Socially conservative but economically liberal

Luke Foster notes a new breed of Christian political activists.  They are social conservatives–pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious liberty–but they are liberal economically (wanting government programs that help the poor) and they are running as Democrats.

From New York City’s Uprising » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog:

New York City election headlines have been dominated by the bizarre escapades of the lecherous Anthony Weiner or to the suave front-running of Christine Quinn. Social conservatives in the Big Apple can easily feel depressed by the City’s self-satisfaction with libertinism. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 6 to 1, and Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota is hardly a social conservative.

Enter a new wave of economically liberal Christian pastors running as Democrats and taking a strong stand to uphold religious liberty, the sanctity of marriage, and the right to life. Largely Evangelical, these leaders from New York’s poorer and largely-minority neighborhoods are led by Fernando Cabrera and Rick del Rio. As Emily Belz reports, ten candidates for the City’s 51-seat council meet this description.

At a forum Tuesday evening hosted by Christian Union, Rev. Cabrera spoke of the Christian calling to politics in terms of taking up a cross to lead out of love for neighbor. He testified to the callousness of a dominant secularism incapable of seeing the impact of Christian faith on restoring dignity in marginalized communities, and to the horrific impacts of a broken marriage culture when young men turn to violence on the streets. Energized to politics after congregations across New York were banned from renting space in public schools in 2012—a decision that has since been reversed—Cabrera spoke with a profound love for his Bronx community and pointed out that far too few politicians have any familiarity or sympathy with the lives of the poor.

Well, why not?  Economically liberal but socially conservative is probably a good description of the official Roman Catholic positions.  Might this be a good strategy for Christians who want to impact the government in the most important issues, such as defending life?  Especially since the Republicans seem increasingly to want social conservatives to go away?

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.


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