The Crux Of This Debate
In the last post, COMPROMISE AND THE CULTURE WAR, we covered a variety of topics. Because it tracks away from the main thesis, such a post must inevitably suffer in clarity. Thus, I found myself wondering, what do I want folks to take away from this debate? When I read the following, I made my decision.
I disagree with your contention that the other side views their rights in a different way than we do. I think there are plenty of Democrats and liberals who are Christian and also view their rights as a gift from God, but who expect government to do more to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. I think that’s a misguided use of government, as you do, but I don’t see these people worshipping government as some kind of false idol. Most of the hardest of the hardcore liberals don’t worship anything. They simply see government as a tool to further their agendas.
There’s no need to cast the debate in such theological terms – I can disagree with Democrats without it being an issue of faith. That’s one of my biggest criticisms with this entire line of thinking – it’s totally detached from the real world. The vast majority of the population doesn’t think of these issues this way. And while I may find it a diverting exercise in rhetoric, it’s not that helpful in the weeds where the real problems lie.(from here)
What is theology? Theology is the science of God. Because God is so far beyond our understanding, we know relatively little about God. Thus, theology is a very inexact science. So we debate the nature of God, and we argue over what God wants from us. Nonetheless, each society shares a certain set of beliefs that defines its culture. In particular, each society shares certain beliefs about God. Otherwise, no society can exist without self-destructing.
Because of our Christian heritage, we Americans share many beliefs derived from the Bible. The Bible is a complex work written by forty authors over a fifteen hundred year period. The Bible is part history, part legal doctrine, part songbook, and all theological doctrine. When books were scarce, American colonials used it as reading primer. Therefore, if a colonist had read any book, he had read the Bible. Today the Bible ranks as America’s most popular unread book. Almost every household has a Bible, but relatively few households contain someone who has read the Bible. Yet most Americans still think they know what is in the Bible.
So where am I going with this? Because of their Christian beliefs, American colonials struggled to create a society that reflected their belief that each man should love his neighbor. Instead of a society where might makes right, Americans earnestly sought a just society. Years latter, as the political battle over slavery edged towards bloody war, Abraham Lincoln expressed this desire for justice.
How Do We Define Our Rights?
Our nation has never perfectly executed Biblical teachings. Even if we could agree upon what the Bible teaches, we are incapable of such a thing. Nevertheless, because of our Christian heritage, we Americans seek to uphold the rights of the individual. Unfortunately, we now disagree over the definition of human rights.
Conservatives use the traditional definition of rights found in the Declaration of Independence. Conservatives believe each human being has inherent rights. At conception, God gives each of us rights to life, liberty, and property. Government exists to protect us from those who would take our lives, enslave us, or steal our property.
Because Liberals define rights in accordance with the changing interests of their materialistic constituents, Liberals have providential expectations of government. Liberal politicians will happily provide as a “right” whatever they think their constituents will vote for. Here are some examples of our new “rights.”
- Health care: this “right” explains the drive for Obamacare.
- Food: exemplified by food stamps and school lunches
- Housing: housing vouchers replaced even more disastrous housing projects.
- Jobs: the reason GM could not be allowed to fail.
- Same-sex marriage: judges find this right in state constitutions, somehow.
- “Equal” pay: used to justify the drive for “equal” pay for “equal” jobs.
- Retirement income: Social Security and Medicare.
- Minimum income: this is the basis for the minimum wage.
- Education: this started with the public school system and is now expanding into preschool and college
- Endless unemployment insurance: unemployment insurance has been extended how many times?
What is the problem with these Liberal “rights”? Liberal “rights” infringe upon the inherent rights of productive citizens. When carried to the logical extreme, a majority of drones will vote to enslave a minority of workers. Of course, such a situation is unstable. Productive workers are not stupid; they will eventually rebel. Then tyrannical military force must be used to “restore” order.
When our legislators decide to advocate Liberal “rights”, they advocate programs which have no Constitutional basis. They then cross a perilous line. They violate their oath of office, and they show a willingness to offer their votes to the highest bidder. Such legislators can be purchased with earmarks, Cornhusker Kickbacks, and Louisiana purchases. Reading a bill then becomes just a matter of verifying one has received the expected payoff.
Consider again Schoneman’s car analogy.
Congress passes thousands of bills every session, and hundreds become law. Most are not 2000 pages long. The ones that are are a problem. But they are not rule, they are the exception. If my car starts 10,000 times and doesn’t start 5 times, I don’t complain that my car never starts.
If Congress is a car, then it is a car we now want stopped. Because this car threatens to explode (the budget), we don’t even want our legislators to put the key in the ignition.
What prevents the greedy quest for Liberal “rights”? There is only one thing. That is an ethical system based upon the love of God and neighbor. Unfortunately, our nation is slowly, generation by generation, giving up on God and neighbor. Almost half a century ago, judges begin demanding that public school administrators divorce God from their socialist institutions, insisting that just as we have separated the almighty state from the influence of the Christian Church, we must also separate public schools from the influence of Christian homes. Therefore, parents must use their children’s spare time to teach them about their family’s traditions and religious heritage.
Because Conservatives and Liberals define rights differently, Conservatives with reverence for God and Liberals with boundless expectations of government, Christianity directly threatens the Liberal’s socialist agenda. That is why the Culture War is about our religious differences, and religion cannot be separated from the debate.