Sunday, April 19, 2009

Do Republicans Have a Future? Pt 2

Last night, I started a meditation on the future of the party to which I have belonged my entire life, the Republican party.

I want to unpack something. I mentioned "traditional values." That's a slippery term; it means different things to different people. So here's what I mean by "traditional values."

"Traditional values" = values based on the commonly accepted reading of the Bible, based on the existence of a transcendent God who has communicated himself to us in a unique way through the Christian canon. I realize that people disagree over how to read the Bible, and that the meanings of many biblical passages are in dispute. That does not render Bible-based values impossible, however.

In terms of policy, this means:
  • respect for life; life has intrinsic value, whether it's the life of the unborn or disabled, etc. Because we are the special creations of a loving God, we are more than biological entities. Life is therefore valuable, and worth protecting, even when inconvenient or difficult.
  • respect for institutions beyond government; the church and the family, for example. In Europe, and in Obamity's America, government claims the right to dictate how children should be raised, how churches should conduct their affairs, etc. Church / family and government are in a turf war. Why shouldn't the government endorse homosexual marriage? If you don't believe in transcendent values, and that marriage is more than whatever the enlightened who govern us determine it should be, then you have no adequate answer to that question.
All this being said, I am always uneasy when politicians talk about "traditional values," "family values, etc. Some politicians who endorse conservative positions in regard to these issues are attempting to act on conviction. For every one of those, there are a dozen for whom "gay marriage ban" or whatnot are simply red meat they throw out to manipulate their followers.


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