Senator Lankford Delivers Speech at Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference
Lankford: A lot of people have this sense that our hope should be in Washington. I would tell you our hope should not be in Washington.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today delivered a speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference in Washington, DC. During the speech, Lankford discussed a few accomplishments of the new Republican-controlled Senate Majority, and made the case that families and local communities could address many of America’s societal problems better than the federal government. Lankford also challenged the primarily religious audience to reject an angry tone of politics and to also respect authority. The Faith & Freedom Coalition is a national organization that advocates for free market policies and religious freedom in government.
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Excerpts from the speech:
…we have a bad habit as Americans to make our elected officials into celebrities. Elected officials are not celebrities. They are asked to do a job. And by the way, this is a real job. And it has real work. It's slow. It's tedious and common sense things take forever, and I've heard over and over again, ‘You know, big ships don't turn quickly.' And I'll always smile and say, ‘Yes, but they do turn. You have to start by turning the wheel and eventually they will turn.’
I will tell you over the past couple of years and what's happened in the Senate and House has been pretty remarkable to see. To answer Hillary Clinton's favorite question, what difference does it make? Let me give you a few thoughts just for the Senate on what difference it really does make. We're actually voting again and I know that may seem like a trivial thing, but you don't move on issues unless you actually start voting again. Two, or three years ago now under Harry Reid's leadership, there were 14 amendment votes. Fourteen. We're in the hundreds. We're back into voting again, trying to get on the floor to move things. Two years ago we actually passed the first balanced budget plan passed by Congress since 2001. …The first significant education reform, getting rid of common core mandates, getting rid of all the different mandates. That happened this past year. That was not just a conversation. We passed that into law. We put on the President's desk a full repeal of Obamacare. We put on the President's desk defunding Planned Parenthood, shock among shocked, he vetoed both of those, but both those items made it all the way to his desk.
I will tell you there are a lot of people that have this sense that our hope should be in Washington. I would tell you our hope should not be in Washington. I would say we have a higher hope than that. I would also tell you that for all of the folks that believe if we just elect the right people they will change the nation. Let me remind you of something. Washington doesn't change the country. The country changes Washington. So the way this will turn around is a lot harder. It is the engagement of people like you. That will actually engage in the hard work, because this is tougher than we want to say it is at times. And quite frankly, there is this sense that if we could only get Washington to flip it will flip everything else, and as we come to the reality of, it will really flip when we change our neighborhoods, our families and our communities and our churches. That's where the work begins. But that's where it actually works in the end.
I am afraid and as a person who's been in ministry two decades, I am concerned that at times the church is saying, you know what? Government's going to take care of that. Government's going to take care of those in poverty. Government’s going to take care of those with great need. Government's going to take care of all those issues.
The foundation of the nation, foundation of the nation has always been our families. It's always been there. You see, government rises and gets bigger when families collapse. And as families falter, government rises and tries to help children that are exposed, tries to help moms exposed, tries to help in education and criminal justice. All based on the collapse of the family. So the government continues to get bigger, bigger, bigger to solve the issue of the family. Government's not a great solution for families.... churches are. If church were to lean in and say, I'm going to mentor a young family so we don't see the divorce rate we have. We have 400,000 children in the foster care system right now. If every church were to adopt one child or have one foster family in their church, one foster family, we would solve the foster care issue in our nation. There are very specific ways our church can step up and lead in this and we are at our best when we actually do that. You see, we don't believe that government is the final solution.
We also understand there is not only a right thing to do, there is a right way to do it. Let me tell you one of the challenges the church has, and what we have as Christians. We get drawn into the siren song of the angry voices, and we assume that's the way we're going to make a difference. Peter wrote to a church in a very pagan society and he said to them I challenge you to be aliens and strangers in this world, to live such good lives among gentiles, though they accuse you of doing wrong they may see your good works and glorify God on the day that he visits us. And then he said here are five ideas of how you can stand out in a crowd. Number one, honor authority. You want to make a difference in our community? We do politics in a different way. We stand up for what's right and we honor authority at the same time we're doing it. The whole world will look at us, say, why do you do that? And it gives us the opportunity to present truth. We are not consumed with being the angriest. We are consumed with being right. And doing God's work, God's way. And at times I believe we pray for revival, because it sounds so much easier than actually doing the work. You know what we can do? Let's lean in. Let's do the work.
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