Monday, May 28, 2012
I discovered this book while watching the two authors talk about it on Huckabee. It caught my interest because one of the authors, Jay Richards, is a Catholic theologian and the other author, James Robison, is a prominent Protestant evangelist. I was pleased to see these two highly thought of Christian men put aside their theological differences and find unity in the serious political, social, and moral concerns in our country. As the title of the book indicates, issues of faith, family, and freedom are central issues where all Christians can come together and unite. This book takes a look at several problems in our country from a christian perspective and proposes conservative answers to these problems. As a Christian and a politically conservative person myself, I found their arguments to be right on for the most part. I would be curious to know how convincing their argument is to more moderate or liberal readers. It is time for all Christians to unite in defense of faith, family, and freedom in this country and around the world. Below are some of my notes I took while reading the book. As with most books I read, I would certainly recommend this book especially to those of you who are interested in politics and how our faith can and should form our political beliefs.
I am not sure which author is talking. There is no clear distinction between the two authors. I guess this is on purpose to present the case in a unified voice.
Pg. 7 - I like this quote. - "Not to stand is to stand" said Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Pg. 23 - We have a government because of sin. I found this to be very thought provoking and true.
Pg. 28 - We legislate morality but do not legislate every moral issue. Our laws shape morality.
Pg. 32 - "If we all do whatever we want, we won't be free to do what we ought." Freedom is often misunderstood, and I think the above quote is very important to keep in mind.
Chapter 5 - The authors address the problems with Pacifism and why in their opinion it does not match up with Christian ideals. The authors also suggest that a strong national defense is one of the few primary roles of the government. I agree in principle that national defense is one of the primary roles of government, but I think there is some room for disagreement about how best to defend our country. I believe that we must exhaust all peaceful options before making the decision to go to war, and that war should be undertaken only when absolutely necessary to protect our freedoms. I don't think the authors disagree with the principle, but there can be some discussion on what it means to exhaust all possible peaceful options.
Pg. 74 - Consolidating power into the hands of a central authority, even when implemented by a good man for good reasons (such as the story of Joseph in the Bible), can lead to tragic unintended consequences including slavery.
Pg. 80 - "A government big enough to give you everything you want," warned former President Ford, "is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."
Pg. 84 - "Most voters only support cutting the budget on other people." - The debt crisis in this country is scary. We need to make dramatic changes immediately, but we will only be able to make the necessary changes if we as a people abandon our selfish ways. We will all have to make some sacrifices in the present to avoid destruction in the near future.
Chapter 7 - 9 - The chapters on Life, Marriage and Family are probably the three best chapters in the book. The authors make some of the best arguments for pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family policies that I have ever read. They make a very persuasive case on these most important social issues and for that I applaud them!
Chapter 10 - A child's education is first and foremost the responsibility of parents and families. Government should have a very limited role, and parents should have freedom to choose how their children are educated. I found it very interesting to learn that government subsidies for education began with the intention of dissuading parents from sending children to Catholic schools. The authors suggested watching the documentary, Waiting for Superman, for those interested in learning more about our problems with public education.
Chapter 15 - Although I understand some of the benefits and rationale, globalization still worries me a little. Maybe this is a weakness on my part, but I am not fully convinced of their argument to eliminate all "protectionist" policies such as food subsidies and all tariffs. I think the issue of globalization is complicated and maybe the authors oversimplified the issue.
Chapter 16 - On this issue of immigration, I am not completely sold on their argument especially coming on the heals of the chapter on globalization. The authors are supportive of sending jobs outside the country where products and services can be delivered and made more efficiently. It seems they have a different perspective when the labor wants to relocate. I understand the reasons why we can't have an open boarder and the importance of rule of law, but it seems to me that an extremely strict immigration policy is at least in some ways like the protectionist policies in the previous chapter which the authors are so forcefully against. I think this issue of immigration is one that needs more prayerful consideration from all Christians.
Chapter 17 - I agree with most of their points about poverty and wealth, however I think that at times the authors could be more persuasive. People prefer to come to conclusions on their own rather than be told how they should think.
Pg. 289 - "Much large-scale environmental activism is more about left-wing politics than protecting the environment."
Conclusion - I am glad to see that the authors reinforced that the first principle of faith, family and freedom is that Every Human Being Has Equal Value and Dignity. Amen!
Pg. 313 - "The government is charged with protecting our rights. It's not our mommy". - Funny and true.
As we approach this most important election in November, please keep in mind the importance of faith, family and freedom in this country. We have seen the destruction our current president has already done to issues of faith, family and freedom. Things will only get worse if he gets four more years without having to worry about getting reelected. Conservative values may not always line up 100% with Christian values, but on the most important issues of our day Conservative values are in line with Christian values.
If you are at all interested in politics and how faith should form our political beliefs, please do yourself a favor and pick up this book.