I’m probably not coming at this the way most conservatives would prefer. Most conservatives I know are big on patriotism, flag-waving, freedom, guns, and individual rights, but they do tend to forget where their first allegiances should lie. After all, our country was founded by conservatives, men who understood the importance of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as freedom of speech, press, and the right to bear arms. But our country was also founded by devout Christians, men who understood the importance of freedom of religion and that there is a God in Heaven who has granted us inalienable rights and who demands our first allegiance.
So I recognize that as conservatives, the initial reaction to a “call for political repentance” is likely “But I am a Christian! I go to church! And I pray and look for ways to help people!” Of course, all of these things are well and good. Most conservatives are Christians, and they’re likely to go to Church as well as be heavily involved in humanitarian efforts. My point is not that we aren’t Christians, but that we’re not good enough Christians. That should be easy enough to admit - we are Christians, which means that we acknowledge that we fail – that we sin – and that we need salvation, which comes through Jesus Christ. It also means that we recognize that the Bible is the Word of God, and that as Christians we are supposed to follow God’s commands.
Now because we sin, we fail to follow God’s commands all of the time, but when we do we need to recognize our sins and repent of them, seeking forgiveness and restoration. We also need to recognize that we live in a society that largely denies the existence and authority of God and ask that God would forgive our society as a whole. After all – at one point American society was recognized throughout the world as being Christian as a whole. At some point, we as Christians and the Church have failed.
So what do we need to do? We need to look again at God’s law. We need to see ourselves objectively and work diligently to once again live lives that conform to the Word of God. We need to walk through the Scriptures and see where we fail, and where we can begin making changes.
Let’s begin with the Ten Commandments:
1. “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Ex. 20:3)
Let’s think about this. We have successfully created many other gods – things to which we devote all our time, all our energy, all our respect. We have made “the state” a god, worshipping the government we have established, devoting everything we are to the cause of the state. We have made ourselves “gods” to be worshipped, praising “mankind” for our successes and achievements instead of giving thanks and honor to the God who made us. We have made “science” a god – tracing all things back to the Big Bang and the “creation” of matter from random chaos. We have failed to fully recognize and proclaim the God of the Bible as the only God – the God who made us. The God who saves us. The God who will judge us.
2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.” (Ex. 20:4-5a)
Think for a moment of our patriotism – consider our physical reactions to patriotic symbols. Do we give more respect to the American flag, war memorials, statues, famous landmarks, than we do to God? Do we bow the knee to American Exceptionalism, or do we bow the knee to God? I’m not suggesting, by the way, that we not honor the flag or the sacrifices of the men before us, but we need to honor them in a way that honors God first. It all depends on our perspective. Honor those who died for you and your liberties by honoring the God who made them and holds them in His hand.
3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex. 20:7a)
We claim to be “one nation under God,” but who are we kidding? As mentioned under the 1st Commandment, we have created many other “gods,” but we still act like God should bless America – that we are one nation under God. But we deny Him.
4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work.” (Ex. 20:8-10a)
Our failures in this regard have been blatant. Fifty years ago, it was common, or rather expected, that businesses would shut down across town every Sunday. Everyone understood the importance of “keeping the Sabbath,” and it provided them opportunities to gather with neighbors and family and friends to fellowship and enjoy one another’s company. The Sabbath Day has been forgotten and we fail to work and rest in the way in which God has called us.
5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Ex. 20:12)
In a day in which our state legislatures have no qualms passing legislation that denies that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, our problems and failures here are endless. We live at a time when more kids now than ever before are being raised by single parents. Fathers are abandoning their families like never before. Are we as Christians living in a way that encourages this kind of behavior? Do we respect our parents? Do we live as parents that deserve respect? We can only begin healing the losses that families have experienced across the country when we have strong and stable families that can support that kind of love. And that doesn’t start with having two mothers or two fathers – it starts with one man and one woman.
6. “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13)
Need I say more? Approximately 3700 babies are murdered every day in the United States alone. Until we stand up and end this monstrosity, we are failing as a society.
7. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Ex. 20:14)
Literally, it’s one of the most common sins of politicians. Anyone remember 2006, and the years following? It seemed like there was a new scandal every month, with yet another conservative political leader falling into the arms of yet another woman, cheating on his wife and deceiving her with lies and secrecy.
8. “You shall not steal.” (Ex. 20:15)
To hit the tip of the iceberg – taxes. The Death Tax – robbing someone of half of their possessions (or any for that matter) after taxing them throughout their lives already. Income taxes require more than what God requires. Property taxes create a situation that allows the government to take from you something that you own free and clear – an immoral dilemma if I ever heard one. Now I’m not arguing for no taxes, but until we pare our government down to the bare bones and have the ability to operate on a moral amount of taxes, our government will always be stealing.
9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:16)
It would seem we cannot have any political race without conducting a smear campaign. Look at the presidential race. Look at the senate race here in Texas. It’s all campaigning against your opponent based on lies and rumors about their past and dealings that are not widely known or already open to the public. It’s time to end our dirty political scheming.
10. “You shall not covet.” (Ex. 20:17)
Our president pushes an ideology based on coveting. See how much money your neighbor has? You should want that for yourself. You should want HIS stuff. And even if you don’t, the government will step in and take his stuff so that some poorer individual somewhere in the country can have an extra $100. That’s the way welfare is set up, and it’s immoral and unproductive.
Those are the facts, fellow conservative Christians. Those are our failures. It’s time for us to own up to them. To acknowledge them. To repent of them. To make a new start, knowing that we will slip up, but that God’s grace is bountiful enough to forgive us of all our sins. When we begin this process of restoration, then we can begin the process of restoring America and restoring our society. We do need conservatism, but we need Jesus more.