Can Christianity and public office go together? These eight legislators give a resounding “yes.”
This week, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee is pleased to highlight legislators who proactively declared their faith in honor of the second annual celebration of Faith Month. We are especially grateful for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) and Rep. Mary Miller (R-Illinois), who took the lead for the second year in a row.
Rep. Miller gathered fellow legislators to discuss Faith Month on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. In her own remarks, she laid out how faith benefits society. Fundamentally, she said, “A happy family is a blessing from God and is foundational to human flourishing.” At the level of community, she highlighted how we benefit from the actions of people of faith: “Religious organizations in America have a rich history of charitable engagement in helping the poor, the sick, and the afflicted, and they should be appreciated.” Sen. Hyde-Smith recognized religious Americans who responded to great material need following the devastating natural disasters in Mississippi. According to Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, young adult Christians “are much more active in donating their finances” compared to non-Christians.”
What about faith itself? Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tennessee) shared the meaning of faith in Christianity. Citing Hebrews 11:1, she said, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” She said, “Faith knows that no matter what the situation is in our life or someone else’s life that the Lord is working within that situation for their good and His glory. Perfect faith is simply taking God at His word.” Rep. Rick Allen (R-Georgia) reinforced these comments by referencing how Christ provides a “life-changing source of eternal hope which sustains our faith.” He also pointed to examples in Scripture, like Abraham’s faith in God when he was directed to sacrifice Isaac, and Jesus’ call for faith from the disciples after he calmed the storm. Rep. Allen leads the Prayer Caucus, and on the floor, he encourages anyone listening to submit prayer requests. You can find that form here.
This is the kind of faith we pray every person receives, especially our elected leaders. We agree with Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), who joined in Faith Month remarks and recognized that “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn,” citing Proverbs 29:2. Righteous leadership is the fruit of faith.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) provided a history of religious freedom in America in remarks reflecting his background as a constitutional lawyer and instructor. He explained how the phrase “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the Constitution. Rather, it is a phrase from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. Jefferson was not advocating for government to be walled off from influence by faith – he was advocating for faith to have protection from government coercion. As Rep. Johnson said, “The Founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around.”
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Georgia) also explained, “Over 400 years ago, settlers fled religious persecution in search of the New World, and the Bible became the cornerstone of our Founding … I see little by little, day by day, these religious liberties are in danger of being canceled or abandoned because of persecution in government at all levels.”
As a nation, we are better off if we are a more faithful people. And as Christians, we believe that lives are literally saved when we share our faith with neighbors. Sadly, over one in four (27%) Americans do not affiliate with a religion. There is a steep cost to cutting faith out of the public square. People do not think about what they do not hear or see.
Public displays can help shape our culture for the better. Wix, a website design company, depends on visual imagery for its business. It recognizes that “Symbols are often a part of our collective consciousness. Whether they appear as specific shapes, images, or written marks, they have universal meanings and associations.” Public displays of faith thus make it possible to ingrain the idea of faith in our collective conscience, which serves people better. We are grateful that Mississippians Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Rep. Michael Guest (R) made a public declaration of faith by posting a Christian flag in front of their congressional offices in Washington, D.C. “I hope that this flag will serve as a light to all those who visit our nation’s capitol,” Rep. Guest said.
Rep. Bob Good (R-Virginia) said it best when he stated, “America had been blessed in large part because of our dependence upon the Lord, our dependence on divine intervention, a dependence on guidance from our Creator.” At Concerned Women for America, we are encouraged by these legislators and hope you are, too. Please continue to pray for our leaders to have faith in Christ and seek to do His will as they carry the burden of public office. We are committed to standing up for our faith and must spur one another on to do the same.