Dear Vice President Pence:
In life, it is often necessary to evaluate the course we are on to ensure that it is the right course. While there are many things we can use to evaluate the course and the choices we are making, I have found that applying biblical teachings can often help. Even though not everyone believes in Christian principles as described in the Scriptures, it is important to recognize that the Bible’s wisdom can contribute profoundly to how we live our best lives.
It is interesting that we consider ourselves a Christian nation and our leaders, including yourself, profess that their Christian faith is the guiding principle of their lives. Yet, in reality our political leaders do not apply their Christian principles when making decisions. One result is that our nation ends up leading the world into more and more turmoil.
To illustrate this concept, I’ll use the example of the involvement of the U.S. in the Iraqi war. For whatever reason, President Bush was intent on declaring war on Iraq and using every made-up reason for that purpose. About a month before the war, Dan Rather interviewed Saddam and asked him if he had a message that Rather should take back to President Bush. Saddam responded that he would like to meet with President Bush. As we know, Bush didn’t schedule a meeting, placing aside numerous teachings about pursuing peace over violence, including this one found in Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” and this one from 1 Peter 3:11: “They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” Can you imagine how much less turmoil we would have in our present world if President Bush had used the basic biblical principle of overcoming evil with good and seeking peace above all else?
What is frustrating is that we don’t learn from past experiences. Recently you were in South Korea for the Olympics and were seated within a few feet of Kim Jong Un’s sister. What a wonderful occasion for you to reach out with friendly and gracious comments, reflecting your Christian principles of pursuing peace. Instead you chose to ignore her, and you were the only one who chose to sit back down as the unified North and South Korean teams entered the stadium.
It is as if our Christian leaders are unaware of the basic Christian values from the Scriptures which can bring hope and peace to the world instead of more divisiveness and violence. This is further reflected by another spiritual truth as stated in Romans 12:9-10, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”
It would be so refreshing if you and other political leaders did not just say you are Christians or that you have religious convictions, but actually applied biblical wisdom. Imagine if you led by example, and truly were a peacemaker, because remember, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” (Galatians 5:22) The improvements of the turmoil in our world and in this country could be outstanding.
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William G. Tarnasky, MD, JD, is a Hayden resident.