God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Questions That Weren’t Asked

posted by God's Politics

I wrote last week about our historic Candidates Forum on Faith, Values and Poverty. We had only 15 minutes with each candidate, so there was not enough time to ask all of the questions I had prepared (click here for highlights of the forum). Here are four that I hoped to ask and wasn’t able to.

1. As you know, 3 billion people—half of God’s children on the planet—still live on less than $2 a day. Inspired by faith leaders and efforts such as the ONE campaign, a new generation of Christians is making ending extreme poverty a defining cause. At the 2005 G-8 Summit, leaders pledged to double aid to Africa. Our nation has endorsed the Millennium Development Goals, which commit to cutting in half the number of people living in extreme poverty. As president, what steps would you take to ensure that the United States keeps those promises to billions of people and actually leads the world in this moral and religious imperative?
2. In the New Testament, the beatitudes offer a vision for the world with statements like: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom… Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill…Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” How would this biblical vision of the world shape your leadership and politics?
3. The command “be not afraid” appears frequently in the Bible, and yet U.S. foreign policy seems to be driven by fear, primarily of terrorist attacks. Our leaders seek to justify the most important decisions in foreign policy with dire warnings of impending attacks. Have we let fear push out wisdom and prudence as the primary virtues of foreign policy? Should the biblical command “be not afraid” have a role in foreign policy decision-making?
4. Partnerships between faith-based organizations and the government have raised concerns about the separation of church and state and debates over the role of churches and of government in reducing poverty and meeting social needs. Some argue that having faith-based and community organizations meet more needs allows the government to shirk its duty to help the poor. Others argue that faith-based providers are best equipped to meet needs and they simply need more resources. How do you think faith-based organizations and government should work in partnership—or not—in meeting social needs?

I know the other questioners also had some great questions; there just wasn’t enough time. But the dialogue was very rich nonetheless. I am in London at the moment, and am being told that the coverage of our faith forum was very extensive in the U.K. I just had dinner with a number of British political and church leaders who believe the forum really changed the perceptions of faith and politics on this side of the pond. They were very excited to discuss the issues further.



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moderatelad

posted June 14, 2007 at 10:27 am


Wallis wrote…
The command “be not afraid” appears more times in the Bible than any other, and yet U.S. foreign policy seems to be driven by fear…
BULL!
Real fear is caused when one is helpless or limited in what one can do to protect yourself. Many of us do not live in fear as we can and are doing something to make the world a better place. We have the ability to keep us safe here in the US – no something still can happen but we have the ability to prevent it. My sister has lived in England for years and has survived the IRA and their reign of terror several times. The Almighty can keep her safe there as easy as if she lived accross the street from me. Reed and Peloci want to keep the borders so open that any criminal or drug dealer or terrorist can get into our country. Now that causes me a certain amount of fear.
Have a great day –
.



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curiouser and curiouser

posted June 14, 2007 at 11:02 am


Jim,
I’m still mad at you for creating this “Faith” forum. It REQUIRES presidential candidates to publicly declare their faith, and thus, imo, imposes a ‘religious test’ on them. Very UN-Constitutional. Shame on you. And shame on CNN for doing it too.



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moderatelad

posted June 14, 2007 at 11:39 am


Posted by: curiouser and curiouser | June 14, 2007 11:02 AM
I disagree – I don’t mind the canidates talking about their faith and the people there did not have to be there, it was not required.
I would have no problem as a conservative WASP (tee hee) voting for a Hindu that had the same convictions and vision that I had. MN elected a Muslim (who did not answer the hard questions – nor did the Strib ask them, are we surprized – NOT!) and he might do well. (he knows how to get the press interested in what he has to say – whatever) I could vote for M. Romney and we are very different in our faith(s) but on the same page on several issues. Faith is not a test – but it does let us know how the person thinks personally and how their voting might be influenced – thats OK.
Have a great day
.



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nad2

posted June 14, 2007 at 12:01 pm


Jim, you have not missed your chance, ask the repubs these very questions if & when such a forum is held. The fear question is long overdue & if it takes biblical references to bring it out in the open, so be it!
curiouser, i shared your concern but i was completely blown away by the forum & impressed all the way w/ the way it was done by everyone involved. the constitution simply does not come into play here unless we are discussing the freedom for people to engage in such forums, which it allows. likewise if we had any serious contenders who were athiest, i think sojo would have made it equal time & forum for those people to discuss what tilts their moral compasses as well. it is important to me, i want a grander vision of a candidtate than his/her stance on issues. this was the one (not the only & perhaps not even the best conceivable one) forum so far where we got to see more than issue politics & it was so refreshing. thanks again sojo (though as a complete aside, & perhaps i am way late to the party on this one – bring back to the old comment format!!)



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kevin s.

posted June 14, 2007 at 12:04 pm


Again, it is not unconstitutional to offer a forum to discuss faith. Nobody was forced to delcare their faith one way or the other. Government may not insist on a candidate doing so, but private entities may do as they wish. There is simply no interpretation of the Constitution that forbids an organization from asking about the faith of a candidate.



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Mike Hayes

posted June 14, 2007 at 12:59 pm


Jim,
I think you are right on with regard to the importance of assistance to persons in extreme and moderate poverty. If we would divert more and more of our charitable contributions away from church buildings to organizations like Oxfam and Heifer International, we would also be attacking terrorism at its root causes… poverty and hoplessness.
Meanwhile, unless and until that happens, we should pressure our political leaders to use government funds (that have previously been promised) to relieve poverty and hopelessness.
I also think you are right on in questioning the emphasis on fear… we should be focused primarily on relief for the root causes of hatred for the wealthy west by persons who have no hope.



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Wolverine

posted June 14, 2007 at 2:25 pm


Moderatelad touches on an important point that Sojourners ignores so often that one must conclude it’s intentional:
The command to “be not afraid” was generally directed to leaders of the church, not to the state, and at any rate was never taken as an invitation to neglect of duties or indifference to real dangers.
Now maybe Wallis has a specific reference where “be not afraid” was directed at political leaders, but if it was I suspect it was in the Old Testament and probably uttered in the run-up to a battle, a usage that would present problems for crypto-pacifists like Wallis.
Wolverine



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Brent

posted June 14, 2007 at 2:44 pm


“The command to “be not afraid” was generally directed to leaders of the church, not to the state, and at any rate was never taken as an invitation to neglect of duties or indifference to real dangers.”
Amen, Wolverine! I would just like to add that the Christian need not fear, because his enemies cannot kill his soul, which will live on. That doesn’t mean that we should prevent terrorists from carrying out their evil plans. The state, however, is an agent of wrath (Rom. 13), and has a duty to protect the innocent.
Plus, it could easily be flipped around back to the left. Fear is used when talking about global warming. Fear is used constantly against any military action because “that will just create more terrorists.”



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Jono

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:06 pm


It would have been fun to see how Republican candidates would handle the question about the injunction “be not afraid” since the essence of the Republican and neo-conservative programs since 911 have been “be afraid; be very afraid.”



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Kurt Donnelly

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:23 pm


Curious about the citation of 3 billion people living on less than $2/day. Interesting in learning the source.



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Anonymous

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:28 pm


Posted by: Jono | June 14, 2007 3:06 PM
“…Republican and neo-conservative programs since 911 have been “be afraid; be very afraid.”
OK – you have the jaw-jacking done. When and where did a leading Republican tell the people to be afraid. We have been to to be prepaired, be vigilant. We have been told the ‘justice will be served’ and that the people that caused this ‘will hear our voices’.
I would like to see Rep canidates asked the same fluffy questions that were asked of the Dems and that the people asking the questions and those attending would be respectful. (that is something you might be afraid of…) I am not holding my breath and will not be disappointed if this forum never happens with the Rep canidates because I think it will be very different and almost mean spirited. If Wallis really wanted to have a forum like this he would have had two and it would have been mixed Rep and Dem on the stage. That the Dems got to go first – kinda lets you know where his heart is on the two parties.
Have a great day!
.



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Sgillesp

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:29 pm


Much as I appreciate Jim’s criticism and focus, and as much as I appreciated the forum on CNN, I see a danger here: “be not afraid” in the scriptures is in no way addressed to the political candidates of our secular nation. Though any of them may be believers and have therefore faith reasons not to ultimately fear for themselves, the idea that any of them has some kind of vision for the U.S. from the Lord, and therefore should not fear, is TOO CLOSE to what we have in Washington now! If what we’re looking for is a candidate who can articulate moral and ethical reasons for caring for the poor, let’s ask about that. I will not vote for anyone who is motivated by an agenda, much less a “holy” agenda, that is untethered to reality. We’ve been down that road, and that way lies disaster! We aren’t electing a spiritual leader.



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Moderatelad

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:47 pm


Posted by: | June 14, 2007 3:28 PM
This one is me – Moderatelad.
.



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stan franco

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:49 pm


Jim,
I think that the concept of separation of church and state is very misunderstood. It’s purpose was not to have a state religion and I agree with this. But it is ludricious to stop the open discussion of matters that affect people’s lives. Isn’t this what politics mean?
As a Catholic, I remember the public outcry at the Pope’s reticence on Hilter’s reign of terror in Europe. I believe that the voices of our religious leaders are needed in the public debate on issues that affect all of us.
Thanks for continuing to open up the political debate for all people – religious and non-religious.



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Anonymous

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:52 pm


Sgillesp,
I agree w/ you. I want people to have the freedom to enjoy talking about their faith and spirituality in any forum but we really don’t need another president in office that believes so much in his own version of reality that the world at large suffers. We had a enough of that w/ this lame duck.
p



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Lorraine Beckett

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:52 pm


Jim it isn’t “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice”, it is “blessed are those you hunger and thirst after righteousness”. There is a big difference. Thirsting after righteousness is thirsting after God’s justice which means alot more than the rich giving to the poor, it means no rich or poor, all are feed, housed, employed, have held care, etc.
Where are we, where is our collective “We will give up…. so that all have enough”.
Until we, globally, can fill in the appropriate blank, there is no justice and certainly no righteousness for our part.



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Paul Henley

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:54 pm


Here’s a question that needs to be posted to Sojourners: why wasn’t Bill Richardson (my candidate invited? He would have done very well in this discussion. He’s worked hard with “the least of these.” Look at Darfur. Look at what he’s done in New Mexico. I time was short, but the media has worked diligently to cut the field to three. It was disappointing to see Sojourners doing the same.
Blessings,



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SuzanneWA

posted June 14, 2007 at 4:10 pm


“Be not afraid,” means to me, that the Lord covers ALL fear, and our national leaders should hold THAT above all.
Such a Forum NEEDS to be held, not only Dems but Reps, too, for “equal protection.” The American people really should know where the candidates stand on values AND faith; our country having been founded on Judeo-Christian ethics, by the way. Our history classes in school have LONG passed by this fact; there ARE no civics classes any more. Our “political correctness” is getting us in trouble; there IS no “freedom of speech” any longer – we have to watch what we say and HOW we say it. If our candidates are afraid of speaking out on values and faith, then there IS something VERY wrong with our country…
As far as “fear” is concerned – I’m VERY afraid of terrorist attacks inside our borders. Just ONE smart bomb could obliterate a whole city; a biological or chemical outbreak would kill thousands. Is there no end to fear??!!
God Bless America…



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Oliver Beach

posted June 14, 2007 at 4:29 pm


Jim wrote: “The command “be not afraid” appears more times in the Bible than any other, and yet U.S. foreign policy seems to be driven by fear…”
“be not afraid” is not conserned with social turmoil but with our relationship with God. I.e., no fear of the future, especially death.



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Bruce

posted June 14, 2007 at 4:48 pm


There are two excuses used for holding back on aid relief for extreme poverty. One, the governments involved are corrupt and the aid money would just be squandered. Two, America will do these countries more good by working to keep our economy strong, through more and more world trade. The first argument has merit. The second argument has very little.
Corrupt governments do have to be held accountable and worked around so as to insure the aid money and debt relief goes to help the people of these extremely poor countries.
But the second argument is based on a blind idolatry of world trade. Yes, greater world trade has prevented another world war. You don’t shoot people who you’re doing business with. But, this blind love of world trade ignores that for a lot of these countries, the local small business economy is far more important to the overall well being of the populace, then the ability of these countries to come up with goods and services to sell to Europe and America. Even in America, 80% of our economy is local, not transnational. Yet our goverments are so bought and paid for buy large multinational corporations that they ignore the importance of these local economies. If we want to address world poverty, we have to address the negative aspects of our false idolatry of “Free Trade”.



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Payshun

posted June 14, 2007 at 5:56 pm


SuzanneWA said:
Such a Forum NEEDS to be held, not only Dems but Reps, too, for “equal protection.” The American people really should know where the candidates stand on values AND faith; our country having been founded on Judeo-Christian ethics, by the way. Our history classes in school have LONG passed by this fact; there ARE no civics classes any more.
Me:
There are very few civics classes being offered but that’s a complicated issue. One more thing, please spare me the myth of our Judeo-Christian roots and ethics. Those were convenient lies designed to cover up the attrocities our founding fathers created to make this country great.
SuzanneWA:
Our “political correctness” is getting us in trouble; there IS no “freedom of speech” any longer – we have to watch what we say and HOW we say it. If our candidates are afraid of speaking out on values and faith, then there IS something VERY wrong with our country…
Me:
There is a reason for that and that has to do w/ learning to speak respectfully. I am a little tired of hearing how political correctness is such a problem when the real issue is the lack of respect in the public sphere. If people were respectful of the differences in our society and honest about it’s history then there would be no political correctness. Instead people are blatantly disrespectful and expect a pass on it because they were honest. This country needs more than that. People should be honest but they should also strive to respect others.
p



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Hilda Crane

posted June 14, 2007 at 6:29 pm


In a message dated 6/14/2007 3:05:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time, SojoMail@sojo.net writes:
I know the other questioners also had some great questions; there just wasn’t enough time. But the dialogue was very rich nonetheless.
The dialogue was ALMOST as shallow as it could get:
What is your greatest sin?
How did you get through the Monica thing?
How could Sojourners be complicit in sponsoring something where candidates are expected to vie to prove they are more religious than the next candidate?
How is a focus on one-up-manship and entrapping candidates a series faith dialogue?
You guys have brought us a “religious test” for the presidency, and I, for one, will not be able to respect your judgment again.
Jesus said, “Pray behind closed doors” and He criticizes the Pharisees constantly for their pretentious religiosity. When you cooperate with CNN and THEY control the marketing and the questions, you are asking EVERYONE to act as Pharisees.



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Anonymous

posted June 14, 2007 at 7:24 pm


I haven’t time to read all of the comments, but I must say that I agree with Hilda Crane. My son taped the program for my later viewing but,once I heard the “biggest sin in your life” question, I lost all interest in hearing the rest.
Asking and airing such mindless, irrelevant questions plays right into the Fox “News” mentality, the shallow, judgmental and immature conversation that we do not need in this country….or across the pond, either.
I have high regard for Jim wallis, but this was definitely a blunder with potentially harmful effects now and in the future.
The 4 unasked questions would have provided real challenges, food for thought and some reasonable basis for discriminating among the candidates.



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Ruth Zemek

posted June 14, 2007 at 7:25 pm


I forgot to include my address with the previous comment.



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Joshua

posted June 14, 2007 at 7:56 pm


“The command “be not afraid” appears frequently in the Bible”
That it does. Take Joshua 1:9, for example:
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
What happened next? Joshua went on to enact some “foreign policy” decisions that Jim Wallis and Sojourners would have opposed.



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Paul Graves

posted June 14, 2007 at 8:37 pm


My wife and I enjoyed the interviews on June 4, though the time constraints prevented the depth of questions and answers to be more significant. One wondering we had afterwards was this: Regarding the questioners, why was the decision made only to use Christian leaders? I hope that time issues was the deciding factor. People from at least the other “major” faith traditions could have gone on record as affirming their faith-based concerns for the poor and socially marginalized as well.



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Chris Black

posted June 15, 2007 at 12:02 am


“Be not afraid” is a worthy aspiration in how we live our lives – individually and communally.
The fear stimulated among the citizens to justify curtailment of civil rights here in the USA, and horrifying violence abroad, is different from the fear that drives the policymakers. They are driven by fear of losing the next election, or more fundamentally, losing power.
Truly letting go of fear, and living, requires tremendous faith – for politicians as well as regular people.
Jesus lived His life without fear, and look what happened to Him – He was beaten and killed. If we are to follow Him, we make ourselves vulnerable, and we will suffer the same as He did. But do we have a choice?



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Cads

posted June 15, 2007 at 1:32 am


Good thing there were no “faith” forums in the old days, or Deist presidents such as Jefferson, Monroe or Lincoln could have never been elected by this “Christian” nation, and then where would the country have been? KEEP RELIGION OUT OF POLITICS!!!



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CADS

posted June 15, 2007 at 1:46 am


Founding father Deists Jefferson and Monroe could never have been elected by this “Christian” nation had there been Faith Forums in the old days unless they hid their true beliefs from the voting public. Religious views have no place in political discussions.



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Mick Sheldon

posted June 15, 2007 at 2:41 am


CADS you said
“Founding father Deists Jefferson and Monroe could never have been elected by this “Christian” nation had there been Faith Forums in the old days unless they hid their true beliefs from the voting public. Religious views have no place in political discussions.”
Cads actually you are mistaken . Jefferson was strongly attacked for his religious beliefs when he ran for President in 1800. In a printed pamlet by a Rev W Linn , A Dutch reformed Minister , he questioned if Jefferson ever went to church . “Serious Considerations of a President ”
John Adams wife Abrigail joined in the attacks , both her and John Adams were much the Orthodox Christians . She spread the view that Jefferson was a DEIST. One of Jeffersons friends , Tunnis Wortman wrote ” A Solemn Address to the Christians and PatriotsUpon the Approaching Election of the President of the United States ” He stated the claims of Deism were false . Dewiitt Clinton also came to jeffersons’ defence ” I feel happy to hail him as a Christian ” I would also make you aware to have these small pamlets was no easy chore at this time in our history .
Jefferson may have been a deist , he apparently changed his views as many people do over the course of a lifetime about his religious commitment . But one thing is however constant , to get elected in this country we have a strong tradition of candidates kissing babies and showing up in a Christian Church near election time . You can have your opinion CAD , but you can’t have your own facts .



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Freeword

posted June 15, 2007 at 7:39 am


The idea of discussing “faith and politics” is strange, because the State should have no official religion if it is a democracy.
Jesus is supposed to have said: “give Caesar what is Caesar’s”, (showing a coin engraved with the empror’s face) in the context of faith versus obedience to rules imposed by the Romans (the cult to various deities, the emperor being considered one).
HOWEVER, a different thing from faith (but that can include it)is DEMANDING respopnsibility and accountability for decisions taken IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE, by politicians whose care does not seem to incliude ETHICS, the values of truth, honesty, responsibility – values that are shared by many religions and also by people who are agnostics.
Concerning FEAR: it has been used in the past both by states and by religions to dominate the people and it STILL IS USED NOWADAYS AS A WEAPON to manipulate opinion – for example, to convince people that an invasion of another country is justifiable, that it is for their own good and protection. “DO NOT FEAR” seems to me an important message, in the sense that you take away the power of the other over you – and one may act more courageously.



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Moderatelad

posted June 15, 2007 at 8:54 am


I am putting a circle around todays date as there is something that Wallis and I agree on – go figure.
I think that this forum is fine. I just believe that it should have had members from both parties at the session – but that is just me. This is not a ‘required’ event that you had to attend in order to run for office. You could have respectfully declined the invitation. I am not sure that this will be something that will continue for any length of time because in the scope of things, I don’t think that these type of sessions will have any tangable impact on the election. If that is the case – the canidates will not attend as their time is too valuable and they will find another event that will give them more capital with the voters.
Have a great day –
.



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Jeff

posted June 15, 2007 at 10:37 am


“Founding father Deists Jefferson and Monroe could never have been elected by this “Christian” nation had there been Faith Forums in the old days unless they hid their true beliefs from the voting public. Religious views have no place in political discussions.”
Cads,
None of these men were Deists. There are two myths about are founding fathers
1. There were all (or mostly)Christians.
2. There were all (or mostly) Deist.
Neither is true. Some were strongly Christian (Adams). Some were out and out Hedonist (Franklin). Some worshiped themselves (Jefferson and Hamilton). I find no Deist in the group at all. They all had one thing in common, they loved their country.



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 10:56 am


moderatelad,
“I don’t mind the canidates talking about their faith”
Nor do I when it’s voluntary.
“the people there did not have to be there”
They did if they wanted to be taken seriously as a candidate for President. No, they weren’t forced by arms; they were forced by the media who have bowed to the pressure of the RRR to believe that they SHOULD be grilled on their faith beliefs. THAT is what I lament. The ‘thinking’ that a faith discussion ought to be a mandatory thing – i.e. a relgious test.



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:03 am


nad2,
“if we had any serious contenders who were athiest”
I doubt that in the current state of RRR America, there ever COULD be a “serious” candidate who was atheist.
“i think sojo would have made it equal time & forum for those people to discuss what tilts their moral compasses as well”
Perhaps. But people can have a moral compass without being a person of faith, despite what the RRR tells us.
“it is important to me”
As it is to me, and should be to all voters – that people have a strong moral compass, that is, as opposed to being a person of a particular faith. (‘Would America vote for a Mormon?’ – WHY should it matter WHAT faith a person is? NO ONE is willing to answer this.)
“i want a grander vision of a candidtate than his/her stance on issues”
I don’t think whether a Mormon could be elected President results from a “grander vision” but from a far more limiting vision.



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:06 am


kevin s,
“There is simply no interpretation of the Constitution that forbids an organization from asking about the faith of a candidate.”
If there is to be no religious test, what interpretation of the Constitution ALLOWS an organization TO ask about their faith?
There shall be NO test, not ‘certain organizations may test for the presence of faith’!



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:11 am


stan franco,
“But it is ludricious to stop the open discussion of matters that affect people’s lives.”
My bone of contention is that it goes beyond a “discussion”. this forum has made it mandatory for a political candidate to profess his or her faith.
I worry that people of certain faiths will enact into laws policies that are based on their religious faith, despite the fact that said laws will govern people of OTHER faiths, or no faith at all.
“Isn’t this what politics mean?”
Gawd, I hope not.



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Donny

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:16 am


Mr. Wallis,
You still haven’t an answer for the fact that you Progressives are preaching a different Gospel. When your actions speak and follow secular-humanist words, you must realize that you’re not heading people in the right direction.
When tested, your progressive political aims and golas fail the Biblical test of truth.
donnyresponse@yahoo.com



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:18 am


Dear Hilda Crane,
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
“What is your greatest sin?”
HOW is this relevant to political issues? Shallow indeed. Thanks for the vivid example.
“How did you get through the Monica thing?”
What has this got to do wth the “issues” and the views on “policies” people are clamouring to know? Again, thanks for the right-on-target example.
“How could Sojourners be complicit in sponsoring something where candidates are expected to vie to prove they are more religious than the next candidate?”
Exacctly my point.
“How is a focus on one-up-manship and entrapping candidates a series [serious?] faith dialogue?”
I’d like to know that too.
“You guys have brought us a “religious test” for the presidency, and I, for one, will not be able to respect your judgment again.”
I second that emotion.
“Jesus said, “Pray behind closed doors” and He criticizes the Pharisees constantly for their pretentious religiosity. When you cooperate with CNN and THEY control the marketing and the questions, you are asking EVERYONE to act as Pharisees.”
Amen. Bears repeating. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone in this.



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Rev. Rich Nelson

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:26 am


Jim,
I, for one, am thankful for this forum and look forward to a similar one for the Republican candidates as well. I am dissapointed the MDG question wasn’t asked. It, in my view, is the most pressing one for the future of God’s world and the security of our nation. It is what God is calling us to at this time, as Vote out Poverty acknowledges. I do hope you will include it in any future forums. Again, thanks for this forum and please take with a grain of salt the consitutional handwringing of our brothers and sisters below.
Christ’s peace,
Rev. Rich Nelson
Episcopal priest
Lubbock, TX



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:32 am


Ruth Zemek,
Thanks to you too.
“Asking and airing such mindless, irrelevant questions plays right into the Fox “News” mentality, the shallow, judgmental and immature conversation that we do not need in this country.”
Exactly!
“this was definitely a blunder with potentially harmful effects now and in the future.”
Absolutely.



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:43 am


Paul Graves,
“why was the decision made only to use Christian leaders?”
Why were ONLY faith leaders used? Or better yet, why was a forum held requiring the profession of ANY faith tenets if “there shall be NO religious test” for political office?
Maybe America is asking the wrong questions of its leaders.
“People from at least the other “major” faith traditions could have gone on record as affirming their faith-based concerns”
Why should political leaders have to be of ANY faith, “major” or “minor”???
Please realize that when politicians ‘affirm their faith-based concerns’, it alienates and dismisses from the, er, “conversation” those who are not of the same faith or of ANY faith. I am not a Mormon. I am not a Catholic. I am not a Methodist. Etc. WHY is a person’s religion being brought into what should be secular policy issues at all?
You people are missing the point!



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curiouser and curiouser

posted June 15, 2007 at 11:53 am


Donny,
Re: “Progressives are preaching a different Gospel.”
And re: “When tested, your progressive political aims and golas fail the Biblical test of truth.”
You missed (anonymnous)’s point: There’s not supposed to BE a test. The Constitution says so.
“When your actions speak and follow secular-humanist words, you must realize that you’re not heading people in the right direction.”
That’s merely your opinion. And that is precisely the problem: WHICH candidate’s faith beliefs are the “right direction”? Which “Gospel”? WHICH “truth”?



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Moderatelad

posted June 15, 2007 at 12:04 pm


Posted by: | June 15, 2007 10:56 AM
“…they were forced by the media who have bowed to the pressure of the RRR to believe that they SHOULD be grilled on their faith beliefs.”
Excuse me – CNN has ‘bowed’ to pressure from the RRR? You’ve got to be kidding. When has CNN listened to any conservative thinker(s)? Wallis and Sojo is known by what – 4% of the American population? I hardly think that it was pressure that brought these canidates to this forum. This is why I think that this was a ‘one-time’ event. The major flaw that I see in the event is that it was only one party invited with the promise that the other one would be invited to another scheduled for a later date. It is flawed. The second one will be more rehearsed if they asked the same questions and if they are different questions it will not be fair. Wallis either errored in putting this together or he has shown us who he is truly interested in supporting for the office. (I want to believe the 1st but feel the latter is more correct) It would be flawed if the Rep had been the first group.
Have a great day –
.



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kevin s.

posted June 15, 2007 at 12:48 pm


“If there is to be no religious test, what interpretation of the Constitution ALLOWS an organization TO ask about their faith?
There shall be NO test, not ‘certain organizations may test for the presence of faith’!”
No. It says that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”
It does not even say that a private entity may not invoke such a test, but only that the test will not be a requirement in order to hold an office. Simply asking about one’s faith is not mentioned here, and is therefore protected by the first amendment.
No court in the history of the United States has ever contrued this text to indicate that people, of their own free will, may not ask a candidate about their faith. That is an interpretation that was never intended, and is wholly a construct of your imagination.
If the government forced the candidates to appear at the forum, that would be a religious test as defined by the Constitution. This is not what took place.
“WHY is a person’s religion being brought into what should be secular policy issues at all? You people are missing the point!”
Why shouldn’t they? If people want to observe the religious viewpoints of candidates, they may do so. You have the right to turn off the television. We people are not missing the point. We people simply disagree with you, and I have no compelling reason to be persuaded by your arbitrary, self-serving interpretation of the Constitution.
“”Jesus said, “Pray behind closed doors””
This is brutally out of context. Jesus constantly declared his allegiance to God in the public setting, and commanded us to do the same. The Pharisees were hypocrites, making a show of their religiosity while maintaining a murderous heart toward God.



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Amy

posted June 15, 2007 at 12:49 pm


I wish you had asked questions 1 and 4 instead of things like “what is your biggest sin?” or “do you pray?” To me, that was playing to the media. You may have even gotten those questions answered if you had seen how they would have answered–really answered the other questions.
Amy
Associate Pastor
Athens, GA



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wayne schmidt

posted June 15, 2007 at 1:01 pm


concerning your 1st question about increasing funding to end poverty: AS a member of the Constitution party, we realize that the constitution does not give the government the job to end poverty. Rather, the government’s function is to eliminate red tape & rules that stunt the incentive for private groups to do that job. The government has a looooooong track record of wasting vast amounts of money. Stopping poverty would not make them use money more wisely. Private groups always use money more wisely than governments. So we need to insist that the government allow private groups to do the job of ending poverty. Get the government off everyones back!!!!! & restore our liberties!!!!! If we paid less taxes, we would have more money to help the poor!!



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Eric

posted June 15, 2007 at 1:22 pm


Curiouser, you speak as if the candidates were forced to come before Wallis and mouth words they don’t truly believe. No one was forced to participate. Or they could have shown up and said they didn’t really believe in God at all. Stop acting like Clinton et al were forced before some sort of religious court and made to profess faith.



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 3:22 pm


Posted by: | June 14, 2007 3:28 PM
“This one is me” – Moderatelad.
We would never have known, right guys!



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Anonymous

posted June 15, 2007 at 4:15 pm


I do not see the cause of any to alarm about a religious tests . That is in regards to government . People vote for Presidents for their looks , charm, many reasons , I don’t see the hysteria about that, just for religion . Bush and Carter share my faith, I think they are both fairly bad Presidents . Its up to the individual why they vote for someone , government has no right to make that a test for their choices either ! The big thing about the 400 dollar haircut appears as silly as this religious test alarm.
Come on , big deal . Liberal believers put on a forum so their candidates can look appealing to more people . Nothing wrong with that . Barack Obama saying that the Civil War was a Just war , I had to smile at his shear reserve of saying important . , ;o).
I did a bit of internet browsing and have found some very left leaning organizations concerned about Sojouners . Heard the religious left tag being handed to this organization , and comments stating Jim Wallis did not want it , because he knows its a perjoritive . I notice he has no problem using it when its for people he disagrees with though. The interesting thing is the conspiracy that Sojourners is just a front for the religious right in order to stop the separation of church and state .
So when you Sojourners start meeting people for the first time , and they already have a list of stereotypes that they see about you in the negative view , regardless of what you do or say , you may begin to understand the real problems stopping the help for the poor , helping the unloved and those who are hard to love . This world just does not love Jesus like many of you guys do .
We are the same church



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Payshun

posted June 16, 2007 at 12:40 am


Wayne Schmidt said:
So we need to insist that the government allow private groups to do the job of ending poverty. Get the government off everyones back!!!!! & restore our liberties!!!!! If we paid less taxes, we would have more money to help the poor!!
Me:
Private groups are not being stopped by the government and have seldom been stopped by the government to help people (well unless they were black, indigenous.) I guess my comment to the last part would mean more private groups or people’s would have more money to buy bigger SUV’s and houses, all the while ignoring the poor. If private people and groups could end poverty by themselves many would have done that by now. The truth is it can’t, at least not alone. It’s going to take everyone government, private and other to eliminate poverty and being poor in this country. The sooner we learn that the sooner more will be helped.
p



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Payshun

posted June 16, 2007 at 12:44 am


Donny,
What gospel would that be?
p



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Mick Sheldon

posted June 16, 2007 at 2:29 am


P
You don’t think socialism has not been tried before ? It has ,sometimes with deadly results and always lowering of the standard of living . Its always this time that taking away those earn a high income and re distributing will work . Because your sincere ?
Your stealing a persons time , not just their income . Time that can not be redistributed . You think people will spend that time if their earnings and freedom is stolen to redistribute it on policies they do not support .
I think we already had that war a couple of hundred years ago .
Who decides what programs is considered solving poverty , Planned Parenthood ? Moveon.Org . . The Religious Left ?
Your not just talking about earnings , but the individual’s time invested in making a living . How do you put a price on a person’s dreams, their life work . Who are you to say what is moral , if that same person can not say what his individual dreams are or what stopping that socialist government from spending money on freebies he is morally and His God obsejt to . Thats Tyranny !
We are a republic , with a constitution to protect the individual ,not a democracy that is suppose to vote themselves unearned income made
of others earnings , all you are promoting is people telling the people with guns to take from others .
Talk about a
system that promotes poverty of the soul , its socialism . Our poor is the third world’s middle class . What are you giving up for them ? What is the poor in this country giving up for the third world poor to make it more just
according to your value system .
This of course in the name of God . sheeesh .
I guess Job would have had to give up all the things God gave him in your world . Job was allowed to do himself quite well himself thank you very much . Jesus fled when the folks came to get him as to make him King of the government . its amazing everyone thinks they are better then the ones who came before us ..



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paul

posted June 16, 2007 at 9:48 am


Who thought of this new format? Having to continually scroll up and down to try and read the thread is bizarre. Ironic how this up-side-down format seems to fit the logic of some…
cheers, Paul



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Payshun

posted June 16, 2007 at 12:56 pm


Mick,
I mean this question in jest (just a little.) Have you lost your mind? What does socialism have to do w/ the fact that America is a greedy country or that it’s citizens are by and large apathetic to really ending poverty or being poor in it’s own borders?
My initial response was a truthful statement. The average citizen cares very little about using their extra income to look out for the needy. Your assumption was that they would spend it on helping the poor in this country. That’s not going to happen and you know that. So your assumption about more money being used to help the poor is false. Most would buy something like an extra shirt, concert tickets, a vacation…
There is nothing inherently wrong w/ that by itself but when one looks at this nation corporately then that’s a problem. That means greed and self interest trump the welfare of us all. That spreads the spectre of inequality and crime. The destruction of families come shortly after.
No one is arguing that we turn to an absolutely socialist system but there should be safeguards in place. It’s not like capitalism is perfect either but let’s look at what you said.
Mick:
You don’t think socialism has not been tried before ? It has ,sometimes with deadly results and always lowering of the standard of living . Its always this time that taking away those earn a high income and re distributing will work . Because your sincere ?
Me:
Actually it will when greedy and politically insincere politicians stop gutting the program and actually design them to work. The reason why all these government programs have failed is because they were never designed to succeed in the first place. (I am mainly referring to government housing here.)
Mick:
Your stealing a persons time , not just their income . Time that can not be redistributed . You think people will spend that time if their earnings and freedom is stolen to redistribute it on policies they do not support .
I think we already had that war a couple of hundred years ago .
Me:
My goodness what’s up w/ the rant? You know what’s really stealing people’s time? Let me give you a hint. (wink, wink)It’s the job. It’s working 60-90 hours per week at the expense of home life, family and individual growth. That’s what’s really stealing a person’s time especially in today’s modern culture. we work long hours so that we can play hard one day a week or to save for something bigger. Our dreams in effect become a materialist subsidy for greed. I admit I am greedy what about you?
I thought you were saying that we would be more altruistic w/o government interference when in reality we become more greedy and materialist. Thanks for proving my point.
Mick said:
Who decides what programs is considered solving poverty , Planned Parenthood ? Moveon.Org . . The Religious Left ?
Me:
I think we can all that decide hungry people (especially families) should eat. I think since we are a republic we can vote for that. But at least you are asking the right question for once. Who decides who should get fed? The truth is we do. The government does, ngo’s do, the average citizen does… We all do and we are all accountable for the results.
Mick:
Your not just talking about earnings , but the individual’s time invested in making a living . How do you put a price on a person’s dreams, their life work . Who are you to say what is moral , if that same person can not say what his individual dreams are or what stopping that socialist government from spending money on freebies he is morally and His God obsejt to . Thats Tyranny !
Me:
Talk about melodramatic. You know what’s a bigger tyranny? When people die in this country from starvation and malnutrition. Or when a child can’t eat even though their parents are working 60 hours/ week. I tell you now that God is far more angry about that then the supposed tyranny of greed you are spilling.
Mick:
We are a republic , with a constitution to protect the individual ,not a democracy that is suppose to vote themselves unearned income made
of others earnings , all you are promoting is people telling the people with guns to take from others .
Me:
You are rambling. I am not responding any further to this part of your post. It’s too ridiculous to take seriously.
YOu:
Talk about a system that promotes poverty of the soul , its socialism . Our poor is the third world’s middle class . What are you giving up for them ? What is the poor in this country giving up for the third world poor to make it more just
according to your value system .
Me:
All human governmental systems promote a poverty of the soul which is why God wanted to be king of Israel alone. He knew he could do a better job than any human king but the ancient Israelites wanted a king so they could be great like other nations. That came back to bite them on the butt a few times.
Capitalism has led to several genocides, mass murder, rapes… So please spare me your revisionist history and poor historical knowledge. This system is flawed just like any other and the sooner you can see that the sooner you can make changes in your life to help the least of these. (If you are not already doing that.)
You:
This of course in the name of God . sheeesh .
I guess Job would have had to give up all the things God gave him in your world . Job was allowed to do himself quite well himself thank you very much . Jesus fled when the folks came to get him as to make him King of the government . its amazing everyone thinks they are better then the ones who came before us ..
Me:
Ok it’s really hard to take your comments seriously when you do such a poor job explaining what you think. I am not saying take all of someone’s possessions away. I am saying their should be an equitable distribution system that takes in account how the rich make their money on the backs of the poor. You want to live in a land where greedy Zacheus is the norm. I want Zacheus the theif to give back what he stole. I think we really need to look at how our history and really examine how many of the major rich families got their money in the first place. Many got their ill gotten gains thru crime and other unscrupulous enterprises.
Oh and I don’t think I am better. But you sure seem to think you are better than the poor we want to see helped. Because if your heart were half as generous as Wayne pretended you would not care how it’s getting done just as long as it is.
p



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Payshun

posted June 16, 2007 at 1:35 pm


I forgot to answer one of your questions. But I try to heal the emotional, mental and spiritual afflictions of anyone that is poor spiritually. I have been learning to master prayer as a means of healing and restoring the hearts and minds of people. So from time to time I pray for the poor. I also intercede regularly for the poor around the world. I could say more but then I would be bragging and that serves no real purpose save to make me think I am better than I think. (that’s not true btw.) There are days where I do give charity but unfortunately I live in an area where there are signifcantly less poor people so it’s harder to be charitable. Then there are other times when I give nothing. It really does depend on my own cashflow and how much love I am living in at the moment. What about you?
p



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Brent

posted June 17, 2007 at 8:19 am


“Talk about melodramatic. You know what’s a bigger tyranny? When people die in this country from starvation and malnutrition.”
Payshun, please, try to document a single case of when someone died of starvation in the U.S. in the last 100 years or so. If you go back further, you’d be able to find some Donnor-party like scenarios, but other than that, you’d be very hard pressed.
“Or when a child can’t eat even though their parents are working 60 hours/ week.”
Payshun, there are so many ways to get food in this country, when you have a chronically hungry child, you will almost always find incompetent parents who simply don’t care about their children. A homeless person once made the remark to me that “if you starve here, it’s your own (Bleep) fault.”
thoughout nearly all of human history, people worked this many hours and more to feed their families. The 40 hour work week is the aberration. It’s a wonderful thing, but without the rise in productivity, brought about by those greedy capitalists.



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ray d

posted June 17, 2007 at 10:29 am


RE:Who thought of this new format? Having to continually scroll up and down to try and read the thread is bizarre. Ironic how this up-side-down format seems to fit the logic of some…
cheers, Paul
Good question. This format makes no sense.



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K. Harriger

posted June 17, 2007 at 11:24 am


I thought the CNN forum was one of the most informational I’ve seen yet for hearing the Democrats speak about their faith values. Ideally, it would have been longer, and showcased candidates from both parties…I’d be curious to see the faith values of the candidates in contrast.
Knowing what I know about all the candidates who’ve expressed their positions on the role faith plays in their political life, I have noticed an interesting trend: Republicans in general seem focused on OT legalism and Democrats, at least on the surface, seem to favor policies more consistent with Christ’s interpretation of the Law in the NT.
It’s not surprising, though, but it does illustrate a point about the difference between conservatism and liberalism and how both points of view deal with articles of faith, much like the fable of the blind men describing the different parts of the elephant. They’re all dealing with the same core issue, but because of selective blindness, can’t see the whole picture and therefore can’t synthesize it into truly meaningful actions or decisions.
http://sheriger-codex.blogspot.com



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JohntheBaptist

posted June 17, 2007 at 3:36 pm


Reed and Peloci want to keep the borders so open that any criminal or drug dealer or terrorist can get into our country. Now that causes me a certain amount of fear.Have a great day –
Posted by: moderatelad
It is really hard to take anything you say seriously after statements like that, moderatelad. What you said about both of them is nothing short of slander and there are clear biblical prohibitions against slander. And I don’t know about anybody else here, I for one was kind of hoping that one day you would learn how to spell her name right- Pelosi. It has an “S” in it.
Respectfully submitted.



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moderatelad

posted June 18, 2007 at 8:18 am


Posted by: JohntheBaptist | June 17, 2007 3:36 PM
Sorry if you were upset but take a look at what some say about the people on the other side of the fence – I think I was quite tame in my comments. Harry and Nancy are the leadership of the Dem Party on capital hill and have done a great job of making sure that the fence or others issues dealing with the border are not getting on the floor of congress. They either do not want to deal with this issue or they do not want to deal with it while Bush is in the WH so that hopefully the next Pres will be a Dem and then they will deal with it so that they look good. (I personally believe it is the latter)
Have a great day –
.



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Andrew Cornelius

posted June 18, 2007 at 11:33 am


A question I would ask of Sojo is how much money was spent booking these three politicians?



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OMMO

posted June 18, 2007 at 12:34 pm


The government has no “duty” to the poor. We as individuals that number as the majority in all religions however, do have that duty. The tyranny of government/private partnerships is all to real and historically resulted in more abuse and death of the poor. Private/public partnerships where private (religious or not) that make public policy is called fascism, and is the main route that is sending this country down the tubes.
Fascism is business running the government.
Communism is the government running business.
The greatness of the American democratic republic form of government is government taking the wisdom of history, the inginuity of free market business, and the protection of the public in an equal balance to succed and serve as an example for others to emmulate.
Compassion can not be mandated or legislated, it can only be inspired through role modeling by each and every one of us. To expect the government to do it is at the least foolhardy and finacially devistating. It create a further welfare state of mind; that of entitlement.
In the extreme we have communism or fascism.
Seperation of church and state is wisdom. It is us a followers of God to put that wisdom into action with our fellow beings, not to shove off on government or the businesses who will make millions off of it. To do so will only add great corruption to charity, destroy faith in your fellow being, and trade hope for entitlement. This is totally counter to Christianity’s teaching of faith, hope. and charity.



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josiah

posted June 18, 2007 at 1:00 pm


I’m confused.
As democrats we don’t want a person’s personal values to have too great an influence on policy making. yet, we want these same policy makers to apply their “faith” when it comes determining policy for the impoverished. “don’t tell woman what they can and can’t do with their bodies based on your faith”, or “don’t tell gays that they can or can’t marry based on you own personal beliefs” but at the same time we make the argument that “jesus was for the poor, so we will legislate accordingly because that is the right thing to do”…I just don’t understand how we can speak out of both sides of our mouths this way. i mean, if we want someone if office who looks to apply their faith at all costs then we already have that it office-thought we wanted something different.



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carl copas

posted June 18, 2007 at 7:22 pm


Blog moderator, please return to the old format or find a new one that is better than this one. It is EXTREMELY non-user friendly.
Thank you.



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The Maestro

posted June 18, 2007 at 9:11 pm


Although I thought the CNN forum with the three candidates was interesting, I felt uneasy when it finished. Why should anyone believe they will make any significant change in our number one problem of poverty. No politician to date has seriously done anything about it. Radical change will take place when people organize and stand up and make politicians get serious. That is precisely what happened with the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-War Movement during Vietnam.



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Doratheexplora

posted June 18, 2007 at 11:18 pm


I am surprised that no one commented on the direction that the follow-up conversation with Paula Zahn took with the “other” candidates. I was really frustrated at how for most candidates it boiled down to something like this: As a Catholic, how do you reconcile the Church’s position on abortion (or gay marriage). . . . I thought the idea was to make the conversation about more than those two issues. I don’t think that this part of the forum was sponsored by Sojo, but rather CNN. And I was anticipating that JW would have a chance to speak agian, and he was not given one.



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kevin s.

posted June 19, 2007 at 1:02 am


“Blog moderator, please return to the old format or find a new one that is better than this one. It is EXTREMELY non-user friendly.
Thank you.”
Now you’re talking like a conservative. :)



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Payshun

posted June 19, 2007 at 8:20 pm


Brent asked:
Payshun, please, try to document a single case of when someone died of starvation in the U.S. in the last 100 years or so. If you go back further, you’d be able to find some Donnor-party like scenarios, but other than that, you’d be very hard pressed.
Me:
Ask and You shall recieve.
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mor_lac_of_foo-mortality-lack-of-food
The list doesn’t go into much detail but it does show that there are people dying in this country of starvation. Is it common? No, does it happen? Yes.
Ommo said:
The government has no “duty” to the poor. We as individuals that number as the majority in all religions however, do have that duty. The tyranny of government/private partnerships is all to real and historically resulted in more abuse and death of the poor.
Me:
There are a lot of people that would disagree w/ you on that. The government does have a duty to all it’s citizens whether they are poor or not. We have also seen the church do horendous things to the poor. What’s your point? Don’t pretend one is worse than the other. How many genocides resulting from our acquisition of this country or the ensslavement and conquering of South America do we have to show that the church is corrupt too?
You:
Compassion can not be mandated or legislated, it can only be inspired through role modeling by each and every one of us. To expect the government to do it is at the least foolhardy and finacially devistating. It create a further welfare state of mind; that of entitlement.
In the extreme we have communism or fascism.
Me:
Ofcourse compassion and charity can be legislated. You mean like the entitlement the rich already have under this president? Would you rather have children suffer from lack of food waiting for the church or at least be fed because of state, local or federal government interference?
You said:
Seperation of church and state is wisdom. It is us a followers of God to put that wisdom into action with our fellow beings, not to shove off on government or the businesses who will make millions off of it. To do so will only add great corruption to charity, destroy faith in your fellow being, and trade hope for entitlement. This is totally counter to Christianity’s teaching of faith, hope. and charity.
Me:
Besides marketing for companies like coke I don’t see private business making millions off of providing healthy nutritous meals to kids. If anything it would probably fall to local distributors to fill the gap and if that happens then the local economy will benefit instead of the government.
p



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kevin s.

posted June 20, 2007 at 12:17 am


“Ask and You shall recieve.
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mor_lac_of_foo-mortality-lack-of-food
Two observations.
1) You are almost as likely to die by lightning strike as you are by lack of food in our country.
2) What is going on in Japan?
“There are a lot of people that would disagree w/ you on that. The government does have a duty to all it’s citizens whether they are poor or not.”
Agreed.
“Would you rather have children suffer from lack of food waiting for the church or at least be fed because of state, local or federal government interference?”
You have exposed the folly of the “government shouldn’t do what the church is supposed to do” argument. Nonetheless, you do present a false choice.
“Besides marketing for companies like coke I don’t see private business making millions off of providing healthy nutritous meals to kids. If anything it would probably fall to local distributors to fill the gap and if that happens then the local economy will benefit instead of the government.”
No, they make millions providing nasty, health-free meals to kids, and often get government subsidies to do so. You mention above that starvation really isn’t a big problem in this country Obesity is, however, especially among the poor. I would argue that governmental program contribute to this phenomenon, or are at least indifferent.
If we are going to have entitlements such as WIC and food stamps, why not mandate that the dollars be used to make healthy food choices? Frozen broccoli and potatoes cost a heck of a lot less than frozen pizza and frosted flakes.
Point being that governmental solutions tend to inherently be incomplete. Therefore, we ought to set the bar for Biblical mandate very high as it pertains to policy.



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Lindsey P.

posted June 28, 2007 at 7:05 pm


Jim,
Wow, reading the comments I get the feeling that most of the people who post on your blog are either from the religious right or are secular, so don’t let it get to you! Anyway, I was at the forum and very excited about the whole thing. However, I was disappointed that CNN essentially co-opted it. How about Sojourners take back control on this issue and ask each candidate from each party to submit answers to your five excellent questions?



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