November 8, 2006
Curmudgeon reflections before bed
Unless I'm reading things prematurely, it seems to be shaping up to a complete rout of values-conservatism, and the white evangelical agenda - just as many have predicted. Someone check me if I've misread things. Since I'm about to sign off, I'll wax curmudgeon for a few moments before I retire to the comforts of my bed.
As a Burkean conservative who identifies with a lot of the positions of values-conservatism (though not the self-righteousness of so many), I'm frankly relieved. Values-conservatives have been clumsy at articulating their views and inept at the political know-how to move their agenda forward at a national level.
True conservatism must concentrate on the little platoons of society; the local communities in which people live and work and worship and play. The D.C. life is pretty heady, but in the end, it's the third temptation of Satan (Mt. 4) for most of us.
As I noted earlier, some Christian commentators have blundered theologically in assuming that party politics is the key to influencing society, and that we must throw our lot in with the most values-driven party to gain leverage. Humbug. That some Christians are called to serve in office or party politics is not disputed. Politics can be a godly calling like any other. But to attempt to rally evangelical voters in an attempt to battle the godless values of one party, to assume that every evangelical must be passionate about politics and vote the values line, that to do anything less is to "sin" and hand the country over to the godless and immoral - well, that's close to a sin (idolatry) in my book.
At the risk of repeating myself, I really mean it when I say that worship is the most political thing we do as a body. Our weekly gathering is a regular announcement that a different Sovereign with different values reigns already, albeit in exile. And the promise is that he will establish his sovereignty again. In the meantime, it is in this Sovereign's name that we go forth into the world, to feed and clothe the poor, to seek justice for the oppressed, to work for peace in a fractured world, and to tell others about the current and coming reign of this Sovereign - sometimes through party politics, sometimes through international diplomacy, sometimes through war, but mostly as we live as the body of Christ, as a harbinger of the coming political community.
"Yeah, yeah," I faintly hear. "But what about that Virginia race, where the future of the country/the Supreme Court/conservative values/or whatever rests?"
And so it goes?.