Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Liberal Politics of Evangelicals

I read an interesting article on the Baylor Religion Survey. Here are some interesting statistics:
  • 50 percent of evangelicals think that the government should not fund faith-based organizations.
  • 50 percent of evangelicals indicate that the government should distribute wealth more evenly in this country.
  • 74 percent of evangelicals believe that it is very important to seek social and economic justice.
  • 76 percent of evangelicals believe that the government should do more to protect the environment.

I find it interesting that 50% of evangelicals do not support government funding of faith-based organizations. Why is that? Is it for "establishment clause" reasons. I would suspect it is due to a more libertarian bent. I struggle with this myself, and embrace some libertarian views, though not all. I would much rather see federal spending reduced, taxes increased and charitable giving increased. I agree with the often used quote (I don't know who to give credit to): "Liberals and I agree on one thing, we both want to be generous with my money."

My thoughts are currently somewhat defeatist - since our tax money is being spent willy nilly by our government I would much rather see it go to organizations that can put it to good use rather than an expanded federal bureaucracy. So I would much rather see money go to SOY (which we currently have two federal grants) than to an organization that does similar work and is secular. If they are giving grants away, faith-based organizations should have a level playing field. My philosophy is that all organizations are in some way religious. Something fills the void, if it isn't Christianity, it is often secular humanism. But that is a completely different blog topic.

The second statistic is both surprising and frightening - 1/2 of my evangelical brothers and sisters believe in communism. Have we ever seen government-forced wealth redistribution work? Those who embrace that are probably using Acts 2 & 4 as a guide, but that is a different scenario. The spirit of community and generosity seen in the early church is voluntary, not compulsory.

The third statistic on social and economic issues - I see this as progress, but it needs to be the Church doing what the Church is called to do. We need to minister to the poor, the needy, the neglected, the abused - "the least, the last and the lost." This shouldn't mean that we rely upon government to do such things.

The last statistic is challenging to me as well. We are called to be good stewards, and in order to be salt and light in this world we should demonstrate a desire to be environmentally friendly. I don't believe this should be a top priority for the church, unless it is a social justice issue. My brother used to work for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and has shared with me instances where poorer communities/neighborhoods have had tainted water supplies, etc. and the problem has largely been ignored due to their lack of affluence. That we should not ignore. My biggest issue with environmentalists is that they often put animals before people. A good many of them are also pro-abortion, and I think that is terribly inconsistent.

Anyway, my two-cents worth on this article.

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