Former Tennessee Governor and Mayor examines relationship between faith and politics

Former two-term Tennessee Governor and Mayor Bill Haslam has a new book, Faithful Presence: The Promise and Peril of Faith in the Public Square which opens the conversation to following Christ communication and behavior for the unique and redemptive role of faith in politics.

Haslam has been mainstreamed into politics and politics at the local, state, and federal levels, from health care and social assistance to pardons and free tuition. His book calls for the unique and redemptive role of faith in politics.

CBN’s Tom Buehring spoke with Haslam to discuss how America’s faith and political views are becoming deeply intertwined.

The following is the transcript of the interview.

Tom Buehring: “The public square, more like an octagon of combat! What fueled this intensity?

Bill Haslam: “Since the founders of our country there have been battles. But here’s what’s new! You can choose where you get news from a variety of places. You can also go on social networks and talk to people who look, think and act like you. So that made us all think, not only are we divided, but we are mad and we are attacking bad motives on the other side as well! ”

Tom Buehring: “There is the constant concern that American democracy is in trouble. What are you most concerned about? “

Bill Haslam: “We have lost the desire for real dialogue! The subtext of the Constitution is that there should be negotiations both ways. Some of our people think our job is to play the role of a senator on social media or a governor on social media. Instead of saying ‘I’m going to sit down with the other side and see if we can fix the problem.’ ”

Tom Buehring: “What do Christians fear most, what do you think they are losing politically? “

Bill Haslam: “I think, unfortunately, a lot of us have become motivated by fear! We look at the world around us, it’s changing really fast. Cultural norms are very different now than they used to be. feel like we’ve gone from home team to visiting team in about three decades. Paul writes, you know, “Beloved Ones, I urge you as strangers and strangers!” We are more worried about losing our country than to lose our God! ”

Tom Buehring: “How has Christianity lost its credibility as a faithful presence in public debate?

Bill Haslam: “Okay, we’re just as likely to send a fiery retaliation on the internet and say something that I would never say to your face. Jesus was very clear in the Sermon on the Mount that the message was – be different. !! Salt is supposed to be different from meat. Light is supposed to be different from dark. And we are not! We act like everyone else. And if the salt has lost its salty taste, it is no use nothing but to be thrown away! We are not keeping our end of the bargain and the consequences are not dire! “

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Tom Buehring: “Describe the difference between thinking biblically about our politics and thinking politically about our faith? “

Bill Haslam: “Well, I think a lot of us have come to define truth by what we think politically and faith is going to follow what I believe. And so somehow we think that the biblical injunctions on how we are supposed to act – only apply in politics. They apply everywhere but in politics – that is too important! That ends matter so much that the means are right even s ‘they are not biblical means.

Tom Buehring: “Christians in the public square. What should the reputation be? “

Bill Haslam: “James writes about earthly wisdom and wisdom from above. And so if it’s wisdom from above, that should be what we’re known for, right? Christians are open to reason, open, sincere, pure, gentle, full of mercy. I don’t think many people would agree with us. Unfortunately, they would say, “No, they’re quite strident”.

Tom Buehring: “Politics is a blood sport in a controversial culture. How then do the humble compete?

Bill Haslam: “Sweet doesn’t mean weak!” Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek,” for these are the people who understand that we are not perfect. That we enter the public square the same way we enter our homes and businesses as imperfect. , broken people. ”

Tom Buehring: “What can the church bring to the public square, which is totally absent from politics?

Bill Haslam: “We can bring unique gifts in the public square. We can be, and people, truth and love, mercy and justice. Change the conversation! We have been given a spirit of humility and so we act just in that sense, hearing someone’s humility and saying ‘wow, that’s a lot more appealing and persuasive than being yelled at.’ You know we should have persuasive and seductive words that would actually change people. spirits. “

Tom Buehring: “The thirst for power and self-promotion comes with the land. For the divine mandate of authentic, servant-centered management. Has narcissistic leadership been overlooked or reckless within spiritual leadership?”

Bill Haslam: “I think the problem is real! We see problems all the time, they manifest themselves in different ways, and at the heart of a lot of that is – the thought of narcissism -” this story is about me and God cannot succeed without me ! I think we pay the price in terms of our image of our faith, every time it happens, and in terms of efficiency. Christians are called to give of themselves, which is quite different from self-actualization. And we are infected with it too! And so I think the call is stronger now than it has ever been!

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