If one is listening well, religious beliefs are going to be a factor in 2008. It is interesting to hear questions concerning evolution or abortion included in the debates. It is even more interesting to watch Democratic Party candidates revealing their religious selves as was the case at the “Forum on faith, values and poverty”, widely seen on cable television. And it is crystal clear that long standing religious questions are back again in the public arena.
In truth, Clinton, Obama and Edwards may have found politically inevitable to talk about faith. For, have we heard right that regular church attendants massively voted for the other party in the last election? No doubt, the least a democratic candidate can do these days is to try to rescue a little bit of that vote. After all, it can’t possibly hurt to admit some degree of faith. The sad part of this is how little, they and, for that matter, the cultural establishment seem to understand this issue.
To begin with, it is time to declare once and for all, that contrary to the perception of American newsrooms, there is no such a thing as Christian Right or Christian Left. One can concede that the culture may have found this classification expedient- something like the White NonHispanic category in the census. We all know that this race doesn’t exist. It is another linguistic accommodation, the type of which is increasingly growing in a society where fictional, not real talk, is becoming the norm.
Gentlemen, “the law of the Lord is perfect”. For a Christian with an almost passing acquaintance with Scripture this means that the Message is complete and therefore, never in need of additions or subtractions or let alone, emphasis. To be sure, he found that the beauty of the gospel is precisely that, its complete harmony between its whole and its parts.
Now, what some groups, graciously defined by the media as social gospel Christians, do is to exalt the part at the expense of the whole which violates the law we just expressed it. In the Christian spirit the effect of an individual or group exalting a particular i.e the social gospel, is always the same, it disrupts the whole gospel. It merely suffices to remind the excesses this has led to, i.e “the theology of liberation” with priests joining the armed struggle against capitalism or the protestant National Council of Churches providing financial backing to Marxist guerrillas in Africa, among the most formidable abominations in recent church history.
Scriptures are literally full of exhortations to help the orphan, and the poor and the widow and to do justice. My readers friends, this IS the social message, there’s no need to start any particular movement. For the gospel is one, to be transmitted and practiced integrally, as a whole, not in segments. Indeed, one may properly say, that in the Spirit of Christ, loving and caring for the poor “comes with the territory”.
Finally, in going back to these elections, I dare to say that sooner or later in the coming months we are going to find the same powerful block of Christian voters poised and ready to decisively influence its results. This, not as a result of being a “single issues constituency” as some like to define it but rather of feeling genuinely threatened by the secular values system now controlling the culture. Truly, it is a reaction to what is clearly perceived as an attempt in all fronts( government, schools and society) to eradicate the JudeoChristian heritage of our nation. For, indeed, victory for a Christian means not so much to prevail in the political arena but in the redeemed souls of men.
Cutler Bay, Florida