What happens in the halls of national government – for better or for worse – can dictate the future course of America. Along with your fellow Prayer Team members, you are to be constantly and fervently interceding for all the men and women who serve in Congress, for your military leaders in the Pentagon, and for the President of the United States, his cabinet and administration.
“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.
In God We Trust; Government, Not So Much
Three steps to bring competency to Washington
By James Watkins
In Garrison Keillor’s fictional town of Lake Wobegon, “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” But there’s a magical place where everyone is above average—the federal government!
According to a new government report by the Government Accountability Office, 99 percent of federal employees are “fully successful” at their jobs.
Federal employees are ranked as “unacceptable,” “minimally successful,” “fully successful,” “exceeds fully successful” and “outstanding.” Seventy-four percent scored in the top two rankings with 38.6 percent of employees as “outstanding,” 35.1 percent with “exceeds fully successful” and 25.5 percent with “fully successful.”
However, if you have ever called the Social Security office or the Internal Revenue Service, I suspect you would not consider it an “outstanding” experience. Am I right?
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said in a statement, “Given the dysfunction we’ve seen throughout the federal government over the last several years, [this report] can’t possibly be true. While most federal employees are dedicated and competent, everyone knows the government’s personnel system is rigged to protect those who can’t or won’t do their jobs.”
This seems to be the case of the company filling out its own comment cards! The American public sees things differently!
Even the United States Congress earns a 91 percent “unacceptable” rating from their constituents!
A new national survey by Pew Research Center, found that “Currently, just 19 percent say they can trust the government always or most of the time, among the lowest levels in the past half-century. Only 20 percent would describe government programs as being well-run. And elected officials are held in such low regard that 55 percent of the public says ‘ordinary Americans’ would do a better job of solving national problems.”
“At a general level, the public finds the government frustrating and badly managed. Just 20 percent say the federal government runs its programs well, and 59 percent say it is in need of ‘very major reform,’ up 22 percentage points since 1997.”
And there doesn’t seem to be much hope that the 2016 election will change attitudes. The Washington Post/ABC News poll reveals that 70 percent of Americans have an “unfavorable” opinion of presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. (That includes 56 percent of those having a “strongly unfavorable” opinion.) The presumptive Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, has a 55 percent unfavorable rating. These are the highest negative attitudes since 1992.
So, what can we, as “ordinary Americans,” do?
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for . . . kings and all who are in high positions. . . .” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
This may seem to be a pat and trite answer, but it is the biblical answer. (I realize I’m “preaching to the choir,” since you’re reading this on The Presidential Prayer Team website or in its weekly emailing.) Do encourage your family, friends, or congregation to pray specifically for each branch of the federal government.
Second, vote for strong legislators who will sponsor bills that will remove the government’s special protections of incompetent and corrupt federal employees.
A CBS News investigation found, “The administrative process meant to prevent against politically motivated firings [gives] employees the right to appeal a termination, a process that can take up two years.”
The stinging report also notes, “Firing belligerent or hostile workers is difficult, too. One former manager told CBS News he tried for more than a year to fire an employee who was intimidating co-workers and superiors [and] at one point even chasing a manager down the hall.
“Thanks to tenure, union rules, and other political privileges, firing [public servants] is really hard.”
Third, pray for Christ’s speedy return . . . seriously!
I’m old enough to have grown up with domestic programs dubbed “The Great Society,” which Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson promised would eliminate poverty and racial injustice. Over 50 years later, that hasn’t happened. Government is simply not equipped to deal with social and moral issues! But Jesus Christ is:
“And the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6b-7a)
The challenges facing our country are not—at the very root—social, fiscal or administrative, but spiritual.
James N. Watkins is a humorist and author and contributor to 24 books and over 2,000 articles on social and spiritual issues.
The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily represent or reflect the biblical, world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team
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