Probably the Only Political Post I'm Going To Make For A While  

Posted by Devin Parker

For what small degree I've pulled my head out of the sand to look at political coverage lately, I've regretted. This video pretty much sums up my assessment of news coverage of Obama and the DNC. I had hoped for some ribbing from the Daily Show for all of the blatant fawning, but was disappointed only to hear Jon Stewart just giving rah-rahs for the Democrats and reminding us how eeeeeeeeeevil Republicans are. The only folks who got roasted were die-hard Hillary supporters against Obama, who were chided for being "childish."

I guess we have to wait until the RNC before the claws come out.

Funny thing is, I'm no fan of McCain, either. I plan to vote for him only because I don't want to vote for Obama. McCain's vocally opposed the Republicans in the past, publicly insulted both conservatives and Christians on different occasions (his official blogger even insulted gamers, if you can believe that, though he quickly retracted the statement), and has endorsed a few talking points (illegal immigrant amnesty, the global warming/climate change scare) that I'm not crazy about. But what am I going to do? I guess I could just not vote, but that seems irresponsible to me.

EDIT: Two things - First, I just found out that the RNC is going to be held in the Twin Cities. Be ready for some serious protesting nuttery; for at least as long as I was there, Minneapolis was rabid about their politics, and their politics were leftist. I can only imagine how they'll react to the presence of so many Republicans in their midst.

The other, because it made me giggle:


EDIT, ONE LAST TIME: I just read a little bit about McCain's new running mate, Sarah Palin. So far, I like what I've read; she makes me feel a little better about voting for McCain...

This entry was posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 at Friday, August 29, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

33 comments

I'm getting nothing on your final comment there—what made you giggle?

And did you really expect ribbing of Democrats on The Daily Show? That'd be like expecting negative coverage of the RNC convention on FOX News...

12:25 PM

Okay, let's try the picture again. Is it showing up now?

And re: The Daily Show...I know, I know. But FOX doesn't have anyone as funny as Stewart, so I keep holding out hope.

(There's O'Reilly, I guess, but he doesn't make me laugh so much as feel urpy.)

12:59 PM

looks like you picked a good time to be out of the twin cities. Its been wall to wall news coverage of the PROTESTS that are expected for the RNC for 3 months here. A friend of mine is going to be on riot patrol, and he said they are expecting "a lot of resistance".
As for Obama, I have become more and more sucked in (despite my efforts not to) to his 'spirituality'. Hes the perfect example of what many of Americas "Christians" believe. did you catch the end of his speech last night? he quoted Hebrews totaly out of context. I've been looking back at any faith statements he made in the past.... he doesn't believe the bible, he doesn't know where we go when we die, he doesn't believe that Christ is the only way to be saved, oh, but he's a "devout" Christian. WHAT? ugh...now look what you've done...you've got me on a rant. I have my own blog for that so Ill stop now.
deep cleansing breath.

10:42 PM
Anonymous  

Jesus loves all people. Isn't it ironic that the same party that is pro-life is pro-gun? Isn't it ironic that the same party that is pro-life is also pro-war? Also who are you or anyone to judge whether someone is a believer or a spiritual person? Nobody knows what's in anyone's heart. Oh and by the way, I find it totally disgusting that Dr. James Dobson asked his followers to pray for rain during Obama's speech. What about praying for the people suffering in the world, praying for the safety of our troops, praying for the hurricane making it's way through the gulf? God is Love - not hate - not spite! I think Dobson and everyone else on the right needs to re-read the Bible and think about what is at the core of what they believe as Christians which is GOD IS LOVE!

11:13 PM

Perhaps a couple of people need to reread the Bible. God himself is pro-life, yet pro-war.

I didn't get a chance to watch the news blurb on it, but I had seen a commercial for one of the news shows where they advertised that a group of democrats at the DNC were very unhappy and didn't want Obama either. Interesting. Denver was probably in reality a pretty neutral place to have the DNC, but it's certainly not a predominantly Democratic city. If anything, I'd say it's more Republican. I'm sure they didn't set up protests too, because there were probably enough sporting events going on to distract them anyway...

10:18 AM

What I find ironic, Anonymous, is that you have no qualms judging Dr. Dobson's faith. Apparently, you found something he said to be inconsistent with Christian faith.

My interest is not in defending Dr. Dobson. But it should be in the interest of every Christian that we carefully discern true followers of Jesus from false ones. Given your outrage, I'm guessing you're most likely familiar with Jesus's words in Matthew 7:1, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." But I wonder if you've ever read the rest of the chapter? Here's what Jesus says:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'


Do these sound like the words of a God who doesn't want us to think about whether a person is really a Christian or not, Anonymous?

I agree with you on one point: Everyone needs to re-read their Bibles.

1:35 PM
Anonymous  

God bless you, Devin and I'm sorry for invading your blog. I should just not read it until after the election!

In the end, I feel comforted that Billy Graham is a registered Democrat!

5:19 PM
Easy E  

Just an intersting (in my view) observation about both cnadidate.

Obama had to out Left Hillary to get the nomination, and after he got it, started moving tot he center that Hillary once held. Therefore, moving away from what argueably won him the nomination in the first place, and garnered him his staunchest supporters (and the Political Jesus dub from Hannity.)

McCain on the other hand started at the center (well, center right) as a clear Republican alternative to the policies of G.W. Bush. He won the nomination on those ideas, but now is moving to the right in the elcetion.

Therefore, both candidates are moving away from the very policies that allowed them to win the chance to be president in the first place. That just seems really wierd to me.

Oh yeah, and my two cents. I would never vote for a guy who talks so much about his time as a POW being tortured, that then votes to allow waterboarding after a token resistance. Perhaps that makes me a one issue voter?

10:55 PM

E, I think you're right. It's hard not to get cynical about politics when they do this, but I guess that's how the game is played.

As for your latter point, I do find that curious...unless he figures waterboarding isn't "real" torture. I mean, it's not bamboo shoots under the fingernails, I suppose, but still, I'm fairly uncomfortable with the idea that we would be a nation who would use torture at all.

4:25 PM
Anonymous  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
10:35 PM

Devin--Do you truly believe you should judge everyone based on whether they are a Christian or not, as you stated?

11:23 PM

I'm confused: at what point in this post or the comments that follow does Devin suggest that people who are not Christian are "nothing," or that everyone should be judged on the basis of "whether they are a Christian or not"?

This is an honest question—either there's some confusion about what is being discussed, or I'm totally missing something.

11:13 AM

The only thing you're missing is defensiveness.

When a person uses terms like "strongly fundamentalist" or "extremist religious fanatacism" in conjunction with "downright scary", it certainly isn't part of any intelligent discourse. It's defensiveness - the need for that person to defend a choice that he's made.

By labeling Devin in this manner, he's able to neatly discount Devin's faith... the faith that Kham has rejected.

I'm going a little far afield here, but Kham, my desire for you is that you'll un-shoulder the burden of being opposed to what God wants for you.

11:57 AM

That may be, Matt, but my question is asked on a much more simple basis. I think I'm actually misunderstanding what the issue is here. It sounds as though Kham and Kari are reading something in the post or the comments that I am literally not seeing there. So I wanted to get confirmation about what was causing the trouble in the hopes of understanding what has made Devin seem so extreme or fanatical. It's not a rhetorical device to make a point or an accusation: it's an honest-to-goodness confusion on my part.

For reals.

1:07 PM
Anonymous  

It was based on the line: "Do these sound like the words of a God who doesn't want us to think about whether a person is really a Christian or not." And the cute little spoof on Obama in Christian motiff. All very judgemental, which seems to be the Christian way.

And Christina's assertion that God is "pro-life and pro-war" simply pissed me off.

But I was tired and shouldn't have posted. Give it a rest. I already requested that my post be erased--guess Devin didn't get it.

2:56 PM

Okay. Clearly you're not interested in discussion, which is fine. I was unclear and wanted to understand what you were saying. Mea culpa.

Well, I will make one point, and it isn't to goad you into further posting: Devin's comment was very specifically about discerning the state of someone's faith who professed to be a Christian. At no point did he say anything about judging anyone who did not make such a profession; indeed, his quote from Revelation makes that plain. He's discussing the state of those who claim to follow Christ and our potential call/duty to observe and evaluate that claim. Non-believers aren't even mentioned.

Eurgh—it's hard to fight the urge to respond to your other digs, but I can't see that being useful if you're unwilling to engage. So I'll end there.

3:03 PM

Whoa! Dang. Jeez. Okay.

First of all, Kham, if you had requested that I take your comment down, I never saw it. I still don't see it here. I don't know what happened there. But I'll remove your initial comment, since you've asked me to. Second, I didn't see this posting frenzy until right this moment, so I'm sorry that I didn't respond before now.

Hopefully to clarify, here was the original comment-fragment that Anonymous made:

Also who are you or anyone to judge whether someone is a believer or a spiritual person?

Which I believe was spurred on by Pat's comment:

As for Obama, I have become more and more sucked in (despite my efforts not to) to his 'spirituality'. Hes the perfect example of what many of Americas "Christians" believe. did you catch the end of his speech last night? he quoted Hebrews totaly out of context. I've been looking back at any faith statements he made in the past.... he doesn't believe the bible, he doesn't know where we go when we die, he doesn't believe that Christ is the only way to be saved, oh, but he's a "devout" Christian.

I thus responded to Anonymous's question with a quote from Jesus on the subject, and then a personal commentary:

Do these sound like the words of a God who doesn't want us to think about whether a person is really a Christian or not, Anonymous?

...trying to argue that Jesus does indeed want Christians to discern whether or not people who claim to be Christians actually are Christians, especially if they want to lead us.

I posted the picture of Obama as Messiah by the powers of the media as a (semi) humorous poke at how Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and other anchor-people had been referring to Obama in his acceptance speech at the DNC that night in almost messianic terms. Obama's quotation of Hebrews in his speech - specifically using a quote that speaks of the salvific hope we have in Christ to apply to his campaign - was something I actually didn't notice until Pat pointed it out. So while thematically appropriate, I didn't post the picture as an intentional slam suggesting that Obama thinks of himself as the Messiah.

Having said that, I think the quotation was unfortunate.

Do I think it means that Obama is the Antichrist? No.

Do I think it means that Obama is quoting Scripture without regard to its context? Yes.

Do I think that Obama is intentionally leading us astray? No. I suspect that he's merely pandering to his perceived voter base, but I do question whether he is actually a Christian or merely says he is. Based on the things that Pat has quoted from Obama, it sounds like he isn't. As Anonymous said, I don't know his heart. I can only make a judgment based on his words and deeds - as directed to by Jesus Himself.

Kari, as Michael clarified on my behalf, this is a discernment meant to be applied toward people who claim to be Christians. It's a matter of internal policing, if you'll forgive the martial tone of the phrase. It's not a general philosophy of how Christians should approach non-believers. Jesus made it clear that it was our task to tell others about Him, to appeal to non-Christians in respect and compassion. He made it clear that the stakes involved are extremely high - the eternal fate of every individual after death. Every individual's fate is in God's hands, certainly not mine, but He has tasked everyone who would claim to follow Him with the responsibility to warn others about these things.

Likewise, God makes it abundantly clear in the Bible that His words are a sacred thing, not to be taken - or quoted - lightly. He really doesn't seem to like being misrepresented; some of His harshest words are reserved for those who misuse His word but should know better. So any time someone quotes Scripture - Democrat, Republican, Independent, Whatever - we as Christians need to take care and make certain that what is being said isn't being taken out of context or twisted to serve another agenda, lest we be misled into a false understanding of God's will, or into placing our trust in someone who may not place God's will as his or her pursuit.

On another topic, I'll leave Christina to defend her own words, if she wants. However, I will say this about political policies toward war. I think that the phrase "pro-war" is as loaded a term as, say, "pro-life", "pro-choice," or many other political labels that we use. It's plainly meant as a pejorative term, as though Republicans were all vicious warmongers who delight in martial conflict. When contrasted with the term "pro-life" (as well as the view that capital punishment is an acceptable option in punishing criminals), I agree that it appears hypocritical.

I can't speak for all Republicans, nor would I claim that everyone on the Right is a Christian (especially after my above comments). However, I would say that viewing abortion as murder while saying that capital punishment and warfare are not necessarily murder is part of a consistent worldview, and one that stems from a Biblical cosmology.

Here's my reasoning, in a nutshell:

If:

a) God commanded people to engage in warfare (the Israelites' wars against other peoples to obtain the Holy Land);

and

b) Sin is antithetical to God's nature, and thus He would never command someone to commit a sin;

Then:

c) War, as an act, is not sinful.

Now, it could be argued at this point that war is only morally acceptable when God Himself commands it. However, Paul says in Romans 13 that the government has the God-given authority to bear the sword, "acting as an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." It seems to me, then, that so long as the government is the one issuing capital punishment and waging warfare, and doing so with the intention of justice and protection of the innocent, then it is permissible. Maybe not the best of all possible worlds, but the best option in a sinful world.

So I would say that my political leanings on these topics can be summed up as a desire to "defend the innocent."

9:35 PM
Easy E  

Devin,

Thanks for explaining the biblical roots to war/capital punishement versus other forms of killing. This was a point that always puzzled me and seemed illogical, but I always rationalized it by saying faith does not ask you to be logic, only to believe. Nice to see a logical underpinning exists.

Just out of curiosity, are there any biblical versus that discuss torture? I'm not up on my bible, but I would imagine the Old Testament would have a few things to say about the matter, however they probably wouldn't use the term torture per se.

10:22 PM
Anonymous  

Mike--
I'm dialed into discussion mode (avoided all news and political talk shows today)...
Let's look into my charge that Christians are JUDGEMENTAL:

Devin was discussing the need for JUDGING whether a person is a true Christian or not. The Obama image Devin posted mocks Obama's claim to be a Christian, so to me, he is making a statement about his decision regarding the man's faith. Even if Devin did not mean it as such, it was stated in subsequent posts by others.

My conclusion regarding how Christians JUDGE non-believers is based on experience--I am doomed to hell. I've been told so.

Christians JUDGE all other religions as false, and their followers misguided. In the past this has even meant dubbing them heretics and imposing death penalties. Nowadays it just means that if you aren't Christian, there isn't a snowball's chance in hell you can be President.

Christians make JUDGEMENT on a woman's right to choose, on birth control, and Dr. assisted suicide--then push to impose that JUDGEMENT on everyone.

Christians JUDGE homosexuals as deviants, and pray for them to change. They limit marriage, which limits couples basic rights such as access to their loved one in a hospital.

Christians JUDGE anyone who does not step in line. The Republican party, self proclaimed home of the Christian right, JUDGES anyone who questions their country as "unpatriotic", and protesters are "nutty" as Devin points out.

Why must Christians impose their JUDGEMENTS on others, even to the point of trying to make them into law?

As I've said before on this page, I'm not anti-Christian. I accept all faiths. I have no preference for how people answer their children's questions about death. But I think it is dangerous for strictly faith based ideas to guide politics or law.

Devin--I figured you just had not received my e-mail, I was not inferring that you were leaving the post up despite the request.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to have a discussion regarding the "God is pro-war" issue as Devin has put forth. As I am a non-believer in God (at least in the strict Christian incarnation), quoting the bible to support an argument is meaningless to me. As would be a quote from the Koran. Suffice to say, very few wars actually end up defending the innocent.

Kham

11:39 PM

My—what a lot of wildly various cases you use the word "judge" for. I can hardly begin to answer such charges because (a) your use of "judge" is inconsistent, and (b) I certainly don't hold to all the various beliefs ascribed to me in that list, and (c) I don't agree with all the actions you've outlined as the results thereof.

However, I would suggest that judgment does not seem to be antithetical to your worldview, as you seem to engage in so much of it.

I would suggest that any law of any kind is imposing some form of judgment upon others—else, we would not need the law. If we are to sling accusations without grounding, I might just as easily ask, "Why must liberal secular humanists impose their JUDGMENTS on others, even to the point of trying to make them into law?"

And if the opinion of the majority does not hold sway (i.e.: who does or does not get elected based on their beliefs), perhaps we should have a counsel of the wise minority who could elect a president for us? That would suit some, I'm sure—help get the vote of the ignorant rabble out of the system, eh?

Kham, know that as a friend and a man I respect you, but discussing issues such at this with you is endlessly frustrating, because as smart and logical as I know you to be, that all seems to vaporize in the face of an issue that clearly bothers you deeply. Generalizations and accusations fly in the face of level, well-reasoned, and specific statements.

For instance, is there the least shred of a bit of an iota of support, in any form, for the statement, "very few wars actually end up defending the innocent"? It's a sound bite, the most sweeping of generalizations. It would sound good on a bumper sticker, but it's utterly baseless as a logical argument.

So in this case, as in many others, I'm bowing out. I imagine I'm probably doing more harm than good (possibly even in this very post). So you will, as always, have my prayers, my best hope for you and yours, and a willing correspondent if it ever seems to be a useful thing to you.

12:48 AM
Anonymous  

Why don't you show me an example of a liberal Judgement that REQUIRES you to do something?

And If you can't specifiically refute my list of Christian judgements, then I have to assume there is no defense. I know that you are quite intelligent yourself, and could provide some insight.

Again, give me an example (other than WWII and the civil war) of a war that defended the innocent. Certainly not this current war in Iraq--thousands of innocents have died. And based on Bush's statements, at least of a portion of his decision to go to war is based on his religious beliefs.

If you are going to refute me--provide some examples, otherwise you are the one making generalizations.

9:25 AM

Kham -

Let's look into my charge that Christians are JUDGEMENTAL...

Your definition of judgmentalism is so broad that it loses meaning. From what I can tell, there is no difference between your definition and discernment, scrutiny, making moral decisions, or even saying that someone's belief may be wrong, no matter what that belief may be. The very notion of "wisdom" becomes a negative trait. In order for me not to be judgmental by this measure, I must abandon all beliefs and convictions regarding anything. In fact, by your own definition, you have shown yourself to be quite judgmental of practicing Christians, if not Republicans. Given that you seem to be arguing that being judgmental is a bad thing, how is this not hypocritical?

Which brings me to my next point:

I'm not anti-Christian. I accept all faiths. I have no preference for how people answer their children's questions about death. But I think it is dangerous for strictly faith based ideas to guide politics or law.

"I'm not anti-Christian. I accept all faiths." You've demonstrated this to be a false statement. At best, you appear to accept all faiths so long as they conform to your idea of what a faith is, and how it should be exercised. This isn't open-mindedness, much less acceptance - it's a re-writing of other people's faiths to make them more friendly to your personal worldview. It's not a worldview that allows people to exercise their faith as-written, on their terms, but rather forces them to conform to your beliefs and opinions. Your comment immediately following this declaration adds to this impression: it suggests that the only role of a faith is to "answer...children's questions about death," while having no say in other arenas of life. This does not remotely describe Christianity, nor any religion or philosophy I can think of.

I might sympathize with your next statement: "I think it is dangerous for strictly faith based ideas to guide politics or law". But given the thread of your arguments thus far, I don't know that I trust your definition of "strictly faith based ideas" to translate to anything short of "any ideal or goal whose motive can be traced back to a religious foundation, regardless of supporting argument". I understand that I may be putting words in your mouth here, but given your free-ranging definition of judgmentalism, I think I have reason to express such concerns. Your later condemnation that "at least a portion of his [Bush's] decision to go to war is based on his religious beliefs" seems to support this definition. Such a ban would disqualify even the Declaration of Independence, not to mention several other positive political movements in history. I completely embrace the idea that we must present logical, reasonable arguments for our political activism that aren't solely dependent upon an appeal to the Bible. But to be told that we cannot even be motivated to action by our faith... We don't compartmentalize our ideals and beliefs in this way, and it's unreasonable to be asked to. It would be a definition that removes any professing religious believer from the political arena, an area of deep concern for many Christians.

Which segueways conveniently to:

Why don't you show me an example of a liberal Judgement that REQUIRES you to do something?

The ACLU has earned a reputation for requiring people to remove religious symbolism or statements from public spaces, regardless of innocuousness, historical context, community sentiment, or even gestures of inclusion. Roe v. Wade forces us to permit abortions to be performed, an act we consider to be murder. Later legislation required anti-abortion protestors to remain a long distance away from abortion clinics, placing restrictions on them that protestors on other issues aren't held to. Legislation has forced people to remove prayer and Bible reading from public schools, and have forced people to cease wearing clothing or jewelry that feature religious sentiments. The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters on television and radio to present contrasting viewpoints on any political or religious statements made, and there is push to get this re-enstated. In Europe and Canada there are laws prohibiting people from preaching and proselytizing (they are labeled as "hate speech" when statements are made that offend certain parties; for example, the Canadian broadcast of Dr. Dobson's "Focus on the Family" radio show is prohibited from presenting the Biblical view of homosexuality), requiring people of faith to modify the content of their religious speech, abridging their free exercise of religion, and there is concern that U.S. "hate crime" legislation will follow suit. These are citations just off the top of my head.

As Michael pointed out, any legislation is imposing someone's judgment on others. This is an inescapable facet of law.

And if you can't specifiically refute my list of Christian judgements, then I have to assume there is no defense.

So, if you can't answer a question, there is no defense?

Are you really making this argument?

The Republican party, self proclaimed home of the Christian right, JUDGES anyone who questions their country as "unpatriotic", and protesters are "nutty" as Devin points out.

These guys don't strike you as nutty?

11:47 AM

"I am doomed to hell. I've been told so." This is the root of the entire arguement, is it not? Nothing on earth really matters if hell is the end, right? For someone who doesn't "believe" he's going to hell, Kham, you sure do get angry and upset about it. Are you sure you don't believe it? I'm not asking you to adopt any doctrine or go to any church. I'm just asking you to consider, do you truly denounce Christ? As the son of God?

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for [Kham] is that [he] may be saved. For I bear [him] witness that [he has] a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For [he] being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish [his] own righteousness, [has] not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them." But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, " 'Who will descend into the abyss?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." - Romans 10:1-11

3:31 PM
julie  

This may be unwise to jump in at this point, but a few thoughts have been swirling in my mind. First off, everyone is judgemental. I am. I try not to be- I'm going to school to be a social worker and am constantly addressing my judgements. And I agree that laws- both liberal and conservative- place judgement. The problem is, when something is the dominant discourse (in this country: white, male, straight, Christian), it gets more say as to those judgements. I know at some point in this long discussion there was a mention of the logic of majority rule. Well, the majority of the South believed in maintaining slavery. And the majority of the U.S. opposes gay marriage. But those majority judements have and do oppress minorities. So though I see how it seems logical that since Christians are the majority in this country, Christianity should primarily influence our laws and way of life, a lot of us end up marginalized. Personally I would not care if someone thought I was going to hell, if it didn't affect the opportunities available to me to live a happy and successful life. Now I know that just leads into a discussion of how we draw the line as to what's allowable or not (abortion is a perfect example of this), and that could go on for 20 more posts. And there are no simple answers- ethics have been debated for centuries. But it sure is easier believing you're right when you're part of the dominant culture.

10:35 PM
Anonymous  

DEVIN:"Your definition of judgmentalism is so broad that it loses meaning."

I agree--the word "judgement" is rather open ended. My usage was meant specifically: To make a decision regarding an issue, and seek to impose the decision on others. It's the latter part that I really have a problem with.

DEVIN:"You appear to accept all faiths so long as they conform to your idea of what a faith is, and how it should be exercised."

I don't ask that anyone conform to my idea of faith, because I don't base my life on faith. Again, all I ask is that another's faith not be exercised on me.

DEVIN:"Your comment immediately following this declaration adds to this impression: it suggests that the only role of a faith is to "answer...children's questions about death," while having no say in other arenas of life. This does not remotely describe Christianity, nor any religion or philosophy I can think of."

You misunderstand. I was not claiming that is all that faith is, it was simply an example.

DEVIN:"But given the thread of your arguments thus far, I don't know that I trust your definition of "strictly faith based ideas"."

My definition of faith based is thus--"belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence". That is a standard dictionary definition.

DEVIN:"The ACLU has earned a reputation for requiring people to remove religious symbolism or statements from public spaces, regardless of innocuousness, historical context, community sentiment, or even gestures of inclusion."

I don't support 100% of what the ACLU does. In fact, I definitely think the ACLU goes overboard sometimes. This is how I differ from you--as a fundamentalist Christian, you are bound to supporting 100% of what the bible says about an issue. This leaves limited room for critically thinking each issue individually.

DEVIN:"Roe v. Wade forces us to permit abortions to be performed, an act we consider to be murder."

But Roe vs. Wade does not force you to choose abortion yourself. I think this example is weak.

DEVIN:"Later legislation required anti-abortion protestors to remain a long distance away from abortion clinics, placing restrictions on them that protestors on other issues aren't held to."

Actually, I have heard about various restrictions placed on a wide variety of protesting groups here in America. I can see a good argument for keeping any protesting group at a distance from the object of their action.

DEVIN:"Legislation has forced people to remove prayer and Bible reading from public schools"

The problem is, if you are going to open up shools to one religious group, you need to open up to all. That would mean a class where writings of Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Native American Religions, etc. be read along with the Bible. If you are good with that, I might accept it as well. Prayer is the same way--have prayer time, but that means all types of prayer are allowed.

DEVIN:"Forced people to cease wearing clothing or jewelry that feature religious sentiments."

I don't care if a kid wears a shirt with religious sentiments. But you have to agree, there has to be some limit to what children are allowed to display in schools, even related to religion. It is a complex topic though, and very subjective.

DEVIN:"The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters on television and radio to present contrasting viewpoints on any political or religious statements made"

Why is this attributed to a liberal judgement? Are you saying Christians don't want to hear opposing viewpoints? I don't necessarily think any program should be forced to share opposing viewpoints, but it certainly is better for society if people are at least aware of varying view points.

DEVIN:"In Europe and Canada there are laws prohibiting people from preaching and proselytizing"

Now you are really stretching it. We are not a European or Canadian.

DEVIN: "As Michael pointed out, any legislation is imposing someone's judgment on others. This is an inescapable facet of law."

That's a good point. However, I would argue that there is a basic human nature, that has always driven us to live in groups. We are social animals. As such, there have always been some basic requirements involved with living in a group, such as discouraging haphazard killing. This is not a judgement, it is simply a requirement of having a functional civilization. These basic requirements are often made into law. It's against the law to run a stop sign, because if it were not so, intersections would be chaos. There is no judgement involved.

DEVIN:"So, if you can't answer a question, there is no defense?"

No, but it certainly doesn't help your case!

DEVIN:"These guys don't strike you as nutty?"

No, I don't consider protesters at a political convention to be nutty.

KHAM

11:45 PM
Anonymous  

Marilyn:

I denounce anyone who claims they are absolutely certain of any non-scientifically provable belief. So based on this, I do not claim I am certain there is no God.

11:49 PM
Anonymous  

Holy cow, you people are trippin. I don't know what you all are talking about, however, as a believer and follower of Christ I don't really agree with the idea of going to war to "protect the innocent". Hmmmm. So are Iraqis not "innocent". The problem with the Right is that they only look at themselves as the "innocent".

As far as questioning Obama's faith....

Check out this website by Rev Kirbyjon Caldwell - George W's closest spiritual advisor. Gives me hope for my fellow Christians.
http://jamesdobsondoesntspeakforme.com/index.html

12:05 AM

Wait, Kham - did you scroll down on that link?

Bird Porn?!

12:25 AM
Anonymous  

Devin,
I'm not sure what you're talking about (bird porn?)--other than I am not going to go take a look at that link!
Kham

3:01 PM

http://www.birdchick.com/uploaded_images/bird-protest-770087.jpg

These are some guys protesting "bird watching" labeling it "bird porn". The image is of the protestors...no birds in suggestive images here ;)

On the protestors website they claim: "For those who think it’s a joke or a hoax, we have to disappoint you - the problem is real and there is absolutely nothing funny about birds being abused. We created a youtube channel just to post Anaida Krok’s video response to you clever posters"

I haven't watched the video yet, I'm too scared.

6:56 PM
Anonymous  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
8:42 PM

Easy E,

Just out of curiosity, are there any biblical versus that discuss torture?

Off the top of my head, I don't know. I do recall that, in comparison to the practices of neighboring nations of the time, some of the directions given by God to the Israelites for the treatment of captive enemy soldiers and slaves would have been pretty humane. I think you're right in saying they probably wouldn't have referred to such practices as "torture", but perhaps something comparable can be found.

In any case, I think I'll have to do a little research and find out for certain.

Pat,

I know you're pretty busy with deadlines at the moment, but when you get a chance, could you point me out to where you read the Obama quotes you mentioned? Thus far I've found a brief interview from Christianity Today in which, in response to the interviewer's question:

You've talked about your experience walking down the aisle at Trinity United Church of Christ, and kneeling beneath the cross, having your sins redeemed, and submitting to God's will. Would you describe that as a conversion? Do you consider yourself born again?

Obama says,

"I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life."
- Jan. 2008, Vol. 52

While he doesn't specify in the article that he believes in the exclusivity of Jesus's redemptive death and resurrection (that, as it says in Acts 4:12, "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved"), I must admit I would be surprised to hear any politician say such a thing publicly.

8:03 PM

Anonymous,

Names are good. That way I can tell one Anonymous from another. ^_^

...as a believer and follower of Christ I don't really agree with the idea of going to war to "protect the innocent".

I can appreciate that. I don't mean to propose that all Christians believe as I do on the subject of war. Obviously, this is an issue that is hardly new to the Church, and has been debated for many centuries by people far wiser than myself (Just War theory, etc.). While I think the term "pro-life" would be a misleading label for my beliefs, it does accurately describe the Catholic position as I understand it: in which all human life is to be protected, including that of criminals, who, after all, may come to repent of their sins if given time to live with them rather than be executed. Unless I'm mistaken (and I may well be), the Catholic Church has also spoken out in recent years against war under any circumstances, presumably under the umbrella of this same philosophy.

I respect these positions, but I'm not certain I completely agree with them.

So are Iraqis not "innocent".

I'm trying to interpret your meaning here.

I'm really not interested in branching out into a debate about the Iraq War here (I don't blog for a living!), but my initial reaction is that this statement presupposes that our only purpose in sending troops to Iraq is to prey on the Iraqi people, rather than liberate them from a tyrant whom we believed was supporting al-Qaeda and may have had WMDs. Whether we've been successful in that goal, or have been given correct intelligence, etc., is another matter, but I have to question your assessment here.

Or are you saying that because innocent Iraqis have been killed, our reasons for going to war are invalidated? Innocents get killed in war; even though far fewer do now than they did in, say, the 20th century, it's still a terrible consequence of war. Are you suggesting that wars should never be fought for any reason because of the possibility (if not certainty) of civilian casualties?

The problem with the Right is that they only look at themselves as the "innocent".

What makes you say that?

8:31 PM

Post a Comment