A Strategy for Change

The mysterious blogger known only as The Catholic Knight is on a crusade to coax Catholics and other Christians away from the Republican Party. He's been heading that direction for some time, I think, but seemed to turn some kind of corner when it became clear the GOP will nominate McCain this year. In any case, I like the way he's going. Here are some highlights:

The Religious Right is Dead

Pro-Life Third Party
A Proposed Platform for a Christian Democratic Union USA
Crusade for Life in the Democratic Party
America Needs A Three Party System

Here's the heart of the problem: we Christians allowed ourselves to become adjectives instead of nouns. This is why, as the first link above explains, the "Religious Right" as a movement is dead. Well-meaning people who joined the conservative political movement were co-opted into placing the movement ahead of their faith. Too many conservative Christians became Christian conservatives. See the difference?

Now when it comes to the political issue of prime concern to Christians, abortion, the "conservative" political movement is our ally. Unfortunately, that movement also has other priorities that are not necessarily consistent with Christian belief. We (and I have to include myself here) let ourselves be drawn into defending various and sundry other causes because we thought it was necessary to achieve our objectives about abortion and related issues.

In hindsight, it should have been clear where this would lead. Power always corrupts. Always. Many of the Christians who entered politics in the 1980s and 1990s became politicians who happened to be Christian, or at least called themselves such. Quite a few have turned out to be wolves in sheep's clothing.

The way to change this is to stop letting others define our priorities. If we truly live the teachings of Christ, we won't fall into anyone's political box. CK is promoting a third-party strategy, maybe using the Constitution Party as a stepping stone to greater things. There are, unfortunately, plenty of structural barriers in our system that usually restrict third parties to only a spoiler role. This may be all we need, however.

Having said all that, I fear that none of it will work until we do some housecleaning of our own. As I noted recently, our churches have failed to teach and inspire members for many years now. As a result it's not clear to me that a strategy like CK promotes will be able to attract enough support even to be an effective spoiler. Far too many Christians just don't care. Changing this state of affairs will take time - probably decades.

In the meantime, I've said I think Barack Obama will be our next president. Despite his setback last week, I still think it is his to lose at this point. Does it really matter? No. Whether McCain, Clinton or Obama move into the White House next year, bad things are going to happen. Will it mean that God has abandoned us? No - it will mean we abandoned Him.

As happened many times in the Old Testament, God will give his people what they ask for. Like the children of Israel, we won't like it.

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