Christian Worldview

One Beneath Every Bed?

Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the religious right? If you're old enough to remember the McCarthy hearings, that question ought to send a chill down your spine. But it's one our cultural elites seem to think we ought to be asking citizens who participate in politics—elites who portray Christians as bigoted theocrats intent on destroying democracy. Take a recent article in the Washington Post by Tom Shales, a Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic. Listen to what Shales has to say about a CBS report on the Christian Right: "Perhaps most troubling," Shales writes, "is CBS's visit to Merrimack, NH, where Christian conservatives managed to gain a majority on the local school board." According to Shales, the board "promptly set out about imposing their beliefs on the supposedly public schools." Now, am I missing something, or is "imposing beliefs" not the usual response to winning elections? Isn't that what President Clinton did when he was elected in 1992? Shales continues: "As one watches . . . the tactics used by the religious right, it's hard not to compare them with tactics used in the past by communists and other subversive organizations." Shales says those tactics include "agitation to stir up public discord, infiltration of public institutions, [and] even the use of misleadingly named front organizations . . . [designed] to bring more school[s] under the control of the religious right." My gracious, how sinister! Now, I'm the old White House hatchet man, and I'm supposed to be an expert on hatchet jobs. But Shales puts me to shame. I never could have done anything this effective. But if the reporters who write these scurrilous stories read their history, they would know that Christian involvement in politics to promote Christian values goes back to the very founding of our country. In 1802, Alexander Hamilton proposed "a Christian constitutional society to promote Christianity and constitutional government." And that was just the beginning of Christian participation in public life. It was Christians who built hospitals, colleges, and orphanages. We organized civil rights campaigns and societies to end child labor in factories. Not long ago, liberal congressmen called conservative Christians "fire-breathing enemies of democracy" who shouldn't be involved in politics. Their comments are reminiscent of England's Lord Melbourne, who took part in the Great Debates in Parliament 200 years ago. William Wilberforce and other Christian legislators were working to end the most barbaric practice of modern times: slavery. Lord Melbourne replied, "Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade public life." I say thank God religion invaded public life then, because it brought an end to the slave trade in England and America. And thank God religion is invading public life today. So when you hear Christians accused of sinister assaults on democracy simply by taking part in the political process, remind your neighbors that Christians have a long history of vital participation in the public arena, beginning with the founding of our nation—one that's led not to a tyrannical theocracy, but to a more just and compassionate


Chuck Colson


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

Sign up for the Daily Commentary