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Dana Perino and Juan Williams both?

Summit Reservations, Page 4

Centennial Review
Principled Ideas from the Centennial Institute Publisher, William L. Armstrong
Volume 3, Number 6 • June 2011 Editor, John Andrews

ADVANCING THE opposed by 59 percent. This is roughly the same level at


the time of its passage. The biggest entitlement program
CONSERVATIVE COMEBACK created since the Great Society is upside down in public
By Ralph Reed opinion.
One of the most significant Third, as if by spontaneous combustion, the Tea Party
developments of 2011 is that movement emerged from the ashes of the Republican
conservatism, a philosophy many defeats in 2006 and 2008 as the leading opposition force
commentators were writing to Obama’s governing philosophy. Initially organized by
obituaries for not long ago, is citizen activists—many of them never involved in politics
making a comeback. before—utilizing Facebook and other social media, the
Tea Party movement exploded on the national scene in
This is a startling turnabout. After the spring and summer of 2009. According to an election-
Barack Obama’s election, Newsweek night 2010 survey by Public Opinion Strategies, 27 percent
proclaimed in a cover story, “We of the electorate claimed to be members of the Tea Party
Are All Socialists Now.” “Whether we want to admit it or movement and 41 percent of all voters sympathized with
not,” the editors opined, “the America of 2009 is moving its goals and objectives.
toward a modern European state.” Democrats controlled
both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue by wide margins, and In nations around the world (Greece, Portugal, Spain,
Great Britain) people have poured into the
a new, youthful president in the model of John
F. Kennedy, with a background as a community
America’s streets to protest spending cuts. Only in the
organizer, prepared to usher in a new era of founding United States did millions of people demand
that government programs be cut. An
progressive reform. He vowed to repeal the Bush
tax cuts, close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, pass
principles are abiding distrust of big government remains
health care reform and cap-and-trade legislation, back in vogue. embedded in the DNA of many Americans.
and end the war in Iraq. These citizens’ rallying cry was as simple as
it was startling: a return to constitutional government and
Three Reversals America’s founding principles. They want government
But an interesting thing happened on the way to the liberal confined to its enumerated functions, with all other powers
renaissance. First, Barack Obama over-reached with the devolved to the states, communities, churches, charities,
passage of an $862 billion failed economic-stimulus plan families, and individuals.
that relied on government rather than the private sector to This is a characteristically conservative conception of
create jobs and economic growth. There has not been an a free society, and it is America’s unique contribution to
economic recovery in U.S. history caused by government Western civilization. Our founders understood that a free
spending or federal “stimulus.” This was true during the society is possible only when the government is limited
Great Depression, as well, when the financial calamity that by charter and the vital work of building a good society
followed the stock-market meltdown of 1929 was followed is done by men and women animated by faith in God,
by a recession in 1937. The New Deal achieved a lot in individual self-initiative, creative entrepreneurship, and a
terms of the growth of government and many of the aims sense of obligation to those less fortunate.
of the Progressive movement for a social safety net, but it
did not generate an economic recovery. Ralph Reed directs the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a national voter mobilization
effort. He previously headed the Christian Coalition and chaired the Georgia
Second, Obama’s health care reform package proved Republican Party. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Emory University. This essay
to be the most deeply unpopular social program passed is based on his lecture at Colorado Christian University on Oct. 12, 2010.
by Congress in modern history. A March 2011 CNN/ Centennial Institute sponsors research, events, and publications to enhance
Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted one year public understanding of the most important issues facing our state and nation.
after the Obama health care plan became law found it was By proclaiming Truth, we aim to foster faith, family, and freedom, teach citizen-
ship, and renew the spirit of 1776.
supported by only 37 percent of the American people and
It has always been so. In his study of Quaker society in
colonial America, Meeting House and Counting House, historian
Frederick Tolles pointed out that the same creative and
compassionate impulse that led Quakers to work hard and
engage in commercial enterprise also led them to found
the first lending libraries, hospitals, primary schools, and
houses of worship in Philadelphia. Their conception of
entrepreneurship and the good works of their religion
were one and the same.
George Gilder makes a similar point in The Israel Test,
arguing that today’s anti-Semitism and antipathy for
the state of Israel have become indistinguishable from
hostility to capitalism and the time-honored values that
define Western civilization. In this sense, Judeo-Christian
values, faith in God, and free enterprise are not disparate
It is easy to forget how radical the founders were for their
concepts, but composite parts of a coherent whole.
time (See sidebar, page 3.) They asserted in the Declaration
of Independence that all men are created equal in the sight What Reagan Knew
of God and endowed by their Creator with the inalienable This is the vision for society that conservatives must
rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They reclaim in our time. Ronald Reagan once observed, “Man
proclaimed that, if any government ever fails to protect is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear
these inalienable rights, the people have the right to cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a
overthrow that government and start afresh. law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
America wasn’t settled by a Department of Covered Conservative opposition to the expansion of government
Wagons operating out of Washington, D.C. It was settled and chronic deficit spending is not based on an antipathy
by free men and women with three tools: a plow, a gun, for the proper role of government in administering justice,
and the Holy Bible. As the population moved west, securing the borders, or protecting the homeland. It is
these pioneers formed communities and built schools, based on the recognition that wherever government
courthouses, and houses of worship. The latter were intrudes, it necessarily restricts freedom and liberty.
viewed as indispensable to the social fabric of
the young republic.
Covered-wagon How to bring this vision into reality? I
believe there are four main strategies
This is why, when Congress passed the Northwest bureaucrats didn’t for conservatives and Christians.
Ordinance in 1787, it specifically authorized the
distribution of Bibles and the propagation of
win the West. First, we must participate. St.
Augustine wrote City of God in 413
the Gospel in the western territories. The members of A.D. against the backdrop of the fall of Rome. His timeless
Congress understood that America’s greatness lay not in volume was an apologia for Christianity, a response to
its boundless natural resources or its distance from the those critics who claimed Christians had contributed to
political and social upheavals convulsing Europe, but in Rome’s downfall by undermining its pagan religion and
the character of its people and in its reliance on God. respect for its gods.
This is what John Adams meant when he said, “Our The idea that there is a city of God and a city of Man is
Constitution was made only for a moral and religious as old as Scripture itself. In the Book of Acts, the Apostle
people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of Paul asserts his rights as a Roman citizen when a mob tries
anuthoer.” He did not mean there should be a religious to have him killed for preaching the Gospel. He ultimately
test to serve in government or be active in civic affairs. appealed to Caesar, the most cherished right of a citizen
Quite the contrary, for the United States was the first
CENTENNIAL REVIEW is published monthly by the Centennial Institute at
country to specifically forbid a religious test for public Colorado Christian University. The authors’ views are not necessarily those of
service in a written Constitution. Adams’ point was far CCU. Designer, Danielle Hull. Illustrator, Benjamin Hummel. Subscriptions free
upon request. Write to: Centennial Institute, 8787 W. Alameda Ave., Lakewood,
more profound: the only way to maintain a free society CO 80226. Call 800.44.FAITH. Or visit us online at www.CentennialCCU.org.
with a government limited in scope and function, without
a standing army or a king or a national police force, is to Please join the Centennial Institute today. As a Centennial
donor, you can help us restore America’s moral core and prepare
have a virtuous citizenry animated by a moral compass that tomorrow’s leaders. Your gift is tax-deductible. Please use the
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- John Andrews, Director
Centennial Review, June 2011 ▪ 2
of Rome. By so doing, he carried the Gospel to the highest
level of the Roman government, all as a consequence of Voices of CCU
asserting and exercising his civic responsibilities. Our
earthly citizenship requires that we be registered to vote, CONSERVATISM AS RADICALISM?
pay taxes, be informed and educated, go to the polls on By Thomas L. Krannawitter
election day, and make our views known to our elected
officials. It’s important to remember that
Second, we must be prophetic witnesses in a world in which American conservatism is not very
conservative. It’s radical. After all, what
good and evil are always battling. Eric Metaxas’ wonderful are we conserving? A revolution. What
biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer captures this idea in the are we celebrating each 4th of July? The
life of a young Lutheran pastor whose obedience to God most revolutionary document in history,
and moral courage led him to oppose Adolf Hitler when the Declaration of Independence.
many in the church chose the path of least resistance. It When we invoke our Founding Fathers,
ultimately cost Bonhoeffer his life when he was implicated who were they? Revolutionaries who refused to be ruled
in a plot to assassinate Hitler. He was executed by the without their consent; who would make war rather than
Nazis in April 1945. But his call to discipleship and his allow anyone, even a crowned king, to violate their God-
rejection of what he famously called “cheap grace” remain given natural rights; who would replace an established
church, political privilege, and inherited rights, with a new
a powerful example to us all, 66 years after his death. republican order of the ages based upon universal natural
In Reagan’s War, author Peter law.
Participate Schweizer documents a similar Consider religion: The founding principles of equal rights
calling in the life of Ronald and individual liberty are inconceivable, historically, without
prophetically, Reagan. As president of the “Good News” delivered by Christ. But conservatives
who nostalgically call for America’s return to a “Christian
persuade the Screen Actors Guild in
nation” raise deep questions that need answers.
Hollywood in the late 1940s,
prayerfully. Reagan resisted communist The Christian nations of Europe were wracked by
infiltration of the union. When persecution within and wars without. In the Old World,
Tocqueville observed, “the spirit of religion and the spirit
the Communists responded with violence, death threats, of freedom march[ed] in opposite directions.” Only in
and at least one attempt on his life, Reagan vowed that America were Christianity and freedom “intimately united.”
he would dedicate the remainder of his life to destroying So Christianity influenced America, yes, but America
Communism. influenced Christianity too.
Faithful to the Call Consider also America’s horrific civil war to preserve
freedom and rid itself of the ugliest of evils, chattel slavery:
This calling, not his subsequent political career, is what Both sides were Christian. “Both read the same Bible and
gave Reagan’s life such transcendent meaning and power. pray to the same God,” remarked Lincoln in his Second
Few understand that Reagan’s anti-Communism was not Inaugural, “and each invokes His aid against the other.” So
merely ideological; it was personal and spiritual. It was what does it mean to be a “Christian nation”?
what led him to say in 1983, in a famous speech to the Americans of 1776 understood Christianity to be compatible
National Association of Evangelicals, “There is sin and evil with the politics of freedom, requiring the inalienable rights
in the world, and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord with which all men have been endowed by their Creator
Jesus to oppose it with all our might.” He urged religious to be vindicated by responsible government, just laws, and
spirited citizenship.
leaders not to yield to the temptation to blithely “call the
arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove American conservatism bears a noble mission: preserving
yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and the principles of the freest and most just regime the world
has ever known. But to succeed, conservatives must be
good and evil.” clear on what those principles mean and how to apply
These are startling words from a president of the United them prudently. Agreeable-sounding slogans aren’t enough.
States. White House aides reportedly tried to remove Conservatism must be smart. And radical. ■
the words “evil empire” from early drafts of the speech;
Reagan insisted they be reinserted. He knew his calling, Thomas L. Krannawitter (Ph.D., Claremont
and his faithfulness to that call changed the course of Graduate University) is professor of political
Centennial
human history. Institute
science at Colorado Christian University. The
Colorado Christian University
author of Vindicating Lincoln: Defending the
Third, we must persuade. This means recognizing that not
Politics of Our Greatest President, he formerly
everyone shares our theology, even as many may share taught at Hillsdale College.
our values. We have a responsibility as men and women
Centennial Review, June 2011 ▪ 3
Centennial Review Centennial Institute
June 2011 Colorado Christian University
8787 W. Alameda Ave.
Advancing the Lakewood, CO 80226
Conservative Comeback
By Ralph Reed Return Service Requested
Eclipsed in 2006 and 2008, our
heritage of political and economic
freedom rooted in faith has now
rebounded. To sustain the trend,
Americans must participate,
prophetically witness, persuade
and prayerfully stand.

of faith to speak in a language others can comprehend. Finally, we must pray. No amount of political action and
Paul did this in Jerusalem when threatened by the mob and civic engagement will succeed absent our humility and
nearly flogged by Roman centurions, insisting on speaking dependence upon God—and this comes through prayer.
to the crowd in their Hebrew dialect. We should not make the mistake of equating God’s plans
It has been said that Martin Luther King was so effective with our own, or associating His Kingdom with the
in advancing civil rights because he could speak of the victory of one political party or a politician. Sometimes
suffering of blacks in a way whites could receive. In his God accomplishes His purposes in our defeats, not in our
Letter from the Birmingham Jail, replying to white pastors who victories.
condemned his involvement in politics, King asserted, Peril and Opportunity
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We We are living at a moment of great peril and opportunity.
are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a The world is hungering for leadership and authenticity. As
single garment of destiny.” In other words, if segregation men and women of faith, we can and must provide it.
denied the rights of African-Americans, it denied the rights
of everyone because it debased the larger society. This was If we will remain true to our principles, participate as
a brilliant insight, similar to Lincoln’s claim that slavery was citizens in the arena, be faithful to our call to be witnesses
evil not only for what it did to the slave but for what it did in a sometimes dark world, persuade, and pray, we can
to the white man. make our country and our world a better place and touch
many with God’s grace and His love.
Advancing justice is about more than preaching to the
choir. It is about more than just speaking truth to power. There is much to do. Let’s get to work, trusting God for
To be successful in a free society, we must win others to the outcome. ■
our cause, which means using language they will receive.

Rise to Ralph Reed’s Challenge


Western Conservative
Summit 2011
“Fulfilling America’s Promise”
Dick Morris Dana Perino John Bolton Juan Williams
You’re Invited • Bring Friends
July 29-31 • Denver Marriott City Center
Confirmed speakers are shown. More to come.
Individuals $250 • Host a Table $2,500
Arthur Brooks Dennis Prager Kevin Jackson Pat Caddell Centennial Institute’s second annual rally on the right is
selling out fast. If you love liberty, don’t miss it!

For tickets and information go to WesternConservativeSummit.com


Centennial Review, June 2011 ▪ 4