And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister [1 John 4:21].
That’s pretty straightforward isn’t it?
But what if you have liberal leanings and want to vote Democratic and your brother and sister are conservatives and they are going to vote Republican?
Today can you love your conservative brother and sister? God says do it, but can you? In today’s world there is so much division, so much rancor, so much hatred for others that don’t believe as we do.
Let’s examine what conservatives really want.* **
Conservatives feel the basic moral fiber of American life is being torn apart and that moral fiber is being destroyed by people who cannot take individual responsibility.
Government can only interfere in our lives and the worst interference occurs when individuals become too dependent on government. Welfare, food stamps, AFDC, Perkins Loans [the list goes on and on] can only make Americans less responsible and more dependent on the government.
The conservative moral system is best explained by comparing it to a “strict father family.” The father is the decider and the ultimate moral authority in the family. The father’s authority is not to be challenged and he has a serious job of protecting his family, supporting his family and teaching his children right from wrong. His ultimate goal is to develop children who will have enough internal discipline to become moral human beings.
Conservatives believe in a free market economy. As the father is the decider in the family, the market is the decider in the economy. Everyone is out to make a profit. The government should not manipulate the market in order to redistribute wealth. If the government would get out of the health care business, education, public broadcasting, public parks etc., the economy would provide help with the services we need. The IRS is seen as a government agency that takes money away from those who have earned it and gives money to those who don’t deserve it.
When it comes to reproductive rights, the conservative opposes abortion. God is seen as the Father, the Lord who rewards and punishes according to individual responsibility and to follow God is to deny women the option of abortion.
Much has been made of science in this election. Science should not have any authority over the market so the science of global warming and evolution must be denied. If science produces facts that oppose conservative values, those must be ignored. Remember the market is the great decider and it will naturally control how we approach topics like global warming. For example, shutting down lucrative market ventures in response to global warming is a horrible mistake.
What is freedom for the conservative? It is taking control of your own individual social responsibility. No governmental authority has to tell you what you can or cannot do. Just in case someone tries to impinge on your freedom, the conservative feels there is a great need for a gun.
Conservatives have mastered the art of “conservative-speak.” They unabashedly tout their values through a right-leaning national television outlet and have several very powerful radio personalities that espouse their views. Besides this, there are conservative think tanks, institutes, authors, speakers etc. The conservative knows that something said over and over will eventually grab the public’s attention and will sink into people’s brains. The current Republican presidential nominee has the attitude that simple ideas that are said a thousand times will penetrate the public’s consciousness. Complex ideas expressed over and over are merely confusing i.e. “Make America Great Again.”
Some of you may have read this and think, these generalizations tend to be right [let’s be real: all generalizations are never always “right”]. But if you are a conservative, you may feel comfortable with some of these ideas applied to you.
Here is the real reason for writing this post.
Some of the readers of this blog may indeed not call themselves conservative. The ideas presented above do not seem to apply to your worldview.
My big question is this. Do you see some ideas espoused by conservatives that are redeemable, ideas that would make you say “I can love you, my conservative brother.”
1 John 4:21 does not say “conservative brother and sister.” It just says “brother and sister.”
As Christians we are to look beyond surface, worldly concerns to see the Godly heart within the person. For you see, the Holy Spirit does not reside in one political party. It resides in us all.
*George Lakoff “What Conservatives Really Want”
**This discussion is full of generalizations but hopefully consideration of these “big wide-ranging thoughts” may give us some insight.