Christian or conservative?


I'm teaching now a World Journalism Institute class made up largely of college students. One asked yesterday, "Is WORLD primarily a conservative magazine or a Christian magazine?" I replied, "Christian, definitely," and pointed her to our mission statement: "To report, interpret, and illustrate the news in a timely, accurate, enjoyable, and arresting fashion from a perspective that is committed to the Bible as the inerrant Work of God."

So is WORLD conservative? Partly. In contemporary America "conservative" and "Christian" have a big overlap, particularly because liberalism is so aggressive. Liberal culture emphasizes government (rather than family, church, or business) as problem-solver. Liberal culture stresses subjectivity (as in the freedom to choose abortion) rather than objective truth. Liberal culture has become the established religion, one that Christians should oppose.

Some of the classical virtues embraced by conservatives, such as honor and duty, are also important to Christianity. Centurions who melded belief in God with the Roman code are good guys in the New Testament: See chapter eight of Matthew, along with a centurion's awestruck comment following the crucifixion, "Truly this was the Son of God." But Christianity goes beyond Greece and Rome by stressing faith, hope, and charity-and that difference works itself out in policy issues.

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Biblical teaching leads us to some positions that differ from those of some secular conservatives. For example, we believe that securing the Mexican border is essential. We want to be fair to those who have waited in line rather than broken the law. Still, we keep asking how we can show love for the aliens within our gates, and give those who want to be Americans a start on the road to citizenship. (Besides, I'd rather put this country's future in the hands of 100 immigrants from Mexico than 100 professors at Harvard.)

Another example: how we look at poverty. If WORLD were primarily a conservative magazine, our coverage of poverty would emphasize that the poor should rise purely through their own initiative. But as Christians we know our spiritual weakness once we are sunk into sin, and we can readily see why initiative decreases once dependency seems normal. That's why we cover compassionate groups that offer a Christ-based challenge to contemporary enabling, and help in overcoming it.

In short: We do not assume natural goodness among the poor or among the rich, but we also differ from the Atlas Shrugged tendency to cheer when entrepreneurs go on strike and the poor die.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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