Many of the evangelicals who have drifted left in recent years seem to have done so with the belief that the left better deals with issues such as poverty and racism, and they judge conservatives to be heartless as if they do not care about these issues. I have even heard some well known preachers declare that conservatives care about abortion but liberals care about the poor. This, I believe, is to create a false binary. Theological conservatives who lean to the right do not vote the way they do because they dream of ways to be heartless, but because, among other things, they believe that leftist policies, however well intended, are the primary cause of poverty and systemic racism to begin with.
We all agree that Christians have a special obligation beyond what ordinary humanity has to take care of the poor and marginalized. We just disagree over the solution. But we ought not judge public policy merely by its good intentions.
California (where I grew up) is a good example of the good intentions fallacy. Consider these 5 facts about the Golden State:
1. California has one of the greatest disparities in education for minorities kids, among other reasons, due to its political captivity to its teachers unions. Many are unwilling to take a job in schools they see as an undesirable location. In addition, widespread school choice is necessary to deal with persistent education gaps that often leave poor, minority students in failing public schools while their wealthy peers have the money to send their children to private schools or move to a desirable school district. But the people being put in office in these cities are opposed to school choice because of political interests.
2. California spends about $98.5 billion annually on welfare — the most in the US — but has the highest poverty rate in America.
3. California has the highest income tax rate in the US, at 13.3 percent, but the fourth greatest income inequality of the 50 states.
4. California has one of the most regulated housing markets in America, yet it has the highest homeless population in America and ranks 49th (per capita) in housing supply.
5. California (and elsewhere), 50 years ago enacted legislation (AFDC) to pay moms to have children out of wedlock (which has been nothing short of catastrophic for black families). Mass fatherlessness is a direct result of their bad public policy. Why not give a greater incentive to keep families together.
Furthermore, the cities around the country with the most pronounced injustices have been led for the last 60+ years by people with the same ideology of unconstrained government power. Minneapolis, which is ground zero for the current unrest, is one of them. If one wants to really committed to helping minority families in this country, then a good place to start may be to stop putting the same governors, mayors and city council members in office. It hasn't worked. The protests prove it. Consider for yourself whether it is wise to keep voting for people with the same ideology and yet expect different results.
Many of the divisions and inequalities we see today are a direct result of policies that had good intentions. In fact, today's protests may have been largely avoided if we hadn't given such god-like powers to the state to tear apart families and withhold good education. We all care deeply about human dignity for every person, but we just have sharp differences on how this is achieved. I do believe that my left leaning evangelical friends may be well-intended, but are latching on to policies that actually exacerbates racial inequality and poverty. Unconstrained government power has not worked for the last half century in the cities where the protests are the most prominent, so it may be time to admit that these policies are a dismal failure.
So when people out there complain when they see people not jump on the social justice bandwagon, what they often mean is why aren't you voting for those who are promoting big government solutions. It is because government overreach is demonstrably the source of many of the injustices and societal inequities in the first place. Not to mention, unconstrained government power is what leads to totalitarianism. In order to have real fascism (and other authoritarian style governments). it is a prerequisite to have a strong, powerful, rich, centralized government, the very thing that we, as Christians, should all oppose. However good the intentions, we must understand human nature, that without limitations for those in power, there is no restraining of evil at the highest level.
The old adage would appear to hold true
"If you want more of something, subsidize it (poverty, single-parent households).
If you want less of something, tax it (productivity, personal responsibility)!"