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by Christopher Chantrill
October 29, 2007 at 4:29 pm
ITS as regular as clockwork: the article in The New York Times reporting that the religious right is about to go away. This time its David D. Kirkpatricks turn.
The old warhorses of the Religious Right are dying off, and many church communities are tired of hearing about politics from the preachers lectern. They are also tired and conflicted about the Iraq War. And what about Rudy Giuliani?
[He] could hardly be less like their kind of guy: twice divorced, thrice married, estranged from his children and church and a supporter of legalized abortion and gay rights.
That is, unless he turns out to be their kind of guy. Then comes the inevitable paragraph:
Democrats, meanwhile, sense an opportunity. Now the campaigns of all three Democratic front-runners are actively courting evangelical voters. At a White House event to mark the National Day of Prayer that I attended in the spring, Senator Clinton even walked over to shake hands with Dobson. Visibly surprised, he told her she was in his prayers.
All three Democratic candidates are speaking very personally, in evangelical language, about their own faith. What does Clinton pray about? It depends upon the time of day, she said. Edwards says he cannot name his greatest sin: I sin every single day. Obama talks about his introduction to someone named Jesus Christ and about being an instrument of God.
The trouble with this sort of wishful thinking is that it rather ignores the elephant in the room. It is one thing for Democratic presidential candidates to make nicey nicey with the voters about their religious beliefs. But it doesnt change the fact that the Democratic Party is a party of the secular, the single, and the childless.
Real Democrats expect their leaders to advance the banner of Peace and Justice, meaning more and bigger government programs for slacker liberals and more and more stringent hate-crime laws to protect the GLTB community from the tsunami of gay-bashing that we all know is poised to engulf America.
Evangelical Christians just arent into all that stuff. Whatever The New York Times may say.
Evangelicals are mostly nice decent married people with children who believe in being decent and neighborly and in live-and-let-live.
Most us us could learn something from them.|
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State