Few things are more pathetic than a politician making a pander that he doesn’t believe, that you don’t believe, and that he knows you don’t believe. It is just degrading all around.
This brings me to Ohio Governor John Kasich.
I don’t pretend to know very much at all about Governor Kasich. What I do know is that when anyone tells me the Bible says it is fine for Caesar to take from my livelihood in order to expand Medicaid, I begin to have serious doubts about their underlying theology. Hence my look of stunned disbelief at this:
John Kasich would like to add a new federal agency if he becomes president: one to promote “Judeo-Christian Western values.”
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, the Ohio governor said the U.S. “must be more forceful in the battle of ideas.”
“U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting have lost their focus on the case for Western values and ideals and effectively countering our opponents’ propaganda and disinformation,” Kasich said. “I will consolidate them into a new agency that has a clear mandate to promote the core, Judeo-Christian Western values that we and our friends and allies share: the values of human rights, the values of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association.”
He said the main areas of the world he would target would be Russia, China and the Middle East.
If I had to identify an event short of the Four Horsemen and Armageddon that would signify end times it would be a federal agency devoted to defining Judeo-Christian values. When I look at Kasich’s statement, I don’t see Judeo-Christian values, I see a set of certain small-l liberal and secular values peculiar to Western Europe. Judeo-Christian values are identified by our interactions with each other and, more importantly, with God. If Kasich wants to promote human rights, etc., there are a platoon of government agencies devoted to that endeavor.
More to the point, the federal government is not particularly competent when you get beyond the extraction of taxes and the application of deadly force. Our Great Society War On Poverty — a Judeo-Christian value subcontracted to the government if there ever was one — has resulted in the break up of families, increased illegitimacy, and, you guessed it, a poverty rate that is higher now than it was when Satan spawned this idea.
Government has given us education that is hostile to Christianity (half of the source of the values Kasich thinks the government should be promoting), it has given us health care for the poor that results in worse outcomes for the recipients of that care than no care at all.
I am all for spreading Judeo-Christian values. I am all for those values infusing our foreign and domestic policy. But unless those values are taught in the home and unless the government becomes neutral in the teaching of those values, you can’t expect the bureaucrats in any agency, be they local, state, or federal, to push them because they are basically unacquainted with the concept.
“I also think that we have many moderate Muslims who share our views … there are many of them that stand up and speak out and they should be included in this and they’d be a very effective part of this,” he responded. “It’s essential that we do promote this message. It’s essential by the way that those in the West begin to embrace again our Jewish-Christian tradition rather than running from it, hiding from it.”
Here he his half right. Islam does not value plurality or personal freedom. This is not a pejorative statement, it is simply a recognition that under Islam the person and the state are governed by one set of rules. Even the most secular Islamic nations, like Turkey and Malaysia, remain incredibly hostile to Christianity or any religion that is not Islam. And, yes, we are running from our values. We have seen a Navy Chaplain nearly cashiered for teaching Biblical truth. We saw and Army general pilloried and forced into retirement for proclaiming his Christianity. We have seen two valiant special forces soldiers forced from the Army for interfering in child rape.
We have a lot of problems that the application of Judeo-Christian values could go a long way towards solving, but building a federal agency to do that is a horrible idea that should be dismissed as an election year pander.