Dedication

This website is devoutly dedicated to all of Larry's friends and associates, both early and late, who have influenced and mentored him. However, it also should be noted that, being who they are, a majority of them have been late most of the time.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Faith & the Fate of Our Nation

Alexis de Tocqueville, French author (1805-1859), once pointed out, "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great". So, as we and our nation now move forward, under a new President and Congress, the following previous post of mine struck me as even more relevant now than when I originally posted it, over a year or more ago. May we all prayerfully work together, earnestly seeking the blessings of Providence and good governance, for ourselves and our posterity:

Federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith* previously delivered an address, "A Mormon Approach to Politics" **, at the Brigham Young University Milton A. Barlow Center, and his perspective struck a resonating chord within my heart and mind , so much so that it prompted me to summarize my own perspective herein.

To me, the principles of my faith and my political views mostly are parallel, each supporting and defining the other, perhaps much in some ways akin to how the Book of Mormon supports and further defines the Bible.

Although first elected in 2010 as a Republican in the mostly Democrat West Virginia House of Delegates, my political affiliation is not the primary driving force on my views about governance.

Indeed, I agree with our nation's founding father, George Washington, who disparaged the fractious and feckless political partisanship that so sadly distracts and diverts us from good governance.

And so it was that, when I initially and somewhat reluctantly ran for election, I considered myself mostly as an independent and liberty minded "Constitutional" candidate.

I continue to strive to act upon and follow those guiding principles.

I stoutly believe that our United States Constitution and "Bill of Rights" is a sacred and dynamic document that succors liberty and individual accountability, as well as fosters economic prosperity.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), my faith reinforces my belief that our United States Constitution was drafted "...by the hands of wise men whom (God) raised up into this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, Verse 80)

I also believe that our Constitutional rights should and must be preserved, "That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which (God has) given unto him, that every man may be accountable...". (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, Verse 78)

Our Latter-day Saint mantra of individual accountability and "agency" (freedom of choice) parallels my political philosophy of individual liberty and economic freedom.

Also, as a Latter-day Saint and follower of Christ, I believe and continue to strive to practice the principle of charity (the pure love of Christ) toward others and tolerance of them and their various lifestyles.

However, it is, to me, a perversion of these principles, when we attempt to force our fellow citizens and rob them of their personal accountability and freedom by government fiat.

My heart truly does bleed for the less fortunate, but it is a puzzlement to me when others use their sympathy for the less fortunate to justify expanding initiative destroying government entitlement programs and creating even more of them (more of both the programs and the less fortunate).

In my view, these expanding government dependency programs and policies weaken the foundation of our families. They create a sense of expectation that the government somehow is responsible for our welfare and happiness. In doing so, the strength of our families and the health of our nation increasingly crumbles, to the peril of all of us and our children.

Indeed, former social worker and United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) previously warned us that our rush to increase government control over our lives would lead to the breakdown of our families and an increasingly large and permanent caste system of the underprivileged. His prediction was prophetic, and we now have third and fourth generations of people becoming prey to government entitlements. Increasingly, they now mistakenly look to the government for their well-being and even their happiness.

Nowhere has this been more dramatically demonstrated to me than when I previously worked as a prison case manager, dealing with inmates, many of whom had come to expect and even demand "lock-up welfare".

Our prisons are overflowing, our freedoms are eroding, and our taxes are increasing - all because we are prostituting our sacred birthrights to the government for "pottage". (Genesis, Chapter 25, Verses 29-34)

Moreover, my Latter-day Saint view of good governance is that God "holds man accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society", and that "...no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants. Section 134, Verses 1-2)

Further, "...all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property...from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency...". (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 134, Verse 11. See also the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution)

In essence, my faith mirrors that of a Pre-Columbian American prophet, who proclaimed, "My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God has made us free." (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 61, Verse 9)

Although not born or raised in the LDS faith, I now cannot discern much, if any, difference between my faith and my political views. The origin of my current viewpoint on government is somewhat akin to the old riddle about which came first (the chicken or the egg?). It now is all the same to me.

And so it goes.

*Judge Griffith currently serves as a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia) Circuit.

**"A Mormon Approach to Politics" was published in the Brigham Young University (BYU) Studies Quarterly, Volume 52, Number 1 (2013).

Note: Former West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump (2010-2014, twice served two year terms of office) is a High Priest in the Hedgesville, West Virginia Ward and the Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake. He previously worked as a prison case manager, lobbyist, public administrator, labor relations & ethics expert and advocate, group therapist for sex offenders, and certified arbitrator and mediator.

Please share this message with others, and ask them to go and do likewise!