Point of Reference
by Fred Price
I am not an overly political person. I do believe Christians should be aware of the issues and involved in policy-making for our country, but I certainly don’t believe politics or any one political party to be the salvation of America. Furthermore, I can’t say I totally agree with either of the major parties’ platforms; but must say I categorically disagree with the social/moral agenda one party in particular seems to hold so dear. Even as I find the near hero worship of the wealthy by the other party and the subsequent disregard for the bottom half of society repugnant as well.
Liberal politicians have contended for some time now that when they lose an election or face opposition to their legislative agenda, it’s because the electorate isn’t informed enough – or in the case of conservatives – aren’t smart enough to understand their political goals. Hence the claim that those who disagree with them, whom they like to characterize as the Radical Right, foolishly reject science (by which they mean belief in evolution); embracing superstition instead (by which they mean Christianity); as a result being intolerant and oppressive (by which they refer to any opposition to a secular view of the world represented by same-sex marriage.). These “intellectuals”, often from the world of academia or the entertainment industry, consider themselves smarter than the “vulgar masses”, and in reality cannot possibly represent the common man but are often condescending, disdainful and almost totally disconnected from him. A charge likewise made – with justification – against the established “elite” of the Republican Party as well.
Their dream of intellectual rule should give us pause; for example, Plato’s Republic, which has been studied as an example of ideal liberal governance, was directed by a philosophy that embraced eugenics (cell manipulation for the supposed betterment of man), immorality (which is characterized as freeing individuals from religion-induced inhibitions), alongside the elimination of individual rights. (So they could control the uncooperative, uneducated masses – for their own good of course.) Real-life states, implemented by well-meaning albeit extreme leftists throughout Europe, Asia and Russia, likewise rejected moral absolutes, abrogated individual and state’s rights, and attempted to implement social evolution; in the process killing millions of their own people not smart enough to cooperate. Which is not to say movements inspired by true radicals of the “right” side of politics haven’t been responsible for their own atrocities; most recently in Central and South America. Adherents of both political persuasions, after all, being steeped in sin.
Paul describes the core reasoning behind such faulty policies as being reflected in men who, “…will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3,4
Even as they claim to champion the rights of the common man –often interpreted as the freedom to say and do whatever they please – they would none-the-less restrict many liberties ordinary Americans prize; such as parental oversight, private-property and gun ownership. Economic liberty and religious freedom also come under fire as how we contribute charitably is questioned and moral standards are repudiated, resulting in the forced acceptance of sexual permissiveness, homosexuality and abortion. The polarization of the country in the name of diversity and cultural sensitivity, while generally unintended, often occurs as a result of elevating numerous cultural heritages over our oneness as a people. Experimentation is encouraged that disregards the sanctity of human life even as it seeks to legislate animal rights to a level equal to humans’, while attempts to redesign mankind through genetic engineering, cloning and designer babies loom on the horizon. And if all that doesn’t work, they excuse ending it all through euthanasia/assisted suicide as a right and possible duty to control suffering and expense.
It’s not too much of a stretch to hear Jesus repudiating these modern-day Pharisees as hypocrites, with their own particular spin on morality; “…nullify(ing) the word of God for the sake of (their) tradition.” (or preference) Matthew 15:6 Their manipulation of “facts” culminating in foolishness ( Romans 1:22) which flies in the face of common sense and wisdom; which is the ability to use what we know well. The Judeo-Christian sense of morality is seldom referenced, many believing morals are nothing more than subjective preference. If they leave room for God at all in their lives, they consult him sparingly with only a vague sense of who He really is and what He can really do – and expects of us.
Many are ignorant of our past or believe the wisdom of our forefathers (political and religious) to be inapplicable to modern conditions. Some reject the existence of objective truth altogether, believing reality is nothing more than a construct of their own minds – to be reconstructed at will. They resemble people Paul described as, “…not think(ing) it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God,…” Romans 1:28; inevitably leading to a “People (who) will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient… ungrateful, unruly, …unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, …lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.” With a consequent warning to, “Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Timothy 3:2-5
This combination of ignorance, confusion and hostility to Godly principles is often championed by “smart” people, the intellectuals of our society who question the value of reason, the possibility of definitive knowledge and ultimate truth – unless it be their own – having become thinkers without beliefs, possessing fine minds that are empty of real substance. ( 1 Corinthians 1:23-25; 1 Corinthians 3:18-20)
Gene Veith, writing in World Magazine , insists “In America’s democratic republic, (as well as the Christian church) citizens of various intelligence levels can take part… Some level of knowledge, though, is important for citizenship in both kingdoms… Americans are smart enough, but it would be helpful for Americans (of all stripes) to know more, to be open to truths that go beyond their own limited interests, desires and preferences.” If for no other reason than to gain an understanding of others’ positions – allowing for an informed debate of the points of contention. This involves preparation and the desire to be heard. Archbishop Charles Chaput writing in a New York Times essay, “Democracy depends on people of conviction expressing their views, confidently and without embarrassment. This give-and-take is an American tradition, and religious believers play a vital role in it. We don’t serve our country – in fact we weaken it intellectually – if we down-play our principles or fail to speak forcefully out of some mis-guided sense of good manners… exiling religion from civic debates separates government from morality… That road leads to politics without character.”
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Fred Price - married (49 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.
Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker. He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today. Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.
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