Young evangelicals and social justice

Stories like this continue to surface stating that young evangelicals are peeling away from conservatism. It’s hard to tell how big of a movement this will be until the election (our liberal media has long indulged in wishful thinking in such matters), but it bears watching.

The reason given by these young evangelicals is that they aren’t “single issue” voters. They’re pro-life, but they also believe in “social justice.” What is social justice? Well, it’s pop-culture speak for the use of taxpayer money to “fight” poverty and AIDS, to “protect” the environment, etc. In other words, it’s the same old, tired liberalism. (To digress, I’m convinced that popular culture inculcates this propaganda more effectively than the usual suspects in the mainstream news media. It’s the subtle, liberal premise on MTV, VH-1, afternoon talk shows, movies, and Comedy Central that, with endless repetition over a period of years, work its magic on minds already untethered by discernment. This, along with churches no longer preaching the whole counsel of God and discipling the sheep, is what has led to the rapid acceptance of sodomy over the last 20 years. The shift in even the last 10 years has been incredible. What a damning lack of love we show by acting as if this is cultural advancement.)

I’m not a single-issue voter, either. I won’t vote for someone who is pro-abortion, but the role of government and the rule of law is also critically important. There’s a reason why a government that historically saw its main goal as providing for the common defense now regulates (via the EPA) the gallons-per-flush for your toilet. That particular power wasn’t enumerated in the constitution, but it didn’t come from nowhere either. It was an accretion on prior interventions in the market. Similarly, government funding of Planned Parenthood didn’t come out of the blue either. It was another layer of plaque buildup on top of prior unconstitutional prerogatives assumed by our government. If we get to the point in this country reached by a few European countries where it’s a “hate crime” to speak the whole counsel of God in matters of sexuality, you can be sure that that won’t come from nowhere either. It will follow other “plausible” and “sensible” government meddling in related matters.

Henry Hazlitt, whose Economics in One Lesson should be read by all, noted:

This is the persistent tendency of men to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group, and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.

That about says it all for liberalism. My late father defined a liberal as “someone who likes to spend someone else’s money.” Well, another definition might be: “Someone who always — always — overlooks secondary consequences.” (In Ohio now, we have a group pushing a ballot issue to force businesses with more than 25 employees to provide seven mandatory sick days. Now isn’t that a fine prescription for making Ohio, already one of the worst business climates in the country, more competitive, especially in this era of expanding inflation and high gas prices? Pity our small business owners.)

Here’s what I say to young, wavering evangelicals:

  • Barack Obama is another in a long line of empty-suit, vote-buying demagogues peddling phony hope for power. (McCain is a vote-buying demagogue too, but that’s a matter for another time.)
  • If you think abortion a negotiable issue — should a mother be allowed to kill her offspring? — then examine your heart. You’re out of line with what the church has always believed.
  • Liberal social justice is a violation of the eighth commandment. Sure, you spend a few trillion and you’re going to manage to help someone. But who’s really benefiting from it? Politicians, lawyers, and special interests, that’s who. And who’s paying the price? Taxpayers, the poor people who live around bums, drunks, and crackheads, and the bums, drunks, and crackheads themselves. African missionaries like David Wegener and my pastor can tell you the effects of foreign aid in Africa. A better answer is the exact opposite of what the social justice movement offers, namely property rights, the replacement of public “safety nets” that enable bad behavior with private charity, the return of vagrancy laws, discouragement of sodomy instead of handing out rubbers (Planned-Parenthood style), and, most of all, the gospel of Christ. The abortion movement is flat-out evil; liberal social justice is flat-out stupid and counterproductive (and that’s a charitable take).
  • Liberal social justice (and that includes the environmental movement) is an enemy of freedom. Value your freedom to live and worship. The government already takes half of our income on average, and there is some truth in the idea that every dollar spent by government is a dollar of our freedom. That’s one reason why, for example, many families don’t feel they can afford to have mom at home, because politicians in Washington — especially the ones who prattle on about “working families” — think they know how to spend our money better than we can. This arrogant attitude is well demonstrated by a U.S. senator in favor of a 1990s tax hike who said something to the effect of “well, if we don’t do it, people will just go out and buy more VCRs and TVs.”
  • The Christianized version of liberal social justice offered by the Rick Warrens isn’t a new reformation of Christianity; it’s the same candy-coated spirituality offered by the social gospel movements of the 19th and 20th centuries that decimated the mainline churches.
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