Thursday, October 19, 2006

What are Christian Conservatives getting for their Vote

Marvin Olasky's latest article is about the David Kuo book coming out in the new year (apparently). Bits of it have been released which paint the Bush Administration and Karl Rove in a bad light when it comes to Conservative Christians. Olasky, unlike many of his colleagues in the Conservative Punditry (who are busy discovering that Kuo, speech writer for Bill Bennett, Bob Dole and others, was never really a Conservative), takes Kuo seriously.
To me, Kuo's book is valuable for its specific detail on how the Bush faith-based initiative went astray. Kuo notes that the 2001 Bush tax cut left out "the president's promised $6 billion per year in tax credits for groups helping the poor. Those tax credits had been the centerpiece of compassionate conservative efforts for years." But the White House, Kuo charges, decided that it was more important to cut the estate tax than to help the poor and decentralize poverty fighting. Not wanting to make the big tax bill any bigger, the Bush administration surprised key congressional leaders by pushing successfully to have the anti-poverty tax credits dropped.

Kuo, saying he still wants the compassionate conservative movement to succeed, hopes through his book to attract attention to its yet-unrealized potential: "If this hadn't come out now, how many conservatives would even have given it a single thought?" He wants to communicate to Christians: "Please understand that you are being used. Look shrewdly at that and remember, remember, remember that Jesus must come first."

He's right. Christians clearly need to be discerning and to accentuate biblical ways of helping widows and orphans. But the irony of Kuo's call for Christians to "fast" from politics is that it would increase the power of anti-Christian politicians. If the saints go marching out, others will march in unimpeded.
I've noted for a while how quickly the tax cut was passed verses how quickly abortion and gay marriage were ended. That said, of course I don't agree with the characterization of Democrats as Anti-Christian. I suppose the boat has already sailed on that one, but it's just not accurate.

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