prompted governments around the world to seek protection from efforts to fan the flames of revolution within them by turning to the United States for security on U.S. terms.
Today, it is the United States under presidents of both parties that has embraced the Trotskyite delusion. The bipartisan policy of the United States has become Permanent Revolution until Total and Perfect Democracy is finally achieved. This can only end the way it ended for Maximilien Robespierre in the French Revolution and for Trotsky in the Bolshevik one.
It is fitting that so many of the older generation of American neoconservatives started life as communist enthusiasts in the 1930s and ’40s. For today’s neocons are really neo-Trotskyites promoting the old, doomed enthusiasms under a new label.
By contrast, Russia and China are led by pragmatic governments guided by the concepts of profit and self-interest. They support and want to do business with existing governments and governing systems around the world. This has made them the 21st century’s major global powers of the right.
This is the strategic and psychological force behind China’s immense success in displacing the United States and the European Union in Africa. Chinese investment and aid comes free from the destabilizing, potentially revolutionary ideological strings that undermine existing systems of government throughout the region.
The governments of China and Russia hate and fear revolution and see the endless ideological promotion of democracy American-style in small countries around them and in their own homelands as planting the seeds of chaos and disintegration.
Democracy works admirably in societies where it is allowed to develop organically. But when other governments try to accelerate its growth artificially or hasten its triumph from outside, especially when they resort to military force to do so, the result is almost always a fierce reaction against the forces of democracy. This reaction often generates extreme fascist, repressive, and intolerant forces. And these forces usually win and take power. Then they impose themselves on the societies in question, delaying any real democratic development for decades or generations.
The efforts of the French Revolutionaries and Napoleon to export liberty, equality, and brotherhood across Europe by fire and sword instead ensured the survival of the old traditional empires for another 120 years. The efforts of Lenin and Trotsky to export socialism and communism by similar means were even more catastrophic. The backlash against them in Germany propelled Adolf Hitler to power.
It is not in America’s interests to follow in those footsteps—to put it mildly.”
God Almighty owns everything. This is the biblical view: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Ps. 24:1); God says, “[E]very beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all it contains (Psa. 50:9-12).
God created mankind in His own image. Man reflects God’s character and order. Just as God owns everything, God delegated the stewardship and dominion of property to His image, mankind (Gen. 1:26-28), and thus humans have the capacity and calling to act as private owners. God planted a special garden—the Garden of Eden—and placed man in it to till it, and to guard its boundaries (Gen. 2:8, 15). When Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s law-order, God kicked them outside of those boundaries, and placed a “no-trespassing” sign in the form of an angelic guardian at their gates (Gen. 3:23-24). Adam and Eve very quickly learned the ins and outs of private property.
This doctrine continued as God’s way of ordering and prospering society, and we see this in the fact that God’s fundamental laws for living—the Ten Commandments—include the prohibition of theft (Ex. 20:15). No man or group of men can take another man’s property—by individual act, legislation, petition, conspiracy, or appeal to the “common good”—in disregard for God’s law. The Old Testament frequently refers to the moving of a neighbor’s landmark (a property corner) in order to increase one’s own property (Deut. 19:14; 27:17; Job 24:2; Prov. 22:28; 23:10; Hos. 5:10). The references forbid or condemn the act as an attack on inheritance and possession (Deut. 19:14).
The same doctrine holds in the New Testament. In the early Church in Acts 5, as many Christians voluntarily sold their goods and gave to the poor among them, one couple sold some land and laid only a portion at the apostles’ feet pretending they had given all. Nevertheless, even for these corrupt-hearted individuals, Peter up-held the doctrine of private property: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control?” (Acts 5:4). God punished them, not for not giving all, but for lying about what they gave.
Other apostles upheld the doctrine as well: Paul preached against theft (Eph. 4:28), as did Peter (1 Pet. 4:15) and James (Jam. 5:4). Not to mention that Jesus saw the command as quite relevant as well (Matt. 19:18).
The biblical witness is clear: God believes in private property, and He not only desires us but commands us to live by that rule as well. Under this system, our rights and freedoms come from God. No man can take them away. He who tries must answer to the law, and ultimately to God.
Socialism is the belief that individual private property is a bad idea. It is thus an anti-Christian and anti-biblical belief. Socialists believe that governments should own most or all property and distribute it out as government experts, scientists, politicians, or occasionally voters see fit. Under socialism, the State puts itself in the place of God and says, “The earth is the State’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” Under this view, the individual has no protection from his neighbor if his neighbor is in the majority, or if the State somehow deems his neighbor as needful in some way; the State simply uses force to take that individual’s property and give it to someone else. In this sense, the State moves landmarks every day. In this view, the State determines our rights, and gives us our freedoms; here there is no appeal beyond the State.
Socialism is the belief, therefore, that stealing is acceptable as long as another man or group of men says so. Socialism believes in theft by majority vote, or theft by a majority of representatives’ votes in Congress. Socialism is the belief that armed robbery is OK as long as you do it through proxy of the government’s gun. Socialism places man, and ultimately the State, in the place of God. Man becomes owned by other men, instead of by his Maker. Socialism is an entirely humanistic, God-denying, God-usurping belief.
Between these two beliefs—private property and socialism— there exists fundamental conflict. They represent contradictory views of sovereignty, man, law, society, and inheritance. They are fundamentally rival religious systems. Choosing one, you reject the other; service and honor to God, or servitude to fellow men. Either God commands and judges man, or man commands and judges man.”
The Christian community is scrambling over themselves to publish articles and blog posts encouraging us to vote for the ‘conservative’ choice, Mitt Romney. Leaving aside the fact that by any historical definition Romney is not a “conservative,” or why we would want to ‘conserve’ any aspect of the political environment today, there is rarely any commentary related to more fundamental questions. Instead, appealing to the lowest common denominator, the strategy can essentially be summed up with one statement; ‘anyone but Obama.’
While it is true that many Christians have avoided altogether any discussion over Romney’s profession of faith in a false god, yet the objections to Romney, as a Mormon, are overturned or dismissed via a historical answer that has been used before in past candidates; namely that Obama is much worse. No doubt this statement is true, but the political environment of the moment does not set our standard for leadership, God does. Why do we look to Scripture for our standard of leadership both in home and church but leave civil government to pragmatics and compromise? Said another way, we eagerly support candidates for political office that would be easily dismissed and disqualified in other institutions.
Are the State and its officeholders suddenly beyond Christian reproach? The incremental approach to curbing evil, as is often cited as a reason to vote for less-than-ideal candidates, has actually worked against Christians for many years. Instead of a candidate representing a broad range of Christian opinions, we are now asked to support a man who not a Christian at all. In our eagerness to throw Obama out of office, we are now willing to cast our vote for a Baal worshipper as our political leader.
Below are three reasons why I cannot, in good conscience, vote for Mitt Romney:
- There is a big difference between God using wicked pagan rulers for His purposes and God’s people ‘asking’ for one by casting their vote for a known pagan, anti-Christ worshipper. The prophet Habakkuk was incredulous at the thought of God using the Babylonians to punish them but it appears in the case of America, we are self-consciously asking God for Babylon to rule over us. The only place we find Israel asking for a king is in their disobedience and lack of faith by wanting to be ‘like the other nations’. Peace and freedom are by-products of obedience, faithfulness, and repentance, and these will not be accomplished by asking God to give us Cyrus over Nebuchadnezzar.
- There is no biblical mandate that commands us to ‘cast our vote’ for someone. In other words, to not vote is not to disobey. Civic duty perhaps, can be called into question but I am more interested in Biblical Truth than national ‘obligation’. Writing in candidates or withholding their votes are both viable options for Christians. It is God who sets rulers on their thrones and it is man’s duty to be faithful to His Word.
- Getting the ‘lesser of two evils’ elected at the federal level is a short sighted and pragmatic goal, as if voting for any form of evil is acceptable at election time. Our goal as Christians should be to disciple the next generation on what godly civil government looks like. If that means not voting at the federal level for several elections, then so be it. We don’t have to achieve ‘victory’ in our lifetime; we are called to be faithful. Today’s governors and mayors are tomorrow’s presidents; we should focus our efforts on raising a generation of Christian statesmen at local levels and hope for political revival in the generations to come. As for the immediate future, as much as I would never wish or pray for persecution in this nation, if the Church is strengthened and our dross removed, to God be the Glory.
I would challenge Christians to define the ‘line’ at which any given Republican candidate would be unqualified for office. Is their abortion stance the only litmus test to earn their vote? God tells us that false weights and unjust scales are an abomination as well. If Christians demanded more from their candidates and withheld their votes from those that do not seek to uphold righteousness according to God’s law, the bar would be raised and the doors opened for true Christian statesmen to take office.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34, ESV).
Often even when towns laid in ruin after a bombing raid from the Germans, the British in World War II drew great comfort from seeing Winston Churchill raise his two-finger symbol: the sign for victory. In a similar way, when things seem dark, Jesus Christ holds out His own victory sign to His people: the symbol of an abandoned cross and empty tomb.
It’s easy to feel impatient about the small part we play in God’s Providence. If we are students of the Great Commission, then we sense the immensity of our mission from God even as we realize our own frailty. It seems things are not progressing as fast as we would like.
Many Christians in America are right now feeling very discouraged about the next four years. Neither of the two presidential picks from the two major parties are anything to get terribly excited about. Laurence Vance of LewRockwell.com assessed a good bit of the problem fairly well recently when he wrote:
Prediction 1: If Romney wins, in four years we will have a higher national debt, and still have a drug war, a police state, troops in 150 countries, and a national security/warfare state.
Prediction 2: If Obama wins, in four years we will have a higher national debt, and still have a drug war, a police state, troops in 150 countries, and a national security/warfare state.
I would add that regardless of who wins, it is very unlikely that either candidate would make any progress on eliminating the federal subsidization of abortion, the legalization of abortion, or the federal protections of sodomy.
It’s at moments like these when many Christians get depressed and are tempted to lose hope of advancing Christ’s Kingdom. We are tempted to run away or hide in the hills, to abandon the fight, to become mere spectators from a safe distance. If we stop caring about the setbacks, we reason, then maybe it won’t hurt as much when they come. We pick an eschatology to fit our surrendered outlook. Our attitude is summed up in a poem one of Teddy Roosevelt’s friends wrote while he was at Harvard, an Ode to Complacency:
We deem it narrow-minded to excel.
We call the man fanatic who applies
His life to one grand purpose till he dies.
Enthusiasm sees one side, one fact;
We try to see all sides, but do not act.
. . . We long to sit with newspapers unfurled,
Indifferent spectators of the world.
We lose the gusto to excel in the work of the Lord because we have forgotten that it is the workof the Lord, not the work of us. If the advancement of the Kingdom depended on the heart and hands of such feeble ones as us, we would have good cause for depression. But it doesn’t. Having begun our walk with God by faith in the work of Christ, we somehow have thought that we would take it from here. Salvation was something Jesus did, but the Great Commission is something that we do, we have mistakenly assumed. The Apostle Paul rebuked this notion in Galatians 3:3. In a sense, it is true that we are performing the Great Commission, but we are not accomplishing the Great Commission. Jesus is accomplishing that because “all power is given unto [Him] in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). We are vessels, 2 Timothy 2:21 tells us, but we are neither the oil that goes into the vessels nor the hands that carry the vessels.
“It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). So even our work, to whatever extent it is holy and effective to the advance of God’s Kingdom, is accomplished not by crafty politicking and scheming, but by the power of the work of God in the redeemed saint and through him.
After facing many setbacks in his life, Robert E. Lee observed in 1870:
“The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”
This is why at American Vision so much of our ministry involves pointing Christians back to history to see the hand of God in the past so they have hope for the future. How often has it seemed that the people of God were nearly defeated, only to rebound to enjoy great victories?
I have sometimes wanted to ask the Lord, “God, don’t you know how I would be able to glorify you more if you just took away this impediment? Don’t you know that I would be able to advance your kingdom in greater ways if you would just remove this obstacle?” The Apostle Paul wrote of a similar struggle in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 when he told about his “thorn in the flesh” God had sent that led him to depend more on the grace of God. “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God doesn’t need our feeble efforts to advance His Kingdom. He is gracious to use feeble instruments as He wisely chooses. He is far more interested in conforming us to the image of His Son.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
God is far more interested in glorifying His name as He blesses us than He is in having me help Him. He is not so impoverished that He would need to call on me to advance His Kingdom. God owns the cattle upon a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). He is so glorious that He can advance His Kingdom even through so impoverished a vessel as me. He will handle history.
Oh, for grace to have the perspective of Joseph! That servant of God was somehow able to grasp the essence about which General Lee wrote. He could see God’s over-riding purpose in his personal setbacks. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:19-21).
So we observe that God controls the advance of history in spite of our setbacks and even through our setbacks. This providential power is amazing enough to consider, but then add to that the wonder that he works through feeble vessels such as us in His history. He does this not by pressing us into a monolithic organization (such as an institution like the Roman Catholic Church) nor by drafting us into a Holy Civil Empire because “there is power in numbers,” but by going inside our hearts, and transforming that heart so that we might “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
The wonder of God in history is that He will never allow the human race to ruin the advance of Christ’s Kingdom. America may pass like Rome but Christ’s Kingdom will increase. An evil man may stand in the White House, but Christ won’t leave His Great White Throne. He will indeed even work through His elect in things so simple as teaching our families the Word at home, loving our wives, honoring our parents, providing for our homes, witnessing to the lost, and discipling new saints. These things involve an on-going surrender to the Lordship and wisdom of God.
It is with the assurance we have that God governs in the affairs of men that we can boldly echo the resolute remarks of D.V. Cooke in his poem How did you die? Duty is ours. The outcome is God’s. He cannot be defeated.
Did you tackle the trouble that came your way
With resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble’s what you make it.
And it isn’t the fact that your hurt that counts,
But how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face,
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there—that’s disgrace!
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
It’s how did you fight—and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or it comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only, how did you die?”
One of the most dangerous, of ideas that have dominated men’s minds is the dream of total justice. This is a humanistic dream. The humanist has only one world, this present life, and he is determined to make a heaven out of earth. The result is consistently hell on earth.
The menace of the dream of total justice is that it requires perfect people and a perfect social order and state to establish itself. The fact is that man is a sinner; he is also unwilling to change, content with himself although discontented with the world, and, by virtue of his fallen nature, a slave to sin and hence a slave by design (John 8:31-36). As result, every dreamer of a world of perfect justice, a habitation for supermen, and a realm of triumph for humanistic dogmas of justice, must begin to eliminate men as they are to make way for men as they should be. The French Revolution planned the reduction of France’s population to a malleable fraction of what it was; Nietzsche called for the death of man to prepare the world for superman; the Russian Revolution and its exported revolutions have meant the planned murder of all who represent the old order. In cambodia, since 1975, half the nation has been killed to eliminate all who cannot be reshaped in terms of the Marxist dream of a perfect order. The cambodian Khmer Rouge leaders have killed off all who worked for the old order, all christians, all who were educated, all who lived an urban life, all who had been abroad, and all who had worked for foreigners.
No more murderous force has ever been unleashed by man against man than the humanistic dream of justice. Tyranny and evil have governed most of history, but never more rigidly and thoroughly than by those who bring in totalitarian controls in the name of total justice. In 1931, Charles Pettit’s The Impotent General, a brief and light novel, was translated into English. when the old war lord is replaced by an ideologue, the peasants are unhappy. A peasant is asked if it is because of affection. “By no means…Tan Pan-tze was an infamous robber, who shamefully harassed the countryside, thrashing inoffensive folk and raping women of all ages and conditions…” “Then may I ask why you appear to mourn him?”…The peasant replied: “Simply because his successor, General Pou, is very much worse than he was…he extorts his tribute methodically, which is even harder to endure… and, moreover, he now exacts the death penalty for non-payment and he does so in a legalized manner which has multiplied the executions” (p. 171).
It is not surprising that, in the quest for total justice, the humanistic regimes have instituted total terror. The people are whipped into line, “for their own good.” They are ruthlessly subjected to savage repressions and forcible changes, all designed to make them conform to the new model man for the new model society.
All this is logical. A better world does require better men! The question is, how to get better men, how to produce them? In the final analysis, two choices appear before men as the instruments whereby men can be changed: revolution or regeneration.
If men deny the possibility of regeneration then their only logical option is revolution. Since 1660, and the birth of the Enlightenment, the logic of humanism has moved the world steadily and more deeply into revolution. Every continent is now in the grips of a faith which demands the coercive remaking of men.
But total justice on earth is an impossible dream. Man does not have God’s omnipotence nor omniscience: he cannot control nor see all things. Lacking total knowledge, his institution of justice, even in godly hands, is at best partial and incomplete. Not every wrong can be righted, nor every balance restored. Men can live, under God, in a just society, but never in this world in a totally just society. For the humanistic state to seek total justice means claiming God’s omnipotence: the state must exercise total power for total justice. Likewise, it must claim God’s omniscience: it must have total knowledge of all people, institutions, and things. A bureaucracy is created to exercise these “divine” powers.
In the Biblical perspective, man as sinner needs regeneration. As a sinner, he cannot establish a just order, only an evil one. By the regenerating power of God in Christ, he is a new creation. He is now able to serve God, to institute an order in terms of God’s law, and to know what godly justice is, and to pursue it. He knows that only in God’s eternal Kingdom is total justice attainable, so that, even as he strives to obey God in all things, he knows that he cannot expect of imperfect men and societies a perfect and total justice. All the same, only a new creature can make for a new creation. A law order and state dedicated to a humanistic faith in total justice will create total revolution. An order dedicated to the whole word of God and Christ’s regenerating power can give justice, because it rests on a new man of God’s making, not man’s.” – R.J. Rushdoony