Iowa radio news director Robert Leonard writes in The New York Times today,
I'm a native Iowan and reporter in rural Marion County, Iowa. I consider myself fairly liberal. My family has mostly voted Democratic since long before I was born. To be honest, for years, even I have struggled to understand how these conservative friends and neighbors I respect—and at times admire—can think so differently from me, not to mention how over 60 percent of voters in my county could have chosen Mr. Trump.
Political analysts have talked about how ignorance, racism, sexism, nationalism, Islamophobia, economic disenfranchisement and the decline of the middle class contributed to the popularity of Mr. Trump in rural America. But this misses the deeper cultural factors that shape the thinking of the conservatives who live here.
Hearing Mr. [J.C.] Watts was an epiphany for me. For the first time, I had a glimpse of where many of my conservative friends and neighbors were coming from. I thought, no wonder Republicans and Democrats can't agree on things like gun control, regulations or the value of social programs. We live in different philosophical worlds with different foundational principles.
While many blame poor decisions by Mrs. Clinton for her loss, in an environment like this, the Democratic candidate probably didn't matter. And the Democratic Party may not for generations to come. The Republican brand is strong in rural America—perhaps even strong enough to withstand a disastrous Trump presidency.
Rural conservatives feel that their world is under siege, and that Democrats are an enemy to be feared and loathed. Given the philosophical premises Mr. Watts presented as the difference between Democrats and Republicans, reconciliation seems a long way off."
Mr. Leonard describes exactly what is causing the headache. Democrats and Republicans "live in different philosophical worlds, with different foundational principles."
Last week, Michael Wear, former Obama White House faith-outreach director, all but said the same thing:
The Democratic Party used to welcome people who didn't support abortion into the party. We are now so far from that, it's insane. This debate, for both sides, is not just about the abortion rate; it's not just about the legality of it.
It's a symbolic debate. It's symbolic on the pro-choice side about the autonomy of women and their freedom to do what they want with their bodies. On the pro-life side, they care not just about the regulations around abortion, but whether there's a cultural affirmation of life.
Even the symbolic olive branches have become less acceptable.
When King David's oldest son Absalom led an insurrection against his father, David quickly began to muster and marshal his troops. A.W. Pink in his classic, The Life of David, wrote, "Yet let it be duly noted that strong faith did not produce either sloth or carelessness. David acted with diligence and wisdom: marshaling his forces, putting them in good order, dividing them to best advantage and placing them under the command of his most experienced generals."
Dr. Bruce K. Waltke's insight on the spiritual battle facing America's Believers in Commentary on Genesis is worth repeating: "The serpent's final defeat under Messiah's heel (Genesis 3:15) is delayed to effect God's program of redemption through the promised offspring. In the interim, God leaves Satan to test the fidelity of each succeeding generation of the covenant people (Judges 2:22) and teach them to fight against untruth (Judges 3:2)."
Which brings us to the counteracting agent to restore the biblically-based culture laid by America's Founding Fathers. The 100K American Renewal Project pastors should not be passive, now is the time to take counsel, double-down and make preparations for victory. We are at 200 pastors running for city council, school board, or local office in 2017-2018. If the Lord calls, we need a thousand.
No one I know believes, as Chuck Colson put it, that "the kingdom of God is going to arrive on Air Force One," that politicians are going to save America; or that Wall Street is going to save America.
Eminent Anglican Priest from the 20th Century, The Very Reverend William Kay, adds another piece to the puzzle on the restoration America's Judeo- Christian foundation hatched by the founders, "God's soldiers can only maintain their war by priestly self-consecration. Conversely: God's priests can only preserve their purity by un-intermitted conflict."
"Whenever you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, you will advance the battle, for God has gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines." (1 Chron. 14:15).
Gideons and Rahabs are beginning to stir.
David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.
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