An interesting development in our culture is taking place that I think could end up being pretty damaging. It has to do with the recent “Values Voter” Conference.
Enemies of value voters are not attacking them now of falling short of their values like with Sen. Larry Craig. They’re now questioning the term “values” at all.
They’re upset that Republicans have a corner on the term “values” so they’re attempting now to expand its meaning into meaninglessness. This from a recent column entitled “Just Whose Values Matter at the Values Summit?”
But let’s deconstruct the words “values voters” for a minute. This term connotes many things, including purity, morality, piety, superiority and a recognition of its own importance in American elections. However, such a connotation is not enough to define it. For “values voters” to hold any meaning both as a political movement and as a term to describe political evangelicals, there has to be something in opposition, a block of “non-values voters”, if you will.
In their implicit definition, “non-values voters” describes the non-evangelical segment of America, including the dreaded liberals, who have no morality, no religious faith and, apparently, no concern for values whatsoever.
Never mind that the “non-values voters” in America support a health care plan for living children, support women who wish to have control over their own bodies and lives, support working against religious extremism but not with the death of thousands of innocent people, and support homosexual men and women who want to share the same rights of marriage as heterosexual couples. In the world of values voting, these values are inferior to those that are backed by fundamentalist Christian faith.
This is where values voting as a political movement begins to erode. Presumably, we all vote in a way that is relational to how we view the world and the values we hold dear, and even some non-values voters have a faith that defines their voting decisions. There is, essentially, little moral difference between “values voters” and the rest of us, even atheists, feminists and homosexuals.
Doesn’t it matter at all the value we put on values? And more to the point: There are some greater values from which all other lesser values derive -namely life.