Nick Uva posted a thoughtful response the other day to my inclusion of Pray Connecticut in a list of local conservative blogs:

Obviously we have a generally conservative tone but if we really are an important forum for the state’s Evangelical Christians (as we were generously described) we need to be conservative where the Gospel calls us to be conservative and liberal where the Gospel calls us to be.

Nick is right. The proclamation of the Gospel cannot be made captive to any political ideology, be it “liberal” or “conservative.” His comments remind me of a powerful essay by Christian philosopher J. Budziszewski, “The Problem With Conservatism:”

From time to time Christians may find themselves in tactical alliance with conservatives, just as with liberals, over particular policies, precepts, and laws. But they cannot be in strategic alliance, because their reasons for these stands are different; they are living in a different vision.

And yet we live in a society where liberals seems to hold small “o” orthodox Christians in contempt. Here is Ross Douthat, commenting on the new Pew survey showing that Americans who view the Democratic Party as friendly to religion dropped from 42% to 26% in the last three years:

What remains, I think, is something more subtle—the fact that the hyper-secularist voting bloc is exercising more influence in the Democratic party than at any point since the 1972 convention, in terms of donations, rhetoric, and votes. These are the Kossacks and the Lamonsters, the Internet-enabled, highly education, affluent, and deeply anti-religious voters who are making their presence known—and giving religious people the heebie-jeebies. This reality is obscured somewhat because all anyone in the press wants to talk about is the Iraq War, for understandable reasons, and so a Howard Dean or a Ned Lamont is defined, for the media at least, by their opposition to the invasion and their zeal to bring the troops home…But in reality, it’s not clear that Internet liberals are really pacifists, and certainly not in the way that McGovern was; they’re against the Iraq War, intensely and occasionally to the point of derangement, but I’m not so sure that this reflects an abiding dovishness so much as a visceral hatred for the Bush administration and all its works. And on fiscal issues, they’re definitely more center-left than lefty…But religion—ah, religion. Take a stroll through the lefty blogosphere, and it’s pretty clear that long after George W. Bush has passed (mercifully) into history, the Kossack hordes will still be united on at least one burning issue: the need to resist the looming theocracy. And these folks don’t just view religious conservatives as their political opponents; they actively loathe us, with a passion that exceeds even the sometimes over-the-top fear and loathing of secular humanists that you find on the Religious Right.

Looking at Connecticut’s lefty blogosphere I’m struck by how well Douthat’s observation holds up. Opposition to the Iraq War is a major—perhaps the major—focus. Yet local blogs that post as frequently in favor of the Iraq War as these liberal blogs post against it—say, Ex-Donkey or Blogmeister USA—are virtually ignored.

But FIC—with a focus on faith and family issues, not the Iraq War—provokes the sort of “active loathing” noted by Douthat. On Connecticut Local Politics, for instance, there is this:

But anyone who chooses to affiliate themselves with Brian Brown, the Family Institute of CT, hate politics, and the Radical Right, is not a “good man”. Period.
When I see Jarjura’s name on the masthead of the Family Institute of CT, that tells me all I need to know about him. He might as well be a Klan member to those of us who believe in women’s and gay rights.

And this:

If Brian Brown was a good Christian, he’d be spending his energy bringing CT together, and fighting for the less rich and the less powerful.

Instead, Brian is a tool, fighting false battles for the benefit of those who care most about money– and not about the average people who were the subject of Christ’s teachings.

And this:

But the Family Institute of CT, (that hate-mongering group), lists Colapietro as having voted in support of Civil Unions.

And this:

Brian Brown of the “Family Institute” of CT is a horse’s ass of a Republican. Any chance we can send him back to California??

And this:

Apparently, it’s Catholic Celebration of Marriage Week, which is as good an excuse as any for the Family Institute of Connecticut to write another blog post about gay marriage and society’s impending doom. I have a lot of tolerance for groups I don’t agree with and for other points of view–but not for these people, who cloak hardline dogma with psuedoscience and the illusion of reason.

And this:

If anyone wants a good laugh, wander over to the Family Institute blog. Absolutely hilarious that these freaks think they can gain a toe-hold in CT.

And this:

The folks over at the Family Institute of CT argue that we nutmeggers: Share in a Culture of Death, and that Marriage Was Under Attack last week. Anyone agree with these Loons of the Radical Right?

And this:

Anonymous, don’t let fringe groups like these [FIC] fool you…Christian fundamentalists, especially the Dobson-style fanatics, are a very small minority in New England, I’m glad to say.

Despite all the talk of the Iraq War, it is hatred of orthodox Christian morality—and of any politician or group supportive of it—that really motivates liberal activists. If, instead of Bush, it had been a pro-choice Democrat President who launched Operation: Iraqi Freedom would the Left be as incensed as they are today? To ask the question is to answer it.

So where does all this leave us? As Pray Connecticut’s Nick Uva says, we must be conservative where the Gospel calls us to be conservative and liberal where it calls us to be liberal—even at a time when liberals have broken off their historic ties with orthodox Christians and declared us the enemy. That is not easy, but it can be done—especially if we remember Budziszewski’s advice:

Citizenship is an obligation of the faith, therefore the Christian will not abstain from the politics of the nation-state. But his primary mode of politics must always be witness. It is a good and necessary thing to change the welfare laws, but better yet to go out and feed the poor. It is a good and necessary thing to ban abortion, but better yet to sustain young women and their babies by taking them into the fellowship of faith. This is the way the kingdom of God is built.

It is not by the world that the world is moved-yet how it pulls. Ah, God, help us let go of the heights and the depths, the thrones and dominions, the powers and principalities; to be not conservatives, nor yet liberals, but simply Christians. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.”

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