Gather • Devotion 5

Christian Presidents
Dr. Randy Johnson

All too often we feel the phrase “Christian President” is an oxymoron. Is it possible for a Christian to be a politician? It is interesting to see how the founding fathers would answer this question.

John Jay (1745-1829) was the second governor of New York, director of the United States policy, negotiator and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, and the first chief justice. He was clearly one of the founding fathers of our country. He is generally just referred to as Chief Justice John Jay.

He said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” He said that we should vote for Christians. That should be our first non-negotiable. I know it is difficult to know if someone is truly saved or not, but I was encouraged that the Chief Justice respected Christ.

Not only did our founding fathers emphasize and encourage Christians for leadership positions, but they also developed laws that come from Scripture.

Tax exemption for churches has surprised me. Most people are familiar with the phrase 501(c)(3). It is a portion of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC). You only need to read the first two lines, but I thought you might enjoy the whole context, “Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which insures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

I have wondered how our founding fathers came up with the idea for churches being tax-exempt. It comes from Ezra 7:24, “We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.” Our country’s history is being rewritten and changed away from God. We need to remember, appreciate, and hold on to our godly heritage.
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