"I maintain that conservative economic values, which glorify the acquisition and hoarding of wealth; conservative social values, characterized by the establishment of a rigid meritocracy; and conservative civic values, which lead to a form of aggressive nationalism, characterized by militarism, neocolonialism, and a nearly constant state of war, are all in 180-degree opposition to the New Testament doctrines of Christianity proclaimed as central to the moral conduct of their lives by the vast majority of those Americans who characterize themselves as “conservative.” Rather than characterizing such people as hypocrites, consciously doing the very opposite of what their, often fundamentalist, Christianity would prescribe as partaking of Christian virtue, I am suggesting that, while thinking in the socio-political conservative mode, they are unaware of, and unable to access, strictly Christian values. Similarly, when directly engaged in religious activities, they are apt to say, and temporarily believe in their very hearts, things which, while in political mode, they vote against."
The basic mistake here is claiming the New Testament is proclaiming a political philosophy, instead of a personal philosophy. Neither Christ nor Paul said anything even remotely close to "use government to do good for your fellow man". If anything, Christ's "render unto Caesar" comment was the antithesis of the liberal political philosophy, showing a distinct split between the political and the theological.
In viewing the split between religion and politics, it also helps to consider the historical context of the Bible. During the time of the New Testament, there were no democratic or republican governments around. The Greek democracies and the Roman republics were both history by the time of Christ. In thinking of government, both Christ and Paul were referring to monarchical forms of government.
Which begs the question of how should Christians within a representative democracy view government?
Since it is not covered in the Bible, this is an area open to personal interpretation of the Bible. Considering government is the LEAST effective form of charity (you only have to look at the government's response to Hurricane Katrina to figure that out), why would ANY Christian in their right mind relegate to the government their own personal responsibility to commit charitable acts?
With this in mind, I would add to Christ's quote: Render unto Caesar that which is his, and NOTHING MORE. Do not pass your personal responsibilities to Caesar. By doing so, you place a burden on your neighbor. Would you have your neighbor place his burdens on you?
Other flaws in Rodak's statement:
"I maintain that conservative economic values, which glorify the acquisition and hoarding of wealth"
Glorifying a free market does NOT glorify greed. It uses greed to provide incentives for the improvement of society as a whole. Wealth does not accumulate in a vacuum. Simple greed does not allow someone to accumulate wealth.
What conservatives glorify is hard work towards a goal which benefits society. If the individual who performs this hard work is rewarded by society with great wealth for their accomplishments, then so be it. We glorify these individuals, and reward them, to provide incentives for other individuals to do the same.
But conservatives also take the view that an individual who works hard towards a goal which does NOT benefit society should NOT be rewarded. In addition, an individual who does NOT work hard should not be rewarded. In essence, we allow our neighbors to decide if there is a reward, and what the amount of the reward should be.
When government decides the individual rewards, then only government needs to benefit from the individual's work.
"conservative social values, characterized by the establishment of a rigid meritocracy"
The definition of "meritocracy":
1. an elite group of people whose progress is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or wealth.
2. a system in which such persons are rewarded and advanced: The dean believes the educational system should be a meritocracy.
3. leadership by able and talented persons.
Maybe it's just me, but a meritocracy sounds like a great idea. What kind of liberal alternative to this would be an improvement? Affirmative action programs where we can promote people based on superficial characteristics, instead of ability?
conservative civic values, which lead to a form of aggressive nationalism, characterized by militarism, neocolonialism, and a nearly constant state of war
Maybe I missed it, but who was the last conservative to suggest the U.S. should colonize ANY country?
Or maybe by "neocolonialism", Rodak means the U.S. tries to maintain world peace by overthrowing governments which would threaten world peace, such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq?
While the virtue of the U.S. being the world's "police force" can be argued, the conservative support of this philosophy is built on history: When the U.S. tried to withdraw from world affairs after World War I, we ended up in a bigger mess in World War II.
The world is NOT a peaceful place. This is a fact which liberal idealism refuses to recognize. The Earth is NOT a utopian ideal. As long as there are threats to world peace, they must be countered. "Turn the other cheek" is a personal ideal, not an international political ideal.
I could go on to refute the rest of Rodak's post, but it is based on the faulty belief that individual responsibility is equivalent to government responsibility within Christian philosophy. In truth, this is Rodak's own liberal belief which he has projected onto Christianity.