Aslan’s (Lewis, 1978, p. 124) pride sleeps peacefully. Viewing from a distant scope, Levin (2013) belies no need to alarm those who pass by. Those within the pride know full well that it is a nap of exhaustion, ravaged by betrayal from the body politic to which it gave birth. It snores disinterestedly as the jackals and hyenas of special interests tear at the carcass’ scraps of another bygone empire.
Aslan’s pride is massive and threatening, consisting of Roman Catholics and Protestant of all kinds. Other religious adherents also herd in the same direction on many things. A Gallup (2012) survey showed that 77% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. The Serengeti would be razed, if ever they moved in the same direction.
None dare wake them lest the freak show close. Deviant sexual practices would be either outlawed or labeled immoral. Plumes, paint, and skin would no longer parade through San Francisco, as an earsplitting roar would shame them. There would be no more acceptability to friends-with-privileges, abortion-on-demand, and no-fault divorce. Pornographers would likely be fined or incarcerated, product seized and destroyed, prosecutions for prostitution would stick, whoremongers punished, and pedophiles castigated. Sex traffickers of young girl-slaves would be imprisoned as the host fumigates of all such parasitic behaviors. Thieves, liars, warmongers, and those who oppress the poor in both the private and public sectors would run for cover. Laws that supported family fidelity and religious freedom would be passed, and cultural icons that erode its values would be assailed. So, sleep Aslan, sleep.
No political figure has risen the beast since Ronald Reagan. Yet like a hive of yellow jackets poked with a stick, elitists and political insiders frantically coalesced to chase off those corn-pone middle Americans, lest they get embarrassed at cocktail parties.
Thirty years later, almost none of the swelling promises that drove them to organize and vote have passed into law. Teachers still can’t pray with children in school, Roe v Wade was never overturned, most parents still can’t choose their child’s school much less curriculum. To add insult to neglect, Republicans had the audacity to nominate for president the governor that pushed through the template for Obamacare in the face of a mounting surge of TEA Party fervor made up in large part of those same church folk.
Pundits all echoed the conventional wisdom that social conservative issues were losers, and thus the Romney’s campaign ran the most antiseptic campaign in recent history… jobs, jobs, jobs they droned. It was thoroughly scrubbed clean of any mention of Christian social concerns, except an occasional rhetorical flourish to the vestiges of a bygone base. The Republican establishment’s ignorance of or contempt for basic Christian beliefs and values reached epic proportions as they nominated a leader of a religious sect that all Christendom affirms to be a cult, all the while conservative pundits threaten to blame these “social conservatives” if they don’t go out and vote for him. Understandably, many didn’t.
No Christian pundit believes the president to be a pastor-in-chief. Yet, all of them know that your values are influenced and derived from your worldview. It makes a difference in foreign policy if the next president believes that the United States is really the lost tribe of Israel as does Mormonism. The abject disdain for this monolithic voting block is beyond belief.
So in light of this, why on earth should we trust Levin’s strategy more than the political machinery? Upon a recent town meeting, Joel Pollack of Breitbart News noted the brilliance of Levin to avoid those pesky “social conservative” issues in the book (as cited on The Last Scoop, Aug. 16, 2013). None of the parties seem to want us involved. We have been lied to, pilloried, vilified, maligned, oppressed, marginalized, and ignored by all segments of the body politick. We’ve been called racists, homophobes, rubes, ignoramuses, gun-toting rednecks, sell-outs, Uncle Toms, theocrats, patriarchs, and the list goes on and on. It is completely understandable that many in the Christian community have resigned themselves to pietistic spiritual growth while Rome is burning.
I originally wrote this essay as a critique of Levin. Like normal theorists of the day, he minimizes the contributions of early Anglo-American Christianity to the design of the Federal government. After all, covenantalism far preceded Montesquieu and Locke, and were a normative part of the daily life of the American church that dominated the intellectual and social landscape at the time. Yet, there is not a single reference to its impact. Having read Ameritopia (2012), I once again expected the elevation of Enlightenment thinking and rationalism as the prominent sources for the Grand Design. Yet, the more I digested the work, the more convinced I became that although the justifications for his strategy are constructivist and rationalistic, the means and ends are in full harmony with the interests of the gospel and core beliefs of Christian thought.
It is my contention that Levin has used his massive knowledge of the Founders’ writings to provide a pathway to unravel the threat of centralized government and return to federalism. If you doubt that a threat exists, Catholic charities were the first to receive a shot across the bow in 2011, by the administration mandating they must distribute contraceptives. Yet, few have taken stock that by declaring the Health Care Act constitutional, the Supreme Court claimed government sovereignty over every person’s right to exist. The IRS is empowered to fine (tax) anyone who fails (i.e., does nothing) to purchase health insurance. Of course, failure to pay the tax at some point results in confiscation of property and/or imprisonment. The power to tax is the power to control. It is a claim of sovereignty.
Statists of both parties will sing from their usual hymnal joined by media elites, the victim industry, military-industrialists, and hordes of genuflectors, sycophants, and consultants in the discordant chorus. Strange bedfellows all, sharing only the common greed of sucking the pig dry. If you listen carefully, you can hear the crescendo growing already. “It will balkanize the country.” “It will weaken our defense.” “Southerners will resurrect racism.” “We beat down states’ rights already, and now it’s raising its ugly head again.” However, if you look behind the curtain, the Wizard is little more than a host of greedy, self-serving, power hungry people, making a lot of money at other people’s expense. Their howls are as hollow as their eyes.
Yet, it is true that Levin’s prescription will not heal the moral ills of society. Indeed, it will not solve the graft and corruption in Washington if we continue to vote in liars, thieves, and despots. It will not remove political biases in the Supreme Court, as long as the corruptible can pull the levers of power. On the other hand, it shows promise as to being able to dismantle the machinery that makes incumbency almost impossible to eradicate. Perhaps we can at least drain the swamp to get the alligators out.
What is difficult for political wonks to understand is that we are not Americans first. Just like the apostles before us, our ultimate allegiance is to Jesus Christ (Acts 17:7). Our Lord’s kingdom does not rise or fall at the ballot box. The death of the Democrat or Republican Party is of only tertiary concern. Our concern is not how well the party system fares, but how well we can live out God’s Commandments and advance the gospel to the ends of the earth.
On the other hand, part of that obedience calls on us to serve our neighbor and work toward their betterment. In our nation, we have the unique privilege to participate in the political process, and are responsible to do so as long as it serves the interest of the gospel.
By any metric within the panoply of Christian expression, the Federal system is critically ill, if not broken. Ninety trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities alone should attest to any rational person that bankruptcy is imminent if nothing is done. It calls for all good men and women to come to its aid. By God’s grace and the wisdom of our Founders we have been allowed to live the freest, most prosperous, and secure lives on earth. We needn’t take a wrecking ball to the old house, simply shore up what is lagging. Levin’s prescription is exactly that.
In The Liberty Amendments, Levin (2013) outlines the painfully obvious situation of a dysfunctional Federal government. His argument then proceeds to the Constitution’s Article V as the only rational redress of grievance, to empower the state as the intervening authority to curtail this out of control hydra. His agenda can never be accomplished, however, without the waking of Aslan’s pride – the American church. It is doubtful that with the amount of diversity in our ranks that we will subscribe to eleven Amendments. Yet, it may be possible to at least move us toward a unified voice regarding a call to amend the constitution and restore Federalism.
This cannot happen if we leave the conversation to conservative talk show hosts, think tanks, liberal bloggers, policy wonks, pundits, and political theorists. They speak “wonkish,” while the 77% Christians do not. These sound an alarm about quantitative easing and sequestration while people’s eyes glaze over.
The reason the democrats beat the stuffing out of republicans in 2012 is because the latter talked “wonkish.” While they were talking about free market economics, QE3, unemployment statistics, and trillion dollar deficits, Obama was talking about “fairness.” The American psyche has always sided with the underdog. We hate oppression and bullies. We understand and value fairness. Although we should, we care less about the policies of the Federal Reserve.
The Democratic Party has little interest in rolling back centralized government by-and-large. So, trying to convince them otherwise is a waste of the precious time left to reverse the damage. Republicans can’t even speak the common man’s language, much less awaken the church. They are still trying to make rational arguments to people who are fundamentally “homo religiosis” not “homo rationalis.” Which is not to say that Christians are not rational. Instead, they see the limits to rationality and are aware that assumptions about the cosmos are a necessary element to understanding.
If Aslan’s pride is to awaken, it will be that the pastors, priests, and parishioners do the awakening. It will be the appeal of the heart, in common man’s language – logical arguments to follow.
Levin, M. R. (2012). Ameritopia: The unmaking of America. New York, NY: Threshold Editions.
Levin, M. R. (2013). The liberty amendments: Restoring the American republic. New York, NY: Threshold Editions.
Lewis, C. S. (1978). The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Newport, F. (2012, December 24). In U.S.., 77% identify as Christian [Scholarly project]. In U.S., 77% Identify as Christian. Retrieved August 17, 2013, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/159548/identify-christian.aspx
The last scoop. (2013, August 16). Mark Levin talks about his new book with conservative panel on Hannity. The Right Scoop RSS. Retrieved August 17, 2013, from http://therightscoop.com/mark-levin-talks-about-his-new-book-with-conservative-panel-on-hannity/