Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012: Brian Mattson's Views

Brian Mattson continues to write in an insightful manner on politics.  Here are a few pieces from his fine essay entitled Random Notes on the 2012 U.S. Elections:
I admit that I get a bit irritated by Christians whose insta-reaction is to brush it all off, glibly posting Facebook updates that communicate, in effect: "It doesn't matter." Yes, in the ultimate, grand scheme of things, the God who will be openly vindicated at the end of time is in control and our political contortions are not of ultimate concern. But it does matter, nevertheless. The stuff in the middle matters: culture, the material world, real people, real problems matter, and they matter to God. The sting of defeat is not salved by Gnostic cliches.
I admit that I also get irritated by Christians whose insta-reaction is to interpret "Honor the King" as a mandate to engage in a big group hug and proclaim our love of Barack Obama and liberals. The title of this Russell Moore piece gave that impression to me, but I found its content very, very good anyway. I recommend reading it. We must be the political opposition, yes. But the loyal opposition.
I look at the electoral map and I see a sea of red and tiny pockets of blue. Those pockets of blue are major urban population centers, filled with young millennials bewitched by the mind-numbing, soothing language of Progressivism: tolerance, compassion, social justice, etc. They are persuaded by the likes of JayZ and Katy Perry, as depressing as that is. Politics is downstream from culture. We have a lot of work to do persuading these voters that a culture of life, strong civil society, free market enterprise, and the impartiality of justice (i.e., not identity politics) leads to human flourishing and Progressivism does not. We cannot simply assume they'll grow out of it as they get older. They may, and often do. But we need to be more proactive because these people obviously vote before their eventual enlightenment. I have some ideas of my own and I'm open to suggestions.
But these ultra-liberal urban centers are also filled with upper-income elites who seem utterly entrenched in political liberalism. What is so amazing about this is that these rich liberals are not engaging in free sex or aborting their babies (a major campaign pitch of the Obama campaign in the final days). They are getting married, staying married, and having kids. Yet they seem to think the Republic is at stake if those young millennials don't get free contraceptives or abortifacients. My point? Upper class liberals live more conservatively than they vote. This is a fact, and you can read all about it in Charles Murray's Coming Apart. We need to start persuading these people.
I look at these blue urban pockets and something else strikes me. How would these electoral areas look if large evangelical church pastors had not stubbornly refused for the past few decades to teach and preach anything politically related? I think of Tim Keller, of whom I have the greatest admiration. I believe he is under-serving his people in New York City if his teaching never translates into political matters. And he purposely makes sure it never translates into political matters. Upper income elites need to be encouraged to vote the values they actually live (by and large), and young millennials need to be encouraged to make the connections between the Christian Faith they get on Sunday and the ballot booth they enter on Tuesday. (I've written a book to do just that, by the way. Buy it now. More than ever. Give it to your children and all their friends.)