“And ye peoples, to whom God gave the liberty to choose your own magistrates, see to it, that ye do not forfeit this favor, by electing to the positions of highest honor, rascals and enemies of God.” – John Calvin
The nature of American (and to a large degree, European) conservative beliefs is so inherently flawed that you are bound only to experience loss and discouragement by being one. Conservatives don’t really seek to do anything besides conserve the status quo, and with change being a fact of life, that means conservatives can only lose over time, and they have on nearly every issue. Sure, many conservatives seek to change some things, like abortion policy, but even on the problems conservatives do want to see change in the politicians they elect do almost nothing to address them.
This is of concern to me and other Christians because American Christians are an integral part of the conservative movement. It makes some sense, but unless we want to continue to see failure, incompetence and digression year after year, we need to do better. First of all, let’s stop calling ourselves conservative or even allying with the cause. It’s ok to align yourself with it on specific issues, but by no means should we support the corrupt Republican Party or the ineffective conservative elites who have sold their own movement down the river time after time for power.
Secondly, we have to destroy some golden calves. Democracy is one of them. A democratic society can be easily subverted by those who wield influence over the minds of humanity, which is the media is so powerful in the Western world. It is hard to find democracy in the Bible. In ancient Israel, we have an oligarchy of Judges proceeded by a monarchy starting with King Saul. God never told Israel “create a might-makes-right political system based on popular vote, because what the majority of folks think is always a good thing!” Israel strayed from the Lord time after time, and often the people of Israel made unholy demands, just as Americans have made unholy demands of its government, such as the implementation of abortion, or the enslavement of an entire race in the South prior to the Civil War. I can think of one instance where some people in Israel had a democratic choice.
The choice was between Barabbas and Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The people chose Barabbas, a proven criminal, to walk free, and condemned the only completely innocent Person to ever live on earth to one of the most brutal deaths ever experienced. The role of government, at its most basic level, is to uphold and reward the good, and punish the transgressors of the law. Under democracy, law is decided by elected magistrates, and therefore highly influenced by the electors. The law isn’t set in stone if people can simply change it based on the zeitgeist of the day. This is why the Constitution is considered “dead” and ineffective by many conservative’s standards. The reason isn’t only because leftists circumvented it, but because it cannot override the will of the people it seeks to serve. The Constitution is not the true law of the land, but the people are, because in the end what they say goes. This undermines the purpose of the Constitution, which is to affix a firm set of statutes that protect liberties regardless of if they are popular or unpopular, and to protect people from the government and the electorate.
If the people were good, then this would not be so much of a problem. Alexis de Tocqueville once said that “America is great because she is good.
If America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Are the people of United States, the pornography and abortion capital of all mankind, good today? By no means! I am not saying America is the great harlot of Revelation, but it is true that the cup of her harlotries has been poured out upon the nations and have corrupted people the world over, thanks to Hollywood and her twisted values alone.
If the people of America are not good, and we cannot expect mankind to stay “good” for very long in a state of nature, then democracy is really not a value Christians should be vociferously defending. Therefore, there is no reason for Christians to align themselves with the Republicans (and Democrats, but that goes without saying) of today who seek to implement democracy abroad as a solution for problems only God can fix. This is not to say I am antiwar (I am not antiwar), but I do not think implementing democratic regimes is an intelligent goal to be working towards. The Afghans elected the hopelessly corrupt Hamid Karzai, assuming that the voting wasn’t rigged and it probably was, while the Iraqi’s have used their democratic system as another front in the violent three-faction power struggle there between the Sunni’s, Shiites and Kurds. Undoubtedly, there are and have been bad dictators, but the bad monarchs and strong rulers stand out in history, while the many great monarchs, many of whom were devout servants of God, are ignored. If you need examples, look towards the Bible’s King David, or France’s Charles Martel, who prevented the Muslim incursion into Europe from extending past Spain.
Clearly, democracy isn’t a “value” Christians should be defending; it’s merely a form of governance that only works under certain conditions, such as the population being largely Christian and therefore lead by the Spirit and the population being largely culturally united so that democracy is not used to bludgeon the “other.” Southern whites used democracy to enslave blacks in the early years of our nation, and today some minorities use democracy to extract racial or gender-based spoils as politicians basically buy votes by taking from certain people and giving to others.
As Christians, we do not need to defend or put our faith and hope behind the conservative movement’s desire to conserve and spread a form of government that has wrought oppression and subverted the Constitution time after time. There may be a place for democracy in the American system, and I believe there is when powers are properly balanced, but we have other, real virtues to promote, and only God Himself can heal and pacify nations such as Afghanistan or Syria. Thirdly, Christians should not continue to identify as conservatives and support conservatism because, as I mentioned, it’s an ideology concerned with preserving the status quo.
William F. Buckley, the man often considered to be the “founder” of modern conservatism once famously said that “a conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’” While many find this quote profound, when I first read it years ago, before I was even a Christian, I found it to be a statement of weakness, worthy of reproach. It is basically an admission that conservatism is a coward’s ideology. It does not seek to change things for the better, but whine and beg for history to simply “stop,” as if that is at all realistic or praiseworthy.
As Christian’s it is not our job to stand athwart history, but to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and make the world a better place by being a reflection of our Savior. We don’t simply plead that the status quo simply be preserved, but we are called to be far more radical than that. We want to end the holocaust that is abortion. We want to turn the tide against the homosexual movement which is damning souls by causing people to embrace, rather than forsake, that sin. State-run marriage, which is being twisted to support homosexual marriage, and perhaps soon polygamous marriage, should not be preserved, but done away with and marriage should be restored to its proper domain, the Church (state-run marriage is a relic from the French Revolution, which sought to take power from the hands of the Church and place it in the hands of a secular, and often brutal, humanist regime. While some things must be “rendered unto Caesar,” marriage is the domain of the Church and needs to return back to that domain. The Israeli’s of Biblical times did not have government-run marriage, it was handled by the Synagogues, and throughout Christian history the Church controlled marriage). There are many other issues that we do not simply want to stay still on, we want to make progress, and the spirit of conservatism smothers our will to do anything but stand there and say “no,” ineffectively in our constantly evolving world. Conservatism is loathsome when the status quo is loathsome, and all you have to do is read the news, watch television or interact with the public to see that the status quo is clearly loathsome.
Conservatism is loathsome, but I do not claim to have all the answers. I do not know exactly what we should call ourselves or if we should vote for a third party. Personally, I don’t vote unless there is a candidate I can really get behind or there’s an issue where I strongly feel my Holy Spirit-guided conscience needs to influence, and I consider myself to be an American, nothing more, nothing less. I believe that certain liberties and privileges need to be upheld, and I once took an Oath to the Constitution to serve in the military which I take seriously. The rights enshrined in the Constitution need to be preserved, and while the Constitution does provide for a system of governance, that system’s power-balance has been thrown off-axis for years, and the system of governance is not nearly as important as the rights the Constitution grants us.
One thing we can do today to help bring America back on track is pray fervently for Her. Every day you should say a prayer for your nation. Pray for our leaders, that they would have moral courage, and that Christ would save the ones who are at enmity with the Lord and His statutes. Pray for our people, that the Christians of America would experience a new Great Awakening, and that the Lord would redeem a great number of the non-Christian’s, so that America can change course. Evangelism and revival should be our primary focus, not Fox News, the Republican Party and having our guy or gal win a popularity contest in November. If God saves our people, the rest will fall into place.