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by Dalton Key
for the week of August 11, 2019

     We’ve been hearing it for several years and from both major political parties:  “This is not the time for partisan politics.”  Sadly, the words are rarely heeded.  Government and governance have become little more than team sport activities.
    Politicians seldom rise above the perspectives and concerns of their own party, in contrast to statesmen who have the good of their country at heart.  Politicians serve the interest of their party, uphold the party’s platform, and are fueled by party spirit and loyalty.  Statesmen owe their allegiance to a higher, nobler cause.  Their concern for truth and justice, right and reason, overshadow any desires to please or placate their party. 
     Sadly, politicians seem to be under every rock and behind every bush, while true statesmen are a rare breed in any generation.
     Henry Clay was a true statesman.  In 1839, from the floor of the Senate, Clay uttered the historic words, “I had rather be right than president.”  At the time, he was considered a front-runner for the presidency.  When taking an unpopular stand, he was warned, “Mr. Clay, if you maintain that position, you’ll never be president,” to which he gave the famous reply which probably cost him the White House.  Chiseled on his headstone are the words:  “I’d rather be right than president.”  We need more men today like Clay, who put principles ahead of party.
     The same is true within the realm of religion.  There is never a good time for partisan religious politics!  We must be big enough and mature enough to rise above any and all man-made parties, factions, denominations, sects or splinter groups.  We owe our allegiance to no man, no party, no school, no paper.  We belong exclusively to our Lord and Master and to His blood-bought body.  Having denied self, and having taken up his cross, we must doggedly follow Him – and Him alone.  (Matthew 16:24.)
     Men-pleasers never please the Lord and seldom please men:  they are quick in jumping on the latest, faddish, party-oriented bandwagon, while just as quickly hopping off when something new or more popular parades by.  Religious politicians who timidly check the wind’s direction before taking a stand on a vital issue lose both respect and self-respect.
    The cause for which we live, for which we labor, is of more importance than any religious party, be it a denominational body, a faction within a congregation, or a splinter group within the brotherhood.  The religious world is already plagued with plenty  of politicians; needed are more religious statesmen!