This will put a lot of people on the defensive, but it needs to be said. It’s time for (many) Conservatives to take a step back, take a deep breath, and think about what they are saying – at the water cooler, on the internet, and in their living rooms.
Recently, Senator Ted Cruz said a spiritual revival was needed in this country:
Without a doubt. I think we’re at the edge of a precipice. If we keep going down this path we’re risking losing our nation. We’re risking losing the incredible oasis of liberty.” (The Brody File).
While Cruz’s remarks pertained to all Americans, it reminds me that Conservatives (most of whom profess to be Christians), need to bring something back to their ideology that they dropped somewhere back along the political road. In our chaotic rush to save the country from Progressives, we began forfeiting our souls and cracking the foundation of what it truly means to be a Conservative. Conservatives need revival to remind them what it means to be a Christian within our society.
The case for Conservatism cannot be won on legislative grounds or on a secular playing field. There are atheists who are Conservatives; but most of those so inclined are necessarily Libertarians – being fiscally conservative but liberal on social issues.
Most Libertarians I know idolize Ayn Rand, who was herself a staunch atheist.
In 1972, Rand wrote:
Above all, do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements… (E.g., the Conservative Party, that subordinates reason to faith, and substitutes theocracy for capitalism; or the “libertarian” hippies, who subordinate reason to whims, and substitute anarchism for capitalism.)
So while Rand herself did not support the “libertarian” movement of her time, she also separated reason from faith, believing that practicing ones faith in conjunction with their politics was replacing capitalism with theocracy.
This should go against what every Christian believes. What will we gain if we secure democracy and capitalism while leaving behind a Christian heart?
While Jesus said, ‘Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is Gods,” the fact remains that every Christian should have one authority that is higher than any law of the land. That is the dreaded idea that Ayn Rand degraded as a “theocracy” while simultaneously spitting on the Christian men and women who established this historically unprecedented country by basing it on Judeo-Christian principles.
Conservatives around the internet, like the antithetic Progressives, seem quick to point out that everyone should be living their lives in a manner which will not economically impact their neighbor. For all the mainstream secularists and religious zealots who love to proclaim, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” we’ve turned into a nation where everyone feels it is their high calling and civic duty to judge everyone else.
Awhile back, an arsonist set fire to a church on a Native America reservation. It was before the Sunday morning service, and a handful of women were inside. Fire companies from around the area responded, and everyone escaped unharmed. Comments posted below the news story were not joyous but disturbing: “They don’t pay taxes! Why should we have to pay for our fire companies to come to their rescue? They don’t pay their fair share!” The stalwart capitalists were making their stand; and it was ugly and embarrassing.
Who can forget the gut-wrenching example of Conservatism with its heart torn out, when radio host Glenn Beck came out on the side of letting a family’s house burn down? Tennessean Bob Cranick and his family had failed to pay the $75 fee required by their local fire department to respond when their services were needed. With his house engulfed in flames, he begged to pay the fire department the $75 he had overlooked paying. They refused and watched the Cranicks house, along with their dogs and cats, burn to the ground. Beck added insult to injury by saying Cranick failed to pay and was theoretically “sponging” off his neighbors. While Beck has held much-needed and inspirational rallies, like Restoring Love, one wonders why he occasionally has these temporary lapses of Christian decency.
While those of the Conservative bent hit their keyboards decrying the “entitlement crowd” looking for hand-outs, and condemning everyone who accepts government assistance, they seem to forget that an increasing number of their fellow Conservatives are on unemployment and food stamps. I received unemployment myself, and was even forced to go to my local food bank (which is partially federally funded). There I was humiliated and degraded in front of everyone as I was tongue lashed by the ‘food pantry Nazi’ for asking if Bar-S hotdogs were the only meat available: “If you have to ask, you don’t need it. If you ask again, you will be barred from all food pantries.” (I resisted the urge to fall to my knees and yell: “Soylent Green is people!”)
Trying to make the point that some of us were hit so hard financially we accepted government help only nets me a litany of nasty retorts and lectures on “personal responsibility” – mostly from Conservatives who don’t know or care about my emotional pain, family circumstances or financial hardship.
Empathy seems to have been replaced with hard phrases like, “Been there done that.” People with no boot straps are urged to pull them up and quit whining.
While Libertarians and Conservatives rightly talk about letting the community or churches take care of their poor, those days may be gone. The truth is most churches are so busy funding overseas missionaries or assisting new immigrants, they only make token gestures to their own neighbors, and usually only at the holidays. Apart from the dwindling number of churches, increasingly secular communities are filled with the unsympathetic and self-absorbed who are more concerned with saving the earth than the guy next door.
Somewhere along the way, with the apparent exception of abortion, the Christian God has fallen through the cracks of Conservatism. We are allowing Progressives to harden our hearts and Libertarians to squelch our Christian values.
Recently, Breitbart.com ran the story of a Canadian mother whose 22 year old son ran a stop sign and was killed as he drove into the path of an oncoming train. Six people on the train suffered minor injuries as four cars were derailed. Two years later, the rail company decided to sue the son’s estate, of which his mother was executor. Regular conservative visitors to the website posted heartless comments, the mildest being: “I agree. People need to be held responsible for their actions.” I envisioned a mob with torches, digging up the young man’s mangled body and putting him on trial. None of the commenters said, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
Roy Acuff said it best in an old song, “I heard the wreck on the highway…but I didn’t hear nobody pray.”
It would seem the question “What would Jesus do?” has been tossed into the bonfire along with a little word called “mercy.”
We need to remember that God will not be judging us based on our beliefs in Milton Friedman or Keynesian theory. Each one will have to give account as to whether he stood by when his neighbor’s house burned, or if he supported tormenting a grieving mother whose son accidentally ran a stop sign. He will judge our actions, our words, our hearts, and yes – even our internet comments. He is also judging us collectively as a nation. In the greatest reality show ever conceived, He is watching to see if His flock really understands that they are truly charged to be “ambassador’s for Christ” on earth. Conservatives obsession with personal responsibility and their idea of “proper” living often sounds as judgmental as those that think we will have to answer to God for our carbon footprints. Won’t everyone be surprised to find that God won’t give a lick who mankind considered a “tax burden to society,” or who accepted government assistance, or smoked a cigarette, or ate a Big Mac? He won’t even be giving extra credit for going to the gym or eating tofu instead of beef.
The last time I looked, it was the Democrats that were trying to remove God from their platform. At least they did it publicly; not pretending to be something they’re not. Conservatives on the other hand, have been lobbing judgmental stones while hiding behind a wall of Bibles containing a creed they claim to follow, but don’t display in their everyday lives. Indeed, every harsh Conservative comment I’ve read or heard seems driven by man’s faith in his own concept of Capitalism or politics on earth — instead of his faith in Christ in heaven. Perhaps we should heed the words of Michelle Knight, a woman tortured, raped, and held in captivity for 11 years:
There is more good than evil. I know that there are a lot of people going through hard times, but we need to reach out a hand and hold them, and let them know that they are being heard.
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“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
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