Friday, May 27, 2005


Coalitions of the Willing

A couple days ago, I criticized the methodology and language espoused by the culture warriors. As an alternative I suggested the need for “implementation of proactive, compassionate visions involving attempts to understand differing viewpoints”. Of course, the danger in laying out broad, sweeping statements like this is that they may be taken as “pie-in-the-sky” sort of sentiments without any real-life application.

So as a necessary adjunct to what I was advocating, I will point to two recent commentaries that outline more specific plans for achieving common goals by broadening the existing alliances rather than narrowing them. First, at Winds of Change, Joe Katzman suggests the following framework for conservative evangelicals to achieve their goals. (Link via Dignan)

I could envision a moral, proper, and winning program built around 2 pillars: (1) Insistence on genuine tolerance for and balanced public portrayals of the religious lifestyle; plus (2) A battle to define and drive a broad set of common values in concert with interested coalition partners, without requiring common beliefs or the achievement of salvation by members.

This dovetails nicely into an excellent column by David Brooks from yesterday’s New York Times (emailed to me by a friend). In it, Brooks asserts that the war on poverty is one cause in particular that can be fought effectively only by transcending the “war” mentality and, instead, agreeing upon common beliefs.

…we can have a culture war in this country, or we can have a war on poverty, but we can't have both. That is to say, liberals and conservatives can go on bashing each other for being godless hedonists and primitive theocrats, or they can set those differences off to one side and work together to help the needy.

The natural alliance for antipoverty measures at home and abroad is between liberals and evangelical Christians. These are the only two groups that are really hyped up about these problems and willing to devote time and money to ameliorating them. If liberals and evangelicals don't get together on antipoverty measures, then there will be no majority for them and they won't get done.

That sounds about right to me.

By the way, i like your site...we have the same template so i can navigate like i'm in my own space! Should come back more often!
Here is where my conservative-ness is practically libertarian. People should be FREE to choose when, and whom they will help. This means, the church needs to be the pillar of charity. Government, thus liberals, should not be playing Robin Hood. Evangelicals and liberals are polar opposites because of these two approaches to the problem of poverty. It is far from a natural alliance.
I see your point and so it may be instructive to distinguish between what Brooks mentions in his article and typical legislation that strays more toward socialism and a redistribution of wealth. It really extends beyond poverty and into areas of human rights and also these alliance are often beyond the borders of our country.

He points to evangelical leaders like Rick Warren and Chuck Colson who are spearheading efforts to fight poverty, disease, and genocide in Africa. He mentions Bono as well as being a catalyst for many efforts to help in Africa. You can really see this "alliance" in action if you look at those most interested in having the U.S. intervene in the mass murdering going on in the Sudan right now. This is the type of humanitarian cause that both liberals and evangelical Christians are throwing their support behind.
okay, I get your point better now. Yes, there is potential for this alliance to work, as long as it is charity of the private or church kind. Samaritan's Purse is one but evangelism is a big part of it, so beliefs of workers would enter into it. I imagine there are many I am unaware of that would blend well, like the Sudan efforts. Thanks, I didn't know and, since I have just met you, I feared the worst. Your new post reassures me!!
Where did you find it? Interesting read »
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