(CCU Faculty) Mike Lux, blogging in the Huffington Post, announces he has found the “Ultimate Contradiction-in-Terms: Right-Wing Christians.” Lux shakes his head and condemns those of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ and still vote for an occasional Republican. Here's the oracle in full.
Lux begins this attack on people like myself by relating a debate between Glenn Beck and leftist-evangelical Jim Wallis. Wallis won the debate of course because he “actually knows something about the Bible.” Beck and his hero, Ayn Rand, enthrone “selfishness as the ultimate virtue.” (Lots of “ultimates” in Mike’s Luxicon.)
But it gets worse. Conservative Christians manage to “ignore the literally many hundreds of Biblical quotes about social justice.” And still worse, we turn Christianity into “a religion solely focused on one very selfish goal: whether they get into heaven or not. That's it, that is the entire goal and purpose and meaning of their faith.”
Where to begin? For starters, Mike, citing Glenn Beck and Ayn Rand as holding the flag for conservative Christians is like using Rosie O’Donnell to shill your diet plan. Beck is a recent convert to Mormonism and before that a lapsed Catholic. Rand is a militant atheist. Try taking on real conservative Christians instead of your men and women of straw.
Next, since I “actually know something about the Bible” I have read the verses on social justice. And the Left is the greatest enemy of social justice in the history of the world. Left-wing governments have murdered more of their own citizens as a matter of state policy then all other governments in the history of the world combined. (You would claim no connection to the genocidal Stalin or Mao but I can connect you to them a lot easier than you can connect me to Ayn Rand.)
As for hypocrisy I claim no ability whatsoever to be able to compete with the Left. You sit comfortably in the richest nation in the history of the world and hold in contempt the economic conservatives who created it. You freely write your ad hominem screeds and hold in contempt the political conservatives who created that freedom. And you condescend to us religious conservatives who proclaim the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ who made Christian culture possible.
Since I am one of those cretins who “refuse to help the oppressed” let me tell you what my house is like. It is a place where the third-world poor and the oppressed in America, eat my food, sleep in my beds, drive my cars, and weep on my shoulder, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE. Multiply my story by thirty million and you get some idea what the “religious right” is all about. I would appreciate not being trashed by people whose idea of compassion is to vote to take my money away and give it to politicians they like. When it comes to giving one’s own money to help the “poor and oppressed” we troglodyte conservative Christians outgive you “compassionate” Leftists by more than three to one. (That's from Who Really Cares by AEI scholar Arthur Brooks, featured speaker at a Centennial Institute forum in Denver just this morning, as it happens.)
“Getting to heaven” is not the only goal of my life. But Jesus said, (I know this because I actually read my Bible) “What does it profit a man if gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:25) So apparently He is quite concerned about whether or not we go to heaven and you should be, too.
And I would like to ask one final question. You talk about people who really read the Bible and who “take the Bible seriously.” Why is it that more than 75% of the people who do so vote like I do? We read the Bible differently from you, Mike. Is it possible we read it better? (Or actually read it at all?)
So I will continue to live in the “ultimate contradiction” of being a Christian conservative until you can come up with something more than left-wing sloganeering. And in the meantime, if you want to know more about me you will have to go to someone besides Glenn Beck or Ayn Rand.
(Centennial Fellow) Conservatives and libertarians fight about social issues so routinely that we assume the differences are insurmountable. Most everyone on the center-right is dubious of big government, but when it comes to protecting the unborn or preserving the traditional definition of marriage, we are divided as to government's proper role.
Yet when the threat of big government grows so ominous that it overshadows all else, a "freedom coalition" emerges, as is now happening in response to the reign of Obama, Reid and Pelosi. Inevitably, however, infighting resumes once the threat subsides.
If freedom truly is our unifying principle, then it alone is the non-negotiable standard that can build lasting bonds on the Right without asking anyone to forsake principle.
That's the message of the National Freedom Initiative, brain child of Kevin Miller, former dean of business at Colorado Christian University, now headed by former U.S. Senator William Armstrong. [Editor's note: Both Kevin Miller and Mark Hillman are also fellows at CCU's Centennial Institute.]
Miller is a committed social conservative who concludes that "virtue politics" not only has failed to achieve the goals of social conservatives but that it's been co-opted by the Left to expand intrusive government into micromanaging health care, energy and the environment - just for starters.
"Once you agree to virtue politics, then everyone can play," Miller says. "It's a matter of raw political power because (politicians) get to define virtue."
By advocating "freedom nationally, virtue locally," NFI challenges conservatives to apply their energies to social causes locally where they can change hearts and lives.
"Christians are extremely good at virtue locally," Miller says. Crisis pregnancy centers, family ministries, food drives and prison outreaches change hearts and lives regardless of who wins elections. By changing hearts, Christians can save unborn lives, strengthen families and change the culture.
Such a strategic shift challenges Christians to define ourselves by personal ministry more than by political activism. That's a shrewd maneuver to counter the tendency by liberals and media to claim Christian conservatives are more interested in power than in people.
More importantly, practicing virtue locally doesn't rely on or expand government and isn't undermined when the human frailties of politicians are exposed.
"Virtue and righteousness comes through a changed heart, not compliance with rules," Miller adds. "Christians know from the New Testament that virtue is not accomplished even by biblical law. How much more powerless is civil law?"
Practicing virtue locally doesn't imply surrendering to the liberal political agenda. Rather, it establishes a solid foundation of liberty that unites social and fiscal conservatives, as well as libertarians.
"I don't want to concede one bit of territory to liberal or progressive values," Miller says. "The goal here is that (we) band together to 'just say no' to all virtue politics enacted at the federal level."
Laws that define crimes against persons or property are necessary to preserve freedom, but not every biblical injunction against sin requires a corresponding law - much less a federal law.
NFI offers no Solomonic resolution for abortion policy because it turns on the unresolved question of when an unborn child's life merits basic constitutional protection.
Miller simply suggests that others in the freedom coalition respect the pro-life voters' belief that abortion constitutes a crime against a person. Meanwhile, pro-life voters must remain mindful that big government threatens freedom in ways that, to others, are more readily discernible than abortion.
"God intended for us to have free will; that's why Christianity isn't coercive," he adds. "Likewise, the Constitution is a freedom document. Preserving that freedom must be the highest priority of the national government."
Today, the threat to freedom is urgent and requires all hands on deck.
By promoting "freedom nationally and virtue locally," the National Freedom Initiative proposes a win-win strategy that responds to the current threat and could become the cornerstone for a "new birth of freedom."