Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Prayer Restored To Board Meetings

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This story is about victory based on conviction, unity and perseverance. There is a lesson in this for the faith community.

One of the most diverse/left leaning counties in their state voted to abolish the Christian prayer prior to each board meeting. Now it has been restored.

In 2004, two members of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners decided they were offended by the Christian prayer offered before each board meeting.

They preferred a moment of silence.

Anthony Verdugo, with the Christian Family Coalition, went to work on the issue.

He and his organization told the commission they simply wanted to restore free speech. People of faith joined in and stood with them.

He said, "We are a metropolitan area, but we also have to be an inclusive and welcoming community and we talk about being inclusive and welcoming and tolerant. That includes people of faith also because we too are part of this community. We're not isolated from it, so our free-speech rights must also be respected and upheld."

Now, eight years later, after working to convince the commission and replacing the most adversarial member, the Commission has voted 8-3 to restore a Christian prayer to the opening of each board meeting.

The take away for me was the perseverance of the people of faith. It took them 8 years to prevail.

I think too often we, in the faith community, are responsive to a crises such as redefining marriage, an attack on Pregnancy Centers, etc., but often are not willing or prepared to stay the course over an extended period of time, to actually change the culture incrementally.

If we are to bring about true cultural change, we must be in the battle for the long haul, and we must address the issues "proactively" as well as "reactively."

We must, in my opinion, invest as much of ourselves into advancing what is right and biblical in the culture as we do in opposing the continual assault on those biblical values. Both are necessary.

We must address the moral fiasco of public education. If people of faith can come together, I believe we can bring about positive change in the profile of both the state House of Representatives and the Senate. There are districts we probably can never win, but there are those in which we can---if we are united.

I believe a united voice and consistent action from people of faith can have significant influence on the state Republican Party and redirect a commitment to elect candidates who actually hold to the published planks of the Party platform.

Articulate conservatives can rise to leadership. And I believe they can win, even in Washington. Not only in more conservative areas of the state, but in some Puget Sound counties.

It begins with people holding firm, conservative, biblical values and being more committed to the values than to winning.

It also involves a general sense of unity around these values, as opposed to the strife that has plagued the faith community in the past few years.

And finally, trustworthy leadership.

The word "crossroads" is often used. If it ever applies, it would apply to where we stand today.

The state culture is not lost, but has been deeply damaged. Restoration can come. I personally believe it will, but it will likely come slowly and surely and sometimes even softly. And always with God's blessing.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.