The Christian right’s candidate: Ron Paul?

The Values Voters Summit is a convention of Christian political activists that takes place in Washington, D. C., each year.  This weekend the various Republican presidential candidates came hat in hand.  After their presentations, a straw poll was conducted.  The winner with 37% of the vote?  Ron Paul.

Such a large percentage of Christian conservatives are favoring the libertarian who wants to legalize drugs and prostitution?  Some are saying the poll was skewed by Paul supporters who crashed the party.  And yet, I can see this.  I know quite a few Christian political activists and a lot of them, including some on this blog, favor Paul.

What I am seeing is that the Christian right, political ideology, and politics itself are all getting more complicated than they used to be.  And that’s a good thing.

Values Voter straw poll organizers suggest a fix in Ron Paul’s win – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

Romney’s Mormonism – Washington Post

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Eric Brown

    This is total speculation on my part because I tend not to get into discussions with the “Christian Right” – but might Ron Paul’s state’s rights focus be appealing? Instead of trying to win some national battle where you have to trump the godless ________, a state-based focus would let people in their own state *fix* their state without federal interference. Might it be a matter of seeing Paul as letting them say, “Y”all do what you want, but as for me and my state….”?

  • Eric Brown

    This is total speculation on my part because I tend not to get into discussions with the “Christian Right” – but might Ron Paul’s state’s rights focus be appealing? Instead of trying to win some national battle where you have to trump the godless ________, a state-based focus would let people in their own state *fix* their state without federal interference. Might it be a matter of seeing Paul as letting them say, “Y”all do what you want, but as for me and my state….”?

  • SKPeterson

    Paul’s position is that most federal laws restrict the freedoms of the various states to legislate as they see fit. Now, this frightens many people – they’ve been bulldozed into believing that any shifting of the balance of power from D.C. to the states will immediately usher in Jim Crow, if not legalize slavery outright, as well as curtail the ability of women to leave the home without the express written permission of their husbands or fathers. Paul also supports turning the abortion issue over to the states and actually means it. From this standpoint, some on the Christian right are waking up to the fact that the most consistent pro-life candidate is Paul and that the real action to end abortion will be undertaken at the local level.

  • SKPeterson

    Paul’s position is that most federal laws restrict the freedoms of the various states to legislate as they see fit. Now, this frightens many people – they’ve been bulldozed into believing that any shifting of the balance of power from D.C. to the states will immediately usher in Jim Crow, if not legalize slavery outright, as well as curtail the ability of women to leave the home without the express written permission of their husbands or fathers. Paul also supports turning the abortion issue over to the states and actually means it. From this standpoint, some on the Christian right are waking up to the fact that the most consistent pro-life candidate is Paul and that the real action to end abortion will be undertaken at the local level.

  • Phillip

    Funny as the libertarians are philosophically the furthest from Thomism or any other traditional Christian political philosophy. The “Christian Right” may want good traditional morals, but they’re certainly not voting based on Christian political ideas.

  • Phillip

    Funny as the libertarians are philosophically the furthest from Thomism or any other traditional Christian political philosophy. The “Christian Right” may want good traditional morals, but they’re certainly not voting based on Christian political ideas.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Dr. Veith, you write: “Such a large percentage of Christian conservatives are favoring the libertarian who wants to legalize drugs and prostitution?”
    —-
    With all due respect, I’m not sure if you wrote that statement to mimic the left/right media’s incorrect caricature of Ron Paul’s views, or if that is what you personally really think. I’m hoping the former. If you can find me a direct quote of Ron Paul stating that he personally “wants” legalized and prostitution, I would love to see it. As others here have pointed out, what Ron Paul really “wants” is for all such matters to be decided on the state level, rather than federal level, which has no business deciding such things. This arguably is the Constitutional view as layed out in the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” As for this fear-mongering tactic put out there by the media/neoconservative-controlled Republican party that if Ron Paul gets elected, drugs/prostitution will be legalized, is simply nonsense, that is, unless one thinks that the states to whom the matter would be turned (even if a Pres. Ron Paul could manage to get such done) will suddenly legalize such. This is as nonsense as the recent sentiment fueled by the neoconservative right-wing media that Ron Paul must be pro-terrorist, simply because he demands that the Constitution be followed in not simply assasinating an American citizen who is a suspected terrorists without first giving him a fair trial. (Ron Paul stated on that matter that this suspect probably was a terrorist, and if so should be punished/imprisoned, but just that like all American citizens, he first should have the right to a fair trial.)

    Also, a case could be made that Ron Paul’s strictly-constitutional policies could actually help the cause of those of us who are Pro-Life. If matters continue to be decided on the federal level, ala legalized abortion, what happens when more wicked things like legal abortion are mandated/imposed from on high down to the states? I would much rather “hedge my bets” on the state and local levels than the federal level. So would Ron Paul.

    Indeed, call me “one of those avid Ron Paul supporters”, but please don’t call me ignorant. I remain a staunch confessional Lutheran pastor, and I used to be the most fervent neoconservative out there, an avid National Review reader and occasional Fox News watcher, until I started to study and to think through things, both in Constitutional matters and on economics. Also, while I used to be “all in” for whatever the US wished to do abroad, I’ve come to be very concerned about this “pre-emptive, perennial war nation-building” foreign policy, and am surprised not more “A-millenial” Lutherans can’t see how pervasive and influential the false spirit of Pre-Millenial Dispensationalism and Jewish Zionism really is in determining this “Israel-first” foreign policy, so much so that we’re willing to ignore the Constitution in fighting undeclared war after undeclared war. I find the attitude of many Republican voters that the current, overgrown Federal Government which increasingly snubs the Constitution and continues to act without accountability is “ok as long as Republicans are in power” simply alarming. Be careful what you wish for!!! “Do not put thy trust in princes” (Ps. 146:3)

  • JunkerGeorg

    Dr. Veith, you write: “Such a large percentage of Christian conservatives are favoring the libertarian who wants to legalize drugs and prostitution?”
    —-
    With all due respect, I’m not sure if you wrote that statement to mimic the left/right media’s incorrect caricature of Ron Paul’s views, or if that is what you personally really think. I’m hoping the former. If you can find me a direct quote of Ron Paul stating that he personally “wants” legalized and prostitution, I would love to see it. As others here have pointed out, what Ron Paul really “wants” is for all such matters to be decided on the state level, rather than federal level, which has no business deciding such things. This arguably is the Constitutional view as layed out in the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” As for this fear-mongering tactic put out there by the media/neoconservative-controlled Republican party that if Ron Paul gets elected, drugs/prostitution will be legalized, is simply nonsense, that is, unless one thinks that the states to whom the matter would be turned (even if a Pres. Ron Paul could manage to get such done) will suddenly legalize such. This is as nonsense as the recent sentiment fueled by the neoconservative right-wing media that Ron Paul must be pro-terrorist, simply because he demands that the Constitution be followed in not simply assasinating an American citizen who is a suspected terrorists without first giving him a fair trial. (Ron Paul stated on that matter that this suspect probably was a terrorist, and if so should be punished/imprisoned, but just that like all American citizens, he first should have the right to a fair trial.)

    Also, a case could be made that Ron Paul’s strictly-constitutional policies could actually help the cause of those of us who are Pro-Life. If matters continue to be decided on the federal level, ala legalized abortion, what happens when more wicked things like legal abortion are mandated/imposed from on high down to the states? I would much rather “hedge my bets” on the state and local levels than the federal level. So would Ron Paul.

    Indeed, call me “one of those avid Ron Paul supporters”, but please don’t call me ignorant. I remain a staunch confessional Lutheran pastor, and I used to be the most fervent neoconservative out there, an avid National Review reader and occasional Fox News watcher, until I started to study and to think through things, both in Constitutional matters and on economics. Also, while I used to be “all in” for whatever the US wished to do abroad, I’ve come to be very concerned about this “pre-emptive, perennial war nation-building” foreign policy, and am surprised not more “A-millenial” Lutherans can’t see how pervasive and influential the false spirit of Pre-Millenial Dispensationalism and Jewish Zionism really is in determining this “Israel-first” foreign policy, so much so that we’re willing to ignore the Constitution in fighting undeclared war after undeclared war. I find the attitude of many Republican voters that the current, overgrown Federal Government which increasingly snubs the Constitution and continues to act without accountability is “ok as long as Republicans are in power” simply alarming. Be careful what you wish for!!! “Do not put thy trust in princes” (Ps. 146:3)

  • MichaelZ

    Breaking News!: Ron Paul pays for 4 busloads of supporters to attend Values Voter Summit! More at 11! or not…

  • MichaelZ

    Breaking News!: Ron Paul pays for 4 busloads of supporters to attend Values Voter Summit! More at 11! or not…

  • JunkerGeorg

    @MichaelZ,

    Even your comment were true, at least it would be Ron Paul paying for it (or rather, his numerous private citizen supporters by their small contributions.) Now, the unspoken news is that Goldman Sachs pays for Mitt Romney. :)

  • JunkerGeorg

    @MichaelZ,

    Even your comment were true, at least it would be Ron Paul paying for it (or rather, his numerous private citizen supporters by their small contributions.) Now, the unspoken news is that Goldman Sachs pays for Mitt Romney. :)

  • http://terry.ipearson.net Terry Pearson

    I am one of those Christians that support Ron Paul.

    I think that we have traveled a dangerous road by giving government the role of “enforcing” Christian virtue. I think that too often, people now think that the government is the final judge of right and wrong. They fail to look toward Christ.

    People need to get out of the mindset that removing the law to do something is an endorsement of behavior. People should be free to do things, then out of love for Christ, reject such behaviors on a personal level.

    One note, Ron Paul is strongly against abortion specifically because it harms another person. He is unwavering on this because his philosophy is “do no harm” to others.

  • http://terry.ipearson.net Terry Pearson

    I am one of those Christians that support Ron Paul.

    I think that we have traveled a dangerous road by giving government the role of “enforcing” Christian virtue. I think that too often, people now think that the government is the final judge of right and wrong. They fail to look toward Christ.

    People need to get out of the mindset that removing the law to do something is an endorsement of behavior. People should be free to do things, then out of love for Christ, reject such behaviors on a personal level.

    One note, Ron Paul is strongly against abortion specifically because it harms another person. He is unwavering on this because his philosophy is “do no harm” to others.


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