A Presbyterian pastor once told me that he wanted a church that welcomed Democrats. I’ve often recalled and mused on that comment. I should’ve asked him: what exactly does that mean in practice? Will he avoid using of the church pulpit to electioneer and instead focus on law and Gospel? Excellent! Or would he downplay God’s wrath against sins that many in our current culture are aggressively telling us are not sins? Perhaps he could attract Democrats by housing NARAL in his church basement, like a Columbus PCUSA church used to do. That’d attract the Democratic base.
Somehow there’s a conceit that being bipartisan is a good thing, that only those who are so are “open-minded.” “Moderate” is equated with “moderation,” as if conservatives cannot soberly evaluate things. In the last 20 years as a Christian, my views have changed on many topics, theological and political. My views on topics from environmentalism, the Fed, the Iraq War, social security, and public education aren’t Republican talking points (and Democrats would hate them more). Does such “open-mindedness” count, or only “open-mindedness” where one drifts leftward?
One thing hasn’t changed: my view of the modern Democratic party. It’s as rotten to the core as it was 20 years ago. The hardcore secularists and feminists who hate Christianity, the people at the forefront of excusing those who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 6:9)… These folks know where their friends are. That is not to say that Tweedledee’s immorality makes Tweedledum a good boy; the Republican party believes good things that it doesn’t practice and it believes bad things that it does practice. The point is that members of a party built on blatantly unscriptural views aren’t folks we should be trying to attract unless we mean to eventually call them to repentance. (By the way, if Calvin were alive today, would he be pumped about the “hope” offered by the Obama campaign?)
Michael Horton once noted that people cry for balance whenever they do not want to take the time to think through their own position. That doesn’t stop them from “claiming moral superiority for having the grace, moderation and sophisticated detachment to stand above and outside the debate.” He’s right.
And what a phony sophistication it is. When I want to read people who’ve thought deeply about politics, I don’t read some dithering, non-partisan “religious leader” (an old congressman once told my dad that the only thing in the middle of the road is dead skunks). Moderates have this obnoxious idea that they think open and subtle thoughts — shades of gray! — while conservatives are ossified. My experience is the exact opposite: political moderates think shallow, dull, politicized thoughts without considering their implications. It’s the conservatives who have the quirky, vibrant minds that inform political thought. I don’t mean the Sean Hannity’s of the world, but the folks who aren’t on the airwaves: Howard Phillips, the reconstructionists, the folks over at mises.org (some of whom appear to be Christian), etc. You’ll gain sharper political insight from Malcolm Muggeridge, Samuel Johnson, Joe Sobran, and Solzhenitsyn than any “moderate” I can think of. And you’ll get big doses of withering wit while you’re at it.