The Legislator and Pro-Life Issues

What is the civic responsibility a Christian who lives under a non-Christian form of government? What role is a Christian civil servant to play in the shaping and molding of the country’s policies and legislation? Mr. Allen Quist, retired psychology professor at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota, addressed these questions in The Legislator and Pro-Life Issues at the 1998 Christian Life Resources’ National Convention held in Rochester, MN. A former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and the 1994 Republican nominee for governor, Quist is uniquely qualified to speak about the role of the Christian legislator in government.

Mr. Quist set the tone with a discussion of the Biblical principles governing the Christian’s role in society. Because we are Christians, that does not mean that we are to leave the job of governing to someone else. Rather, the government has been instituted by God himself. Therefore, it is the Christian’s duty to be active, to vote and to pray for our leaders. The role of the government is to “do you good” (Romans 13:4) The sole purpose of government is to protect the innocent and the vulnerable. But Quist noted that government abandoned that role with the Roe v. Wade decision of January 22, 1973. He called the ruling the “greatest act of tyranny in the history of the United States of America.” With that decision, government “joined the wrong side.” It became its business to protect the guilty. The implications of that decision are enormous, and the full effects are not yet known.

But that setback does not mean that the Christian is to give up. Nor does it mean that our country is destined for destruction. Christians have had a profound influence on government throughout history. Quist cited Daniel, Esther, Joseph, and John the Baptist as just a few examples. Although our government is not a Christian government, it is rooted in a belief in God what is called “natural law,” the idea that there are absolute standards of right and wrong. The United States can trace its beginnings back to a Biblical foundation. Christians can still influence the path which our country will take in the future.

Christian people have dominated every pro-life organization in our country. As the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world,” it is our responsibility to take the lead in defending the rights of the unborn, the sick and the aging. But Christians have a broad responsibility in government. Quist spoke of a battle that looms on the horizon, the battle over our young people’s minds. The Goals 2000: Educate America Act includes this phrase: “All students will be knowledgeable about the diverse cultural heritage of this nation.” Although these words may sound harmless, the mandate sets a dangerous precedent. If left unchecked, this could open the door for an elite few in the federal government to dictate what is true, right, and acceptable to teach in our schools. As a result, these same people will be empowered to decide what is put in the minds of our children.

The battle will not be easy. The voice of the Christian is often not welcomed in political debate. But we have a responsibility to stand up for the truth. Christians have a source of comfort that the unbelieving world does not have. Even if it looks like our defeat is inevitable, the Lord is in control. God sets up governments, and he tears them down. In all things, our God is the God of history. And we look forward to a new life in heaven. Quist captured the true hope of all Christians with his closing words: “Come, Lord Jesus!”


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