On occasion I get in a little e-mail debate with a ultra-right conservative member of my church, and it really bugs me. Too often, they use scripture or quotes from leaders of our church, or the church's now well publicized support for the marriage amendments on the ballots in California, Arizona, and Florida as a reason to vote Republican down the ticket.
Indeed, if you look at the electoral college map, you see Utah as one of the darkest red states out there, the most consistently conservative state in the union. This bugs me because it seems to imply at least culturally, to be Mormon you have to be Republican. Or they will try to equate liberalism with sin and conservatism with righteousness. This bugs me in so many emotional ways that I can't fully explain, but I absolutely know this is not how our church leaders want it.
There is a reason why, except in very rare cases, the church stays politically neutral. Actually, I believe there's absolutely really good reasons church neutrality is crucial. And I feel many evangelical churches hurt themselves really profoundly when they take sides. Why? Because the Republican party is ultimately secular, man-made, and dizzyingly flawed, ideologically and otherwise.
You do not want to build your foundation on that, because as the scriptures say, you're building your foundation on a house of sand, be prepared to watch it get washed away. And that's exactly what we're seeing right now. The Republican party has washed themselves out of this government.
Unless something fishy happens, there is no way McCain wins. And on top of that, they should lose more seats in Congress. The reason is that they have literally backed themselves into a corner ideologically. The only sensible debates right now are between different factions of the Democratic party and a quickly shrinking population of sensible conservatives.
Consider this quote from a conservative commentator, in this blog post regarding all of the accusations on Obama's tax plan as socialism:
"Another thing on this subject - is opposition to wealth-spreading in principle really now a litmus test for being a conservative? I thought that being on the right meant that you wanted a welfare state that's small in size and limited in scope - that's what I signed up for, at least - and the most just and reasonable way to shrink and/or restrain the American welfare state that I can see is to make it more redistributive, rather than less so. To quote William Voegeli quoting Paul Pierson in a fine essay on the dilemmas of small government conservatism: "If conservatives could design their ideal welfare state, it would consist of nothing but means-tested programs." In other words, a conservative welfare state would eliminate our current network of universal entitlement programs, and replace them with cheaper, means-tested programs that, well, spread the wealth - that spend your tax dollars to provide temporary assistance to the unemployed, underwrite health care costs for the aged and very poor, set an income floor underneath American seniors, and so forth, rather than taking money from the middle class with one hand and giving it back to them with the other. "
It's fashionable among the far right to call everything Obama and the Democrats propose as socialist.
What exactly does the Republican party propose in opposition to it? They keep reciting the mantra: cut taxes, small governments, strong military.
But what's behind that? Sure, cut taxes, but to what rates? What governmental programs can we realistically cut? What programs should we cut?
Do we really want a country without a safety net at all? Without programs for the elderly (those who can't work)? For the poor? For the unemployed or under-employed?
Do we really want to live in a society where the hungry aren't fed? Where the affordable housing is not available? Where health care is not available to everyone?
Please, I want healthy debate between the two parties on how best to achieve objectives where more people have more? Not mindless accusations and misguided name calling.
And please, please vote yes for 102 in Arizona or 8 in California. But do not, I repeat, do not use that as a reason to vote for McCain/Palin or any other Republican. Vote for the best person and the best ideas.