Monday, June 30, 2008

The Cross And The Flag

This week, we celebrate the 232nd anniversary of the founding of our country. America has been a grand experiment in democracy and freedom. Our nation has had its share of bumps along the way, and has many issues today. Nonetheless, it is the greatest country in the history of the planet.

This past Sunday, we had our annual Fourth of July celebration in the worship service at our church. We attend a multi-location megachurch in the Houston area. Our church is known for its conservative stance on issues, but does not have a reputation for legalism. Our senior pastor is well-known and well-respected in the city and in our denomination. I line up with him theologically and politically. He encourages the church to celebrate Independence Day in order to give people a chance to thank God for the freedoms provided in America, such as freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression. These are things we should not take lightly.

As I sat through the service, I could not help but think of how culturally American it was. It was a celebration of all things American, with plenty of patriotic music and a recognition and celebration of the military. It was very well done, as it is every year. However, I couldn’t help but think of a couple of things: 1) What if this were China? In China, in the state-sanctioned church, they would be celebrating all things Communist, along with the state-approved view of God. In the fast-growing, vibrant underground church, patriotism is the last thing on their mind, as they experience persecution from the state. The same can be said for Cuba and any other totalitarian state. 2) What tone would this service have if the current Democratic candidate is elected president in November?

America is a great nation. We have a lot to be proud of and thankful for. However, for the Christian, we must remember that the cross and the flag are two different and separate things. People died and are dying under the flag for our freedom. Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we may have eternal life. While those facts are ultimately related, wrapping the cross up in the flag is dangerous. It makes us put our country on an exalted plane deserved only by the King of Kings. At the same time, we need to take time to remember that God has raised America up to be a special nation, one where freedom has been given to worship God and to spread the Gospel here and throughout the earth. Nations, however, are fleeting, and God can choose to allow America as we know it to disappear.

As we celebrate our nation’s freedom, let us recognize the Source of that freedom. May we separate our faith in Christ from our pride in our country, and may God use that to make our country as He wants it to be. May we view the world as Christians first, and Americans second.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Late Night Thoughts and Concerns

I’m having a hard time sleeping, which is rare for me these days. I have some rare thoughts which are worthy of note.

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day in which we remember the sacrifices made by those that have given their lives to protect our freedom throughout our nation’s history. I cannot describe how much I appreciate the sacrifices made by those in previous generations as well as those currently serving. The blood shed on the battlefields provide the freedom by which I can type, and by which others can disagree with me.

We in America face many challenges in the days ahead. We face a continuing threat of Islamofascist terrorism. We face economic challenges at home, a situation where prosperity (a low unemployment rate of 4-5%) is outweighed by the steep rise in oil prices, resulting in record prices for gasoline and an increase in food prices. It is an insecure time, one in which I am afraid we are entering with blindfolds on.

Insecure times make people look for someone or something to help them. Just as the children of Israel, in Old Testament times, looked for an earthly king to rescue them, many today are looking for increased government intervention and a charismatic personality to help themselves.

I am concerned for my country. I fear that we are about to react to our current challenges by electing a group of politicians that look to punish achievement and give to those that look to government to provide unearned handouts. This same group of politicians would leave us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks by pulling our troops out of the Middle East just as we are winning the war on terrorism and returning some sort of semblance of order to Iraq. This same group of politicians would react to $4.00/gallon gasoline by further restricting the domestic drilling and exploration of oil, placing us into further dependence on foreign oil.

At the same time, the potential exists for there to be no credible opposition to this crew. The party that currently holds the White House is discombobulating right before our eyes. This party has no vision and cannot successfully define itself, much less communicate its policies over the heads of an unsympathetic mainstream media to the American people.

I am thankful for the opportunities God has given me as an American to fail and to achieve success. I am also thankful for the freedom I have to worship God in a way not dictated by the government, and for the freedom Americans have to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ here and throughout the world. I take comfort in the gospel, knowing that this is an earthly home, but not a permanent home.

In the meantime, though, we live in a twisted, pagan world. A world full of problems and challenges. What is needed is freedom. Not uncontrolled license or sexual freedom, but the freedom for Americans to come up with solutions to the challenges that face us without unnecessary regulation by an incompetent government. The freedom to achieve greatness and to enjoy the fruits of the world’s most powerful economy. The freedom to use the God-given resources of our land while still preserving its beauty and use for future generations. Freedom is what makes our country great. It is what patriots have given their lives for throughout the history of our nation, including today. May their sacrifices not be in vain, but may America become an even better place.

May God not only bless America, but may He save America, as well.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

"Liberals Love God, Too"

Last night, if they hadn't done so already, the evangelical group Sojourners officially became the liberal Democrat version of the Christian Coalition. They and their leader, Jim Wallis, sponsored a "forum" in Washington featuring Democrat presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama. The forum, broadcast nationally on CNN, gave each candidate the opportunity to speak to Americans about their faith. What it really was was a chance for Democrats to say, "We believe in God, too". I don't see Sojourners and CNN giving Republican candidates a similar forum in the future.

It is not my place to judge the candidates' relationship with God. That is up to God. I struggle enough as it is in my own walk. What they say, do, and think is between them and God.

And, I believe there is room and freedom for disagreement between Christians on the role of government, and whether it exists to solve social problems. Nonetheless, I line up on the conservative side of most issues.

The Republican party has gotten a bad rap for being in the back pocket of "the Religious Right" for a quarter of a century. I don't see the Democrats catching any heat for appealing to religious constituencies, though there is obviously a rising political movement of the Religious Left.

Democrats last night treaded on the same water which Republicans have been treading on for years: using God to get votes. I don't mind that candidates are people of faith-as a matter of fact, I like them that way, especially if we agree on most of the same basic things. I am offended when a group uses God to pander to groups of voters, simply to get votes. Last night's forum in D.C. was a classic example. It was designed to show the American people that Republicans don't have a monopoly on God. I can see right through that. Democrats are just as good as Republicans at using God to get votes.

God is not a Republican. He is way too holy for that. But, I guarantee He is not a Democrat.

May God have mercy on this country. We sure need it.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Christians and the Republican Party, Continued Again

I came across this transcript of a talk radio program from November. It is by Steve Deace, from WHO Radio, the 50,000 watt blowtorch in Des Moines, Iowa. The great Ronald Reagan worked at that station as a young man, before moving on to bigger and better things. Steve Deace is a conservative Christian, and formerly hosted sports talk shows in that market, but was fired more than once for branching out into politics and religion on his sports shows. So, WHO gave him a political talk show. This is from November 14, 2006, one week after the Republican bloodbath on Election Day. It is Iowa-centric, as his show is local, but I like the principles involved. Steve Deace at WHO:

In a nutshell, I think the election was about the values voters again. This time the values voters were Democrats and Independents like Catholics on the South Side of Des Moines who were sick of getting lectured to about moral values and were sick of being called godless from the folks who hang out with Mark Foley, Rush Limbaugh, and Ted Haggard. This time the values voters were Republicans who stayed home rather than support the people who gave Jack Abramoff unfettered access to the process for the right price, and talked out of both sides of their mouth about family values. This time the values voters were Americans who couldn't understand why we should Stay the Course in Iraq when everyone with a brain could see we were really on a collision course there. This time the values voters were Americans who served their country in the military and were skeptical about our foreign policy, and they were tired of having their patriotism questioned for doing so by folks who never wore a uniform.

This time the values voters gave a swift, hard kick to the shins of the Republican Party. But they didn't do it so that Democrats could enact a leftist agenda from academia or Hollyweird. They did it because the Democrats were the only check and balance they had on the drunk with arrogance and rife with hypocrisy GOP. The Democrats were sadly the only option left.

But as values voters, particularly if our values come from our Christian faith, I think we're tired of being reactionaries. We're tired of the lesser of two evils. We want to go on the offensive, without being offensive. We're not wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We're really coming across as soothing as fire ants and as dumb as a box of rocks. We don't understand how the system really works. We don't understand why the people we vote for don't go and do what we tell them to.

So we think if we can take over a party and re-write its platform we've made a difference. We think if we scream louder people will hear us. We're so eager to be heard and to make a difference that any politicians that can quote a few Scripture verses and call Jesus his favorite philosopher makes us swoon like groupies.

It's not working. We're doing it wrong. We're not impacting the system. We're actually pawns of it. We're not Salt & Light. We're actually lambs led to slaughter. And our message is being corrupted and used as a partisan weapon, not healing. What values voters need to do is make their values common sense values, like they were a generation or two ago. And for them to be common sense, they must first become common again, just like they were a generation or two ago.

That's why I laid out a vision for values voters to become a cultural version of Farm Bureau. When we come back I'll explain again what we mean by that, and explain to you why I think it's the only approach that will work for the values voters. We're going to conduct a political science class from the school of hard knocks and street smarts.

Farm Bureau is a group that so believes in the value of agriculture to our state's economy and heritage that it focuses all of its energies implementing its vision. Given the candidates it has endorsed over the years, I'm guessing that most of the folks at Farm Bureau are right of center. But do you think that because Democrats are in power in the Statehouse now they're just going to stop advancing their agenda? Of course not. And guess what, even though Farm Bureau may have endorsed some of their Republican opponents the Democrats don't want them to, either.

What do you think the right of center hierarchy at Farm Bureau did the day after Republicans got slaughtered in the elections? They did what the hierarchy at any organization would've done a freakishly warm 70-degree day in November.

They went golfing at Glen Oaks.

Sure, there might have been some hand-wringing individually because beyond agriculture there are issues that some of the individuals there care about. And those issues are in jeopardy with a left of center majority. But Farm Bureau will get what it wants whether Jim Nussle or Chet Culver wins. It's going to get a piece of the pie no matter who is in power, it's just a matter of what flavor of pie it is.

While those Farm Bureau execs were golfing at Glen Oaks on Wednesday, their cell phones rang. It was somebody from Leonard Boswell's office, wanting to know what they wanted in the next Farm Bill. It was somebody from Tom Harkin's office wanting to know the same. It was somebody from Chet Culver's campaign wanting to know how they could work together. You know what, those phone calls might have been made by Boswell, Harkin, and Culver themselves!

Why would Democrats do that? Because politics is a racket and all rackets are a numbers game. Farm Bureau has the numbers, and any good politician will move where the food is.

Folks, this isn't cynical. It's the system. Too many value voters believe they can impact the system from the inside out. Instead, influence is exerted on the political process from the outside in. This is what the media and special interests groups get that values voters don't. We values voters think we can infiltrate the ranks of a political party's hierarchy and reform it. They think they can make it holy by the virtue of their being there. And in a small sense they can, but in the big picture they can't.

This is why Jesus didn't overthrow the Roman government. He saw the bigger picture. This is why he built a church upon a rock, not a political party.

A political party exists to attain worldly power through the means of raising money and winning elections. Values Voters are called to set aside earthly power and rewards for heavenly gain and eternal salvation. Do you see now why we values voters are consistently frustrated with the political parties?

Too many value voters are naively acting like they can actually make the Republican Party the Moral Majority. Too many value voters are naively acting like they can actually make the Democratic Party Feed the Children. You can't. How many more times must we beat our heads against the wall and how many more times must we attack windmills with toothbrushes before we figure this out?

The Parties aren't interested in saving America, let alone the world. That's the job of the Church. The Parties are interested in winning. Period. End of sentence. That's it. That's all they care about. For the Parties winning isn't everything. It's the only thing.

Why? Because winning gets you power and power gets you paid. It's all about the Benjamins. It's why guys like Bill Knapp and Jim Cownie will eventually get their way no matter who is in power. There aren't any stark differences between these two very successful and powerful men.

So all they did was split the pie in half, with Cownie getting the Republicans and Knapp getting the Democrats. But it's the same pot of gold going to both sides. And then everyone still toasts each other at the same cocktail parties at 801 Grand no matter who wins.

This isn't a corruption of the system, it is the system. It's the system our brilliant Founding Fathers gave us. These men varied in their religious fervor to some degree or another, but they all shared a common Judeo-Christian ethic. And the Judeo-Christian ethic says that human beings are not inherently good. The Judeo-Christian ethic says that human beings are selfish and sinful. The Judeo-Christian ethic says that human beings need saving, most of the time from themselves.

That's why they gave us a system of checks and balances. They gave us a triune government, each branch with its own characteristics. They gave us a system where the government was to be afraid of its people as opposed to the other way around.

They gave us a system that avoided oligarchy and monarchy. Where each branch has oversight of the other. And then they gave us the right to keep and bear arms because tyranny might think twice about trying to oppress a people that can shoot back.

Our system works, if we work it. But the system isn't perfect, heck nothing made by human beings is. Our Matrix has one fatal flaw. For power to the people to work it requires, as John Adams himself wrote, a moral and God-fearing people to make it work for the benefit of all the people.

Otherwise those who want to redefine right from wrong and aren't God-fearing would be able to utilize the system to implement all sorts of corruption and deviancy.

This is what is happening today. Let's discuss how to reverse that trend.

So, how do values voters make the system work for them?

Have you wondered why leftists in Hollywood, academia, the bench, the media, or at the ACLU are constantly accusing us of trying to institute a theocracy when the cultural tide seems to be in their favor? Have you ever wondered why they also accuse you of trying to impose your values on them when in reality their values seem to dominating our culture? That's because evil often accuses good of doing what it's doing. And you know what, evil is afraid good will figure out the scam and turn the tables on them.

We're not the theocrats, they are. We're not the ones demanding that the account of how human beings got here that lines up with our worldview can be the only one taught in the public schools. They are. We're not the ones remaking public institutions in our religious image, they are. Remember, secular humanism is classified as a religion by the Supreme Court.

But here's what they know and we haven't figured out yet. There's more of us than them! And that's what they're most afraid of. They're greatest nightmare is that one day we will figure out how to use the system just like they do.

These leftists make up a scant percentage of Americans, but they hold a drastically disproportionate amount of the political power in this country. 35% of Americans identify themselves in polls as evangelicals. 35%! That would represent the biggest voting block in America. The feminists can't deliver 35% of the voters. The gun owners can't deliver 35% of the voters. The NEA can't deliver 35% of the voters. The gay and bisexual lobby represents 3% of America according to the latest census data, but it's also one of the most powerful lobbyist groups in the country. Can you imagine what 35% could do?

On top of that, polls don't typically identify black Christians like my friend Jonathan Narcisse as an evangelical. But he's more conservative than I am. What about all those predominantly black ministries that preach the Word of God every Sunday?

On top of that, what about all those practicing Catholics who take the thousands of years old teachings and traditions of their ministry seriously in their daily lives? Do the math on this.

Orthodox Christianity has the numbers to be the biggest and most influential voting block in America. But it can't do that by selling out to one of the parties. Instead it must its numbers to leverage the parties and get the parties to sell out to them. I'm not talking about bullying or making a power play. I'm talking about working the system we have. We work it like wise serpents, but we do so with the right motives and for the right causes so we're innocent as doves.

Politics is all about math, and the numbers are on our side. The problem is we're divided, and too busy trying to get each other to buy 100% of each other's agendas. That's not the way the system works. The system works by taking what you can get. Now, some of you are saying, “but Steve that's what we've been trying to do the whole time before you turned your back on the GOP. You're contradicting yourself.”

No, I'm not.

Why take just what we can get from the Republicans, when we can also take what we can get from the Democrats, too?

This is what Farm Bureau does. Farm Bureau can get tax breaks for farmers from a Tom Harkin who never saw a tax he couldn't raise, and it can government handout subsidies from the fiscal conservative Chuck Grassley.

It other words, it gets French Silk Pie from the Democrats and Dutch Apple from the Republicans.

Orthodox Christianity, or values voters, can do the same thing because we've got more numbers than anyone else does. We can do it if we give up the searching for the fool's gold of the perfect candidate and party. It will never happen.

So, we can sit around trying to convince Cyrus and Darius to worship the one, true God, or we can use them to send us back to our homeland and give us the money to rebuild the temple. I can scream about how dark the room is, or I can just light a candle. I can hold a sign on a street corner about social injustice or abortion, or I can work the system to get rid of both.

You work the system by allowing your issues to be co-opted, not letting it happen. You don't let the Republicans become the party of family values, you let the Democrats do it because they'd love to be liked by the folks in the suburbs, too. You don't let the Democrats become the party of the poor, you let the Republicans do it because they'd love to be considered compassionate just once.

Are you following me on this?

This is how everyone else uses the system and gets ahead of us, even though we have more of them and keep beating them in elections. They have figured out how to use the system.

A church is positively impacted by great moral leadership from the top down and the vision comes from the inside out. But a political party has no vision and even its greatest visionaries can be negatively influenced. Reagan and FDR are the two greatest presidents of the 20th century, but one tried to illegally stack the Supreme Court and the other tried to illegally fund the Contras. Our politicians aren't pastors. They're more like CEOs. And we are the shareholders. The CEO makes the big salary, but the shareholders influence the CEO because they're the ones paying his salary. And any good CEO listens to his shareholders, even the ones that didn't vote for him to be CEO, because he likes earning that big salary.

Steve Sheffler and the Iowa Christian Alliance shouldn't have been with the Republican Party's gathering for election night losers at the Savory on Tuesday. He instead should've been at the Hotel Fort Des Moines with the winners, huddling with those precious few Democrats that voted for the marriage amendment and strategizing about how to influence a Culver administration.

For example, values voters in the Iowa Caucasus shouldn't worry about whether or not Sam Brownback or Mike Huckabee can be everything they're looking for. We're not running for pastor. We're running for president. They should instead be looking for the opportunist that can be the most easily influenced out of a lust for power. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. God can use John McCain just like he can use Mitt Romney. In fact, the more spineless and power-driven the politician the more easily he can be influenced.

If values voters went to the Iowa Democratic Party with a blank check and 25,000 names of folks who would switch party affiliation if they agreed to ban all abortions after the first trimester. Guess what, they would. If the gay rights lobby shows up at the Republican Party with more money and potential voters than the Christian Right, guess what? The Republican Party will suddenly become the party of tolerance. This is the way the game is played.

The Republican Party doesn't care about Christian Morality and never will. It cares about getting the votes of those that do. The Democratic Party doesn't care about Christian charity and never will, it cares about the votes of those that do.

So, values voters, stop treating politics like the Church. Instead, treat it like the whore of Babylon. We have the votes. We're the largest block of voters in the country. It's not a matter of which party will do what we tell them, it's really about which party gets the honor and privilege of doing what we tell them to do.

That's the way we need to roll.

Remember yesterday, when Ted Sporer of the Polk County Republican Party said over and over how the GOP is afraid of being called intolerant and being described as uncompassionate? Well, you know what, the Democrats hate being called godless and unpatriotic, too. The majority party has the most power politically, but that also makes it the most sensitive criticism because once in power they want to keep that power.

That's why Dubya gave us a Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit and Clinton gave us the Defense of Marriage Act. That's why Dubya didn't close the borders, but Clinton did welfare reform. Dubya and Clinton both looked for every possibility to co-opt their opposition's issues because they want to get re-elected. Now not all politicians are like, only about 75% of them. But the entire system is like that. Why do you think Indian Reservations are exempted from McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform? Could it be that Indian reservations in Arizona give McCain a lot of money?

We don't need to keep fighting for a political purity that is never forthcoming. We just need to understand how the system really works and work it. Politics is a business, and in any business the customer is always right. And values voters are the largest block of customers in politics.

Christians And The Republican Party, Continued

I have been searching for months for a way to communicate my thoughts on the relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ and the Republican party. It has been a work in progress. I am now at a point where I can publish them. The results can be surprising, based on the comments I wrote on the late Jerry Falwell recently.

I am a life-long Republican. I have voted for one Democrat in my life, over 20 years ago, and he may be a Republican now, for all I know. I grew up in an area and in a time when a person could be a committed Christian and be a Democrat. I learned through knowing enough Oklahoma Democrats to realize that not everyone in that party is a godless secularist, even though their party has been taken over by them at the national level. It is ok to disagree on the role, size and scope of government. It is not ok for a Christian to embrace their party's agenda on cultural issues such as abortion and homosexual behavior.

The Church and political parties have different purposes. The Church exists to preach the gospel, and to be salt and light in society. Political parties exist first to get politicians elected, and then to advance an agenda if it is so inclined.

Conservative Christians have helped Republican candidates get elected for a quarter of a century. With that, many of us have expected to see social change (such as abolition of abortion) achieved by political means. It is 2007, and Roe v. Wade has not been overturned. I believe progress has been made in that area, but we are not where we want to be.

The Republican party has experienced a renaissance in the last quarter-century, electing three presidents, and controlling both houses of Congress at various times during that period, following decades of a Democrat hammerlock on Capitol Hill. The GOP would not have made such gains without an appeal to culturally conservative voters.

For a long time, I have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the alliance between two groups I ally with: the body of Christ, and the Republican party. God is holy, and is not to be co-opted merely for the sake of political power. Power and a political agenda can corrupt the church, making it powerless to spread the Gospel. At the same time, an overtly spiritual agenda turns off blocks of voters, making it harder for conservative Republican candidates to be elected.

A person should not have to be a Republican to become a Christian. Likewise, a person should not have to be a Christian to vote Republican.

I am not advocating for Christians to bail out of the Republican party. Given the right nominee, we'll still see church parking lots full of cars with Republican bumper stickers in the fall of 2008.

My pipe dream, really, is for increased influence for Christians in the Democrat party. I'm afraid it may be a pipe dream, because it is controlled by secularists at its highest levels, and has become the refuge for those repelled by the perceived religiosity of the Republican party.

The culture war is not over, by a longshot. However, we are beginning to realize that the Republican party is not a tool to win the culture war.

If anyone is curious, no, this is not an endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president. Far from it. I'm leaning toward Fred Thompson, if he gets into the race.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Well Done, Good And Faithful Servant

I was going to post some more on Christians and the Republican Party. I still plan to do so later. However, the Christian world was shaken today with the news of the death of Jerry Falwell.

Jerry Falwell was someone who allowed the power of God to change his life to the maximum degree. He was the son of an atheist alcoholic bootlegger, and was barred from delivering the valedictory speech at his high school for using counterfeit lunch tickets. He accepted Christ as his Savior at the age of 19, and soon felt called to vocational ministry. He attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, and returned to Lynchburg, Virginia upon graduation. He then started what became Thomas Road Baptist Church, now a 24,000-member megachurch. He also was the founder of Liberty University, which has evolved in 35 years from a small Bible college into a world-class Christian university.

Falwell was best known, however, for his leadership of the Religious Right. He founded the Moral Majority in 1980, and used it as a vehicle to register evangelical voters and to assist in the election of Ronald Reagan as President. From that point, conservative Christians were a bloc of voters that Republican candidates would ignore at their own peril. Falwell was known as a fiery preacher that was unafraid to speak against social ills such as abortion and homosexuality.

I agreed with him on all the important theological issues, and on most of the minor ones. His church was probably a little too old-fashioned for me, but there's nothing wrong with that at all. I think of him as a prophet. He took unpopular stands on divisive social issues of the day, and was hated by the left and by some on the right. He was a spokesman for traditional morality in a world that was hostile to his convictions, and really didn't want to hear that they might be wrong. Most of all, he was a faithful preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He believed and preached that God loves people, that people were sinners, and that God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of man. Contrary to the opinion of many, he believed and preached that salvation was obtained by the grace of God by faith alone, and not by works or morality. Though he believed that traditional morality was in the best interest of the United States, he also believed that morality alone could not save the individual, but that only the grace of God alone provided salvation for mankind.

The world and the United States are better because Jerry Falwell was on this earth. I believe he met his Lord today, and heard the words of Jesus: "Well done, good and faithful servant".

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Christians and the Republican Party, Part 1

I have been procrastinating, in regards to writing some of my thoughts on this subject. I will begin here to describe some of my current thoughts.

I am a Christian. I am a conservative, both socially and fiscally. I believe in a strong national defense. Currently, my political home is in the Republican party.

Conservative Christians became a force in the Republican party with the first election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980. A lot of Christians felt duped by Jimmy Carter in 1976, who campaigned as a born-again Christian, but governed as a social liberal. Dr. Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority, which organized a large amount of Christians in order to fight social ills such as legalized abortion. The Reagan campaign succeeded in bringing a large amount of socially conservative voters into the Republican column. It made for a winning coalition of business-oriented conservatives, old-line northern Republicans, small-government libertarians, and socially conservative Republicans, independents, and Democrats. Ronald Reagan won two terms with this coalition, which built a party strong enough to capture both houses of Congress in 1994.

This incarnation of the Republican party was able to hold the House for 12 years, and the Senate for all but a couple of those years. It was also able to impeach President Clinton (in the House), and elect George W. Bush president twice.

Now, on the heels of the loss of both houses of Congress, an increasingly unpopular war, and a looming presidential election in 2008, this coalition finds itself on thin ice. In future installments, I will analyze the implications, and the role of the Christian in modern-day American politics.

More to come....