Monday, September 15, 2008

Why I am a Republican -- Part II

[Excuse the run-on sentences. It is a personal weakness, perhaps evidence of the sin nature.]

I am a conservative because I believe there are values and truths that have been entrusted to humanity and that we and every generation have a sacred responsibility to preserve/conserve them for future generations. Among those truths are (1) that humans are created in the image of God, (2) humans are of immeasurable value (because they were created by, exist for, and are valued by God), (3) humans have great abilities/gifts(4) humans have great potential for good (because of God’s abiding grace for all humanity), (5) families are the cornerstone of civilization and must be guarded from external dominance, including government intrusion, (6) freedom is a fundamental right and human responsibility, and (7) that humans are marred by sin which inclines them toward self-centered behavior that is sometimes expressed in abuse of the weak by the powerful.

I am committed to maximizing personal freedom and limiting government. This is a theological concern. I believe in the innate goodness of people, that humanity is in the death-grip of sin, but that our gracious God is continually at work withstanding the power of sin to destroy and extending his life-giving grace to new generations until His Son returns. In other words, people are by design, and by the abiding breath of God, good; sin is a ubiquitous disease that perverts and ultimately destroys the image of God; humans are responsible to God for how they respond to sin and grace. As free moral agents, humans must understand their personal responsibility for their relationships and actions. Human freedom should be constrained only when it infringes on the rights of others.

I believe in communal morality, sin and responsibility. “Nations” will be judged by God with a special emphasis on how they treat widows, orphans, the poor, and aliens in their midst. It is a mistake however to define “nation” by the modern concept of national government. It simply means “peoples.” We will be judged by God for all of our collective actions, whether institutionalized in government bureaucracies or hidden in cultural traits and patterns of behavior. In a democracy we are collectively responsible for the behavior of our government.

Governments are comprised of people who bring to government the good and evil of human nature. But governments are also dynamic systems that take on traits of good and evil. They are powers for righteousness and evil. Big government is sinful when it robs people of their humanity by depersonalizing human relationships which in turn gives greater room for sin to work. Governments should be held to the standards of the core values of human tradition, especially justice and freedom. Governments must never presume to be the source or even to shape those God-given truths/values; such idolatry will always degenerate into an oppressive oligarchy.

Societies have a moral responsibility to care for their members who cannot care for themselves and may choose to do this through their governments or private agencies, or a combination of both. If delegated to government, care must be taken to ensure people do not lose their sense of personal responsibility for the care of others.

It follows that the role of civil government should be limited to (1) ensuring the safety and security of the nation’s citizens, (2) protecting individuals and minority groups from abuse, i.e., ensuring their rights, and (3) providing the services the citizens assign to it. We can best achieve our national potential by helping each member of our society achieve their fullest human potential; this requires (1) a sense of personal responsibility for one’s future, and (2) hope that one can attain to an abundant life. Liberalism is handicapped in these concerns.


Lisa Campagna said...

This is interesting.. never thought about it like that before.

Human Growth & Transformation said...

Some things, like the well being of mothers and children, health care, should not be left for individuals. So called "big government" is necessary for the welfare of its weakest members. Left alone, corporations, individuals will not always "do the right thing." The consequences of corporate and individual greed are reaping a whirlwind in our mortgage crisis. So, in this sense I am a Calvinist. Let us have big government, socialized health care, less people at the very top who make enormous amounts of money and less people on the very bottom who work over 40 hours a week and cannot support their families on minimum wage.
your loving wife

Jackie Johns said...

Do you honestly think big government is better qualified to care for the weakest members of society (much less to be trusted to "do the right thing" by them) than those closest to them? What govenment agencies have youdelt with lately? Granted there are abusive parents who need to have their children removed from their home, with all other things equal, I will trust a child to the care of his or her mother and father, or parent selected care giver over a government paid nanny any day.

Have you missed all the reports on welfare fraud? Misappropriation of funds? How about the treatment of veterans in VA hospitals? Do you really think big government will eliminate greed, the opression of the many by the few? Is "socialized medicine" the only approach to universal health care? If it is so good, why are many countries backing away from it? Or why do so many from countries with socialized medicine come to American and other countries for health care? Consider the example of Marxism, the quintessential big government.

Is big government the only option to self-sufficiency? How about small government and non-governmental cooperative programs?

Your Loving Husband
(non-government designated companion)