Congress: A Modern-Day Babel

Nena Arias | February 18, 2019

Why is it so difficult for the United States Congress to agree on something? Aren't they supposed to be our nation’s brightest men and women that have been elected to these positions to create and enforce just laws? Don't they all express such admiration and praises for our Founding Fathers and promise to follow the same vision and ideals? What kind of future does our nation face with a Congress so full of conflicts, contradictions, confusion, and ambiguity? Is there a logical answer that can adequately explain to us what is happening in the U.S. Congress? Aren’t they supposed to represent the interests of their constituents?

Every individual has a set of beliefs and standards which they base all of their decision-making on. This is known as a worldview. It is the lens through which we see and understand the world. A worldview originates from a person’s profession of faith and accumulated presuppositions. Even so-called atheists have faith, the difference is that they just don’t deposit it in the God of the Bible.

According to the Pew Research the religious makeup of the 116th Congress is as follows:  Christian, Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Unitarian Universalists, other faiths and some are unaffiliated, others don’t know or refuse to say. There is no doubt that Christians are in the majority 88%. So why can’t the members of Congress agree on most things. Why do they allow individual and partisan politics to get in the way?

This is a notable difference from the Congress of 1774, described in Federalist paper number 2 written by John Jay where he describes this body of patriots:

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people--a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence. 

This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.

The majority of professing Christians in Congress have one thing in common; they accept the Bible as the Word of God but belief in God is not the same as believing God and that is the central issue of our Congress’s faith problem. Too many of them have distanced themselves from biblical morality.

You would hope that a Congress that professes to be Christian could make wise and intelligent decisions due to their dependency on the Creator to receive direction for any and all decisions. But that is not what we are experiencing.

The Founding Fathers were not without flaws and disagreements, but they knew they had to deposit their dependency on God. Proof of this is that on June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin delivered a message to the Constitutional Convention that found itself engrossed in debate as to how each state would have representation in the new government. The heated debate provoked antagonistic sentiments to a degree that some began to leave the Convention. Then the Governor of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin, being the senior member at the convention rose to speak to this crisis and James Madison recorded the historic moment:

“Mr. President:

The small progress we have made after 4 or 5 weeks, close attendance & continual reasonings with each other - our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ayes, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding.

We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which, having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding?

In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection. -Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending Providence in our favor.

To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?

We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.

 And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move - that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service”

Benjamin Franklin also wrote: “If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion what would they be if without it?”

Where is this conviction in our modern-day Congress? Is it anywhere to be found or will we end up like the builders of Babel divided, confused and dispersed? This is the important thing to consider.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…!
(Psalms 33:10-12)