Summit Declaration: Use These Principles to Compare Candidates and Platforms

By The Stream Published on September 22, 2016

On September 13, some 60 faith leaders gathered in the studios of LIFE Today, to pray together and share their heartfelt concern for the future of the nation. Hosted by The Stream’s publisher James Robison, the summit saw men and women of different denominations and ethnic groups standing in supernatural unity for the preservation of human life, religious freedom, family and marriage, and the importance of engaging in the nation’s electoral process.

Out of this body of believers has come the following declaration:

Summit Declaration

In a critical national election where the two leading candidates are far from perfect, we have come to a stark conclusion: We must set aside non-essentials that are repeated in the media, such as the candidates’ personalities, their off-hand comments, short-term political strategies, and the ups and downs of the news cycles or the polls. Instead, we feel the gentle but firm hand of Providence guiding us to pray and focus on the issues at stake, which could not be more crucial to the common good of our country and the lives of our fellow citizens.

More than two thousand years ago, the Old Testament prophet Micah laid out the criteria we must follow in 2016: He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8) The following is our best attempt to apply Micah’s test to the vital issues of today. We ask all people of faith not to be distracted by the political antics in the media, but to compare the party platforms and their candidates in light of the following principles.

Life

It is a scandalous injustice for our government to allow and enable the killing of the innocent. This was true when many states turned a blind eye to lynching, and it is true now that 50 states allow abortion. The decisions which invented a right to kill the unborn corrupted our nation’s jurisprudence at its root, distorting the “inalienable rights” that our founding documents were meant to protect. Medical science proves the humanity and individuality of the unborn child. Common decency, and a basic acceptance of biblical ethics, demand that Americans act as decisively as they can to erase this stain on our national conscience. We need a president who will identify, appoint, and fight for the confirmation of judges at the Supreme Court and appellate level who reject the falsification of our Constitution on this and other issues. Likewise, we must elect or reelect senators who will vote on judicial nominees based on their fidelity to the Constitution.

Liberty

The Bill of Rights is not a list of helpful suggestions, but the fundamental law of our land, without which the Constitution would never have been ratified. Politicians who promote policies, or appoint judges, with the intent of subverting the clear, expressed intent of the Constitution are guilty of lawlessness, and the very species of tyranny that Americans rebelled to reject. The basic rights protected by these Amendments were not granted by the Constitution or any government, but are part of human nature: They are given us by God as His image bearers on this earth. The rights especially under attack today are the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association and the right of self-defense. Strike at these, and freedom falls.

The Pursuit of Happiness

There are many issues critical to our national well-being that demand of us wisdom and prudent stewardship — qualities that have often been lacking in both political parties. Here are just a few of urgent concern:

  • Debt
    It is neither right nor kind (in Micah’s words) to leave our grandchildren to pay the price (plus compound interest) for our reckless spending. Our legacy to them should not be a debt which they did nothing to incur and won’t be able to pay. Justice demands that we make the hard choices required to live within our means, instead of passing on unbearable debt to the next generation.
  • Immigration
    In a nation of immigrants, today’s newcomers deserve better than to be used as a political football, or viewed cynically as a source of likely votes. They are in fact an important part of our nation’s future, for better or worse, so we must form our policies carefully, in accord with our nation’s sovereignty, safety and values. As Ronald Reagan once said, a country that doesn’t control its own borders isn’t really a country. Immigrants are people made in the image of God and deserve to be given a fair chance when they ask to be accepted into our country, but must also accept it when our considered answer is “no.” We call on government, business and the church to sit at the table of wisdom to apply justice, kindness and humility to this crucial issue.
  • Racial Division
    We deplore the antagonism that is being stoked between ethnic groups. We are all equally Americans whose history includes many triumphs alongside some lingering scars of injustice. We repent for each failure of justice in our past, and commit ourselves to rectifying those whose effects afflict our present. We will continue to reach out across ethnic lines, using especially the links that exist in our churches to learn from each other and deepen our mutual respect and brotherly love.
  • The Right and Duty to Vote
    We are grateful to live in a country where government is of the people, by the people and for the people. If the people don’t get involved, the process will evolve toward the rule of the elite, and maybe even to the rule of one. Because our ancestors fought for our right to be consulted in choosing our leaders, each citizen shares in sovereignty — and will be held responsible by God for how he helped to exercise it. If we slack in that responsibility, we will share the blame allotted to wicked or lazy kings, whose people perished.
  • The Role of the Church
    The Church is the light of truth and the salt that preserves society. We realize that the state of our country now is partly our responsibility. If America is troubled, it means that we have failed to waken it to the principles that could grant it peace and freedom. We commit to doing that more effectively and creatively in the future. We call for all Christians to join us in this work, which begins with holiness in the heart and in the home.
  • Our Prophetic Burden
    Life after the coming election will present a challenge. Americans will be more divided than they were before. Some bitterness will linger. It is imperative that we believe in the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change lives and redeem the culture. Our greatest work is ahead of us. Western civilization was built around a narrative that reflects the biblical story of creation, fall, redemption and flourishing. As that narrative has been altered or forgotten, respect for human dignity has deteriorated. The shepherds have scattered and left the sheep lost. To gather people again into the light that reveals their God-given dignity, we must restore the biblical narrative, show how it is more plausible and persuasive than pseudo-scientific theories that reduce men to beasts or pretend that we are gods. This task is the role of the Church and its leaders. As the Apostles did in the equally degraded world of Rome, we must become joyful proclaimers of the Word of God, and God’s revelation of Himself in history, in the person and words of Jesus, and pray fervently for the next great spiritual awakening.
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  • Mad Captain Robert

    I am so happy to have gone back to college to start work on my master’s degree. I’m surrounded by smart, eager young people and I see hope for our country through their eyes. The overwhelming majority of them reject this silly religious superstition, and are much more open about it than the previous generation (my generation). It seems to me that it won’t be long before America can finally shake off the shackles that is religion! I’m glad to say that I was in the generation that finally caught up to Europe and witnessed the death of religion in the public square. Give it another 20 years, and religion in this country will finally (FINALLY!) be dead. The churches empty, the preachers-for-profit ignored, and the likes of Donald Trump banished from the political class forever!

    I’m not asking the writer of this article to agree with me. He or she doesn’t have to do a damn thing. Just let a bit of time pass…and his or her ridiculous, cruel, superstitions will surely die out without us having to lift a finger.

    These old thoughts, they are dying!

    • Dale Snyder

      As one of a generation before you, and two generations before the young folks you mention, I say I couldn’t agree with you more. Organized religion, and christianity in particular, is a poison to society on all levels. The bigotry, hatred and dehuminization of innocent people has been a hallmark of it for centuries. As a gay man myself, I have had more than my share of the violence and hatred of the religious right for decades. It has never been more important to get young folks to vote. Vote these pieces of christian filth out of office and vote them out of our lives.

      Forever!

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    I find it unbelievably sad and disappointing that 60 “faith leaders” ask the people of faith to ” compare the party platforms and their candidates in light of the following principles” instead of “in light of God’s Word as shown in the Holy Scriptures”. Perhaps the reason for this can be seen in the list of who those 60 are. I was actually shocked to see Richard Land’s name amongst MANY of those others. Perhaps his tenure on Christian Post has changed him from the godly man I knew.

    That said, how is it that these 60 “faith leaders” take us to the OT and Micah 6:8 as the “best attempt” to “test the vital issues of 2016” instead of Matt. 22:36-40?

    How sad and disappointing it is to see NOT ONE Scripture referenced in each of their points. Especially given there are plenty of Scriptures that not only address each of those issues but also give guidance on how a Christian should vote and what they should look for in a godly leader.

    How is it that NO mention was made to remind “people of faith” that we are citizens of another Kingdom and that our FIRST and foremost loyalty and duty belongs to Christ?

    Now, just a couple other quick observations., First, under “Life”, NEITHER presidential candidate in the two main parties meets their description. And one of them has already openly stated he will NOT follow the Party Platform. And let us not forget that while the GOP courts the “Evangelical Vote” and Christians, one only need to look to the Convention to see what we can expect. Or are we to ignore the GOP trotting out Peter Thiel to “humbly” brag about how proud he is to be a Homosexual Republican and one of the very people who led the boycott against NC and PayPal reneging on their promise to build in NC.

    Second, the Statement ends with a comment “The shepherds have scattered and left the sheep lost.” I would suggest this Statement and the list of SIXTY “faith leaders” is proof of that very statement. Just how does this Statement offer the sheep ANY leading? Any guidance? Any direction?

    Seems to me that all this “Declaration” has done is to declare and prove how utterly empty, ineffectual, and just downright worthless our “faith leaders” have become.

    And now you know why Christians in general as a whole are having little to no impact in this country. The “Salt” has become good for nothing other than being trodden under foot.

    • Let’s see how YOU measure up.

      John 8:7
      Well, you failed that one, for sure. No way around that one for someone who shoots off their mouth without first considering how the spirit of this declaration measures up to the very Scripture the complainer chose to use to attack it (which the declaration actually measures up to extraordinarily well, by the way).

      Let’s try another one, shall we? This one, though, since i am not privy to the details of your personal life, you will have to face in the privacy of your own conscience where, if you will allow it, God will do the talking, not me.

      Matthew 25:31-46
      When’s the last time you opened your own door to the homeless?
      When the last time you fed a hungry stranger, or gave them water to drink?
      When’s the last time you gave clean, new clothes to someone who stank because no one would let them inside to use the bathroom, or to shower, or to launder their clothes?
      When’s the last time that, seeing the police called on someone who was only laying down to sleep, you intervened and told the police to leave that person alone because laying down on a public sidewalk or any public property is not a crime?
      When’s the last time you went to the hospital, or to the prison, to visit with and console complete, total, and utter strangers? In fact, when’s the last time you went to that prison to visit your own family members?

      In short, when’s the last time that you considered the lowliest of low other person as of greater importance than yourself, which is what Leviticus 19:18 (cited by Matthew 22:39) actually means?

      Assuming you have not already seared it thoroughly and completely, I will leave you to your own conscience on this issue.

      As to the declaration, it stands WITH Scripture, NOT against it.

      • Royce E. Van Blaricome

        Since I don’t know you I will just say this. IF you are an Unbeliever: when the spiritually dead try to read the Book of Life it’s like a blind man trying to read a road map before hopping in the car to drive. You have to get a heart transplant before you can have eyes to see.

        “The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Cor. 2:14)

        IF you are a Believer, John MacArthur, in his blog entitled “Why Does Sola Scriptura Matter” said, “Nothing is more offensive to the Author of Scripture than to disregard, deny, or distort the truth He has revealed (Revelation 22:18–19). To mishandle the Word of God is to misrepresent the One who wrote it. To reject its claims is to call Him a liar. To ignore its message is to snub that which the Holy Spirit inspired.”

        Folks would do well to remember that before saying such things as “God says…” or “The Bible says…” or quoting Scripture and that when you say such things you step into the shoes of a prophet and basically say, “Thus saith the Lord…” They would also do well to remember that Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus as well.

        Now to your specific points., First, your reference to John 8:7 is COMPLETELY taken out of context Twist not Scripture lest you be like Satan. My only surprise in reading your misrepresenting Scripture and therefore Christ Himself with that is that you didn’t spout the “Judge not lest you be judged” nonsense.

        Jesus never contradicts Himself. How one can go to that verse while ignoring the abundant exhortations to be Salt & Light, not to mention the unequivocal COMMAND that Jesus makes in John 7:24 TO judge can only be attributed to Unbelief and therefore 1st Cor. 2:14 or walking in the Flesh.

        Second, had you followed your own advice and allowed the Holy Spirit to speak in the privacy of your own conscience, you would’ve had the discernment not to have even bothered asking the second question as the Spirit would’ve revealed it. That’s what happens when one operates from the Flesh when they are a Believer. I would also add that once again you mixed truth with lies but I won’t go down the rabbit trail of each one specifically except to say you may wana grab a dictionary and look up the word “vagrancy”.

        And third, you didn’t address a single thing I actually said nor the Scriptural references I made. Rather you hurled fiery darts at me personally and I know exactly where that comes from and who’s behind it.

        So thank you for discrediting yourself. As for the Declaration standing with Scripture, NO it does not and for the very reasons that I put forth as substantiated by those Scriptures.

        To which I will add just one more that just came to me. Matt. 4:4 “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.”

        Had those SIXTY “faith leaders” been operating from the Spirit and not the Flesh, they would surely have, just as I said, used the Word of God to substantiate their claims and Matt. 4:4 backs that up.

        When a Declaration or anyone else “stands WITH Scripture” it will speak from the Word of God. NOT from the world and most certainly NOT against it.

        • So, just like in Scripture, Pharisee and scoffer alike do not like it when the light of God’s truth shines on them.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            I don’t know how they felt about my light shining on them. I’m not omniscient. Pretty sure you’re not either.

            Should that have been an attempt to paint me as a Pharisee and scoffer, it’s was a pretty pathetic one and would, once again, show your ignorance of what the Bible actually says. I can just see you calling Jesus a Pharisee and scoffer for saying, “for the words which You gave Me I have given to them”.

            God speaks thru His Word which is apparent to everyone something that you have not done. So it’s quite certain he’s not speaking from you. Especially given now that you’ve twisted Scripture as Satan does, an quite possible born false witness against another.

            Here’s another passage of Scrpture for you: Matt. 7:21-23

          • YOUR light?!?!? You have none. I’m talking about God’s light of truth, and, evidently, you wouldn’t know truth if it bit you in the back side.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Thank you for showing yourself as a son of disobedience, child of Satan, child of wrath, and Poser as a Christian. Your faux omniscience has not only failed you but has made that abundantly clear to all who are indwelt with the light and truth of Christ.

            You obviously don’t even have a clue how many Scriptures you’ve violated with just that last comment. You might try reading 1st John 3 but since it’s so clear that you don’t understand Scripture since they are spiritually-discerned (1st Cor. 2:14), I suggest your surrender your life to Christ as His slave and beg Him to take you as Lord of your life.

            Then you’ll be on the right path.

  • Mad Captain Robert

    Awwwww…didn’t like my comments about silly superstitions and therefore deleted it? What a shame! But not surprising, as the only way that religious zealots like yourself can possibly promote your case (i.e., by silencing the voices of reason). We see this in both Christianity and Islam. Silence the ones who point out the absurdity of our imaginary sky-daddy friends!

  • Mad Captain Robert

    My original post:

    I am so happy to have gone back to college to start work on my
    master’s degree. I’m surrounded by smart, eager young people and I see
    hope for our country through their eyes. The overwhelming majority of
    them reject this silly religious superstition, and are much more open
    about it than the previous generation (my generation). It seems to me
    that it won’t be long before America can finally shake off the shackles
    that is religion! I’m glad to say that I was in the generation that
    finally caught up to Europe and witnessed the death of religion in the
    public square. Give it another 20 years, and religion in this country
    will finally (FINALLY!) be dead. The churches empty, the
    preachers-for-profit ignored, and the likes of Donald Trump banished
    from the political class forever!

    I’m not asking the writer of
    this article to agree with me. He or she doesn’t have to do a damn
    thing. Just let a bit of time pass…and his or her ridiculous, cruel,
    superstitions will surely die out without us having to lift a finger.

    These old thoughts, they are dying!

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      LOL. You God-haters have been saying that for over 2000yrs. A simply Google search would reveal that Christianity is growing and, in some areas, like never before.

      • Mad Captain Robert

        It doesn’t matter to me if Christianity is growing (even though it’s not growing as fast as Islam). What matters to me is that Christian fanatics have far less influence on my personal life (i.e., they’re losing power in the U.S. government). Teachers in public schools can’t force Christian beliefs on their students. Coaches can’t force kids to pray before games. Abortion is legal in all 50 states, as is gay marriage. Gays can openly serve in the U.S. military. Alabama’s chief justice can’t erect a huge stone monument to the Ten Commandments and place it in the rotunda of their highest court. These are all good things! We’ve still got a ways to go, but the last fifty years clearly shows that Christian influence in this country is diminishing. Good riddance!

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          None of that “forced” stuff ever happened. But yes, the USA is going to Hell in a hand basket and I have no doubt that is very pleasing to you. For example, no doubt your ecstatic about Homosexuals (and now Transgenders) being able to openly serve in the military. Never mind, as a retired military, I can tell you without reservation that policy has endangered all Americans and most have no idea how much.

          So yea, you’ve made it abundantly clear that you are a son of disobedience and know full well where you are going and, what’s worse, want to take as many with you as possible.

          Unfortunately for you, you’ll have ALL Eternity in the Lake of Fire to gnaw your tongue while you dwell on the idiocy of that choice.

          And btw, thank you for showing your utter hypocrisy in talking about silencing you when given you’ve worked so hard to silence Christians. But hypocrisy is no surprise. It’s the one thing y’all are great at.

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