One might reasonably argue that a very good way to protect marriage is to remain faithful to one's spouse, but in politics that sort of behavior won't raise money for the interest groups or votes for the Republicans. In this case, "family values" wasn't about Sherwood's personal example, but his record of keeping homosexuals from marrying. Wouldn't it do more for the family to strengthen heterosexual marriage before telling others how to live their lives? Why have we seen so many politicians (and some clergy) who talk about "family values" turn out to be the worst practitioners of them?
Jim Wallis also writes that voters recognized that while the economy may be good and the stock market sets records, "there are still too many being left out, especially working families. It is significant that in all six states where an initiative to raise the minimum wage was on the ballot, it passed, in most cases by overwhelming margins."
President Bush has indicated that he might agree with the incoming Democratic congressional majority to raise the minimum wage as an act of compromise and to demonstrate his willingness to work with Democrats.
Conservative Christians are fond of quoting God: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8). Could it be that the way of politics is man's way and, thus, not God's way?
What is God's way? Isn't it helping the poor through transformation and assisting them to do for themselves? Isn't it feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison and caring for widows and orphans? Would such behavior, rather than partisan politics, recommend their faith more highly to those who do not currently share it, or who do share it, but apply it differently?
With a change in focus, more people might want to hear why conservative Christians are faithful and, having heard, perhaps embrace that faithfulness. The culture might then reflect real "family values" from the bottom up, possibly even touching politicians in Washington.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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