Is Statesmanship Really Possible?

A Special Message written by the late D. James Kennedy

With all the moral failures… with all the political posturing… with all the pressure to compromise on principle that is inherent in politics… is it really possible to be a Christian and a politician at the same time?

I wholeheartedly say, “Yes!” Even though Americans have grown cynical toward politics, that does not change the fact that public service is a high calling. In fact, the Bible says rulers are servants of God who conduct a ministry ordained by God (see Romans 13). Do you serve in government? Then you are a minister! And as a minister of God, it is your duty to seek out God’s way of doing “business” on Capitol Hill.

But, you say, that’s just the Bible! The Constitution demands a secular society, so politicians should leave religion out of the picture!

Let’s take a look at our founding documents to see if our Founding Fathers mandated a secular society. The Declaration of Independence states the purpose of government very clearly—to secure God-given “unalienable rights.” That is the primary justification Thomas Jefferson gave for having government. Thus, apart from a recognition of God-given rights, there is no legitimate foundation for government.

Some try to establish that the Declaration is irrelevant as a legal document, but not so. Can you recall that famous phrase of Abraham Lincoln, “Four score and seven years ago,” in the Gettysburg Address? Count back 87 years from 1863 and you will discover that Lincoln went back to 1776 and the Declaration of Independence—not the Constitution—for the foundation of American liberty. The Emancipation Proclamation, a legal document written in 1863 to free the slaves, is also dated to the Declaration.

What about the Constitution? Secularists love to proclaim that the Constitution fails to mention God. But the preamble itself focuses on a distinctly religious concept when it says that our government was formed to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” It is clear from the writings of that era that the term, “blessings,” referred to one thing: God’s blessings. For example, the constitutions of Pennsylvania and Vermont—both drafted prior to the U.S. Constitution—state that government should secure the “blessings which the Author of existence has bestowed upon man.”

The fact is that government cannot be secular, because government’s purpose is to secure rights—and blessings—that come from God. And if government cannot be secular, why should we expect our elected officials to be secular?

So, not only is it possible to incorporate faith in our politics, our nation’s history demands it! Of course, serving in this “ministry” is no easy task. That’s why I founded the Center for Christian Statesmanship—to offer both spiritual and practical assistance to all those who seek to honor God while serving in our government. Christian statesmanship is a high calling with clear biblical and historical precedence. I hope and pray you will draw from the example of our Distinguished Christian Statesman award winners while you take this high calling of Christian statesmanship to heart.