The day after the reelection of Barack Obama to the United States presidency I tuned into some morning talk shows and heard the despondency of a local commentator followed by the funeral-like dialogue of Glenn Beck. Across the country, the remainder of last week was filled with despair, unbelief, and the question, "How could this have happened in America?"
Before I offer some positive thoughts on the election, it would be worth making a comment on the election process and the involvement of the Christian Right.
It is hard to imagine a more anti-Christian Republican candidate with a far left record than Mitt Romney. More shameful than Romney's record was the activity of many Christian Right organizations and leaders who worked to hide that record and deceive their followers to support Romney.
Instead of being a prophetic voice to a watching world by declaring "we will not have either of your establishment candidates," much of the Christian Right leadership succumbed to their infatuation with political power and endorsed a true enemy of Christ and His church.
As an evangelical Christian, I have a different take on the election results. My response comes with the understanding that the Kingdom of God does not equal the Republican Party and that all labors of Christian activism in the political and civil sphere is for the purpose of applying God's Word/Law into the realm of civil government to the end of Christ's rule and glory. Simply: an applied Christian worldview to all of life. With that understanding, my view of the election would differ from what we are hearing from the conservative establishment.
The first and most obvious positive outcome of the election is that we will not have an inside Wall Street, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, pro-carbon tax, big government socialist, who adheres to an anti-Christ, secretive and cultic religion sitting as president of the United States. Could our Republican lords have given us a worse candidate? Behind the handsome face, charm, manners, wonderful family, and polish was a man who, in his public life, promoted almost every kind of evil.
Second, we will not have, as a Romney presidency would have given us, the continual advance of domestic socialism and endless immoral neo-con wars under a Republican label. Added in the Romney presidency would be an evangelical and conservative political constituency going into their scheduled four years of political hibernation with the illusion that we got "our guy" in and all is well. Romney would have been the invisible enemy of the Christian church and of those who love liberty.
On the other side of the discussion is the question of the meaning of another term of an Obama presidency. With Obama, unlike Romney, we have a visible enemy. In Obama we have a self-acknowledged Marxist with an aggressive Marxist agenda. Because of this, the liberty conservatives (not Republicans) will move to resist future usurpation and tyranny from the national government. The resistance and liberty movements will grow. By liberty movement I do not mean conservative movement, which has failed and has been co-opted by the Republican Party. The resistance against Obama's federal tyranny will be an appeal to our God-given rights and the constitutional liberties of the Bill of Rights. The awakening will spread to a whole new element of former Republican faithful.
The other positive response to the Obama reelection will be an unprecedented record sale of guns and ammunition. Weapons of self-defense are part of the three vital elements of liberty that can be called political localism. The other two that historically have been important are the influences of local churches and the office of sheriff. These three areas of local political life are critical because they are the final stopgap to national tyranny.
Massive gun sales play a vital role in political liberty and are a tremendously positive phenomenon in our day, to the disdain of the socialist establishment and their controllers. A well-armed populace who are not afraid to defend their liberties against an established tyrannical order is crucial if we are to salvage our liberties. This is of much greater importance than most conservatives imagine. Mr. Obama will provide the incentive for an ever-increasing armed populace.
The discussion of political localism brings to mind the strategic errors of the Christian Right and conservative movement of the last thirty years. The conservative movement has been, in our modern existence, caught up with a "power politics" complex. Untold funds and labors have been spent on national elections in an attempt to get "our guy" in office. This is done with the hope that "our guy" will magically transform American politics and culture. This plan failed with Reagan and has not worked since.
It was the prominent Christian Right activist Paul Weyrich, in a February 1999 open letter, who confessed this failed strategy, "I no longer believe that there is a moral majority. I do not believe that a majority of Americans actually shares our values ... I believe that we probably have lost the culture war. That doesn't mean the war is not going to continue, and that it isn't going to be fought on other fronts. But in terms of society in general, we have lost. This is why, even when we win in politics, our victories fail to translate into the kind of policies we believe are important." Despite all the conservative election victories since the 1980s, we are losing the American culture. Weyrich acknowledged that the American people have become increasingly immoral and secular in their life and worldview. Republicans have won elections but anti-Christian humanism continues to dominate the culture.
The difference between Weyrich's declaration in 1999 and today is the reality that not only is humanism advancing in the culture, but we are no longer winning the elections.
Looking at Tuesday's electoral red and blue state map prompted a reflective question with older conservatives: how was it possible for Reagan, in 1984 (just twenty-eight years ago), to win forty-nine states? New York, California, Maryland, Vermont, and Illinois all went to Reagan. Many of us can remember those election nights and today cannot imagine that ever happening again.
The difference of times and election results beg the question "why?" Why are we left with such political impossibilities in our present day? The answer is more complex and involves demographic changes and other issues. But, the key reason that must be acknowledged is that in the thirty-two years since Reagan's first election, the people have become more center/left and socialistic.
A socialist majority did not magically appear but is a result of a concerted effort and labor of all the socialist institutions that dominate American culture and life. This anti-Christian element has worked diligently to control all of the vital institutions that people depend on. These institutions of life are: primary and secondary state-run schools, the university systems, law schools, labor unions, state bar associations, the health care industry, media, the arts, and entertainment, to name a few. By the time an American child goes into the world and is able to vote, he/she has been inundated with humanism and shaped into a nicely packaged socialist.
While the socialist/left work to advance their agenda in the culture, conservatives are looking for some kind of political salvation in national political races. So at election time the job of the modern conservative candidates is to somehow turn these packaged and well-trained socialists into embracing some kind of conservative worldview and vote for them. This is almost an impossible task. So ingrained is the humanist worldview in our people that many young people have never heard an articulate Christian Biblical political position. I'm afraid that this trend will continue and that coming national elections will be even more center/left.
The results are clear. The socialist/left have worked tirelessly for a century and a half to shape the culture with their agenda and in the same period of time evangelical churches have done the opposite and retreated from the culture into an alien self-styled, religious pietism. Evangelicals have only recently ventured into the political process. But all of the recent efforts, campaigns, fundraising, and political activism cannot overcome the dominating influence of the socialist institutions. This gives rise to the questions, what needs to be done and how can we change our failed strategy and be effective?
First, the church must enter all aspects of culture and build Christian institutions that will serve the people and give them an alternative to the worldview and practice of paganism and socialism.
The opportunities are endless. The most obvious realm which the church needs to enter and dominate is the institution of education. Is it a dream to think that one day the majority of evangelical churches and their leaders would embrace a plan to get every one of their Christian children out of these corporate/state run schools? After this is successful, is it possible to dream again that evangelicals would then next set up a system of schools to educate the children of the un-churched? If Christ's church can revive in education what it has previously done in its history and start superior schools with a curriculum of an uncompromised Christian worldview, pagan parents would not only send their children to these schools but they would pay to send them.
Now, if we had thirty to fifty years to build alternative Christian educational institutions, do you think we would have a different outcome in the elections? Elections are won and lost between middle school and the first year of college. Education is only one of the multitudes of realms which churches and Christian people could enter and affect the culture for the glory of God. One thing we know for sure is the limitation of conservative political activism in a culture saturated with humanism. Politics by itself cannot bring about a cultural transformation because life is more than politics. Culture always trumps politics.
Now, does this mean churches should abandon their influence in the political sphere? No, not at all. But I would encourage a very different political strategy. A new strategy would be one which concentrates activism at the state and county levels of government. Practically, in today's world, to clean up the national government would be a difficult uphill battle. We have lost our national republic. The central banks, the financers, and the corporations have taken control of the national government and its agencies. Our elected representatives serve them and not the people.
It is not the same for the states and counties. Our system of government and its constitution are set up for state and county sovereignty. It is the county with its sheriff and well-armed populace that is the last stopgap to federal tyranny. At the state level, our U. S. Constitution promotes a clear legal foundation for state sovereignty. It is at the state and county levels that a new political strategy must be developed.
Politically, our future hope is not in the election of the American monarch we know as the president or the U. S. Senate. Our maintained liberty and future is a strategy within the states and counties. This is where influence and activism should be directed. Our legislators, county commissioners, and sheriffs are where the real authority is in American civil government.
Another important stopgap to the present and coming national tyranny is the nullification of federal law at the state level. Part of our Christian political activism should be to lay out a plan and encourage our legislators to take back their constitutional authority and start nullifying federal law and its usurpation on the states. Nullification of Obamacare and the TSA would be a good start. A state nullification strategy can be implemented especially if like-minded states work together. This would be an unstoppable political force.
Another question concerning last Tuesday evening: does anyone still think the Republican Party establishment is really a friend to the church advancing Christ's Kingdom in the world? The reality is that the Republican Party is much closer to the Democrats and socialists than it is to our Christian position. The Republican Party is all about money, power, and control, and not any kind of Christian virtue or law.
American Christians have lost much in the last century. We cannot apply the same insane and failed political strategies of the last thirty years. Our church and political leaders must provide a dramatic aggressive change of direction. We must engage the culture and build again all of the institutions of life on the foundation of an uncompromised Christian Biblical worldview.
The issue before us is not socialism, central bankers, the corporate press, or labor unions. The issue is the church. The foundation for our future liberties rests upon it. Will the pastors and lay leaders break free from their self-styled retreatist evangelicalism and build again an army of churches to enter the culture to change it for the glory of God? Will Christian political leaders honestly face the reality of their failed strategies of power politics and embrace a different paradigm of activism at the state and local levels of civil authority?
The church has faced times like ours before and has prevailed. The victory of the church in history can be our victory in the future if we are willing to pay the price to create new Christian institutions to take on and change American culture. We are in a war, a war for the culture. Will the church awaken and engage?