Hutcheson: Lay People Must Get Involved in Public Affairs

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The following is a guest post from Chip Hutcheson. Hutcheson is president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He is a member of South Side Baptist Church in Princeton.

Kentucky Baptists were encouraged by Dr. Paul Chitwood in his Jan. 14 article to contact legislators about two critical issues — passage of pro-life legislation and opposition to any form of expanded gambling. We must not take that call to action lightly.

These two issues have been the focus of the KBC Committee on Public Affairs for a number of years, and when the issues are mentioned there is an immediate realization that we as Kentucky Baptists cannot be bystanders, but must make our voice heard.

Let’s be realistic. Legislators are not surprised when pastors of denominational leaders call to discuss these issues. In a sense, they expect to hear from them. But when laypeople become involved, it sends an even stronger message. And the more laypeople who become involved, the better.

From time to time I have heard faithful church members say they justify inaction on legislative issues by saying they don’t want to get involved in politics. Some even go to the extreme of not registering to vote. But that plan of action is counter to our responsibility to be not only faithful followers of Christ, but good citizens as well. If we are to promote the principle of “loving our neighbor as ourself,” we cannot sit idly by and see government going down a path that will not be in the best interest of all its citizens.

As one looks back at the writings of many of our Founding Fathers, you see some encouraging words about the involvement of those who seek to model the teachings of Christ.

Samuel Adams, regarded as the Father of the American Revolution, said, “He is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue.” Adams made that statement as he implored people to elect virtuous leaders. That principle holds true with us today and can be expanded to include every one of us— it is our responsibility to promote virtue, and there can be no doubt that fighting for the unborn and opposing gambling fit the criteria of promoting virtue.

Some are concerned that they don’t know what to say when contacting their legislators. That’s not a problem. Legislators don’t expect you to present a legal or in-depth argument for your position. All that is needed is to call the legislative message line at 1-800-372-7181 and leave this comment for your legislators (both in the House and Senate), “Please pass pro-life legislation and do not allow any expansion of gambling in this state.”

I assure you those on the other side of our positions are making their voices heard. We must do the same. Why? Because we love our neighbor as ourself, and we want only the best for our commonwealth.


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