I think that the primary failing of the Christian political movement as a whole is the underlying idea that morality can be legislated by human governments, or majority populations. The author of this article is entirely correct when he says that “partisan Christianity cannot effectively change our culture.”
The only way to effect moral change in a population is to convince that population to choose change, independent of any governmental or dogmatic mandate. People ultimately do what they want to do. The laws of this nation (and every other nation) are broken time and time again every day. When the manufacture and sale of alcohol was illegal, did it stop? When abortion and same-sex marriage were illegal, did people stop getting abortions or living together as same-sex couples? Pot is illegal - does no one smoke it? The author writes that “conservative Christians were energized around restricting abortion and same-sex marriage, reducing the size of government, and protecting religious freedom.” Unfortunately, abortion and same-sex marriage were never issues that government was equipped to deal with. Moreover, the idea that we can legislate morality inherently undermines the ideas of small government and religious freedom.
The purpose of the government should and must not be the promulgation and preservation of any religious moral code of conduct. It should and must be to preserve, as much as is possible, our individual liberty. Laws should only affect us when we begin to negatively affect the liberty of others. From a GOVERNMENTAL perspective, murder should not be wrong because God said “Thou shalt not murder.” Murder is wrong because the murderer is infringing on the other person’s right to life and liberty.
Let me be entirely clear here. I am a devout Christian. But it is not possible to force people to do good, and any attempt to do so will eventually result in more harm being done. Consider, if you are a believer (and if you’re not you probably stopped paying attention a while ago) which of God’s commandments has He forced you to obey? Ever? If we are to pattern our efforts after Christ (who, according to Peter, “[left] us an example, that [we] should follow his steps” 1 Peter 2:21) then it would be good to consider - did Christ advocate political enforcement of his teachings? I recall him saying “My kingdom is not of this world.” Christ consistently taught personal moral accountability and non-compelled moral action as the vehicles for change, not governmental enforcement of morality.
The place for teaching Christian values is in our homes and our voluntary, personal associations, like our churches. If we are to be the “light of the world” then our example and invitation are enough. We should live good, moral lives that will attract those who wish to do the same. We should be consistently willing and ready to share our message with anyone who WANTS to listen. But trying to force our values on anyone else (and governmental regulation equates to the use of force - that’s why they call it “law enforcement”) is not merely ineffective, but from a moral perspective it is evil - and un-Christian. The so-called evangelical right has simply gotten it wrong."
— R_Alexander, from the comment section of The Atlantic
It’s my own fault I’m mad, I shouldn’t have been watching FOX News in the first place, but in my defense I had it on for the background noise while I was at the gym. But Rick Perry blamed the murder of the 16 civilians in Afghanistan on Obama. I don’t even know how that kind of thinking works. WTF.