James M. Inhofe, R-Okla.,
has been a United States senator since 1994. He previously served
four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, served in the U.S.
Army and has been a businessman for more than 30 years. He recently
spoke with Managing Editor Ken Horn.
EVANGEL: Talk about
your personal journey to faith in Jesus Christ.
I accepted Christ on September 22, 1988, at 2:30 in the afternoon
in the Members Dining Room in the United States Capitol. I
was 54 years old. I always thought I had been a follower of Jesus
and had accepted Him, then suddenly realized that that hadnt
happened. All the burdens of life were shifted, and I said, "God,
its Your problem now." It worked.
EVANGEL: How has your
relationship with Christ affected your role in government?
INHOFE: The Scriptures
I always use are Acts 9:15 and Acts 2:42. Acts 9:15 is Jesus
intention for Paul the apostle to take His name to the Jews, gentiles
and kings. I have gone through Acts with a pencil and circled all
the times Paul talks about Jesus name. Acts 2:42 talks about
the fellowship of believers. I belong to the Senate prayer breakfast,
which meets on a weekly basis. We do four things together: We eat
together, pray together, fellowship together, and talk about the
precepts of Jesus together.
Im heavily involved
in helping the poor in Africa, and I make it a point to follow the
political philosophy of Jesus. As a United States senator, doors
are open to me. I am able to visit any "king." Ive adopted
12 countries all the way from Benin, Cote dIvoire, Togo, and
Gabon in West Africa as far east as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Im planning to meet with nine presidents in Abidjan, Cote
dIvoire. My focus will be to meet in the spirit of Jesus.
I have seen presidents of warring countries sit down in the spirit
of Jesus and as a result two major wars have stopped. Weve
had national prayer breakfasts in countries like Rwanda and Burundi
where the presidents, the members of Parliament, the Supreme Court
justices, the top business people and the leaders of the Hutus and
Tutsis tribes that have been [fighting] for decades
all came together.
My faith allows me to
put my job into perspective. I no longer worry. I trust God. As
a senator for Oklahoma, I am very much concerned with my committee
responsibilities and all the other issues in which my constituents
are interested. But I no longer worry. I do it all in the spirit
of Christ. Its tempting for senators to look in the mirror
and think of themselves as being one of the most important 100 people
in America; but in reality, were just servants of the people.
And I trust God with my legislative goals and the issues that are
important to my constituents.
EVANGEL: Some people
say that Christians shouldnt be involved in the political
the other side has always been involved. Thats the problem
weve had. All the atheists were involved. All those who fought
against prayer in public schools were involved. Then all of a sudden
Christians got involved and everyone became hysterical. If the good
people stay out of politics, whats going to happen to politics?
EVANGEL: What key
issues should Christians be interested in?
INHOFE: The most
current issue is whats happening in the Middle East. My Web
site, inhofe.senate.gov, includes a speech I made on the Senate
floor on December 4, 2001. It addresses from a biblical perspective
seven reasons why Israel is entitled to its land. I dont believe
there is a single issue we deal with in government that hasnt
been dealt with in the Scriptures. So when you are talking about
issues like abortion, you can go to the Scriptures. Homosexuality?
Go to the Scriptures. The need for a strong defense? Go to the Scriptures.
I discovered this when I was elected to the House before I was in
the Senate. It occurred to me when I was first elected in 1986 that
there are no new problems. Things are answered in the Scriptures.
Believers who serve in Congress need to regularly meet and talk
to each other about what Jesus would do. Bill Bright founded some
groups that do just that. Every Wednesday morning when we have our
Senate prayer breakfast, I give the Scripture lesson. I usually
develop it around current issues.
EVANGEL: Have you
seen a change since 9/11 in the way Washington operates?
but not so much in the attitudes of senators as in the electorate
at home. September 11 was a wake-up call for the American people.
I think there is a resurgence of patriotism. Weve seen the
attendance at some churches double. September 11 is going to mark
the end of what I have called in my speeches the "age of perversion
in America." I believe that age began when we kicked God out of
our schools in 1963. David Barton is a great guy whose research
I use. He helped me with a message that Ive been giving for
a long time on how the history of this country shows that we were,
in fact, one nation under God. When a judge or a legislator was
sworn into a public office in the colonial days, part of the oath
of office was, in effect, "I have read the Holy Scriptures, both
the Old Testament and the New Testament, and I will run my office
accordingly." People argue over the issue of church and state. Back
then it was John Witherspoon who trained 85 of our founding fathers.
He was president of Princeton University and he was a believer.
He said that if you want to have a good, moral country you must
elect good, moral people into public office and their private lives
have to back up their public reputation.
EVANGEL: Do you see
hope for reversing the decay in the American family?
INHOFE: I think
so. What kind of behavior do you expect in the family when a secular
government is taking over the upbringing of our kids so that parents
dont have to take responsibility? I think families are waking
up to their need to take a much larger role, and I think it is going
to go along with the resurgence of morality in America. I believe
that this change we are experiencing is going to boost the family.
Im personally committed to those principles. Kay and I have
been married for very close to 43 years. We have four kids and 11
grandkids so we know something about family.
EVANGEL: How can those
reading this article support believers in government?
INHOFE: Each reader
has two senators and one congressman. They have a responsibility
to find out and its easy to do who their federal
representatives are and how they vote on the issues. A number of
organizations rate members of Congress as to their record on family
values, the sanctity of life, and other issues that believers prioritize.
When a member of Congress
is someone you can believe in, let him or her know of your support.
The most frustrating thing for someone like me is to go to a town
hall meeting and be asked a question like, "Why dont you do
something about the military?" That person didnt research
my position and recognize that Im helping to lead the fight
for a stronger national defense. So the most rewarding thing is
when someone stands up and says, "I know what your voting record
is on these issues, and I appreciate your hard work."
On the other hand, if
you have someone who is against those values you hold dear, you
need to get involved with someone else and start supporting that
persons campaign. People should support candidates who more
closely represent their points of view. So believers must get involved.
There is a strong moral base in America, but it needs to get behind
members of Congress, or candidates, who share their values. Believers
need to realize it is their moral responsibility to get involved.