Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yes, Virginia, Congress does have a soul

It may be easier to believe in Santa Claus than in a Congress with members of integrity, honesty and principle. But in Room 219, and roughly once a week, the true soul of Capitol Hill comes to surface.

“Room 219 is the closest room to the House floor, and we will literally go in there, Republicans and Democrats, and pray,” said Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and also the founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. “What we pray for is God to bless the country, we pray for people who have cancer and health problems, we pray for wisdom.”

What they don’t pray for, according to Forbes, are partisan wins.

No doubt, caucus co-chairman Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat from North Carolina, wouldn’t stand for it. But really, the caucus members are much more focused on an achievement that seems lost nowadays among the shuffle for jobs, cars, homes and personal prestige – that of binding together in spiritual growth and maturity.

The spiritual camaraderie should give comfort at a time when camaraderie itself is at a seeming all-time low. Who in America is not sick of political posturing and partisan arguments?

The speedy rise of the Tea Party and its rapid addition of members would suggest the majority in our nation are tired of just that – of political promises that fall short, of politicians who are elected on one platform only to push for another agenda entirely once the oath of office is administered. It’s nice to know that some in Congress still hold fast to Founding Father principles that are – note to atheists, G-word on the way – rooted in God and godly governance.

Still deny the Founders believed in the coexistence of God and government?

“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ,” wrote Declaration of Independence author and signer, Thomas Jefferson, in his personal papers.

And in his notes on the state of Virginia, he wrote even more bluntly: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation bethought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?”

More succinct was Benjamin Franklin: God governs in the affairs of men. John Adams, second president and signer of the Declaration of Independence, meanwhile, rarely shied from the chance to express his faith in the context of our nation’s burgeoning greatness.

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity,” Adams wrote, in a letter to Jefferson. “I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

Faint ye not, oh tellers of the American Civil Liberties Union tale. The United States government has God written all over it.

In this day and age of socialism, political scandal, agenda-driven politics and the politically correct push to remove all evidence of the deity from public rhetoric and arena, it’s a refreshing realization to see that some in Congress do, in fact, remember these roots, honor this history and recognize – with humbleness and humility – who’s really in charge.

An edited version of this appeared in World Magazine, www.worldmag.com/Virginia/17670, around President's Day.

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