America needs a conscience. We’re in a moment that’s begging for a leader with integrity who can help us form a national conscience out of our very disparate pieces of faith, knowledge, and philosophy. America doesn’t need petty voices railing against one another. We don’t need the peep, peep of little voices pulling us in different directions. We need one of those rare big voices that can impress us and draw us closer to the kind of community Jesus ultimately wants us to live in. “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).
A conscience does more than get us to comply with a checklist of dos and don’ts. It’s a righteous inner voice that works behind the scenes to elevate our character. A good conscience knows when to speak out. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right” (Martin Luther King Jr.).
God made history by raising up leaders who in good conscience ignited reformations, great awakenings, and left us committed to justice for all. Their gift to future generations is a good conscience they can call their own. A social conscience cannot be formed behind closed doors or in inner sanctums. A social conscience comes from what we see leaders do in broad daylight.