A Place at the Table

"There is no question that the GOP owes the Religious Right, and we can't win without them now." The speaker was Lyn Nofziger, a former aide to Ronald Reagan. He was expressing a view that if Republicans know what's good for them, they'd better listen to the Christians who now make up a substantial portion of the Republican vote. And if they don't listen? According to some religious leaders—notably, Jim Dobson—Christians may abandon the GOP, or stay home on Election Day. Christians can make good on that kind of promise because we are beholden to no political party. The Gospel is never to be held hostage to any partisan agenda. The Republican party now seems to recognize that. Last spring Republican leaders held a "Values Summit" with religious leaders like Gary Bauer, Richard Land, Jim Dobson, and Randy Tate. At the summit's conclusion, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay announced the formation of a "Values Action Team" to be a liaison between religious groups and the party leadership. It was a good thing, and we're all in Jim Dobson's debt for his courageous lead. The team did promote pro-family bills during the last election, and some significant progress was made. The congressional leadership tried hard. But the political pundits have spun this into a story of the triumph of power politics—a case of Christians demanding that Republicans pay their dues to the folks who put them in office. Well, the press and pundits have got it all wrong. We Christians are not asking Republicans to adopt our agenda because we earned their allegiance by putting them into office. We're not asking for a pro-family agenda because we constitute a powerful special-interest group, like labor unions. We're not supporting any party in order to achieve political gains. We are asking for pro-family policies from both political parties because these policies are right for our country. Christians, remember, are the guardians of the 3,000-year-old moral tradition, largely influenced by Judeo-Christian revelation that nurtured Western civilization. That's why we speak out in behalf of these traditional human values. Think about what is most praiseworthy about life in America: respect for the person, beliefs about liberty and justice. These ideas had their origins in the biblical tradition. Christians have engaged in the political process to remind the culture and the politicians about the work our leaders ought to be about. We've done so because, in recent decades, government policies have ignored the most cherished values of our heritage. Liberty has been turned into licentiousness. But even if evangelicals had not cast one single vote for the party in power, we would still vigorously insist that its leaders support pro- family policies. We would take the same position with Republican or Democratic leaders, whether we had 25 percent of the vote (as some say we do), or just a tiny percentage as we did when Christians first opposed slavery. The media would like nothing better than to portray us as just another special-interest group making a heavy-handed attempt to force our "bigoted" agenda on others. Don't let them get away with it. Remind your neighbors why we are involved in politics. Not to gain power, but to get politicians to do what they ought to do because it is right. Because it conforms to the moral order by which we live as a civilized people.


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary