The Edmond Sun

Opinion

June 11, 2012

When faith meets politics

GUTHRIE — This year’s legislative session recently ended. This was when legislators experience a tremendous amount of stress as they work against the constitutionally mandated closure of the session.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to see the governance process from a legislator’s vantage point. I like to carefully observe and think about how processes work (and could work better) and the actions of the personalities involved in setting the policies that affect so many.

I get to see first-hand how legislators operate under all conditions. I see where rhetoric meets up with reality and it is truly an eye-opening experience.

Here is just one observation. There is no shortage of legislators who wear their faith on their sleeve. They use God in their campaign materials, participate in public prayer events, preach in church and attend faith-based legislative groups.

Some of them also lose their temper when things don’t go their way. They defend the dishonest legislative process status quo that allows legislators to hide their true position from their constituents. They participate in personality politics where they vote based on personality conflicts instead of on principle, and retaliate against those who have slighted them. They won’t hesitate to stick a finger in your face and tell you what they think when you fail to do what they want.

In short, their actions do not match their words. These politicians ignore two of the very foremost tenets of the Christian faith. They fall into the temptation to act deceitfully and fail to treat others as they would like to be treated.

This leads me to question whether these politicians really believe, or if perhaps some of them are playing politics with God’s name. I would suggest the latter to be a most dangerous practice.

Before a politician campaigns on the platform of faith he must be prepared to consistently apply and follow the principles of faith in his own life.

Much like a preacher must straighten out his life before he starts preaching, a politician should do the same prior to entering the political arena on a faith-based platform. He must remain honest (not an easy task in the political environment) and treat others courteously even under the most difficult of circumstances. When a politician aggressively promotes his faith and subsequently acts in a way not consistent with its most important principles, he risks doing far more harm than good.

There is a tremendous calling for Christians to serve in government. Much of our founding values and our legal code were built on Judeo-Christian principles. These are the principles that have made our nation great and they are under attack like never before. I have observed instances where elected officials actually defend these principles and live their faith at the same time. But I have also noted they aren’t necessarily always the ones who push to the front of the line to declare that faith.

I must say that I have an enormous amount of respect for these individuals. They show the best way to demonstrate the importance of Christianity is to simply practice its principles no matter how stressful the environment — and people will notice.

REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at jason.murphey@okhouse.gov, on Facebook at facebook.com/JasonMurphey and Twitter.com/JWMurphey.

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Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
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