Christianity exalts human dignity. Image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:26-27) have worth bestowed upon them by their Creator, and as such have rights intrinsic to their beings. Among them are life, liberty and the “pursuit of happiness” — a phrase Jefferson employed, in part, because he and his colleagues believed that “happiness” (in the classical sense of a life defined by virtue) is impossible unless one’s person and possessions — one’s property — are sacrosanct.
The Founders argued that natural law — what the Apostle Paul called “the law written on the heart” (Romans 2:14) — and divine revelation, as enscripturated in the Bible, provide the only firm basis for a just, moral, and free society. Their writings about these things are extensive and readily available.
The Bible’s commands about generosity are so many that an exposition of them is beyond the scope of this article. It is sufficient to note that Scripture calls Christians to imitate the generosity of God, a God Who “spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). Pretty high standard of giving, that.
And that’s why Christians throughout history have cared for those most in need in every way they can, from protecting abandoned infants in the days of Rome to defending the unborn and their vulnerable mothers today; from opening clinics in the slums of Kolkata to caring for AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa; from standing with those persecuted for their faith in China to protecting religious liberty here at home. Name the need; you will find Christians seeking to meet it.
The hallmark of Christian faith is love: Love for God and for people, love for truth and for justice. Love is gracious but not insipid, compassionate but not tolerant of wrong. Jesus, writes the Apostle John, was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). It is this unique wedding of mercy and justice that Christians seek to bring to the public square, and which animates their conservatism as they serve and advocate in Washington and around the nation.
Rob Schwarzwalder, Sr. Vice President, Family Research Council, has been Chief of Staff to two Members of Congress and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society.