Christy Chavers Stutzman is a small-business owner, a music composer, a former teacher and a former legislator for the state of Indiana. Stutzman recently spoke with The Stream about her new book, The Spiritual Price of Political SilenceIn the book, which was released earlier this month, Stutzman takes a look at the Founding Fathers’ intent when setting up the American experiment, the state of the United States now, and what people of faith can do to course-correct. Here’s what she had to say about her book.

 

Nancy: Why did you write this book?

Christy Chavers Stutzman: The reason I wrote the book was because I haven’t been involved in politics my whole life, and that wasn’t the plan. So, I feel like I am kind of Everyman out there and can speak to it from that perspective, especially someone who didn’t study political science. I was also a very patriotic American. I had been raised in a Christian home. We had been taught about our Judeo-Christian founding, and had always been fascinated with our history and proud of our history as Americans. 

I found that as I was writing the book, I was speaking to people like me. People who were almost turned off by a lot of the ugliness in politics, but who truly love America and know that we were meant to be a shining light to the world. When we see that light dimming, we look around and say, ‘What can we do to change that and to continue to be the light that we need to be?’ This book is from a heart of wanting to help others understand that it’s not as intimidating as you think. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

 

Nancy: Why was it important to tell these stories that you wrote in the book, and to include the historical context?

Christy Chavers Stutzman: We must know who we are and who we have always been, versus what the world keeps telling us who we should be. We keep hearing that we’re bad at this and we didn’t do this right, and we got this wrong in our history. And yes, we need to realize that we are human. Our system comes from flawed humans doing the best they could as they laid the foundations. But as I say in the book, the one assumption that the founders made was that people of faith would always be involved in our government. 

And the reason they made that was, I believe, twofold. First of all, they were descendants, whether it was grandparents or great-grandparents at that point, of the Founding. Of parents who had come there for religious freedom. 

They knew people had come here for religious freedom, and wanted to make sure that freedom continued. They knew that without morality, and without Judeo-Christian principles, no government could stand, let alone this one.

They never, ever intended that there should be a separation of church and state when it came to people of faith speaking out publicly, and also serving in a civic duty in some capacity — that was never part of their mindset.  

This was all coming into play when they were forming our government. And what I found fascinating and actually very encouraging, was that the structure is still there. We can still access it. It is not so far removed. I don’t have to be from wealth to be able to be involved, or have any type of title or privilege. That in itself is a win for the world. I think it’s been an example for the world for many, many years.

And the other thing that I truly believe that they counted on from people of faith is that people of faith would be faithful to teach their children and their grandchildren the Bible truths and the truths of God’s word, the truths of Judeo-Christian principles.

We’re finding that we can’t sit back on our hands and be silent. We have to teach our children, and we have to be faithful in carrying on the tradition of uplifting God’s natural law, moral principles and biblical principles. Those all have to be taught almost ad nauseum in the home, because our children are so inundated with the opposite. 

 

Nancy: Why is it important for Christians to get involved in politics?

Christy Chavers Stutzman: Our opportunity is unique in the history of the world. I think we almost have a European mentality anymore towards politics: ‘It’s so big,’ ‘it’s so overwhelming,’ ‘I don’t have the capability,’ or ‘it’s just so ugly, I don’t want to be a part of it’ and ‘Does my count, does my vote really count? Does it make a difference? I feel like it doesn’t, and so I’m not going to be involved.’ I hear that a lot. In fact, for a little bit, I had that mentality until I saw that my husband won his state rep race by 249 votes. Every vote counted in that election. I’ve seen elections won by much less. 

The other reason it matters is that our government, believe it or not, is still created out of we the people. That’s where our leaders come from. I’ve had some media people ask me, ‘Do you think that our leaders should be doing more?’ My answer is ‘Yes, they probably should be doing more. And if they’re not, we, the leaders, must decide to take them out.’ 

 

Nancy: What do you see as the greatest threat to American democracy?

Christy Chavers Stutzman: The first is the cultural Marxism that we see today. It has been in existence for over 100 years in America as an undercurrent. Now it is becoming mainstream. It has been in our system of education, and it has indoctrinated several generations of Americans now. An anarchy of mind and spirit. We see it acted out in our streets. We see it in homelessness, drug addiction. We see it in the rise in the suicide rate. We see it in violent demonstrations. We see it in threats. We see it in transgenderism. 

It was almost like a Trojan horse about 100 years ago. But now it is out in the open, our almost-established religion. There is no rule of law. There is no order, natural order, because their goal is to be transhuman. They are trying to evolve past the limitations of what they see as in the human form. And it is diametrically opposed to the Christian worldview and the Judeo-Christian principles that we have all held dear for so long, which has created the order, which has created a natural order, and has created a huge burst of freedom in our lives and across the world. It has created abundance.

And the second greatest threat to our democracy is our own apathy, as Christians.

We have been blinded by our abundance. We’ve taken it for granted, and we’ve forgotten where it came from and how hard it is and how fragile it is to keep. We’ve been under attack for a long time. There have been several generations who have bought this new religion of man-centered approach to everything. ‘It’s all about me.’ Their answer is ‘The fool said in his heart “there is no God.”‘ Their answer is no God. ‘I am God. I’m the final decision maker.’ Then on the flip-side, the Christians have been disgusted with what they’re seeing and have kind of stepped away from the table.

I think we’ve lost a boldness to stand firmly on what we believe and on the fact that it works, that it matters. That it is the best thing that we could ever offer anyone. And that is freedom. Freedom to know who they were made to be, freedom to know God, freedom to know their purpose in life. It’s so important for us to not only give the answer from the biblical worldview and from the Bible, but also be in the public sphere and be willing to take the darts and the arrows and say: “As long as I have breath in me, and I’m an American, and I have the freedom to stand strong, I’m not going to apologize for being a Christian.”

People are hungry for it, especially this generation.

 

Nancy: What do you want people to take away from reading your book?

Christy Chavers Stutzman: That it is very easy to get involved. It’s not as intimidating as you think. There are specific tools, especially in the last part of the book. I kind of divided it up into a refresher course on our history, because we all need that. An analysis of where we are right now. And then the last part is how to get involved step-by-step. How a bill becomes law, how to lobby your legislator, how to create a connection with people who are in an elected position or how to run for office. And it can be all the way down to, for instance, when my husband was a state rep, we needed items to give as door prizes at dinners. We had a lady who was wonderful at crafting. She created the most beautiful crafts, and she gave them to us as a donation. What a blessing. I couldn’t do that. All the way down to that level. That’s being involved.

 

Nancy: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you want our readers to know about your book? 

Christy Chavers Stutzman: I want them to know that it is an easy read, that it’s broken up into small chapters. All of us wonder where can we get good information anymore. And it has a whole chapter on reliable resources, and it has a little description of each one, what they’re good at, what their specialty is. It also has an addendum where you can read excerpts from the different platforms of the parties. It’s nonpartisan, it’s non-denominational. I think we can truly make a difference if we link arms. It is to people of faith. It is begging them to not be afraid to stand up boldly. And the book makes it easy to do that. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

 

Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.





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