Sarah is in the news again. Her daughter gave birth but has decided not to marry the baby’s father, at least not now. Now the Palin family is parading on television telling their story. Talk radio is having a feeding frenzy. It’s an open invitation to a morality fest. (Why would anyone do this unless they are campaigning?)
I am theologically, politically, and fiscally conservative. Since we all get to choose our own label and evaluate everyone else’s, that means some would say I am a flaming liberal while others would say I am a right-wing nutcase. As a conservative, and I gladly claim the label, I believe strongly in God’s standards for morality which include the one man/one woman definition of marriage, the antiquated idea that people ought to keep their clothes on before they get married, and other primitive values that have held societies together since creation. There are a lot of people who think like I do who feel that the political parties have thrown morality under the bus for the sake of political expediency.
Enter Sarah Palin.
She energized a lot of people because she had the courage to articulate conservative values on a national platform. Hordes of conservatives went chasing after her. (I heard several men say they would vote for her because they thought she was good looking. How is that for conservative values?) Now we have the daily chronicles of the life and times of Sarah Palin in the media.
I like Palin, but I think this whole ordeal shows just how bankrupt political conservatism is, and how we are not much different in our reflexes than liberals. Here’s why.
1. Everyone is looking for a leader in whom they can trust. We have been befuddled by President Obama’s rock star status, but the conservative infatuation with Sarah Palin is no different. I wonder if the hope of all Americans has been misplaced in humanity. Could it be that we conservatives have gone off to worship at Dan and Bethel?
2. Remember when all the conservatives loathed the idea of a woman becoming president when the woman being discussed was Hillary Clinton? Pre-campaign, I remember all the rhetoric about PMS in the White House, the inability of women to lead, the disregard for women around the world, and so on. But when a young, attractive, conservative with wit stepped up to the mic, we all tuned in and jumped on the wagon. Consistency, thou art a jewel, even in the snout of a bulldog with lipstick.
3. I believe righteousness exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34), and we need national leaders who will do their best to steer our country accordingly. But I am not sure we can muster enough votes to make our nation righteous. More people than not voted against conservative values in the last election. Righteousness will not come through politics or social activism. (Please hear this, young conservatives.) We expect our national leaders to make us righteous when that’s not their job. If our nation is in the morality tank, the problem is not Washington. The problem is that we don’t have enough churches in enough places.
4. The only way a person can live the kingdom life of Christianity is to be born again of water and Spirit. Jesus said that (John 3:3,5). Our nation’s hope is not in politics; it’s in evangelism. We need to put equal amounts of time, money, and organization behind evangelistic (the modern word is “missional”) efforts as we do political efforts.
5. Conservatives have difficulty separating their faith from their politics. I love America and I believe in the values upon which it was founded. It still is the greatest country on earth. I also believe we should fight for righteousness at every level. However, America is not the church. I am foremost a citizen of heaven and secondly of the United States of America.
Hopefully someone like Sarah Palin will occupy the White House someday. In addition to knowing how to gut a moose and affirming my moral values, I hope this person understands a little bit about economics and foreign policy.
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