Acton Institute Powerblog

In Search of the ‘Values’ Voter

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How can government best uphold Christian values? The right’s traditional answer is through legislating morality issues that are central to family values or the sanctity of life. It looks like the left will counter this with an expanded version of government. Andrew Lynn looks at the growing competition for the religious vote in the context of Sen. Barack Obama’s recent speech to Call to Renewal.

Read the entire commentary here.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Ron

    Andrew, Here is a paragraph from your essay:
    "The 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, conducted jointly by Harvard University researchers and community foundations, showed that people who attend church weekly are much more likely to give to charities than those who attend church fewer than a few times a year (91 percent compared with 66 percent). The regular church attendee crowd gives on average $2,210 a year whereas less frequent attendees give on average $642 to charities. The same study showed that religious people volunteered on average 12 times a year compared with 5.8 times a year for the less religious."

    Did the Harvard study discriminate by discriminating between money given to churches and money given to charities where a substantial fraction of the funds go to helping the unfortunate? I suspect not. My family contributes ten percent of its income mostly to our local church. The vast majority of this money goes to paying the pastor and staff and to supporting the physical plant of the church. While the church itself is socially conscious, a very small fraction of its resources goes actually helping the poor; rather most of the charitable, tax deductible donations that I and other church members make, go into supporting the church which primarily benefits those same members and their families.

    For this reason, I’m am very troubled by the little my church, a liberal congregation does to obey Jesus’ instructions. For the same reason, I strongly suspect that your assertions about the greater influence of churches on alleviating poverty than of government is in error.