Recently, a Wall Street Journal poll announced that both political parties—Republicans and Democrats—are now held in low regard by the American people. Usually if the fortunes of one party decline, the other party increases—sort of a zero sum game. Now, however, for the first time in polling history, both parties come up in negative territory.
Why would this be? Well, the driver who took me to do a CNN broadcast recently gave me a hint. He didn’t know who
When ideology begins to replace revealed truth as the basis for governing a society, you inevitably have the kind of polarization we have in
This all started when moral relativism took root in America, beginning in the sixties on the campuses and then invading popular culture—back when Time magazine asked that provocative question, “Is God dead?” When this happened, the overarching standards of truth and moral behavior historically governing our society were undermined. And forty years of aggressive secularism since then have simply erased the idea of moral absolutes—no such thing as truth; everything is a matter of personal preference.
This eliminates the possibility of reasoned, intelligent discourse. Since people are attracted to different ideologies, all we can do is clash. So every issue about how we govern ourselves, or what our standards ought to be, ends up in a titanic wrestling match.
The American public is rightly disenchanted with this poor excuse for a political process. And while I would like to blame the politicians, I can’t. They are simply reflecting what has happened in our broader culture—the death of truth, the lack of any common standard by which we can judge what we do. The tragedy is, of course, that politicians will continue to lose stature in the public’s eye with the over-the-top rhetoric we saw in the
As Christians, we should be the first to recognize that ideology—substituting human schemes for revealed truth—is the enemy of the Gospel, and the enemy of historic conservatism: conservatism not as political ideology, but as a respect for tradition, custom, a reliance upon the past, a belief in natural law and the religious underpinnings for society.
Well, how do you change a culture? You change it one person at a time. We start explaining to our neighbors why things are happening the way they are, why they are disillusioned with politics. We have a special obligation to talk about how the death of truth and the secularizing of
John Harwood, “Public Losing Faith in Bush, But Not in the Iraq War,” Wall Street Journal,
“Red and Blue America,” CD of Charles Colson’s speech on political divisions in
BreakPoint Commentary No. 050513, “Beyond Divisions: Living in a Red and Blue America.”
Charles Colson with
“How Should We Talk?: Religion and Public Discourse,” an Ethics and
The BreakPoint “Role of Government” information packet includes booklets addressing “The Causes of Virtue”; “The Social Necessity of a Moral Consensus”; “Creating the Good Society”; and more.