New York City (NYC) has elected a new mayor. Bill de Blasio will take office on January 1, 2014. He will become the first Democrat mayor of New York City in nearly 20 years – despite the fact that the city has been heavily Democrat for many years. Before being elected mayor, de Blasio held the citywide office of New York City Public Advocate. He has also served as a New York City Council member and was the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 senate run.
Here is another fascinating fact. Bill de Blasio is an avowed progressive (often referring to himself as a “democratic socialist”). During much of his early adulthood, de Blasio spent a lot of time traveling back and forth to Nicaragua to supply the Communist Sandinistas with funds and food. Additionally, during his student days, he traveled to the Soviet Union, and even violated America’s travel ban, with his new wife, to honeymoon in Cuba. There really is no doubt about de Blasio’s hard core leftist political leanings.
So, what will his policy decisions look like as he takes on the mayoral responsibilities in NYC? He has already given clues, if not stated outright, what many of his priorities will be. He has made no secret of the fact that he plans to expand “progressive” policies to the highest degree possible. Some of the things he has put on the table include:
∙ Expanding abortion opportunities,
∙ Increasing taxes on “the rich” to fund early childhood education,
∙ Enacting policies to help poor and middle-class New Yorkers that he says have been “left behind,”
∙ Continuing former mayor Bloomberg’s controversial health initiatives (he was the only Democrat mayoral candidate to support Bloomberg’s proposed ban on the sale of large sugary drinks),
∙ Advocating for gay rights,
∙ Increasing the minimum wage,
∙ Banning racial profiling in the city’s “stop and frisk” program,
∙ Making it harder for private charter schools to operate,
∙ Legalizing marijuana.
The Worldview of Progressivism
Progressivism is a philosophy that believes, based on advances in science, technology, economic development, and social organization, that a society can continuously advance to higher levels of equality and fairness. In the political arena, the progress is specifically aimed at moving toward a utopian state in a progressive manner, rather than by revolution (which would be the traditional Communist approach).
The progressive ideal is based on a naturalistic worldview – the belief that there is no such thing as a supernatural reality. Progressives believe man has naturally evolved to his current level, both biologically and socially, and is continuing that advance even today. Along with the belief in biological evolution, they believe that human beings are capable of evolving the culture, as well, to make it more civilized and ultimately create a situation where there is absolute equality and fairness.
As with their communist brethren, they believe man is essentially good and, given the right circumstances, can continue to create a society which progresses (evolves) to an ultimate utopia.
This view of reality is based on the belief that the collective is more important than the individual. In Naturalism, the material universe is believed to be all that exists so protecting the survival of the species is the highest goal possible. Progressives believe that creating a society where material equality for all citizens is maintained is the best way to accomplish this end. The means for pulling it off is to redistribute resources from the “haves” to the “have nots” in a way which evens the outcomes. All of this must be overseen by a leadership class who can establish and enforce rules which make it happen.
The Worldview of Christian Theism
In spite of the monumental advances Progressivism has made in America over the last century, it still clashes massively with the established values and traditions of this nation. It represents an entirely different view of reality than what the founders held. The result is the culture war that currently exists in American society.
The foundational worldview of American culture is Christian Theism. This is the view of reality that was held by America’s founders and was the basis for the establishment of her culture and societal institutions.
Christian Theism begins with a belief in the God of the Bible. This understanding of God recognizes him to be the Creator and Sustainer of the material universe. It also recognizes him to be personal and a God of holiness, justice, and love. As holy, he requires moral perfection from humanity. As just, he must bring unholiness to justice. As love, he provides a means for mankind to escape the deserved justice by entering into a personal relationship with himself. This is all based on his loving provision of redemption and forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Christ on the cross.
The nature of man, in Christian Theism, is based on two important concepts. First, human beings were created by God in his image. This simply means that humans are creatures who have the personhood characteristics of God himself. Secondly, humanity is Fallen. When Adam and Eve sinned, human nature became tainted by sin which inclined individuals toward rebellion against God. This tendency does not force people to sin, as the decision to follow the inclination is personal and individual. But because the tendency exists, all humans do sin and put themselves in a position of separation from God.
In Christian Theism, though, the sin problem does have a solution. In order to redeem fallen mankind, God came to earth in the form of a human being, lived a life worthy of being the redeemer, then allowed himself to be crucified as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of mankind. He then rose from the dead demonstrating his power and authority over sin and death. Those individuals who are willing to turn their lives over to God, based on the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ, are declared not guilty of sin and adopted into his family.
How this Affects You
At this point you may be wondering why you should even care about de Blasio and what is happening in NYC – especially if you don’t live there. Of course New Yorkers are going to be directly affected as they see higher taxes, more regulation and declining moral values in the public square. In fact, there has already been a move among many companies and individuals to move out of New York to escape the negative effects of what they see coming.
But it affects the rest of America, too. For one, much of the distribution of information about what is going on in the world has its locus in New York. It is the home of the most powerful news organizations in the country whose reporters tend to be sympathetic to de Blasio’s point of view. What happens in that city flavors the news that is broadcast in the rest of the U.S.
Beyond that, as New York is a major influencer of American culture, the policies and activities which become established there inevitably spread to other parts of the nation. With the city poised to become more socialist with a radical progressive mayor, we are going to see this influence spread more dramatically.
The other thing it will do is encourage progressive politicians in other states, and on the national level, to double down. There will be more attempts to move the nation toward policies of economic redistribution, as well as efforts to push a liberal social agenda. All of this affects the laws and social environment everyone must live under. With this kind of naturalistic advance, it will become increasingly difficult for Christians to carry out the work of God in the world.
As such, it is important for Christians to be active in doing the work of God in every part of the culture. God has given believers a very specific work to do in the world. That work is to express God’s glory, share Christ with the lost, and promote the kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven” by being faithful stewards over every part of the culture.
The election of de Blasio in NYC is a microcosm of a larger dramatic shift away from God in American culture. It represents an increasingly common view of reality which is, literally, anti-God. There is only one way to overcome this movement and that is by the conversion of those who are moving in the other direction – both leaders and followers. I believe this can be done, but only when a large number of Christians seriously take up the banner of Christ, equip themselves to directly confront the anti-God forces and march into the teeth of the battle to bring them to Christ.
© 2013 Freddy Davis