Saturday, September 6, 2008

Political Confusion

I am unclear on a connection.

Why are so many of the younger evangelicals, the ones skeptical of The System and weary of the culture wars and more interested in The Kingdom than in The Nation, so enamored with the Democratic candidate and political liberalism? The DNC historically is about more and bigger government, about governmental answers to the nation's social ills, and their current presidential candidate has only promised more of the same.

This does not compute.


Andrew said...

Part of it comes from widespread disillusionment with conservatism. It's supposed to be the party of hands-off government with a respect to privacy and yet the last 8 years has seen the Executive branch expand at a rate we haven't seen since the New Deal. Our privacy has been compromised in ways we haven't seen in many years. We're fighting a "War on Terror", and nobody quite knows what that means. Perpetual war? Is America supposed to defeat evil, as John McCain said in the Purpose Driven Forum thing?

And to top all that off, the economy isn't doing well. Bush isn't to blame for that, because the economy moves in cycles, but it's just one more thing that has tired people out of conservative "solutions".

Personally, I believe strongly in conservatism, but I think it needs fixing. If we are the party of small government, than lets be the party of small government.

You did raise a good question about evangelicals who are supposed to be interested in the Kingdom rather than the nation. It seems to beg the question, why vote at all, then? I know that's not what you believe, and I'm fully prepared to have that shot down, but it was the first thing that came to my mind.

I don't know who I'm voting for. Maybe that's lack of conviction, lack of historical context, lack of perspective, lack of understanding, etc., but part of that is my belief that this country was built in such a way that it can survive any leader, regardless of how crappy. I also believe that the country goes through cycles and mood swings politically, and that those are good for the country. They get tired of Republicans, decide to vote Democratic, Democrats screw things up, Republicans regroup and hone their positions, they get elected, screw things up, and so on. I believe that that tension is good, and it makes us stronger, and it makes our beliefs more coherent.

As to why young people are fascinated with this particular Democratic Candidate, I might just cop out and say that it's idealism. Being a conservatism takes a fair amount of cynicism about people and usually that isn't fully developed yet. Young people are often cynical about government and politics in general, but I've found that many of them still have a strong belief in people. Liberalism is built on the assumption that problems stem from the top down, and that everyday people are good and decent. They think that the system is designed to keep the little guy down, and that if they would just fix the system as to level the playing field some, things would be better. Conservatism believes that the problem is humanity, that we're naturally greedy and selfish and combative, and those qualities are inborn. We like the free-market because it uses those qualities for our benefit. Young people like to believe in a better world. Some of us just don't have jobs yet.

Be gentle with me :)

Jared said...

No, Andrew, that all makes sense.

I guess I'm just cynical about the kingdom idealism of, say, for instance, the emerging church and portions of the missional church crowd, who go on and on about how trusting politics and government and the nation to do kingdom work is selling out "the Jesus way" and then identify with the big government political idealism of the Democratic party.

It's odd to me that a political messiah like Obama is so appealing to Christians who so frequently criticize the Church for spiritualizing their politics and political allegiance.

Spherical said...

I tend to think it is more of a rejection of the current administration than an acceptance of the Dems. If the Dems were in power, they would probably be embracing the Reps. Youth is so fickle!

Marie said...

I can't reconcile any Christian voting for Mr. Infanticide.

The man argued against medical care for infants accidentally born alive.

Why on earth is he a candidate for anything?

I can understand there are other issues in this world. However, the deep seated evil revealed in that position blows me away.

Biden is actually better, opposes partial birth abortion, anyway, as well as the infanticide thing.

I can understand Christians, for various reasons, not supporting McCain. But I can't understand a Christian supporting Obama.

It's painful for me to hear any confessing Christian supporting him. I guess this world is not my home.

nhe said...

This may shed some light - the only democrat on the elder board of our large seeker church said this:

Ronald Reagan's campaign slogan opposing Carter in 1980 was "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago but I say the question for the Christian should be - Is your neighbor better off than he was 4 years ago?".......he would argue that that question is paramount, and to such a degree that if the "church" isn't doing their job to help their neighbor (and he would argue that by and large it hasn't) then the government needs to pick up the slack, and we need to vote people in place who will take up for the down-trodden.

I don't agree completely with my friend, but I believe that the best example in scripture of the difference between the two parties is the story of the Prodigal Son.

Republicans are the older brother.......believing they are entitled to a happy life because they are responsible and do the right the thing, and they HATE handouts to younger brothers......Democrats are the younger brother....carefree, irresponsible, much more fun to have a beer with, and far more selfish than they think they are, but more willing to realize they can't make it by themselves. I think most young people just identify with the brokenness of the younger brother rather than the moral haughtiness of the older brother.

And....young evangelicals can see through the crap of my 40 something generation of Christians - we're all talk, but we're way too freaking comfortable to lift a finger........and they think someone must do something, so if the democrats are talking about the little guy, they're in.

Brian said...

I've been wondering the same thing...

It's like a mirror image of the moral majority.

Jared said...


That's exactly what I was trying to get at. Thanks, Brian, for saying it well and simply.

It's like they're doing the same thing they've been decrying, only for the other side.

nhe said...

I think that "doing the same thing for the other side" is a bit overstated......I just see a backlash against "older-brotherness".......which I'm all for, as long as the word "Jesus" isn't taken out of play - some of our Emergent friends are afraid to say that word and are missing the importance of a scandalon.

Jeremy Pierce said...

For some people it's purely about the war, and if they happen to be on Obama's side of that, they don't see how a Christian can continue Bush's policies. For others, it's that they think Democrats have more Christian values at heart behind their economic policies. I don't think either point should be definitive, even if they were correct (and I don't grant either premise), but some people think those sorts of issues trump the others.