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When I was growing up, the political labels “conservative” and “liberal” basically described fiscal philosophies.

Of course, there were exceptions. For instance, for much of the last 40 years, “conservative” denoted a more nationalistic, democracy-inclined outlook.

“Liberal” implied a much greater acceptance of competing worldviews like socialism and communism. But as a rule, the labels usually indicated a philosophic divide over the role of government and its claim on our tax dollars.

“Conservatives” generally favored allowing private initiative to flourish without overbearing governmental intrusion. In other words, the “keep the government’s hands out of our wallets and we’ll all be better off” kind of thinking.

“Liberals” usually felt that only the government could wield the kind of power needed to tackle society’s biggest problems. And certainly only the government could solve those problems with fairness and impartiality. Their thinking was, “Don’t trust big business. Only big government will bother to take care of the little guy.”

But beyond those fiscal and political differences, many of the people of both stripes were remarkably similar. There were good, moral, spiritual people on both sides of the aisle. Though they usually disagreed on domestic issues, they often stood together on foreign issues.

Though they often disagreed on how many tax dollars to collect and how to spend those dollars, they frequently agreed on issues of moral consequence to the nation. It was not uncommon for a fiscal “liberal” to be spiritually and morally conservative.

THIS IS NOT THE CASE ANYMORE!

Of course, there are always exceptions on both sides. But by and large, the core beliefs of a “conservative” and a “liberal” in past decades are as I have outlined them above.

But these labels do not mean the same thing today. When you examine the fiscal philosophies of the two major political parties, they are now unfortunately similar.

Though the Republicans decry big government, Republican administrations usually do very little to downsize.

On the other hand, the Democrats are currently attempting to claim the mantel of “peacemaker” while charging the Republicans with “warmongering.” They conveniently ignore the fact that in the last half-century, with just a couple of exceptions, America has entered into every conflict or war under Democratic leadership.

But the thing that concerns me most – and should concern all Christians – is this: The characteristics that used to define and divide conservatives and liberals – economics and government – now don’t seem so defining. And the qualities that used to unite members of both major parties – morality and national pride – are now the arena of all-out warfare. It is the great divide.

Putting the issues succinctly into today’s realities, it looks like this: If you are a “liberal,” you favor abortion and you support homosexual marriage. You want to see prayer banned from public gatherings and you think all Scripture – including the Ten Commandments, which form the basis of our system of law – should be removed from the public square. You believe that condemning certain deviant behavior should be a crime.

If you are a “liberal,” you think government can make better decisions and spend your money more wisely than you. You believe that legislation can dramatically improve the fortunes of all Americans. You think that taxpayers should foot the bill for many who either don’t want to work or can’t work as a result of their destructive lifestyles.

A “liberal” today takes comfort in the knowledge that even if America’s citizens, legislators and Constitution get it wrong, somewhere there’s an unelected judge that will make it right. Especially in the Supreme Court, which to the liberal exceeds the authority of the Constitution.

Furthermore, the majority of liberals think the United States is responsible for most of the conflict, poverty, pollution and hardship in the world. You believe America should place itself under the supervision and direction of the United Nations, functioning not as a sovereign nation, but as a member of the collective.

And most concerning of all, if you are a liberal, you are convinced that religion has caused most of our problems and should either be banned or tightly controlled.

Finally, if you are a “liberal,” you probably don’t believe there should be any restrictions on your moral or ethical behavior.

At the other end of the spectrum lie the “conservatives.”

“Conservatives” predominantly believe that life is given by God and begins at conception. They believe it is therefore sacred and to be revered and preserved at all cost. You think that our basic rights are granted by God, Himself – not by governments of men or human courts – and therefore cannot be denied without penalty. “Conservatives” believe our nation was founded by Christians on Judeo-Christian principles – that those principles and values have enabled our nation to become strong and prosperous.

If you are a conservative, you probably are convinced that it is not only our right to worship without interference, but that it is our obligation to publicly remind ourselves from whence our strength and blessings flow.

As a conservative, you understand that marriage is a sacred institution designed by God to be the union of one man and one woman. You think that when society condones and sanctions deviant behavior, destructive lifestyles and moral depravity, it degrades and weakens our nation.

A “conservative” believes in the power and the rights of the individual, the family and the private sector to create and preserve wealth. You believe that our earned wealth is to enhance our lives. You are confident that government should play an important role in protecting the nation, supplying common essential services, and providing a safety net for the weaker and less fortunate in our midst. It should, however, be our servant and not our master.

Finally, if you are a conservative, you probably believe that God raised up the United States of America and continues to bless her because she honors Him. You believe that we owe our allegiance to her – not to a cartel of nations that are determined to see her humiliated and hobbled.

You believe America should stand for honor, equality, morality and righteousness, and that we should be prepared and willing to defend those virtues no matter the price.

Twelve years ago, the campaign slogan that propelled Bill Clinton to victory was: “It’s the economy … Stupid.” But to the informed and critically thinking person today, there are much more important issues than just the economy.

We are facing an enemy that hides in the shadows, doesn’t play by any of the rules, and is determined to use any means to bring about our literal annihilation.

And though this aptly describes the Islamic fanatics who seek our destruction, it also describes the enemy that lurks among us. The enemy that seeks to remake America from within.

Twelve years ago, you could vote for the liberal agenda and plausibly convince yourself that you were just calling for a change in fiscal philosophies. Today, you don’t have that luxury. A vote for the conservative cause next week – in the national, state and local races – is a vote to continue the effort to reverse America’s decline and restore her to a path of morality, conscience and strength of character. It’s a vote to continue America’s return to her rightful place as the strongest beacon of hope in a terrified world.

Please, make your voice heard. Be strong and stand by your convictions, not upon who makes the biggest claim of increasing your paycheck. Take this opportunity – it may be one of our last – to re-assert our claim to America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

Vote! Vote for the candidate whose biblical and moral outlook most closely resembles yours. Take someone with you to vote. Don’t listen to the predictions of the mainstream media. They have already demonstrated that they are totally sold out to the “liberal cause.” No matter what they say, vote anyway. Even if your candidate is losing, your voice will still be heard – but only if you cast a ballot on Nov. 2.

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