The July 31, 2008 Chicago Tribune carried the article by Mara Tapp Celebrity again trumps real values. Mara used the occasion of someone taking Barack Obama’s note out of the Wailing Wall and publishing it. She correctly points out:
The problem is that Americans, as usual, focus on the celebrity rather than the deeper and more troubling issues the note’s fate presents. Its leak offers just another tidbit about those Obamas-a sacred variation on how cute Michelle Obama’s dress is or whether she yells at her husband about picking up his socks or his older daughter’s mortification when he shakes her friends’ hands. After all, to the celebrity-struck, don’t-bother-me-with-real issues average American, these are the details that matter.
Many in the church are trying to figure out how to minister to the post modern culture but don’t realize that as Dr. Ergun Caner has pointed out in his talk Christians Coming Out of the Closet that since September 11, 2001 we have lived in the transmodern culture. In the transmodern culture the spokesman for culture is celebrity. It is driven by feeling and the desire to be near or at least emulate celebrity. Real issues are set aside where they interfere with celebrity stuff and as it plays itself out in the world we are seeing that Young Adults and Liberals Struggle with Morality.
The “faith” vote is playing big on both sides of the aisle this election and Evangelicals are divided as can be seen in Evangelicals say McCain’s the one while Brian McLaren and others in the Matthew 25 Network claim that Barack is the one and act as an Evangelical advisory group to Obama’s campaign. As part of that coalition Donald Miller to Give DNC Benediction.
As those who are born again by grace alone through faith alone in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection alone, how are we to decide such important issues? The answers are not easy and I certainly do not have the inspired, inerrant and infallible understanding of the inspired, inerrant and infallible Scripture but perhaps we can lay out some basic guidelines for consideration.
Government will not save us but God uses government to preserve a relatively peaceful society (Romans 13:1-7). As I pointed out in Who Shall Rule? sometimes God allows a people to have the government and leadership they demand which results in being put into bondage. In other words, be careful what you wish for. Change is not necessarily a good thing and the celebrity may bring more harm than good. I do understand that there are some who are of the view that we are not to be involved in the elective process at all. I am approaching this question from the stand point that God often uses human beings to carry out His will and this would include elections in a republic such as the one in which we live. God uses non-believers to do good for His people (Nehemiah 2:1-8) and at times uses His people in high positions of non-believing governments as He did with Joseph and Daniel.
The fundamental issues seem to stem from the candidate’s worldview for that informs their legislative decision making. In a more liberal worldview man is thought of as basically good and legislates to protect the individual from society. On the more conservative side man is not viewed as basically good and legislation is put in place to protect and preserve society from the individual. Both sides see the same problems but their solutions are radically different.
For example, on the issue of protecting life, liberals view persons as deserving of having their lives protected no matter what they may have done. Whatever they did probably wasn’t their fault but society caused them to act in bad ways. Capital punishment is viewed as unfair and harsh treatment from this perspective. The life of the guilty must be preserved regardless of the carnage and damage they have inflicted on others. The unborn on the other hand do not merit the same protection, for the mother’s right to choose capital punishment trumps the human life of those regarded as non-persons.
Conservatives on the other hand view those who have been found guilty of heinous crimes as deserving of capital punishment but the innocent unborn as not deserving of capital punishment. The question comes down to two things. 1) Person hood and 2) does one person have the right to do whatever they want to an innocent person who cannot defend themselves? On point 1 conservatives view the human as a person at the point of conception. Liberals on the other hand view the conceived human as not a person. Ultimately this position is held based on only two criteria which are a combination of geography and age. Geographically the human lives inside the womb vs. outside the womb and its age is less than nine months old vs. more than nine months old. So, if an infant changes geography to outside the womb at 7 months they are now officially a person due to that geographical change and now have protection of life as a result.
Without getting too far afield in the pro-choice/pro-life argument the worldview principle becomes apparent in question 2) does one person have the right to do whatever they want to an innocent person who cannot defend themselves? By enshrining the woman’s right to terminate the life of another human who cannot defend themselves liberals are demonstrating that the answer to this question is a resounding yes!
These opposing worldviews also impact one’s answer to other social issues. Should the poor be provided for? Both sides would say yes but take different approaches as a result of their worldview. The solution for liberals is to take it from those who have, and give it to those who do not. The Federal government produces no income and so continues raising taxes on the working citizens to fund these endeavors no matter how much of a failure their programs prove to be. The conservative solution is to attempt to provide short term assistance for those who have no other option with a view to have those who are able to willingly begin providing for themselves and their families. Odly enough, this is biblical. In discussing this issue in 1 Timothy 5:3-16 Paul was clear that not all widows were to be supported but those who are “widows indeed.” That would who are not able to support themselves and have no one else to provide for them. In that same section Paul states:
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
Paul is protecting the group from the individual by not allowing the individual to take advantage of the group.
By applying the worldview question to each of the issues we may be able to come to a more clear understanding of how each candidate came to their solution. The sets of problems are the same for the candidates. Which ones they will focus on and the resolutions they decide on will be determined by their view of the human condition. On that score either the Apostle Paul was right or he was wrong when he wrote:
THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;