Stewardship And The Law
A sermon that Washington needs to take to heart
In this next phase of my life, I have lots more time to travel America and speak with great people. I began that trek this past weekend in Atlanta, where I addressed Dr. Michael Youssef’s 25th anniversary luncheon for his “Leading the Way” ministry.As always it was very special to be home. I even had the chance to drop by my ole stomping grounds, Henry Grady High School, and visit with the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet battalion staff. What a treasure it was to sit and gaze into the eyes of those who continue a legacy I was part of back from 1976 to 1979. Our Allen West Foundation
has established a scholarship fund for the cadet corps.After speaking in Atlanta and watching a classic SEC football game between Georgia and Louisiana State University, I flew to Lafayette, La., on Sunday.Now, being a good Southern fella, I attended church services Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church of Lafayette. Before the service, I met with Pastor Steve, who told me the sermon topic of stewardship would not be that exciting. Boy was he wrong.The service was lovely, the hymns were very uplifting, and then Pastor Steve took the stage for the morning sermon. The topic was “Five Principles of Christian Stewardship,” and the accompanying biblical reference was Acts 4:32-5:11. He succinctly articulated these principles: unity, generosity, necessity, personal integrity, and accountability.
A capital sorely lacking in unity and integrity
I sat there thinking this was a message that every single person on Capitol Hill and the occupant of the White House should hear as a Sunday sermon. We elect individuals to represent us at every level of government. We also trust them to be solid stewards of the vital resources we entrust to them, our taxpayer dollars. But some of the men and women currently holding office are not being good stewards.As I write this missive, we are involved in a partial government shutdown. The last time this occurred, I was a young Army major assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey, South Korea. I remember having to hold meetings to ensure our younger soldiers they would be paid. Good stewards would not have put me in that position back then, yet here we are again 17 years later.Stewardship requires unity, not between the members of Congress but between the represented and those representing. Thomas Jefferson referred to this as the “consent of the governed,” and I long to have those in government who would make decisions about my tax dollars with the understanding that the money belongs to me, not them.I am willing to be generous with my giving and meeting my tax obligations, as all Americans are, but we need to know that our resources support items of necessity, not ideological wanting.Furthermore, Americans would appreciate more personal integrity from members of Congress and the president. Who would have ever believed that the president of the United States would receive “four Pinocchios” from The Washington Post, but he recently did for lying about the debt ceiling and the federal budget? And we all know that telling falsehoods has become a regular occurrence, especially in Washington, D.C.
That means we need more accountability, not to special or self-interests but to God and the American interest.
Pastor Steve did not realize it, but he delivered a most timely sermon that all Americans should have heard. See, I believe that oft times God places us right where we need to be, and I certainly needed to be right there at First Baptist Church of Lafayette.
How a bill is supposed to be enforced as law
When I think of personal integrity and accountability, I consider the recent political machinations in Washington.When I took civics, and watched ABC’s “Schoolhouse Rock” segments, I learned what happens when a bill becomes law. The House and Senate debate and pass bills, and the president signs into law those measures that he supports and that both chambers of Congress pass. In a constitutional republic, those laws apply to everyone they are written to cover – well, unless the president is Barack Obama.The “big effing deal” called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”) does not apply to all Americans. The law has been altered some 19 times, more than 1,200 waivers and exemptions have been granted, to include members of Congress and their staffers, and the executive branch has delayed implementation for several segments of America, example, employer mandate.So how could a bill, as then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in 2010, be “deemed” to be passed for the president’s signature if it was not going to be applied to all?House Republicans posed that question to Democrats over the weekend. They asked why the individual American citizen could not get a healthcare waiver, exemption or delay. They proposed legislation to keep the U.S. government operating but sought to level the playing field and ensure that the law be applied at the same time to everyone it covers.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and President Obama answered “no.” The House GOP also asked to repeal the job-killing 2.3 percent tax on medical devices. Again, Reid and Obama said “no,” so the government shut down its “non-essential” services.
Stewards, not charlatans, for the next generation
The lack of stewardship, especially personal integrity and accountability, evidenced by Reid and Obama is most disturbing. Even more disgusting are the complicity of the media and the horrific names – extortionists, terrorists, hostage-takers, arsonists – levied against people who just sought to uphold Pastor Steve’s principles of stewardship and uphold their oaths to the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution.If there is to be an America, if there is to be a next generation, we all need to have a Pastor Steve instruct us in the principles of stewardship. Then we all need to elect stewards, not charlatans, not impostors, and certainly not those who play political games with the rule of law of this republic.
Steadfast and Loyal,
Allen B. West