Our Founding Father

I guess it would be too optimistic to think that I could get away without any political posts the day before the election. I am sure there will be more to say as the results come in and we know what direction we are heading as a nation for the next four years. But that expectation of how this presidency will shape our country is exactly what I have been thinking about. The founders, at least as much as I understand them, never intended the presidency to ascend to such great heights of power and influence. They were very aware of the dangers of monarchy run wild and set in place certain restraints and protections. There were really two dangers through which they had to navigate. First, they had the danger of tyranny on the one hand and mob rule on the other. The tyrant says that the king is law. The mob says that the majority is law. The Christian must say that the Law is law and it cannot be disregarded or reinterpreted without consequences. As Scottish Presbyterian, Samuel Rutherford, described it in his great work Lex, Rex, “The Law is King.”

One of the reasons, though certainly not the only one, that we have a 200 year history of a transfer of power through free elections without violent revolution or the shedding of blood is because of the relatively limited power which transfers hands every two or four years. Things tend to go badly at the end for royal lines or dictators. Elections should not be the catalyst for broad change. In the recent past this has been true because both parties tend to stay on the same road. The Democrats drive down the government highway like a boy with his daddy’s convertible. The Republicans are the family minivan traveling in the same direction at a more respectable speed. Rather, it should be that elections are smooth transitions without the need for much anxiety from either side because most of the power would rest at the local levels. Most of the reform would have to happen from the bottom up not the top down.

We have experienced something much different in recent administrations. The power at the top is great. The President is considered by many as “the most powerful man in the world.” The Supreme Court may just be even more powerful behind the scenes. There is no doubt that this election is a crucial point in our country’s history for many reasons. One of the things I hope will change after tomorrow is a move back to the center of what good federal government should look like. It is not the rule of the few or the rule of the majority. It is the rule of law rightly understood, respected, and administered by representatives on behalf of the people. America indeed has a King and no amount of campaigning or voting or court rulings can change that.  “All authority in heaven and on earth,” Jesus said, “has been given to me. Go therefore and disciple the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


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