God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: American Ideals

posted by God's Politics

I spent the week of the Fourth of July speaking about religion and public life at the Aspen Ideas Festival. On Independence Day, there was a panel called “What Does America Stand for Today?” Various panelists extolled the American virtues of liberty, equality, justice, and equal opportunity. Another praised the fact that we are a nation of immigrants and have been an “open society” (despite the recent defeat of immigration reform). An evening panel, which included Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, discussed how important it is to be a nation that accepts the rule of law and that has a Constitution designed to always expand democracy and extend inclusion.
But when one panelist in the first discussion said that the question of “what America stands for” looks very different from inside the United States than from outside, you could see and feel people starting to bristle. From outside our borders in the rest of the world, he suggested, they don’t speak of U.S. liberty and justice but rather of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Another pointed out that American inequality is now greater than any time since the Gilded Age, and everybody talked about the horrible mistake of Iraq. When the suggestion was made that perhaps pride in our ideals sometimes leads us to the sin of hubris, to preaching more than listening, and ultimately to multilateral action in the world that proves disastrous, things got tense. And when he suggested more American humility—well, let’s just say we had some early Fourth of July fireworks right there on the stage.
But that reaction misses the point about American ideals. Many have pointed out how some of the most famous framers of the Constitution itself failed to live up to its ideals. And American history has been nothing less that the steady battle of a country trying to live up to its ideals. When it comes to their practice, we have certainly fallen short of the truths that we hold to be “self-evident.” I thought of the genius of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who held a Bible in one hand and a Constitution in the other as he called the American people to the values of both. Because we have said that these ideals about human rights are rooted in the belief that men and women are made in the image of God, an appeal to both our religious and constitutional convictions has often been the best road to social change. Most of the great social reform movements of our history have had those ideals at their heart and have been fueled and driven in part by faith and the need for spiritual transformation to undergird social transformation.
Then I read Michael Gerson’s op-ed piece in The Washington Post, which said much of what I was also feeling on this July Fourth. Mike and I disagree on some things, like the war in Iraq, but he makes some powerful points here about our history and our faith, and I thought I would pass them along to you. During your days of holiday rest and recreation, do think about our ideals and what each of us might do to more deeply put them into practice.



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Payshun

posted July 5, 2007 at 3:17 pm


I wish I could share some of the love the author speaks of. He’s right some of us love America for it’s ideals. I do. But at the same time I just can’t focus on the ideals when the death of millions stands as a reminder of what our independence cost us.
p



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moderatelad

posted July 5, 2007 at 3:25 pm


From outside our borders in the rest of the world, he suggested, they don’t speak of U.S. liberty and justice but rather of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
OK – so we are listening to peoples accessment of the US and ‘believing’ that what they had to say was ‘gospel’?
OK Nancy and Harry -
Let’s bring the troops home. Bring them all home – everyone from every country. If for all that the US has done for the world over the past decade is really errased (which I personally doubt) because of our involvement in the mideast. Let us leave the world to the ravages of the Radical Islamists of the world. If our assistance with natural disasters, title waves and earthquarkes mean nothing in light of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib – come home. If the millions of foreign aid that we give directly to various countries – not through the UN has been forgotten because of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib – come home. If our coming to assistance to several countries durring WWI and WWII is out-weighted by Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib – let us leave them to their own demise and come home and live here peacefully.
I do not believe that all that the US does all around the world with Gov’t agencies and non-gov’t agencies has been wiped out with Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Oh – as for Gitmo – let’s just open the fence and give the detaineese to Fidel baby. After all we took the dregs of his prisons into the US during the Carter years.
Thanks Sojo/Wallis for showing your assessment of the US -
Later.
.



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Eric

posted July 5, 2007 at 3:46 pm


I agree with Jim, good commentary. This is a point that can’t be made often enough because it doesn’t seem to stick. There are people on one side who feel that America is evil and has nothing redeeming associated with it. Others seem to think America is always right and just and any criticism is unpatriotic.
Both of these types of people are ridiculous. America, like an other nation of human beings, is imperfect. However, there is much that is positively exceptional about America. This isn’t an either or situation. We should continue to strive to meet our ideals.



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moderatelad

posted July 5, 2007 at 3:55 pm


Posted by: Eric | July 5, 2007 3:46 PM
You are corrent – we are imperfect, we should strive to meet our ideals. But that is not what I read in this article. Because of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib – what we did in the past is errased – does not exsist in the minds of others in the world. They judge and value us in light of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. SO – let come home – bring them ALL home. If their accessment is based on Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, then so be it. Let them deal with the radical Islamists of the world because they are going to attack whenever and wherever they desire to cause mayhem. We did not behead any of the detaineese at either place – but if that is how the view US, get home. Sojo seems to believe that the UN is more moral than the US – then let the UN do it.
Be blessed -
.



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Payshun

posted July 5, 2007 at 4:25 pm


moderatelad,
i am so not understanding this. The US opened the war. There are people the world around that don’t like the attrocities that have come from it. Yet somehow the UN should be responsible for cleaning up our mess? I am confused. Not only that but no one said (not on this site) that the UN is more moral.
What are we really going to do about the very real and balanced criticisms citizens of the world have? That’s my real question.
p



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Mark P

posted July 5, 2007 at 4:44 pm


I love the ideals our country was founded upon and could be joyfully lost in studying the pphilisophical and legal origins of our country and the strong personalities behind them. Yet i cringe and cry to the point of frustration as i learn more and more of our past and present violations of those ideals. Torture at Abu Ghraib and imprisonment without any due process are only the most recent violation of our oldest principles. an outside perspective would have little trouble recalling regime change initiated by America that has secured the throne for dictators of the worst kind, nullifying democratically elected governments in the process and sharply curtailing freedom and liberty and the right to life (Guatemala, Iran, Chile, are a few notable cases). I will continue to learn and face these violations because i also find a cynical hope in Winston Churchill’s assessment of Americans: “Americans will always do the right thing, once they have exhausted all other possibilities.”
I would also take a moment from this forth of july holiday to remember one of the authors of the document we celebrate today. Thomas Jefferson’s original draft decried King George for introducing the barbarity of slavery to the colonies. Yet all through his live he couldn’t/refused to free his own slaves because they were his largest source of financial security. Our country has followed his example. we rightly extol our ideals, but when push comes to shove, expecially in financial matters, we are afraid to live out our ideals. if we are afraid to live out our ideals the least we can do is not be afraid to recognize those moments of failure when they occur. How otherwise can we learn to be better Americans?



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Mike Hayes

posted July 5, 2007 at 6:08 pm


Jim Wallis,
I agree.
Also, I think there is an old saying about individuals that works well in this circumstance as a saying about ourselves as a nation: “If only we could see ourselves as others see us”.



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eljay

posted July 5, 2007 at 6:18 pm


As a newcomer to this site and an outsider (i,e, not from USA)I read Jim Wallis’ ‘American Ideals’ and the comments to follow. For me it was good to read comments from people who disagree with each other but find it sad that we cannot climb inside each others’ viewpoint and wrestle with each other to discover the truth beneath our opinions.
I am reading a book that talks about the stories we live by. It seems to me that if we were more aware of the stories that undergird our opions we might find a way of wrestling with each other and finding a way of co-contributing to the picture that by definition must include us all.
Some of our stories have meaning and truth at the centre, some have beauty and order, some have liberation and inclusion…(I imagine there a heaps more)
Recognising what we, and others, are defending because it is at the centre of our stories could help us realise why our opinions differ. More importantly it may help us but recognising that others are defending a quality we also cannot do without.
The answer is bigger than all of us but we need to contribute openly and honestly knowing that our contribution while vital but not the only one we all need.



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artdude

posted July 5, 2007 at 6:22 pm


On the fourth of July I took time to reflect about what the USA means. I have always believed that the uniqueness of this country is really about the people, the land, and the Constitution, regardless of who is currently in power. I believe new citizens and many federal offices take an oath to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic (I may stand corrected). It occurred to me that I defend the Constitution almost daily. No, I don’t pick up a gun. But as a public school teacher and citizen, I defend others’ right to free speech, especially that which I don’t like. I wage war against those who claim that “God, Prayer, and the Bible are completely banned from the public schools.” Of course, that is not true, and clarify that as I defend the First Amendment that “Congress shall not make any law respecting the establishment of relgion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” I defend the Constitution by writing letters to the editor, protesting the US Patriot Act or FBI actions which have gutted the Fourth Amendment protection from illegal searches and siezures. No, it’s not the same America we once knew. But the people who most want to tear apart our Constitution and take away my freedoms do not speak Arabic or live on the other side of the world. They live next door to me, work in my community, work in my town, represent me in Congress, and live in the White House. Education about the Constitution is absolutely mandatory to maintaining freedoms. So, join me in defending the Constitution today and every day.



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Pat Blair

posted July 5, 2007 at 6:24 pm


We Americans have not been able to fix our own problems, isn’t it arrogant to think that we can fix others? From what I read, America is the problem. Corporations “run our” politicans up to the top for their profit. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American military, making hugh salaries and profits, while the deaths rise and American’s continue the illusion of “Democracy and Freedom”. On the 4th of July I performed my Patriotic Duty at our local park handing out Impeach Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity and violating the American Constitution.



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squeaky

posted July 5, 2007 at 6:32 pm


Moderatelad,
Your argument is similar to the argument an abused woman makes about her abuser to justify staying with him: “Sure, he hits me every once in a while, but he has a really good heart and he always apologizes and brings me flowers, and I know he really loves me.” If you knew the abuser, thought he was a great guy, and later learned he beat his wife every couple of months, would you still think he was a great guy?
I agree the U.S. has done many great things for this world. But I’m not satisfied with all those great things, nor should you be. Your heart should bleed over Abu Graib and Gitmo. Just because we do some things right, and we certainly do, does not mean that we should turn a blind eye to the things we don’t do right. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ALWAYS be working for a higher standard. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold those who perpetrated such atrocities responsible. Never, ever, ever, should we just say, “well, the U.S. has made mistakes, but it’s OK because we have done so many other really great things in the world.” Never, ever, ever, should the bad things we do be justified by the great things we do. I love my country, and I am proud of the good we have done, but I am still ashamed, saddened and embarassed by our mistakes, and I will give no one a free pass just because of all the great things we have done. Nor should you or anyone else. It is a sad day when we stop holding our nation to the highest standard possible (that would be, the standard of Christ).
I also don’t think Wallis was arguing that the U.S. was not a great country. What he was doing was pointing out areas we have failed. It is never unpatriotic to question our government’s activities. I want our country to be great, and as long as things like this occur, how can we truly be great?



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bewildered

posted July 5, 2007 at 7:19 pm


Kinda saddened reading the entries on this blog. I was expecting to see things from a unique Christian perspective. Instead, this is the playbook for the Democratic Party. Christ has to be ashamed to see this sort of hypocrisy in his name.



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Anonymous

posted July 5, 2007 at 7:37 pm


“But the people who most want to tear apart our Constitution and take away my freedoms do not speak Arabic or live on the other side of the world. They live next door to me, work in my community, work in my town, represent me in Congress, and live in the White House”
Oh, I guarantee you that the people who are committing acts of terror would tear the Constitution to shreds in a heartbeat.
“We Americans have not been able to fix our own problems, isn’t it arrogant to think that we can fix others?”
We fix problems every day. It might be arrogant to think we can do the same for others.
“From what I read, America is the problem.”
The problem with what?
“Corporations “run our” politicans up to the top for their profit. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American military, making hugh salaries and profits, while the deaths rise and American’s continue the illusion of “Democracy and Freedom”.”
Our democracy is not an illusion. George W. Bush will be gone in 18 months. Democracy in action. You are also free to criticize him as much as you like.
“On the 4th of July I performed my Patriotic Duty at our local park handing out Impeach Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity and violating the American Constitution.”
I would actually think this action would be deleterious to your cause. People don’t want impeachment proceedings.



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Chris

posted July 5, 2007 at 7:55 pm


“Good is the enemy of great,” is a quote that comes to mind when thinking about our wonderful ideals and our rather spotty ability to live up to them. Why should we feel satisfied with the good we’ve done when there is so much in this country and the world that begs for the attention of all people of good conscience.
I am very concerned about the confluence of wealth and power in our country – so many entities profit when we go to war. Who, in good conscience, can deny that many large corporations (Haliburton,etc) profit handsomely when we develop another base overseas or project our power militarily? And anyone interested in learning more about certain types of “aid” from the US and World Bank/IMF need only read John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man or The Secret History of the American Empire) to become wary of the intentions of some who claim to act on our behalf for the sake of “development”… We should expect more because this nation is capable of so much more! We truly have a unique platform, given our possible ideals and strength, to do an amazing amount of good for human beings all around the globe, if only we educate ourselves and demand that our government (Republicans or Democrats) live up to our lofty ideals.



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Stuart Reiswig

posted July 5, 2007 at 8:07 pm


Interesting comments Jim–not because I think they are substantively controversial, but because raising these issues actually creates so much controversy.
Once again absent from these comments–as usual–is the injustices committed towards the Natives who lived in this land before it became America on behalf of the United States government. Not only should we be asking about how other countries view the American ideals, we should also ask those whose ancestors lived in this land before it was America yet were also largely excluded in practice (and often still are) from the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
I live in South Dakota, just a few miles down the road from the six poorest counties in the United States–all on reservations. Certainly, we have made some strides–although nowhere near enough–with including people of other minorities under the American ideals that claim every person is created in the image of god. Little progress seems to have been made in our viewpoints toward tribal nations and on behalf of including natives under the American ideals of equality, liberty and freedom. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” Although this elephant of injustice may have arguably lost or gained a little weight over the years with our increasing recognition of minority rights, it is certainly still standing on the tail of the Native American mouse.
Stuart Reiswig



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cmicah6:8

posted July 5, 2007 at 8:08 pm


“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.”
Sinclair Lewis
Bewildered,
I’m new to this board but hopefully I may stimulate some thought by asking you some questions.
What is the unique Christian perspective on the subject of our United States of America? How does Jesus feel about us waging war with a people that did not attack us? How does Jesus feel about us giving corporations the same rights as individual citizens, perhaps more rights?
How does Jesus feel about this City on a Hill, being the largest arms dealer in the world?
What playbook would Jesus use to in formulating an opinion on “American Ideals”? James 1:27 or the Republican Party playbook?
Regards,
M



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 5, 2007 at 10:38 pm


Having a son sceduled to go to Iraq I have to say this Fourth Of July was more important then any others in recent memory . I loved the fellowship of our friends , our discussions , our laughter and we supported each other in prayer . It was a Grand day .
I am not as concerned as my liberal citizens of what other nations think of us . I recall something A Lincoln said concerning the war, he was more more concerned being on the side of God then God being on our side .
I wish we had a another President , I am some what concerned of the political discourse going further in the toilet and how the new Presideent will handle it .
But America has been blessed by some great people , who saw wrong and tried to correct it , sometimes doing so . That is still America , our ideals , and we are still the hope of the Free world .



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Pat Blair

posted July 5, 2007 at 11:22 pm


Mick, I believe that you hit on what we as citizens should primarily be concerned if we believe in God, why are we killing God’s children in other lands? Why are we poisoning God’s planet that he gave us to appreciate and enjoy? Why isn’t our government valuing our children? Why isn’t our government valuing our elderly? Why isn’t our government valuing our workers? Why aren’t we as citizens scrutinizing candidates for public office better? Why aren’t we recalling those Congressmen/Legislators who aren’t serving “we the people”? Impeachment of Bush and Cheney is necessary to restore the Republic. Our founders recognized this truth by providing the means. These two, Bush and Cheney, and their administration have totally tried to destroy our Constitution. our Bill of Rights, and our system of law. Surely you are not so ignorant that you aren’t aware of this fact?



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 5, 2007 at 11:43 pm


Well Pat ,
I think you went a tad over board in regards to impeachment , but I appreciate your passion .



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eljay

posted July 5, 2007 at 11:57 pm


Some words about the unique Christian perspective…
‘Sometimes you know that you have heard the reality of the gospel as you’ve never heard it before. Here was a politician, representing a community that had suffered greatly and inflicted great suffering as well, simply saying ‘We were wrong. We all needed healing and forgiveness. The problem isn’t them but us – all of us or us and them. And it was as if for the first time you could see the bare bones of what reconciliation means.’
Quoted from the Easter Day Sermon (8th April 2007) of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Want to read more? Google Archbishop of Canterbury and go to the link to Speeches, Sermons…Worth a read.



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Trudy Marsischky

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:04 am


It was hard to celebrate this 4th of July, as we seem to have lost our soul. Oh how I long for the truth.
It is true that this is a country of immigrants but how many people will own up to how we stole this country from the many peoples who already lived here? We still refuse to give them the rights they deserve as sovereign nations.
We took their land, broke every treaty, put them on reservations and in typical European style declared that we discovered this land not seeing them as human as God created all of us.
Being half Ojibwe and half Irish I have a different perspective. I look at that fence to keep the American Indians of Mexican decent out with disgust. We lied and continue to lie to take anything we want. How long will it take till we learn to speak the truth and live it? You know it will never work.
Our southern visitors I have met came because they could not feed their families and were looking for a better life the same as all the rest of the immigrants before. Immigration laws need to be fair and the mistakes of the past need to be addressed without constantly demonizing these people.
In reading the history of Ireland and England the callousness of our British friends during the potato famine seems to be the attitude we have taken. Watching millions die from across the bay with no help or heart should have taught us something if history is not to be repeated again.
Callous, selfish responses are not in keeping with
the law of love that Jesus taught.
I also wonder if the non-whites are just not that welcome in this land of the free? Is bigotry behind some of the reaction that we don’t want to admit?



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Kirsten Vaage

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:48 am


One writer said it was sad to read the blog, that she had been hoping for a “unique Christian perspective” but instead she just had the playbook of the Democratic party.
I’m puzzled by the writer, because if she had some sense of what that “unique Christian perspective” is or ought to be, I’d like to hear her articulate it. Like Sojourners has publicized, God is neither a Democrat or Republican. If you happen to think the discussion is more liberal than you think is “Christian” (or are liberals by defacto not Christian?), then chime in and challenge or add to the conversation. Don’t comment on how “liberal” or “Democrat” the conversation is and then abdicate any responsiblity for that conversation. Please.
Now here’s my two-cents worth, liberal or not.
I am proud of the U.S. for its high ideals and for the times over our history where we made the right and the better choice. However, I grieve over the bad choices we have made. It seems to me there are at least as many bad as there are good. To to be angry or dismissive of what many outside U.S. borders think of “us” strikes me as unnecessarily defensive. Isn’t the U.S. as vulnerable to the power, greed, corruption, etc as the rest of the human race? I mean, we’re a country of people after all. And if you buy any of the idea that human beings have original sin and need a savior/redeemer, then, it follows that a little humility and a big ear could go a long way in the governing of our country. We’ll never get it perfect but we might just seek some feedback, and, with reflection, make sound, thoughtful choices, choices with the rest of humankind in mind.
The questions pertaining to Jesus raised earlier are a simple centering strategy for readers who call themselves “Christian” here to adopt. They are also a primary way to frame the discussion on this blog. How does Jesus us call us to respond in the circumstances of this time and this place?
I’m interested in others’ responses.



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David Giesen

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:32 am


Mark P., way at the top caught my attention, as did “bewildered,” who wondered what distinguished this thread’s commentary from any old Democratic mouthpiece.
How about this? The earth as an example of the material universe is a piece of Creation. Creation is a gift to all humanity, not selectively to some. The American ideal of creating those political and economic institutions which facilitate the demonstration of “all men [people] are created equal” cannot be realized so long as the economic value of Creation is privatized, which is, so far as mortal beings is concerned, tantamount to privatizing God. The market rent of Creation is a social revenue. The market reflects the individual interests in Creation/Land, and the socialization of that market land rent is due acknowledgement of humanity’s equal and aggregate/communal interest in Creation/Land.



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Jerseykid

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:34 am


Let’s bring the troops home. Bring them all home – everyone from every country. If for all that the US has done for the world over the past decade is really errased (which I personally doubt) because of our involvement in the mideast. Moderatelad
You sound like a jilted Mother Theresa. Is it so hard for you accept any criticism of the United States? Geez.



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Moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:29 am


Some good ideas/discussion although the ‘woman being beaten’ anology was a little off for me.
Just an observation that I was waiting to see if anyone would pick-up on. Does anyone question just ‘who’ was making this accesssment of the US and where they are from? Is this someone from France or Germany or from Cuba or North Korea. There is a lot that is being discussed that is not in the article and I believe it is not in the article for a good reason.
And yes – in previous articles a number of writers have praised the UN over the US on a number of issues. (these same people I can not remember them praising the US about anything) Excuse me for being the skeptic but the ‘stats’ in this article are lacking.
I will stack up what the US does for releif in the world against any country in the world. I will access what the US has done in defense of the weak around the world over the last century against most countries. We are not perfect and things go badly at times, but if it were not for the US – more people would have died because of tyrants around the world. There is a Nancy Peloci in Iraq and other Mideast countries that would like to make a difference for their family and countries – the problem is that Nancy P. doesn’t give a $%^& for that person and neither do many that support Nancy.
Have a great day -
.



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Moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:40 am


Posted by: Mick Sheldon | July 5, 2007 10:38 PM
I am part of a very small group that each take a day and pray for our men in women in the millitary in combat for their safe return. I will add your son to my list.
Be blessed -
.



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Moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:57 am


Posted by: squeaky | July 5, 2007 6:32 PM
who perpetrated such atrocities responsible
maybe we need to define the ‘who’ you are talking/accusing. We should also define just what ‘atrocities’ have been committed. Yes – a few, very few, got out of control and embarassed a few Islamic men that we had behind bars. They have been punished for it. But I have not seen any ‘proof’ where the allied forces have overstepped what the G. Convention when it comes to what is acceptable in the handling of detainees. They are some that ‘say’ we have, but offer no proof. There are some that believe we should not do anything to prisoners when trying to get information out of them. Fine – but the G. Con. allows this to happen – that they do not agree is their right, but that does not make our millitary wrong.
If your family was being held hostage by a mad person and wasing going to murder them no matter what. All the talking has done nothing to improve the situation and only allowed that person to set things up to their advantage. Now – a sniper on the roof across the street has a clear shot and from their POV it would be as surgical and execution as one could get. You going to tell the Captain in charge that he can not shoot to person to say your family? As for me – I would pull the trigger so that no one but me was responsible for the death of one to save many.
have a great weekend -
.



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Moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 9:06 am


Posted by: Jerseykid | July 6, 2007 3:34 AM
You sound like a jilted Mother Theresa. Is it so hard for you accept any criticism of the United States? Geez.
Sorry – I can accept most criticism – no problem. It is just when the criticism in base on ‘Bush lied…’ not taking into consideration any other logic – no, I don’t take much stock in what they had to say. Most of the people that are in this camp would cain Wm. J. Clinton ‘IF’ he was a Republician. The criticism has about 80% to do with the party affiliation, 15% to do with the person and 5% to do with the facts.
Constructive Criticism is a great tool and builds relationships and confidence. Sadly – you rarely find it here either by the authors or the posters.
Have a great weekend.
.



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Sarasotakid

posted July 6, 2007 at 9:10 am


There is a Nancy Peloci in Iraq and other Mideast countries that would like to make a difference for their family and countries – the problem is that Nancy P. doesn’t give a $%^& for that person and neither do many that support Nancy.Have a great day -Posted by: Moderatelad
Thank you for elevating the discussion. I am now convinced that my beliefs, values and ideas were wrong all along based on this clear, convincing and concise statement. It is like an epiphany, Mod. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Just so that I continue my journey of growth, which militia camp do you suggest I attend? I hear there is one in Michigan!



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Anonymous

posted July 6, 2007 at 10:50 am


Posted by: Sarasotakid | July 6, 2007 9:10 AM
Sarcasim was lost on me.
I do not support militia in any state, but our constitution does give us that right. No doubt you have voted for Conyers over the past years – and you have that right.
It is too bad that the first women Skpr of the Hs will most likely, unless she starts acting like a Spkr, go down as the worst one of the worst we have had in the last century. It is difficult to think that if something (God forbit) would happen to the Pres. or V – Pres. She would take over the Oval Office. Oh well – at least the lincoln Bedroom with be open for rent again.
You have to be a bright women – you can do better. Think a little harder.
Have a great weekend!
.



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Oliver Jones

posted July 6, 2007 at 10:55 am


People are asking about distinctively Christian perspectives on the American ideal, and how the US is perceived around the world. It seems that tempering the “ideal” with some hard-nosed realism and humility about human nature might be a path to a more Christian understanding of the behavior of a powerful government.
Here’s a quote from a 1953 volume by Reinhold Niebuhr.
“To those who exalt freedom we must declare that freedom without community is not love but leads to man making himself his own ends. To those who exalt community we must declare that no historic community deserves the final devotion of man, since his stature is such that only God can be the end of his life.
“Against those who make the state sacrosanct we must insist that the state is always tempted to set its majesty in rebellious opposition to the divine Majesty. To those who fear the extension of the state for the regulation of modern economic life we must point out that their fears are frequently prompted not by a concern for justice but by a jealous desire to maintain their own power.
“A tolerable community under modern conditions cannot easily be maintained; it can be established at all only if much of what has been regarded as absolute is recognized to be relative; and if everywhere men seek to separate the precious from the vile and sharply distinguish between their interests and the demands which God and the neighbor make upon them.
“Perhaps our generation will fail. Perhaps we lack the humility and charity for the task. There are ominous signs of our possible and even probable failure. There is the promise of a new life for men and nations in the gospel; but there is no guarantee of historic success.”



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 6, 2007 at 11:00 am


I think it matters not where criticism comes from — we ought to listen to it and take it to heart because God may be speaking through our critics; Martin Luther King Jr. said similar things. And in fact, he also spoke out against the gross materialism and militarism rampant in that day (which I don’t think were as bad then as they are now).



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carl copas

posted July 6, 2007 at 11:30 am


Oliver Jones, thank you for the quote from Reinhold Niebuhr. What a good and wise man he was!! We could use a prophet such as him in these troubled times.



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JimII

posted July 6, 2007 at 11:42 am


Despite all of the “America has the best ______ in the world” that we hear so often, a recent poll found that 70% of Americans think the Founders would be disapppointed with how the country turned out.
Prophetic Progress: Silliest Poll Yet
Now, I don’t agree with that response, but I wonder what it means to have a public that seems to at the same time feel everything we do is better than what everyone else does AND that the founders would be disappointed in how we turned out.
Weird.



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squeaky

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:24 pm


Moderatelad–you seem to me to be so ingrained in the “America is the greatest country in the world” mentality that you won’t take criticism no matter who it comes from or how much proof there is to back up the criticism. You are quick to dismiss criticism because it comes from the “wrong source.” What is the “right source?” Whose opinion actually matters to you? Yes, we are a nation that has done many great things for this world. But when criticism comes, what is your response–to make excuses for a president you clearly venerate and who can do no wrong, or do you at least listen to the criticism to see if there is some failing (even when it doesn’t come from a “pre-approved” source)? Even large corporations, if they want to be successful, do this. It’s just plain good business practice, if you want to be the best you can be. Sports teams do it, too. The best sports teams never make excuses, own up to mistakes, and do their best to do better. You are quick to make excuses, and slow to listen to criticism. Were you equally vigilant in defending the U.S. and white house when Clinton was president? The U.S. is a great country, but it is not immune from mistakes or criticism, and when it comes, it is arrogance not to listen and evaluate and change policies when necessary. Pride goeth before the fall, and if you want to see our nation continue to prosper, pride must be rooted out, or we will go the way of the Roman Empire.



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moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:12 pm


I am not pridefull – period.
I know that we have made mistakes but I also know that we have the ability to correct them. Criticism – as long as it is constructive – fine. If you are asking me to listen to a Fedel, Hugo or the like…no. They do not have the best interest of the US or other nations in mind. Now – if Great Britton, Israel, Sweden are talking – I will listen as we have simular goals for the world and desire that everyone should be able to prosper. Yes I believe that the US is the greatest country in the world. Yes I believe that the US is flawed – always has been and always will be. Yes – I do support the person in the Oval Office at this time. I supported the one before and prayed for him each day like I do now. When he went into the Bulkins – I did not see why we had to go and not just let the UN handle it. (I now know that the UN is unable to handle anything like that – they are good at making the personal fortunes grow) I had friends that said that Clinton went into the Bulkins just to keep Monica off the front page – I could not believe that. I think that now they might be correct. Only because Bush has been accused of going into Iraq for reasons that were as stupid as Monica. So if leaders in DC can say that about the current Pres – maybe it was Monica.
I do not understand the hatred of the left for this Pres – I have survived Pres from other parties in the White House and never ‘hated’ them. I believe that ‘God’ could be elected Pres and if the Almighty was a Republican – Nancy and Harry would hate him too – just because of the party affiliation.
The best has yet to come. The two biggest words in my vocabulary are “BUT GOD -” I just think I need to move on because this site is not interested in finding middle ground on the issues. Wallis isn’t so how can it ever happen? (I know BUT GOD -…but I do see God’s love here)
have a great weekend – blessings
.



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james

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:29 pm


Wow! How hard it is for any of us to accept criticism. I personally know how hard it can be, as I was a professional musician in my younger days. Criticism was easier for me to take when I first started out – before I had gained so much attention. As I grew in popularity and my number of “friends” increased it became harder for me to listen to my critiques. After all, I seemed to be doing very well and I just “knew” what was best for me. Time went on and I eventually developed a relationship with a person who had the uncanny knack of seeing through me in ways I could not defend. It made me angry at first and I reacted accordingly. Fortunately, I began to realize the reason for my anger – I knew that, in many ways, my friend was right. I began to listen – it wasn’t easy, but I did it anyway. Now I am much more at peace with myself – even if I am still not perfect. It isn’t easy for me to listen to criticism, but I have found that if I do so in a constructive manner it seems that I do “grow” and my quality of life vs. quantity of life grows also. Another interesting observation is that as my life gets better, qualitatively, the lives of those close to me also seem to be getting better.



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Bill Samuel

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:32 pm


“this is the playbook for the Democratic Party.” Huh! Listen to the Democrats and read their policy statements. Not really much different from the Republicans. They wave the flag and talk about how great America is. They stand for increasing the bloated military budget and putting yet more men and women in uniform for future wars. Very few of them show any interest in repenting for America’s sins and turning to a different course.
“I will stack up what the US does for releif in the world against any country in the world. I will access what the US has done in defense of the weak around the world over the last century against most countries.”
Check out the facts, ModerateLad. The U.S. devotes about the lowest percentage of GDP to relief and development of any industrialized country. We have a long history of intervening militarily in favor of the rich and powerful against the people. The latter comes back and haunts us. For example, our overthrow of the democratic government more than a half century ago in Iran and installation of the Shah dictatorship. Eventually the people overthrew the Shah and, guess what, the Iranian government is very hostile to U.S. interests.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:50 pm


I do not understand the hatred of the left for this Pres.
He governs with no regard for anything other than making his right-wing base happy and has always done so. When you refuse to listen to anyone who comes from a different perspective, you wind up having serious problems — in this case, almost all of which he has brought upon himself. Remember, NO ONE was criticizing him right after 9/11. Truth be told, Bush singlehandedly revived the American “left,” which was all but dead (contrary to what many on the right believe).



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:57 pm


There has been a running criticism against my arguments that they are impractical. True, they require the miraculous. Thank God He has accomplished this already.
The key difference between living inside the United States and outside of them is that inside we are protected from our government by the Constitution. Outside, the USG is a predator at worst, a busybody at best. Moderatelad’s sarcastic solution was ironic in its accuracy. Bring all the troops home. Shut down every foreign base. Point all the guns out. Return our soldiers to the task of production rather than destruction. And let everyone else in, so long as they can pay their own way, and don’t violate the rights of others. I almost wrote “don’t break our laws,” but often the laws are the problem.
Moderatelad is also scared. Especially of Islamic radicals. I’m scared of bees. The best thing to do about bees is leave them alone, then they are less likely to sting you. Sometimes it pays to do business with bees. Carry them to where there are flowers to pollinate, and collect their honey. So let’s leave the radicals alone except to do fair and honest business with them.
USG intervention around the world has been good for the most part. Many people owe a portion of their liberty to our military actions. The alternative was to leave them alone to die. Or was it? The third way, trade with them and allow them to immigrate, or allow volunteers to venture abroad and rescue innocents and bring them here has not been attempted in over 100 years. It’s not isolation or war. There’s also neutrality.
Mick Sheldon,
Lincoln was a statist, a pawn of Railroad lobbies, a politician, and a power-monger. He sought to strip all states of their power and to engrandize the central government. He suspended Habeus Corpus, and censored the mail. Not a defender of liberty.
The unique Christian perspective is that any good there is to be done must be done by Christians. It is our responsibility to care for the least of these and the innocents. The state exists to punish evildoers and to enforce contracts, nothing else.
I would add that sensible policy dictates that national defense ought to be limited to defending the physical property of the citizens of the states within the jurisdiction of those states. American citizens interests’ or adventures abroad are not to be protected or safeguarded by the USG.
Oliver,
I enjoyed your quote from Neibuhr, but I question the portion, “Against those who make the state sacrosanct we must insist that the state is always tempted to set its majesty in rebellious opposition to the divine Majesty. To those who fear the extension of the state for the regulation of modern economic life we must point out that their fears are frequently prompted not by a concern for justice but by a jealous desire to maintain their own power.” He wants to have his cake and eat it, too. The power to regulate enterprise favors one set of special interests against another. The only recourse for the enterprising is to seek favors from the state in their turn. And thus the state grows.
Promise and hope lie in the degree to which Christians assume full responsibility for social justice themselves instead of relegating the role to the state.
Nathanael Snow



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Anonymous

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:58 pm


Posted by: Bill Samuel | July 6, 2007 1:32 PM
Hostile to the US, Great Britton, Australia and line keeps getting longer. They are hostile to anything and anyone that is not Islamic. OK – that one did not go well according to you, and I would agree in part. But the average person like you and I in Iran is living in fear and poverty much more than they did under the Shaw. With your logic – we should not have gone to war with Hitler – he was elected and the ‘people’ loved him. Yes the percentage in comparison to GDP is low when it comes to Gov’t agencies. But lets put into the mix NGO’s and we are at the top. So – the citizens of the US are very benevolent people – even when the gov’t isn’t. It is better when the money comes from the provate sector as 80 to 100% get to the people in need. The Gov’t agencies are lucky to get 25 to 28% to the person.
the last time I checked – Kuait is doing very good since the allies drove Saddam out. Does that help balance the scales for you with Iran? I truly believe that we (the allies) will be dealing with Iran in the next few years if nothing changes. They will get the bomb – if we relay on the UN to handle this. Then Iran can be a threat to the whole world – wonder if the Shaw would have done that???
Have a great weekend with family and friends!
.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:00 pm


Bill,
“The U.S. devotes about the lowest percentage of GDP to relief and development of any industrialized country.”
But the people who live under the USG are the most charitable in the world, provide the vast majority of PRIVATE aid in the world.
Frankly, I’m glad that US foreign aid is less than 1% of our budget. It makes it a non-issue. Now all we need to do is cut out the military and wealth-redistribution portions of the US budget and watch as private donations domestically and abroad balloon.
Nathanael Snow
ndsnow@ncsu.edu



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:04 pm


I’ll stick my neck out (noname) and say that the USG should not have gone to war in Europe, the Barbary Coast, the Philipines, Japan, anywhere, ever. The only place the USG should go to war is in the US, against invaders, and if you think we did not provoke Japan into attacking us you are wrong.
Nathanael Snow



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TedH

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:12 pm


I was fascinated by statements made by eljay | July 5, 2007 6:18 PM
“…sad that we cannot climb inside each others’ viewpoint and wrestle with each other to discover the truth beneath our opinions.
…if we were more aware of the stories that undergird our opinions we might find a way of wrestling with each other and finding a way of co-contributing to the picture that by definition must include us all.
The answer is bigger than all of us ……. our contribution while vital but not the only one we all need.”
I, for one, am noticing efforts that seem to be developing philosophies and techniques for the sort of thing you seem to be talking about.
see http://www.wisedemocracy.org



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Moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:14 pm


Posted by: jurisnaturalist | July 6, 2007 1:57 PM
Moderatelad is also scared. Especially of Islamic radicals. I’m scared of bees.
Please don’t talk for me – I am more than capable of defining this myself. I am not ‘scared’ – if I was I would be living as a hermit in northern MN living off the land and not interacting with anyone. (I believe that some would like that…)
We left them alone and they flew plains into our buildings. All we were doing is buying oil from them so that we could run our cars and heat our houses. Radical Islam – NOT all of Islam is the problem. Are you reading the papers or listening to the broadcast news? DOCTORS – Medical people in Great Britton are making car bombs and killing innocent people. People that are just going about their ordinary daily lives and the Radicals are trying to murder them – HELLO????
I have (and had as some have moved away) Islamic neighbors that do not agree with the ‘radicals’ but will not say anything public because of reprisals from their own people – HELLO????
Go ahead and play with your bees – their sting is just bothersome. The Radicals want to murder you.
Have a nice day -
.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:18 pm


Nathanael I think you did stick your neck out on that one . when Japan was murdering , raping the Chinese was that our fault too ? When the Nazis were trying to promote their one world government and murdering their enemies , was that out fault ?
I think sometimes Amerricans put too much weight in who we are . Sometimes evil exists in the world without it being our fault .



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Dave M

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:47 pm


America lives a paradox of high and noble ideals of liberty , equality, justice, and equal opportunity for all and the constant realization that we can never achieve those ideals. This leads to a sense of failure. In our best moments we feel the joy of achieving those ideals, but then we fall back to the reality of our humanity. In our humanity we sense our smallness and sins. We know we are not worthy to call ourselves Americans. We look around and find others who approach those goals more fully than ourselves. We blame each other. This leads to frustration and wars, hatred and despair. We now live in a culture of shame and blame that seeks to extol the virtues of each citizen. How do the parts of our society contribute to that Shame and Blame?
From our earliest days our schools teach us that if we are not superior we just as well not show up. The No Child Left behind effort has shown many schools to be underachieving. The school systems have tried to loose those students who bring down the average rather than finding ways to bring all up to their potential. We hear lots about the failure to achieve and little about new ways to achieve the maximum potentials of all students.
As we flee the blame of unmet academic achievement we run into the same standard of succeed or recede. Only the stars in sports and entertainment are acknowledged. When we show up ready to play, only to sit on the bench, we confront our failure even before the team takes the field.
When we seek to work the same happens. The least in school are the least at work. They get the least respect, the least pay and the worst jobs. When they seek to rectify this they are threatened with loss of jobs and even their lives. They confront a system of privilege and right, a wall of might. Those e who achieved in school now control the work place. Now the rule by the privileged class replaces the equality we held as the ideal.
The rules of the workplace, the rules of our society enforce this rule by the privileged. Thos seeking to achieve by means outside of the system are quickly defeated by the legal system. Our founders sought to replace the rule of the privileged few by the rule of laws. Laws made by all. Yet our laws are not maid by the people, for the people, of bodies of the people.
Our political system has become a system where a poorly educated, self educated man can rise to lead the country. Where is Lincoln in our field of Presidential hopefuls? True Lincoln proved himself in the state and national legislature before seeking the Presidency. But now we see how those who would be President must prove themselves to the monies and privileged class to be seriously considered by the rest. Our polls reflect the candidate’s ability to woo the monies.
When we Pray to our God to rectify that system, what do we find. A system where the privileged and educated clergy tall the laity what God says. The educated that rejected the monetary goals of our society were usurped by the powered of the pulpit. Rather than teaching the laity to let the Bible teach them they use the powered of their pulpit to tell the people what God wants them to hear.
Yet there are vices that hold up passages of our sacred texts that would lead us to the ideal of Liberty, equality, Justice, and equal opportunity for all. Yet they fall into the traps of self promotion to allay their insecurity. Notoriety as the end and not a means to the end. Fund raising as the goal, rather than the means to that goal. They hold that God loves us not for our successes, but for ourselves.
How can we live in that unconditional love? Is it not by putting aside our needs, for the needs of others? Is it not by stopping to hear the pain and joy of theirs? This is the radical ideal that our founders held forth. Yet they tried it from the top down, they tried it by the imposition of law. Yet they used their privilege and power. And now we cringe at the evidence that we are second place at our own game. We reject the notion that giving the power to the people will achieve our ends. Socialism is Un-American. Individualism is why our ancestors founded this country. Yet “My Way” has led to the “Old Way. Not because of lack of vision or mission, but lack of a clear alternative. They were products of the “The Age of Reason”. Now we see that the powers behind the reasons are the emotions.
It was the emotions resulting from Britain’s treatment of our founders. The power and privilege over the weak and outcast. They sought to impose freedom by restricting the powerful and privileged. They sought to impose ration and reason over emotion and passion. They sought to create freedom by imposing new limits. How can liberty ever be achieved by limits and laws? How can freedom ever be achieved without expectations of the individual?
Individuals left to their own will soon create groups with their own expectation and norms. Just like atoms left in space will soon collect into molecules, ever more complex molecules. Societies have coalesced into ever more complex societies. If we are to change those societies should we not change the ways individuals interact? Has not ration and reason run its course? Should we not now focus on emotion and passion? Should we stop dictating and start listening? Stop dictating the behavior and actions and start listening the feelings and needs?
Is it not a paradox that I use ration and reason here to fulfill my feeling of disconnection with our discourse on the plight of our society? I want to feel secure. I want to feel loved. I want to feel good, because I need security. I need love. I need optimism.
One place I have found this new paradigm is in “Non-Violent Communication”. Her I am learning to set aside my fears and expectations to hear others emotions and needs. I learn to be empathetic and love. Love myself and others more fully. I Believe that God tried to say this through Jesus and other messengers.
Messengers that we now meet in our global society. Messengers that we need to hear. Messengers that can feel our wants. Messengers that can fill our needs. Fill our need for Peace. Fill our needs for Community. Fill our need for liberty. Fill or needs for equality. fill our needs for Justice. fill our needs for equal opportunity for all.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:52 pm


Moderatelad,
So when Bill Clinton order missile attacks on Afganistan against Al Quaida in 1993, that wasn’t swatting at the bee’s nest?
And supporting Israel even when they employed terrorist tactics didn’t make us any enemies? They just hate us, for no reason?
I don’t buy it.
We create radicals by attacking innocents.
Japan and China have been taking turns murdering each other and themselves for thousands of years. As have the tribal peoples of much of the world for all of history. Germans and Russians both murdered innocents. Armed Nationalistic intervention is not the answer. Perhaps armed rescue teams which take the innocents out of harm’s way would work. What if we volunteered to take all the Jews off of Hitler’s hands at our expense, the way Britain’s government bought the freedom of all its slaves? What if we paid him for the Jews. What if Christians did that instead of waiting for the government to do something?
There are alternative solutions to these problems. Solutions that require individual responsibility and reject the political machine.
Why was England vulnerable at the start of WWII? Because their military was everywhere else in the world but in England.
Nathanael Snow



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:02 pm


Nathanael have you really looked at your solutions in a real world .
You want people to rescue others when evil dominates others . To bring this closer to home , if someone was robbinbg your house , you would rather have the police just take you out of the house and the crooks have at it .
What happens then Nathanael is the crooks learn they get away with it and expand their roberies to other houses You have to confront evil , we as a civil and just people need to do it it the best way . That is clear , and this Administration certainly did not do that . But your solution is far worse then that , and that is saying much .
I don’t want the robbers at my house , sorry .



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Moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:06 pm


Posted by: jurisnaturalist | July 6, 2007 2:52 PM
So when Bill Clinton order missile attacks on Afganistan against Al Quaida in 1993, that wasn’t swatting at the bee’s nest?
No – that was really a well thought out plan. Unfortunately he allow Sec of State M. Halfbright to inform Pakistan about our plan and they had a leak that tipped of Al Quaida so the mission was ineffective and doomed before it even started.
Why was England vulnerable at the start of WWII? Because their military was everywhere else in the world but in England.
WHy was all of Europe vulnerable at the start of WWII. Because they had people saying that ‘Hitler only wants…’ and did not see him as the threat he was. Sounds like the Nancy and Harry show in DC – and they will get a lot of people killed if they don’t get their heads our of each others %^&*’s. To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed.
Have a great weekend – even if it is 90+ degrees -
.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:14 pm


Dave,
That was a nice commencement address. What are you trying to say?
It seems one element that runs through your diatribe is forfeiture of responsibility.
First we give up the responsibility to educate our children to the state, and consequences follow.
Second we give up the responsibility to get work. We expect someone else to train us and equip us to work. The is enable because we have allowed someone else to feed us through welfare and the like.
Laws should not be made at all, they should be discovered. There exists a natural law which is accessable for observation. The courts provided a decent laboratory until they found their conclusions ignored and overturned by powerholders in favor of special interests. The law was corrupted as soon as we let it be written arbitrarily, instead of discovered systematically. The books of Deuteronomy and Judges provide support for a common law system.
Lincoln came to power by prostituting himself to special interests just like today’s politicians. Indeed, he may have set the mold.
We should not work to give the power to the people, we should work to eliminate the use of power, force, coercion, unprovoked, at all.
Are you really advocating abandoning reason in favor of emotion? This works fine on a voluntary basis. But there must pre-exist a rational structure for it to operate within.
Who do you want to love you, to provide your security, your comfort?
Empathy is a useful device, but it is based on reason just as much as emotion. Adam Smith’s first book was A Theory of Moral Sentiments, all about empathy.
Christians go further, to actually entering in to other’s experience through prayer and fasting and social action.
You are seeking the prophetic. In “messengers.” That’s good. Fulfillment is in the hands of those who are empowered by the spirit and unite in love – the church.
Nathanael Snow



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Justin

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:28 pm


I don’t know how closely this relates to the article above, but I thought I would write it anyway since we’re talking about “American Ideals.”
I live in Indiana (USA), and recently in Indiana they revealed and distributed the new Indiana licence plates which are redesigned every 5 years or so. This time around the “general issue” licence plate is dark blue (like the old Michigan plates), and looks like a plate that you can buy to support a group or organization (i.e. breast cancer awareness, Hoosier Veterans, or a college/university licence plate) with the symbol to the left and the numbers to the right. Well, this new “general issue” licence plate has “In God We Trust” stamped on the left with the numbers on the right. I have a major problem with this. My problem spans further than the mere fact that not everyone in our state is Christian, or have the same religio-political beliefs and views that the current administration would have us follow. For me, the problem lies in the fact that when I say, “I trust in God,” I don’t say it with the same connotation, as what I feel that this licence plate is trying to say. I don’t believe any government should EVER take a bumper sticker statement and paste it onto a legal document or item! Yes, I know we have “In God We Trust” on our money. The difference here is that the decision to do that was made many many many years prior to the more recent craze of “God Bless America,” “Support our president and our troops,” “We hate Islam,” and “God save the American’s, but kill the Iraqui’s.”
I made those last two up.
The other thing that bothers me, is that if I want to opt for another licence plate, I will have to pay extra just because this is the general issue plate that everyone receives! How can this be right? Or should I say… This is way too “RIGHT” for me.



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canucklehead

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:41 pm


Where’s Donny? Could we get him to talk some sense into Mod Lad?



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Moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:56 pm


Posted by: canucklehead | July 6, 2007 3:41 PM
Where’s Donny? Could we get him to talk some sense into Mod Lad?
Naw – Modlad is beyond that. The guy is nuts – perhaps we can send him on a one way trip to a deserted island in the south pacific so that he can sing ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ to the wild life there. I will be happy to kick in the first $100.00 on this cause.
Maybe we can send him to Canada – that would be cheaper, and will someone please give the guy Hocked On Phonics so that he can learn to spell.
Have a great weekend!
.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:57 pm


Justin I think you need to lighten up a little .
How many people here on this blog in the name of God promote political legislation . Some people promote some policies I find offensive and immoral in the name Of God .
You have a problem with in God We Trust ? Think about all the legislation done for corporations or special interest groups that effect your life and your kids futures . Many times it has nothing to do with God, does that mean it better or “neutral” because they trust in Enron ?
Anyway , God gets enough blame for things in this world , Give him a break ,Besides , I trust Him . Not many things you can trust in these days .



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Pat Blair

posted July 6, 2007 at 4:06 pm


If we “Trust In God”, Why is our Government killing his children? Why does the US Government have the most weapons of mass destruction, if we “Trust in God”? Last I checked, God’s Commandment was, “THOU SHALL NOT KILL”.



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Moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 4:18 pm


Posted by: Pat Blair | July 6, 2007 4:06 PM
Last I checked, God’s Commandment was, “THOU SHALL NOT KILL”.
Actually – the correct phrasing would be ‘Thou Shall Not Commit Murder’ or ‘…Murder an Innocents.’ Murder of an innocent person or a defenceless person is wrong. Killing in self-defence is not murder and your involvment in a war is not murder. There is a difference.
Have a great day!
.



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Evan Jellical

posted July 6, 2007 at 4:38 pm


I was pretty disgusted this 4th of July and felt ashamed of being American. I read something in this comment string that made me feel otherwise. And for that, I have to thank you. Although I am still not terribly proud to be American right now even though my family has fought in almost every war since the American Revolution – the last two notwithstanding.
Someone in this string mentioned something about the hypocrisy of America – big ideals and really awful track record of living up to them. Pretty much sums up my life, which is why I made a connection to America that I had not made before. Perhaps I need to extend her a little more Grace, as just because we may not be living up to what is good, does not in any way negate the fact those ideals are good (although much could be said about the erosion of those ideals by continued repudiation of them through actions).
Doesn’t justify what is going on. What it does beg for is repentance. America needs to repent – NOT IGNORE or EXCUSE our Abu Graibs, et al. Just like I need to repent for being the f’d up sinner that I am – everyday. What have we got to hide? Let’s embrace our sinfulness and die with it. Before renewal can dawn, there needs to be the deep night of contrition, and the turn of repentance. We have not done that – certainly not as Christians (well, I’m speaking for myself and from what I see externally).
If we pick up and get political, and pretend everything is just ducky so long as we get our right/left leaning dude or dudette in office, then we (me, you, and everyone else) are begging for disaster and the apocolypse (think of the other notable Empires in history – Rome, Byzantine, etc.).
I mean… maybe it really is coming. The end. Maybe there is nothing we can do about it. Having grown up fundamentalist that is always in the back of my mind. The fact is, I cannot guarantee I am ready for the Lord’s return, however that may transpire. All I know is we (you, me, and everyone else) should sit quiet for a second, recognize all humanity as our brother and sister and neighbor, regardless of wealth/poverty, saintliness/sinliness, rightness/leftness, and seek forgiveness from our enemies for treating them like we were God dispensing His justice. We are not God. God forgive us for thinking so. Amen.



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Kirsten Vaage

posted July 6, 2007 at 4:52 pm


Moderatelad–Tempering your words might lead to more discussion rather than this straight out dismissal:
“The guy is nuts – perhaps we can send him on a one way trip to a deserted island in the south pacific so that he can sing ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ to the wild life there. I will be happy to kick in the first $100.00 on this cause.”
Whether you agree with the writer or not, don’t be so uncharitable. It doesn’t become you, and it destroys any sort of substantive dialogue.
I encourage everybody to forego the descent into maligning one another.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 6, 2007 at 5:32 pm


If we “Trust In God”, Why is our Government killing his children?
Posted by: Pat Blair
Pat ,
Well pointing out to trust God is a good thing from where I sit . If only people who could trust God were those who always did so or always followed His precepts , I guess you would be the only one left Pat . Sorry this nation does not live up to your standards , I don’t live up to God’s standards either .
Ligten up , acknowedging God is not something for you to condemn because we had a lousy President .
God is bigger then that thankyou very much .



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:00 pm


Mick,
It is pointless to try to defend one’s property when the institutions of justice do not respect property rights and believe it is their sole authority which can assign those rights. So, in a world where property rights are clearly defined it is worth my while to defend my house from robbers, either on my own or through an agency. I happen to trust security agencies more than the police. But for victims of injustice where the chances of instituting good laws is slim, it is not worthwhile to fight. Good laws have to be arrived at voluntarily, or they are by definition, not good laws. Hitler and Stalin were not going to choose good laws. Neither was France or the Balkans it turns out. And when all is said and done I doubt the Iraqis will choose good laws either. This is because none of them respect or acknowledge the only way to arrive at good laws: the common law system. So, the fact is that every culture that is lacking this legal foundation is full of crooks stealing from other crooks. They are wolves fighting over the sheep. The best solution: get the sheep out of there.
Evan Jellical,
America doesn’t need to repent nearly as badly as the church and I do for not accepting the command and responsibility given to us by Christ to assume full responsibility for caring for the least of these. And we need to repent of our pagan fascination with political mechanisms, and our false belief that these mechanisms are the right means for achieving the mandate given to us by Christ. Make no mistake: “government is the negation of liberty.” (Ludwig von Mises) Manipulation of political mechanisms is pagan worship. It says that the state can so things which we should do ourselves. It says that only the state can provide the solution to problems which Christ established the church to solve. It turns away from the means God provided and turns toward the use of force against innocents. It sacrifices the individual in favor of the collective, like human sacrifice, when that sacrifice has already been made.
Nathanael Snow
ndsnow@ncsu.edu
emails are more than welcome if anyone wants to continue an aspect of this thread further.



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Evan Jellical

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:18 pm


Jurisnaturalist,
I have to agree with you. It is the church that failed. I am both the willing participant in, and the victim of, that failure.
When governments co-opt the language of the church and make claims and speak on behalf of God, how much greater the evil for using God’s image to subvert public perception of what is the true heart and nature of God. It reminds me how the early American expression of the Christian church sought so tenaciously to keep state and church apart for this reason, among other important reasons. (there are some very grave consequences for this sort of thing in the Bible).
No wonder people hate Christianity and America, as they have been wrapped up in the same wrapper for the gain of mammon. It doesn’t take too many clicks on the washingtonpost.com to see the layers of corruption that have lead to the oppression of the poor, destruction of the innocent by our lust for war. Who was asleep at the wheel? Are we not bought with a price and reborn? I think herein is the crux of the matter, in that we have no conception of what taking of the cross truly means. It means loving our enemy, not bombing them. It means caring for the poor. These things are the fruit or expressions of a heart that has died to the flesh and has been reborn.
You are right when you say the church needs to repent much more than America. May we do so.



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moderatelad

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:36 pm


Posted by: Kirsten Vaage | July 6, 2007 4:52 PM
Pleae take a look at the origional posting and the name at the bottom…
Those are MY WORDS – I wrote them.
Joke…
Happy Friday (tee hee)
.



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canucklehead

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:49 pm


No kidding. Sounds like some of the fruit of the vine from the Fourth is just now taking effect.



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Pat Blair

posted July 6, 2007 at 9:54 pm


I didn’t condemn God. My point was that there is an American hypocrisy when “In God We TRust” is stamped on coins, etc., and then our actions indicate that we “don’t trust God”. Moderated, there is no “rationalization” or “selective killing” when the Commandment is not acknowledged. THou Shall Not Kill! Very simple really. In fact I would suggest that it means look for another non-violent means to settle differences. A large number of service people are returning from Iraq/Afghanistan just as they did from Vietnam suffering from PTSS. This happens when a person has acted against their taught values of respect for others, when they harm others. I really can’t see that America is a Christian Nation as it would like to claim. IF we were, we would not have illegally invaded another country. The death rate must be over a million now and several million refuges. Really nothing in which to feel pride.



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Anonymous

posted July 6, 2007 at 10:10 pm


“America needs to repent – NOT IGNORE or EXCUSE our Abu Graibs, et al.”
What is with pluralizing Abu Ghraib? It was one series of instances, and it has been prosecuted. It was not ignored or excused. For that reason, we did not have many Abu Ghraib scenarios, but rather one.



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Ian

posted July 6, 2007 at 10:32 pm


This has been a fascinating series of comments to read – because I am an Australian Christian observing some intense and passionate discussion of what it means to be patriotic. There are many similarities between the USA and Oz, in spite of the vast disparity of populations. Both nations have become what they are by immigration, and have troubled relations with the original and now much marginalised inhabitants. Culturally Australia is very similar to the US. We know far more about you than I believe the average US citizen knows about us. So I think it is easier for us to comment accurately (and I hope perceptively) on what we observe about the US and it’s behaviour than for you (Mr/Ms Average American) to appreciate our point of view.
So my comment is that many Australians like me are disappointed with US imperialism (ouch. that’s an emotive word, but I think it reflects the ‘global policing’ policies of the US – in support of economic benefit for the US, rather than altruism or justice for the poor that Jesus taught.) Yes, we appreciate much of the good that you in the US have done – but please, try a little harder to appreciate how those of us living outside your protectionist borders feel. Arrogance is not retricted to the USA. Might is not always right – but that is how it appears, more often than not.
There are many Australians who are keen to see more done by USA, UK, Aust, to raise the real living standards of eg Arabic and African nations through better health and education, rather than just benefit our (USA, UK, Aust. etc) hugely energy-dependent life-styles and economies.
It is worth pondering what our (USA, UK, Aust. etc) responses will be in another generation when China and India will have massively bigger economies – and hence the clout to ‘influence’ politics in other places. Will we be so keen then to defend their ‘democracies’, or will we want to retreat into stubborn and petulant ‘we are still the greatest and we know best, so there!’
You can (and will) defend your constitution, like we in Oz will defend ours – and the very similar ideals which both our countries hold to – but they must not be eroded by the politics of fear, greed and self-interest.
And God’s grace still gives me hope for the future.



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kevin s.

posted July 7, 2007 at 12:15 am


“We know far more about you than I believe the average US citizen knows about us.”
Nonsense. We know, for example, that Sydney is your capital and that they feature kangaroo and koala meat at your Burger Kings. Plus, we have Outback Steakhouse, where we can get authentic australian food like Shrimp on the Barbie and Kookaburra Wings.
I have Andrew Bogut rookie card, and I even own a boomerang, for crying out loud. I need one of your Original people to help me out.
I’ve even got your national anthem memorized.
(places hand over heart)
Neighbors.. Should be there for one anooooother…
That’s when good neighbors become goooood
Neighbooooorrrs become gooooood frieeeeends….
I lift my Fosters to you, my Australian friend. Or, should I say, mate?



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Gary

posted July 7, 2007 at 2:20 am


God’s Word tells us about the Lord Jesus Christ, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Jesus Christ was full of BOTH grace and truth. that is something that no other human being is fully capable of doing as we are not truly born as God’s real sons and daughters conceived by the Holy Spirit! That’s the amazing thing about God. He is fully TRUTH, “Absolutely judging sin and condemning it as wrong, such as breaking laws and crossing the border illegally.” But He is also the perfect God of MERCY, “Who forgives and justifies all sin regardless of rhyme or reason!”
If only we, as Christians. could be full of BOTH Truth and Grace without compromise, I believe we would be much more tolerant of those who are “illegal” aliens out of the deep and unconditional love that God has for us and urges us to have for others! The next time you think of others, regardless of who they are, stop and think of how God looks at your sins and forgives you with unconditional mercy and grace! How then should we act?



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Sarasotakid

posted July 7, 2007 at 4:26 am


Nonsense. We know, for example, that Sydney is your capital…Kevin S.
Please say you’re joking, Kevin.



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Sarasotakid

posted July 7, 2007 at 4:29 am


but please, try a little harder to appreciate how those of us living outside your protectionist borders feel. Arrogance is not retricted to the USA. Might is not always right – but that is how it appears, more often than not. Ian
You’re asking too much of some of these neoconservative reactionaries, Ian.



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Ian

posted July 7, 2007 at 9:23 am


Memo to Kevin: G’day! thanks for the smiles you induced in me! And for some humour that doesn’t involve put-downs.
Memo to other non-Australians: Kevin was joking. After you’ve visited Uluru, Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney, and listened to some ordinary Aussie blokes in small towns, you’ll laugh too.
Memo to self: apologise for your hubris, Ian. Besides, there are more serious challenges this planet faces than educating tourists – but isn’t that (visiting and listening) a great way to appreciate God’s world and promote understanding between different nations/races/religions?



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Stuart

posted July 7, 2007 at 12:38 pm


Ian, I think your reference to US foreign policy being based on whatever is in the best economic interests of the US of A, misses part of what I perceive to be the “US” character. I think there is an idealism fundamental to US history which goes far beyond a “Greed is Good/ Show me the Money” attitude. I think that Americans (as a collective) are more passionate about the world becoming a better place, than people from most other parts of the world. (I’m not necessarily talking about the leaders here – I’m talking about everyday people.)
Sure, this is probably related to their evangelical zeal for democracy and capitalism, but anything that provides a coherent framework for establishing how communities and individuals relate can’t be all bad, can it?
Having said that I see this hopefulness in The American People (note capitals) I am very much in a minority in holding this view. In fact in the 6 years that I’ve been arguing with my fellow Australians about this I don’t think I’ve ever found anyone to agree with me. The actions of your leaders (read: Guantanamo Bay/Abu Ghraib)are what people see, and they tend to invalidate any talk of democracy, justice and the rule of law.
By the way, Kevin – Fosters is a trick Australia played on the rest of the world so we could keep all of the good beer here.



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TedH

posted July 7, 2007 at 3:04 pm


Thanks, Jim. It is well that we reflect now on our American ideals, because there is a very real danger of loosing our way.
The way I see it, the 9/11 terrorist attack oddly infected us with a poison that distorts our ideals, a poison we are passing on; and it is proliferating, degrading basic human dignity in cycles of violence.
Our readiness to go to war put us in a mentality of accepting “inevitable collateral damage”; this is a revealing, profound inconsistency: the poison of terrorism is the disregard for the innocent individual; we now carry that same poison into the “war against terrorism” in Iraq and Afghanistan by accepting that even though we “try to avoid” it, we are killing and maiming innocent citizens in our pursuit of insurgent terrorists. The poison spreads.
No matter what we might say in rhetoric, from the start, this lack of concern for the innocent individuals suffering from our actions, in a different part of the world, has been evident. The lack of planning for the aftermath of the war against Saddam Hussein was more than faulty planning it was a lack of basic moral concern for the welfare of the innocent. In the mind-set of war we have forgotten the grief of families, of children, of life and limb.
We have thought that there is something we have to win; we have missed that there is something we have to be. If, as a nation of constitutional democratic idealism, we were consistent with what we profess, we would not lose; we would win by being true to who we are.
Going in, there was a supposition that a democratic political structure could be imposed without affirming the most fundamental root of democracy: the profound dignity of the individual. Democratic society depends first of all on establishing the dignity of the individual, as likewise will the defeat of terrorism depend on affirming the dignity of the individual.
If we could pause and grieve and admit our wrongs against the dignity of so many innocent people, then, and only then, could a new effective course be imagined. We would no longer choose to be an occupying military force; we would not attempt to be in control; we would understand that to respond to terrorism in kind is to give it strength; we would understand that democracy grows by example and practice.
If we could change course in such a fundamental way, we could then find new means to be true to our principles and beneficial to the rest of humanity. The poison of terrorism is defeating us not by its violence but by our reflex reactions that forget our ideals.



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Dr. Linda Seger

posted July 7, 2007 at 3:18 pm


How odd, but not surprising, that at an Ideas Festival, people bristle at the idea of being self-reflective, and looking inward at ourselves (a good spiritual exercise) rather than just outward, somehow thinking we, as individuals, or we as a nation, can escape from hubris, hypocrisy, and self-deception. Yet, so many of our Founders believed that we had to put Laws into place to protect us from ourselves – our desire to protect our own interests, but not the interests of others, our belief in our own Rights, but not in the Rights of those who disagree. Our belief that we should have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, but not wanting the same freedoms for those who think differently. How wise they were, to be reflective enough to realize how our flaws can overtake us. Perhaps patriotism is partly loving the ideals, and recognizing how often individually, and as a nation, we don’t live up to them – and then desiring to do something about it.
Dr. Linda Seger
author, JESUS RODE A DONKEY: Why the Republicans Don’t have a Corner on Christ



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 7, 2007 at 3:37 pm


Pat Said
I didn’t condemn God. My point was that there is an American hypocrisy when “In God We TRust” is stamped on coins, etc., and then our actions indicate that we “don’t trust God”.
ME
Yes I realize that Pat , I understand your concern with Iraq . I share that somewhat politically , morally , and even personally . I have a son who is sceduled to over there who serves in the National Guard . I wanted this to end yesterday .
I am a Evangelical Christian . I don’t like mixing my Faith with my politics , but it is impossible to separate who we are and voting for what we see as right and wrong . People I look up get stereotyped and expected of evil all the time . I believe life begins at conception , and the killing of innocent life in this country with governmental support has been going on for a long time , way before Iraq . Sex education at my school lists anal , vaginal , and oral sex as equal aspects of a healthy sexual relationship , commitment is involved , but no mention of marriage . I guess I could go on , but you get my point perhaps .
Remember that funny George Burns movie about God , and the kid made posters about God to remind people ? Anyway , just Having God out there on a Liscense Plate reminding people he is There to me is a good thing . I separate all my complaints and understandings of what we are doing wrong as a nation from God . I do give him the Glory for the Good at times . I think we try as a people to do right . eventually …..
But I do undertand where your coming from , it is just I think the Godly thing to do would be write a letter to your Congressman about Iraq . Leave the Liscense Plate issue alone , I think it detracts from your concerns of what is going on In Iraq . At least it did with me somewhat .



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Anonymous

posted July 7, 2007 at 3:47 pm


I am part of a very small group that each take a day and pray for our men in women in the millitary in combat for their safe return. I will add your son to my list.
Be blessed -
.
Posted by: Moderatelad
Thank you , more then you know .
Love n Christ , Mick



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Annie (UK)

posted July 7, 2007 at 4:30 pm


I am part of a very small group that each take a day and pray for our men in women in the millitary in combat for their safe return. I will add your son to my list.
Be blessed -
.
Posted by: Moderatelad
What about praying for the women and children in Iraq being raped and murdered by Coalition Forces or at a lesser level being deprived of education, clean water, food and medical attention ? Or are American lives of more value in the eyes of God ?



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Anonymous

posted July 7, 2007 at 5:33 pm


Or are American lives of more value in the eyes of God ?
Posted by: Annie (
Not at all Ann, yes by all means please pray for my son and they also . Also let us pray for the Terrorists and our President . We are all God’s favorites .
Also , someone was doing something very speacial for my son . please do not allow your passion to cast a shadow on a Gracious deed either .



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Richard Humphries

posted July 7, 2007 at 6:45 pm


i would like to add that the recent hardened policies of the Immigration Services to raid, detain and deport undocumentd workers is close to Facist Germany’s Gestapo. They are detaining and deporting parents with the children, who are citizens, separated and put into foster homes. I thought the family unit was the core of society and civilization.
If the Undocumented worker is the biggest threat to the Country, why don’t we raid all the slaughter houses in Omaho and get rid of them by the thousands at a single seep? We can do without meat!!
Three knocks at the door and you dissapear forever.
Richard Humphries



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Pat

posted July 7, 2007 at 8:53 pm


Mick, I just met with my Congressperson this morning. She is working hard to stop the Iraq War. Bush is the obstacle as are some of the Republican Congressmen. I, also, asked her to sign Rep. Dennis Kucinich petition to Impeach Dick Cheney for crimes against the nation. I would add George W. Bush to the Impeachment issue. It is Congresses duty to Impeach these war criminals(Bush and Cheney). Mick, I support the right of your son to not go to war in Iraq. There are organizations that will support him. I am sure that he can find one around his base or contact Veterans for Peace or Iraqi Veterans against the War. There is no reason for Mick’s son or anyone else’s to join the ranks of the war criminals if they go to Iraq. You can’t be a Christian be in the military. Peace to you.



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William Wallis

posted July 8, 2007 at 12:00 am


“She is working hard to stop the Iraq War.”
She’s gonna get al Qaeda to stop blowing people up?



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Moderatelad

posted July 8, 2007 at 12:14 am


Posted by: Annie (UK) | July 7, 2007 4:30 PM
Or are American lives of more value in the eyes of God ?
All lives are valued and I did not put one over the other when I offered to pray for Mick’s son. We have just established a small group that pray for our service men and women by name each of us takes one day a week. I find it very offensive that you would blast – chastize me on something so basic to my faith. Your snyde remark…enough said – have a good ‘whateever’ you want to have.
later -
.



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kevin s.

posted July 8, 2007 at 12:31 am


“Facist Germany’s Gestapo.”
The Facist Gestapo: Brought to you by Neutrogena…
” why don’t we raid all the slaughter houses in Omaho”
Cause nobody knows where it is.
“You can’t be a Christian be in the military.”
WOW! And what of the Roman Centurion?
“What about praying for the women and children in Iraq being raped and murdered by Coalition Forces”
What?



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kevin s.

posted July 8, 2007 at 12:48 am


“Memo to other non-Australians: Kevin was joking. After you’ve visited Uluru, Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney, and listened to some ordinary Aussie blokes in small towns, you’ll laugh too.”
Don’t forget the Ningaloo Reef and Rottnest Island. Yes I was joking. Glad you picked up on that. My experience in Australia was that there is a lot that Australians resent about America, but also a lot they could learn.
My jaw dropped the first time someone referred to the bridge used in a game of pool as a “faggot”. I wrote an essay on the fact that Australia seems conflicted between their political and social attitudes toward civil rights (the former being about three decades ahead of the latter).
By the same token, Australia is not the melting pot that America is, so the unintended bigorty is understandable (if not commendabel). The evolution is inevitable, so why force it, or tsk-tsk those undergoing the process?
In terms of civil engineering and city planning, Australia is far ahead of the curve, and America could learn a lot about how to balance governmental planning with individual liberty.
All of which is to say that the relationship between America and other nations ought to be reciprocal. I often confront the attitude that Americans are simply uncultured troglodytes. But stereotypes flow both ways.
Netball still sucks, though.



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DHFabian

posted July 8, 2007 at 3:17 pm


America’s Ideals?
“We have to step out of this charity model, and as nonprofits, we have to start being involved in the political discourse. Hunger’s not about food.”
- Robert Egger, anti-hunger activist, founder of D.C. Central Kitchen, and recent recipient of the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award. (Source: The Washington Post)
=======
Actually, yes, it is. That’s where all efforts to ease poverty have to start. Hungry children can’t learn. The homeless have little chance of securing work without first having a home to live in, a way to get to work, a job to get to, and the legitimate skills training needed to secure a family-supporting job…none of which can even begin until we tackle hunger. That’s a primary reason that we need a legitimate welfare system that includes a level of humanitarian aid that at least brings p[eople up to the poverty line.
We—the public and the govt—sometimes discuss the long-term needs of those in poverty, and that’s important. The problem is, our welfare repeal policies exclude short-term needs, regards poverty as a “behavior issue” (i.e., having nothing to do with illness, family circumstances, corporations outsourcing our jobs to foreign countries, etc., etc.), uses punitive measures as a disincentive to being poor (???), and makes no allowances for the real life situations. Welfare repeal policies are a simplistic, one-size-fits all agenda that has devastated lives, torn families apart, and has played a vital role in creating the dramatic social inequities we see today.
How is it that we can understand providing basic aid (food, shelter, medical care) to individuals in foreign countries, but not to Americans? I suspect the reason is that we might have to admit that there is something very wrong with our intensely competitive, “winner takes all” socio-economic system. It’s much easier to simply blame the poor, considering them to be mentally or morally inferior by choice, not our responsibility.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 8, 2007 at 3:30 pm


Pat in my neck of the woods there is a 1st Lt. Ehren Watada who is being court martialed for doing just that , refusing to go to Iraq . The first trial ended in a mis trial . He went to two local liberal churches and gave presentations .
One of the churches also showed a movie called Loose Change which depicts America and Bush as particpating in 9/11 , that American CIA insiders actually planned the attack . Their web site also calls out for Justice as this web site does .
I am not sure if he offered to give back his compensation for the free schooling he received , but what bothers me , and I believe the majority of people, also those against this war , is he is making another person go in his place .
Giving up so many of our take for granted freedoms is one of the reasons I never joined the military myself , and it is also why I respect those in the military so much . They are willing to give up so much that we take for granted . They do things they do not want to and they are willing to lay down their lives to protect us .
. Your view the war is wrong is shared by most of us , but just like the person who donates money to a sham televangelist , does not God look upon the giver as a good thing , God judges the heart of the giver , not the fact the money given was to a bogus charity .
Consider supporting the hearts of these men and women ,
,
I would be very interested in other Christians who lean on the left side of the political compass if they support having churches show movies that depict America in a conspiracy on 9/11 or support speakers coming to your church that advocate what Pat here is saying .
I live in a very liberal area , in a state that leans quite far to the left . Its one of the things that use to make me think liberal Christians were not to be taken seriously, the fact is Pat people who draw conclussions that Liberal Chruches advocate what you are saying makes you look irresponsible . Christians indeed can join the military , and many of them cling to God while they are Iraq right now serving America . We should be praying for them . Shame on you .



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Reed Miller

posted July 8, 2007 at 5:18 pm


“Separate Church and State? No; Jesus Said Baptize The Nations”
Many Christians and others today wonder what role religion, if any, should have on politics and the government in the United States? Should Christians integrate their ways into law? Or, should national laws be kept totally separate from Christian principles?
The answer is this: Jesus said at the end of Matthew for his disciples to go forth and “baptize all nations,” causing them to become believers and followers of his way.
However, it is clear that Jesus was not talking about spreading the same Constantinian Christianity that later was adopted by the Roman Emperor Constantine, and used to justify war-making and executions. Jesus instead taught that we should “love our enemies,” “turn the other cheek” when provoked, and “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” His way was not Constantine’s way, nor the way of many right-wing oriented churches today. Jesus taught that law and justice were to “Love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself.” He preached pacifism and merciful justice.
Even when Jesus was asked to judge a woman who had committed the sin of adultery, a sin requiring death under Moses’ law, Jesus told the crowd gathering to kill her to “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He saved her life, and then simply asked her to sin no more after doing so (John 8).
Christians should try to baptize the nations, but with pure water. Dirty water (evil teachings, such as Constantinian teachings) will not cleanse citizens so that they can express love to each other and to other nations. A Constantinian Christian baptism is one done with tainted water because it does not teach pacifism, merciful justice, and the rejection of materialism, as well as the rejection of the survival of the fittest doctrine supported by deterministic philosophies and religions. Constantinian Christianity accepts the sugar (the good things Jesus can deliver) in Jesus medicine but not the antedote (Jesus’ teachings) to treat our sinful behavior.
This baptism of nations means our government should be cleansed of evil laws, and other nations should be asked to do the same. Law should be based on the Golden Rule and merciful justice, as Jesus based the community following him upon. He asked us to build our house upon the Rock – his teachings. An example would be how he preached that rich men could rarely get into Heaven, and should sell what they have and give to the poor. We should not be hording materials, therefore.
When John the Baptist baptized, it is recorded that he focused on two things: the need for personal repentance in each person before the person can do God’s work; and the fact that the Kingdom of Heaven was coming soon. These two things should be focused on again. Jesus did not force anyone to say he was the Christ, but gave them the option to believe it. In this way, Jesus’ Kingdom was not deterministic. Deterministic kingdoms and nations argue their type of society is the best and use the sword to force others to obey their wishes. Jesus did not use force to get anyone to believe him, as this would make his kingdom like other earthly kingdoms. Instead, Jesus exuded love and loving miracles to gather followers. We should tell all nations this is what to exude to other nations. Jesus also encouraged his followers to baptize, and said that the way into the Kingdom of Heaven was through the baptismal waters and the then following acceptance of the Holy Spirit (God’s fire) to guide one’s life.
Jesus’ teachings are the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Sprit also is how God speaks to us so that we use logic and love to overcome our animalistic natures and desires.
Jesus was interested, as was John the Baptist, in having humans renounce their animalistic body and ways (with its accompanying belief in survival of the fittest), and instead to accept and thrive under a spirit of love and logic, represented by fire (love thy neighbor as thyself). The cleansing of Holy Water was necessary to make the body clean before the Holy Spirit (God’s direction and fire) could enter. Jesus and John wanted man to reject the Beast (our animal being) and become a spirit-guided person (or essentially a spirit); hence, we call it being filled with the Holy Ghost.
However, when nations practice the survival of the fittest theory, it leads their people to practice this theory, and reject the law of the Son of God (Love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself). Nations teach those who will listen, and there is many, to fight and kill each other for material possessions. That is precisely why they need to be baptized with Jesus’ teachings and the 10 Commandments until they accept and practice every day the law “Love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Most nations currently do not seek to put God’s family back together. We all are children of Adam and Eve, but the nations and most individuals seek to tear the family apart for the benefit of a few. Nations need to renew their citizens in Holy Water and teach each individual to accept God’s Law, recognizing that all nations are part of the same family, and reject the survival of the fittest approach (or the “may the best man win” centered approach). Instead, it should be, “may we all help each other survive and love each other.”
The family was created under Adam, protected and renewed by Noah, who listened to the Holy Spirit in the midst of the water, and believed by Abraham, whose very name means “Father of Nations.” All nations are part of the same family through this tradition.
We must see that Jesus is the second Adam, although he is first-made, whose teachings must be obeyed to in order to restore peace and love in God’s family. The first Adam sinned and brought continuing sin to us all. Jesus can lift that sin when he is obeyed and his teachings are taught and spread.
All nations should be baptized and prepare for the coming of the second Adam, Jesus, to lead them all, and to judge them.
Remember, however, that Jesus dwelt with sinners in his day, and asked all people to forgive each other. Jesus is tolerant of others, and listens to their bad ideas and good, but encourages us to better ourselves.
I believe in my heart that people of different nations and different religions will be respected by Jesus, wherever he makes his appearance, and that peoples of the nations and other religions will be sought after for ideas of their own. A thinker like Jesus must realize there are good ideas to be had from all over the globe – from each and every nation and from each religion that upholds the Golden Rule and merciful justice. Why else did he tell the story of the Good Samaritan to the Jews? Jesus is similar to a leader in a jazz band; he sets the basic chord pattern and beat, and then allows individuals to improvise beautifully as long as they return to his basic chord pattern again and again (his teachings). In this way, nations can be baptized and still have their own customs and character. Jesus is not looking for us all to be monotone stones in a necklace, but a rainbow of colored jewels around a centerpiece offered by him.
As believers in the way, we can prepare by encouraging people and nations to become baptized, cleansing themselves and then including the teachings of the Son of God in their constitutions and legal documents. I feel that the ideas of other religions should be considered as well for these documents, so long as they follow the guideline from Jesus of the Golden Rule and merciful justice. A baptism, or washing of the nations, does not mean that all that makes up other nations and our own will need to be washed away. Instead, what is left behind will be made more beautiful when the teachings of Jesus adorn the nations.
I have said the United Stated should have a type of civil religion that no one can be forced to worship under, and no one should be forced to pass a test on to enter public office. I still feel this way. An informal civil religion would acknowledge God as we do in the Declaration of Independence, and that God gave us certain rights and duties, and make a set of statements about philosophical and religious ideas that are considered the most important to the nation. We have done this partially already in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, but I think it should be developed further so that our children learn some basic moral ideas in school and college, such as: the importance of the family; the idea that all humans are part of one family; the idea that justice should be defined as “Love correcting everything that stands against love” most ideally; and perhaps a list of what constitutes sins against the community in the United States; and the idea that the sins listed in the 10 Commandments are agreed upon by many other religions. Individuals could compare this civil religion against their own religious beliefs and obey what they want to obey. It is religious freedom, but it is religious freedom with education from religious figures and an open community dialogue. A lack of religious education and dialogue will lead to nations and individuals living without sound morals and making poor life decisions.
Some say Jesus is the Messiah. Most think he was at least a wonderful teacher. Let’s let him teach.



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Moderatelad

posted July 8, 2007 at 6:12 pm


Posted by: | July 7, 2007 3:47 PM
Love n Christ , Mick
Just to let you know that today one of the people I have prayed for from our church that was in Iraq has come back and will be leaving the service to attend college. Josh has become a wonderful young man, he and his family attend the same church as we do and my brother was bestman at his Dad wedding. Somewhere in my collection I have a picture of Josh at three months sleeping on my chest. he was so tiny and cute and I was thin – the years have not been good to one of us.
Will be pounding on heavens doors tomorrow for you son and about 20+ other service personnel.
Remember Mick – our Almight Father can take care of you child no matter if they are right beside you or half way around the world.
Peace to all -
.



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Anonymous

posted July 8, 2007 at 6:14 pm


“I would be very interested in other Christians who lean on the left side of the political compass if they support having churches show movies that depict America in a conspiracy on 9/11″
See “Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11″ by David Ray Griffin.



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kevin s.

posted July 8, 2007 at 6:45 pm


“He preached pacifism and merciful justice.”
I would argue that these two are mutually exclusive. Either way, Jesus did not speak to what nations may do when faced with a violent threat. Romans 13 does, and the Bible is the word of God. This does not mean that we must support a specific war effort, but only that we may do so.
“Even when Jesus was asked to judge a woman who had committed the sin of adultery, a sin requiring death under Moses’ law, Jesus told the crowd gathering to kill her to “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He saved her life, and then simply asked her to sin no more after doing so (John 8).”
It was not a gathering crowd, but rather Pharisees who were trying to trap Jesus. Of course, I don’t advocate killing adulterers, but this is poor support for the case for pacifism. For example, Matthew 8 tells us the story of the Roman Centurion. If pacifism lies at the center of Christ’s teaching, then he is curiously silent on the issue here.
“This baptism of nations means our government should be cleansed of evil laws, and other nations should be asked to do the same.”
We are bapitized as individuals, not as a national collective. You are committing an error of category here.
“An example would be how he preached that rich men could rarely get into Heaven, and should sell what they have and give to the poor. We should not be hording materials, therefore.”
Your latter point is correct. However, you miss part of what Christ says here, which is that everything is possible through grace.
“Jesus is tolerant of others, and listens to their bad ideas and good, but encourages us to better ourselves.”
Find me the reference where Jesus was tolerant of bad ideas. He was rather emphatically not tolerant of them.
“I believe in my heart that people of different nations and different religions will be respected by Jesus, wherever he makes his appearance, and that peoples of the nations and other religions will be sought after for ideas of their own.”
This runs counter to everything you said before. We are to obey Jesus’s teaching, unless we believe something else, and are therefore free to ignore them? That might be your opinion, but it does not find resonance in scripture.
“Why else did he tell the story of the Good Samaritan to the Jews?”
I have never heard this passage interpreted to mean that Christ accepts all religions. Perhaps you are saying that people of all backgrounds and cultures are free to embrace Christ. That is obviously true, and I doubt anyone would disagree. However, this passage was meant to convey, well, what I just wrote, not to embrace whatever religion people want to believe in. This is what I infer from your statement, perhaps incorrectly.
I have no qualms with your idea of civil religion. I would argue that it is what we have at present, more or less.



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Don

posted July 8, 2007 at 7:46 pm


“Netball still sucks, though.”
Kevin:
Don’t you also love that Vegemite!
Later,



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DanT

posted July 8, 2007 at 11:36 pm


“Separate Church and State? No; Jesus Said Baptize The Nations”
I would have to say that this whole posting by Reed is a very selective approach to what Jesus taught. It includes what you agree with and excludes what you disagree with.
First let me start with some biblical perspectives, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the same God of the Old & New Testaments. That means God who is completely holy and cannot stand sin and who will execute violent judgment on those that disobey Him as he did in both the Old & New Testaments which included genocide. This same God is also the one who pursues us in love when He sent Jesus to experience this violent judgment in our place for those who will repent of their sin and trust Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.
Secondly, before our world began, Satan rebelled against God and thus began the war of good and evil. There is true evil in this world and it affects this world. Eph. 6. Diplomacy and being nice will not make evil people nice. Those who practice radical Islam (please note the adjective radical) are evil and desire to conquer by force the western world because of its Christian heritage and they desire to have Islam dominate the world. They do not believe in co-existence of multiple religions.
Thirdly, God is sovereign over history from beginning to end. It is His story that He has written and bringing to pass. I see His most likely plan of change in the Middle East is for a revival either through conversions or immigration from another country (Korea, US, China???) of Christians who are then slaughtered by jihads as they give praise to God. That complete trust in God and belief that they are important to a much larger story is what will change hearts.
Finally, Jesus tells us that the way to eternal destruction is wide and many will follow it, but narrow is the gate to eternal life and only a few will find it. Why God has chosen to bring me through this gate I have no idea, but I will give him glory because He has.
I know this post does not directly relate to the reflections of July 4th, but I found these fundamental truths of the Bible being ignored by many posters in favor of contemporary political rhetoric from both camps. What we need to pray for in addition to the safety of our troops and civilians is for the Holy Spirit to bring revival. It is God who is able to overcome evil, not man.



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Tristan Black

posted July 9, 2007 at 8:36 am


With calling ourselves Christian, there is great responsibility. Especially in these two topics mainly talked about in this blog.
Should we allow people to come across our borders to live in a country they call home only for a time? I don’t want to stereotype anyone. Most people when they think of Illegal Immigrants they think of Mexicans. To be completely honest, it’s a mixture of people and not just mexicans who “invade” our borders. And the reason I use invade is because God IS a god of Order and not of Chaos. God has stated in the Bible that He alone has established the kings of this world. Therefore we have to look at this situation through the eyes of God. He established George Washington, through to George W. Bush. It’s not about weither GW is good or evil, it is weither we as Americans follow the rule of law or are we disobedient to that law? Illegal Immigrants aren’t US/American Citizen’s so “rights” have no use in this sense. As a prisoner who has broken the laws should also be revoked of citizenship as being an American. The reason I say this is because they have broken the law of what they as “citizens” should uphold. If people of the US don’t want to participate in being a citizen of this country then they deserve no rights to be one. This is not judging the disobedient people and saying they are scum or they this or that, it just means they don’t want to follow the laws given to them so they must leave. And find a country which laws they can abide by. Citizenship is seen by most as a right, but it is more so a privilege. And that is what our Forefathers saw it as and that’s why they fought so hard to ensure that we as American’s today had that right or freedom to choose to be American’s.
So is it right to steal? Most would say “Of course not!”, Is it right to enter a house uninvited? Most would say, “Of course it isn’t”. Then is it right to enter a country that you have not lawfully entered? Is this not the same as entering a house illegally? Police say that this is “Breaking & Entering or B&E” which is a punishable offense. So why is entering a country any less of a punishable offense?
But I digress into logic and most take this as an emotional debate, which it really isn’t. Yes these people may be starving in their country. And we as Christians are to help them as much as possible. But unfortunately we have laws to follow ourselves and if we are to live in this country we must abide by it’s laws. This was actually set up back in the days of Moses. When a foreigner entered into Israel to live they would have to take on the laws as if they were Israeli as well.
Just to quickly answer the question on “We stole this country from the Indians…” Actually we didn’t. The first place that we can to land at was deserved by the Indians because of war and pestilence. And another note is Indians were Nomadic, meaning they moved from one place to another and called no place their “home”. They owned nothing, but they lived off the land.
Yes I agree there were attrocities dealt out during these times and all throughout history. At some point though you must ask yourself, will I let the past create my future, or will I create the future and leave the past where it lays. I don’t believe anyone has to apologize for something someone else has done no matter the skin color or race. But we try to make better decisions and learn from the past so we don’t repeat it…which unfortunately we have not learned and therefore we are repeating it.
Should we pull our troops out? Is the next question that has been offered. Here is a scenario that is very difficult for Christians because most would say we shouldn’t have war and we should be a peaceful people all the time. Unfortunately this is untrue. In the Bible it states there is a time for everything and everything has it’s season, death and life, war and peace are two of those stated. If we could live in peace with each other now, Jesus wouldn’t need to return, but our nature is fallen. We can’t do this by ourselves.
Part of a scenario is this, we pull out of Iraq completely. Al Quaeda comes to our doorstep and starts to fight on our soil. The people are distraught and blame the government because they lead them to our soil. Then we play the blame game and nothing gets done and more people die. Just imagine, 3,000+ people have died in Iraq…Now the above scenario plays out and 30,000 people die in the first invasion attack. Which is better? I know war is cruel and callous, but sometimes it is a necessary thing to do. And when you do it don’t do it lightly as our government unfortunately has done so far. Go in, full force, bring the enemy to it’s knees and then once it knows it can’t win ask it to admit defeat. But to let civil people negotiate a war once it’s started and say, well you can shoot at this time of the day, but not this time, or you can carry a gun at this time and this place but not here only ends up killing more people.
War is meant to be fierce and violent and to break the resolution of the enemy so that they will think twice about attacking us again. But the way we are handling and doing this war at this present time will infact insight more violence and insight more enemy attacks on us, and on our soil. Because the enemy sees we are run by people that know nothing of war and how it is won.
Yes, I am a Christian, and I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. Yes, Jesus called for peace, but He also shows in Revelation that there is a need for war and soon there will be a final war and then peace for a time and then one more hurrah! and then we will live in peace forever and ever Amen. I love you all who are on this list, and it is so easy to command from the keyboard and not be on the frontlines. So I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of those fighting today and ask yourself if you would like to come home with your head held high (because you won.) or would you like to come home with your tail between your legs (because we didn’t have the stomach to finish what we started.)
Yes we created, Osama Bin Laden, yes we created Saddam Hussein…but does that give us the right to allow them to destroy a people just because they can? Does that give us the right to pretend to be impotent and unable to clean up our own messes? I stand next to Patrick Henry and say,”Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased by the blood of those that fought for our ideals and then to just let them go? Is that fair to those that gave their lives to free us from tyrrany only to be caught up in debates as to weither or not we’re worthy to try to help the world? I know we do bad things, but don’t all human beings make mistakes? Then why should we expect anyone in power and leadership roles not to make the same mistakes? Yes they have advisors, but they to make incalculable errors that they didn’t forsee. Do you know why this occurs? Because there is only one person, one being who can see the future in full. And that is God Almighty, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We unfortunately are only given a little bit of the picture to base our understanding, knowledge and wisdom on to make decisions that will affect more than just ourselves.
Put aside your Pride in thinking you know more than this person or that person and know that you have a god, the God of all gods, watching over you and guiding your movements toward a goal that He has set in stone and no man or beast can move His Path. God is God and we are not, so don’t try to play God.
Love all of you and hope you have a wonderful day/week/month/year. Amen!



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ian

posted July 9, 2007 at 8:50 am


memo to Kevin and Don: (1) Vegemite [a black salty yeast extract paste common in australia], like other regional foods, is an acquired taste; (2) my netball trophy is in a league of its own (and the story why i have one is for another time) (3) have you any comments on Australian Rules Football which is unsurpassed for fast, furious, fearless, and fantastic fun – and definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Which makes me ponder – why are regional food preferences, and localised sporting competitions, not used more as means of increasing international understanding?
Are they so overlain with the cultural values of a country that they become incomprehensible to others?
Are our values so affected by economic factors, that regional art, sport, and [processed] food are irrelevant to the majority of people?



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 9, 2007 at 8:58 am


DanT,
You have oversimplified.
We are all evil people. Even Western culture, despite our Constantinian heritage. What makes Radical Islam a threat is its marriage of religion to the state. It sanctions the use of force as a means for achieving religious solidarity. The Western tradition finally rid itself of this same fault in the adoption of constitutional limited governments with reliable sensible laws. The pinnacle was reached in Blackstone’s Commentary on the English Common Law which was read by enough Americans that de Toqueville would say later, “The Americans are all lawyers.” The Anabaptist and Leveller traditions brought over from Europe separated Church from State in such a way that liberty reigned.
Radical Islam is not capable of conquering the world. It imposes economic structures which limit the capacity for growth and sustenance. There is a reason many societies governed by Sharia law have low productivity and concentrated wealth.
The rest of the world also lives according to a pagan concept of time and law. Many see their lives as static and fatalistic. They don’t think there is anything they can do to improve their lot, indeed the law frequently prohibits it. They look to those who hold power over them in fear but also for their sustenance. This is worship.
We should not be surprised then, that there are frequent wars among these peoples who do not believe in expansion of wealth, but only in its redistribution by power. The varying packs of wolves will always fight for a greater portion of the sheep.
A mistake is made when we ally ourselves to one pack of wolves or another. We often do so in the name of the sheep, but it is really to the detriment of another flock. When we fought Hitler we doomed Stalin’s sheep. When we fought Japan we left many more to the whims of Chaiman Mao. Better to let the wolves fight each other, and if possible to rescue some of the sheep away from the dogfight.
But we must keep our own dogs leashed lest they go wild. When we encourage warmongering we pit our Labradors against Mastiffs. We ought not to be surprised when they become more violent and occasionally bite our children’s hands. When we let them tug too hard at the leash and pull us around by regulating our industries we should not be surprised when we fall down for trying to hold on to them. When they eat too much of our taxes in the name of social welfare we ought not to be surprised when the make messes and vomit on the rug, leaving the poor with little dignity and the taxpayer in regret.
We ought to work to limit the role of the state in every way. But first we must take up the responsibility for the least of these ourselves. It is the unique and exclusive role of the church. If we fail in it we ought not be surprised when the state assumes our responsibilities.
Again, Islamic power is no worse than the potential of pluralistic secular power. We must work to keep our own dogs tame.
Nathanael Snow



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Anonymous

posted July 9, 2007 at 4:58 pm


“memo to Kevin and Don: (1) Vegemite [a black salty yeast extract paste common in australia], like other regional foods, is an acquired taste;”
And owned by Phiilip Morris.
I was indifferent to it. The one thing I can’t abide is how you guys cook your bacon (American bacon). There’s cultural, and then there’s wrong.
I’ll give you Aussie Rules, but you can keep cricket. The hell with cricket.



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Anonymous

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:21 am


“God has stated in the Bible that He alone has established the kings of this world. Therefore we have to look at this situation through the eyes of God. He established George Washington, through to George W. Bush.” Tristan Black
King George of England would probably have had a problem with that statement. But hey, he was probably a heathen anyway and “our” interpretation was the right one. After all, we did win the revolutionary war, with a little help from the French.
“Illegal Immigrants aren’t US/American Citizen’s so “rights” have no use in this sense.” Tristan Black
The courts have consistently disagreed with the position that you are taking. The U.S. protects certain rights regardless of alienage. It has been a bedrock principle of our democracy.
“If people of the US don’t want to participate in being a citizen of this country then they deserve no rights to be one. This is not judging the disobedient people and saying they are scum or they this or that, it just means they don’t want to follow the laws given to them so they must leave. And find a country which laws they can abide by. Citizenship is seen by most as a right, but it is more so a privilege. And that is what our Forefathers saw it as and that’s why they fought so hard to ensure that we as American’s today had that right or freedom to choose to be American’s.” Tristan Black
Nice thought-not. Try squaring it with the constitution that confers citizenship by virtue of birth in the United States. It is not a privilege, it is a fundamental right. I’m glad that your view did not prevail and I would guess that the Amish and Mennonites are kind of glad too- I’m sure that they don’t participate in society at the level you would want them to in order to deserve the “privilege” of being a citizen.
“Yes we created, Osama Bin Laden, yes we created Saddam Hussein…but does that give us the right to allow them to destroy a people just because they can? Does that give us the right to pretend to be impotent and unable to clean up our own messes? I stand next to Patrick Henry and say,”Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” Tristan Black
If you believe that we created these monsters (and I do too) then maybe we should try the criminals in our midst who were instrumental in creating them. That would be a good starting point, no?
“I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of those fighting today and ask yourself if you would like to come home with your head held high (because you won.) or would you like to come home with your tail between your legs (because we didn’t have the stomach to finish what we started.)” Tristan Black
No, I would say “get my a_ _ out of this hellhole you fools.” I guess the bullets flying over my head and the “bombs bursting air” would kind of eclipse that whole “tail between my legs” thing. Maybe you’re just more of a John Wayne than me.



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