The 2000 Presidential race is in a virtual dead heat at the time of this
writing. *The religious majority of America (namely, anyone claiming Christianity
as their religion) seems to differ widely amongst members, while leaning
toward Republican candidate Bush overall. That, of course, is only a part
of the larger picture for only one of the many campaigns. But for voters,
Christians in particular, what can be said about elections in general--how
we view them and our place of participation in them?
*According to a poll by George Barna in September, those who considered themselves "born-again Christians" were supporting Bush heavily, while decided "evangelicals" supported him almost exclusively. Other "Protestants" split about 2/3 for Bush, 1/3 for Gore, while "Catholics" were evenly split between the two candidates at 49 percent.
Instant polls and focus groups, often crafted (and almost exclusively interpreted) by the press, seem to drive elections these days. "Does he look presidential?" "Is he 'attacking' or 'going negative'?" These questions become all-important. But is that as it should be? How have the public's assumptions and attitudes about politics--campaigning in particular--been shaped by "campaign by soundbite" and canned debates? Further, how do Americans' ideas of the role of government affect elections or vice versa?
Our special focus attempts to move readers of all political
persuasions beyond easy stereotyping into a an examination of a broad
range of important issues. It is designed to help us distinguish good
political thinking from bad, while offering some breadth of opinion. We
want to pursue issues deeper than the familiar stump speech mantras while
gleaning historical and philosophical perspectives. —Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University The Problem With
Liberalism The Problem
With Conservatism Politics and Religion Pulling the Lever: Our First
Civic Duty The Hope of Heaven, The
Hope of Earth The Hillary Ad: Trading on
the Tasteless A Christian View of Politics,
Government, and Social Action Ralph Reed's Real
Agenda The Real Character of the Executive
(Federalist No. 69, March 1788) America Shrugged The Lost Art of Debate Past Leadership U Special
Focus Go here to
see our past Special Focus features.
The author considers the philosophic principles of liberalism.
The author criticizes what he believes are the core principles of conservatism.
This essay examines the role of politics and religion, and deals with the question of whether you can legislate morality. It concludes with biblical principles for social involvement.
I can't tell you, my BreakPoint listeners, how much I envy you today. Why? Because as a convicted felon, I cannot vote. Today is Election Day (written in 1998), and your first civic duty is to vote! If you don't vote, you are abandoning the first tenet of the biblical command to be a responsible citizen. I won't tell you whom to vote for, because I never endorse candidates. But I will say that whether you vote Democratic, Republican, or Independent, you should look at one overriding criterion this year: Character.
Schonborn investigates the following dilemma: "The real question is whether [the] tension [between politics and the Church] is good and useful, or harmful and reprehensible. What direction, then, ought the Church to take? If she concentrates on the hope of life after death as her proper task, she is accused of a lack of responsibility for life here on earth. If she becomes more involved in temporal affairs, she is criticized for forgetting her orientation to eternal life.""
To Be Citizens Again
William A. Schambra
Many people vote for a candidate based on his or her position on welfare issues. Since the New Deal, it has been common to assume that the government should be responsible for the well-being of all citizens. At one time Americans looked to what may be called "mediating structures" to help those in need. Perhaps it is time to reconsider helping the needy primarily through volunteer efforts.
It may be the most outrageous political ad in this campaign, even though few people have actually seen it. I'm talking about that infamous Hillary ad. And the Christians who created it ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Anderson gives a Christian view on government and its relation to human nature.
Richard John Neuhaus
Fr. Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of First Things, provides this review of Ralph Reed's book "Active Faith: How Christians Are Changing the Soul of American Politics." The reviewer provides insight into the broader issues that the book only mentions in passing, the general principles and problems of Christian action in the political world.
Hamilton describes the nature of the American presidency as laid out in the Constitution--as the office of president was just getting underway. He compares it with British monarchy. The power of impeachment is brought up as a key difference between the two.
Bob Jones IV
Two years ago, Republicans counted on America's sense of disgust over presidential misdeeds to propel them to new electoral heights. It didn't happen and there was no Plan B - a positive agenda - so the Grand Old Party barely held on to its congressional majority. Looking back at those mid-term elections only two years past, what can we gather from the misreads of 1998? It may prove instructive to look back at some congressional fallout in this presidential election year.
Gene Edward Veith
A contrast and comparison of today's debates with the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of a century and a half ago. Veith contends that the present-day "debate" format encourages cynicism that renders us incapable of the logical and rhetorical skills true debating once did.
Measure of Rulers
Originally featured for President's Day and similar holidays, this collection recognizes our past presidents and what made them presidential.
We would love to get your feedback on this special focus. Please tell us what you think.
—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University
The Problem With
Politics and Religion
Pulling the Lever: Our First
The Hope of Heaven, The
Hope of Earth
The Hillary Ad: Trading on
A Christian View of Politics,
Government, and Social Action
Ralph Reed's Real
The Real Character of the Executive
(Federalist No. 69, March 1788)
The Lost Art of Debate
Past Leadership U Special
Go here to see our past Special Focus features.