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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 2

This is the second part of my examination of my partisan preferences and why I stand solidly in the Democratic camp, despite the observations of many that I ought to be elsewhere. Part One touched on the most obvious reasons, but now I'd like to delve into the heart of the matter. On many issues I have substantial agreement with the Republicans, but the way that they approach the issues and the way that they prioritize the issues makes the Republican Party an incredibly inhospitable place for people with some progressive convictions.

Family Values
I affirm the ethical system that is commonly referred to as "Family Values" at every point, however I do not believe that it is the job of the government to enforce that ethical system. Our laws reflect all of our values, and I certainly believe that every American has the right to work toward persuading a majority of their fellow citizens to support laws that reflect their views and values, but I have a serious problem with people dragging the name of Jesus Christ into secular politics, as I have noted on several occasions (An Evangelical View On Progressive Politics; Religious Right And Wrong; Theocracy, Rapture, And You; Pharisees, Sadducees, & Scribes; et al.).

I especially have a problem with this overwrought focus on the family. I believe that the family is a practical and valuable entity, but the United States of America is organized around the individual - not the household - and unless one advocates a one-household-one-vote Constitutional Amendment (which would likely repeal the 19th Amendment in the process) it is impossible to logically assert the family as the primary organizing unit of society. Paychecks are cut to individuals, not families. Criminals are punished individually for their crimes, not their entire families. People are elected to office individually, hired for jobs individually, and sued in court individually, not bundled with their families. American society is based upon the individual, and how those individuals interact with each other should be of little interest to the government - every small-government conservative should affirm that without question, as I have already noted.

But does the fact that America is organized around the individual mean that Christians should simply shut up and say nothing about the value of families? Hardly, but valuing the family unit is not among my highest priorities and it ought not be among the highest priorities of Bible-believing Christians. Why not? The priorities of Christians ought to match the priorities of Jesus Christ, and Jesus commanded us to focus on His kingdom, saying, "...the pagans run after [material] things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." The things that we ought to prioritize are the things that will transcend this life, things that are eternal, like the salvation of men's souls. When we take an eternal view of secular politics is it abundantly clear just how futile all of this talk about families really is: there are no families in eternity, just individuals.

Say what?

Consider this discussion between the Sadducees and Jesus:
That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
If there is no marriage in eternity then why are we so pressed about families here and now? When people try to redefine marriage into something that it has never been then we should certainly resist them, and when people try to equate moral turpitude with the union of one man and one woman we should certainly say No, but this is not an issue that requires any kind of priority. Marriage was instituted for the benefit of mankind - "It is not good for the man to be alone" - mankind was not created for the purpose of marriage. Marriage is a means to an end, not an end unto itself, much like the Sabbath. Who cares if three men want to call their intimate relationship a marriage - what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? It certainly does not conform with God's revealed design for mankind and a Christian should certainly reject it, but reject it and move on - it's not that important and it's certainly not enough to make me vote Republican.

Part III
In Part III I will begin to examine the following topics and explain why I can't vote Republican:

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:00 PM

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