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Archive for February, 2013

Up until about 5 years ago, I was what I considered a “moderate independent.” My father, a card-carrying Republican, preferred to call me a “well-intentioned, bleeding heart, liberal.” I called myself an independent, but truth be told, I almost always voted Democratic.

Here was my thinking: I love America and Americans. There are Americans in need. Democrats want to help those in need. Vote Democrat. It seemed like a very logical line of thinking that served me for about 15 years. I have been interested in history and politics since I was a young girl. I thought of myself as generally well-informed and well-read regarding current events. I saw the Democrats as the party of freedom and inclusion. They were the party who welcomed those of diverse backgrounds, didn’t place judgement on women and gays, and wanted to “help” the poor and downtrodden get back on their feet. I still think that this is how Democrats want to sell themselves and try to sell themselves- I just no longer think that it is true. Perhaps it never was.

Then about 8 years ago, I got really involved with my local church. For the first time since my teenage years, I felt I had strong relationship with The Lord. I began to study the Bible in ways that I never had before. The more I studied, the more I wanted to study. And slowly but surely, I felt myself leaning more toward the center and right on many issues. I began to learn more about the early church and how the members took care of each other and those in their community. And I realized that I had been wrong. So very wrong.

People are hurting. People need help and acceptance. People need love. But it isn’t the role of the government to provide those things. It is the role of the church. The problem is that the church isn’t doing a very good job.

We don’t always offer the love of Christ and the acceptance the He gave us. We shake our fingers and focus on the sin that is different than ours. We don’t always want to help those in our communities. It is much easier to write a check to send to World Vision or KLOVE than it is to spend time delivering Meals on Wheels or hosting homeless families at Family Promise, much less to go on a mission trip. We talk about the unborn victims of abortion, yet close our minds and hearts to those men and women who grieve the choice that they made and search for ways to overcome it.

Shame on us. We can do better.

While reading more in the Bible and feeling this shift inside my political ideology, I began to read more of the Constitution (yes, I have an app for it). I re-read some of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers. I listened to people far smarter than me discuss current events and the political crisis in which our country now finds itself. And I came to another realization. Even if I weren’t a Christian, I would have to be a conservative. Just read the Constitution and Bill of Rights! Read the Declaration of Independence. Learn the limits that are in the documents. We don’t have to guess what the Framers were thinking or what they intended. They told us, quite beautifully, in these amazing pieces of living history.

My 8 year old son asked me one day “what is the Constitution?” I thought about a way that I could do it justice without dumbing it down too much. I answered “it is the contract between the government and the people.” I think that is a pretty great answer. If there’s one thing our society knows a lot about, it is contracts. We sign them for everything. We take people to court for breaking them. How can we sit by while the most important contract in our nation is ripped apart at the seams before our very eyes?

At Bible study a few weeks ago, we learned that if we change our thinking, we change our beliefs. If we change our beliefs, we change our actions. It is time for some of us to change our thinking. It is time to listen to our conscience instead of talking heads and pundits.

It is time to stop telling ourselves that if we vote for the party who claims to want to help people, that’s just as good as me helping them. I think that’s how so many well-intentioned liberals think. I don’t think they hold a leftist view-point because they want to trample on the Constitution. I think that many genuinely feel, as I once did, that they are going for the party who wants to help people. But no party can fulfill our biblical command to care for widows and orphans. No party can provide for the needs of the homeless and get us off the hook.

I am so grateful for my husband, a few close friends, and my family for helping me reform my previously held ideas. And I’m in good company. Even Reagan changed parties.

Now I know that there are many strong conservatives out there who are not Christians. They may not agree with some of the claims that I’ve made regarding the Church. And that’s ok. Maybe the housing bust caused them to take a harsh look at the irresponsible fiscal policies of the Democrats. Maybe they have a view of the need for a stronger national defense since 9/11. Maybe they are a small business owner who is getting strapped by regulations and medical mandates. Maybe it’s a wife who sees more money going out for groceries and gas and less coming in on the paycheck. It’s ok because at the end of the day, we all became conservatives, and it doesn’t really matter what brought us here, so long as we are here now.

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