Why complain about gridlock when you have been highjacked?

Since Brian W. Schoeneman kindly consented to accept my compliment to him (here), this post continues an interesting debate.

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.

Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it. — Abraham Lincoln (from here)

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.



  1. Great topic.

    Brian is correct that people aren’t cookie cutters. Many Democrats think they are good Christians and vote the Liberal litany of statist policies. Many people, of all political persuasions, don’t see the many sides of issues and the layers upon layers that ultimately reach down to a moral-ethical choice. They don’t know where there ideas come from, bless their hearts (Southern connotation intended).

    Issues are many-faced like diamonds. And if I may mix the metaphor they are layered like the proverbial onion – of so many an office meeting discussion.

    But at their center are moral-ethical implications. Decisions which are right or wrong based on a world view.

    If you want to look deeply at rights – then compare and contrast John Locke to Jean Jacques Rousseau. Their differences are reflected in the competing ideas of the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Their world views are Judeo-Christian (strongly Protestant) and Human Secularist. They are English limited government and French absolutism statist.

    Persons who don’t understand their rights are likely to lose or give them away. Our Revolution was fought over Rights. Not the taxes. The right to tax.

    Likewise the Secession was about the state vs federal rights. Not slavery – although the issue and implications of slavery could be found at the nexus of every North-South conflict.

    Today, the Tea Party will help us restore the Constitution – and severely limit the powers of the Federal Government. Or, the might will rule over the right. And state and individual rights will be more government whim that written guarantees.


  2. Katherine Gotthardt – Your comment is a non sequitur. Since you are not stupid or devoid of logic, I must assume that it was a deeply emotional response.

    Given our past debates I would not have expected you to like this post. However, I would have expected you to offer something better than an indecipherable rejection.

    Why did I use the term Culture War? I don’t particularly like the expression, but it is part of our lexicon.

    Does the expression “Culture War” imply violence? Yes, but so does “football game.” So why did my post on the Culture War bother you? I would imagine that you like myself are concerned about your children and grandchildren.

    Your comment does raise an interesting question. Does God want war? Since the Apostle John said “God is love” (1 John 4:8), I too doubt that God wants war–any kind of war. Nonetheless, God created us as free-willed creatures. His decision to do so had consequences. Inevitably, some of those He created chose to do evil. Then what was God to do?

    Revelation 12:7-9 (Today’s New International Version, ©2005)

    And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

    And so we, the sons and daughters of sinners, reside on earth with the devil.

    James – Thank you for the compliment and the good advice.


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