pc's, Political Christians: Liberal or Conservative?
Nat'l Reform Assn article Norm's opinions prior to reading this excellent article are highlighted by 7times font
3/4 down the page:
The very term "conservative" indicates that its goal is to conserve and apply the wisdom of the past forged on the anvil
of the collective experience of society to the problems and challenges of today. The key concepts of conservatism are history,
convention, custom, and tradition. As such, it is opposed to abstract principles of liberty and social theory, and clings
to the tried and proven; i.e.
, that which has been tried and proven in the common experience
of men in society. The conservative puts his emphasis on society as opposed to the libertarian who stresses the individual.
Paul Henry states:
Political conservatism is a tradition of political thought having its origins in reactions against the libertarianism and individualism
of the French Revolution of 1789. Its earliest spokesman was Edmund Burke (1729-1797) who in his Reflections
on the Revolution in France (1790) attacked the theoretical and abstract notions of liberty being voiced by the French
revolutionaries. Burke maintained that a priori declarations regarding the rights of man were meaningless until given
substantive applications within the historical context of a given society. Government, argued Burke, was a matter of practical
wisdom stemming from the historical experiences of a given people. Hence, reform of political life could not be achieved simply
by abstract declarations based on a priori argumentation. Accordingly, Burke stressed the importance of history and
tradition as the basis for social and political change, and argued that a society is a partnership not only of the living,
but of the dead and those yet to be born. Burke's conservatism was not based simply on opposition to all change, but rather
the belief that change must always be incremental and evolutionary and generated from the self-conscious and historical traditions
of a given people.3
Conservatism, according to Russell Kirk, is "not a fixed and immutable body of dogmata," but rather, its essence is the "preservation of the ancient
moral traditions of humanity."4 Therefore, the goal of conservatives is to re-express these ancient traditions for their own time.5
Although political conservatism is not a fixed body of doctrine, it does, nonetheless, exhibit a certain set of principles that conservatives
adhere to with some consistency. These principles are considered to be the basic wisdom inherited from the past moral traditions
of Western society and culture. There is some difference on how to catalogue these principles. Henry reduces these principles
to four, while Kirk comprehends them in six. Henry says:
Twentieth century political conservatism has been characterized by several recurring themes. First, political conservatives have generally
acknowledged some sort of universal moral order.... Second, political conservatives concede the inconsistencies and imperfections
of human nature.... Third, political conservatives are generally agreed that some inequalities within society are both natural
and beneficial.... Fourth, political conservatives stress that man must be regarded as more than simply a purely rational
being; symbols, traditions, and feelings are important to men, and hence to the governing of society.6
Kirk delineates the principles of conservatism as follows:
- Belief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience....
- Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarian,
and utilitarian aims of most radical systems....
- Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes, as against the notion of a "classless society"....
- Persuasion that freedom and property are closely linked together....
- Faith in prescription and distrust of "sophisters, calculators, and economists" who would reconstruct society upon abstract
- Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than the
torch of progress.7
By considering the principles of conservatism, one can understand why Christians have been attracted to it. There is much in
conservatism that appears to align, at least partially, to biblical truth. In accord with Henry's summary of conservatism,
the Bible agrees that there is a "universal moral order;" that human nature is imperfect; that due to God's providence there
are and will be some inequality in society; and that man is a spiritual being. Equally, the synopsis of conservative principles
by Kirk is paralleled by the scriptural teaching that a transcendent body of law rules over society; that human existence
has been endowed by God with variety and mystery; that society has a prescribed order; that liberty and property are closely
joined together; that the abstract designs of thinkers and philosophers are poor foundations upon which to build or reconstruct
society; and that reform may be nothing more than anarchy and revolution.
But the supposed affinity between conservatism and the Word of God is more apparent than real. The ostensible agreement of Christian
truth as revealed in Scripture with the principles of conservatism is not due to a conscious effort on the part of today's
conservatives to construct a social order on the foundation of biblical law. Rather, the agreement is due to the conservative
reliance on history and tradition. The historical tradition and political conventions of the West have been significantly
influenced by Christianity and the Bible. As the West has consisted primarily of Christian men and nations, so its collective
experience has been affected in large measure by the church and the Word of God. Hence, the affinity of conservatism to aspects
of biblical truth is best explained by recourse to Western history and not by any present motivation by conservatives to obey
the teaching of Scripture and build their society upon it.
Furthermore, the political traditions of conservatism are a mixed bag; by no means are they only of Christian origin. The political and social
experience of Rome, Greece, and the corrupt Roman Catholic Church (to name other primary factors, but not all--each individual
nation having its own experiences stretching back even to the days of paganism) have all made major contributions to the "conservative
mind." Elements of the conservative tradition may be Christian in origin; but they may also be non-Christian, descending,
for example, from Rome.
Another factor that must be kept in mind when considering the correspondence of conservatism and Christianity is that modern conservatives
have overtly rejected the divine authority of Scripture in political and social matters. The modern conservative is often
as secular in his politics as his liberal counterpart. Therefore, the conservative adherence to Christian principles is the
vestige of a past Christian consensus, a consensus that he consciously rejects even as he unconsciously defends some of its
principles. The controlling force for most conservatives today is Enlightenment rationalism. How long will it be until the
principles of conservatism are defined from the perspective of the Enlightenment rather than from the perspective of biblical
faith? It has already happened. In conservative circles, Christ and biblical law are out, while Locke, rationalism, and natural
law are in.
We believe that it is not advantageous to the cause of Christ for Christians to align themselves with political conservatism.
Why should they? What benefit is there in it for the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Yes, there is some concurrence
between biblical truth and conservatism. But that concurrence is, as we have seen, more apparent than real. And as Christian
culture fades more and more into the dim memory of the past and the more recent cultures inspired by Enlightenment rationalism,
deism, and common-sense realism push it aside, the principles of conservatism are now being defined by modern conservatives
in a non-Christian context. Divorced from a Christian context the principles of conservatism become deadly enemies to the
cause of righteousness.
The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7). Conservatism
rejects the fear of the Lord and despises the wisdom and instruction of Scripture. The Bible says that Christ is King of the
nations and calls on all magistrates to bow in humble submission to the authority of Christ (Ps. 2:10-12; Rev. 1:5). Conservatism
says that man is king; it has no place for the exalted Christ, and despises His scepter (cf. Ps. 2:1-3). The Bible
says that the entrance of the Word of God gives light (Ps. 119:105, 130). Conservatism says that the Bible is unnecessary
in the councils of state, and advocates the dim and uncertain rays of natural law and human experience (cf. Ps. 74:20).
The Bible says that we ought to reconstruct our culture on the express teaching of biblical law (Deut. 4:5-8; Isa. 58:12).
Conservatism calls upon us to preserve "the ancient moral traditions of humanity." The Bible says, "To the law and to the
testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). Conservatism says,
"To the deposit of wisdom forged in the collective experience of men in society."
What is needed is an explicitly Christian approach to politics.8 The time has come for Christians to disassociate themselves from the ranks of conservatism. In casting their political fortunes
in with conservatism, they have grievously erred and aligned themselves with a movement, that in spite of historical ties
to Christianity, is now as much an enemy of Christ as is liberalism because of its rejection of the fear of the Lord. When
Christians are asked if they are conservative or liberal in their political orientation, may it be true, and may they learn
to say: "I am neither a conservative nor a liberal, but rather I adhere to an explicitly Christian approach to politics."
As John Fielding so aptly admonishes us: "May God help us to shuck Thomas Jefferson for King Jesus."9
William Einwechter is vice-president of the National Reform Association and editor of its publications. He serves as a teaching elder at Immanuel
Free Reformed Church in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
Norm's ideas prior to reading excellent article above:
Time was, Christians were variously either conservative or liberal.
Both movements avowed Christianity in Roman, protestant or other form.
That is all over now. We are not c Christians any more from a pre-c, c, pc(postchristian), ac/s(antichrist/satanic)
progression and regression.
Nowadays the democrats deride a Christian as unsuitable for public office (call to the witness stand: John Ashcroft).
Likewise the Republicans are unwilling to stand up for a Christian under attack for being a Christian (Small wonder John Ashcroft
was a one term attorney General.). Yes, the second is better than the first. Still, it is not good enough.
Liberals on the U.S. political spectrum want:
Environmental protection and restoration, peace as opposition to war efforts during Repo. administrations, Taxes on the
rich, Distributions to the poor and needy, gay rights, special treatment for certain racial minorities, respect
for the United Nations, slow or no growth, abortion rights, prohibit any government connections with religion including any
reference to logical follow-ons to religious belief in public life especially public education.
Conservatives in the U.S. want:
Development of our land and natural resources, Strong defense policy including waging war on those attacking or threatening
U.S. interests, Lower taxes, less welfare distributions, Family values especially special protection and treatment for husband-wife
marriages, oppose special treatment for gays and minorities, take or leave the U.N., Robust economic growth, Respect
for life in the womb, government religious team effort to provide charity and quality education.
Many of the liberal desires are unthinkable anathema to Christians. Therefor many think Christians should embrace
the more acceptable conservative agenda.
Wouldn't it be better to examine these and other issues specially important to Christians to come up with a Christian
1. development vs. environmentalism: Christianity is populous. We support God's
objective - to bring many sons to glory (Hebr. 2:10). This can work with both sides of the spectrum - as long as
the environment is inclusive of species mankind as a thriving growing population.
2.God sent Israel to war against the Canaanites. When they did not go, they were punished with: military defeat; 40
year of wilderness wanderrings; and no one of fighting age coming into God's promised land. There is an
allegiance owed by Christians to their nation at war. War is the ultimate hardship
for us and the ultimate penalty for those who hazard our nation, or in the case of Holy Serbia, go overboard in opposing
muslim terrorism during an antiChrist dem/Clinton administration.
3. Income taxation is Biblically authorized and even recommended. Bring the whole tithe. Distribution
to the poor is mandated in the Bible. Do not harvest the corners of your fields and do not scour your fields for what
you missed in the harvest. Leave it for the poor. Only the rich and landed could do this.
Progressive income tax is called for in the Bible.
We see a pattern Christian is not lib or con, neither dem or repo.
4. Homosexuals and effeminate are condemned, but not moreso than other sinners. We should be permitted
to disdain the gender benders, but no more than we disdain an adulterer or unmarried sexer who are also condemned.
5. Marriage is man and woman, and only one each. Let each man have his own wife and each woman her
own husband(1 Cor. 7).
6. The nation of Israel was often subjugated under foreign powers which God endorsed. What will we do if God commands
us so again, esp. if we are blinded by conservative dogma. We must put God's plan first. We must
be allowed to place our God's interests above the national interests.
7. Be fruitful and multiply. Work with your own hands that you may be able to give. Robust economic growth (populousity!!)
and personal industriousness (freedom to work) is promoted.
8. My lines were drawn in the heart of the earth. At your voice the babe leaped within me. Do I deserve the mother
of my Lord to come to me. Abortion kills a son or a daughter. 1 Cor.7 Else were your children unclean-they
are lost in torments. Surely condremning a babe to torments is wrong. Abortion must return to its
proper place where Christianity subjugated it to two millenia ago, that is, a crime-just as the
1984 Webster dictionary says it is.
9.Paul the apostle brought Christianity right into Ceasar's household and the inner circle of kingmakers, the praetorians.
Surely Christians have a place elected into government office.
Since Christian principles straddle the policy platforms of both lib/dem and repo/con, and since there
are other policy interests unique to Christianity, then we should consider our own political movement/party platform/agenda.
Same cash available for religious education as for public education.
No to abortion.
No to euthanasia.
Oppose the virulent worldwide antisemitism.
PROTECT Christians and Christian interests worldwide.
Free the church to speak out in politics whether or not it gets tax de-ductable donations.
Yes to government charity
Yes to foreign aid
Yes to medical, scientific and technological research
Yes to SBA loan for small businesses. If you can get free; it is better.
Yes to our commitment to Iraq
No to democratization of subject states
Yes to insuring freedom in subject states including unlimited religious freedom!
(Until a private papal visit with G.W., our Iraq policy insured religious tyranny and condemns many to torments
and the lake of fire as a result. Thank God and Pope Benedict and, of course, G.W. for the change.)
You want tax cuts repo.s, you give us these. You want power dems, you fork over our platform!
Don't forget the Republican Party was a third Christian abolitionist pparty that took a third of the
popular vote in its first national election and elected Abraham lincoln in its second election. Allons Christians, run
to the battle. Let's Go! Who's our Joan of Arc? Where is our Lincoln? Somewhere, they may
be pastoring a church or diocese! We need him now!