God's Politics

God's Politics


Diana Butler Bass: Not Red, Not Blue…Purple Churches

posted by jmcgee

Diana Butler BassFor the last three years, I directed a grassroots research project on vital mainline Protestant congregations that involved “on the ground” – or perhaps “in the pews” – surveys, interviews, and field observations. In the fall of 2004, immediately before the last presidential election, I was at Church of the Redeemer, an Episcopal church in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, amid Ohio’s fractious political environment, one woman remarked, “We’re not really red, and we’re not really blue. We’re sort of purple.”

Her comments rang true. Some of the congregations along my way leaned toward being blue-purples, others, red-purples. None matched any media depiction of Christian politics; none was a pure form of any political party. Mainline Protestants are somewhat politically unpredictable and do not form a unified voting block. In the 2004 elections, my team estimated that slightly more than half of the study participants voted for John Kerry, while slightly less than half voted for George Bush. Purple churches.

A liberal friend recently quizzed me on the political commitments of mainline Protestants, and I told him about purple churches. He guffawed, “Well, that’s where the problem lies. Purple won’t get us anywhere.” He wanted BLUE churches, a mainline counter-movement to the Religious Right’s RED congregations. Purple, in his view, appears wishy-washy.

I do not share his perspective. Purple is more than a blend of red and blue, a right-left political hybrid with no color of its own. Purple is an ancient Christian symbol. Early Christians borrowed purple, the color of Roman imperial power, and inverted its political symbolism to stand for their God and God’s reign. Christian purple – the color of repentance and humility – represents the kingdom birthed in the martyred church, unified around a crucified savior, and formed by the spiritual authority of being baptized in a community of forgiveness. By choosing purple to represent this vision, they purposefully picked a political color to make the point that their politics would subvert those of the empire.

For Christians, purple is more than a blending of political extremes, a mushy middle. Purple is about power that comes through loving service, laying down one’s life for others, and following Jesus’ path.

No wonder mainline Protestants are politically unpredictable. Given the issues and candidates in any particular campaign, following Jesus may take different forms at different times, involving a host of policy solutions, and balancing elements of each political party in a “lesser of two evils” voting strategy. For purple people know that God’s reign judges politics, that voting is an act of Christian discernment, and that theology should critique policy. No earthly political party speaks spiritual truth.

Even though I am, like my friend, a Democrat, I hope for more purple churches – not just pure blue ones. I do not want to be part of a political movement that is the mirror opposite of the Religious Right; I want my politics to follow in the way of Jesus. So, I was glad to find that the mainline congregations in my study were not a slam-dunk for any political party. That makes them a stronger witness for grace, not a weaker one. And I was equally cheered to see a recent Newsweek poll reporting that the “white evangelical” vote for next week’s election was running 60% Republican, 31% Democrat, and 9% undecided. That is, of course, significantly down in the Republican column from the last election (when nearly 80% of “white evangelicals” voted for George Bush). Christians should not be a voting block. Christians should be disciples of Jesus.

Mainline Protestant congregations have long been purple. Maybe evangelical churches have started to turn color, too. Could be a pretty interesting autumn – at least more colorful than 2004.

Diana Butler Bass is the author of the new book Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith, published by Harper SanFrancisco. For more about the purple churches in her study, see “Some Protestant churches feeling ‘mainline’ again,” in the Nov. 1 issue of USA Today.



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Elmo

posted November 2, 2006 at 3:26 pm


I usually take everything I read here with a grain of salt, but I agree with this. It seems like anyone who says the church is moving too far to one side and needs to come back, really means they should switch sides (this group probably includes me). As a black man, I wish the African-American community would have the same purple mentality.>



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Tenoch

posted November 2, 2006 at 3:48 pm


Elmo, And many of us take what we read among blog comments with an even larger grain of salt. The truth is, there always has been political diversity among both American American and Latino communities. The problem has been getting this political diversity to the polls. Neither party has done a great job with these communities, however the well-documented fear-tactics of the GOP to discourage African American and especially Latino voters speaks volumes.>



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Rob Sturdy

posted November 2, 2006 at 3:59 pm


I am not sure that I can agree with the writer of this artical. I am a believer in the one true God, the great I AM, through His one and only son Jesus Christ. I am conservative and have many liberal friends and we engage in wonderful discussion. I believe that one has to understand where you stand on issues. You need to be living your convictions and be willing to deliver a good defence of them. To be ‘purple’ sounds like you are ‘lukewarm’. No go for drinking or taking a bath. I would rather talk with a liberal with convictions than a ‘purple person’ that shifts – sways and in my estimation – ultimately flounder.>



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Payshun

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:07 pm


I am a black man that loves the color purple but my politics tend to be green or extremely liberal. I support gay marriage and even though I am against abortion I think my main job is to love the women and men that make that decision. It’s all about removing the stain of condemnation and judgement. I like what she says here. I think it’s hopeful not wishy-washy. If some can become a little bit more intermeshed on politics that’s a good thing. For example I like shooting guns even though I am against gun violence and wish they were outlawed. I chose the path of martial arts even though I know that I could do a sit in and take a beating and not respond w/ violence. People are complex and their politics should reflect that. p>



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Penny

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:10 pm


Amen, Sister!>



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Randy Myers

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:13 pm


As a minister in the mainline, I concur with the article. In fact, as a college chaplain, I’m not so sure that many of the young people (as well as faculty and staff) aren’t “purple.” What I would hope for is that churches might increasingly become more “green” and I think that is where many are headed. Perhaps the increasing spectrum of political colors in the United States will finally yield to options other than the two main political parties. I’d not only advocate a strong third party, but a fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh as well. We would do well with much more plurality of political parties, at least in the culture. Beyond that I would also hope with Stanley Hauerwas, that the Church would somehow realize its own political vocation to live out a politics and economics of its own regardless of the secular parties.>



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Daniel

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:18 pm


Rob sounds like The Purple Peoeple Eater :-) I like some things that John Kerry said – the poor need a hand, we need more cooperation with potential allies not invoolved in the Iraq coalition, people have a right to health care. I like some things that President Bush said – we need a culture of life when it comes to pregnancy decisions, we need an ownership society, we need to remember that government isn’t always the answer – only sometimes. I voted for John Kerry because i greed with him more, maybe 75% or so. But on the issues I disagree with him about – like abortion, euthanasia, and education – I openly opposed his ideas thena d I do so now. I supported the President’s choices of Roberts and Alito, the invasion of Afghanistan, DEA subsidies for ethanol, etc. And I said so publicly. Does that make me wishy-wahsy and lukewarm? Or does it mean that with only two choices I cannot possibly expect to find a match? I did not vote for 100% of John Kerry’s ideas. I voted for the person I share most in common with and I don’t hesitate to oppose him when I don’t. Sadly, I think too many people think that that 51% of America voted for 100% of the Bush agenda. I see it more like 100% of America voted for 51% of a Bush agenda. The great thing about America is that over time the pendulum swings back and forth – the Reds keep us from getting to Blue and vice versa. We are a Purple nation even if some of us aren’t Purple people.>



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Daniel

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:21 pm


Oops, apologies for the typos above…>



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Jim

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:29 pm


Purple is certainly the closest thing we can approximate to “that we all may be one.” My consciousness keeps getting driven back to Jesus’ preaching the Good News of the Kingdom to the poor. How are we being good at doing that with our political connections in the churches and the Church? How are we being good at demonstrating being servants of all and asking that our politicians redefine themselves along those lines instead of representing only those with accumulated wealth?>



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RTY

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:31 pm


Rob, I think that all of us who are seriously committed followers of Jesus recognize the importance of the issues that are being discussed on this blog i.e. care for the unborn, issues of racism, sexism, poverty, social justice, capital punishment, war and peace issues, the sanctity of marriage, among others. Those on the the extreme edges of the right and left tend to place more importance on some issues to the exclusion of others. Yet there are also a vast majority of us who find it difficult to prioritize, and must choose between candidates who represent the lesser of evils. I find, and this is purely subjective conjecture, that those who lean a bit right of center believe in less government involvement in addressing these issues, and those left of center seem to think that government must be more involved. To say that those of us in this middle space are lukewarm misrepresents us.>



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Payshun

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:50 pm


I can’t prioritize which issues are more important for me. For me they are all one and I must fight for them all or I am a hypocrit. Well I am one anyway but that’s beside the point. For me I don’t waste my time protesting abortion. For me and I realize this is controversial on a Christian board but I see it as a waste of time. That’s just abortion. My thoughts on healthcare, the war in Iraq, war on terror (silly name if I ever heard one) are also a little left of the standard Christian. I don’t pretend to think my answers are a magic pill but I know they liberate some and in the end that’s a start for some of the things I will do. p>



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Dean B.

posted November 2, 2006 at 4:57 pm


People with extreme convictions are useful in that they explore around the edges and widen the dialogue. I don’t believe they belong in leadership roles because of their lack of objectivity. I prefer contemplative and pragmatic leaders. Diana Butler Bass identifies herself as a Democrat, and I don’t understand why. Does the Democratic Party reflect all of her values? There is a problem with unifying social, spiritual, and economic issues that makes both major parties stand on both sides of the log. There isn’t much value in identifying with either party unless we really stand with them on all the issues. I have opposed this war from before the invasion, but I also oppose abortion. I support a liberal agenda of caring for people, but I believe that gay marriage is a slap in God’s face. What party should I support?>



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Lutheran Pastor

posted November 2, 2006 at 5:01 pm


I think people have done a pretty good job of showing that “purple” doesn’t necessarily mean wishy washy. Some people are “purple” because although they are passionately committed to certain issues, those issues don’t neatly fit the stereotypes of “red” and “blue”. I also believe that we need to nurture churches that have room for people of different political convictions. We can be a place that models respectful debate and coming together to find common ground despite differences. Since our most passionate commitment is the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to find unity in that and come together to find common ways to express that in action. The trend toward “republican” churches is one that concerns me… and like Diana Butler Bass, I don’t think the answer is “democratic” churches. It might seem safe… but what we really need are Christian churches, political but not partisan. This is hard, but whoever said it would be easy or comfortable to be a Christian?>



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Ray L

posted November 2, 2006 at 5:14 pm


One concept I agree with ever so strongly is that politics should be a secondary issue at best in churches. I believe that in letting members decide for themselves actually promotes healthy discussions and exchanges of points of view. But sadly, both sides are very guilty of coercing their members to be one way or the other. The church’s main objective must be the preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and how He died for our sins so we could be reconciled with God both now and for all eternity.>



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justintime

posted November 2, 2006 at 6:12 pm


My Lutheran congregation in rural NW Washington State is overwhelmingly red, politically speaking. Many in our Church are farmers, descendants of Scandinavian immigrants and pioneers. The minority Democrat blues have always found it somewhat awkward talking politics with the reds during the coffee hour. Of course we’ve identified each other and have shared our experiences talking politics with the reds. Recently, political discussion during the coffee hour is on the increase. the Iraq war and corruption in Congress are the topics that come up most often. .>



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Bill Samuel

posted November 2, 2006 at 6:15 pm


Well, another explanation for “purpole churches” is that they just reflect the secular culture. Didn’t see that the article provided much evidence to the contrary.>



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Payshun

posted November 2, 2006 at 6:21 pm


My church is a vineyard in san diego and it’s fairly purple as a matter of fact the democrats outnumber republicans. But there are a few activists like myself that don’t fit that. p>



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Paul Drake

posted November 2, 2006 at 6:24 pm


Let’s be clear about something here. Diana wasn’t talking about purple people–she was talking about purple churches. There’s a big difference between those two things. A purple church, like a purple state, would ideally be one with a fair number of both deep blue and deep red persons sharing their convictions with one another. That is not wishy-washy, but reflects an open and honest difference of opinion. People of sincere faith are led to different political beliefs and affiliations, but should always respect and honor one another in spite of that. Sadly, there are too few on all sides who truly honor and respect those who disagree with them. I see far too many posting on these threads whose idea of debate is attacking those on the other side of the issue, rather than engaging one another in substantive discussion.>



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kevin s.

posted November 2, 2006 at 6:29 pm


” I do not want to be part of a political movement that is the mirror opposite of the Religious Right;” Cynical Kevin might say, “too late”, but I’m not cynical Kevin.>



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D4P

posted November 2, 2006 at 6:33 pm


Purple people get eaten by one-eyed, one-horned flying creatures>



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Ashley

posted November 2, 2006 at 6:53 pm


I am deeply saddened by the actions of the Religious Right. As a born-again Christian and a staunch Democrat, I am especially troubled by the Bush administrations policies in regards to the Iraq War. The only moral thing we can do at this point is to withdrawal immediately. America is not the world’s moral police.>



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Dean B.

posted November 2, 2006 at 7:09 pm


I am deeply saddened by the actions of the Religious Left and Right. I am especially saddenened by those who find satisfaction in condemning others with a different opinion. Ashley, you make me sad.>



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D4P

posted November 2, 2006 at 7:19 pm


As a born-again Christian and a staunch Democrat I am of the opinion that it is a mistake (particularly from a Christian standpoint) to be a “staunch” member of any political party. Once you’ve identified yourself as a Christian, why is there a need to identify with a party? Parties are human construction, and therefore inevitably flawed. Christ is perfect. Why intentionally identify with a flawed human construct? It’s fine to vote for one party over another, but from what I can tell the costs of party affiliation greatly outweigh the benefits. In fact, I’m not sure there are benefits at all.>



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Daniel

posted November 2, 2006 at 7:32 pm


Bill, I suspect you would find Christians reflecting an increasingly liberal views over the past 2000 years, but only because we are very seldom burned at the stake anymore. Partly that is because of secular ideas like respect and plurality “infecting” the Inquisitors. Thank God.>



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Payshun

posted November 2, 2006 at 7:35 pm


D4P, Christianity is a human social construction where oftentimes the spirit is ignored. p>



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D4P

posted November 2, 2006 at 7:46 pm


Christianity is a human social construction where oftentimes the spirit is ignored This is true. While the Bible may be “the Word of God” and “absolute truth,” our attempts to implement it and to live as Christians are subject to human weakness, sin, etc. IMO, this is one of the stronger arguments in favor of “keeping religion out of politics,” in that no Christian has a perfect understanding of God or of the Bible. All of us are “wrong” about something, and when we try to implement our own view of God on the country and the world, we will inevitably do so in a way that is imperfect and flawed. On the other hand, one can argue that an imperfect Christian influence is better than no influence at all. I’m not unsympathetic to such a view, but only if it’s accompanied with humility and an acknowledgement that one’s view of God is not perfect. I don’t see such humility from our current leadership. While they may agree in theory that they’re not perfect, they don’t seem willing/able to acknowledge any particular imperfections, presumably because they think doing so would harm them “politically.”>



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kevin s.

posted November 2, 2006 at 8:03 pm


“The only moral thing we can do at this point is to withdrawal immediately. America is not the world’s moral police.” As a staunch Democrat, what is your view of Darfur? Why is it moral to leave Iraq now? D you see the invasion if Iraq as an effort to enforce our morality on another country? How so?>



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badmash

posted November 2, 2006 at 8:56 pm


Kevin, so might one say that you’re “post-cynical” ;)>



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Mary F.

posted November 2, 2006 at 10:12 pm


Purple people or purple churches. Seems it maybe a little bit of both. Which is what the Body of Christ is made up of all different types, Praise God. I liked what Diana Bass had to say. To me she seemed to make alot of sense. And I liked what alot of the writers had to say also. Mostly with the fact that as the Body we have to somehow begin to dialogue with each so that in unity we can make a difference. I have voted both Republican and Democratic and I would vote for a 3rd party candidate if he or she represented my views. I don’t think as someone said earlier that makes me wishy washy. I think it shows that I look at the issues and vote in a manner that represents my Christian views the best. So I guess I’m a purple person with a higher ratio of the blue coloring. I must say I have enjoyed reading todays post. It brings me hope when I see others with whom can share their thoughts without being over critical of someones views that are in contrast with their own. It is in this that we might be able to work together to help others. And ultimately isn’t that our directive as Christians to serve others and to spread the Good News.>



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Erin

posted November 2, 2006 at 10:43 pm


Yes. Purple churches are healthy. I agree that to be too extreme either way is detrimental. If we all surround ourselves with people who think exactly like us on all political issues then we will never be challenged and never grow. I was in a small group and half of us were democrats and have of us were republicans during the 2004 election. After our small group time together some nights we would discuss our political views… we had great, healthy and respectful discussions about our views. It really is possible!>



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Wolverine

posted November 3, 2006 at 1:29 am


For once, I find relatively little to disagree with here. If there is any chance of having a civil political discussion in this country again, it’s probably going to start in the churches. I attend a bluish-purple congregation in Northern Virginia. I tend to hold strongly to my political positions, but I do not expect, and would not want, my pastor to predictably confirm all my political leanings. I want to be challenged every now and then. Wolverine>



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Mike Hayes 2

posted November 3, 2006 at 1:33 am


“For the last three years, I directed a grassroots research project on vital mainline Protestant congregations that involved on the ground – or perhaps in the pews – surveys, interviews, and field observations. In the fall of 2004, immediately before the last presidential election, I was at Church of the Redeemer, an Episcopal church in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, amid Ohio s fractious political environment, one woman remarked, ‘We re not really red, and we re not really blue. We re sort of purple.’” Bi-partisanship… Bi-partisanship… Bi-partisanship What can citizens do to encourage bi-partisanship? Is that possible, under the two party system? Based on the set-up in Illinois, I think the onerous burden on third party and independent candidates to get on the ballot must change. Once third party and independent candidates can get on the ballot as easily as democrats and republicans, then we might have issue discussions instead of attacks and counter attacks.>



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justintime

posted November 3, 2006 at 2:05 am


The ease of getting on the ballot varies from State to State, depending on the regulations. In most states it’s not that hard. The challenge is getting your message in front of the voters. This is easy to do if you have a lot of money. The media will take your money and broadcast your message. But if you don’t have a lot of money, no one will know who you are, let alone what you stand for. .>



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justintime

posted November 3, 2006 at 2:16 am


Bi-partisanship is what used to be practiced in the House and the Senate. Not any more. Newt Gingrich had a lot to do with beginning the destruction of bi-partisanship. Arch Republican Grover Norquist, Chairman of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), summed up the present situation when he said “Bipartisanship is just another name for date rape.” When Republicans took over Congress and the Presidency, they owned our government. The Dems were relegated to the role of spectators, while Republicans ran the table with Bush legislation. For six years there has been no oversight of the Bush administration and the investigatory powers of Congress were almost completely shut down. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If the Dems win Congress again, it will take a great deal of effort on both sides of the aisle to restore the spirit of bi-partisanship in Congress. .>



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Ted Voth Jr

posted November 3, 2006 at 2:29 am


I’m this kind of royal purple person, a born-again doctrinally conservative, politically liberal person. I was hanging out till recently with a markedly ‘red’ fundamentalist church. Every time I tried to point out Religious Right political inconsistencies with the Scriptures ‘hypocrites’, in Jesus’ word, ‘making long prayers and robbing widows’ it was assumed I was electioneering for the Democrats. God forbid! What a sorry bunch, the ‘neo-Dems’! I read in the Sojo lit about Dems learning to talk the religious talk and I’m horrified! God forbid! The Church is to stand aloof from the world and judge the world, as the prophets did Israel. I’m not saying individual Christians in this Republic, who are among the Sovereign People of the US are not to exercise our authority apart from our Christian beliefs, but the last thing we want AS THE CHURCH is to confound and corrupt ourself with the world.>



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Blue

posted November 3, 2006 at 3:01 am


Ashley, “America is not the world’s moral police.” Very true. This administration invaded Iraq for geopolitical gain, not for any moral purpose. Saudi Arabia did not want a US presence on their soil anymore, and Iraq seemed like the next best place to set up bases in the middle east. Iraq was not a threat to us, and the reasons we have been given for the war have all fallen apart. But the US is busy constructing several large bases there now, because the real reason for the war was control of oil and to establish a US presence in the area. The Iraqi people will not stand for that (understandably – just think how we would respond to a foreign invader in the US building permanent military bases here.) Maybe the closest we can come to a moral response to what is going on over there now would be to listen to the Iraqi people (60% of them want us to leave now), to give up all plans for permanent bases, to renounce any special claims to their oil, to leave within a year, and eventually pay reparations for the damage we did there. The invasion was illegal and immoral, and our presence there is one of the major factors fueling the violence.>



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Hal

posted November 3, 2006 at 3:18 am


“To be ‘purple’ sounds like you are ‘lukewarm’” I think I qualify as ‘purple.’ Here are some characteristics that might stereotype me as ‘Red:’ 1. I am a ‘Born Again’ Evangelical Christian. 2. I am in the military. 3. I am opposed to on demand abortion. 4. I am opposed to euthenasia. 5. I am opposed to gay mariage. Here are some characteristics that might stereotype me as ‘Blue:’ 1. I am opposed to the death penalty. 2. I disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq. 3. I support universal access to health care. 4. I believe in expanding social services programs for the poor. 5. I support a progressive tax schedule. I also believe in governmental fiscal responsibility. I used to think was a ‘Red’ value, but now days, it appears to be a ‘Blue’ value. My positions on these issues have changed little over the years I don’t think this makes me ‘lukewarm’ even though I will not align myself with a particular party. I vote in every election and usually split my ballot based on which candidate is closest to my views.>



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Gordon

posted November 3, 2006 at 6:03 am


Ted Voth – Good post. Thanks>



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Amazon Creek

posted November 3, 2006 at 7:06 am


Yes, purple is a point of center. It avoids the extremes of red or blue. But do you realize that “center” is a biblical concept? And not necessarily lukewarm? Please let me explain. I’ve studied New Testament Greek. Ever consider the Greek work for “sin”? It is hamartia – and it is an archery term – meaning “to miss the target or the mark”. I’ve played a little archery – and I find the imagery contained in that one choice of Greek words very telling. When you play archery, if you shoot too far “left”, you will “miss the target, the mark”. So…you sin. It is not a good thing in archery to be too “left”. But if you start to focus on that – and get all concerned about shooting too far “left” – and try very hard to avoid shooting too far “left” – oh, you’ll succeed – at not shooting “left”. But you still WON’T HIT THE TARGET. YOU’LL STILL MISS THE MARK. You’ll “sin”. Because in focusing all your attention on the error of the left, you’ll wind up shooting too far to the right – and MISS THE BULLS-EYE OF THE TARGET. The only way you can succeed in archery is to focus not on the left or the right or up or down – BUT ON THAT BULLS-EYE OF THE TARGET. In other words, focus on Jesus Christ. He was perfect. He hit the mark, the target. Where is the true error of the Christian right? Is is that everything they say is wrong? No….I think they point out some true things. At times, I agree with some of the things they say. But…they lost sight of Jesus Christ, our perfect target. And started to focus more on avoiding the left. And so…they lost sight of the target – and wound up too far right. God doesn’t take political sides. God TAKES OVER. And thank God. Because none of us – even in any of our very best, most Christlike moments, are ever COMPLETELY on God’s side. Alas…as long as any of us are in this flesh, we always will partly err. And so…God CAN’T take sides. Because He is perfect. And us…well, we’re just “trying our best” to imitate Jesus Christ. To be purple is to seek to become more like our Target – to fix our eyes on Jesus. And so…I like “purple”. It’s not “center” in the sense of “lukewarm”. It’s a VERY bold and passionate color. But it’s “center” in the sense of shooting straight for that bulls-eye.>



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Eric

posted November 3, 2006 at 11:20 am


Amazon Creek, that’s an excellent post. And I personally think the article was an excellent article, and something that should be read by anyone who claims Jim Wallis and the Sojourners are the “Democrat mirror” to the Religious Right. Something Jim says in his book that I DO agree with, and that I think you captured very well, is that it should NEVER be the place of any political party (or any group, or any nation) to claim that God is on their side. It should be – can only be – our place to be concerned that we are on God’s side. If Jim Wallis feels that a Democrat (or the Democratic party) best represents that concern at a given point in time, that’s how he should vote. Presumably if he felt the Republicans were doing the better job of it, he’d vote for them. I don’t get the impression he is that concerned with making others vote Democrat or Republican, but rather with getting them to make those decisions based on the concern of *trying* to “be on God’s side”. Which is very much what this purple church article talks about.>



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Uriah_Fan

posted November 3, 2006 at 12:20 pm


No matter how hard liberals try, there beliefs are heresy. Of course you are going to find evil people dwelling amongst those that want to repent. Liberalism infects a Church body like its physical manifestation does the human body: the STD.>



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HAC

posted November 3, 2006 at 5:06 pm


How is God the center of two extremes? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. So God is halfway between Nazi’s and Communists? Well, they both denied God, so… To say that we’re supposed to be “purple” is a nice way to say “believe what I believe otherwise you’re extreme”. It’s also a way to try to appease everyone. But I guess Christ tried to appease everyone too, didn’t he? He wasn’t extreme. Oh, wait…>



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Pilgrim

posted November 3, 2006 at 6:45 pm


Sometimes it’s good for Christians to be a voting block. For example, we should be united in opposing abortion. It’s an absolute disgrace that Roe v. Wade has been allowed to stand for so many decades. Christians should have united to end that vile evil long ago. It’s also disgraceful that so many Christians voted for President Clinton – one of the most immoral and evil men in presidential history. Lookup “clinton body count” in a search-engine and see how many strange deaths followed in his wake. Character does count in political candidates – and anyone who thinks it doesn’t is living in a fantasy world.>



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Daniel

posted November 3, 2006 at 7:32 pm


Uriah Fan, When you call liberals evil and compare them to diseases it leads me to wonder if you think this about all people who do not think just like you? Or do you reserve your venom just for other professing Christians? .>



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Kevin K

posted November 3, 2006 at 8:19 pm


Purple is a very appealing color! Creating it, means not going back…mixing joins the colors inexorably, never to become blue or red again. Unifying not dividing. How Christ-like. I love purple! Pilgrim and Uriah_Fan, get real. If you guys can’t contribute more than talk-show kinds of blather, don’t bother.>



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Mary F.

posted November 3, 2006 at 8:38 pm


Scripture shows me that God hates the sin, not the sinner. Hence why he died while we were all still in our sin. Do we as liberals condone sin, absolutely not. But for me I realize before God can change the behavior of a sinner he’s got to get hold of their heart. When the heart is transformed so is the life. That’s what Jesus taught. When as believers we show Christ’s love, then and only then can God grasp hold of the sinners heart. It is God who transforms a life, not a rule, not a law, not a regulation. That’s why Jesus said, You have had it said do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt 5:27 If I truly believed that regulating my Christian views on others who do not believe as I do would save them, I would be the first on the band wagon. But that is just not the case. You don’t get into Heaven by good works, you don’t get in, because you aren’t gay, you don’t get into Heaven because you haven’t killed another. You get into Heavan because you believe in scripture, You believe in the His words, You believe he died for your sin and you ask for repentence of the sins you commit. You know what I’m not in any type of sexual immorality, and I’m not killing nobody but I still sin today and fall short of the Glory of God. It is my hope as I continue in this walk, I will walk better and become a better image of who He is and in that I will continue to want to change the heart of a non-believer and this won’t be done by regulating my Christian values on them because my values aren’t going to save them. It is His sacrifice. Praise God he made us all different. I am thankful we have purple people in purple churches. It will be the purples who help change the world, one heart at a time, obviously through His Grace – it goes without saying.>



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Kevin K

posted November 3, 2006 at 9:06 pm


We aren’t transformed by our beliefs…we are transformed (read “saved”) by God’s grace. Beliefs are ephemeral, facile and transitory…God’s grace is not. One part of our transformation is the gracious alchemy of turning blue and red into purple.>



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Wombat

posted November 3, 2006 at 9:51 pm


Purple also goes back to Jewish tradition (before the Romans). It is the colour of the Shekinah, the colour many a Jewish woman sees alight upon her as she enters into a betrothed state.>



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Mary F.

posted November 3, 2006 at 10:42 pm


Transformed by God’s grace, absolutely. If it wasn’t for God’s grace I don’t believe any of us would be here. Cause we certainly haven’t done anything on our own accord that would deserve the world to be continueing on, except for His wonderful beautiful, life filling Grace. And the thing re: the Shekinah, and the purple as she enters into a betrothed state. That was awesome.>



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HAC

posted November 4, 2006 at 5:05 am


So because purple is a color refering to God, and since the American media decided to color Republican and Democratic states as red and blue, and when you mix red and blue they become purple, that means that the most godly stance is half-way between Republicans and Democrats? The logic is flawless.>



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Amazon Creek

posted November 4, 2006 at 8:29 am


Hi HAC! Perhaps I’m not being clear. The point I was trying to say is that the best way to be “what-we-should-be” is to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ. Not obsess about the right or the left or the “up” or the “down”. Not obsess about all the wrong directions that are possible to take. But to focus on our standard – Jesus Christ. Like driving down the freeway, also. There is a danger of veering off onto the median at the left or off the shoulder on the right. But if you obsess about either wrong direction, you’ll wind up careening down the road swerving back and forth. And church history is full of examples of the church bouncing back and forth between extremes like a pendulum. The only way to restore sanity is to fix your eyes on the right direction. In our case Jesus Christ. He’ll keep us from weaving back and forth. Believe me, purple is no dishwater color! You remember purple. It just isn’t red or blue.>



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Eric

posted November 4, 2006 at 10:15 am


You made yourself very clear in your first post, I think, Amazon. I’m unfortunately more inclined to think HAC ignored your point than missed it. :-( Good of you to try again, though.>



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Eric

posted November 4, 2006 at 10:24 am


And incidentally, HAC, what you said doesn’t make any sense. —– So because purple is a color refering to God, and since the American media decided to color Republican and Democratic states as red and blue, and when you mix red and blue they become purple, that means that the most godly stance is half-way between Republicans and Democrats? —– …No, what it means is what you said yourself; not “half-way between”, but a MIX. Unfortunately in a bipartisan system, most people fall under the label of “red” or “blue”. Shouldn’t have to be that way, but it generally is. A *church*, however, should not label itself as red or blue, because a church should not be following any one party’s politics down-the-line. But you can MIX red and blue people (that is to say, Christians with differing political opinions and positions) and get a church of people who are trying to base their actions – and politics is one of those – on Christ’s example, not Pat Robertson’s or George Bush’s or John Kerry’s or Hillary Clinton’s. If you were inclined to a color metaphor, you might call that mix “purple”. Labels can serve both to focus or to distract. For a church, I think “purple” is a much more useful label than red or blue.>



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Mary F.

posted November 4, 2006 at 1:13 pm


You go Eric. You have explained it wonderfully. It’s not to be blue, it’s not to be red and it’s not even to be purple. The whole purpose is to follow Christ. And since Christ isn’t a specific political group, to be Christ like is to follow His lead which is to offer hope, compassion, and love.>



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Kay W

posted November 4, 2006 at 4:38 pm


There is a medieval legend about the Virgin Mary. As a young girl she was given the job of helping to embroider the veil of the Temple. While she was working the Angel Gabriel appeared to her to announce the coming of Jesus. Mary assented, and the Holy Spirt descended. The colors of the Temple veil? Blue, red and purple. Just think how this country could function if all Christians, in fact, if all people of good will, blue, red and purple, assented to the descent of the Spirit. We might still disagree but there would be no more slander, no more insults, no more mean-minded dirty tricks, no more lieing, no more corruption, no more stealing and no more self-rightousness. We would respectively listen to each other. We would have conversations. We would be humble about our own opinions, knowing we are all falliable. We would work in hope, compassion and love. We would finaly be truely civil. Can human beings renounce power-politics? Do we want to? Can we, like Mary, assent to the Spirit? Are we really willing to serve?>



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Payshun

posted November 4, 2006 at 9:20 pm


We can’t renounce power it’s ingrained in our dna but we can renounce using it just like Christ did. We can listen to the spirit but we will always be tempted w/ the desire to use power and probably don’t even realize when we do. p>



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HAC

posted November 5, 2006 at 3:53 am


I understand what you guys were saying. I was pointing out the absurd comments (like, again, this last one) that spoke to the symbolism of the color purple and how it is a mix of blue and red. I don’t think holding one’s finger to the wind is a way to determine right and wrong. To say that we must take from both liberals and conservatives has no basis in anything, except for those who see inherent value in being in the middle of two different viewpoints. I see no value in such a position, thus believe the obsession here with “purple” is stupid. I’d rather be on the side of truth, whatever that color may be. _>



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HAC

posted November 5, 2006 at 3:54 am


Sorry, Payshun posted while I was writing. “This last one” refered to Kay’s.>



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HAC

posted November 5, 2006 at 3:55 am


Uh… ok, he didn’t post while I was writing (didn’t look at times I guess). My window wasn’t refreshed, then. Anyway, I hope I clarified.>



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Eric

posted November 5, 2006 at 9:33 am


You’ve clarified, HAC, but I’m still not sure that what you’re saying lines up logically. I’m gonna go quote by quote. —– I don’t think holding one’s finger to the wind is a way to determine right and wrong. —– Okay, no problem there, I agree. The article’s author would agree with that too, I wager. —– To say that we must take from both liberals and conservatives has no basis in anything, except for those who see inherent value in being in the middle of two different viewpoints. I see no value in such a position, thus believe the obsession here with “purple” is stupid. —– You’re still missing our point, or we’re still missing yours. “To say that we must take from both liberals and conservatives” (I would probably phrase it, “to say it’s *okay* to take from both liberals and conservatives”) IS NOT TO SAY “there is inherent value in being in the middle of two different viewpoints.” “Liberal” is not a solid cohesive viewpoint, and “conservative” is not a solid cohesive viewpoint. They’re just labels. On some things, I hold a view that might be labeled liberal. On others, I hold a view that might be labeled conservative. To hold different perspectives on different issues is not to be “in the middle”. I understand you don’t like the color metaphor, but again, I don’t think it really disagrees with your overall point as I see it. A “red” church would trumpet the Republican line on issues simply because it’s the Republican line, and some do. A “blue” church would trumpet the Democrat line simply because it’s the Democrat line, and some do. Neither of those things, obviously, is good. The author’s position seems to be that people trying to follow Christ – here termed, however silly you think it, a “purple” church – should acknowledge that in a political system where our only CHOICES are “red” and “blue” and most Christians therefore are going to vote for one or the other, *neither* is *always* the right answer, and “the right answer” shouldn’t be determined by party affiliation. This, you seem to agree with anyway. —– I’d rather be on the side of truth, whatever that color may be. —– I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement on that, including I imagine the author of the original article. Maybe we’ve beat all there is out of this horse. ;-)>



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Eric

posted November 5, 2006 at 9:34 am


Wow, that last post looks really disjointed. I should find a better way to do quotes. Sorry guys. :-/>



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HAC

posted November 5, 2006 at 10:34 pm


Eric, I think between us, we probably agree in principle, and we may just be discussing semantics. I do believe the original article was trying to point out some inherent value in being in the middle. I just don’t like the analogy, which implies that we should look to the center to find the “best” viewpoint. I think that is misguided. As do you.>



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Pilgrim

posted November 6, 2006 at 3:08 pm


Mary wrote: It is God who transforms a life, not a rule, not a law, not a regulation this won’t be done by regulating my Christian values on them [unbelievers] because my values aren’t going to save them. It is His sacrifice. Mary, that s absolutely true. Rules and laws can t change people inwardly; they can only help control actions. But controlling some actions is very necessary for people to be able to live together peacefully in a free society. We need laws to protect each other from being wrongfully hurt by others. Thus we have laws against theft, robbery, rape, murder, etc. We need laws to protect the weak from being hurt by the strong. I believe this includes laws against abortion for the weakest and most defenseless members of the human family are unborn children. Sadly, there are those in our society who see unborn children as an inconvenience, and have no qualms against terminating them in order to make life easier for themselves. This is the height of selfishness and soullessness to kill another for convenience sake. It may at times be due to ignorance, because some people believe that unborn children aren t people at all. But that doesn t make it right.>



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HAC

posted November 6, 2006 at 5:05 pm


Pilgrim, Very well said. _>



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MB

posted November 6, 2006 at 10:40 pm


Pilgrim you are absolutely right. We do need laws. I agree that abortion is wrong, but where I have real issue is the whole dynamic of the reasons for abortion. First most begins with that first sin which is either sex out of wedlock or adultery. Then of course you have the problem of poverty and women who just don’t believe that they can take care of another child. Then there is the whole problem of rape and incest. It would be my hope that as a Body of Christians that we could come together and say Yes abortion is wrong – but how as a community of believers are we going to help women to make the choice for life. And yes you are right, there are going to be women out there who will not care about the life growing inside of them. But that for me is for God to judge. She will be answerable, she will be held accountable. For me the challenge is how do we help insure another life being brought into the world but also the one with whom was deciding on a choice, has their life transformed not because we condemn her but because we say, we love you and so does God. That was my point re: laws – when a life is transformed by God, you desire to obey the laws, because your desire is to please Him. Simplistic? maybe – but I have found for myself that His love is simplistic. My life today is different from the one I had. I give this transformation to Him and I am forever thankful and forever blessed by Him. And I can say with all sincerity it was people within my life who showed me God’s love that helped in my transformation. I prayed and he delivered and he delivered by people that did not condemn me but offered me hope. That was what Jesus did when He walked this earth. He offered the sinners hope. How by eating with them, healing them and showing them compassion. He showed them that they were special. Cause that’s what we are, we are special to Him. It’s amazing – it’s Grace.>



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Pilgrim

posted November 7, 2006 at 7:57 pm


MB wrote (I ve numbered the significant points): 1) Then of course you have the problem of poverty and women who just don’t believe that they can take care of another child. 2) Then there is the whole problem of rape and incest. 3) It would be my hope that as a Body of Christians that we could come together and say Yes abortion is wrong – but how as a community of believers are we going to help women to make the choice for life. 4) And yes you are right, there are going to be women out there who will not care about the life growing inside of them. But that for me is for God to judge. She will be answerable, she will be held accountable. MB, you re right that not every young mother is able to take care of her child. That s why adoption is such a wonderful choice. There are families all over America who can t wait to adopt a newborn child there s a long waiting list because there just aren t enough babies. The reason for this is that so many babies are being killed in the abortion mills. What a horrible, preventable, tragedy. The problem of rape and incest is difficult. But does it make sense to punish the unborn child for the sin of its father? Is that right? Shall we give children the death penalty because their fathers are evil? When I was in college giving an oral presentation on abortion, I asked the class a question. I said: Imagine that each of you sitting here today suddenly learned that you had been conceived by rape. Your parents had kept this fact from you until they thought you were old enough to handle it emotionally. Now you know the ugly truth. My question is this: Given this sad fact, how many of you would wish that you had been aborted instead of being allowed to live? How many of you, instead of being here today, would wish that you were dead? Think about it, and raise your hands if you would rather not be alive today. I gave them a minute to think. Would you like to know how many of them raised their hands? Can you guess? None. Everyone in the class chose life over death. Who are we to say that a baby who is the product of a rape can t live a happy life? We can t say that we don t have the right to. It is always wrong to murder an innocent. Rape is horrible but it doesn t justify murder. You asked: how as a community of believers are we going to help women to make the choice for life? Simple make it illegal, as murder should be. Where would you draw the line? Is it ok to kill a baby just as it is emerging from the womb? What about 1 hour after it is born? There are some people who want the right to kill the child even after it has been born and is a few days old. That s why we have laws to prevent horrors such as those people would commit. Finally, God instituted government to prevent such things as murder and other violations of individual rights. Yes God judges the hearts of men, but society is charged by God with protecting the innocent, and there are no people in the world more innocent than unborn children. By the way, thanks, HAC.>



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Julie

posted November 8, 2006 at 7:41 pm


Thank you, Pilgrim, for such a clearly articulated summary of the purpose of civil government, especially as it relates to protection of the unborn. Those who support the right to an abortion often have no idea of the effect an abortion has on the mother. Many women are pressured or duped into having abortions; they are fed the lie that the child growing inside them is just a blob of tissue. A friend of mine who had three abortions succumbed to drug abuse because she couldn’t live with the emotional pain of her decision. She eventually found redemption in Christ and has the hope of being reunited with her children in heaven. She told me that the hardest part of having those abortions was not being allowed to mourn the deaths of her babies. She also says that abortion is an act of violence against two people–the mother and her unborn child.>



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Kevin K

posted November 10, 2006 at 11:11 pm


I know few people wo support abortion, however, they support the right of choice. To criminalize that particular choice will just add to the agony of matter and continue to overburden our already buried law enforcement and judicial system.>



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HAC

posted November 12, 2006 at 9:33 pm


I know few people wo support abortion, however, they support the right of choice. There’s little difference. To criminalize that particular choice will just add to the agony of matter and continue to overburden our already buried law enforcement and judicial system. Yeah, and criminalizing murder really backs up our law enforcement and judicial system (especially with all the appeals, my goodness!), so let’s not legislate against that either.>



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Peter

posted November 12, 2006 at 11:07 pm


Regarding purple churches. I read some argument related to being wishy washy. If we are to treat others how we want to be treated then “Purple” would be teh least wishy washy. Honestly, brothers and sisters, purple is not more wishy washy. If purple is not the goal we make dualities the goal. If the duality is the goal then you never get to have fun because your fun is in warring. One thing versus anther. In the Christian as well as Budhist traditions the goal is to trancend the pairs of opposites. On earth as it is in heaven….. It’s similar to how you are when you are one with your breath. Atonement…. AT ONE MENT. My problem with all BLUE as a goal is that it desires disharmony in order to justify it’s attachment to one versus anotehr. This kind of thinking is self fullfilling. So the effort is inherintaly negative for the sake of negativity. Order is part of us but if one is attached to order for the sake of it then you are not understanding what the purpose of the order is. Boundries are so we can have more fun as without boundries reality could not become tangible to us. My friend is Captain Hook and I understand the importance of a good fight in development past egg shell personality. Ultimatley my best friend Captain Hook is an Aquairan. Bascially this captain hook can fly and purple is where we are all headed. If we can go purple with our formatory personality differences there is greater fun and places we can make peace even beyond as Tom Swift illustrates with Guliver ” Big enders versus little enders”. We have to connect in the neutral territory of purple not in the ego territory of self centered duality celebrations. Remember yourself and as a Christian you the right not to be negative. Thank you Peter>



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David J

posted November 14, 2006 at 2:51 am


Great post. I am a conservative evangelical that has been shocked into the reality that we need to find some common ground. I am conservative on moral and social issues, but am seeing the Barak Obama approach to politics. We need a fresh approach to politics and we should have leaders that are articulate and can inspire the American people. We also need someone who can work with all politcal stripes.>



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Pilgrim

posted November 14, 2006 at 7:55 pm


HAC, excellent observation. There are some things, such as murder, which much be opposed in law. It isn’t these critical matters which tie up our judicial system. It is the less important matters, such as victimless crimes created by our idiotic anti-drug laws, which are the root of the problem. There are just too many damn laws in this country. We are becoming a nation of control-freaks.>



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Pilgrim

posted November 14, 2006 at 7:59 pm


Peter, I see a fundamental flaw in your line of reasoning concerning disharmony and duality, but I’ll have to take some time to reply to it.>



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HAC

posted November 15, 2006 at 5:55 am


Pilgrim, The libertarian side in me agrees with you :). The conservative side of me tends to make me wishy-washy on the whole drug issue, though. Can I be a moderate on one issue? We do have too many laws, that’s for sure. _>



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Pilgrim

posted November 16, 2006 at 8:10 pm


Sure, HAC, be a moderate on this. I would just ask you to consider whether anti-drug laws have helped or harmed our nation. On the harmed side, such laws have led to government intrusion into people’s bank records and homes. Innocent people, such as Donald Scott (heir to the Scott Towel fortune), have been murdered by government agents who broke into their homes and shot them. In that particular case, the agents were hoping to find some drugs so that they could confiscate his mansion and property, and use it for themselves. Their motive was greed, and an innocent man died because of it. As is usual in these cases, none of the agents or their superiirs were punished for their crime. Drugs may corrupt, but I would argue that drug laws corrupt in an even worse way – by corrupting the law enforcement establishment. On Long Island, it is common for cops to steal drugs from the dealers and use it themselves or sell it for profit. A similar thing occurrred in Mena, Arkansas, where former President Clinton protected the drug trade (drugs were flown into Mena and distributed from there) and allowed people to be murdered to cover it up. The movie, Air America, is based on true events. Our government has profited greatly by the drug trade, all the while jailing citizens who used them themselves. Hyprocrisy, corruption, murder, theft – all the result not of drugs – but of the drug laws. And has the “war on drugs” worked? No. Even government officials will admit that they stop only a small portion of the drugs that come to our shores. So, why continue such an abominable practice?>



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Pilgrim

posted November 17, 2006 at 8:09 pm


Peter, I find your thinking disturbingly Eastern, and I will try to make clear my problem with certain things you wrote. You wrote: If purple is not the goal we make dualities the goal. If the duality is the goal then you never get to have fun because your fun is in warring. One thing versus anther. In the Christian as well as Budhist traditions the goal is to trancend the pairs of opposites. Well, one thing versus another is the reality we live in. Every day we must choose between good and evil, in both our thoughts and actions. There is no common ground here the duality exists and is necessary. Good and evil are opposites a duality. We must accept that and live by it. Jesus said in Luke 12: 51-53: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Standing for truth brings us into conflict with those who embrace lies. We cannot escape this and should not try, but this doesn t mean that our fun is in warring. It is simply necessary. Christians are not to transcend good and evil; we are to embrace one and reject the other. You say that your friend is Captain Hook, the character who was always trying to kill Peter Pan? Or are you referring to someone else? If I have misunderstood you, please clarify the point you were attempting to make.>



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Adrien-Alice

posted November 22, 2006 at 11:14 pm


The thing that I find so hopeful about this observation is that a COMMUNITY can be purple, heterodox. I’m so blue I’m almost old-school red, and while my beliefs in my beliefs are important, the practice of community–in which you put up with things you don’t believe in because they do right by someone you do believe in–is so neglected by the fundraising machines of the left and the right and the media that covers them. God bless you Diana Butler Bass.>



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