I’m almost certain that some reviewers are likely to miss the word FAITH in the title of BE THE PEOPLE: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith & Promise.  So in case you are one of those, this book does lean to Christian answers to and understanding of political problems.  So much the better in my opinion.

Carol Swain aptly took a book that would easily have been another dry and boring presentation of facts and responsibilities and infused it with purposefully placed quotes, sparkling personal insights and sensible, doable action points.

Swain handles sensitive subjects such as abortion, immigration, the redefinition of words like ‘family’ and the broader scope of America’s history and identity without sounding one-sided or self-righteous.  (Disclaimer: Perhaps those who disagree with her views would disagree with my perspective on this; however, I felt she handled the issues matter-of-factly without red faced passionate decrying and also  provided perspective by using details and examples of WHY she considers these issues as problematic for America.  This is a far cry from most of the logic-lacking denunciations we hear today.)

While I enjoyed the entire book, I confess that I was most excited by her last chapter which, I am ashamed to admit, surprised me.   It should have come as NO surprise at all that this author, with her careful exposition of Biblical values in previous chapters, should have as the primary spot of #1 step to reclaiming America “Make a concentrated effort to know the biblical principles that motivated so many of our forebears” but it did both catch me off guard and delight me.  Her following suggestions I view with equal regard, from familiarizing yourself with our nation’s formative documents and making them as accessible as your Bible, to using more than a single source (even to the point of subscribing to conflicting viewpoints) for news to (and this one made me want to stand up and cheer) CONFIRMING the information we receive via email or Facebook BEFORE stamping it with our approval and passing it on to our entire list.  Voting, of course, contacting representatives, of course, and then she surprised me again by telling her readers to expect to be persecuted and ridiculed for taking a stand on Christian values.

After giving us insight into the problems with our nation and then some ideas on how we might be better able to act as a responsible citizen, she then closes in yet another surprising, gratifying fashion.

Instead of calling us to arms and leaving us with a heavy mandate saying, “It’s up to you to do ABC so that we can have XYZ.”, she explains that our first priority as Christians is (NOT to ‘Go out in mind-freezing frenzied passion and rescue our nation no matter the cost’, which you might expect from the majority of books focused on patriotic values) but to focus on our relationship with God.  Our second is to strengthen families and churches and our THIRD is to inform educate and enlighten fellow believers who have “fallen into unbiblical thinking due to inadequate knowledge”.   Her main exhortation at the end is that we faithfully teach these values to our children and grandchildren and that our love for God requires that we take on the responsibility to warn society of God’s impending judgment on those who continue to follow a course which is not God honoring.

Again, those who do not subscribe to Christian values will have a great deal of trouble with this title.  Even I, as someone who subscribes to those values, was shocked with the clarity of their presentation and the place of honor they received above, even, knowledge of our founding documents!   How sad that we as a society, if my surprise is any indication of where the rest of us are, have forgotten what it looks like to have Biblical values placed at the forefront.

My own initial sense of discomposure with her emphasis on Biblical virtues in a political book was possibly the greatest indication to me of how far we as a nation have slipped.  Thank you, Carol Swain, for the wake-up call.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Booksneeze’s blogging program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <[…]> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”