Local Rochester radio talk show host Bob Lonsberry recently hung up on me on air when I suggested that Americans get the government they deserve. Bob is a professing far-right wing Republican, the kind with more kids than rooms in his house, more guns than kids, more gallons of gas in his SUV than guns, and more opinions than gallons of gas in his SUV (all in a good way). He lives in the All-American town of Mount Morris, NY, where the climate is noticeably conservative, familial, and country. So when I got on his radio show and added my two-cents about bad government, I thought I would have a new friend and ally. Bob and I share a love for fairly strict constitutionalism, as well as having strong personal faith (albeit in different faiths – evangelical and Mormon). He’s usually cool with me – we’ve even had some friendly conversation at the annual Wellsville Ridgewalk… So, why did my friend Bob end my call?
I’ll tell you what – it wasn’t a problem with philosophy of government, it was the fact that Bob believes people are basically good, and deserve good. I believe, as per the Bible, that people are basically evil, and deserve evil.
The idea that the American government has become tyrannical and corrupt in response to the corruptions and license in the hearts of the people was enough to have the good Captain Lonsberry throw me overboard.
Government of the People, Right?
Wasn’t it the Founder’s intention to give us a representative government? A government which would be of the People, for the People, and by the People? In my opinion, we have today in Washington DC and the State capitals a fairly close reflection of the governed. True, the politicians tend to be wealthier than the average citizen, but I am talking morally and ethically reflective. The American form of government creates a unique type of ruling class, “made in the image” of the people, if you will.
Not everyone, of course, is living in unrestrained debauchery as there are many noble Americans out here who work hard, love their families, accept responsibility, and fight for justice… but there are people like that in the government too. The issue is that both in the citizenry and in the government it is a small minority which truly tries to live out the best of America’s values and even less who are following and obeying Christ.
I (Sob) Love New York
For us who live in New York State, there could not be a more deserving people for the government we have in Albany. Everyone from Australia to the North Pole knows that the NYS government is the most corrupt and inefficient band of crooks there is, yet every November New Yorkers go to the polls and vote the same people in over and over and over.
Just take a glance at the photographs of any random legislator in Albany – it’s like they have “guilty” written all over their faces. They know they are criminals and derelicts, but they are getting paid well to do it with very little chance of consequences.
But the point here is not to bash our government – I only hope to point to the correlation here. Look at what the Word of God says in a Proverbs 28:2 warning:
“When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.”
Do you see the order? When the people are wicked, the government grows. Bad people, bad government. This is my attempt at a rebuke to the militant political wing of American Christianity. Stop focusing on the government as the disease. The enormous, foolish, wicked bureaucracy that rules America is a response to the unfettered sinfulness of her people. If the churches would perhaps stop entertaining themselves to death, stop trying to be “relevant,” stop trying to fit in and impress the culture – and return to the bare naked old gospel proclamation, return to the simplicity of Christ crucified, buried, resurrected, and soon to appear in glory, and return to our commission to make disciples… then maybe we would over a very long time begin to turn the tide on what has happened to our once great nation.
We otherwise continue to rail against the symptoms of the disease, i.e. Big Brother, and look away from the bacterial infection in the hearts and homes of the people. That way of thinking will wipe the snot off the nose and let the national body continue to die her slow, grotesque death.
For Bob, I’m sorry to say, the hope and belief that there is some inherent goodness in the American people is an empty hope – the goodness and light and peace this wonderful country has had is all, I repeat, all due to the grace and to the glory of God Almighty.
Thanks for reading,