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February 04, 2005

Christian Politics

Rick's post about his coalescing of faith and politics reminded me of Rod Dreher's powerful piece for Touchstone Magazine a few years back. The article was somewhat controversial, prompting this reply from editor S.M. Hutchens, entitled "Practical Atheism."

Hutchens nailed his argument to the door of Church of the Christian Left with this point:

We know with certainty that abortion and sodomy are evil, but we do not know with any certainty whether any particular disbursement of funds for the poor is good or bad or mixed. Our faith directs us to give alms, quietly and generously, and to bless and care for the widows and the fatherless, but it also tells us that those who will not work shall not eat. Distinctions, often difficult ones, must be made in our policies between who should be marked as poor and who should not, and on how collective monies should be spent or not spent for their relief, the kind of distinctions that have historically marked differing party philosophies, and upon which Christians have historically had differences of opinion. A Christian may think the Democrats’ social, economic, or environmental programs are superior to the Republicans’, but he knows that the Democrats’ moral policies are aggressively ungodly.

I have come to firmly believe that liberalism, as it exists today, is not compatible with Scripture. That so many Christians can be led astray by Jim Wallis' socialism in Christ's name is further evidence that the Christian mind is slowly eroding.

This speech by Robert P. George
further explores the idea.

(Note: I'm not labeling Rick a liberal, nor am I tossing him in with Jim Wallis. His post simply brought to mind an issue that slightly predated this recent blog explosion. I felt the issue was worth revisting.)

Posted by Matt at February 4, 2005 03:17 PM


"A Christian may think the Democrats’ social, economic, or environmental programs are superior to the Republicans’, but he knows that the Democrats’ moral policies are aggressively ungodly."

That would about sum it up for me... BTW - I'm not a socialist by any stretch of the imagination. However, I'd say I'm well left of most of my Christian friends on social, economic, or environmental programs.

Rundown on my positions:

Taxes: I support Bush's recent tax cut because it was the right thing to do for the economy at the time, but am glad there is a sunset. I do not support making the tax cut permanent. I suppose you could call me an Eisenhower Republican on tax policy (He said that if the country elected Kennedy over Nixon, the country would get a tax cut and increased spending = deficit).

Environment: I'm no nature worshipper, but a worshipper of the God of nature. I love the nature that God has put under our management. We are poor managers. It kills me that our insitutions make it profitable and incentivize the destruction of our environment. That said, I'm not a Kyoto guy and I think the Sierra Club is a pseudo-cult, so my environmentalism has limits.

Housing: This is where I have professional expertise. Most of the housing crises that we have in this country is caused by NIMBY's that refuse to allow the market to supply the demand in the name of preserving "neighborhood character" and in an attmept to artifically pad their wallets (aka greed) by denying others their property rights.

I despise public housing, but strongly support Section 8 vouchers, LIHTC, and laws that force local governments to zone land at acceptable levels to allow the market to supply the demand. When the market fails, especially when this market failure is caused by the decisions of parochial factions (Madison #51), then it is the responsibility of the higher government (State or Fed) to intervene and correct the market failure.

Race Relations: Housing is the best example. This subject is FAR too complicated for a comment, but suffice it to say: The Federal Government, in conjunction with State and local policy has forced concentrated poverty and defacto segregation. These effects have bubbled over into a variety of areas and have caused us to fight over affirmative action, which will never solve the problem. More equitable housing policy, in fact progressive housing policy that aims to rectify the sins of the 1940s-1970s, would do wonders for race relations in this country.

Regionalism: Why do people have pride in their City? Regions are municipal organisms. The suburbs exist because of the urban city, and the urban city is fed by the suburb. Decisions on a whole host of issues, including taxes, habitat management, land use and housing, transportation, provision of a host of municipal services including water, sewer, drainage, police and fire, libraries, etc. should be administered at the regional level (Why are there 19 Fire Chief's in San Diego?????)

Death Penalty: Ahh... I'll save this one for a post, and I'm finding out that I'm not alone in my opposition, although many Christians might be opposed for different reasons.

My point: God can work through the contributions of Government, just like he can work through the contributions of man. I refuse to put God in a box. We are commanded to pay taxes (Romans Ch 13:1-4), and we are encouraged to tithe. What institution God uses to dispense His money (the money that he gave to each of us), is up to Him.

Posted by: Rick Brady at February 4, 2005 08:30 PM

That's a lot of information. I'll have to read it later. Make it a post, homie, so we can all dig in.

Posted by: Matt at February 4, 2005 08:36 PM

Nah... Just cutting my teeth. Each issue could be a post. I don't think I'm important enough to prominently explain each position to the masses. Hopefully some of these issues will be fleshed out in parts of posts over the years.

Posted by: Rick Brady at February 4, 2005 08:42 PM

Must resist temptation to call Rick a commie pinko.

Posted by: Mark Sides at February 5, 2005 08:38 AM