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WHY IS SPEAKER RYAN STEPPING DOWN: PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, Paul Ryan decided he would call it quits and that he would not run for reelection — he would step down as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
I want to take you to two articles. One, out of The Christian Post, which really dealt with the personal reasons Ryan said he was leaving, that being he said, “My kids aren’t getting any younger. If I stay, they’ll only know me as a weekend dad.” His children were all born after he was elected to Congress and now they’re teenagers.
The Politico story took a little bit of a different slant, saying that the 48-year-old Paul Ryan said the thing that bothers him most in today’s political climate is identity politics.
DR. REEDER: I will confess, while not always agreeing with Speaker Ryan, I have been an admirer and been grateful for his presence there and I am sad to see him leave. Of course, he’s, first of all, more than anything else a husband and a father. His children were born after he was elected and they’re now up into his teenage years. I’m grateful that he has made the commitment and has stuck to it to go home on the weekend and has done so — did not get a place to live and stay in Washington, went back every weekend.
Secondly, of course, there are some reasons in terms of the political landscape. Paul Ryan said he is “bone-tired” of dealing with — what he called — identity politics and that is playing out
WHAT IS THE TONE OF THE NATION AND GOVERNMENT HE IS LEAVING BEHIND?
Clearly, there are two movements taking place right now, not only in our nation but internationally. One is the incessant movement toward the sovereignty of the state in socialism that, initially, embraces the sovereignty of the state as the messiah and deliverer of the culture, but has an incessant drumbeat of a globalist view.
And so, this globalist movement, in the corporate world and in the political world, is being met by a reactionary nationalist movement. We’re seeing the nationalist movement in Britain in the Brexit vote, we see it in Scotland in the continued votes for their independence and I think you saw it in the election of President Trump, which was a similar Populist movement. And neither sees compromise with the other as either desirable or permissible.
SPEAKER RYAN, YOU ARE RIGHT THAT SOMETHING HAS BEEN LOST
What I would say to Speaker Ryan is that underneath that has been the loss of a consensus of what makes American culture and the values that you would embrace, by which all movements would have been filtered, read and addressed. And we have lost that undergirding prism through which you look at these movements and address the movements and to which the various proponents of the movements would come together because of a greater ideal in the agreed virtues and values of the nation.
Because that’s been lost, now these two movements, the Populist movement which seems to be taking over the Republican Party and the tactics of pragmatism — no longer any sense of virtue in the leaders, no longer any sense of virtue in the tactics — but pragmatism in the ends justify the means.
And then, on the other side, of course, is the incessant movement to the globalist position and promoting socialism as the religion of the day. The cultural elite have embraced it and they want to eradicate anything that stands against it and, certainly, Christianity, which says that the state and the economic system is not the messiah — there is a Messiah and that’s the One who went to the cross to die for our sins and would change our lives.
Now, from that foundation, let’s debate what is good public policy. Christians need to think their way through this because, on the one hand, I hear Christians say, “Well, President Trump, look at the Supreme Court justice, look at the deregulation.” There is a gratefulness for policy and legislative and deregulation initiatives that would be in line with a Christian world and life view.
COMPROMISE IN THE ELECTION DOES NOT MEAN COMPROMISE ALWAYS
And then many evangelical Christians are almost making the bargain, “Well, since you’re doing that, we will be silent about tactics that are not only distasteful but wrong.” You can argue that an evangelical was put between a rock and a hard place in terms of the last election: “Do I vote for Trump with all of my concerns about tactics, and character, and marriage, etc. or do I vote for Hillary Clinton who is going to take tax money and embed the genocide of the unborn — moves forward with infanticide and has declared the support of infanticide — and then moves forward to active euthanasia, and is a globalist, and is a socialist and is moving even further left on all those? How can I possibly vote for someone who is going to murder the unborn?”
Okay, you can understand that sense, but what the evangelical can’t do is make a bargain that means I’ll be quiet on the verbal sins and moral sins, lest those, unconfronted, now become embedded within the culture.
That’s what Paul Ryan is faced with. He’s bone-tired of dealing with it, so he’s going to go home and work on his family, work within his state, but here’s what we have to understand. We look at a guy like Paul Ryan as an emotional casualty to this. Politically, he was able to be reelected and his seat was not in jeopardy, but he’s just tired. He didn’t even want to be the Speaker — he was drafted to be the Speaker — and I think he knew that this day was coming if he became the Speaker and it has come and so he’s stepping down.
I simply say, “I wish you could stay in.” I think he brings a certain demeanor and a certain understanding that tactics must match the noble ends of policy and that the end does not justify the means — the means must be appropriate to the end that’s desired.
THIS POLARIZATION IS INDICATIVE OF CULTURE SHIFT
Politicians and politics affect our culture, but what you need to understand even more is that politicians elected and every election is a reflection of the culture. Take a look at who we’re losing from the offices and who are going into the offices and realize that, once a person is elected, we have a responsibility to appropriately support them. When they declare good legislation and policies, let’s support it and, when they use wrong tactics, we must oppose those tactics. You can support the policy but oppose the tactics.
And whenever there is the attempt to normalize immorality in any form — whether it’s verbal, sexual, emotional, whatever form of embracing that which stands against God’s gracious commandments, we must not be silent. And, when we have politicians who attempt to enact both policy and use appropriate tactics at the same time, we cannot become pragmatists.
The Republican Party is moving in a Populist direction and increasingly embracing pragmatism — “If you get the policies in, we’ll wink at the tactics and lifestyle that you are embracing” — and the Democratic Party is clearly going left, and embracing the culture of death, and embracing policies of death and embracing the sovereignty of the state, in particular, and a globalist position corporately and politically, in general. That is leading the nation, those two parties.
CHRISTIANS MUST PROVIDE A GODLY AND MEASURED PERSPECTIVE IN POLITICS
Somewhere, there has to be the voices of those who say, “We want good policy, but we want it brought forward in a virtuous manner and we are appreciative of and embrace the nation state, the ethnos as declared in the Bible. We embrace it by, first of all, bringing the Gospel to every nation and we reject the policies of death, we embrace policies of life and we demand that those who produce the policies of life produce them in a way that honors the virtues of life as affirmed by God’s creation law and in His revealed law.
Therefore, with a Gospel movement of the hearts and lives of men and women from the grassroots up and electing officials who bring beneficial public policy in a manner that is honorable, then we could see a liberty under law because a nation is seeking the providential blessings of God.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.