Christians Engaged Goes to Washington: A Day of Engaging and Embracing

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks with Christians Engaged inside the Rayburn Senate Office building, July 18, 2023.

By Al Perrotta Published on July 19, 2023

The Stream was honored to tag along with Christians Engaged on its three-day exploration of and intercession for the nation’s capital, and I have highlights to share for you. As the motto for Christians Engaged is “Pray, Vote, Engage,” our first full day of activity was a “Day of Prayer and Intercession … with a Nod to Jefferson”. Our second day was scheduled to be dedicated to voting and Congress, but turned into something much more. “Congressman are People Too.”

Day Three was dedicated to Engaging.

But first, let’s set the stage. And understand the stakes.

Two Stops. Two Washington Must-Sees. Two Faces of Humanity

After Monday’s emotional experience with Members of Congress and two days of non-stop movement around the city, I was ready for a bit of gazing. I put on my Thomas Jefferson socks in anticipation of our visit to the Library of Congress. If you didn’t know, Jefferson sold his immense personal library to Congress to help create and stock the library. As I circled the dazzling reconstruction of his original collection, I gasped, “What, no Agatha Christie?!”

The Library of Congress is now housed in buildings on Capitol Hill. But the original is where you go if you want to see jaw-dropping beauty. The artistry and craftsmanship poured into that building is exquisite. The Library of Congress is a love song to the splendor of wisdom, knowledge, learning. In essence, the best of the human mind. 

The Holocaust Museum, on the other hand, is a dirge to the horrors for which humans are capable. 

How could one walk through the museum, see the faces, see the piles of bodies, see the machinery of genocide, without being shaken and sobered? How could you not read how the ground was made ready for the mass graves, not by shovels, but by the rhetoric of division?

And how familiar, how current, it all sounds:

Individuals were urged to sacrifice themselves for a greater “People’s Community.” Even elementary schools became forums for political indoctrination and racial hatred. Nazi propaganda taught Germans to think in racial terms. Political reliability was measured by a person’s adherence to racist ideals, especially antisemitism. These messages helped to realize another aim of propaganda: the public’s total obedience to the unlimited power of the regime.

We found this duality of horror and beauty, light and dark, during our brief stop at the Supreme Court. It was in this building that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade, condemning millions of innocent children to a gruesome death. It was in this building that the U.S. Supreme Court just last year deposited Roe v Wade into the same dustbin as the Third Reich.  

Roe fell, not simply because of Supreme Court justices, but because individuals with a passion for life stepped out the day Roe was made the law of the land. Priests praying around the Supreme Court. Mothers joining the March for Life. Citizens voting for pro-life candidates, working for campaigns, even running for office, crafting legislation. Parents teaching their children about the sanctity of life. Voters calling their Senators demanding they not abandon Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during the vicious smear campaign launched to destroy him and protect the murder of the innocent. People like the people you see on this steps. People like you.

In other words — as Bunni and our speakers stressed again and again over our three days — believers getting engaged. Engaged as you are led. As Bunni put it, “In the power of the spirit, you are aligned with what God wants you to do.” 

Tanya Ditty of Concerned Women for America said she “loves to hold the signs up.” Someone else may more temperamentally suited to hold up leaders in prayer. 

Priority

Being engaged in public affairs as a Christian means putting Christ first. Mario Diaz, General Counsel for Concerned Women for America stressed we can’t be a “Conservative Christian.” Must be a “Christian Conservative.” 

Rep. Nathaniel Moran echoed Diaz on the proper order: You have a faith call, a family call, then a vocational call. How easy to get them out of order. We mentioned yesterday the congressman who recognized the stress of the office had been putting his vocational call over his faith call. I’ll add that this man was determined to get his priorities in order. 

As Rep. Moran said, “You gotta look eternally.” 

“You Just Gotta Jump In”

There are 435 voting members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators. There is only one you. You may think Members of Congress do “big things,” that they are big shots. And you’re just you. Listening to the stories from the half-dozen or so members of Congress we spoke to, you’d be amazed at how many said they never had any idea they would end up in Congress. Even when they did feel led to run, it was often a long shot. “I love you son,” one member’s dad told him, “But you’re going to lose.”

Join next year’s trip and you’ll see as well that they’re just like you and me. Just with a little pin and their own designated elevators.

Engagement starts with one simple thing we all can do. The first key, Rep. Moran said, is “showing up. At some point you just gotta jump in.”  “One small step,” Bunni said, “leads to another step.” 

But stepping to do what? There is so much that needs doing.

Well, what issue are you passionate about?” Or as Rep. Michael Cloud put it, “What ticks you off?” What has God put on your heart? Where is the need? “It’s where the Enemy attacks that we have to stand up,” says Mario Diaz.

The responsibility to engage is on us. “Are we going to be the leaders the nation is calling out for?” Bunni challenged.

Many will say — and tragically, many pastors will say — they have no interest in engaging in political matters. Mario Diaz has sober news for you. Whether you like it or not, “you are engaged. Your silence is used against you.”

With images from the Holocaust Museum fresh on my mind, I can’t help but think of Eric Metaxas’s Letter to the American Church. Metaxas points out the great percentage of the German church in the 1930s had no particular bone to pick with the Jews or affinity for Hitler, but just didn’t have the interest in getting involved in “politics.” 

I’ve got 6 million reasons why we can’t afford to think we are at our core better than our church brothers and sisters in Germany. Eric warns that the parallels to today’s church are unsettling. 

Each of us has a role to play to heal the hurts of our time. “What does America need right now?” Christians Engaged asks. The Answer? “You.”

All over the Holocaust Museum store is this truth: “What you do matters.” 

Right now matters. Our final guest of the three-day whirlwind was Sen. Ted Cruz. He asked “Do we save the nation?”  

Well?

We Finish Where We Started

We started today as we now end it. With a choice before us. Light or Darkness. Blessing or Curse. Love or Hate. Unify or Divide. Godly wisdom or Unholy Holocaust. 

Being engaged … or being enraged with no say in the matter. 

Let us Christians choose to be engaged. On God’s terms. With His personal assignment for us etched on our hearts.

 

Note: Plans are already underway for the Christians Engaged 2024 trip to DC. It promises to be even bigger and better. (We’re the “guinea pigs,” Bunni says.) Click this link to go to the pre-registration page.

And if you want to learn more about Christians Engaged, check them out at ChristiansEngaged.org. And, of course, you can watch Bunni’s podcast “Conversations With Christians Engaged” right here on The Stream

Catch Up on All the Christians Engaged Goes to Washington Stories!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Like the article? Share it with your friends! And use our social media pages to join or start the conversation! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MeWe and Gab.

Inspiration
Worship Anyway
Andi Andrews
More from The Stream
Connect with Us