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Tuesday
Jul172012

Election Blogging

My friend David Bahnsen has a very fine piece on what Mitt Romney's electoral strategy should be.

He is promising to blog more regularly throughout this election season, and that prompted me to make a similar promise.  Given the importance of the 2012 elections (I really do believe it represents America at an unprecedented crossroad), I also plan on blogging more regularly as the summer moves into the fall.

My election blogging will, however, have a unique take. Having just published a book on the intersection between theology and politics, I will attempt to interpret current events through a distinctly evangelical theological prism. I like to think of it as applying my book to the current situation. For instance, all the demagoguery about Romney's riches, leadership of Bain Capital, and so forth relates directly to Chapters 5 and 6 of my book, and I will be taking the opportunity to tease out the implications.

This might come in handy because I'm speaking at an invitation-only, closed-door event on the eve of the election on the topic: "The 2012 Elections: The Theological Stakes." Blogging on these topics will surely sharpen my thoughts on the matter.

So, as they say, stay tuned...

Thursday
Jul052012

Why Am I Not Embarrassed?

I recently read an Amazon book review penned by a fairly well-known Christian leader recommending a book by a former card-carrying member of the "Christian Right" who has made an about-face and is now trashing his former movement. This sort of thing is becoming more common as evangelicalism continues to unravel and Emergent hipsterism and left-wing progressivism becomes more cool and sophisticated.

The complaint generally appears to be that the Christian Right is populated by a bunch of narrow minded, uneducated, unsophisticated rubes who want to forcibly remake America into a Puritan--excuse me--Taliban-run theocracy, punish idolatry, execute abortionists, stone homosexuals, and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Oh, sorry. Fell asleep. (Yawn.)

Here I am, having just published a book that can fairly be characterized as a manifesto for conservative Christian political activism. (And for more on why the caricature I just outlined isn't accurate, you can click on the link to the right and order the book.) Am I not embarrassed to join the likes of Sarah Palin, Tony Perkins, and/or any number of perceived Village Idiots? What is wrong with me?

Well, first off: I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the power of God for salvation for all who believe. That's in the Bible. You can look it up. Christianity is about the restoration of humanity's place in the universe, bringing us back into alignment with the God who designed us and made the world for human flourishing. I don't see anything to be embarrassed about in that. If I want to advocate for truth, goodness, and beauty, I don't see any alternative for the Christian than to advocate for the Christian Faith. There does seem to be a lot of Christians wavering on the question of whether truth, goodness, and beauty really are to be found in Christianity. I have to draw that conclusion because they keep telling me to stop advocating for Christian virtues in the public square. That, it seems to me, really is embarrassing. And they should be embarrassed.

Second, the progressive left, rooted in Enlightenment secularism, makes it a top priority to make Christians feel embarrassed about their faith, their churches, and their fellow believers. It is part of the game plan. Why should I acquiesce? It is pretty (dare I say?) narrow-minded, uneducated, and unsophisticated for Christian leaders to fall for the most obvious trap designed by enemies of the gospel to silence Christian voices in public. That, it seems to me, is embarrassing. And they should be embarrassed at being such rubes.

Third, for all the fear-mongering about how horrible the world would look if Christian virtues and principles were culturally applied, I am unaware of a single example of a "progressive" society that brought about prosperity and flourishing. On the contrary, the landscape of Hegelian, progressive attempts at building the utopian society of peace and prosperity is littered with both bankruptcy and body bags. That, it seems to me, should be embarrassing. And Christians who train their ire at the "Christian Right" while ignoring the grotesque track record of progressivism ought to be embarrassed.

Fourth, everybody loves to talk about what a blithering idiot Sarah Palin is, but they never mention the likes of Rachael Maddow, gals from"The View," or Barbra Streisand (whose singing voice is lovely, but her intellect is incapable of spelling the word "cat"). The Christian Right does not have a monopoly on idiocy. And yet I am the one who is supposed to be embarrassed?

Finally, let's just say for the sake of argument that, say, Sarah Palin is the idiot everyone claims (having read her autobiography, this is something I strongly doubt). Here are a couple of things I do know about her.

1. She can balance a checkbook.

2. She is not interested in picking your pocket to ensure you pay "your fair share," which is then earmarked to pay for massive government waste, ineffective social welfare programs, or failed "green energy" companies.

This is more than can be said for the Platonic Philosopher-Kings now macro-managing things.

So-called "sophisticated" Christians lured in by progressivism's elitist illusions of erudition, nuance, and complexity are the ones who should be embarrassed.

I, for one, am not ashamed.

Monday
Jul022012

Willing to Watch The World Burn

Gird your loins. The 2012 presidential campaign is shaping up to be very ugly.

Watch these two clips from President Obama's chief of staff on the Sunday talk shows yesterday.

Here, he talks about Obamacare.

Here, he talks about Fast and Furious.

This is breathtaking. This is also grim. It is a signal to conservatives that Obama intends to retain power by any means necessary. I say this because in these two appearances every single coherent syntactical arrangement of words, every clause, every phrase, every fragment, every full sentence uttered by Jack Lew is a lie. Not the sort of lie when a person is just a bit ill-informed and needs some more information, perhaps another score from the Congressional Budget Office. No, I mean the sort of lie that involves a seared conscience and a complete inability to blush. Make no mistake: Jack Lew knows that everything he utters is a lie. He doesn't care.

I am reminded of a scene in The Dark Knight when Alfred, the butler, warns Bruce Wayne that he is underestimating The Joker. "Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money," he explains. "They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world´╗┐ burn."

People willing to make up their own facts, willing to call white black and black white with a straight face while earnestly gazing directly into the television cameras are not good-faith opponents. They cannot be legitimately reasoned with. It is deeply saddening that this is what politics in America has come to. But come to it we have.

We had better be prepared.

Thursday
Jun282012

Very Bright Silver Linings

Here is my quick takeaway from the Supreme Court's Obamacare ruling today.

As a conservative who doesn't believe in government-run healthcare, I would have preferred to have the whole thing thrown out. But as I reflect on what actually happened, I'm starting to think this is the second-best result:

1. Obamacare failed under the Commerce Clause. This is a BIG win for conservatives.

2. The Supreme Court just forced the American electorate to grow up, saying, "Don't pass the buck to us. You elected these people." This is very good for our society, leading to...

3. ...Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the Democrat Party now own Obamacare lock, stock, and barrel. Zero Republicans voted for it. It is, and will remain, very unpopular. Especially because...

4. ...Obamacare can now only be characterized for what it is: a massive TAX INCREASE. That was the actual finding of the Court, and something the Democrats have vehemently denied since the inception of this scheme.

5. Obamacare is now a major issue in the presidential campaign, and Obama gets to defend it publicly for the next five months. Except...

6. ...he no longer gets to LIE about it. It is a tax increase, plain and simple, and the Supreme Court just boxed him in to having to defend it as such.

For these reasons, the shouts of jubilation you hear from the Left today will turn to wails of howling despair over the next five months. The Democrats own, as I said, lock, stock, and barrel, a deeply unpopular, massive tax increase that can only be defended as a massive tax increase. To my mind, Barack Obama is WAY worse off politically this afternoon than he was when he woke up this morning.

The Supreme Court did him no favors whatsoever, as far as I can tell. It might not even be a dark cloud with silver linings for conservatives. It might just be a bright, shimmering, silver cloud.

Wednesday
Jun272012

The Release

 

I am pleased to announce the release of my new book, Politics & Evangelical Theology: A Guide For Concerned Christians and Political Progressives. Available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon.com.