Blogalogue

Blogalogue


David Klinghoffer: The Theme is Moral Responsibility

posted by kham

Jim, if in your opinion the Bible is neither liberal nor conservative, if God truly is non-partisan, if He isn’t in sympathy with Democratic more than with Republican policies, would you tell me the last major Republican candidates you voted for?


Before proceeding, we should also get clear on the nature of the tragedy narrated in 1 Kings 12. It indeed had to do with the tax burden that King Rehoboam sought to place on the people, as all the classical Jewish commentators agree.
A delegation of citizens came to Rehoboam to ask that he lighten the “hard service and [the] heavy yoke” placed upon them by his father, Solomon. Rehoboam refused and even increased the burden. But the text indicates earlier that Solomon did not enslave the people of Israel (1 Kings 9:22). Thus the “yoke” was one of taxation not, as the translation you consulted mistakenly indicates, forced labor.
The rebellion of the northern kingdom against the southern was signaled when “King Rehoboam dispatched Adoram, who was in charge of the tax, and all of Israel pelted him with stones, and he died” (12:18). The Hebrew word used here, mas, means “tax.”
As you know from reading the first-century historian Josephus, in Jesus’ time too, the Jews included a strong anti-tax party. Led at first by a rabbi called Judas, the tax-reformers ultimately sparked the great revolt against Rome in 66 CE.
The socialist-activist role for government that you prescribe would be impossible without imposing just the sort of hard service and heavy yoke that the Bible warns against.
Yet I agree with you, of course, that we can’t directly and simple-mindedly map policy issues from two or three millennia ago onto a 2008 American political landscape. Instead, a Scriptural worldview seeks to provide what you rightly call “priorities.” Or one might call them “prejudices” – not in the negative sense of harsh feelings about people different from ourselves, but meaning, instead, correct and timeless instincts we can bring to bear in evaluating modern problems.
One prejudice would be, as you say, in favor of dealing with problems “at the lowest possible level.” Yet the liberal instinct is always to push things to the highest possible level. It’s like a panic response: “Neither families nor communities can muster the resources to respond to a given social need! Quick, call in the Feds!” The priority is on voting Democratic and paying my taxes. The Bible would urge a healthy skepticism of an ideology that lets me, as an individual, off the hook so easily.
Let’s move on to your characterization of the political style you favor as “traditional or conservative on issues of family, sexual integrity and personal responsibility.” I hope readers already see that, in an America governed by liberal “prophetic” politics, “personal responsibility” would in fact be deemphasized.
It kind of says it all that, as Syracuse University’s Professor Arthur C. Brooks pointed out in his recent book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, conservative households give on average 30 percent more in charity than do liberal households. A worldview, whether Biblical or secular, implies an ethical orientation that can be measured statistically.
“Traditional or conservative”? As expressed in your book God’s Politics, your hoped-for Left-Right fusionism tends to dissolve into a large-scale conceding of ground to the Left.
On abortion, your idea of being “anti-abortion,” as you put it, would oppose “criminalizing an agonizing and desperate choice” – the standard position of pro-choice, a/k/a pro-abortion, advocates.
Your notion of “family values” means decrying “large corporations that push down wages, cut health benefits, lay off workers, and export good jobs overseas; they are the biggest violators of ‘family values’ and the principal force destabilizing family life in America.” However, on same-sex marriage, conventionally thought of as a family-values issue, you would grant civil unions — gay marriage under a different name. For the churches or the country to “stop fighting” over sex, as you advocate, would mean institutionalizing the gains the Left has already made in normalizing behaviors once considered corrosive of society’s moral health.
Which is exactly what the Bible would have us fight against. That would be the true “priority” of the Hebrew prophets — the classic suite of pre-9/11 culture war issues that have gotten lost even among many conservatives.
The theme, again and again, comes back to moral responsibility. The Bible is manifestly comfortable with a nation taking the responsibility to go to war, even without U.N. approval; with a nation taking the equally awesome responsibility of executing a person convicted of a capital offense; with a nation asking a would-be immigrant to take responsibility for assimilating the country’s moral values.
Gay marriage confronts us with the question of whether homosexuals are morally responsible for their actions, given an un-chosen sexual inclination, or whether they can’t help doing what they do and thus deserve to have their relationships formally approved by the government, even against the will of the people, which is what’s happened in California.
Abortion is fundamentally an issue of whether of a woman must take responsibility for the life growing in her womb. It’s a most helpful litmus test, allowing us to gauge whether a candidate really feels God should have a say in the ordering of our laws.
And so on and on. Please choose among these issues and we can discuss the precise Scriptural basis for any or all. Jim, you’ve done such an amazing service in helping to legitimize the idea that’s the most basic premise of my book, that spiritual values deserve a role in shaping political values. If only you would step back and look at the Bible holistically, discerning the obvious pattern in the carpet!



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Steven Kippel

posted June 13, 2008 at 12:10 pm


That’s the ticket! Attack the person not the issues! You certainly know how to debate!



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Andy

posted June 13, 2008 at 12:26 pm


“Attack the person not the issues!”
Well-said! Since when is who votes for what party’s candidate the issue in this debate, or even any of Klinghoffer’s business? Klinghoffer doesn’t seem to be able to discuss the issues without putting them in either-right-or-left either-red-or-blue terms and categories. It looks to me like Wallis is trying to rise above the liberal/conservative-right/left-red/blue rhetoric, and Klinghoffer is desperately trying to pull the discussion back down to it.



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Steven Kippel

posted June 13, 2008 at 12:44 pm


Klinghoffer has a huge chasm of hypocrisy when he speaks about personal responsibility and then wants to take the responsibility and place it on the state to make sure people are “moral.” He gives the State the right to correct the moral decisions of her people. This places a spiritual nature on the Government.
There is but one Lord, Christ Jesus. There is but one Judge, Jehovah.



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The Price of Freedom

posted June 13, 2008 at 12:55 pm


Abortion may be morally wrong. But it God wouldn’t use it as a litmus test.
Bearing false witness is also morally wrong. So which one is most important? or do we only care about lying when its under oath? and its ok to decieve when its not in court. Or did God tell us that he was mistaken about this commandment?
I don’t think God would support those that smear their opponents name for the greater good. I don’t think God would support the distortion of facts for the greater good. I don’t think God is proud of politicans for saying something to the nation only to deny it the next day.
Usually what I hear from “social conservitives” is that its ok to ignore facts when the person supports the end goal.
The ends never justify the means.



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Truth be told

posted June 13, 2008 at 1:01 pm


Klinghoffer comes across like a pompous, self righteous twit who’s theme song would rightly be, “Nearer To God Than Thee”.



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recovering ex-Pentecostal

posted June 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm


“On abortion, your idea of being “anti-abortion,” as you put it, would oppose “criminalizing an agonizing and desperate choice” – the standard position of pro-choice, a/k/a pro-abortion, advocates.”
First off, being pro-choice is not the same thing as being “pro-abortion”. In fact, I have never, ever met anyone on the “left” who was “pro-abortion”. Seriously, when was the last time you heard anyone anywhere say, “I think abortion is a good thing and that everyone should have at least one.” Major bullsh!t!
Besides, do you actually believe we should criminalize people when they must make the most important decision of their lives and they don’t happen to make the choice you would make? Oh wait, I forgot, you don’t want women to have a choice in their own reproductive health decisions.
“Your notion of “family values” means decrying “large corporations that push down wages, cut health benefits, lay off workers, and export good jobs overseas; they are the biggest violators of ‘family values’ and the principal force destabilizing family life in America.”
That’s a pretty good summary of what affects families today. How is it not “family values” do decry all of those things?
“However, on same-sex marriage, conventionally thought of as a family-values issue, you would grant civil unions — gay marriage under a different name.”
So? Aren’t all citizens created equal anymore? Don’t all citizens have the right to equal treatment before the law anymore? Don’t all citizens have the right to the pursuit of happiness anymore? Isn’t liberty and justice for all anymore? Or, just what part of all don’t you understand? (Hint: it’s kind of like ‘whosoever’.)
“Gay marriage confronts us with the question of whether homosexuals are morally responsible for their actions, given an un-chosen sexual inclination”
Firstly, thanks for actually acknowledging that sexual orientation (“inclination” to use your word) is not “chosen”. So many ‘conservatives/evangelicals/fundamentalists’ still get that wrong.
And of course, the answer is that some homosexuals are “morally responsible”, others are not – just like you heterosexuals. Do we only selectively allow the “morally responsible” heterosexuals to marry?
“or whether they can’t help doing what they do and thus deserve to have their relationships formally approved by the government”
Except that is not the reason gay relationships deserve government recognition; the equal protections clause is. Do we deny marriage to heterosexuals who just can’t help themselves?
“even against the will of the people, which is what’s happened in California.”
The “will of the people” proved to be quite un-Constitutional, just like the will of the people that did’t want to stop segregation in America, or didn’t want to lift the ban on inter-racial marriages. They were wrong then on that issue and they’re wrong now on gay marriage. Who, in your realm, would protect minorities from the tyranny of the ‘majority’?
Try again, but you’ll have to do much better. Bearing false witness against God’s gay and lesbian children and desperate pregnant women does not help your ‘argument’.



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The Price of Freedom

posted June 13, 2008 at 1:57 pm


Many churches are conflicted and are only focusing on what they precieve as wrong doing by another party and ingoring their own sins.
For instance the current roman catholic catechism forbids the discrimination and wrongful treatment of homosexuals.
I wish the roman catholic church would focus on discrimination in all forms is wrong — its been well established and in their catechism.
Watch now that I mention this the vactican will issue a new version tommorow. lol



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Rob

posted June 13, 2008 at 2:01 pm


David Klinghoffer, Jim Wallis, I have the same message for both of you. Neither of you is a prophet. Both of you are arrogant beyond belief.
And, Jim, you are not at all the same person I met 35 years ago. For better or worse, not at all.



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B-W

posted June 13, 2008 at 2:25 pm


Just one question re: gay marriage. Let’s assume that we all agree that gay marriage is condemned by Scripture (not, in fact, a given. Scholars actually disagree, but let’s go there for the sake of argument). Does that give a secular government the right to dictate terms to those citizens who are not even Christians?



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Kate

posted June 13, 2008 at 3:55 pm


I have been a Liberal all my life. I solidly supported Sojourners and read all Tony Campolo’s books. Social justice has been paramount with me. However, something about the Dems during this election has opened my mind to the truth: The Dems are Too Far Left! I think the Party has been taken over by extremists who are determined to win this election by any means possible — they feel the End justifies the Means. And they seem to be aided and abetted by Hollywood and free and easy sex, which we all know, sells in today’s society.
Just check out the new advertising campaign the Dems have started. It is shocking to me! They are marketing it to our kids through Facebook and Youtube. To target America’s children by using sex and ‘hooking up’, is when I feel God no longer wants me to support this Party, even though their ‘social justice’ might be superior to the Repubs.
Here is the link: I want to know what others think about this Liberbal use of sex to target young minds: http://truththroughaction.org
I’d love to know if Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis can support this. I saw the Faith Forum and heard Jim’s questions to Obama. I thought Jim seemed almost in awe of him, which made me worry since, by that time, I was already hearing about Obama’s past, his associates, his BLT, and dirty Chicago politics.
Thanks to anyone who wants to comment on this. It disturbs me greatly to feel like the Democratic Party has left me behind in their trek to the Left.
Kate



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Larry Yudelson

posted June 13, 2008 at 5:50 pm


Good question about the role of the Bible in Constitutional government; Klinghoffer dismisses the problem in his book. Simply put, Conservative leaders have assured him personally they don’t seek a theocracy. That said, he thinks government should take a moral stance against abortion, contraceptives and no-fault divorce. You see, for Klinghoffer, all these things will lead to the collapse of society… which oldtimers will recall is what Klinghoffer’s colleagues at the National Review were warning about desegregation and the civil rights acts 50 years ago.
On the issue of taxation — even granting Klinghoffer’s argument that Solomon taxed, rather than drafted workers, there’s a big difference between a flat, regressive tax of a subsistence economy, and imposing a 70% tax on income over $10 million — something that was acceptable in the good-old-days pre-1964 that Klinghoffer pines for. The general assumption among scholars of Biblical politics is that taxes imposed by occupying powers like Babylonia and Rome were sufficient to turn a bad harvest into a fatal famine. That’s why taxes sparked revolts: People would die in a war against the empire, but people would die from starvation if the tax was paid.
It’s also an interesting paradox: Klinghoffer wants to argue from the Biblical kings that taxes are bad. Yet, while the Torah warns that taxes are a negative consequence of a monarchy, it doesn’t forbid them. The Torah does forbid both paying and charging interest, so it’s odd that Klinghoffer would prefer to borrow with interest to pay for tax cuts, rather than raise taxes and finance the government without debt.



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Julie

posted June 13, 2008 at 6:13 pm


I am writing in response to the following question and quote from Blog entry “How would Got Vote?”
Quote:
“Is God a Republican, a Democrat, or neither? With the 2008 general election now underway, it seems we could all use a little divine guidance about whether to support Barack Obama or John McCain, which issues to treat as most important, and where to stand on those issues.”
My Response:
None of the above. On a lighter note I think He would have voted for Alan Keyes or Ron Paul. LOL
But seriously, God is no respecter of persons and I think personally he is disgusted with our current political system. Perhaps I am feeling my own guilt as I have a lot of moral discrepancies to sort out.
My own Issues (Moral Struggle)
I know in my heart I want to live right but sometimes I feel sucked in. I sometimes feel like sucked in like a tropical storm.
I feel ashamed sometimes of my own sin. And sometimes I feel so guilty that I have gotten so weak because I know God wants us all to stand up for America.
The decline of this country is happening now. And I feel guilty that I am partly responsible.
Politics and Morals
I highly doubt I could ever live up to a perfect strict moral code ever. However, when I think of who I would want for president it should be someone who is strong. Has a backbone.
Even though I do not agree with President Bush and every decision he made. I realize no one is perfect and I am scared for America when he leaves office.
No Republican or Democrat
I am sick and tired of “Republican and Democrat”. I remember as a child when I was told there would be a “revolution at the polls” perhaps that is the case this time around.
It is not about Obama or McCain. It is that American needs to Wake Up. We are headed the road from which we fought during the Revolutionary or Civil Wars.
I Agree: The Bible is N-O-T Conservative or Liberal. Amen!
People get too hung up on labels and Jim Wallis said it right! Thank you Jim!
(Anyway, as helpless and as poor as I feel right now. Writing this has helped me feel more empowered. I have been a part of the Beliefnet community for awhile now.
I don’t always post as often as I should, because I have a lot on my plate. But now I am glad I did today.
Alright, now I must go for prayer…take care…)



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Brian Horan

posted June 13, 2008 at 11:27 pm


The funny thing is that Mr. Klinghoffer’s views probably align tit for tat with those of George W. Bush. Are we gonna keep buying this BS?



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Brian Horan

posted June 14, 2008 at 12:18 am


W. said his favorite political philosopher was Jesus. The religious/conservative right ate it up.
We got the Iraq war; Katrina screw ups; big oil giveaways; $4+ per gallon of gas; inflation; job losses; etc.
Klinghoffer is either dumb or he’s calculating and has contempt for the general populace.
Ben Franklin had nothing but contempt for folks that would mingle church and state. Charlatans are brainwashing masses and running our country into the ground!



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John Hill

posted June 14, 2008 at 12:37 am


It’s time to get real. God isn’t Republican or Democrat. He isn’t conservative or liberal. To classify God with human labels or characteristics is absurd. I know many fine Christians that are Democrats, (Billy Graham comes to mind) as well as many Republicans that are corrupt, immoral and shameless liberals (although it would be political suicide for them to admit it).
According to David, Jesus would have been considered a free-thinking liberal by the Jews of His day. He changed what everyone believed about the Law. His Sermon on the Mount was revolutionary (with emphasis on revolt!). He changed what people believed about how we are to relate to a Holy God.
Personally, I consider myself to be a conservative. I am fiscally conservative, morally conservative and socially conservative. Too bad that this no longer defines either political party.
It’s a good debate but God is neither Republican or Democrat and He doesn’t have to vote… And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Matt 28:18



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JAMES W. HURST

posted June 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm


GOTTA SAY THAT GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN YET IN THE LOVE DEPARTMENT HE DOES BECOME A LIBERAL REPUBLICAN



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Brian Horan

posted June 14, 2008 at 9:34 pm


Praise the Republican Evangelical Jesus! Glory to his oil baron elite in the highest!
This just in, McCain is having one of Bush’s Midland TX oil buddies raise money for him. He has incredible values that must be representative of some Republicans because he’s a money changer in their temples. Here’s the rest from AP (You can cut & paste the address below to see it for yourself):
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080614/ap_on_el_pr/mccain_fundraiser;_ylt=ArHTQcm1sHNfCBtjPfydP3Os0NUE
“a Texas oilman (Clayton Williams) who once joked that women should give in while being raped.
The Texan, Republican Clayton “Claytie” Williams, made the joke during his failed 1990 campaign for governor against Democrat Ann Richards. Williams compared rape to the weather, saying, “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” He also compared Richards to the cattle on his ranch, saying he would “head her and hoof her and drag her through the dirt.”
Williams’ comments made national news at the time and remain easy to find on the Internet. Even so, McCain’s campaign said it hadn’t known about the remarks.”
Claytie has raised $300,000 for our conservative friends! Praise the GOP Jesus! Yay!
Soon we’ll be going to war with Iran!



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Larry Yudelson

posted June 14, 2008 at 9:52 pm


How would God vote? A good question indeed, particularly with Republicans requiring photo IDs of voters. Last I heard, God, like many elderly Americans, didn’t have a photo ID.



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B Price

posted June 15, 2008 at 2:12 pm


God doesn’t belong to either major party–and probably not to any minor party, either. Biblical believers can lob passages from both Testaments at each other until kingdom come but what do they mean, now, for us, is always subject to interpretation, from Rev. Klinghoffer on the “conservative” side to Rev. Wallis on the “liberal” side. I enjoy a theological debate as much as the next person, but will it solve any of the pressing problems facing us today?



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D. Thomas

posted June 16, 2008 at 10:00 am


Perhaps Mr. Wallis should re-read Romans Chapter 13, where the basic function of government is to protect the righteous and punish the wicked. It is not to provide healthcare or education or a comfortable “retirement.” God commands us to be morally responsible–we are not to be slaves to nature or to any earthly authority. We are to take care of our own needs and those of our families. Then, by means of God’s tax, the tithe, the church will provide for the less fortunate among us. We have huge social problems today because we have surrendered our moral responsibility and personal authority to the government.



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John McCollum

posted June 16, 2008 at 11:38 am


http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/stateupdates/gG5nFN
So much for the “liberals don’t demand personal responsibility” mantra.



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Steve Hannison

posted June 16, 2008 at 5:18 pm


I think God would be very disappointed with the debt the Conservatives have left us with: 55Trillion Plus and Counting!!! I think he would be very disappointed as well with the bailout of the banks with taxpayer money while leaving so many without healthcare. On top of that the endless war in Iraq.
No wonder he has sent Hurricanes and floods, drought and famine in recent years! Doesn’t anyone believe any more?



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Paul

posted June 16, 2008 at 7:35 pm


I have seen very little of God in the workings of the Republican Party, just a lot of lip service. Obama’s people want to start a Matthew 25 Network and that seems a lot more “Christ Like” than anything the GOP has done for the last twenty years.
This year, the Republicans better start proving their so called “God Mandate with a little Christian compassion instead of self-righteousness.
God is on the side of the Righteous Man.He is not going to support the Self Righteous Fool who says, “I am for God!” and done nothing about it.



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Steven Kippel

posted June 16, 2008 at 8:36 pm


D. Thomas, I would like to note that Romans 13 is not a definitive list of government. For that matter, it isn’t descriptive of what government should be either. In fact, it’s simply asking Christians to live at peace with the government, in live with Romans 12 before it.



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John-Otto Liljenstolpe

posted June 17, 2008 at 3:43 am


I would like to read what Mr. Klinghoffer and Pr. Wallis think of the Biblical mandate of the Jubilee Year (Leviticus 25)(Luke 4). Do you believe that this Biblical Law has any implications for how we should understand God’s will regarding the disparity of wealth in our contemporary world and the economic pratices that lead to it?



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Alan Lunn

posted June 17, 2008 at 7:04 am


As someone who has cheered the right-wing for mucho years (decades), I have been disappointed by the outcome of the “Republican Revolution.” Bush and Congress had the conservative weight to do something to prove their theories about how to save America and they did nothing. What we get is this “trickle-down” rhetoric when what happened was there were a few small tax handouts and government wasn’t reduced one iota. We had military expansionism instead and the debt skyrockets again (like it did with Reagan). This is not conservatism, and it is certainly not frugal. This is out and out robbery of the electorate. This is government acting irresponsibly.
When I read James 5 now it sounds like James is a flaming unionist. He decries the oppression of the elite. All I hear from my conservative brethren is how if we help the rich we will help the poor get off their lazy butts. I’m sorry, but this smells like scam. What we have now is rampant greed and a widening gap between the rich and poor. That doesn’t bode well for this country. Republicans seem to be promoting feudalism.
The current left-ward swing, even among evangelicals, should come as no surprise. There has to be an adjustment. The people are being bilked. Partisan, rhetorical politics isn’t curing anything. When nations enter these stagnant waters some kind of revolution follows.



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benintn

posted June 17, 2008 at 11:48 am


David, and all, I don’t think that the problem with Rehoboam was merely a matter of “taxation” but rather “taxation without representation.” For a moment, I’ll ignore the fact that you’re using anachronistic arguments about ancient Jewish monarchies to provide a rationale for modern-day conservativism. Instead, I’ll focus on the “heavy burden” placed on the people by the King. To be sure, the Israelites grumbled at many times along their journey of faith, from the time of Moses in the wilderness through the time of the judges, and continuing into the time of the Kings. The fact that the people complain does not mean much in the eyes of God or salvation history. What matters is one simple question: Are we obedient to God’s will? I submit to you that neglecting the needs of the poor, engaging in pre-emptive war, and misleading Americans about weapons of mass destruction are all examples of ways that our government has failed.



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Travis Mamone

posted June 17, 2008 at 2:12 pm


Didn’t Paul say we must pay taxes in the book of Romans?



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Jorge Tyrone

posted June 17, 2008 at 2:57 pm


recovering ex-Pentecostal,
To your point of being pro-choice not pro-abortion. The truth is that pro-choice is simply a cover for being “pro-selfish child”. The pro-choicers aren’t saying that women should make the choice that is best for there body, or “reproductive health”. They are saying that women should make the choice that is most convienient for their selfish life style. “If it is slightly too inconvienient to have to deal with being pregnant or having a baby just go kill it.” The unsafe side effects of abortion are completely ignored by the “pro-choice” crowd.
As far as believing in criminalizing the choice to abort that is a matter of whether you believe there is a child or just a random gathering of cells with no purpose. I find it rather curious that if someone has an abortion that is ok, but if a pregnant woman is killed there is an outcry for the murderer to face charges for killing a baby too. What a crazy double standard. Apparently if the baby is wanted it is a baby but if not wanted it is “just a fetus”. In my opinion it is the weakest in society we are to protect and what is weaker than a baby?
As for family values that is absolutely right. There should be a higher aim for corporations to take care of their employees. However, this concept of corporations paying less and providing less will only get worse if the Federal Health Care plan is passed.
If Federal Health Care is put in place corporations will actually have an incentive to pay less and provide fewer benefits. (Besides watching the bottom dollar of course.) The problem with corporations paying less and providing less is a matter of corporate greed.
To the point of gay marriage. First this is a discussion of Christian views, which are supposed to be based on the Bible. Therefore, we must first look at the Levitical law. When we look at the law we find in Leviticus 18:22 “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. This is detestable.”
The Bible also repeatedly defines marriage as a man and his wife. Not a man and his partner. As for the argument that homosexuals are some how denied a right that I, as a heterosexual, have is just ignorance and distortion. Every American has the exact same right to marry a person of the opposite sex.
If we folllow the logic that because the gay community “has a different disposition” than the normal heterosexual that is ignorant of the normal heterosexual male. Most heterosexual males, left to their own devices, would never get married.But cultural and Biblical standards do not allow that. Is the gay rights movement ready to accept the idea of plural marriage so that the few guys or gals who can’t, whether by choice or “natural bent”, conform to the social norms are able to marry as many women, men or men and women as they wish?
Any argument “FOR” gay marriage is in no way able to be seen as a Christian view point. Let me also point out that it is not my intent to condenm the gay community any more that those heterosexual people who practice extra marital sex. Both constitute sin and both are wrong. As are many other things we all do. “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of GOD.”



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Joan Nickels

posted June 17, 2008 at 3:09 pm


Although, I consider myself conservative, and usually vote Republican, I acknowledge that both liberals and conservatives, are still in the flesh, that has not been crucified, thus are still suceptible to the sins of the flesh, such as immoral conduct, pride, pandering, power hungry, improper use of the peoples money, selling out to lobbyists, etc, so on and so on. The list is much too long. I did not vote for George W. I wanted to but just could’t make myself do it. Somehow, I just knew what he was destined to do. I knew that he was going to make this huge blunder, of going into Iraq. He had not the faintest idea about the Islamic mindset and culture. Saddem, absolutely had weapons of mass destruction. Before the inspectors went in, there was a dam that broke in Syria, flooding about 40 square miles. Many countries were sending in plane loads of aid. He saw this as his chance to move everything out of the country. He gutted his airliners, filled them with everything and made 50+ trips, and paid Syria millions of dollars to allow him to stock-pile it all in Syria. This was done in June 2002. All the complete details are told in Chapter 10 in the book by Georges Sada, “Saddam’s Secrets” Integrity Publishers. I got my copy for very little money from Amazon.com, used books. Georges was a general under Saddam and this book is facinating. Do people really believe that Saddom would destroy all his chemical weapons. etc. All the instructions on his nuclear industry was buried in a drum in Dr Mahdi Obeidi’s Back yard. He was the director of Saddam’s Nuclear Program. Everyone needs to read this book. All I can say now, is that this current war in Iraq has brought about the united mind set of the vast majority of the Shiites of both countries, Iran and Iraq, and when America pulls out of Iraq, they will converge as the greatest population of Shiite Muslems in THe Middle East. The Sunni are in the minority. These two factions hate each other and have been in an on-going feud since the death of the Prophet Muhammed. Now with these two countries allied, they will control the greatest supply of oil in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is Sunni, and their oil supply is declining. If and when Israel Bombs Iran’s Nuclear Reactor, then I believe Ezek. 38&39 will take place. By then the Kings of Oil will out price or cut off our supply and we will not be able to help Israel, and all we can do is protest. God then destroys the enemies of Israel, and the earthquake destroys the mosques on the temple mount, and Israel will then have the control to build thier New Temple in the proper place. By this time, I’m wondering if perhaps it will be 2012. Dec. 2012 is when so many of ancient prophecies indicate some catastrophic event will take place. This date is also when the Myan calander ends. Some things to think about. Could it be that this is when the rapture of the church takes place? J. Nickels, Mo.



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Elizabeth Daniele

posted June 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm


“Jim, if in your opinion the Bible is neither liberal nor conservative.”
Jim is correct. With all due respect, for you to be right, sir– my entire life would have to be either a lie or a delusion.
The four Gospels are clear as to who Christ was and is– and it is What causes us to be naked in the end. Claiming to follow Christ and using the Old Testament to justify war in Christ name– is mute and damning– of our own will.
Something new occurred after the Old Testament of the Bible. Something new began, known from the beginning of time, all part of God’s plan. The Messiah came. And it changed the fabric– and was offered to All, not just a few. It is why He said to love your neighbor, those who live by the sword– die by it, there was no more eye for eye, and etc. It is the elephant in the room that will not move– for anyone, regardless of money, status, power, or popularity…
And as far as gays and abortion-
Matthew 23:23
“…and have omitted the WEIGHTIER matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and NOT to leave the other undone.”
There is a higher order– even within God’s laws:
Matthew 22:39
“And the SECOND is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Mark 12:17
“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. ”
The two are not the same and never will be.
Peace,
Elizabeth Daniele
author of Proof of God



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Rick

posted June 17, 2008 at 4:20 pm


… conservative households give on average 30 percent more in charity than do liberal households. A worldview, whether Biblical or secular, implies an ethical orientation that can be measured statistically.
That tells us absolutely nothing because it doesn’t mention where that money goes and thus whom it benefits. Arts groups and conservative think tanks qualify as charities, but they certainly don’t directly help the poor. I also understand that up to 97 percent of the budget of most churches goes for staff salaries, benefits and brick-and-mortar issues and most of the rest for foreign missions. (Nothing wrong with foreign missions themselves; I’m pointing out only that most churches spend most money they take in on themselves.)



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Duh-sciple

posted June 17, 2008 at 7:57 pm


Rehoboam’s “taxation” or “yoke” was one tribe asking the other 11 tribes to fund the Jerusalem Temple economy. It was a return to the Pharaoh economy, the masses funding a project that benefited the few, and stamping the system as “God’s will.” David hatched the idea. Solomon carried out the project. And Rehoboam completed the return to the Pharaoh system.
By way of contrast, God’s dream was that of a “manna society.” The prophets repeatedly called the people to remember that the poor will always be with you… so be generous to them! (oops, I forgot to leave out the second part.)
Now, David, to be specific. I bring non-perishable food items to my congregation on Sunday. They bring what we collect from everyone to the local food pantry. And we don’t make even a dent in the problem of local hunger. Do I say, “Oh, well, that’s too bad, the poor will always be with us? Their tough luck?” Or, do I say, “There is a role for the government to play, in addition to NPOs and religious institutions?” I vote for the latter.
Or, take health care. I traveled down to Biloxi, MS, the past two years, assisting in the recovery after Hurricane Katrina. There was a free medical clinic in the congregation where we stayed. Some people received valuable assistance from the doctors and nurses who came down and volunteered their time. Yet for every person helped, many more slipped through the cracks. I believe that there is a role for both NPOs/congregations and the government. And… I believe that individuals need to take responsibility for their personal health!
Here is the choice: the Pharaoh system or the manna system. As I read your blog, I see you voting for “King Tut”.
May the Lord who is gracious, mercy, slow to anger, and abounding in love, open our eyes,
Duh-sciple



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Sharon

posted June 18, 2008 at 12:16 pm


I have read thru most of the comments on this blog and can think of many things to say, but would sum it up by asking: why not we try living by the Ten Commandments and see if the rest takes care of itself? Not trying to minimize the issues at hand, but must wander what society would take the bible out of the schools, yet swear on the bible in a courtroom when under oath? (As if that means anything anymore)



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Gregory Wonderwheel

posted June 20, 2008 at 8:20 pm


Read Chapter 3 of the Book of Micah to see what is morality. The Bible is the history of conservatives claiming to follow the so-called “morality” of God in their wars only to find out like Micah did that god didn’t sanction their so-called moral wars and injustices.
Don’t imagine for a second that the leaders of the USA who build the USA with bloodshed and Washington DC with wickedness do not deserve the exact same treatment that the leaders of the houses of Jacob and Israel deserved.
1 Then I said,
“Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of the house of Israel.
Should you not know justice,
2 you who hate good and love evil;
who tear the skin from my people
and the flesh from their bones;
3 who eat my people’s flesh,
strip off their skin
and break their bones in pieces;
who chop them up like meat for the pan,
like flesh for the pot?”
4 Then they will cry out to the LORD,
but he will not answer them.
At that time he will hide his face from them
because of the evil they have done.
5 This is what the LORD says:
“As for the prophets
who lead my people astray,
if one feeds them,
they proclaim ‘peace';
if he does not,
they prepare to wage war against him.
6 Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.
7 The seers will be ashamed
and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
because there is no answer from God.”
8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the LORD,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression,
to Israel his sin.
9 Hear this, you leaders of the house of Jacob,
you rulers of the house of Israel,
who despise justice
and distort all that is right;
10 who build Zion with bloodshed,
and Jerusalem with wickedness.
11 Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they lean upon the LORD and say,
“Is not the LORD among us?
No disaster will come upon us.”
12 Therefore because of you,
Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.



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Gregory Wonderwheel

posted June 20, 2008 at 8:31 pm


[quote]Before proceeding, we should also get clear on the nature of the tragedy narrated in 1 Kings 12. It indeed had to do with the tax burden that King Rehoboam sought to place on the people, as all the classical Jewish commentators agree.
A delegation of citizens came to Rehoboam to ask that he lighten the “hard service and [the] heavy yoke” placed upon them by his father, Solomon. Rehoboam refused and even increased the burden. But the text indicates earlier that Solomon did not enslave the people of Israel (1 Kings 9:22). Thus the “yoke” was one of taxation not, as the translation you consulted mistakenly indicates, forced labor.[/quote]
I can’t figure out what poit Klinghoffer is trying to make. It is immaterial and irelevant whether the burden is labor or taxes. What is relevant is that the Bible says the high taxes were God’s doing and the objection to the high taxes was led by Jeroboam who worshipped golden calfs. So just like the conservatives of today who are really worshipping the golden calf, the conservatives of today make objection to taxes their reason for being. Uh what is the point in favor of conservatives here?



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Your Name

posted July 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm

fghfgf

posted January 26, 2010 at 11:32 pm


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posted March 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm


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