The Christian Vote

by Kung Fu Zu10/18/15

The Prestonwood Baptist Church held a candidate forum today in Plano, Texas. Six Republicans accepted the invitation to come and present themselves and their ideas to the public. Each candidate was given about forty minutes to speak and answer questions. Unlike the circus atmosphere of the TV debates, this forum was a serious occasion which allowed some depth of discussion.

While it was good to hear the various candidates speak, the most interesting part of the forum was, to my mind, the few minutes during which Ralph Reed was on the dais speaking to the head pastor of Prestonwood. Two points, which he made stood out.

1. In the 2012 elections Evangelical Christians made up about 27% of the vote. In the 2014 elections they made up about 32% of the vote. Reed noted that whichever number one uses, Evangelicals make up a larger percentage of voters that Latinos, Blacks and LGBTs combined. He also mentioned another group which I cannot recall.

2. According to one estimate, 17 million Evangelicals didn’t vote in the last election. One half of these are not registered and the other half didn’t show up. This is a stunning piece of information.

Reed said that many Christians he meets complain that politics is dirty and they don’t want to take part in it. Reed mentioned that when confronted by such people he would use the analogy of a broken water pipe under the foundation of one’s house. If one wanted to fix the problem, one had to dig under the foundation and repair the pipe. And in the process of doing this one would of course get some dirt on one’s clothes. But if one simply left the pipe to leak it would soon undermine the foundation of the house. By not getting involved, Evangelicals are letting the foundation of the greatest country in history be destroyed.

I agree with Reed’s point, but will go even farther and paraphrase Trotsky by saying, “you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.” No matter what a person does, politics is going to play a major role in one’s life.

It is clear that many, and perhaps most, of the scoundrels in government are taking the country down the road to perdition. They are at war with Christianity and will not simply stop when they think they have the upper hand. They are implacable and must be fought. And how should we fight? Can the reader imagine how differently things would be if Christians, particularly Evangelical Christians, would get up and do their civic duty?

Below is a piece I wrote in 2013. I think the suggestions I made are still valid. But even if one does not agree with all or some of them, Christians must start to re-engage in our culture and politics, else the country is lost. And if America is lost, the West is lost.

A Modest Request


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16 Responses to The Christian Vote

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Your point is very similar to Erick Erickson’s “You will be made to care” about such issues as homosexual “marriage”. He apparently predicted this several years ago. Today, sadly, it’s become all too obvious — but there are still many Christians who wish not to be aware of it.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Very nice analogy by Reed. Thanks for the reporting from the front lines, Mr. Kung.

  3. Rosalys says:

    I don’t know how many, but some Republican Evangelicals stayed home because of Romney being a Mormon.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This was one reason I supported Fred Thompson in 2008. I figured all the other candidates had a flaw that would cause some voters to stay home — age in the case of McCain, Mormonism for Romney, being a fundamentalist preacher for Huckabee, being a New York City liberal in the case of Giuliani, etc.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this question, Mr. Kung. I’ve had it rolling around in my head for a couple weeks now. There’s a war on Christianity and sometimes it seems the Christians don’t know they are in one. It’s fine to trust in God. But wasn’t there a saying or song in WWII? Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

    Much of that ammunitions is wisdom. Christians have the unenviable task of discernment. They must understand and synthesize, in ways that are not caricatures, dichotomies such as:

    + war and peace
    + love and hate
    + work and charity
    + discipline and freedom
    + judgment and forgiveness
    + kindness and being a doormat

    Much of my understanding of Christianity has been produced by Catholic writers. That’s ironic because I think the current Pope is an anti-Pope, at best. There’s no way an outsider should understand the faith better than the Pope. But that is the case.

    One cannot be a good Christian if one has comic-book-like simplistic answers to any of these dichotomies of life. A good Christian life requires discernment. One size doesn’t fit all. If it did, we’d need only a half dozen brain cells or so. As it is, we can make very fine-grained discernments about a great number of things….if we learn to do so.

    But Cultural Marxism, along with other influences (including human nature), tends to boil problems down into bumper-sticker slogans. That’s not to say that the wisdom is infinite levels of nuance. “Nuance” can very easily become “paralysis by analysis.” It is definitely not wisdom to never come to a tough decision on things and to always find a penumbra under the shadow of gray areas.

    I think Christians, like the rest of the culture, have been badly influenced by Cultural Marxism which includes relativism. atheism, materialism, multiculturalism, economic-centrism, feminism, and the idea that life can be parsed in terms of race, class, or gender. Christians who give any weight to such superficialities are selling out their faith.

    And there are false dichotomies a’plenty. One of them is liberalism vs. fundamentalism in terms of Christian faith. That, again, is a caricature and a sign of fortune-cookie-like simplistic thinking. A good Christians has to be liberal at some times, fundamentalist at others, but his real orientation is neither. Those ideas are mere tools in his toolbox. The real orientation is Christ. Period. You may or may not live forever. You may be rewarded or not after death. But what you must do is walk in those same shoes to the best of your ability. That’s the thing.

    And those shoes both saved an adulteress from stoning as well as warned of the dangers of hell for sinners. There was more at work there than simple-mindedness. One’s discernment can never equal that of the Creator. But one can do better than think in terms of fortune cookies or bumper stickers. And should. Once that tool is sharpened, you can cut through any number of problems that otherwise look intractable.

    Including the war atheists are waging on Christians.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I sometimes believe that there are a significant number of Christians who mistake salvation for achievement. One hears this attitude in terms such as “the elect”. Now if one is part of the “elect” it stands to reason that one is “special”. If one is special, it is simply beneath one to mix with humanity and become polluted. Forget earthly concerns and concentrate on the hereafter. But we know that the temporal cannot really be avoided. Which is more conducive to raising healthy children and leading a Christian life; Sodom and Gomorrah or Springfield, U.S.A.?

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        One hears this attitude in terms such as “the elect”. Now if one is part of the “elect” it stands to reason that one is “special”. If one is special, it is simply beneath one to mix with humanity and become polluted.

        The nearer you stand to the Statue of Liberty, the smaller you seem. I would say the nearer one is to understanding the awesomeness of a Creator, the smaller and humbler one’s orientation should be. Yes, there are mighty things about ourselves too. We need not put on a faux mask of humility. We can be proud of our accomplishments to some extent.

        But even our accomplishments are derivative. We did not create the air we breath. Ironically, devilishly dishonest people such as Obama use this idea as in “You didn’t build that.” I think you or Tim just wrote about the devilishly sly nature and power of the half-truth.

        All this “elect” baloney is just an extension of human nature’s natural inclination toward social hierarchies. But when it is God that comes to possess you, it will be more of the vibe of “I have come to serve, not to be served.” Lots of baloney in religion. Atheists use the half-truths to try to undermine the whole. And the whole is not baloney.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I believe the concept of “the elect” comes from Calvinism, in which people were predestined to be part of the elect (who would go to Heaven) or part of the rest of the population (who wouldn’t). This could lead very easily to antinomianism, but Calvin’s argument was that the elect would naturally tend to behave properly. I suspect it could be considered a very pharisaical attitude.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          If it didn’t originate with Calvin, the idea certainly took on great significance during his time in Geneva. For the reasons you mention, and others, I have always found Calvinism somewhat distasteful.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            This is one of the problems inherent in man assigning specific absolutes to god. If he is all-knowing, then, of course, he would know if you are going to heaven or hell. Which means determinism. Which means life is a sick parody if we are judged for things we couldn’t help doing and were going to happen inevitably no matter what.

            I think eternity and the bounds outside of time and space are not for man to comprehend. Making hard rules of these things as you would in mathematics is a sure way to religious craziness. There is just too much fuzziness in the way things are. And delving into this fuzziness for guidance and understanding through prayer and contemplation, and not for the pursuit of 100% certainty and facts, is probably the way to go.

            I wonder how many people have been driven to distraction by Calvinism where God is turned into just another algorithmic force of nature. Say what you will about the Christian idea of a personal God, but that is surely a better idea than an algorithmic one.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              This notion of determinism is the source of antinomianism. If God wills everything, then he also wills if we got out and commit crimes, so everything is acceptable because God willed it.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Every proper clique needs someone to look down upon. That’s human nature. But it’s not spiritual nature, at least as generally understood. So “you’re not doing it right or for the right reasons” is a good response to “the elect.”

          In my view, following in the footsteps of Christ is to take on a burden. The yoke may be light, but it is a yoke all the same, not a pedestal from which to look down on other people. Mentor them? Yes. But leave the feeling of superiority to the fascists and the Left. We don’t need that.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Maggie Gallagher has an interesting article about what Catholics can do in the face of an overwhelmingly Progressive and materialistic culture. Her primary prescription is more or less my “Madge” rule: understand first and foremost that you are “soaking in it.”

    She highlights aspects of a speech given by the decidedly non-namby-pamby Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia.

    Here’s the money quote:

    That hollowing out of democracy by culturally appropriating our hallowed words and redefining them is part of Chaput’s chief concern, which is the hollowing out of American Catholicism as a distinctive culture that can contribute to our diverse nation. The Catholic imagination in America is being culturally appropriated and transformed by secular liberalism’s contempt for the sacred and the supernatural.

    Chaput remarks that “many of us Catholics are largely assimilated to, and digested by, a culture that bleaches out strong religious convictions in the name of liberal tolerance and dulls our longings for the supernatural with a river of practical atheism in the form of consumer goods.” Science and technology have become not just useful, creative tools to improve human flourishing. They’ve become godlings, and religion is demoted: “Religion can still have value in this new dispensation by helping credulous people do socially useful things. But religion isn’t ‘real’ in the same way that science and technology are real.”

    “Practical atheism in the form of consumer goods.” Splendidly said. Chaput gets to the crux of the right/left split:

    We are equally beloved by God who made us, but in a thousand other ways we are not equal. Because equality is not true, in the secular sense, the anxiety created by our knowledge of our own inequalities “leads to the peculiar progressive impulse to master and realign reality to conform to human desire, whereas the Christian masters and realigns his desires to conform to and improve reality.”

    And…

    If men and women are really made for heroism and glory, made to stand in the presence of the living God, they can never be satisfied with bourgeois, mediocre, feel-good religion,” Chaput adds.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Although that probably isn’t his main concern, it would appear that Chaput is using a point I’ve long suspected, that one of the problems with liberalism is its radical form of egalitarianism. “All men are created equal” meant all people are (or should be) equal before the law and have equal opportunity, but never promised equal results. (Similarity, the right to pursue happiness doesn’t guarantee success.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        “Equal results” has gained stature, at least in rhetoric, because one “feels bad” about seeing another have less. (As Pat would say, “Feelings…nothing more than feelings…”)

        So you vote for Big Government which promises to “equalize” everything while the voter continues (more or less) operating under the “thriving of the fittest” rules of the marketplace. But he or she “gave at the office” so is absolved from the guilt of doing well.

        One could say the real issue is this secular/Marxist liturgy replacing the religious one whereby a different measure was applied to human guilt. Not that this latter guilt was never overdone. Certainly it was. But the difference is one of personal behavior and character as opposed to “group guilt.”

        “Group guilt” absolves by mere rhetorical trickery…with the end result giving power to dishonest bureaucrats and politicians who inevitably actually make life worse for the downtrodden. But at least this secular/Marxist liturgy makes people “feel better.”

        The point of the Catholic/Christian liturgy is to make people “be” better. Big difference.

        Another distinction I read recently is that religion went off course when it tried to make a “better world” instead of a better person. I forget the article or author (sorry), but he pointed out how Hillary, for example, was infused as a girl with the “make the world a better place” type of religion of her family, rather than the one that was of “the world will be a better place as soon as you fix yourself.”

        Surely this is one very big reason so many Christians (I’m being polite and not saying “supposed Christians”) went for Trump. He’s the instrument for the right’s “better world.” Personal character issues don’t matter.

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