God's Politics

God's Politics


American Christians Should Listen to Christian Arabs /by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/

posted by God's Politics

Here are some key quotes from a Christianity Today interview with “Beirut-based journalist Rami Khouri, a Palestinian-Jordanian Christian. … An American citizen, he is editor-at-large of The Daily Star, the largest English-language newspaper in the Middle East. He is also director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.”

American Christians could look at Christian Palestinians or Christian Arabs as a potential window into the minds of millions of Muslim Arabs. You would find that what Christian Arabs are feeling is very similar to what Muslim Arabs are feeling. So the real issues at play, in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East, are not religious but political. People may call on their religious vocabulary and metaphors and iconography, but we should look beyond the surface manifestations of those religious symbols to the political realities.

I’d add some nuance to the somewhat categorical assertion that the “real issues” are “not religious but political”–at least some of the real issues are religious. But I will take every opportunity I can to relay the views of Middle Eastern Christians to their brothers and sisters in the U.S.
Khouri also makes some interesting observations on the role of the church–and all religious leaders–in resolving political conflicts:

Sometimes, it’s not just about getting the ear of politicians. Sometimes, the church needs to shame politicians. Go over their heads. The vast majority of people in the Middle East want the same thing. But the politicians are the problem in many ways. So it would be good if various religious leaderships together explored a way to make the moral values of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism more pertinent to the resolution of political conflict. Political leaders need to affirm the relevance of moral and faith values and somehow get them to underpin the political process and negotiations. One way to do that is to get these religious leaders together to explicitly talk about political issues.

This was exactly the goal of Sojourners’ participation in efforts to prevent war with Iran.
Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the Web editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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kathy adams

posted August 28, 2007 at 3:41 pm


I believe ,that Mr Ghram suckered a lot of sick,dying people out of money , by promising them a free power rag. along with donations,they should have used for food & medicine & transportation. Real Christian Leaders do not need suits that cost more than my mortage payments, nor do they need catillac’s to ride in.Jesus Christ, gave really free prayers



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Jay Cayce

posted August 28, 2007 at 4:34 pm


Mr Khouri’s idea of getting religious leaders together to talk about political issues is admirable, but how do they separate their religion from politics. In Islam the law is Sharia and in Christianity it’s the Bible. Also, there is not an agreement in either about those laws. Are we daydreaming? I hope not, but I’m not optimistic. In the U.S. you need go no further than the recent theocratic decision of the United States Supreme Court in refusing to hold that the life of the mother is above that of her unborn fetus.



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eileen fleming

posted August 28, 2007 at 4:35 pm


During one of my 5 trips to Israel Palestine since june 2005, this reporter was informed by a spokesperson for the Nazareth based SABEEL [Arabic for THE WAY] liberation theology center founded in Jerusalem, by the Anglican Rev. Naim Ateek, a 1948 refugee that “90% of all Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land NEVER even meet Palestinian Christians!”
In June 2005, I was in Jerusalem’s Notre Dame Cathedral for a satellite-linked interfaith conference for peace, moderated by Dan Rather from D.C.
Rev. Theodore Hessburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame began the evening with a pledge:
“The peace of the world begins in Jerusalem.”
Dr. Tsvia Walden, of the board of directors of the Peres Center and Geneva Initiative, offered a plan:
“There is a need for a third party in the negotiations that could enable both sides to trust each other. There are more people in this region interested in making concessions; they all want peace so desperately.”
The coordinator of World Bank emergency services to the PA, Rania Kharma, commented:
“We all need to be the bridges to our leaders and carry the message that only justice, equality, and human rights will bring peace. Give people justice, and they will reward you with peace.”
Sheik Imad Falouiji warned:
“Religions must go back to their origins. God commands us to love each other and live together. This Holy Land was given to all people. This land is on fire. There is an occupation that must be removed. The language of peace cannot succeed without justice for all.”
The bishop of Jerusalem, Rt. Rev. Riah Abu Assal, reminded the world:
“Peace is an act. Blessed are the peacemakers, not the peace talkers. Peace is possible in the Holy Land. The root cause for the lack of peace since 1967 is the occupation. For peace to make progress in the Middle East, we need to deal with the root cause. Religion was not meant to bring death. All those involved in searching for peace should commit themselves to work for justice and truth.”
I kept remembering President Bush’s second inaugural promise:
“In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without liberty…All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you.”
Doing Something on WAWA:
http://www.wearewideawake.org/



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Ngchen

posted August 28, 2007 at 5:35 pm


Jay Cayce wrote:
In the U.S. you need go no further than the recent theocratic decision of the United States Supreme Court in refusing to hold that the life of the mother is above that of her unborn fetus.
I’m not sure where I should begin with this comment. First, I don’t see how the life of the mother has to have a greater value than her unborn child’s life. Second, even if so, I don’t know what USSC decision you’re referring to. The one upholding the partial-birth abortion ban? IIRC that holding was narrow; namely that the ban is constitutional in general. If someone can truly show that the woman’s life is in danger and the only way to save her life is through partial-borth abortion, then they would still be able to file a lawsuit seeking an exemption. FWIW, Congress has found (rightly or wrongly) that such circumstances do not exist. Third, how does the weighing of the life of the fetus vs mother in any given way become “theocratic?” I don’t see it.



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N.M. Rod

posted August 28, 2007 at 5:42 pm


Sadly, many of our national actions have ended up making the situation for Christians in the Middle East dire.
If we would consider the brethren there first we could begin together to preach reconciliation to the other parties to the disputes. Our Christian unity could transcend the disputes by showing how culturally diverse people can love one another – and then the world will be moved by the power of proven possibilities.
Wrapping the flag around the cross, to the extent that we have Christian anti-abortion but pro-war ministries like Focus on the Family equating the deaths of U.S. soldiers who are killing other human beings, to the sacrifice Jesus made for all humanity on the cross, turns religion into primitive tribal militarism and the anti-Christ of the War Jesus. This does not honor the dead or wounded at all but instead dishonors the Prince of Peace without whom none of us, under arms or not, has any chance at salvation – and certainly not salvation through the “good works” of slaughtering humans, rather than faith.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 28, 2007 at 5:59 pm


In Islam the law is Sharia and in Christianity it’s the Bible. Also, there is not an agreement in either about those laws.
There actually is agreement in many cases, so much so that most Muslims voted for GWB in 2000. (Needless to say, that didn’t last.)



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sheila

posted August 28, 2007 at 7:04 pm


The fact that over 90% of christian pilgrims never meet their Christian brothers and sisters who live in the Holy Land speaks volumes .The faith of the Palestinian Christians shines out like the stars in the desert sky at night .
And God sees it.
The silence of the western churches is deafening .
Peace is a gift …the first.
How did we come to forget



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Donny

posted August 28, 2007 at 7:09 pm


“This was exactly the goal of Sojourners’ participation in efforts to prevent war with Iran.”
Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the Web editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.
\\\
Bull.
And you know it.
You “Sojouners” are nothing less than Liberal-Progressive secularists in sheeps clothing. Like Wallis who guides you, you are Democrat politicians in every sense of the words.
Do these Christian brothers in the Arab world know what you Sojouners promote?
I doubt it.
You aren’t for any de-escalation of any war in the middle-east. You are GOP and Bush-bashing Leftist politicians doing whatever it takes to get Democrats elected into rule over the American populace.
certainly a far cry, a very far cry, from “Christian values.”
Honesty should at least bear on this issue Ryan.



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Don

posted August 28, 2007 at 7:20 pm


I believe that the four major schools of law in Sunni Islam (the Maliki, the Hanafi, the Shafi’i, and the Hanbali) are in agreement on almost all fundamentals. The differences between them are more matters of emphasis in finer points of law or jurisprudence.
D



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Wolverine

posted August 28, 2007 at 11:52 pm


Sheila,
I agree with you that its a tragedy that there is so little interaction between Western Christians and Arab Christians. But I would hope for more of a dialogue. I would think we both could learn from each other.
Wolverine



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Amazon Creek

posted August 29, 2007 at 12:58 am


Hi Sheila and Wolverine!
Back from vacation and finally caught up on ALL my mounds of email. Didn’t know so much could accumulate in a week and a half.
You know…I’ve often thought that if I was ever going to take an overseas vacation- that would be part of what I’d like to do. Exactly that thing. Not just see famous sights – but meet with believers in other countries – and attend their fellowship and worship. Break bread with them.
Now that would really be experiencing a country in the terms relevant to you. You think?
I don’t think you’d come back the same. You’d be much changed. Probably we’d all come back for the better.
Getting late, gotta get going.



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N.M. Rod

posted August 29, 2007 at 1:07 am


I’m not sure why we have so many people who seem to make allegiance to a particular political party the litmus test for what they consider the validity of Christian belief.
For Christians, who to be called by His name ought to view all else in light of what He wants, to denounce others for not having enough allegiance to the GOP or for holding politicians who declaim a conservative bent accountable to His standards of leadership, is theologically, spiritually, philosophically and intellectually indefensible.
I say this as a person who considered oneself a conservative Christian for many years. But echoing Ronald Reagan about the Democratic Party he once belonged to, I haven’t so much left them as they’ve left me.
It has to give one pause to see so much evidence of hypocrisy – and outright violations of former conservative small-government precepts, along with significant corruption – among the GOP. Only a person without the integrity of their beliefs could not be horrified by so much of the compromises that have come to pass.
Moreover, a lot of what we’ve been told has quite frankly been deceitful manipulation of our good motives, what Reagan called “our better angels,” in addition to the many inevitable failures at the temptations of power.
Does this mean that suddenly one is an unthinking, card-carrying Democrat ready to swallow whole what other self-serving politicos might try foisting off on us insincerely?
By no means should it be that way.
We do need to challenge assumptions, though, and the Republicans no longer can have the presumption of standing sincerely with us – they really never should have been allowed to lull us into being made merchandise of by so many ungodly policies and tricked us into giving them so many “hail Marys” to cover misbehavior and hidden (from us) agendas.
The system we have is not one of unalloyed open democracy; its functioning has come to depend upon the existence of only two competing political entities, the dominance by any one which has proven unhealthy not only for the accountability of governance to those who govern, but to any higher ethical standards as well.
We need to reach out and not demonise our fellow human beings, but seek cooperation and the ability to learn from others even when they don’t see things just the way we do, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Independents – or even in the spirit of Jesus, seeking counsel from the disenfranchised, immigrants, unemployed, the ill, the brutalised, those poor and in prison, who are held to different standards, greater punishments, and less access to all the many economic and social resources available to many of us, the largely white and Middle Class American Christians.
No I haven’t forgotten the arrogance of Democrats pre-1994, nor the personal moral failings of the pre-Bush presidency. But if we expected, as I have to admit I did, that the culmination of Francis Schaeffer exhorting us to become involved in the political life of the nation would have been a triumph of moral ascendancy, we are indeed disappointed, and I’m personally disillusioned.
I think Christ is trying to tell us something about how seeking for political power, as He would not in His own example for us, would doom us to having dominion over all the kingdoms of this world, but at the expense of having to bow down before Satan.
And thereby losing our powerful and prophetic voice holding those who are called to public service accountable. When we identify so much with a political power, we have abdicated that role and substituted other standards. That’s why we can’t condemn torture, greed, bad stewardship, slavery or even abortion in any practical life-changing way – we became not only in the world but completely of it.
Let’s recapture our love for Christ and live it out for others.



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Robert Alu

posted August 29, 2007 at 1:52 am


“American Christians Should Listen to Christian Arabs” – Ryan Roderick Beiler
Hi all,
I am not an American, but see no reason whatsoever for the above statement not to receive wholehearted agreement.
But I have been reading comments to articles such as this one on this site for sometime now, and I know that, sadly, many posts in response to this will criticise the writer for being a ‘liberal, left, progressive, whatever’. Then others will come up saying ‘Christian right’ etc, etc, etc … Eventually the comments will cease being about the article and end up being about the Republicans and the Democrats. Wanna bet?
I used to be naive enough to imagine that people who are followers of Jesus Christ ought to have empathy, even if not compassion; a desire to hear others out, even if not a hunger for truth and an
attitude of gratefulness, you know, the realisation that whatever their lot all the glory belongs to God: ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ …
Yet here and elsewhere I cannot but notice that there are Christians who seem confident that their nationality, and possibly, religion, gives them a sort of ‘superiority’ (or at least they write as if this were so); to call people of other nationalities and religions names that suggest that they are lesser beings; to ignore evidence for the sake of arguments that support their prejudiced, bigotted premises … And so on …
In obedience to Christ American Christians should, of course, listen to Arab Christians and African Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Jews – and everyone. Actually ALL Christians should be listening to everyone everywhere. Apart from anything else even our worst enemies are made ‘in God’s image’. Now, wait a minute, should Christians have enemies, I forget?
I like what ‘God’s Politics’ says they are about -’an end to the monologue’. Most unfortunately, instead of having serious debate that would do justice to the articles that are posted here – most of them very thoughtful – some of us try to bring each other down.
It is refreshing to read the comments that are not adversarial, that attempt to address the issues closely without showing too much bias. One prays for more of these and less of the former kind. Tell me please Rick, Wolverine, someone, on which blogsite can I find serious issues debated seriously?
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you MUST love one another.” [Emphasis mine]. So says Jesus.
What say we?
May the Lord help us.
Shalom!
- Alu
Dar es Salaam



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 29, 2007 at 11:11 am


I’m not sure why we have so many people who seem to make allegiance to a particular political party the litmus test for what they consider the validity of Christian belief.
Simple. They lusted for cultural authority and didn’t care how they got it, even if doing so meant partnering with unbelievers.
It has to give one pause to see so much evidence of hypocrisy — and outright violations of former conservative small-government precepts, along with significant corruption — among the GOP. Only a person without the integrity of their beliefs could not be horrified by so much of the compromises that have come to pass.
With all due respect, that’s a bit naive. Modern conservatism was never so much about “small government” — that’s only how it was sold — as it was about building a de facto aristocracy run by and for elites, just the way it was before the Great Depression, many of its activists wanted to roll back the New Deal. That’s why the business community was so supportive of Reagan. Worse, it also reflexively opposed civil rights for African-Americans, with even Reagan taking a jab at Martin Luther King Jr. upon his assassination. (And then folks wonder why African-Americans vote against conservatives.)
And thereby losing our powerful and prophetic voice holding those who are called to public service accountable. When we identify so much with a political power, we have abdicated that role and substituted other standards. That’s why we can’t condemn torture, greed, bad stewardship, slavery or even abortion in any practical life-changing way — we became not only in the world but completely of it.
More than that, many Christians also went along with the anti-Clinton gossip machine without checking to see if any of those things he was accused of were true (most weren’t, as things turned out).
But that’s what happens when you live in a bubble and don’t talk to people with opposing views, who just might be right. GWB accusing the Democrats of “playing politics” in response to the Gonzales resignation — does he have a clue? And as far as talking to Arab Christians, there’s a guy who attends my church cell group, an ethnic Armenian who comes from Lebanon, with whom I talk about such things, and he noted that the culture is much different there and here. He has an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Pretty enlighening.



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eileen fleming

posted August 29, 2007 at 1:53 pm


Dear Alu
I greatly appreciate your insight and you are NOT naive but very correct when you wrote:
“to imagine that people who are followers of Jesus Christ ought to have empathy, even if not compassion; a desire to hear others out, even if not a hunger for truth and an attitude of gratefulness”
AMEN to that!!!
Gratitude is the ultimate expression of LOVE and if a Christian does not have compassion- which is what moved Jesus to perform miracles-they have missed the message he brought, and in 3 words that is:
“YOU MUST LOVE”
We don’t have to like; but love we must and if we want to be forgiven, we must also forgive those who have hurt us.
THNX Alu for quoting John 13:34
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you MUST love one another.” [Emphasis mine-me too!].
And I offer you another verse, which is NOT about married love, but about how we all should strive to love the ‘other’
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with THE TRUTH! It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.”-1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, [emphasis mine!]
Peace, Shalom and Salaam,
e
http://www.wearewideawake.org/



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Jedidiah Palosaari

posted August 29, 2007 at 5:50 pm


This is good; it raises many good points. But let us be careful in finding the heart of the Muslim world within Christian Arabs. Sadly, very many of them are extremely anti-Muslim, to the extent that they refuse to even use Muslim terms or actions, so that they can be distinct. It’s understandable – 1400 years of persecution will wear on a person. But it keeps them from being a truly open window on the Muslim world.



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 29, 2007 at 10:49 pm


Rick said
Modern conservatism was never so much about “small government” — that’s only how it was sold –
No that is the lies that left wing political activists use because they can not have an idea that is debated based on their own ideas . They have to hook anothers ideas up with a boogie man . They lack the intellectual honesty to debate ideas on their own merits .



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Mick Sheldon

posted August 29, 2007 at 11:04 pm


even Reagan taking a jab at Martin Luther King Jr. upon his assassination. (And then folks wonder why African-Americans vote against conservatives.)
Because they are sold on the need of government intervention , and that is a possible truth . But you would never know from the War on poverty and how it has helped as far as the African American family . You have to consider the family unit ordained by God to believe this .
, and I don’t think and of course you have forgotten the other reason African Americans have largely voted against conservatives by the members of the church , which membership is decreasing as quickly as married African American parents . The black church has joined hands with sin , self , and Mother Government , looks as two men having a loving relations as the same thing as not allowing a Black man access to a drinking fountain . Ronald Reagan would never disparage the name of civil rights and King the way the Liberal African American political leadership of today has . And the Black church has closed its eyes to sin , and have needs to repent .
But that’s what happens when you live in a bubble and don’t talk to people with opposing views, who just might be right.
Yep



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 30, 2007 at 10:56 am


No that is the lies that left wing political activists use because they can not have an idea that is debated based on their own ideas.
Mick — read the rest of my paragraph. Conservatism is losing now because people are realizing what I said is true (and it has nothing to with my saying it).
Ronald Reagan would never disparage the name of civil rights and King the way the Liberal African American political leadership of today has.
Well, Reagan did, in fact, disparage King. I would agree that much of today’s civil-rights leadership has merely traded on King’s name, but it has little authority in the black community anyway. BTW, if you hadn’t noticed, blacks are more “pro-life” and “anti-gay” than the general population. However, that still doesn’t explain African-Americans’ general distate for ideological conservatism — GOP candidates over the last three decades have struggled to reach a double-figure percentage of the black vote.



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N.M. Rod

posted August 30, 2007 at 12:11 pm


All this “left/right” shouting is so
irrelevant.
It’s so obviously just a bunch of condemning the beam in the other guy’s eye while avoiding your own.
Yet no matter what the topic, it deteriorates to that.
I hope the people doing this aren’t Christians, otherwise it could make Christianity look really bad.



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John Berg

posted August 30, 2007 at 3:55 pm


Opportunities abound for American Christians to meet in person with their Palestinian (and other Arabic-speaking) Christian brothers and sisters. But it seems that most church folks (including many Sojo readers) over here simply are unaware of such options — so may I suggest that one useful source of information about forthcoming journeys to Israel and Palestine that you may wish to check out is the following website: http://www.middleeastfellowship.org
Once there, you can learn about trips slated for the remainder of 2007 as well as next year, including the 2008 PALESTINE SUMMER ENCOUNTER in which you can live with a local host family, study Arabic, do volunteer service with one of over 20 local non-profit groups, and in general learn more about the whole Israel and Palestine context including visits to many Israeli and Arab agencies engaged in peacebuilding, reconciliation, justice and humanitarian initiatives. MEF will also be doing a similar program in Damascus next year in partnership with a network of indigenous Syrian Christians.



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eileen fleming

posted August 30, 2007 at 4:02 pm


The point of the article is: American Christians Should Listen to Christian Arabs
One who spoke to me on July 25, 2007 in the Little Town of Bethlehem, which is Occupied Territory was Reverend Dr. Mitri Raheb, who also captivated over forty international youth who attended Sabeel’s [http://sabeel.org] Second International Conference: 40 Years in the Wilderness…40 Years of Occupation…
Born in Bethlehem, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, has been the Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas church in Bethlehem since 1988. He is the General Director of the International Center of Bethlehem/ICB, which provides the people of occupied territory training in arts, crafts, training and degrees in media and communications and health and wellness programs for youth and the elderly.
Raheb spoke with passion, “People need to see the potential of Palestine and Palestinians come to this center to create facts on the ground; creative and cultural facts on the ground while Israel creates destructive facts on the ground.
“We are not spectators, we have a role to play…we are nonviolent but I have problems with nonviolence; people from abroad come here and give us sermons on nonviolence and I appreciate it, but why don’t they preach nonviolence to Israel and America?
“It’s a miracle that the Palestinians are so nonviolent in spite of the abuse we live with on a daily basis. If you lived here every day you would get fed up too. The world assumes it is the Palestinians who are the violent ones, but nonviolence is who we are. If you operate in a system of violence you will also be violent when you go home.
“Palestinians who throw stones; and many think that is ok, but I say why do that? One day you will throw stones at Palestinians too and that is exactly what happened in Gaza, but the reason is the occupation! Where do you think Hamas learned to torture? In Israeli prisons from their captors!
“There is no way to end the violence without first ending the occupation. Our Palestinian government was boycotted for a year and a half by America and the EU: this is violence! As long as the violence is exercised against us that is OK with the world. When the Presbyterians talked divestment the Zionist rose up and said ‘you can’t do that!’
“I started interfaith dialogue in 1985 because Christians should not be islands and you don’t dialogue just with yourself, you must dialogue with the other and the biggest temptation for the church is to stay within their walls and only be dedicated to their own members; which leads to a dead church. We are called to go out, and we do not just preach with words, people here are fed up with words; they hear one thing and see another with their eyes.
“They hear peace, peace, peace and for 85 years the politicians have been working for peace and the situation gets worse. Blair, and all the politicians are into PR for themselves; they do nothing for our situation. Blair got himself a good job marketing himself and he will come and go and Israel will continue building the wall, settlements and carving the West Bank into Swiss cheese; Israel gets the cheese and we Palestinians fall into the holes!
“Fifty million American dollars went to build the checkpoints to ‘make our lives easier’ we were told, but these checkpoints and terminals are not for people, they are for cattle!
“We have too much religion and it suffocates us! If God would speak today he would say, ‘I am fed up with your religion!’ The more religion there is; the less spirituality.
“During the Israeli invasion in 2002 when the Church of Nativity was occupied by the IDF and Palestinians were sheltered within, as an eyewitness I wrote 18 short stories that will keep you awake at night, in my book Bethlehem Besieged.
Immediately after Rev. Raheb spoke, I and my friend Daniel-who was born and lives in downtown Bethlehem-walked about a mile from the International Center to the nearly 60 year old Aida refugee camp, home to Palestinian Muslims who fled from their homes in 1948.
The rest of that story can be read on August 3, 2007 WAWA Blog http://www.wearewideawake.org/



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ONTAY

posted August 30, 2007 at 4:14 pm


Mick, you should do a little bit more research before you go off like that because Rick put you in your place. Sounds like your generalizing and not taking the facts into consideration. Fact is as an African-American, who knows his father and is a christian, we are generally against abortion and we are highly anti-gay. Get your facts straight homie. Now, what i will agree with is that the black church does need to hold its members more accountable. But so do whites, asians, and latinos for that matter. Whites are privileged and have been for a while. 50 years ago blacks couldn’t even drink from the same fountain yet alone get good jobs and go to any school they wanted so that’s not a fair start. people trip me out how they think things are equal when just 50 years ago most of the nation held racist attitudes towards blacks and most of those people are still alive. Yes blacks need to help themselves–for sure. but there’s a lot of responsibility that whites try to defer from–irrationally.



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N.M. Rod

posted August 30, 2007 at 9:24 pm


The biggest problem from the American “Christian” perspective is that in ancient terms, the word “Palestinian” comes from “Philistine.”
Now every Sunday Schooled child can recall the story of Israel vs. the Philistines, and the outcome of their underdog battle of the boy David against their gigantic evil champion, Goliath. And none of us formerly little alumni have forgotten the stories of how the Philistines were driven out by heroic Israel.
Sometime in the christianized past of our culture, the word “philistine” became synonymous with
a kind of great unwashed without good manners or discernment. A kind of unworthy people, if only a class rather than a discernible ethnic group.
I think that’s how a lot of people thought about Yasser Arafat!
Add to this mix a whole lot of required rethinking of Protestant and Catholic complicity with the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews perished at largely Christian hands.
(I blame the compromised Church’s failure to teach that Jesus commands us to love our enemies – for even if Christians in Europe misperceived Jews as enemies, they would have been conditioned to return good instead of evil and would have prevented genocide instead of being proponents and collaborators.)
This has caused Christians to recapture the prophecy, “Those who bless you [Jewish people] will be blessed, and those who curse you, accursed.” It understandably makes most of today’s Christians understandably reluctant to make criticism of Israel in regards to its approach to its enemies. (Ah, that word again – but if we truly fulfilled our mandate, we would have some moral weight to our Savior’s command to love one’s enemies.) And one must admit that influential Jewish voices will not be shy about rebuking anyone making even gentle criticism of Israel’s actions as Nazis, anti-semites, holocaust deniers or worse, a fate that no moral and sensitive person wants to endure.
Moreover, the return on its face seems to be a fulfillment of prophecy of the return of the Jews to the land given millenia ago, exciting hopes for a near return of the Messiah – to Christians, Jesus.
Anything that might be seen as mitigating Israel’s actions in fulfillment could be viewed as being in antagonism to the will of God Himself. Even violence that would be necessary to rebuild the Temple, by warfare against Islam and the Prophet seen as false religion, could be unfortunate but ultimately necessary – and could indeed with the atomic state of the world fulfill Armageddon. Sad, yes, but in God’s will inevitable and all tears will then be wiped away. The “Left Behind” series isn’t the originator of these ideas, but is a very popular expression of their hold on people’s thinking.
Now the confluence of these factors
seems almost insurmountable to being amenable to change. John Hagee grows in influence with his martialling holy military support for Israel, further annexation and deportation of all Palestinians – even denying such creatures to exist – and open calls for war against Iran. Senator Lieberman flatters the televangelist by comparing him to Moses – and finds Moses suffers in comparison to Hagee who he says commands a mightier army than the author of the Pentateuch! (I have to tell you, though I’m not Jewish, I find this highly offensive! It strikes me as the most supine form of pandering, but then the Senator is a politician after all, and one can’t fault him in his zealousness, if not his judgment, to sacrifice even his self-respect in furtherance of what he belives his people’s interests.) If I were Hagee, I would politely rebuke the Senator and decline the comparison. But tellingly as to the character of the megachurch pastor, he accepts it gracefully.
So what’s wrong with this picture?
The problem is the cornerstone, the stumbling-block who was rejected. He simply doesn’t allow this approach to be used in His name.
Recently, I viewed the BBC presentation, “Auschwitz.” During a discussion by film makers and prominent Jewish scholars, it was asked what lessons could be learned from the Holocaust. One person averred that there were NO lessons, for to try to make them out would mean that there was some sort of silver lining, and that he could not countenance. There was nothing good about it. God was not at Auschwitz.
(Or was he off sleeping, or maybe peeing, as Baal was purported to be when put to the test?)
There’s no silver lining, it’s true. The full horror is that human beings are capable of anything without restraint. The Christianity of the Lutherans and Catholics meant next to nothing. The Church failed completely. (I would say because of the failure to teach the Sermon on the Mount as relevant and binding, temporising along the slippery slope to Hell became entirely possible.)
There’s no qualitative difference in the humanity of Jews and Gentiles.
Jewish people are as fully capable of engaging in cycles of violence and justification in the same way as are we all.
Being victimised does not grant moral authority to victimise.
We all need to follow, or try to teach in love, reconciliation to Jew and Gentile alike, in service to all.
What really changed me, though, was coming to personally know a person who was Iranian and a lapsed Muslim, and his loving family, and experience the love they showed to us when our son became severely brain-injured in a hit-and-run accident that was never solved.
I could no longer countenance the assertion that I had believed somehow scriptural – that this person and his family were nothings to be disposed of according to hard interpretations of scripture, and which had only been possible by explaining away and making meaningless Jesus’ own prescriptions on how to heal that universal disease which fatally ails all of humanity.



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kevin s.

posted August 31, 2007 at 12:52 am


“Mick, you should do a little bit more research before you go off like that because Rick put you in your place”
To the extent that mere assertion can do so.
“Fact is as an African-American, who knows his father and is a christian, we are generally against abortion and we are highly anti-gay.”
Not with you votes, you aren’t. But yes, blacks have a problem with a particularly virulent strain homophobia of which you ought not be proud.
“people trip me out how they think things are equal when just 50 years ago most of the nation held racist attitudes towards blacks and most of those people are still alive. ”
What do you mean by “things”?



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jona bark

posted August 31, 2007 at 11:49 am


Apart from a few real off topic comments, this has been one of the best, most repectful, most interactive, informative, and thoughtful discussions so far. The realities of this part of the world are misrepresented in the media, and by many preachers, many Islamic leaders, and many Zionist thinkers. The potential power of a diverse interactive discussion among religious leaders and ordinary people is enormous.
One thing that scares many religious folk is the potential loss of “evil” belief systems and cultural groups . Are many religions addicted to fear and xenophobia as tools to control the thinking of their members?
What if God was a a universal force for peace, justice, compassion, and respect for the maker and the creation, a force permeating and central to all religions , uncontrollable by fear and hatred, the meek inheriting the earth?
Everybody’s arguing about the door. Let’s enter the house of love and live there , Let ther be pace on earth, and let it begin with me.



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Rick Nowlin

posted August 31, 2007 at 9:26 pm


Not with you votes, you aren’t.
That’s because many of the extreme right-wing people who are opposed to abortion and gay rights were also opposed to civil rights for African-Americans and, in fact, didn’t want to admit there was a race problem in this country!



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Sarasotakid

posted August 31, 2007 at 9:51 pm


“Not with you votes, you aren’t. But yes, blacks have a problem with a particularly virulent strain homophobia of which you ought not be proud.”
Is it worse than the homophobic postings on your blog, Kevin?



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kevin s.

posted September 1, 2007 at 12:29 am


“Is it worse than the homophobic postings on your blog, Kevin?”
Okay, I’ll bite. What are you talking about?



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Jerseykid

posted September 1, 2007 at 11:04 am


For example, your mocking of John Amaechi in your February 13, 2007 blog entry:
“TPWK: Wow… And you’re black too? I mean, African-gayomatic whatever..” Kevin Sawyer
I know…you will argue that it is not homophobia. As you would say…”whatever”. May not. Just nasty.



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kevin s.

posted September 1, 2007 at 12:04 pm


“For example, your mocking of John Amaechi in your February 13, 2007 blog entry:
“TPWK: Wow… And you’re black too? I mean, African-gayomatic whatever..” Kevin Sawyer
I know…you will argue that it is not homophobia. As you would say…”whatever”. May not. Just nasty.”
Of course, if you include Amaechi’s response, which is:
“I don’t think African-gayomatic is the accepted term, but yes I am black and gay.”
Then you get a bit better picture of whether I am being homophobic.
Here is the link to that interview.
http://theproblemwithkevin.blogspot.com/2007/02/interview-with-john-amaechi.html
First of all, and I would think this would be mind-bendingly obvious, the interview is apocryphal. Second, it is obviously intended as comedic.
My purpose was to paint the interviewer as embarassingly immature, in a bit of a parody of the breathless interview questions Amaechi was getting from reporters. As such, the interview is made to look like a clown, while Amaechi was calm and composed. Were it an example of homophobia, this would not have been the case.
And I think you know that. Usually, when someone anticipates a response, which is why you anticipate my response. I think Amaechi would actually be a great starting point for discussing homophobia within the black community, since he himself has experienced it and wrote about it.



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kevin s.

posted September 1, 2007 at 12:18 pm


Should have said: “Usually, when someone anticipates a response, they are aware that they are being unfair, which is why you anticipate my response.”



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payshun

posted September 1, 2007 at 12:57 pm


Mick,
No that is the lies that left wing political activists use because they can not have an idea that is debated based on their own ideas . They have to hook anothers ideas up with a boogie man . They lack the intellectual honesty to debate ideas on their own merits .
Me:
Cmon man you really don’t want to go there do you? Intellectual honesty in the conservative movement is a fairy tale. Just look at the war in Iraq if you doubt that. As a hardcore progressive hippy black man I can debate your ideas quite well and I do a great job if I do say so myself.
Kevin said:
Not with you votes, you aren’t. But yes, blacks have a problem with a particularly virulent strain homophobia of which you ought not be proud.
Me:
Talk about condescending. I don’t tell you that you should not be proud of the slaveowning father’s of this country. As a matter of fact I am sure you don’t pay too much attention to that. Not one of the three black men on this thread said it was a good thing. So your comment is a weak attempt at shaming us.
None of us are proud of the destructive anti-gay rhetoric and practice that exists in our ethnic group. But I would love to see you stand up for gays in the Republican party. When you start visiting Log Cabin republicans or invite gays into your home then you will have the integrity to tell any of us how we should or should not behave or think.
It’s your party that insists that they are abominations. It’s your party that created the homophobic Federal Marriage protection act. That was you and yours. I am sure you support it so that makes you a bit of a hypocrit when it comes to LGBTQ rights. Your political party is quite proud of its homophobia. I have yet to see you distance yourself from that.
Now back to the post, I have been blessed to have three Christians in my life from the region. One is Palestian the other two are Armenian. One of the greatest honors I have ever had was to unite my Palestian Christian brother w/ my Jewish brother and let God do the rest. I find myself listening to my Palestian, and Arabic Christians more because they actually know what they are talking about. I think if more Christians did that then we would know how to work in that part of the world better.
p



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Payshun

posted September 1, 2007 at 1:28 pm


Mick said:
Because they are sold on the need of government intervention , and that is a possible truth .
Me:
Not the need but the same treatment. We just want to be treated equally. In case you forgot this country has a long history of using the government and every other faculty to keep black people in subbordinate social, economic and spiritual position.
Mick:
But you would never know from the War on poverty and how it has helped as far as the African American family . You have to consider the family unit ordained by God to believe this .
Me:
What unit would that be Mick?
Mick said:
and I don’t think and of course you have forgotten the other reason African Americans have largely voted against conservatives by the members of the church , which membership is decreasing as quickly as married African American parents .
Me:
I love how you correlated the lack of unmarried black people w/ not voting for conservatives. Let me help you before you step further into the ish. The reason why so many black people vote against conservatives is because conservatives don’t believe in uplift for all groups. That’s why we vote against them. Not because our families are splintered.
Mick said:
The black church has joined hands with sin , self , and Mother Government , looks as two men having a loving relations as the same thing as not allowing a Black man access to a drinking fountain .
Me:
Yah and the white church has not. My whole point is to argue that the evangelical church in America is about as deep as a puddle. They lack the spiritual maturity, insight, wisdom, and love necessary to see real spiritual growth in it’s churches. Is that true for everyone? No but it’s true for far too many evangelicals. In case you have not noticed conservatives have wedded themselves to just as much sin as the black church. Look at the divorce rate or any number of sinful practices if you doubt that.
Mick said:
Ronald Reagan would never disparage the name of civil rights and King the way the Liberal African American political leadership of today has . And the Black church has closed its eyes to sin , and have needs to repent .
Me:
Actually Ronnie did disparage King so it’s kind of a mute point. I think the evangelical church needs to repent because if you think the black church is the only one that has closed it’s eyes to sin then you are the one that is blind.
p



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kevin s.

posted September 1, 2007 at 2:10 pm


“Talk about condescending. I don’t tell you that you should not be proud of the slaveowning father’s of this country”
I get similar comments all the time, and do not find them condescending.
“Not one of the three black men on this thread said it was a good thing. So your comment is a weak attempt at shaming us.”
Shaming you? Not at all. One poster said that blacks are generally anti-gay. I noted that there is a problem with homophobia of which he (not you) should not be proud. And I don’t think he is proud of it, which is why it was curious that he was using it to shame Moderatelad.
“When you start visiting Log Cabin republicans or invite gays into your home then you will have the integrity to tell any of us how we should or should not behave or think.”
I’m not telling you how to behave or think, and I do invite gays into my home (and, more tellingly, vice versa). Haven’t done much with the Log Cabin Republicans, though.
“It’s your party that created the homophobic Federal Marriage protection act.”
I disagree that the act is homophobic.
“That was you and yours.”
You are setting up the same false dichotomy for which Rick and ONTAY chided Moderatelad.
“I am sure you support it so that makes you a bit of a hypocrit when it comes to LGBTQ rights.”
The LGBTQ activist agenda is not about rights, but about power. I don’t see my opposition to their agenda as a function of homophobia at all.



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Payshun

posted September 1, 2007 at 2:26 pm


kevin said:
The LGBTQ activist agenda is not about rights, but about power. I don’t see my opposition to their agenda as a function of homophobia at all.
Me:
What power would that be? The power for the state to recognize their union and respect it the same as yours. I don’t see that as power. I don’t understand how you would.
K:
I disagree that the act is homophobic.
Me:
You would. Ask most gay people they would disagree.
K:
The LGBTQ activist agenda is not about rights, but about power. I don’t see my opposition to their agenda as a function of homophobia at all.
Me:
that’s not true. They just want to be protected by the same rights you have in your marriage.
K:
You are setting up the same false dichotomy for which Rick and ONTAY chided Moderatelad.
Me:
How is it false? Republicans are not too fond of Gay people. If you think homophobia is bad in the black community it’s no better than what’s going in your party.
p



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Payshun

posted September 1, 2007 at 2:46 pm


K said:
Shaming you? Not at all. One poster said that blacks are generally anti-gay. I noted that there is a problem with homophobia of which he (not you) should not be proud. And I don’t think he is proud of it, which is why it was curious that he was using it to shame Moderatelad.
Me:
Thanks for the clarification. One question if you saw that he was not proud of black homophobia why would you use it to shame him?
p



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kevin s.

posted September 1, 2007 at 4:06 pm


“What power would that be? The power for the state to recognize their union and respect it the same as yours. I don’t see that as power. I don’t understand how you would.”
That isn’t the only item on the agenda, though I would note that the right to marry is equally applied. Anyone may marry a member of the opposite gender, and none may marry the same gender. If this is about recognition, that is about power, not rights.
“You would. Ask most gay people they would disagree.”
They don’t get to define the term. Most straight people would disagree. If homophobia can simply refer to a stance on gay marriage, then the term loses a lot of its meaning. It is similar to saying that, because I oppose reparations for slavery, I am a racist. If the term applies in that situation, it becomes a toothles political term.
So this was not the homophobia I was talking about.
“Thanks for the clarification. One question if you saw that he was not proud of black homophobia why would you use it to shame him?”
I wasn’t trying to shame him either. I just thought it was a curious response to moderatelad’s argument. I get think the point was that black people tend to be socially conservative on a number of issues, and that this refutes what moderatelad was saying. However, he seemed to be (and I could be wrong) drawing on genuine homophobia to make his case (by using the term anti-gay).
If he wasn’t, then there was no reason for me to bring it up.
“Republicans are not too fond of Gay people. If you think homophobia is bad in the black community it’s no better than what’s going in your party.”
I disagree with this, and I think studies on the attitudes of blacks toward homosexuals bear this out. To the extent that Republicans are bigots, I am not proud of them. The dichotomy to which I refer was between blacks and those with conservative social values. Rick rightly pointed out that this is a false dichotomy, and you seem to want to reintroduce it.



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Jerseykid

posted September 1, 2007 at 5:23 pm


“I get similar comments all the time, and do not find them condescending.”
Wow you must frequent some pretty bitter people or is it just that your kind personality engenders such comments?
“I noted that there is a problem with homophobia of which he (not you) should not be proud.”
I was merely noting that your pointing out somebody else’s homophobia was somewhat ironic or hypocritical given your own record.
“To the extent that Republicans are bigots, I am not proud of them.”
Wow! Really? I didn’t know poor self esteem was one of your issues.



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Jerseykid

posted September 1, 2007 at 5:28 pm


Usually, when someone anticipates a response, they are aware that they are being unfair, which is why you anticipate my response.” Kevin
That is one way to spin it, Kevin. Another more objective way would be to recognize that you talk out of both sides of your mouth and will never concede that you were wrong.



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Jerseykid

posted September 1, 2007 at 5:32 pm


Of course, if you include Amaechi’s response, which is:
“I don’t think African-gayomatic is the accepted term, but yes I am black and gay.”
Then you get a bit better picture of whether I am being homophobic. Kevin S.
Utterly ludicrous in view of the fact that you wrote the whole nasty thing.



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kevin s.

posted September 1, 2007 at 6:19 pm


“Wow you must frequent some pretty bitter people or is it just that your kind personality engenders such comments?”
Oh, and your personality is a bed of roses. It is the substance of comments we see her all the time. As a white person, I am supposed to account for slavery. I am tied, by virtue of my ideology, to those who opposed the civil rights movement. It’s commonplace.
“I was merely noting that your pointing out somebody else’s homophobia was somewhat ironic or hypocritical given your own record.”
The caricature in the post isn’t even homophobic (though he is certainly dull and ignorant). Can you explain how the post can be considered homophobic, in light of my explanation? If I am homophobic, and this is compelling evidence of same, AND I go so far as to make homophobic posts on a publically available blog, why would I bother explaining myself?
“That is one way to spin it, Kevin. Another more objective way would be to recognize that you talk out of both sides of your mouth and will never concede that you were wrong.”
If the link you provided was damning evidence of my bigotry, you would not have attempted to poison the well by dismissing any explanation beforehand. You are acting very immaturely.
“Utterly ludicrous in view of the fact that you wrote the whole nasty thing.”
What’s nasty about it? A buffoon asks dumb questions, Amaechi humors them, then leaves in disgust. Do you have no concept of irony? Do you see where that might be funny? You are being utterly disingenuous here.



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Jersekid

posted September 1, 2007 at 6:24 pm


You are being utterly disingenuous here. Kevin S.
Res Ipsa Loquitor- the thing speaks for itself. I’ll consider the source and provide no further comment on this issue. See ya.



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kevin s.

posted September 1, 2007 at 6:41 pm


“Res Ipsa Loquitor- the thing speaks for itself. I’ll consider the source and provide no further comment on this issue. See ya.”
Something here certainly speaks for itself. However, comedy, particularly satire, cannot speak for itself. It requires interpretation by the reader. If taken at face value, it is impossible to draw accurate conclusions from it.
Again, for anyone interested, here is the link…
http://theproblemwithkevin.blogspot.com/2007/02/interview-with-john-amaechi.html
I think it’s funny, and I usually don’t think what I write is funny (I’m often accurate in that assessment, unfortunately).



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Payshun

posted September 1, 2007 at 7:28 pm


K:
That isn’t the only item on the agenda, though I would note that the right to marry is equally applied. Anyone may marry a member of the opposite gender, and none may marry the same gender. If this is about recognition, that is about power, not rights.
Me:
Uh wrong. It is about rights. It’s about making sure that people can choose their own destiny and their significant others are protected and treated equally by the state. Right now all the other priveleges that come w/ being married (tax breaks…) are not equally distributed for the LGBTQ community. That’s not right. Marriage can only loose it’s meaning when and if the people involved in said union decide it’s over.
You:
They don’t get to define the term. Most straight people would disagree. If homophobia can simply refer to a stance on gay marriage, then the term loses a lot of its meaning. It is similar to saying that, because I oppose reparations for slavery, I am a racist. If the term applies in that situation, it becomes a toothles political term.
Me:
Only for you and people that think like you. Marriage is the sacred union between two consenting adults. Gender should have little to say about that especially since people get married by the justice of the peace and not always w/n churches.
you:
They don’t get to define the term. Most straight people would disagree. If homophobia can simply refer to a stance on gay marriage, then the term loses a lot of its meaning. It is similar to saying that, because I oppose reparations for slavery, I am a racist. If the term applies in that situation, it becomes a toothles political term.
Me:
Yes they do when it comes to their individual relationships. Homophobia doesn’t loose it’s meaning because homophobia is the fear of homosexuality and that’s exactly what your stance is about. It’s a fear that gay marriage will destroy the sanctity of marriage. That’s fear hence the term homophobia.
You:
I disagree with this, and I think studies on the attitudes of blacks toward homosexuals bear this out. To the extent that Republicans are bigots, I am not proud of them. The dichotomy to which I refer was between blacks and those with conservative social values. Rick rightly pointed out that this is a false dichotomy, and you seem to want to reintroduce it.
Me:
How can I reintroduce something that is an accepted societal norm for a segment of the American population? I am merely stating something we agree w/. That there is a lot of homophobia in the community. It was not moderatelad either. It was Mick. Oh and it is just as salient w/n the Republican party. When was the last time an openly gay man served in the party? When was the last time the country knew about it?
p



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kevin s.

posted September 1, 2007 at 10:45 pm


“When was the last time an openly gay man served in the party? When was the last time the country knew about it?”
Rep. Kolbe was openly gay, and spoke at the convention in 2000. Of course, liberals are all into this weird thing where they stalk Republicans to discover if they are gay, because the Dailykos freakshow salivates at that sort of information.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 1, 2007 at 11:04 pm


Rep. Kolbe was openly gay, and spoke at the convention in 2000. Of course, liberals are all into this weird thing where they stalk Republicans to discover if they are gay, because the Dailykos freakshow salivates at that sort of information.
I respond with this: Ted Hoggard.



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kevin s.

posted September 2, 2007 at 12:20 am


“I respond with this: Ted Hoggard.”
I think you are referring to Haggard. Is this another point that “speaks for itself”, or are you going to explain?



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Payshun

posted September 2, 2007 at 1:37 am


Kev:
Rep. Kolbe was openly gay, and spoke at the convention in 2000. Of course, liberals are all into this weird thing where they stalk Republicans to discover if they are gay, because the Dailykos freakshow salivates at that sort of information.
Me:
We don’t stalk we just pay attention. If closetly gay republican man or woman spends their time attacking the rights of the LGBTQ community then they should be exposed. it’s hypocritical for them to practice same sex while finding new and exciting ways to discriminate against others that do the same.
Rep Kolbe is not exactly openly supported, not only that since when does the country know about him? He is not a face or name. I will give you something you all have had two gay members of the house. Even though I loathe the democratic party I have to give them credit. They tend to attract a lot more people from the queer community than you all do.
p



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kevin s.

posted September 2, 2007 at 12:24 pm


“We don’t stalk we just pay attention. If closetly gay republican man or woman spends their time attacking the rights of the LGBTQ community then they should be exposed. it’s hypocritical for them to practice same sex while finding new and exciting ways to discriminate against others that do the same.”
It’s not hypocritical at all. For one thing, men shouldn’t cheat on their wives with either gender, but there is nobody running around trying to expose all the congressman (on both sides of the aisle) who are cheating with women.
Nobody is finding “new and exciting ways to discriminate”. No Republican that I know of is calling for homosexuality to be banned. If you oppose gay marriage, and do not wish to marry someone of the same gender, and have made no effort to do so, then you are not a hypocrite.
I am not saying that homosexual behavior is right, but the notion that someone deserves to be followed around by de facto gossip columnists simply for being Republican is illogical. If the gay power groups were really about rights, they would certainly condemn this behavior. But they aren’t.
“Rep Kolbe is not exactly openly supported, not only that since when does the country know about him?”
That wasn’t the question you asked. How many gay Democrats congressmen does the country know about?
“Even though I loathe the democratic party I have to give them credit. They tend to attract a lot more people from the queer community than you all do.”
Great, they’re better at attracting those who flaunt God’s prinicples. Good for them. Most gay people tend to be for legal gay marriage (obviously) and pro-choice, which is going to put you in the liberal camp more often than not.



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Payshun

posted September 2, 2007 at 8:35 pm


Kevin said:
Great, they’re better at attracting those who flaunt God’s prinicples. Good for them. Most gay people tend to be for legal gay marriage (obviously) and pro-choice, which is going to put you in the liberal camp more often than not.
Me:
That last part of the comment gave me a good laugh.
Yah it will but I support gay marriage for my own reasons. It’s not like Republicans don’t flaunt God’s principles. I am green party hippy that recognizes no party in their right mind supports of all God’s principles. The corruption in the last congress and the greed in this one demonstrates that.
K:
I am not saying that homosexual behavior is right, but the notion that someone deserves to be followed around by de facto gossip columnists simply for being Republican is illogical. If the gay power groups were really about rights, they would certainly condemn this behavior. But they aren’t.
Me:
It’s not just for being republican. It’s about them using their status as a republican to discriminate against gay people all the while doing the same behavior. That’s hypocritical. They don’t out people that don’t discrimiante. They leave them alone.
K:
That wasn’t the question you asked. How many gay Democrats congressmen does the country know about?
Me:
Raymond Buckley
Barney Frank
Those are the only two I know about. But I am sure there are more and again that doesn’t really answer my second question does it?
You:
Nobody is finding “new and exciting ways to discriminate”. No Republican that I know of is calling for homosexuality to be banned. If you oppose gay marriage, and do not wish to marry someone of the same gender, and have made no effort to do so, then you are not a hypocrite.
Me:
yah they are because they are trying to deny equal recognition and the protections that come w/ it to gay people. That’s called discrimination.
That makes the closeted gay republicans that support the Federal Marriage Protection act hypocrites.
they don’t have to expose the cheating politicians that cheat on their wives. Those folks are usually fairly honest. They get exposed anyway. It’s the gay hypocritical discriminating ones that don’t.
p



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Payshun

posted September 2, 2007 at 8:40 pm


Many ultra conservative folks want to make sodomy illegal again. In case you did not know it used to be. There are a few states in the union where it still is.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodomy_laws
As you scroll down you will notice that most of the places where it is still illegal are of the mason dixon line.
p



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kevin s.

posted September 3, 2007 at 12:22 am


“It’s not like Republicans don’t flaunt God’s principles”
I am aware, but I don’t celebrate the fact.
“They don’t out people that don’t discrimiante. ”
Right, but being a Republican, by definition makes you discriminatory. Again, unless they are going off to Canada to marry someone of the same gender, they are not being hypocritical in being homosexuals.
I wish more Americans knew about Barney Frank, the dude who actually did what Mark Foley suggested he might do with Congressional pages.
Drunk driving is a bad thing. Worse, I think, than homosexual acts. I am fairly certain that the various elected Kennedys would oppose a national law legalizing drunk driving. I’m also fairly certain that they drink a whole hell of a lot. Are they hypocrites who ought to be follwed around? No, for the reason that praciticing homosexuals who oppose gay marriage ought not be followed around.
Of course, the Kennedys drink and drive plenty, and y’all love them for it, but that’s another matter.
It’s about politics. These groups know that the average American looks down upon those who engage in homosexual behavior. They are funded by those who want to see Republicans put out of power, BAMN. That such actions interfere with the right to conduct ones own private life means nothing to them, because it represents an opportunity to score a political victory.



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K.H.

posted September 3, 2007 at 10:42 am


Shame on both of you.



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Payshun

posted September 3, 2007 at 12:19 pm


Kevin:
It’s about politics. These groups know that the average American looks down upon those who engage in homosexual behavior. They are funded by those who want to see Republicans put out of power, BAMN. That such actions interfere with the right to conduct ones own private life means nothing to them, because it represents an opportunity to score a political victory.
Me:
Than you are really naive. We are not talking about scoring political points we are talking about human lives that are not covered by a partner’s insurance. We are talking about protecting children, and wills and other things like that. Political victory is only the icing on the cake better yet’s the appetizer in a large seven course meal. It’s a lot bigger than that and that is why we fight for it. We believe that everyone should have equal rights. It’s really that simple.
You:
Of course, the Kennedys drink and drive plenty, and y’all love them for it, but that’s another matter.
Me:
That’s just stupid. That would be like me saying you love Bush because he bombs innocents. You see how that sounds? I love the Kenedy’s for a bunch of different reasons none of them have anything to do w/ alcoholism.
p



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kevin s.

posted September 3, 2007 at 12:52 pm


“Shame on both of you.”
Huh? Payshun and myself? WHy?
“Than you are really naive. We are not talking about scoring political points we are talking about human lives that are not covered by a partner’s insurance.”
If anything, I’m overly cynical. But how can I not be cynical about political advocacy groups that literally follow people around in an attempt to prove they are gay? What if they are also attracted to the opposite gender and are ashamed of their behavior? What if it is a passing thing?
Everything in politics is about human lives. And different humans have different opinions about how politics should impact human lives. That’s why we have a House and Senate where elected officials who are paid to represent their consitutencies (and not their respective lifestyles) in the enactment of legislation.
“We believe that everyone should have equal rights. It’s really that simple.”
Everyone does not have equal rights in this country. Someone in Wisconsin has the right to puchase alcohol from a liquor store at 11 pm, while Minnesotan’s do not. Criminals do not have equal rights. So it isn’t that simple. I do not see an inherent right to marry someone of the same sex written in the Constitution. It isn’t there, so it isn’t that simple.
“That’s just stupid. That would be like me saying you love Bush because he bombs innocents. You see how that sounds?”
I was referring to the fact that it is considered almost impolite to reference the various transgressions of the Kennedy family. We are supposed to look at these lowlife, throw our hands in the air and say “oh, you guyyyyyyys…”
Nonetheless, they are hypocrites, right? And since this is about exposing hypocrisy in the name of “human lives”, why not expose (and thusly defeat) the Kennedy clan? Because they agree with your politics. So the rest is really fluff.



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Payshun

posted September 3, 2007 at 6:48 pm


Kevin:
I was referring to the fact that it is considered almost impolite to reference the various transgressions of the Kennedy family. We are supposed to look at these lowlife, throw our hands in the air and say “oh, you guyyyyyyys…”
Nonetheless, they are hypocrites, right? And since this is about exposing hypocrisy in the name of “human lives”, why not expose (and thusly defeat) the Kennedy clan? Because they agree with your politics. So the rest is really fluff.
Me:
By who Kevin? We know most of the bad stuff the Kennedy’s have done. We know about the alcoholism, the statutory rape… It seems that your point about exposing them has no basis because they are already exposed.
No the Kennedy’s only represent a portion of my politics. Quite honestly they don’t go far enough. They are democrats after all. But they are better than the Bush clan, I will give them that.
K:
Everyone does not have equal rights in this country. Someone in Wisconsin has the right to puchase alcohol from a liquor store at 11 pm, while Minnesotan’s do not. Criminals do not have equal rights. So it isn’t that simple. I do not see an inherent right to marry someone of the same sex written in the Constitution. It isn’t there, so it isn’t that simple.
Me:
So you really want to use this argument to justify discrimination? That was not a rhetorical question. I am curious.
Oh and political inferiority was part of the constitution for black people. As far as I am concerned the Constitution is a broken document full of all the failures and racism of the founding fathers. I am not saying it is not a binding or important document. It is but it’s also full of the very inequality I fight against. So I want to see that inequality gone.
I want to see gay couples, straight couples, all couples treated equally regardless of what it says in the constitution.
K:
If anything, I’m overly cynical. But how can I not be cynical about political advocacy groups that literally follow people around in an attempt to prove they are gay? What if they are also attracted to the opposite gender and are ashamed of their behavior? What if it is a passing thing?
Me:
Great questions then maybe they should focus their self hating defense mechanism (their homosexual behavior) on their private lives and leave the rest of LGBTQ community alone. There are other gay republicans that will not be outed because they don’t discriminate. Those that do will be. They can’t have it both ways.
You:
Everything in politics is about human lives. And different humans have different opinions about how politics should impact human lives. That’s why we have a House and Senate where elected officials who are paid to represent their consitutencies (and not their respective lifestyles) in the enactment of legislation.
Me:
Again w/ the naive thing. No congressman or senator is completely objective. Their human lives are what they use to bring in votes so they can keep their jobs. Since they are trying to get reelected that creates a conflict of interest in enacting fair and just legislation for a persecuted minority (The LGBTQ community.)
The lives of their partners are equal to ours.
p



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kevin s.

posted September 3, 2007 at 9:55 pm


“By who Kevin? We know most of the bad stuff the Kennedy’s have done. We know about the alcoholism, the statutory rape… It seems that your point about exposing them has no basis because they are already exposed.”
So they have been exposed as hypocrites, but nobody cares. Great.
“So you really want to use this argument to justify discrimination? That was not a rhetorical question. I am curious.”
No, because I do not find my viewpoint to be discriminatory. You may not marry your sister either. By your logic (not my logic, your logic) then someone who wishes to marry their sister but may not do so is the victim of discrimination.
This is not to compare the two, but rather to point to a flaw in your argument.
” As far as I am concerned the Constitution is a broken document full of all the failures and racism of the founding fathers.”
That’s what amendments are for. I think the Constitution is great.
“regardless of what it says in the constitution.”
This is honest of you, but profoundly problematic. On what basis, then, do they have any rights at all? In lieu of the Constitution, would you prefer theocracy? Monarchy? I am not interested in a hippie theology that dispenses with our constitution in favor of the civil rights fad of the day.
“No congressman or senator is completely objective. ”
Ah, so it is naive for me to expect congress to represent the people. Your comments suggest that you do not want them to represent the people when the people disagree with you. You would hand over the reigns of power to a certain subsect of elites, so long as those elites happen to agree with you. Suffice to say, that is not my vision of a representative democracy.
“The lives of their partners are equal to ours.”
Which has nothing to do with the discussion. They are free to marry someone of the opposite gender. That is the law, and it applies to everyone equally. You want to accommodate a different definition of marriage, essentially granting a new right.
Equality and discrimination arguments do not apply. You are, therefore, forced to defend this new right on its own terms.



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Robert Alu

posted September 4, 2007 at 12:52 am


Shalom!
I am not surprised (I did predict it) that many of the comments posted here have nothing to do with the article that, supposedly, generated them:
“American Christians Should Listen to Christian Arabs
/by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/”
But,
While I am not surprised, I do not understand; I am distressed, frustrated.
Why do we not pay a little attention?
Why do our comments portray so much ‘narcissism’?
How can we be salt and light if we are so determined to be ‘insular’?
Where is Christ in all the ‘one-upmanship’?
“American Christians Should Listen to Christian Arabs”???
Perhaps many of them should just start by listening to one another. Starting right here on God’s Politics.
- Alu
Dar es Salaam



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Payshun

posted September 4, 2007 at 1:46 am


Robert,
This is not purely about one up manship, at least not for me. This is about something greater. I can understand and empathize w/ your position but I don’t share it. I won’t apologize for standing up for the least of these. It really doesn’t matter what thread it’s in. I will protect their rights by almost any means necessary.
Kevin said:
Which has nothing to do with the discussion. They are free to marry someone of the opposite gender. That is the law, and it applies to everyone equally. You want to accommodate a different definition of marriage, essentially granting a new right.
Me:
that is not the law. That is the cultural norm. There is a difference. You see Kevin the definition of marriage has changed so much of the last few thousand years that it has almost lost most of it’s meaning. Not only that but having them marry people of the opposite gender destroys families. I don’t think it’s fair to put people in their that can’t live like that. Do you?
You:
Ah, so it is naive for me to expect congress to represent the people. Your comments suggest that you do not want them to represent the people when the people disagree with you. You would hand over the reigns of power to a certain subsect of elites, so long as those elites happen to agree with you. Suffice to say, that is not my vision of a representative democracy.
Me:
No it’s naive of you to assume that their own personal lives don’t impact and shape their politics or that they don’t use it to get elected. They don’t just purely represent the people. They also represent themselves.
You:
This is not to compare the two, but rather to point to a flaw in your argument.
Me:
well technically no it’s not a flaw in my argument because it’s easier for cousins (and by extention brothers and sisters) to get married than it is for a same sex couples. Contrary to myth relatives do get married. The same cannot be said for same sex couples (unless you are in MA or HA.)
You:
This is honest of you, but profoundly problematic. On what basis, then, do they have any rights at all? In lieu of the Constitution, would you prefer theocracy? Monarchy? I am not interested in a hippie theology that dispenses with our constitution in favor of the civil rights fad of the day.
Me:
Theocracies are bad. We have had enough of that. It did not work for ancient Israel and it won’t work for us now. One big correction- this is not a fad. In 50-100 years this will be a non issue same sex couples will be marrying the few remaining folks that think like you will be seen as fossils.
I am for the constitution, it’s just that it needs to be fixed to include all people. It has it just needs to be ammended to include the LGBTQ just like it needed to be ammended to include my people. Oh and the constitution has nothing to say about marriage.
You:
So they have been exposed as hypocrites, but nobody cares. Great.
Me:
People care and they were reprimanded. The Kennedy family is one of the most tragic families in recent American history.
You:
No, because I do not find my viewpoint to be discriminatory.
Me:
People in power rarely see how their beliefs, statements and ammendments are discriminatory. If someone decided who you could marry how would you feel?
p



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Robert Alu

posted September 4, 2007 at 9:42 am


Payshun,
I’m confused now. Really confused.
Please enlighten me … I can be terribly slow on the uptake.
Now,
When you say “This is about something greater”, what are you referring to?:
Kevin?
Yourself?
Republicans and Democrats?
Gays and Homophobia?
Black churches?
The American Constitution?
Senators and Congressmen?
Jesus Christ?
The Kennedy family?
What?
And when you say “I won’t apologize for standing up for the least of these” who are you referring to?
How are you standing up for them?
Sorry, I did say I was a bit slow …
But,
I’m trying to think, and that is hard right now, but, why would two people of the same sex want a ‘marriage’ that has the same status as people of different sexes?
If one wishes to have same sex marriages (whatever that means) given the same status under the American law and Constitution as the accepted, conventional, normal marriages have then I expect that they would have to go through due process, and, I suppose, in a democracy, the majority normally seem to have their way? Maybe they should get more people who agree with them elected to political office? Or are you thinking of some sort of ‘affirmative action’?
Oh well, I may understand one day, by and by, but, clearly, I am baffled. Tell me more. Why is this so important? What happens if the law remains the same? How do same sex relationships lose out?
This may be an issue here (across the world from you), but I doubt it. I mean, do we have gays and lesbians here? Most definitely?
Now lesbian and gay rights … That’s another matter.
- Alu
Dar es Salaam
God bless you!
- Alu



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Payshun

posted September 4, 2007 at 11:42 am


Good questions.
I am mainly defending the LGBTQ community but that extends to all people that are seen as outcast.
First i am standing up for them by saying what many of them think. I also just love people, feed them, hang out…
As for same sex marriage there are a lot of rights and entitlements that come w/ marriage that same sex couples don’t get. I personally don’t think the government should be in marriage at all but that’s a separate point. Since it is all couples should be protected by the same laws. Since there is no ammendment to the Constitution declaring what marriage is or how it should work then there is room to broaden the definition w/o destroying “traditional” marriage. As if same sex marriage could do that anyway.
The only people that can destroy a marriage are the people involved in that marriage.
p



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