God's Politics

God's Politics


Joel Hunter: What the Candidates Forum Could Have Been

posted by gp_intern

OK. I’ve got to admit it – being a part of the panel to ask candidates for the presidency of the United States about their faith and moral values was just plain surreal. Kudos to Jim Wallis (and Jack Pannell and the rest of the Sojourners organization) for creating this historic event!
As I reflected on what it was and what it could have been, I came up with just a couple of missing elements:
First, I would have loved to have asked the candidates about how they arrive at a moral decision. Issues will come and go, stances will sometimes change, and circumstances will affect how a value is put into practice. But the one thing that seldom changes is the process of how we determine right from wrong. Are there certain points of reference, like the Bible, or the teachings of somebody, or a past mentor that the candidate thinks about? Are there particular people that a candidate consults before he or she determines what is morally right in a case? How much is prayer involved, and what do they look for in an answer?
As a voter, I want to know who a person is, at least as well as I can. I can read their positions on issues and their goals for when they get in office. What I yearn to know, though, is who they are as people and how they think. If that thinking process is not well established, chances are they will be tossed about by every lobbyist and changing circumstance.
Second, I would have liked a three or four minute time limit on answers. The more questions we could have asked the more angles from which we could have looked into the candidate. The different angles produce a more accurate picture (it’s the difference between an x-ray and an MRI).
But what a great event it was! And what an honor to be a part of it!
Rev. Joel C. Hunter is the senior pastor of Northland church in Longwood, Florida.



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moderatelad

posted June 11, 2007 at 11:30 am


SO – in the last election the liberals and the media blasted Bush for his being vocal about his faith and now it is in vogue for liberals to publically talk about their faith? My how things change on a dime these days.
There is a part of me that hopes we can have the same forum for the Rep. Canidates that you just had for the Dem. If I were a betting person – I would but my money on the idea that the questions would be worded differently for the Rep as compared to the fluffy ones that were asked to the Dems. So I don’t think that it will happen. Remember – according to the book title Reps. are ‘wrong’ and the ‘Dems’ just don’t get it. I believe that Wallis focuses on the Dems as not ‘getting’ it is better than being ‘wrong’.
Be blessed!
.



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Eric

posted June 11, 2007 at 11:34 am


Joel- I agree, I wished someone had asked the candidates what first principles they would fall back on when making decisions. This is much more important to me than a specific policy proposal on health care or some other topic.
Moderatelad- I actually don’t think a forum of this sort of the major Republican candidates would be that interesting. I don’t get the impression that any of them have a particularly strong religious faith.



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Anonymous

posted June 11, 2007 at 11:50 am


Posted by: Eric | June 11, 2007 11:34 AM
You don’t think that Romney has a strong faith? I think that he has a deeper commitment to his faith than Clinton. (either one) He has never had a personal scandle. Please – you have to have a better reason than that and if you thought that this ‘interview’ of the 3 Dems was interesting – I think you have a low threshold of excitment. I could have written the answers for almost all the questions. About as exciting as watching wallpaper dry.
Blessings -
.



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Eric

posted June 11, 2007 at 12:49 pm


To the guy with no name – I actually didn’t find the Dem discussion on faith that interesting. I don’t think I ever said I did. It actually was pretty anti-climactic.
And, no I don’t get the impression (key phrase) that Romney has a strong regilgious faith. Maybe I’m wrong.



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canucklehead

posted June 11, 2007 at 12:56 pm


America once said they’d been through the desert on a horse with no name.



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Bruce

posted June 11, 2007 at 3:25 pm


I agree with both of Rev. Hunter’s suggestions. I would have liked to have had each of the candidates answer the question that was given to Obama with just 1 minute left, ie What was his take on the wide varience between CEO compensation and the income of the average worker? I realize that poverty is Sojourner’s main theme, but the corollary issue of economic justice is so avoided by both the candidates and the media. I thought the CEO compensation question was the most important of the forum and Obama’s answer was weak. Of course, it got no play by the media pundits, after the event. Christ was willing to confront the abuse of power in his time. We should be doing the same thing, today.



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Anonymous

posted June 11, 2007 at 3:55 pm


Well … since it was the Reps., who in the last election vehemently accused the democrats and those who vote for them of being “godless and irreligious …”
Of course, damned if you are and damned if you aren’t …



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Sterling

posted June 11, 2007 at 7:01 pm


I liked the forum, but I thought that Soledad’s questions were the unnecessary ones. She was going for sensationalism rather then really asking questions that would help the candidates react the way that Rev. Hunter hoped that they would. I usually like her, but I thought she was not the best host for this type of forum. Also, I do think they should have limited the candidates’ answers. I like Barack Obama,but he used too much time on only one question.



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Hali

posted June 11, 2007 at 7:13 pm


“moderatelad” wrote
“Remember – according to the book title Reps. are ‘wrong’ and the ‘Dems’ just don’t get it. I believe that Wallis focuses on the Dems as not ‘getting’ it is better than being ‘wrong’.”
According to the book title, the RIGHT is wrong (a bit of a play on words, too) and the LEFT doesn’t get it. (And God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.) “Right” and “Left” are not synonymous with “Republican” and “Democrat.” If you read the book, you will understand why the title is worded that way. I know it’s a bit vague, but there are limits to the length of a title :)
By the way, Sojourners is planning a forum with the Republican candidates in September. I would very much like to see all the candidates together in this kind of forum – and I am also interested in what kinds of questions will be asked.
Peace,
Hali



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Stephen

posted June 11, 2007 at 9:18 pm


While Obama likes to talk alot, it appeared that he did seem to leave a formula for his personal moral decision making… He quoted Lincoln, M.L.King Jr. and he alluded to the fact that he listens to prominent religious leaders.
Also, I do think that Edwards was asked about prayer, though he admittedly didn’t talk about how it influences his political decisions…



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David R

posted June 12, 2007 at 2:32 am


I like what you said about asking the ‘whys’ of decisions. I dont really want a politican to make moral choices (which many, if not most of our laws are fundamentally so) based on how it will poll or how it might hurt them in a future election. i want them to do it from the heart.
People of faith are really not stupid The people I know are thoughtful, articulate and deep thinkers. Just because a politician uses ‘buzz words’ like “lord and savior’ and “walked the isle” and “prayer warriors” doesnt necessarily mean me and my friends will take that leap.
We’ll be watching and waiting.
Check out this great blog post that talks about faith and Politics
http://redletterbelievers.blogspot.com/2007/06/politicians-and-faith.html



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Donny

posted June 12, 2007 at 9:17 am


Is it just me, or does the Religious Left get privileges that the Religious Right is denied and sued for?
I mean, I find it interesting that The Left has its anti-Jerry Falwell in Jim Wallis, but I find it creepy and a bit evil that the Religious left is so accepted by the Godless secular media.
The monolugue of the Religious Right is over, replaced by the voice of the Secular Left being spoken through the Religious Left. “By their fruits . . .”
Creepy.
When will the Secular/Religious Left get around to presenting a mark on our forehead or hand for “security and identification” purposes?
Let’s just cut to the chase shall we?
We all know that tolerance and diversity Leftist-style only leads to one homogenized place.



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curiouser and curiouser

posted June 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm


Joel,
You said: “being a part of the panel to ask candidates for the presidency of the United States about their faith and moral values was just plain surreal.”
As well it should be, since the Constitution (used to) ‘guarantee’ that there shall be NO religious test to hold public office.
Why Sojourners, CNN, et al, INSIST on probing for faith beliefs surely befouls the Constitution.
Stop it, please.



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Moderatelad

posted June 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm


Posted by: Hali | June 11, 2007 7:13 PM
I know that it is in Sept. But will it be revelant at that time and will the questions be a cute and fluffy as they were for the Dems? Will the people be attending be respectful? Why did they not have the top two or three from each party for the first time. Getting out of the gate first gives that person(s) the advantage.
Play on words – ‘left and right’. Sorry – I am reading the book now – have to take it in small doses. There is a definate slant to Wallis’ writings and he is more a friend and supporter of the Dems (left) than he is with the Reps (right).
In reading Wallis one has to disect the sentences like you had to with Pres Clinton’s speaches so that you know what he is saying or communicating. Most of what I read so far is carefully worded so that you can come back and redefine it at a later date if needed. Very Clintonian.
Have a blessed day
.



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curiouser and curiouser

posted June 12, 2007 at 1:59 pm


“Is it just me, or does the Religious Left get privileges that the Religious Right is denied and sued for?”
It’s just you Donny.



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kevin s.

posted June 12, 2007 at 3:26 pm


“As well it should be, since the Constitution (used to) ‘guarantee’ that there shall be NO religious test to hold public office.”
Which means that anyone of any religion may run, not that we are required to vote for them.



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steve

posted June 12, 2007 at 3:58 pm


Moderatelad, I don’t think Bush and R’s got blasted for their faith. I think some Christians were beginning to think: wait a minute now, actions are better than words in this whole faith talk. So much of their action has been counter to the “Red Letters”in the Bible. So, some became upset when they witnessed how the Republicans used the churches and marketing to insinuate God was their campaign manager. Using faith for partisan and personal gain seemed blasphemous to many. They put conditions on it that if you didn’t agree 100% with their opinion on things, you were considered against God. Very authoritarian.



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Kevin Wayne

posted June 12, 2007 at 4:12 pm


Re: comparisons between Fallwell & Wallis-
The day Jim Wallis puts out a video full of a pack of lies & deception like Fallwell’s “Clinton Chrnoicles” video, that’s the day I’ll accpet that there’s a moral equality between the two. Until then, if the media is kinder to Jim, then that’s a good thing.



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Kevin Wayne

posted June 12, 2007 at 4:15 pm


Sorry for the sloppy spelling.



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neuro_nurse

posted June 12, 2007 at 7:06 pm


“The different angles produce a more accurate picture (it’s the difference between an x-ray and an MRI).”
That really depends on what you are looking for.
“When will the Secular/Religious Left get around to presenting a mark on our forehead or hand for “security and identification” purposes?”
Donny, seriously, there are drugs that will take care of that.
Peace!



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curiouser and curiouser

posted June 13, 2007 at 11:24 am


kevin s,
“Which means that anyone of any religion may run”
Or NONE!
The point is that the forum forced candidates to profess their faith, which the Constitution said they shouldn’t have to – “there shall be NO religious test”.
You’re still free to vote for your favourite preacher, kevin.



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moderatelad

posted June 13, 2007 at 11:29 am


Posted by: Kevin Wayne | June 12, 2007 4:12 PM
Clinton Chrnoicles was a video that was produced by an independant group and Fawell just offered it to the public. I am looking at the message that they both have for all of us and both are devisive in the content.
Sloppy Spelling – I am the worlds worst speller – God has given me the gift of inturpertation.
Posted by: steve | June 12, 2007 3:58 PM
Sorry – I don’t recall anyone claiming that the Almighty was their campain manager…whatever.
Many of us were forced to align ourselves with the conservatives back in the 70′s and 80′s as there was no acceptance of our views in the liberal camp. In the 76 election I campained for a Rep. Attr. General and a Dem State leg. in my state. When I told my Rep friends what I was doing I took a lot of fun ‘ribbing’ but we still worked together. When I told my Dem ‘friends’ what I was doing – I was grilled, outed at meetings as one who had dealings with the ‘other’ side, and finally removed from the schedule. Diversity – I think not. Maybe my reading of the RED and BLACK letters gives me a fuller understanding on some issues as to what the Almighty is communicating to His children. Maybe the convictions that I have from my bible/faith – parents – teachers – friends and extended family align more with one party than the other.
Liberals for the most part are inturn with the needs of the community and want to assist them by having the gov’t do the work and raising taxes to make that happen. Commendable – but about 29 to 33 cents of every dollor raised through taxes gets to the person that needs it. But having a true ‘not-for-profit’ raise funds and assist that same person in an are that they have focused on for their ministry – somewhere around 65 to 95 cents just to the people that need it. Can you imagine the work and assistance that could be done with ‘Faith Based’ money? We can administrate the program already, we are doing the work in our communities. All the money that we would get through the ‘Fath Based’ program from the gov’t would go 100% to the people that need it. NO – we don’t require that they pray the sinners prayer prior to them getting the assistance that they need. It is the cup of cold water idea.
Have a great day -
.



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Anonymous

posted June 13, 2007 at 12:01 pm


“The point is that the forum forced candidates to profess their faith, which the Constitution said they shouldn’t have to – “there shall be NO religious test”.”
The forum forced them to do no such thing. They were not even required to attend. Candidates are invited to share their faith, and organizations are allowed to provide a stage from which they may share their faith, without impinging on the Constitution.



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Kevin Wayne

posted June 13, 2007 at 6:55 pm


Moderatelad: Fallwell was a lot closer connected to the Clinton Chronicles than you think:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Falwell#The_Clinton_Chronicles
In 1994, Falwell promoted and distributed the straight-to-video pseudo-documentary The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton. The video connected Clinton to a theoretical conspiracy involving Vincent Foster, James McDougall, Ron Brown, and an alleged cocaine-smuggling operation. Despite the theory having been discredited by all major investigations, the video’s sophisticated production techniques served as effective exposure, and sold over 150,000 copies.[20]
Funding for the film was provided by the Citizens for Honest Government, to which Jerry Falwell paid $200,000 in 1994 and 1995. In 1995 Citizens for Honest Government paid two Arkansas state troopers to make allegations supporting the conspiracy about Vincent Foster. These two troopers were Roger Perry and Larry Patterson, who also were paid for their allegations in the Paula Jones (See: Troopergate) claims. In March 2005, trooper Patterson was convicted of lying to the FBI about an unrelated incident.
Falwell’s infomercial for the 80-minute tape included footage of Falwell interviewing a silhouetted fake journalist who claimed to be afraid for his life. The “journalist” accused Clinton of orchestrating the deaths of several reporters and personal confidants who had gotten too close to his illegalities. However, it was subsequently revealed that the silhouetted journalist was, in fact, Patrick Matrisciana, the producer of the video and president of Citizens for Honest Government. “Obviously, I’m not an investigative reporter,” Matrisciana admitted [to investigative journalist Murray Waas], “and I doubt our lives were actually ever in any real danger. That was Jerry’s idea to do that … He thought that would be dramatic.”
In an interview for the 2005 documentary The Hunting of the President, Falwell admitted, “to this day I do not know the accuracy of the claims made in The Clinton Chronicles.”



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curiouser and curiouser

posted June 13, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Der no name,
“Candidates are invited to share their faith, and organizations are allowed to provide a stage from which they may share their faith”
My point was (and is) WHY is anyone, er, “invited to share their faith” in the first place if there is to be no religious test? Why is the media (and America) determining the world’s politics based on whether or not someone is ‘religious’? Shouldn’t it be based on their policies? Their dipolmatic abilities?
CNN imposed a ‘religious test’ on thes candidates, along with Sojo. It is a perversin of the Constitution’s intent.



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kevin s.

posted June 13, 2007 at 11:22 pm


You are pulling constitutional intent out of thin air. The Constitution guides our laws. It does not speak to how we may exercise our freedoms. There is absolutely no Constitutional problem with an organization offering time for candidates to discuss their faith. It violates neither the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution.



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moderatelad

posted June 14, 2007 at 9:21 am


Posted by: Kevin Wayne | June 13, 2007 6:55 PM
you’re using ‘wikipedia’ as a source? It has been discredited by major news shows from all the networks because of it flaws.
Yes – Fawell did promote it and even I questioned if he should’ve, but it is still a free country and we still have freedom of speech – for now.
Does it not concern you that three men you note died during the Clinton Adm. and their deaths were shall we say – unique. Had everything the Clinton(s) beeen accused of been said of a conservative Pres. (true or false notwithstanding) A. Baldwin would have lead the crowd to the White House to stone everyone.
As much as you and others have gone to great lengths to attack and discredit those you brought charges against the Clintons. You have attacked those that have those that have done the same as you only for the current adm. My mother always told me that where there is smoke – there is fire. One person (lets say Paula Jones) coming out and attacking someone – looks and could be vindictive. 4+ coming out with their stories about being abused by the same person – sorry – there is something there. But you have an excuse for everyone one the those %^&* women. So did Pat and the NOW gang.
You may say that Bush was wrong with Iraq – that he made poor decisions, whatever. You have that right.
Bill made good decisions and he made some poor ones too. But the Clintons are some of the most morally bankrupt people that have been in the leadership of the country. Was his adm. a disaster – no, Carter is the one that took us into double diget inflation and interest loans, that is more of a disaster in my book.
Have a great day
.



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curiouser and curiouser

posted June 14, 2007 at 11:05 am


kevin s.,
“There is absolutely no Constitutional problem with an organization offering time for candidates to discuss their faith. It violates neither the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution.”
I beg to differ. It requires presidential candidates to publicly declare their faith beliefs, thus it imposes a religious test on the candidates.
Why should they be subjected to this at all if there truly is to be no religious test???



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moderatelad

posted June 14, 2007 at 2:17 pm


Posted by: Kevin Wayne | June 13, 2007 6:55 PM
I found a quote from wikipedia that I could believe is true…
“In an interview for the 2005 documentary The Hunting of the President, Falwell admitted, “to this day I do not know the accuracy of the claims made in The Clinton Chronicles.”[citation needed]“
But I bet it would be easier to prove the truthfulness of The Clinton Chronicles than it would be for M. Moores “Fernheit 911 or Sicko” as there are legal documents for Clinton.
Have a great day -
.



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steve

posted June 14, 2007 at 2:50 pm


Moderatelad, in the last election when did John Kerry (the more liberal of the two) say he wanted to raise everyone’s taxes? He didn’t. I know the right wing talk show hosts like to claim all liberals want to raise taxes and make government bigger but much of that is crook and liars talk. We all honestly know how much government has vastly increased in size and red ink since the Repubs were in charge of about everything since 1994. They even had far more Governors than Dems.
You may have what is called displaced anger toward Dems. who were not in charge of anything federal.



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Moderatelad

posted June 14, 2007 at 3:19 pm


Posted by: steve | June 14, 2007 2:50 PM
So – when was it that a Dem. was elected to the White House that the taxes did not go up? Historically – it happends so just because Kerry kept his mouth shut doesn’t mean that he would have followed suit like the people before him had.
Yes – gov’t has grown under Bush – not because he wanted to grow gov’t – I believe that 911 had something to do with that. BUT – he has not had to raise taxes to support it. The cuts he made prior to 911 have allowed more money to come into the gov’t because more people are working and that means more taxes paid by all.
You may have what is called displaced anger toward Dems. who were not in charge of anything federal.
I am not an angry person. Rosie “O” is an angry person. (I believe that she is a nut – but that is just my opinion) Dems were in charge for most of my life so I hold them more accountable for where we are today.
Personally – I wish 911 had never happened. I wish we were not at war with the radicals of Islam. I wish we could have stopped them from flying planes into our buildings and killing thousands either by insinerating them or from them jumping to their death for fear of burning to death. I wish that Sandy Burger had not put classified documents into his BVD’s so that we will never know what might have been known prior to the Bush Adm. what others thought or knew about radical Islamic groups. Lot’s of unfulfilled wishes.
Have a great day -
.



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Wesley

posted June 14, 2007 at 4:16 pm


Missing elements included quite a few of the candidates, some of whom I suspect come much closer to matching my own moral sensibilities that the three that were invited.



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Jen R

posted June 15, 2007 at 1:05 am


Maybe if Republican presidents would quit getting us into staggering debt, Democrats wouldn’t have to raise taxes to pay for their excesses. :)



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Mike

posted June 15, 2007 at 3:39 pm


It’s too bad that almost all of the candidates have identical views on all the real issues… While some will point fingers about “the War”, none will speak out boldly against war; some will argue for more specific immigration laws, but none will fight for real tangible equality; some will preach “real compassion” but all are among the wealthiest 5% in the richest country in history; some will say that they have “important agendas” to accomplish, but all lust for power.
I long for the day when we all wake up and realize that we have the only important power in the world: the power to decide what we won’t buy today, who we will love, and how we will show that love.
“Another world is not only possible, she’s on her way. On a quiet day, if I listen very carefully, I can hear her breathing.” Arundhati Roy
What/who are you listening for?



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Bill Samuel

posted June 17, 2007 at 8:23 pm


Those would be more softball questions. Problems with the forum are far more basic. It only included establishment consistent death ethic candidates supported by monied interests and personally very wealthy. Sojourners absolutely refused to include any candidates who might challenge establishment views.
Why is an ostensibly Christian social justice organization providing this opportunity for establishment candidates to make themselves look good without having to put any substance on it? Why isn’t Sojourners preaching prophetically to the political establishment instead of kissing up to them and praising them for saying nice platitudes about religion?



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Chareeloyanna

posted May 30, 2008 at 9:53 pm


Hi!
Without taking into account the issue of establishing a stone by God, which he won’t be able to pick up, how do you think, may be something in this world, what can God never see?



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UnknownPriestKiller

posted June 13, 2008 at 9:06 pm


It seems to me that a lot of people with visible work put a lot of thought into it before hand.
Recently I discovered a rant on quite a respected figure in the tattoo community’s Myspace. I say rant, it was more like pure venomous hatred.
It would seem that some find young people with visible ink, impatient and disrespectful, and they must all just think it’s cool to have visible work.
I’m 23, My first tattoo was on my shoulder, then my wrists, then I got a full sleeve. Then I moved to my hands, then neck and I also have a large part of my leg tattooed.
It took me about two years to get the opportunity to get my hand tattooed by my idol, and then my neck by an artist I greatly admire, a lot of time, effort and thought was put into both of these.
Even though I’m somewhat older and do have a fair bit of coverage, I might still be classed as young and “under-tattooed” to have such visible work, and I can’t help but think that’s kinda crazy!
Sure I’ve seen some 18 year olds with kanji on their necks or poorly executed skulls on their hands, and you can almost tell they rushed into it, wanting everyone to see their new work as clearly as possible, and fine that to me is impatient and maybe even attention seeking.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that not everyone who has visible work is disrespectful to the art, some people invest a great deal of time, money and effort into getting that particular location inked with the highest standard work possible.
It’s kinda funny to find prejudice within a community that tries so hard to divert it away from itself.
Thoughts?



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herpescurer

posted September 13, 2008 at 10:59 pm


Hi! Tell me, where did you get this cms? Mail me if you canThanks



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jelena-nanana

posted September 19, 2008 at 8:21 pm


Hello to all,just joined the forum and to not be ghost user with no posts will post some USELESS joke :)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Smoking in the Rain”
Two old ladies were waiting for a bus and one of them was smoking a cigarette. It started to rain, so the old lady reached into her purse, took out a condom, cut off the tip and slipped it over her cigarette and continued to smoke.
Her friend saw this and said, “Hey that’s a good idea! But, what is that thing you put over your cigarette?”
The other old lady said, “It’s a condom.”
“A condom? Where do you get those?”
The lady with the cigarette told her friend that you could purchase condoms at the pharmacy. When the two old ladies arrived downtown, the old lady with all the questions went into the pharmacy and asked the pharmacist if he sold condoms. The pharmacist said yes, but looked a little surprised that this old woman was interested in condoms, so he asked her, “What size do you want?”
The old lady thought for a minute and said, “One that will fit a Camel.”
poor,poor Camel :) :)



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Mirtesky

posted May 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm

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posted September 21, 2011 at 10:09 am


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plolfepeffill

posted September 22, 2011 at 10:15 pm


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