The ‘Christian extremism’ of the center

Most people believe Bush stood for the values they hold. These aren’t extremist positions; they’re fundamental.

I suppose it has been long enough since the election to get a clearer analysis of what drove voters to re-elect President W. George Bush. There was a lot of talk about how moral values were a deciding factor in this election. I have heard much talk about Evangelical Christians coming out in droves and overrunning the Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., voters. Personally, I don’t think moral values were that much of a factor compared to the continuing effort to kill terrorists or the recovering economy. But values were a factor.

Bush got a large number of people to vote for him because his values closely matched their own. I know most people in the United States are against gay marriage. Most people in the United States believe in God, and most people in the United States have some level of relationship with Christ. Bush didn’t win over religious extremists; he just was the candidate that upheld the values that most Americans identify with in one way or another.

This is important, because many people see the Democratic Party as a party pushing for the removal of religion in public life. The continuing push to remove the Ten Commandments from public areas and to take any references to God out of public schools – including historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence – is correlated in my mind, and I’m certain in other minds, to the Democrats and liberalism. I don’t think most people want a purely secular public life – I don’t.

In France, they do. In France, you can’t wear a cross necklace over your shirt if you’re a student. France is pushing so hard to prevent anyone from being exposed to religion that it is interfering with the free practice of religion. That ridiculous fear of religion is something that doesn’t play well with most people in the United States.

Is it necessarily fair that the Democrats have been pinned with the secular movement? I would say no. I think Kerry is a believer. I think most Democrats are believers. But many in their party are not believers. I think this is a consistent and fair criticism of the Democratic Party. It’s not that Democrats are so incredibly left and out of touch, it’s just that they keep company with people who are too far to the left and are out of touch.

I personally think Democrats have a harder time seeing themselves as more liberal than the rest of the population. I know I am much more conservative than the average citizen. Do most liberals realize this? If they don’t, the Democratic Party might remain a minority party for a long time.

I also don’t want to be harsh to atheists. I used to be an atheist; I converted to Christianity three years ago. But please, to you secular humanist wimps: Toughen up already. If you can’t handle seeing the Ten Commandments or even a cross on a necklace, then you seriously need to re-evaluate your life. I was never offended by crosses or even the constant attempts at evangelism by my Christian friends. In the end, I feel those actions saved myself and my soul. But before my conversion, I was no more offended by Christian speech than I was at any other speech. That includes having to listen to liberal teachers constantly harp on how much I needed to do to help the poor.

The poor – that’s an issue many liberals point at to show how truly immoral conservatives really are. Liberals take great pride in the fact they spend billions of dollars on welfare. I question the efficacy of welfare. Shouldn’t we have an exit strategy in the war on poverty?

Even on this issue, conservatives themselves put their money where their ballots are. Red states give more to charity then do blue states. According to Catalogue for Philanthropy’s 2004 Generosity Index, the top 21 states for charitable giving are Bush states. New York is the first blue state to appear on the list in 26th place. Massachusetts finishes a distant 49th. Minnesota finishes a bit better in the 45th spot.

I digress. The issue is how did morals effect this election, and the answer is easy: Most people believe Bush stood for the values they hold. Marriage is between a man and a woman, faith in God is nothing to be scared of, it’s OK to kill terrorists before they kill us and charity is great, if it isn’t forced. These aren’t extremist positions; they’re fundamental.

Marty Andrade welcomes comments at [email protected]