Posted by: nieophyte | September 29, 2008

Liberal=Emotional?

On a recent blog post that I wrote for the magazine I work at, I described some interesting trends occurring among young evangelical voters. (Although, in truth, many of the people I interviewed were not so young, the eldest being 60-something.) It seems that some evangelicals are no longer content to be conservative, party-line voters. Instead, they are adopting a broader, more comprehensive view of the issues, including the war, domestic and global poverty, foreign policy, etc., into their list of concerns as well as traditional wedge issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

I checked back on the blog post this morning to see some of the comments and was surprised to read this one, from “joel”:

Young evangelicals, and young people in general, will always tend to be more liberal. Like the quote attributed to Churchill “If you’re not liberal when you are young you don’t have a heart, and if you’re not conservative when you’re old, you have no brain”. Like my generation (Boomers) today’s young adults will have to learn the hard way what liberalism in power does to a society. If Obama wins and the Dems control congress, it will be a hard lesson for the young evangelicals who have embraced the progressive christian message. One which their liberal educations and emotion-based faiths will have ill-prepared them to handle.

I just thought I would post this because it really bothered me to know that such large, sweeping generalizations were being made about a demographic that I believe is growing increasingly complex, not through a “liberal education” whatever that might mean and “emotion-based faiths”, but rather through genuine “conversion experiences” that open their eyes to the myriad issues (read: problems) in this world that are being caused by many of the decisions made with blind faith in so-called “conservative” values. I know, because I’m one of them. I was a hard-core conservative for most of my formative years, ask Jadanzzy! He had to listen to me rant and rave about conservative values and why Bush is God’s man for president. And it has been a slow, painful reckoning over the past eight years. This was not an easy transition initiated by an inundation of “liberal” influence and sustained by blind emotion. No. It was a growing sense of betrayal, a mournful acknowledgment of mistakes made by the current administration, a prayerful reconsideration of the things God values that led me to where I am now …

Though I don’t know for sure, it seems like most of our readers here are “young(er)”. Without polarizing our audience, would it be fair, dear reader, to ask you to share with us what the most important issues are for YOU, in this upcoming election? What are you listening for the candidates to say, and why? And how are biblical truths informing your considerations?

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Responses

  1. I have made the opposite journey that you have, having been for most of my political life a pretty liberal voting person. I was at one time an advocate of socialism. I was never a fan of GW Bush nor his policies and my most recent vote was in the Democratic primary.

    To your question though, what matters in the upcoming election for me is that the government operate in such a way that leaves people to live lives of peace without fear. I want a government that respects human rights and creates space for human flourishing. I don’t want prosperity to be discouraged through taxation, and I don’t want profligacy to be encouraged through subsidization. I actually want a do-nothing president who will do his job of running the executive branch of government and let the blame and the responsibility for budgets, etc. go where it belongs – to the Congress – who really has more power than any other branch for change.

  2. Let’s just remember that the past eight years may not be the best way to take the measure of conservatism as it was originally conceived in previous decades. Many conservatives themselves will concede that the big-C conservatism/Republicanism that exists today in government no longer resembles the conservatism that they once knew. Give the last eight years a failing grade; maybe the GOP will dig deep and find itself again.


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