Rebirth Of The Conservative Religious/Political Soul

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I’ve just about reached the point of having written 160 articles on the Green Tea HP website.

The three subjects that have evoked the greatest response are: explaining why I voted for Barack Obama in 2012; why I like my grandkids’ dog, Eli; and why I support religious diversity.

With the exception of the Eli article, the responses about my vote for Obama and my views on the desirability of religious diversity drew a lot of heat.

I’ve tried to understand what was at the bottom of this negative reaction. My initial response is that the protest might suggest a profound sea change in religious/political traditions in American. In my opinion, religious and political conservatives may feel more threatened and defensive than any other group. Thus, they are lashing out.

In the main this group’s leadership is made up of older, white, politically conservative, Christian males. Is it an accident that this group is rapidly becoming a minority demographic in America? I don’t think so.

For example young people of all colors and backgrounds are less interested in organized religion, especially organized Christian religion. Hispanics, Asians, African Americans make up a great percentage of the population now and will continue to grow well into the future. And women are less willing to let the white male power structure in America continue to have its way. All these groups are leaning in the direction of supporting the Democratic Party, and represent greater religious diversity and non-religiosity than any other generation in American history.

The cry of a wounded beast can be intimidating, but clear: the days of white, male, Christian, political conservatism are numbered.

But, with all the force of the resources in their possession, they are reigning with fire and brimstone. Not because they are strong, but because they understand that this is their last stand before a new America is fully formed. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee would be leading contenders for the proto type person I am describing.

These are the last screams of a dying breed. Of a monster in the jungle who is becoming extinct because he could not adjust and adapt to a changing world.

Ironically, this demographic will shrink, BUT the idea of a conservative political and religious outlook will in time have a rebirth. In the future they’ll probably be described as conservative multicultural, multiracial, mixed gender, religiously diverse, and non-religious neo-republicans.

In America we function best when we have two strong forces pressing up against one another. We do this when there are clearly defined liberals and clearly defined conservatives. We want both pushes to be influential.

So the new conservatives will be made up of the changing demographic. But that won’t happen until minorities of all stripes have economic and social clout. There will have to be as many African American, Asian, Hispanic, female, homosexual rich people as there are white, conservative rich males. These riches will have to transform their neighbors, especially their urban neighborhoods. I say urban neighborhoods because the vast majority of humanity will be in the largest 1000 cities in the world in the next half century. Rural areas are closing down. Suburban areas will remain, but will interact with urban areas more closely.

As urban areas in America recover from a generation of flight and blight, most creative ideas about urban enrichment will be rewarded with handsome returns. For example, author John Seymour’s idea of urban homesteading is taking hold in places like Detroit. Here, land and abandoned homes are gifted or steeply discounted to people interested in creating self sufficiency through small farming, alternative energy and water usage on the property they are homesteading. Free of government regulation, urban homesteaders should relate more closely to conservative principles of self determination and local free will gatherings that good old time religions have been successful at facilitating throughout American history. Churches pop up, not to reclaim souls but to support the time honored value of independence and frontier virtue.

At that point, these neighborhoods will produce fiscal conservatives. There will be enough of them to make a difference.

This new order America will want community problems solved at the most local level possible. They will demand competition, investment, control over their personal finances. They will abhor deficits and dependence. They will demand autonomy and local cooperation. They will pour billions of the own money and labor into local schools, local law enforcement, environmentally sound homes, green local landscapes from which they can plant and harvest, hospitals that are connected to teams of healers ( doctors, engineers, psychologists, geneticists, etc.) that produce results.

Republican philosophy has been known for fiscal responsibility. We don’t want to lose that strength in our political system.

That brings me to my own culture. Mormon culture. The hierarchy of my culture is very white, male dominated; very conservative politically, and very anxious to close ranks with other conservative Christian denominations in America.

I don’t believe my culture will fade away, but will witness bruising setbacks until it radically transforms itself over the next 50 (to 100) years. (That’s a long time isn’t it?)

This is how I picture my own community evolving. The top leadership of the Mormon Church eventually will be made up of an equal number of Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, females, males, i. e. extraordinary diversity.

Let me profile a possible Mormon President 100 hundred years from now:

– She is a black female, raised in Compton California, who graduated from USC School of Public Policy with a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning. She is single, and has adopted a North Korean child. She joined the church while she was working on a joint project in Africa sponsored by the Mormon Church to alleviate childhood diseases and improve close-in urban agricultural technology. She was impressed with the church’s financial discipline, and its history of community development throughout the western part of the United States during the nineteenth century. As President she has become a big supporter of missionaries being called as teachers and community developers. They earn their degrees in local universities where they are called to teach and work. They are given the option of staying in the place where they labored to continue their education and teaching. Mormon missionaries no longer proselytize, nevertheless, church membership has started to grow, especially in urban areas where missionaries have decided to stay and raise a family –

(My religion must return to what its genius consists of: turning deserts into roses. We know how to build new communities. Right now urban America needs to be re-cultivated, reborn, and nourished anew. We know how to turn any thorn into a flower. We turned the weeds of the west into productive, beautiful gardens. Surely we can do the same with burnt out and abandoned buildings. We will flourish if we do. We will go there with the idea that our new generation of children will be born, educated, raise families and die there. Along with the local citizens we will build strong, self reliant, conservative communities. This is in our bones. We are never better than we are doing this. We know how to get along with our neighbors. We know how to mix, mingle and marry. We have been purged of our prejudices, and are ready to sacrifice our all. We are nothing if not a strong and provident people. And yes, we are conservative, probably more so than we ought, but what do you expect from people who turn broken glass into windows, abandoned tires into green grass, rotting homes into restaurants, studios, and cabbage patches.)

Americans with steel spines and iron wills who find their conservative political and religious values being ground to pieces, will renew themselves where it matters most, in Urban America. Their love and grit will be welcomed and most of all needed. It won’t be easy, but great people do not expect easy battles for great victories. Not in this or any time.