It is, and always has been, a Baptists belief that no state or governmental power should use its sword to force men against their conscience. Roger Williams points out in his book "The Bloody Tennent of Persecution": "Matthew 5:44, Luke 9:54-55; He (Jesus)charges straightly, that his disciples should be so far from persecuting those that would not be of their religion, that when they were persecuted they should pray, and when they are cursed, they should bless...the civil sword, called the sword of civil justice, which being of a material, civil nature...cannot extend to spiritual and soul causes, spiritual and soul punishment...the Spirit of God never intended to direct, or warrant, the magistrate to use his power in spiritual affairs and religious worship...the Christian church does not persecute, no more than a lily scratches the thorns, or a lamb pursues and tears the wolves." This is what our nations "separation of church and state" is all about.
It was not our founding father's intention that the government have nothing to do with God and religion. One can see this by reading our founding documents. It was our founding father's intention that the state NEVER force anyone to worship against their conscience.
Having said thus, as a pastor, I cannot nor will I use my pulpit or our church as a political propagandist. Not only is such unethical, but it is illegal. But, as a citizen, I have a right to share my political opinions and views. In our nation's great history, we are truly indebted to Baptist for standing and doing such; not as a church or a religion, but as a people and citizens of this great land. Where would our nation be had not men like John Clarke had not stood and spoke truth and influenced others in the political forming of our nation? What if Baptists had not insisted upon the Freedom of worship and thus the first Amendment?
I want to challenge Baptists to get involved in speaking up for what is right. Not as a denomination, not as pastors, not as churches; but as citizens. Below, is a letter written by Mr. Josh Davenport which I believe needs to be considered by all Americans.
Dear fellow Iowan,
Very soon we will all be participating in an event that could change the course of direction for our entire nation. Of course, I am referring to the January 3rd Iowa Republican Caucuses. Along with all the fulfilling of civil responsibility that will take place that evening in regards to your precinct, choosing delegates for your county convention and submitting platform planks, every attendee from across the state will be voting for the presidential candidate that they believe is best for the GOP nomination. As a fellow Iowan, Christian and my county’s GOP co-chair, I want to spend a few moments to explain to you why I believe Dr. Ron Paul is the man for the job. I know this letter is quite lengthy, but the importance of this election is worth spending the time to read and study about the different candidates’ views. Not only can you read this letter and learn more about Ron Paul but you can also visit a new website: www.baptistsforronpaul.com. While Ron Paul is not the most popular choice among voters in our kinds of churches, such a decision to eliminate him from the options should not be made until we study the candidate ourselves – NOT just base our decision upon what someone else has told us.
For me, transparency is a very important character trait to look for in a candidate, and, without hesitation, I can say that with Ron Paul, what you see is what you get. While others have flip-flopped in the past, have skeletons in their closets, look “plastic” or have an air of superiority, Ron Paul is one of the most humble and sincere men I have ever met. They cannot make ads on Ron Paul in regards to any past positions that conflict with his current views, and there are no skeletons of immorality or questionable involvements in his past. The explanation for this is his strength of being principled. While qualities like that are often just used as bumper-sticker statements and campaign jargon, it is truly principles that have dictated the civil government actions of this man. For instance, Ron Paul only supports legislation when it is expressly authorized by the Constitution, he has never voted to raise congressional pay, has never taken a government-paid junket and does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program. He cannot be bought by lobbyists and has voted “NO” more than any other congressman in United States history. He does not care if he is booed or patted on the back. He does not put his finger to the wind but makes decisions based only upon what our Constitution tells us what the government can do. THAT is the most important trait of a presidential candidate – THAT is what he takes an oath to uphold and protect. Although it is helpful to be a great speaker and have a likeable personality, we must reject this rock-star, popularity culture mindset and vote for a man based upon his principles. One of the largest obstacles I find in talking to people about Ron Paul is the amount of misconceptions that exist about Ron Paul and his views. I would like to talk about a few of those issues at this time.
1. Family Values – Ron Paul, who has been married to his wife Carol for over 54 years, has lived an exemplary life of family values. Together they have 5 children and 18 grandchildren. Ron Paul is a staunch pro-life OB/GYN doctor who has delivered more than 4,000 babies and has never performed a single abortion. Ron Paul’s “We the People Act” effectively repeals Roe v. Wade and would prevent activist judges from interfering with state decisions to protect life. Though Ron Paul, for years, has supported and endorsed a federal amendment to the Constitution to make abortion illegal, he has been sadly mislabeled as not being strong enough on the issue by those who don’t really understand the constitutional roles of the federal government vs. state governments. Ron Paul not only believes that Roe v. Wade resulted in the wrong decision, but, as most DON’T understand, also believes that the case was wrong for the Supreme Court to try in the first place because it dealt with a crime that the Federal Courts have no authority to rule on – murder. Ron Paul believes that life starts at conception, that abortion is murder and that abortion, like any other form of murder, should be enforced by the states. Therefore, it must be decided by each state what the penalty should be for that kind of murder in each particular state. He does not believe this way to escape having to take a stand (you know he doesn’t mind doing that!) but because he understands the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to make such laws about murder but Ron Paul also understands that the 10th Amendment allows the individual states to decide on, and, enforce such laws. The federal government has never created or enforced federal charges or sentences on ANY kind of murder because they don’t have the authority to do so. For those who think the federal government should be able to make such a decision I would ask, have you read Articles I and III, AND has the situation on abortion improved since the Federal Supreme Court made their conclusion in Roe v. Wade? Over 30 states have amendments to their state constitutions making abortion illegal but their hands have been tied for almost 40 years because of a federal government decision. We don’t want the federal government making decisions on issues that our founders understood would be dangerous and abusive for the federal government to make.
Also, if we couldn’t get an amendment passed when the Republicans controlled the house, the senate and the white house just a few years ago, what makes us think it is going to happen now? We as pro-life citizens have much more influence in Des Moines than we do in DC and therefore these issues are a lot easier to settle on a local level. That is what our framers and founders had in mind when they wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights the way they did. Though Ron Paul has consistently voted pro-life, because of the un-constitutional nature of Roe v. Wade, he understands there is a better and more affective way to protect life: repeal Roe v. Wade, uphold life as a government-protected right given to us by our Creator (by passing a federal law protecting life, as mentioned in our Constitution) and then allow the states to determine how that kind of murder is going to be punished and enforced in each state. It sounds great when a candidate gets up and says that he wants to pass a federal amendment making abortion illegal but it is really not a constitutional approach to taking care of the problem. Ron Paul is pro-life and Constitutional at the same time. Ron Paul’s “Sanctity of Life Act” would define life as beginning at conception thus emphasizing the protection of life that was given to us by our Creator.
Ron Paul’s “Taxpayer’s Freedom of Conscience Act” would stop the American people’s money from being used to pay for abortions and fund any so-called “family planning” programs. Ron Paul is mislabeled as weak on the abortion issue because he has voiced that a federal amendment is not the best way to deal with the problem because such an amendment would recognize the authority of an un-constitutional, Roe v. Wade court case and would wrongly suggest that the federal government has authority in the area of murder. The best way to deal with this in a post-Roe v. Wade world is to repeal Roe v. Wade with a simple majority vote and start from scratch. Paul believes abortion is a national issue because it is murder and believes one of the roles of government is to protect life. He is the most pro-life candidate in the running! I don’t know how groups like the Family Leader can conscientiously say what they have said about Ron Paul on this issue when they themselves accepted a large amount of money for their 2010 judge retention vote project from Newt Gingrich who co-sponsored the Pelosi Global Warming Bill that provided taxpayer-funded abortions overseas. Politics is politics even among “faith and family” groups. We need to quit letting such groups tell us who to vote for and we need to quit getting distracted by this hypnotizing Left/Right paradigm and focus on the solution – following our Constitution.
As a Congressman, Ron Paul supported the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and sponsored the Marriage Protection Act. (An “Act” is not an Amendment.) The misunderstanding about Ron Paul’s position on a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution is due to the lack of understanding about the role of federal government as stated in the Constitution. Again, Paul understands that under Article I, Section 8, the federal government does not have the authority to make such laws about marriage, but Paul also understands that the 10th Amendment allows the individual states to make such laws as they see fit. Paul has said, “If I were a member of the Iowa legislature, I would do all I could to oppose any attempt by rogue judges to impose a new definition of marriage on the people of my state,” and went on to say, “I will stand with the people of Iowa and will fight to protect each state’s right not to be forced to recognize a same sex marriage against the will of the people.” This is why he has been endorsed by conservative warriors in Iowa such as Kim Pearson and Glen Massie.
In regards to our children’s education, Paul has said, “I am absolutely convinced that the key to an educationally prosperous nation is not found in a federal government program, but is the right of parents to effectively utilize their moral responsibility for their children.” “No nation can remain free when the government has a greater influence over the knowledge and values given to children than the family.” “My commitment to ensuring homeschooling remains a practical alternative for American families is unmatched by any other Presidential candidate. Returning control of education to parents is the centerpiece of my education agenda.”
2. Foreign Policy – Dr. Paul believes that defending our nation is the most important responsibility of the federal government. Ronald Reagan said, “Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country.” Since Ron Paul’s views and message have always been the same, what does that say about what Reagan would say about Ron Paul today? After the horrific 9/11 attacks, Ron Paul voted to authorize military force to hunt down Osama bin Laden and he authored legislation to specifically target terrorist leaders and bring them to justice. The proof is there that we could have done this and didn’t but waited and used the opportunity to spread our military presence with the goal of globalism. Paul’s opposition to the current wars we are in is because they were not constitutionally declared by an act of Congress and are therefore unconstitutional and subsequently out of control with no end in sight. If anyone doubts Ron Paul’s realistic approach to foreign policy, consider this fact: Ron Paul is the military’s top tier candidate with receiving the most financial support for his campaign from active military than any of the other GOP candidates COMBINED.
Contrary to what many are saying, when it comes to Israel, there is not a more pro-Israel candidate than Ron Paul. His position on Israel has been misconstrued because he wants to cut all foreign aid but just because Paul wants to cut foreign aid to Israel does not mean that he is not pro-Israel. He doesn’t just want to cut aid to Israel but to EVERYBODY. We can’t afford it! And, foreign aid was never the philosophy of the founding fathers! To say that he is not pro-Israel because he wants to cut foreign aid to Israel is ridiculous. It’s kind of like saying conservatives hate poor people because they want to eliminate welfare. Is blessing Israel defined only by cutting them a check? Our foreign aid is actually hurting Israel because for every dollar that Israel gets, the surrounding Arab countries each get 5 to 10 dollars. Cutting foreign aid to everyone ends us being on the side of Israel and Israel’s enemies with our taxpayer dollars and “diplomacy” at the same time.
The aid we are giving to Israel is actually anti-Israel because of the strings that are attached. We bind Israel’s hands to the point where she cannot defend herself from attacks without coming to us for permission to make a strike or a peace treaty or make efforts to change her borders. That is not respecting the sovereignty of Israel and that is not being a blessing to Israel. Ron Paul is the most pro-Israel candidate because he supports Israel’s sovereignty. Ron Paul makes it clear that he would not stop, nor should America be able to stop Israel from defending her interests in any way she sees fit. When Israel attacked a nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, almost the entire US Congress voted to condemn Israel (Reagan agreeing). Paul was one of the very few who voted against the condemnation and in favor of Israel’s right to defend herself. Where were the Evangelicals then? Why weren’t the Republicans being called “anti-Semites”?
The main reason for his position on Israel (in respect for her sovereignty) is because of the Constitution. We don’t have the authority to do most of what we are doing around the world, including in Israel. Paul does not favor Arab/Islamic countries over Israel – the 1981 situation is an example of that. We have no authority to nose our business into Iran’s business either. That is not isolationism, it is constitutionalism – and our founding fathers believed the same! What people need to understand is the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism as taught by our founding fathers. Ron Paul has said that if Israel is attacked then we should help if they ask us to, but that we should not “intervene” unless our help is first requested.
Ron Paul has never said that we should give nuclear technology to Iran. That would be in contrast to his foreign policy and principles of non-intervention. He doesn’t want Iran to have nuclear capabilities, but what he has said is that we have no right, beyond request, to forcefully stop others from giving or selling that technology to Iran or anyone else. This line we are being fed about the serious threat of Iran is a boogieman created to make us hate Muslims everywhere and eventually wipe them off the map in the name of “spreading democracy,” “fighting terrorism” and “national security interests.” While the government makes a boogieman out of uneducated heathen, they USE that boogieman to take away our rights (TSA, FEMA, Patriot Act, and the recent Defense Authorization Act). While government is too big here in America, our same federal government is attempting to get bigger by attempting to become global. Why else do you think the Democrats AND Republicans are worried about Iraq’s and Israel’s borders just as much, if not more than, our own? Iran has been mad at us since the 1950s when we overstepped our authority, overthrew their government and installed the Shah. They don’t hate us because we are free. Yes, the Muslims in those countries hate Christianity, but they specifically hate America because of our foreign policy and world-police-like intervention. The CIA refers to this as “blowback”. Wouldn’t you hate a country that sends drones and troops into your city because your nation is seen as a global threat? Because “terrorism” is not defined by nations, we can take care of threatening terrorists covertly if we wanted to. We have the capabilities and Ron Paul was and has been at the forefront of such legislation. He understands two things: life is an important gift from our Creator and war, though sometimes necessary, is a terrible thing and should be used cautiously. This was the view of our founders. It was also the view of the Republicans until 9/11.
Israel has 200 to 300 nuclear missiles, Iran has 0, Israel has a better intelligence agency than the U.S., Iran is still using camels in their military because they don’t have the technology to make enough fuel for themselves. IF Iran could ever buy or build a nuclear weapon and IF they could figure out how to use one, Israel would stop it and would have the capability to somehow counteract in self-defense. Netanyahu recently testified before the U.S. Congress that Israel can defend herself and does not need the presence of American troops. Paul has said that we should be Israel’s “best friend” and that he would support Israel’s decision to attack Iran or any other threat. We need to realize that our foreign “aid” and military “support” to Israel is not because our corrupt government wants to bless Israel and neither is it because Israel needs or wants our help, but is because big government wants to get bigger – globally! This, of course, is the groundwork that will need to be laid for the war plans of the antichrist, but we are fools to fall for it today since we have a choice!
3. Social Issues – There is also a lot of hype floating around that portrays Ron Paul as wanting to legalize marijuana, prostitution and underage drinking. Ron Paul has said that using drugs is a terrible thing; he has never endorsed the recreational use of marijuana and he does not endorse prostitution or underage drinking. He does not, however, give the popular or standard answer on these issues publicly, he doesn’t say what the misinformed masses want him to say on these issues and we don’t hear from him what the other candidates are saying because he understands the role of the federal government. These are STATE issues that should be decided at a state level (as a national form of check and balance) as covered under the 10th Amendment and not authorized for the Federal government to make under Article I, Section 8. The purpose of the federal government is to protect the states (that’s why we are united) so that the STATES can legislate how they so please. Things are more controllable on a local level (state level) and therefore the threat of abuse of the rule of law is less. It is not the federal government’s job to protect us from ourselves by making wrong choices harder to make. Where will that line of thinking end?
Anytime the FEDERAL government gets involved in issues that should be settled by the states they mess everything up. For example, prohibition was a federal action, it didn’t work, it backfired and it was repealed. The foundational question that must be answered today is “What is the role of government?” Is it the role of government to legislate Biblical morality? Without pulling inapplicable verses out of context about the Old Testament theocracy of Israel, can you tell me where Scriptures teach, for the New Testament age of grace, conscience and human government, that the role of civil government is to legislate Biblical morality? It does not. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth and government is supposed to be a limited, compact-restricted entity designed to protect – not dictate. Before the Jewish theocracy, we see civil government ordained in Genesis 9 with the sole purpose of protection. The Bible teaches limited government. After the Old Testament dispensation was over we see civil government referred to in Romans 13 as being ordained to enforce the second table of the law only. The New Testament teaches limited government as well. Limited government is not some bumper-sticker statement used as campaign fodder. It is the way the Bible teaches that government should be!
The book of Daniel, men like Thomas Jefferson and the persecuted Baptists of Colonial America referred to government as a beast. This beast has a purpose: protection (picture a guard dog). Thomas Jefferson taught that the beast needs to be controlled by “we the people” by being chained down with the chains of the Constitution – not the other way around. When we start giving more to that beast than what it is supposed to have by handing over our authority, our liberties and creating more regulations and laws, it gets bigger and bigger (big government) to the point where it gets so big that “we the people” can no longer control it and it will eat us alive. It hurts small businesses (EPA), it violates our privacy (TSA, Patriot Act, FEMA), it attempts to silence our pulpits (IRS) and it threatens our families (DHS). For instance: the 2nd Amendment was not just given so that we could own guns but was given so that “we the people” could start militias to keep the government in check so that if the government overstepped her boundaries, then “we the people” could step in and reestablish our government (as clearly explained in the Declaration of Independence). That sounds crazy to us today, but it is true and it only sounds crazy because we are brainwashed into practicing big government, we are unscripturally being taught that civil disobedience is always wrong and have the industrial military complex mindset that law enforcement and our military can do no wrong – ever. But now with unconstitutional policies such as the Patriot Act (which should really be called the “destruction of the 4th Amendment act”) and increasing anti-gun legislation (like permits for our 2nd Amendment RIGHT) “we the people” could never do what the 2nd Amendment would allow us to do because the beast of protection is too big! Now we have the mentality that the government is there to control us instead of “we the people” controlling the government so that it can do its limited job of protection (not tell us how to live). More laws, more regulations and bigger government are not the answers to today’s problems.
While some are concerned about where and how far the liberty and freedom principles of Ron Paul would lead us I AM MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE MENTALITY THAT WE HAVE TO RESTRICT AND POLICE PEOPLE’S LIBERTY, AND WHERE THAT WILL LEAD US! Once we start, where does it stop? I would rather have too much liberty than restricted liberty. I would rather have freedom than communism. Homosexuality, substance abuse and fornication are not GOVERNMENT issues, they are GOSPEL issues. It is true that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation’ but it’s the job of the churches to convert people so they can live righteously and it’s not the government’s job to legislate Biblical morality. The blame for these issues does not fall on government, the blame falls on our churches. Our churches have failed and therefore we have shifted the blame to our government and have tried to legislate morality to make up for our slack.
4. His Faith – While I understand that Ron Paul is not an independent Baptist, I do believe he is a born-again child of God. From his statement of faith, Ron Paul says, “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate.” He then goes on to say WHY we don’t often hear about his faith. “My faith is a deeply private issue to me, and I don’t speak on it in great detail during my speeches because I want to avoid any appearance of exploiting it for political gain.” To understand this statement historically, consider John Leland, the Baptist preacher, patriot, Christian statesman and author of our First Amendment, when he said, “Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives. It is electioneering. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it, proves that they are void OF IT. Let honesty, talents and quick dispatch, characterize the men of your choice. Such men will have a sympathy with their constituents, and will be willing to come to the light, that their deeds may be examined.” In regards to the evangelical vote, it seems like any presidential hopeful with an ‘R’ in front of their name can get up and pray or say something about Jesus Christ and every Christian in America is ready to vote for that person. A relative of mine who has been a lifelong resident of Texas recently said about his governor, “Why has he waited to talk about God now?”
5. Electability – I used to think that Ron Paul was a little far out there, but I thought that because that is what I was always told. In the last presidential election I caucused for Huckabee, and how disappointing it is to see what he has now become. It is frustrating for me to hear media and paid “political analysts” say that Ron Paul is not electable. Look at the polls! What is funny is that the same people who were saying that about Ron Paul when he was in the single digits are not saying the same thing about those who have NOW sunk to the single digits. Hitler believed and practiced the idea that if you tell a lie loud enough and long enough, people will begin to believe it. The media, both left and right, have been saying that Ron Paul is not electable. They have been telling this lie long enough and loud enough that people started to believe it. Thankfully there are some who don’t depend on CNN, FOX or MSNBC for their information. FOX can say that they are “fair and balanced” all they want (remember Hitler?) but at the end of the day, Rupert Murdoch is still in the media business for the money. Our current big-government, unconstitutional foreign policy is a huge money maker for corporations, including the media, which is why Ron Paul’s views are not popular with the media – both the left and the right. Any perceived lack of electability for Ron Paul is not due to his views but is because of a nation that depends on the media for their thoughts and is out of touch with the principles that this nation was founded upon and those surrounding circumstances. The votes decide if a candidate is electable, not the media.
My final plea is this: We need a candidate that has a proven track record of respect for and adherence to our Constitution. You will never have to guess where Ron Paul will stand because he understands that the Constitution, not the personal or wavering opinion of a politician, holds the principles that our founders intended for us to govern our republic with. The best way to describe Ron Paul is culminated in three basic principles: limited government, states’ rights and the Constitution. Those are just bumper-sticker statements today used as campaign props and slogans, but Paul was serving by these principles while the others weren’t even talking about our Constitution. Paul was constitutional before being constitutional was cool. This is why he doesn’t flip-flop, why he doesn’t have liberal baggage, why he doesn’t conform to different audiences to say what they want to hear and why he is very different from all the candidates. He has a 30 year track record to prove his limited, constitutional government stand! Being a student of Baptist history, American history and their connection, I am totally convinced that our founding fathers and Baptist forefathers would vote for Ron Paul. I am excited about the fact that the principles of Ron Paul are louder than they have ever been before. The candidates are now beginning to talk about issues that the “crazy old doctor” has been preaching about for 3 decades. It’s time that Baptist people start thinking instead of letting someone else do their thinking for them. I hope that the fear of what others may think if you vote for Ron Paul will not hinder you from voting for Ron Paul on January 3rd.
Joshua S. Davenport