Response to http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/opinion/the-brutalism-of-ted-cruz.html?_r=0
The question of Christian and evangelical participation in matters of public policy has been on my mind as of late. To be honest, this question is nearly always on my mind. How are we to participate? What is our role in culture and politics? etc… Beyond these questions is the question- How can two people who claim to have the same Christian worldview disagree so much about politics? The differences between Carson, Cruz, and Rubio supporters does not bother me nearly as much as the differences between the political views of Republican and Democratic/Independent Christians. They both might believe that Jesus existed and that God is real but beyond those two theological points, politics is not a common ground. I have discussed this in other articles and will most likely discuss again in a future post. The Times article was originally posted on Facebook by a friend and since has had much great discussion and debate by Christians all over the political spectrum. This is a conversation that needs to be had.
The NY Times article does not discuss the differences between Republican and Democrat/Independent Christians but seems to look a bit deeper into the “evangelical” rift. Although, I think the author is wrong in his assessment, it is it is interesting to see the different camps within the evangelical movement. I recommend this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/01/13/ted-cruz-evangelical-darling-or-pagan-brutalist-why-he-exposes-a-christian-divide/?tid=hybrid_collaborative_3_na for a look at three different camps that evangelicals are falling into as the primaries approach.
I was not aware of the anecdote regarding the Haley case and I appreciate the perspective.
A couple thoughts- I do want to say that the author of the NYtimes piece seems to minimize certain realities regarding the trajectory of our culture including the effects of the Obergefell decision. The question of whether or not we are moving in a direction that is left of center and, in a sense, anti-evangelical is undeniable. The fatalist would recommend accepting that we are powerless to stop this from happening and thus we should not try. I disagree. Some, like Cruz, may tend to overstate that point, but the point remains.
Surprisingly, the author seems to agree with Cruz on policy stances but disagrees with his tactics and perceived bully-like approach. The author seems to believe that Cruz is fear mongering when he says, “This approach works because in the wake of the Obergefell v. Hodges court decision on same-sex marriage, many evangelicals feel they are being turned into pariahs in their own nation…” I think Cruz is expressing his disapproval of the SCOTUS decision and is representing the collective disapproval of a very large number of people who care about rule of law and the protection of First Amendment rights. The court decision was not a small matter and its precedent (legislating from the bench and usurping the democratic process) should be alarming to all regardless of opinions on same-sex marriage. I suggest reading the dissenting opinion of the Obergefell decision to see how Cruz’s arguments line up with the four Supreme Court Justices. His opinions are not aberrant according to conservative values by any means.
To minimize this decision is to approve of it in my opinion. Again the author says, “…Cruz exploits and exaggerates that fear. But he reacts to Obergefell in exactly the alienating and combative manner that is destined to further marginalize evangelicals, that is guaranteed to bring out fear-driven reactions and not the movement’s highest ideals.” Is the author suggesting that we should not disapprove of Obergefell because we will be marginalized? That seems like a silly reason to disagree with it. The author sounds like he appreciates the quiet submissive type of Christian voter. The kind that does not vote or speak out according to conscience. I could be wrong.
Again, the author states, “The best conservatism balances support for free markets with a Judeo-Christian spirit of charity, compassion and solidarity.” If one support free markets then they should also support laws that protect organizations and individuals who disagree with the Obergefell decision. After all, we live in a nation of diverse thought and we must tolerate all. As the 4 dissenting Obergefell judges note, the decision was bad for people who hold an alternative view in the marriage debate and it will lead to discrimination of those who disagree. This type of discrimination should not happen.
The author sounds fiscally conservative but seems to minimize the importance of public advocacy for socially conservative issues. He makes it seem like raising these issues (abortion, same-sex marriage, 2nd amendment etc…) might inadvertently ruffle too many liberal feathers and cause people to not like evangelicals. My question to him and you is- does it require that evangelicals, like me, keep our mouths shut on social issues in order to remain charitable or compassionate?