The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, Shaun Donovan, recently unveiled a new federal rule that he is putting forth in order to compel diversity in America’s neighborhoods. This new policy is called, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” The purpose of this directive will be to require HUD to gather data on segregation and discrimination in every single neighborhood in America and try to remedy it.
To carry this out, HUD will create a “discrimination database” which they will use to target zoning laws, housing finance policy, infrastructure planning and transportation in local communities. They will develop federal standards and guidelines which identify discrimination and segregation, then create policies and rules which communities will have to follow based on HUD’s directives.
At a gut level, for most Americans, this very concept just reeks of injustice as those who control the federal bureaucracy impose their own beliefs and values about how local communities must be structured. But the present administration sees it differently. They believe that this is what is necessary to bring about justice in America. They believe that the current situation is unjust because some people cannot afford to live in certain neighborhoods. So, what is the source of these opposing views of what is right and wrong?
The traditional American approach for dealing with this topic is to allow local towns and cities to decide for themselves how to structure their communities. Individuals decide what neighborhoods they want to live in based on their personal preferences and their ability to purchase in particular places. This approach is founded on worldview beliefs which come out of Christian Theism. It is based on the concepts of the priority of the individual, personal stewardship of property and individual free will.
The approach of HUD is established on an entirely different worldview foundation. It is based on naturalistic beliefs which put a priority on the collective rather than on the individual. Using this approach, the leaders of society (in this case the federal government) get to decide what is good, right and fair, and impose it on local communities.
In the case of this particular housing policy, HUD has deemed that it is not fair for people who can’t afford certain neighborhoods to be excluded from them. To remedy this situation, they are proposing to implement policies which force local communities to provide advantages for those who want to get into certain housing units but cannot afford them. This is done by forcing changes in zoning laws, in how home financing is made available, and in the kind of infrastructure and transportation that is available.
Essentially, the difference in worldview approaches dictates the policies which the government goes by. When the focus is on individual freedom (as in the traditional American model), individuals have the ability to make their own decisions and go for their own goals. When the focus is on “the good of the collective,” governmental leaders decide everything based on their personal values and impose it on society.
A worldview is much more than an individual point of view. As a majority of individuals express particular worldview beliefs in society, it ultimately affects every part of every person’s life. The naturalistic point of view destroys individual freedom. Christians cannot just sit back and allow non-Christian worldview beliefs to take over and expect that their freedom to live and worship will not be affected. We have to take our biblical principles and express them in every part of life.
Of course, the ultimate purpose is to bring the world into relationship with God through Jesus Christ. But to even have the possibility of living out that purpose, promoting an environment which allows it is critical. We are stewards not just of our individual souls, but of the world God has placed us in. We need to put forth effort like we believe that to be true.