In years gone by, candidates for public office in the United States were admired for their Christian heritage, beliefs, and practices. They respected the Creator. They quoted His Word. They prayed to Him for divine assistance. They acknowledged His sovereignty and recognized that “He rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28). Americans expected their elected representatives to honor God in private and in public (see Miller, 2008). Oh, how times have changed. Sadly, the very thing that Americans once expected from their leaders—a reliance on the Creator and Sustainer of life—has become increasingly attacked and hated...and now is supposedly a reason candidates are disqualified from serving in public office.
Consider the comments by Sam Harris in a recent Newsweek article. Harris has written dozens of articles in the past for such prominent publications as The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, and The Times of the United Kingdom. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor as well as Brian Flemming’s documentary film The God Who Wasn’t There. His latest books, The End of Faith (2004) and Letter to a Christian Nation (2006), both were New York Times best sellers. He is on record saying such things as, “If you are concerned about suffering in this universe, killing a fly should present you with greater moral difficulties than killing a human blastocyst [three-day-old human embryo—EL]” (2006, p. 30). In short, Sam Harris is one of the world’s most well-known, vocal, influential, militant atheists.
In the September 29, 2008 issue of Newsweek, Harris penned an article titled “When Atheists Attack.” After painting vice-presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin, as an unqualified, ignorant beauty queen, Harris wrote concerning what really bothered him about the Governor: “I care even more about the many things Palin thinks she knows but doesn’t: like her conviction that the Biblical God consciously directs world events. Needless to say, she shares this belief with millions of Americans—but we shouldn’t be eager to give these people our nuclear codes, either” (152:33, emp. added). [So, should we put our nuclear weapons in the hands of people who believe that “killing a fly should present you with greater moral difficulties than killing a human blastocyst”?]
The fact is, though God created humans with free will (cf. Joshua 24:15), God uses our free will to accomplish His purposes. Scripture repeatedly testifies to the fact that God is in control of the Universe and everything in it. He is “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). The psalmist wrote: “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.... God is the King of all the earth” (103:19; 47:7). Four times in the book of Daniel we are reminded that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men” (4:17,25,32; 5:21). Although God does not maneuver His human creation like robots, He is in control. For most of America’s history, the overwhelming majority of our elected officials (1) believed that God ultimately was in control and (2) prayed that His will be done in America (see Miller, 2008). Today’s media would have us reject both Scripture and our country’s Christian heritage. When Harris wrote, “Every detail that has emerged about Palin’s life in Alaska suggests that she is as devout and literal-minded in her Christian dogmatism as any man or woman in the land” (2008, p. 33, emp. added), he meant it as criticism. Supposedly, America should not be run by “devout and literal-minded” Christian leaders.
The fact is, however, if America is to survive as a nation, it must reject the godless, immoral, anti-Christian outlook that Sam Harris and others continually propagate. We must turn to the Almighty, Who “rules in the kingdom of men,” and recognize that every decision we make, including selecting government leaders, must be based upon our recognition of God’s sovereignty. He not only “rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28), but He judges both nations (in this lifetime; cf. Genesis 11:1-9; 18-19) and the individuals who make up nations (at the end of time; cf. Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Harris, Sam (2006), Letter to a Christian Nation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf).
Harris, Sam (2008), “When Atheists Attack,” Newsweek, 152:32-35, September 29.
Miller, Dave (2008), The Silencing of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
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