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I’m Immoderate, and I’m OK

February 8, 2006

My buddy Rob Asghar razzes the Count for being a "despiser of moderation". It’s true; knee-jerk moderates drive me nuts. Call it the zeal of the recently converted, but after 9/11 crying "a pox on both your houses" just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to take sides folks! I suggest taking the American side.

But where is America in relation to the Truth? Good question– too much to answer in one lonely post. But I suspect that the Truth is not wholly outside the interests of the United States at this time, at least in the matter of the promotion of freedom and liberty, especially within our borders.

Evangelical Outpost has a very relevant post "The Radically Conservative Center", which I think goes a good way towards explaining why so-called moderates are inneffective when faced with energized partisans: they’re geared towards the status quo. In other words, they are the real Conservatives.

I think the proposition that Truth is somehow equally located between the Democrats and the Republicans is even more ridiculous than saying it’s exclusively the property of either. At least, I haven’t seen a way of doing that with a consistent philosophy other than convenience or taste. At least Liberals have an underlying philosophy that’s coherent– and a party that has enough power to make some of those positions into law. It’s not enough to be right in your heart. You have to do stuff too.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Rufus T. Flinger (Timmy C) permalink
    February 8, 2006 11:07 am


    More food for thought:

    I think that both you and the Evangelical Outpost essay put forth another “false choice” argument.

    I hear the false choice being:

    A. Partisan conservative
    B. Partisan progressive
    C. Centrist — defined as “unsure and inactive” trying to wobble in between.

    The alternative that many Christians are trying to articulate is this:

    Be alligned with the party that best meets your view of the world, but then work to reform the party to meet the values of the Kingodom of God, which transcend any human effort like poltical ideologies.

    For instance, I chose to allign with the Democratic party, not because I thought they were right about everything…but because I thought them to be the most “reformable” of the two major parites.

    And Christians in both parties that have same desire are more open to finding third-way solutions that the others miss due to being ossified in their own party allegience.

    Not some mush artifical middle ground, but a “higher ground.”

    Here is this same idea from Christian author Tom Sine…and btw, I believe Tom would agree that this cirtique could apply to the religious left as well.

    “My most serious concern about the religious right in America is that their world view is indistinguishable from the ideology of political right in the US. You can’t get a piece of tissue paper between the views of the religious right and the political right.

    For example, on everything from advocating an America first foreign policy and opposition to any gun legislation to favoring tax policies that benefit the wealthiest citizens and social policies that favor cut backs for our poorest neighbors their views are identical.

    Is is possible that the far right in the US stumbled on a biblical world view and then belatedly American evangelicals discovered the far right had it right all the time? Is it only a question of time until evangelicals in other countries finally acknowledge that the world view of the far right in America is what God had in mind?

    I realize I am being provocative but I am very concerned about how many of my fellow American evangelicals in my country all subscribe to the same uniform right wing world view on all topics. It makes me wonder whether their views come from their own serious biblical reflection or conformity to the politically correct viewpoint that is constantly reinforced by right wing talk radio and much of Christian radio.

    I am convinced that a biblical world view wouldn’t be identical to the far right or the far left. I believe a biblical faith transcends Republicans and Democrats… right and left. I believe a serious study of scripture would lead us to recognize that we are part of a third way… challenging those on both ends of the spectrum.

    I do have to report as I work with evangelicals around this country who are conservatives their world views don’t generally reflect the sophisticated differences you are describing.

    In fact it is amazing to me how similar their views are on economic and political issues. It is as though they are all reading from the same script drafted by Fox News, Rush and religous right leaders like James Dobson. They are remarkably “on message” and are not usually open to talk with evangelicals who don’t subscribe to the politically correct message.

    I find they are not interested in hearing from other evangelicals that tend to see the world in a little broader and less ideological terms.

    Their economic views support a very conservative tax policy that tends to favor the rich. Their political views tend to support a very nationalistic foreign policy including unquestioning support for neo-con pursuit of American supremacy in the world… without really understanding it.

    And evangelicals in other countries are very put-off by the extent their cousins in the US tend to confuse the what’s good for America with good for God’s kingdom. They believe a biblical faith should be a trans-national faith.

    Quite honestly I find both my friends on the religious right and the politically correct left in mainline churches tend to both define their political and economic views almost exclusively from the ideologies of the right and left. Neither group is very good at bringing scripture to bear on the discussion.

    I know of no other way to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ than rejecting the ideologies of the left and right and seeking a third way based upon a biblical world view based that is committed to seeing the purposes of God’s kingdom finding expression io our fallen world.”

  2. Duke Ray permalink
    February 9, 2006 3:40 pm


    Good food to chew on, but I’m not ready to swallow it. You really got my attention quoting Tom Sine, who had a big impact on my worldview as a young believer in Christ back in late high school and college.

    I agree that, for instance, to the extent the Right has an “America First” foreign policy view, they need to hear voices of reform, Christian and otherwise. Thus, I’m not a fan of Pat Buchanan, et al. One the other hand, seeing that the Bushies have done more to help the plight of Africans (fighting AIDS, stemming massacres, etc.) than any Dem administration… well, I give that to you as food for thought. One must support or counter actual government policies rather than political abstractions. A fair analysis should leave one at the very least divided as to whether or not the Republican-dominated exec office and congress of today’s U.S. is really “America First.”

    Secondly, Mr. Sine, with all due respect, uses at least one truly tired “straw man” argument about how the Right are anti-biblical w/ regard to taxes. As a freshman in college, I was sure that the Republicans were anti-biblical because they did not care about the poor as God does, as proven by the fact that they are always favoring the rich with their tax cuts. This certainty was undercut by the facts. The fact is that the top percentage of wage earners pay the vast majority of income taxes, and the poorest pay the smallest percentage, with the very poorest paying none. So, if the class warfare shibolleths of the Dems were true, I would be wagging my finger at the GOP — but I must find all the OTHER, real reasons to shake my finger at them, alas… 😉

  3. Duke Ray permalink
    February 9, 2006 3:50 pm

    Here’s a link to an article by Larry Elder with the facts I mentioned about tax rates:

    Duke Ray

  4. Duke Ray permalink
    February 9, 2006 3:55 pm

    Sorry, I totally misstated the facts — the top earners do NOT pay a majority, but a vastly *disproportionate* amount of income taxes. The top 1% pay 34% of Fed taxes. Makes my case, but wrong facts the first time, mea culpa!

  5. Rufus T. Flinger (Timmy C) permalink
    February 9, 2006 4:47 pm

    Hi Duke:

    I dind’t know that Mr. Sine was an influence, but I can see why. Mustard Seed conspiracy was a formative book for my highschool days….

    I’ll check out the tax link info later…

    But I’d think that the thrust of Sine’s argument isn’t about the cirtique of the tax policies as much as the fact that in the longish list of things:

    — That include tax policy, foreign policy, gun laws, social policies, etc —

    “…You can’t get a piece of tissue paper between the views of the religious right and the political right.”

    I think Tom would agree that can apply to the religious left as well, and that rather than be co-opted by either party line, Christians should be reformers inside them commited to a “a biblical world view wouldn’t be identical to the far right or the far left… challenging those on both ends of the spectrum.”

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