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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pawlenty: Proud of Evangelical Label

By Rick Pearcey • February 8, 2011, 11:37 AM

"Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has told conservative activists in Iowa that he and his wife are proud to be identified as evangelical Christians," reports AP.

According to AP, "Pawlenty told them, 'This is a country founded under God,' adding 'that leads you to other values, starting with a respect for life.' Pawlenty also expressed his opposition to same-sex 'marriage'."

Good for Pawlenty. However, the position he advocates is stronger than his current expression of it, as reported by AP.

For a) that this country was "founded under God" is a fact, not a mere "value." The language of "value" is the language of private preference, in contrast to facts, which concerns that which is objectively true regardless of what a person might privately "value."

And b) God operates in the realm of fact and is not reducible to the realm of "value" (or feeling, belief, etc., etc.). That is the entire emphasis of the verifiable information we have in the Old and New Testaments. For more on this, please see "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." 

Finally, c) the liberating ethical positions against social breakdown as expressed in the secular embrace of abortion, homosexuality, and same-sex "marriage" also concern matters of fact -- that is, ethical fact.

There are of course differences between that which is scientific and that which is ethical. The difference, however, is not at the point of facticity but at the point of the difference between "is" and "ought." In a unified and liberating field of knowledge both "is" and "ought" have to do with the real world and are subject to the normal canons of reason, evidence, coherence, and the need to explain the phenomenon under question.

It is crucial to recognize that the worldview of the Founding and the worldview of the Judeo-Christian position rest on the unity of truth (as opposed to the fragmentation of truth) and that this means statements of science and statements of ethical principle are both to be regarded as asserting that which is objectively the case in the external world, as opposed to casting science into the realm of "fact" and casting "religion," "faith," "meaning," and "ethics" into the realm of "value."

The escape into mere values signals breakdown and decline, not wholeness and progress. It is therefore a step forward when public figures such as Pawlenty assert publicly that this country was "founded under God." It is an even greater step forward into truth and liberation to realize that this God, this Creator, is himself a public figure. The space-time Creator who is the source of unalienable rights is the ultimate critique of statism.

For more on the case to liberate Christianity and evangelicalism from the fact/value dichotomy, please see Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey. Her new book Saving Leonardo is a plea to liberate culture itself from secularism and its unavoidable fragmentation in thought and practice.

Here is Tim Pawlenty's "Freedom First" website.