Doce me faces voluntarem tuam quia Deus meus es tu

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Clay Calhoun points me to this WorldNetDaily article regarding biblical principles and voting. The thrust here is the open letter signed by 71 Evangelical leaders. I agree with most of the letter, with a few exceptions.

First, there's this point about the environment:

6. Natural resources: God put human beings on the earth to "subdue it" and to "have dominion" over the animals (Gen. 1:28). We value the beauty of the natural world which God created, and we believe that we are called to be responsible stewards who protect God's creation while we use it wisely and also seek to safeguard its usefulness for future generations. The Bible does not view "untouched nature" as the ideal state of the earth, but expects human beings to develop and use the earth’s resources wisely for mankind’s needs (Gen. 1:28; 2:15; 9:3; 1 Tim. 4:4). In fact, we believe that public policy based on the idealism of 'untouched nature" hinders wise development of the earth’s resources and thus contributes to famine, starvation, disease, and death among the poor. We believe the ethical choice is for candidates who will allow resources to be developed and used wisely, not for candidates indebted to environmental theories that oppose nearly all economic development in our nation and around the world.

Of course I agree that Christians have a responsibility to stewardship of the land, but does anyone believe that the GOP is known for utilizing natural resources "wisely for mankind's needs?" Maybe - maybe - on a federal level, but certainly not on a state or local level. Birmingham is chock full of shopping developments that weren't needed for anything other than the additional tax dollars to be misused by local governments. I understand the point of the letter, and I agree with its spirit, but it is foolishly naive to believe that the GOP, in its current state, will be proper stewards of the environment on a local level. A quick listen to Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh will prove my point, and I say that as a faithful ditto-head.

Secondly, the letter never deals with economic issues. I quickly acknowledge that issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion have an immediate moral component, but certainly tax policy, welfare and the war on crime and drugs can have a very strong effect, either positive or negative, on the local community. It's fair to say that certain welfare policies have devastated the inner city, making it feasible, if not profitable, to raise fatherless children. The war on drugs has offered poor Americans, particularly minorities, an opportunity to "get rich or die trying" while peddling heroin and cocaine to teenagers. Is drug-pushing moral and acceptable? By no means, but neither is the bull-headed approach to drug enforcement that has been practiced by the federal government the past three decades. I don't mean to make race an issue, but white, suburban evangelicals are overlooking some important factors in the nation's current climate. The country is pretty fairly divided on the point of abortion. Hugh Hewitt said as much in If It's Not Close They Can't Cheat, suggesting that pro-lifers work quietly and prayerfully to change attitudes and legislation concerning abortion. I think welfare and tax policy are different matters; people are open to ideas that work. Even if abortion remained perfectly legal in all fifty states, tax policies that rewarded marriage and discouraged illegitimacy would likely reduce abortion rates in the long term, and even the pro-choice voter should agree that creating an environment where abortion is unnecessary would be a good thing.

Please don't misunderstand me; I do not oppose what is being said by these Evangelical leaders. I simply think they are not going far enough in demonstrating the moral component of other issues, as well as understanding how so many political matters are tied together. There are other issues on which they are silent - school vouchers? - but these are the ones that I feel carry the most weight. A comprehensive Christian worldview, as advocated by folks like Al Mohler, can't ignore the issues of taxes, welfare, crime, drugs and education. We do so at our peril.
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