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Is the time right for a Ted Cruz?

March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz, while labeling his Christian conservative roots as “courageous conservatism” appeals to a section of the electorate that considers itself strongly to moderately Christian. His address today at Liberty University almost had the feel of an old-time camp meeting.

He has a lot of company on that platform, with many of the “maybe” candidates, including the so-called establishment candidate, Jeb Bush, emphasizing a return to principles defined largely by a belief in and reliance on traditional Biblical teachings like self-reliance, honesty, morality and frugality.

In a country where there is still a far larger majority of people who identify themselves as Christians than nonbelievers that sells. Given that there is a decidedly non-Christian threat coming out of the Middle East, the time for a candidate espousing a return to core Christian principles is probably more mainstream than at any time in at least the past 30 years.

A  26-page report published as the ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey) study in 2009, noted that the percentage of people self-identifying as believing in some form of Christian-based monotheistic values had diminished by 10% from 1990 to 2008.

That report concludes that the decline was largely driven by people who were rejecting all forms of religion in favor of secularization, rather than becoming  actively antagonistic to any particular doctrine. That trend seems to reject historical religion-inspired controls on behavior.

Regardless of the doctrine, laws everywhere are the result of some sort of boundary that arises from religious teachings. Even the radical Islamic terrorist movement justifies its actions by referring to their warped interpretation of some tenet in the teachings of Mohammed.

That’s the problem with religion in many people’s mind. It seems to be defined and interpreted not by a divine being but by plain old ordinary people. People with agendas that can always find a justification for some sort of control fitting their own needs, expressed as laws or codes of behavior.

As long as those laws and the religious teachings supposedly justifying their creation seem to be acceptable and effective for a large group of citizens, that moral fence seems to be fairly strong.

Where it all goes wrong is when reality contradicts doctrine, and that seems to have happened a lot in the past few decades.

As our ability to communicate on a national and global scale increased, it has been a lot easier to surmise that the people doing the preaching are sometimes more motivated by their human foibles than the teachings of their doctrines.

Charlatans or destructive zealots are well publicized, such as Jim and Tammy Baker’s fall from grace, or the warped mind control of Jim Jones that resulted in the 1974 mass suicides and homicides  in Guyana, giving many the idea that maybe no religion was better than too much.

Although painting with too broad a brush is always dangerous, it is at least interesting to note that the far left, all-government-all-the-time philosophy  in American politics gained a lot of support in the past 30 years or so, and may well have had at least a subconscious effect on the last two presidential elections.

While not exactly embracing hedonism, an awful lot of people feel that they have to find a way to get through this life before they worry about what’s beyond the veil. It makes some sort of sense that as people ceased to feel protected by their religious values, they sought protection or at least solace from some other omnipotent source, and the government was the next best thing.

That hasn’t really worked out so well either, and that may set the stage for  a swing back the other way.

Given the reality of an administration that represents a secular philosophy that is either unwilling or unable to confront danger, or actively acquiescent to the forces creating it, it’s definitely time to try something else.

Maybe that will be Ted Cruz, but this next election is going to set a course of some kind, and one can only hope it will be on a corrective  heading.

From → op-ed

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