The astounding response to Ryan Sorba’s chastising of CPAC for allowing sponsorship by GOPride, an anti-marriage, GLBT activist organization, is a troubling reflection of the schizophrenic condition of the conservative movement.
CPAC has been a credible conservative conference reflecting all three legs of the conservative stool as described by William F. Buckley – social/moral, economic and national defense. Logically, a true, “complete” conservative comprises all three in my opinion. More specifically, I believe that a fully rounded, well-grounded and mature Christian will fit the description of what we call a conservative.
The problem, like the word “Christian” itself, is that it has been misused to the extent that it no longer has real meaning without further specifics. For example, what I saw in the CPAC clip (interestingly also dovetailing with Ron Paul’s strong showing in the straw poll) was the rise of libertarian/anarchist activists in conservative and Republican events.
Is there really a difference? Joseph Farah provided an excellent description in his column “The political spectrum 101.” The compelling reality is that conservatism without the social/moral “leg” of the stool as its foundation – in reality its anchor – eventually leads to moral anarchy and/or tyranny. It is the condition we are seeing now of those who can sit and cheer when beating up on Washington, D.C.’s abuses in regards to economics and national security and jeer the standard of marriage.
However, I do not blame CPAC or even the misguided activists who do not have a moral guideline – as always, I look to the first line of defense, the historic supplier, the primary responder, the God-ordained source of that moral standard. It’s the church, stupid.
A profound and compelling illustration of the meltdown of the moral influence in the church is given by Paul Washer, founder of Heart Cry Missionary Society in “Ten Indictments,” in which he states:
There are very popular preachers today who are more concerned with giving you your best life now than they are with eternity. They brag about the fact that they do not mention sin in their preaching. I can tell you this: that the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with their ministry lest He be working against it. … When a man says he has no ministry dealing with the sin of men, the Holy Spirit does! It is the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit to come and convict the world of sin. …
The “mainstream” of evangelicalism as defined by the pastor of the largest church in America, referenced by Washer above – his initials are Joel Osteen – has confused church growth with making disciples and teaching all He commanded. We have substituted toothy-grinned platitudes for teaching the Holy Scriptures and have filled congregants with cappuccinos instead of God’s Word.
We have churches all over the country following the lead of Pastor Ed Young Jr. and putting on church reader signs and even billboards invitations to come and learn how to have better sex. For example, the digital sign at Freedom Life Church in Hampton, Va., scrolls out with “Desperate Sex Lives” directly across the street from an elementary school.
Great witness to the community, pastors Young Jr. et al. Way to protect our children.
I will again quote Pastor O’Neal Dozier of Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, Fla., when I asked him how he achieved nearly 100 percent pro-life, pro-marriage, limited-government voting in his African-American church. He stated: “I preach the Word of God to the issues of the day.”
What he is doing is grounding the Christians in his congregation in a biblical worldview that influences their moral, social, cultural, professional and political decision-making. He isn’t into marketing strategies, he is into making disciples.
How does this have relevance to the moral confusion reflected at CPAC? We are no longer dominantly doing what Emma Willard, educator, historian and founder of the famous school named after her, stated in 1843:
The government of the United States is acknowledged by the wise and good of other nations, to be the most free, impartial, and righteous government of the world; but all agree, that for such a government to be sustained for many years, the principles of truth and righteousness, taught in Holy Scriptures, must be practiced. The rulers must govern in the fear of God, and the people obey the laws.
The term “conservative” does not adequately define what a person believes, nor does “Christian” for fundamentally the same reasons most labels do not. The real question for you and me is what we base our beliefs and values upon. If it is your upbringing, your culture, your ethnicity, your experience, your education, etc. – you are on sinking sand.
The only principles that can turn our nation around are the same as those that Mrs. Willard described and that birthed it to begin with:
“If you will return, O Israel,” declares the LORD, “Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, And will not waver, And you will swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ In truth, in justice and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will glory.” (Jeremiah 4:1, 2)