As President Obama and Congressional Republican leaders prepare to gather for a “Summit” on healthcare, I pause to consider the value of political processes. Let us not lie to ourselves! Any time homo sapiens try to make decisions together, the process is inevitably political, so we ought to expect typical human political behaviors to pop up in our hallowed governmental halls and in our fellowship halls where to gather to drink coffee and make decisions regarding our churches. But as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, oughtn’t we pause to consider not only his values and ends, but also the means he used to pursue them?
As a liberal (a prerequisite for the Le Blogger at LiberalEvangelical.org) I largely agree with President Obama’s agenda. I wish him luck as he works toward universal healthcare in the United States, a more engaged foreign policy, and a more responsible financial system. But I am simultaneously sure that there are many committed, honest, and well-meaning Americans who similarly hope to see the agenda of the GOP succeed. So, like so many moderates* I am pulled in conflicting directions. I want to see X accomplished, but I am equally concerned to see that X is accomplished in the right way. Even if I were to get everything on my liberal wish list, I would feel less than vindicated if those items were achieved at the expense of a civil and transparent process.
*I use moderate here in a peculiar fashion, but one that is true to the spirit of both Lost in the Middle? and Found in the Middle! In Le Blog a moderate is anyone, liberal or conservative, who puts the process ahead of the outcome. And for me, as a moderate, this is what it means to love Democracy! It may be more efficient to accomplish a right-wing or a left-wing agenda by using totalitarian tactics, but the efficient realization of social, military, or financial ends
is always of secondary importance. (Mussolini may have made the trains run on time, but that doesn't much recommend fascism.) The primary value, the one that trumps all others, is the value of our deliberative democratic system.
So here it comes, my now famous segue to the theological…
I’m fairly certain that God is a moderate in the sense described above.