God's Politics

God's Politics


What Happened to You, Mr. President? (by Jim Wallis)

posted by God's Politics

Dear Mr. President,


When I first heard that you were vowing to veto a bipartisan bill to expand child health care, my immediate thought was more personal than political: What has happened to you?


I vividly remember a call at the office, only one day after your election had been secured. It was an invitation to come to Austin to meet you and to discuss with a small group of religious leaders your vision for “faith-based initiatives” and your passion for doing something on poverty. I had not voted for you (which was no secret or surprise to your staff or to you), but you were reaching out to many of us in the faith community across the political spectrum who cared about poverty. I was impressed by that, and by the topic of the Austin meeting.


We all filed into a little Sunday school classroom at First Baptist, Austin. I had actually preached there before, and the pastor told me how puzzled he was that his “progressive” church was chosen for this meeting. You were reaching out. About 25 of us were sitting together chatting, not knowing what to expect, when you simply walked in without any great introduction. You sat down and told us you just wanted to listen to our concerns and ideas of how to really deal with poverty in America.


And you did listen, more than presidents often do. You asked us questions. One was, “How do I speak to the soul of America?” I remember answering that one by saying to focus on the children. Their plight is our shame and their promise is our future. Reach them and you reach our soul. You nodded in agreement. The conversation was rich and deep for an hour and a half.


Then when we officially broke, you moved around the room and talked with us one-on-one or in small groups for another hour. I could see your staff was anxious to whisk you away (you were in the middle of making cabinet appointments that week and there were key departments yet to fill). Yet you lingered and kept asking questions. I remember you asking me, Jim, I don’t understand poor people. I’ve never lived with poor people or been around poor people much. I don’t understand what they think and feel about a lot of things. I’m just a white Republican guy who doesn’t get it. How do I get it? I still recall the intense and sincere look on your face as you looked me right in the eyes and asked your heartfelt question. It was a moment of humility and candor that, frankly, we don’t often see with presidents.


I responded by saying that you had to listen to poor people themselves and pay attention to those who do live and work with the poor. It was a simple answer, but again you were nodding your head. I told my wife, Joy, also a clergyperson, about our conversation. Weeks later, we listened to your first inaugural address. When you said,

America, at its best, is compassionate. In the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent poverty is unworthy of our nation’s promise. And whatever our views of its cause, we can agree that children at risk are not at fault … many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do,

my wife poked me in the ribs and smiled. In fact, you talked more about poverty than any president had for a long time in his inaugural addresses—and I said so in a newspaper column afterward (much to the chagrin of Democratic friends). They also didn’t like the fact that I started going to other meetings at the White House with you or your staff about how to best do a “faith-based initiative,” or that some of my personal friends were appointed to lead and staff your new Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives at the White House. We brought many delegations of religious leaders, again from across the political spectrum, to meet with representatives of that office. Some of us hoped that something new might be in the air.


But that was a long time ago. We don’t hear much about that office or initiative anymore. Most of my friends have long left. I don’t hear about meetings now. And nobody speaks anymore about this new concept you named “compassionate conservatism.” And now, you promise to veto a strongly bipartisan measure to expand health insurance for low-income children. Most of your expressed objections to the bill have been vigorously refuted by Republican senators who helped craft the bill and support it passionately. They vow to try and override your veto. During your first campaign, you chided conservative House Republicans for tax and spending cuts accomplished on the backs of the poor. Now Congressional Republicans are chiding you.


What happened to you, Mr. President? The money needed for expanding health care to poor children in America is far less than the money that has been lost and wasted on corruption in Iraq. How have your priorities stayed so far from those children, whom you once agreed were so central to the soul of the nation? What do they need to do to get your attention again? You will be literally barraged by the religious community across the political spectrum this week, imploring you not to veto children’s health care. I would just ask you to take your mind back to a little meeting in a Baptist Sunday school classroom, not far away from where you grew up. Remember that day, what we all talked about, what was on your heart, and how much hope there was in the room. Mr. President, recall that day, take a breath, and say a prayer before you decide to turn away from the children who are so important to our nation’s soul and to yours.


God bless you,


Jim Wallis


Take action:


+ Click here to ask President Bush what happened to his “compassionate conservatism” – and urge that he sign this bill.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:40 pm


How have your priorities stayed so far from those children, whom you once agreed were so central to the soul of the nation?
Jim I watched the democrat debate last night and the comment was made that the next President if a democrat would refuse the honorary position as the leader of the Boy Scouts because they are a discriminatory organization .
I think you need to debate the issue of the fact that the government support that Bush has a problem with goes to families over the poverty level. Leave out the mush , and allow people to make up their own minds . Shame on you



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Historyguy

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:41 pm


What happened, indeed…
The easy answers are plentiful…the “War on Terror”, the downturn in the economy, etc., etc., etc. The real change of heart that has seemingly taken place is because our President is so completely isolated by his staff from the concerns of ordinary people. The ideologues who form his “brain trust” do not have the heart that Mr. Wallis describes during that first meeting.
September 11 may have changed everything, but trading butter for guns on this kind of scale is astounding, especially when such a huge portion of the nation is against this war. And now, we have Defense Secretary Gates asking for even more money to put down the black hole.
The President does need to go back to his heart and go back to his promises. Unfortunately, he has become so intransigent in recent years that I don’t see that happening. Too bad for our impoverished children and their families.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 3:01 pm


Jim I watched the democrat debate last night and the comment was made that the next President if a democrat would refuse the honorary position as the leader of the Boy Scouts because they are a discriminatory organization.
King of the non-sequitur, you are.



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Richard

posted September 27, 2007 at 3:12 pm


So much for compassionate conservatism.
In this, as in so many ways, W has revealed his true character, and it is not a pretty picture; and antithetical to the virtues of any of the world religions or philosophies of what the good ruler or virtuous man would be.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 27, 2007 at 3:39 pm


My Bible says that we should pray for our leaders, not follow them blindly over a cliff. My Bible says that we should forgive our enemies and let God punish them. This does not preclude acting in self-defense, but forbids striking out blindly in anger and fear.
Anyone can claim to be a born again Christian. That doesn’t necessarily make it so. Born again Christians do not resort to lies to start a war. Neither do they resort to torture to obtain information. They certainly do not declare their Lord and Savior to be the most influential “philosopher” in their lives. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20)
As for taxes, I cannot imagine how so many people have become convinced that we will all become rich if we just stop taxing the rich. If the rich won’t pay taxes and the poor can’t pay taxes, guess who gets stuck with the bill.
I am tired of being labeled as a “Bush hater” simply because I do not support his policies. My Bible says I should not hate anyone, but I most certainly am permitted to hate anything they may say or do that is contrary to the Word of God. The fact that I feel Bush and his supporters are clueless in their understanding of the Gospel of Christ doesn’t mean that I hate them. Rather, I pity them because I know just how disappointed they will be when all is said and done.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 27, 2007 at 3:46 pm


The point (for the dinosaurs that would bomb other cultures back to the Stone Age) is that there is no such thing as a “Compassionate Conservative” who believes that Jesus was a philosopher and that liberal is a dirty word.



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Kevin S.

posted September 27, 2007 at 3:55 pm


Even Orrin Hatch sees the light on the value of expanding SCHIP. The argument by Bush and by his hack Robert novak is that this is the opening to government-run health care for all. Well, if it is, bring it on. Almost every other industrialized country has it and it works just fine. It’s efficient, it’s fair and it works.



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Dave Bennett

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:05 pm


JCinSunnyLA
“My Bible says I should not hate anyone, but I most certainly am permitted to hate anything they may say or do that is contrary to the Word of God.”
First let me say, its not your Bible, its the Bible. How dare you try to assert possession over, as you call it, the “Word of God”. Its His word, be mindful of that. In the end, Christianity as a whole is not in posession of the “Word of God” we are in submission to it. Second, what is and is not contrary to the Word of God is not for you to decide on an arbitrary (or personal) level, what we reflect on within the Bible, can only ever be reflection–and it is important to remember that in light of our history of violence. The Crusades were launched because of what the “Word of God” said about sinners.
I mention this, not solely to appear as a scathing criticism but to comment on the satire that is the difference between interpreting the Bible and reading it. Somewhere in the process of looking at the lines on the page and processing them people believe that God speaks, and sometimes He does (albeit less than most will admit). But what we understand after we process it is not the voice of God, but our own inner-voice. A voice that shapes how we understand our life, mostly through our faith.
While you think that Bush is clueless in his understanding of the Bible, I think your clueless in your understanding of religion.



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Jeff

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:05 pm


Jim,
So a family of four making $80,000+ a year is poor?
Why not expand it to $100,000 a year for a family of four? Or better yet admit that this has nothing to do with poor children. How crass to use the poor as a cheap prop to advance your issues.
Jeff



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:08 pm


Whoops, this part got edited out somehow:
While you think that Bush is clueless in his understanding of the Bible, I think your clueless in your understanding of religion. I say this as a satire. This is a circle that could go on forever, someone else somewhere thinks I’m clueless about loyalty to a Christian brother, and another person thinks that person is clueless about hypocrisy, etc… in the end, it is pointless and demeaning (unlike Christ’s pointed meaningfulness).
Be careful of your accusations, it is more likely that Bush understands and ignores, or forgets, or doesn’t care, or is worried about something else (war). Which is a fatal flaw, and one that should not exist.



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Dave Bennett

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:08 pm


Whoops, this part got edited out somehow:
While you think that Bush is clueless in his understanding of the Bible, I think your clueless in your understanding of religion. I say this as a satire. This is a circle that could go on forever, someone else somewhere thinks I’m clueless about loyalty to a Christian brother, and another person thinks that person is clueless about hypocrisy, etc… in the end, it is pointless and demeaning (unlike Christ’s pointed meaningfulness).
Be careful of your accusations, it is more likely that Bush understands and ignores, or forgets, or doesn’t care, or is worried about something else (war). Which is a fatal flaw, and one that should not exist.



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Dick & C.C. Landis

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:51 pm


You are right Bush has changed from the Leader who spoke at the National Cathedral after 9/11 to the oil greedy war mongerer that leads a absolutely mad neocon group of corporate criminals. There are none so blind as those who will not see. And that applies to child killers like you who are for abortion. You also will be accountable and what a surprize that will be.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:56 pm


King of the non-sequitur, you are
If it was voted upon you be right there .



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Kevin S.

posted September 27, 2007 at 5:07 pm


Jeff, families in S. Carolina making $80k per year would not be eligible for FIP. Only families in a couple high-cost states, one of which is NY, and only at state option. Nobody said they were poor, at least according to the official definition (which is criticized as being an out of date tool for measuring poverty anyway). But that does not mean an $80,000-dollar-income family in certain parts of NY is not in need, or that a child’s health costs couldn’t put the family into a terrible situation.



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Kevin S.

posted September 27, 2007 at 5:08 pm


Whoops, meant to say “eligible for SCHIP.”



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N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 5:31 pm


I know families of five who make less than 27K and have no health insurance either private or public.
So much of everything that’s spouted on TV and radio (I assume that’s where these talking points come from) is just bilge.



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Russell

posted September 27, 2007 at 5:50 pm


Every time I hear an argument attacking the character of someone just because they are not supporting something that a blogger supports it really does not represent Jesus very well in my opinion. Just because Bush is vetoing this bill does not somehow mean he does not want to help kids in need or reduce poverty, it simply means that he does not think this particular policy is best for the country.
I am not a Bush supporter by an means, but him vetoing this bill does not mean that he does not care about kids in need. There are alot of holes in this bill.



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Anonymous

posted September 27, 2007 at 5:54 pm


first let’s see if the bill passes. then see if bush vetos it. then you can cry out with horror about how mean bush is. but hoopefully, reality is setting in on you, jim, and your sojo staff. as soon as you start seeing things as they are in “God’s Politics” and partisan politics you will certainly come to some different conclusions about your renewal christianity. i am also disappointed in bush. but i realize that all the congressmen and politicians that ‘represent’ us are prostitutes. doing favors for money and votes. concern about poverty and health are only issues for generating income and votes to the politician. a reinterpretation of what a christian should be doing or rewriting religious history or praying that the world will just get along is what makes liberals so vulnerable, unbelievable. combine that with the fact that the so called poverty level in this country is in such contrast with the rest of the world the idea of poor in this country escapes most voters. most voters are like most politicians, they are isolated from the poor problem thus, like bush, they can’t see the problem. so…no problem. accept the fact that the government is not going to address the problem of poor in america. start mobilizing churches to go into poor areas and do good work. like habitat, soup- kitchens. food shelfs etc. wake up jim it’s time to get going. waiting for your washington connections to do something iswasted time.



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Pikov

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:14 pm


We all love to say the Pledge of Allegiance, especially the “one nation, under God” part. Bah! The last 8 years have reconfirmed the many fault lines in America. (The first year after 9/11 was a temporary truce.) Throw out the religious veneer and admit the reality: the poor of America are needed to keep the wheels of our economy moving along to grow the wealth of those fortunate to be owners. The poor are simply the modern day slaves that are disposable for what ever industry needs them: retail, service, manufacturing, fundraising.
43 is doing nothing more that maintaining the status quo. Systemic change is needed all across the world. Until we realize that the value of human life has no price tag, we will always have people demeaning/ignoring/capitalizing the poor.
This legislation is not going to change the system. It will only delay in the inevitable.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:35 pm


If it was voted upon you be right there .
I’m not sure what you mean by this sentence, but I have a hunch. And if I’m correct on your meaning, you’re dead wrong & you don’t know me.



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neuro_nurse

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:56 pm


“My Bible says that we should pray for our leaders, not follow them blindly over a cliff.”
“First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2
IMO, we need to focus our prayers on verse 2.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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Jeff

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:56 pm


N.M. Rod,
“I know families of five who make less than 27K and have no health insurance either private or public.”
That is a problem. Maybe we should address that issue instead of the expanding Schip to families well above the poverty level. There is a disconnect between the appeal to help the poor and the reality of the Schip expansion bill.
Bush’s plan addresses covering those families, the plan he threatens to veto does not. These families will continue to go uninsured and the Dems will come back for more money expanding the program to richer people by once again using the poor as their cheap prop. That is what is really bilge.
Jeff
Jeff



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Anonymous

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:15 pm


but I have a hunch. And if I’m correct on your meaning, you’re dead wrong & you don’t know me.
Posted by: Kevin Wayne
You werer just elected of the non-sequitur



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Elizabeth

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:38 pm


I need help forming the words to speak to my church family. Last Sunday the minister said God ordained Bush to be president, not our votes. An elder said – it fits into the Presbyterian belief in predestination – it was all ready planned. I disagree I need help finding some words to use during the praise part of service. Something that might start with – Thank you God for….



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Jeff

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:51 pm


Elizabeth,
I think you should address this with the minister in person and not in the service. You risk taking the focus off of God and on to this issue. Worship is to important to let yourself be distracted.
Jeff



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:55 pm


Last Sunday the minister said God ordained Bush to be president, not our votes. An elder said – it fits into the Presbyterian belief in predestination – it was all ready planned.
Here’s something that you can come back with: Saddam Hussein. Adolf Hitler. Hugo Chavez. If Bush was ordained president, so also were these men ordained as “leaders.”



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neuro_nurse

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:03 pm


Here’s something that you can come back with: Saddam Hussein. Adolf Hitler. Hugo Chavez. If Bush was ordained president, so also were these men ordained as “leaders.”
and Bill Clinton – I’m sure they’d love to hear that one!



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canucklehead

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:04 pm


Even Orrin Hatch sees the light on the value of expanding SCHIP. The argument by Bush and by his hack Robert novak is that this is the opening to government-run health care for all. Well, if it is, bring it on. Almost every other industrialized country has it and it works just fine. It’s efficient, it’s fair and it works.
Posted by: Kevin S. | September 27, 2007 3:55 PM
Good on you, Kevin!
Did any of you, my fellow hypocrites, catch Oprah today? I saw it b/c I know my friend, Neuro Nurse, never misses and I want to be more like him. Michael Moore was on along w/ a spokeswoman for the Health Insurance industry – I thought it was a valuable dialogue.
And, for the record, I do believe it is the first time I have ever watched Oprah from start to finish since the days she used to file 45 second clips as a beat reporter at Channel 7-WLS in Chicago (circa: early 80s).



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canucklehead

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:14 pm


need help forming the words to speak to my church family. Last Sunday the minister said God ordained Bush to be president, not our votes. An elder said – it fits into the Presbyterian belief in predestination – it was all ready planned. I disagree I need help finding some words to use during the praise part of service. Something that might start with – Thank you God for….
Posted by: Elizabeth | September 27, 2007 7:38 PM
Elizabeth, how about something along the line of, “thank you God that in thine sovereignty thou didst foreordain that the tenure of the president of the United States be limited to two terms.”



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neuro_nurse

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:29 pm


canucklehead,
Are you a member of Oprah’s bookclub? You have a lot of catching-up to do!
“thank you God that in thine sovereignty thou didst foreordain that the tenure of the president of the United States be limited to two terms.”
Yeah, when bush 43 was elected I said in his defense, “How much damage can he do in 4 years?”
Can I have a little more sauce on my crow, please?



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Mark P (the Yank)

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:11 pm


For starters Jim, this is one of your best-written pieces I’ve yet read. Well done.
Bush may or may not be wrong, but let’s do remember that believing a certain method is the wrong way to help kids does not mean that you are against helping kids.
Take the extreme and non-comparable example to see the logic. You could say, “Kids are starving in Africa! Lets take one billion dollars, and send over 4 billion Twinkies!” I might have some reservations. You might then call me a heartless SOB who cares more about the money in my pocket and funding war than I do about saving starving kids.
Again, I am NOT comparing 4 billion twinkies to SCHIP. I will admit that I know next-to-nothing regarding the plan and thus will not comment on its feasibility or advisability.
The point is not commentary on how wise the plan is; rather, I am simply saying that Bush’s motives might be grounded in questions as to whether this is the right way to help children… rather than a blatant disregard for kids.
In my libertarian days I thought that Wal*Mart and corporations were the answer to most poverty problems. I was a capitalist who thought that the “market will solve.” I am now a recovering libertarian who is rather repulsed and depressed by his former views… I was foolish, naive, and completely wrong. But that doesn’t mean that I was callous and uncaring. My belief was not grounded in apathy or selfishness, but in a wrong view of reality, a distorted view of the source of the world’s problems, and therefore a mistaken understanding of the solution.
Bush could be wrong but not heartless.



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undisclosed

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:20 pm


Elizabeth:
Romans 13:1-7
1 peter 2:13-17
acts 4:18-31
acts 5:17-29



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Payshun

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:47 pm


Oprah was damn good. i had to switch back and forth between that and Chris Mathews. The dialogue needs to happen. It was good.
p



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Payshun

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:51 pm


Elizabeth,
As soon as you ask the question “did God ordain Bush?” Prepare for a backlash. It sounds like worship was tainted for you by that really stupid assertion. I am sorry to hear that. Know that God was grieved w/ you.
But don’t be afraid and ask the question in a loving but truthful way. You deserve an honest answer. It sounds like you have the wisdom to know when and where.
p



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TheOtherJames

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:11 pm


“Shame on you”
No shame on YOU for being dismissive and treating Jim Wallis’s hearfelt post as if it were nothing but a mushy emotional appeal. Even if some of the money goes to families over the poverty level, the poverty level is set so low in this country that it bears no rational relationship to actual poverty levels. Shame on you.
“Jim I watched the democrat debate last night and the comment was made that the next President if a democrat would refuse the honorary position as the leader of the Boy Scouts because they are a discriminatory organization.”
Who cares and what does that have to do with anyting?
“Even Orrin Hatch sees the light on the value of expanding SCHIP. The argument by Bush and by his hack Robert novak is that this is the opening to government-run health care for all. Well, if it is, bring it on. Almost every other industrialized country has it and it works just fine. It’s efficient, it’s fair and it works.” Posted by: Kevin S. |
Are there two Kevin S’s here? Wow!



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:44 pm


JCinSunnyLA
“My Bible says I should not hate anyone, but I most certainly am permitted to hate anything they may say or do that is contrary to the Word of God.”
________________________________________
First let me say, its not your Bible, its the Bible. How dare you try to assert possession over, as you call it, the “Word of God”. Its His word, be mindful of that. In the end, Christianity as a whole is not in posession of the “Word of God” we are in submission to it. Second, what is and is not contrary to the Word of God is not for you to decide on an arbitrary (or personal) level, what we reflect on within the Bible, can only ever be reflection–and it is important to remember that in light of our history of violence. The Crusades were launched because of what the “Word of God” said about sinners.
I mention this, not solely to appear as a scathing criticism but to comment on the satire that is the difference between interpreting the Bible and reading it. Somewhere in the process of looking at the lines on the page and processing them people believe that God speaks, and sometimes He does (albeit less than most will admit). But what we understand after we process it is not the voice of God, but our own inner-voice. A voice that shapes how we understand our life, mostly through our faith.
While you think that Bush is clueless in his understanding of the Bible, I think your clueless in your understanding of religion.
Be careful of your accusations, it is more likely that Bush understands and ignores, or forgets, or doesn’t care, or is worried about something else (war). Which is a fatal flaw, and one that should not exist.
Life is precarious friends, and by no means simple. Let us not make the mistake of assuming it is.
Jim, your words are heartfelt, I only wish that they are heard.
Thank you.
Posted by: Dave Bennett | September 27, 2007 4:05 PM
________________________________________
Dave:
Thank you for your kind words. I refer to MY Bible because I own one. There are so many THE Bibles out there that one hardly knows what to believe anymore. I never claimed to invent the Word of God. I only give credence to the words of the Son of God. Beware of trusting too much in your “inner voice”. The Son of Sam heard voices too—and just look where he ended up.
When it comes to religion, I understand this—it is the invention men who wish to promote their own idea of what they want God to be. That is why there are so many of them and so many versions of each one. Too many people play at religion when they should find the time to live by faith in something greater than us all. Too many people believe that God “needs” us more than we need Him. God never gave us “religion” per se. He gave us a way of life—and the Way, the Truth, and the Life is in Jesus Christ (who, by the way, was not a philosopher). Many supposedly “Born Again Christians” more resemble the “moral” authorities that put Jesus on the Cross. It’s a good thing for us all that He submitted to the will of His Father.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Jesus never asked us to conquer the world and hand over the “Keys to the Kingdom” when He returns. He asked us to conquer ourselves and tell the world how we did it. In other words, He asked us to preach and teach His Gospel—His Good News that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Somehow, I can’t believe that it will be freely accepted at the point of a gun. So what have we won?
As for health care, it would be a good idea to keep the helpless, hapless, and hopeless around long enough to learn about the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Peace and happiness to y’all who hear the call and are chosen to see what will always be in eternity.



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Blanche R

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:06 pm


I question what other law was added to this Bill. It is a shame that so much is included within each congressional/senate bill. There are at times when laws introduced do not have our best interest as a people in mind. These laws are then attached to a bill with a ‘good’ measure.
Which either ends up going back for revision or voted down not because the ‘good’ measure within the Bill, but some other law that should not had been attached in the first place.
I don’t think the whole story is being told to us about the SCHIP Bill.



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Dick Pierard

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:38 pm


Jim, old friend, I wish you had listened to the Baptists like me who said from the beginning that the “faith-based initiative” was a con job to get evangelicals to support Mr. Bush and his policies. I know he came off sounding so nice and pretty in his meeting with you and others, but you were betrayed. Remember how Richard Nixon was such sweetness and light for Billy Graham? When the government gets its sticky hands into religion, it will be the religious who end up losing. Separation of church and state is not the figment of an infidel’s imagination (W. A. Criswell) or something that is founding in the Soviet constitution of 1936, but a very precious principle that has enabled an unprecented level of religious liberty in our country. I would urge you to affirm it.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 28, 2007 at 12:52 am


Even Orrin Hatch sees the light on the value of expanding SCHIP.
Right , and so do I , but it is a compromise .
I was speaking to the fact I could see the other side ,it is strange in politics how others have to claim moral superiority in order to have a discussion . obviously Hatch had seen a problem also , and the compromise was good enough for him . But if that compromise had not been reached , Wallis would have stated he had turned away from children also . Nothign of the kind .
You don’t happen to see the problem with funds being distributed to people over a certain income level , and the problems in the future and unfairness that could cause . To claim Bush is turning away from children and hurting his soul as Wallis stated is shameless.



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Evan

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:42 am


Beautiful post Wallis. I really appreciate your wonderful input.
thanks



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kevin s.

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:49 am


“Are there two Kevin S’s here? Wow!”
Apparently so. Others have stolen my name before (including you, I suspect), but this one seems to be the real deal. I’m happy to switch monikers to avoid confusion.



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TheOtherJames

posted September 28, 2007 at 6:34 am


“Others have stolen my name before (including you, I suspect)”
I wouldn’t bother stealing your name. I could not even imagine that in using your name I could come near to the level of mean-spirited, asinine comments that you make- I’ll leave that to you.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 28, 2007 at 7:19 am


You don’t happen to see the problem with funds being distributed to people over a certain income level , and the problems in the future and unfairness that could cause . To claim Bush is turning away from children and hurting his soul as Wallis stated is shameless.
Posted by: Mick Sheldon | September 28, 2007 12:52 AM
Few people realize how much time and money is wasted in determining who “deserves” what in this “free” society–much to the detriment of us all. The rich don’t “deserve” good health any more than the poor, and the poor certainly need it more than the rich since they must earn their bread by the sweat of their brow and don’t have the luxury of “unearned income” to fall back on.



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itsme

posted September 28, 2007 at 8:53 am


To the “Democrats” (and STOP calling them Democratic, they’re not) it is all about Pederasty and teaching perversions be embraced by the children. The poor being the easiest to debauch.
See the proof here from the very first response JIM got:
“Jim I watched the democrat debate last night and the comment was made that the next President if a democrat would refuse the honorary position as the leader of the Boy Scouts because they are a discriminatory organization.”
The Democrats look at poor people as the next group of young bodies. Like king Bera of Sodom said to Abramham “Keep the treasure, just give the persons to me.” The pre-runner to Democrat lascivious licentiousness was Sodom’s politics and social scene.



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Kevin S.

posted September 28, 2007 at 9:25 am


One thing I’ve noticed is that when opponents of poverty-fighting programs sense that they are losing the debate, they immediately start throwing sexual red herrings (this time the Boy Scouts??). This has been the case since the 1980 presidential election, when the Moral Majority used sexual issues in order to help further Reagan’s agenda of privatization and military hawkishness. So here we go again.
I’m reading that Blackwater has taken some liberties (to put it mildly) in fulfilling their mercenary role in this “privatized” war, resulting in loss of life for many Iraqi civilians. Based on our experience with the torture issue, I predict we won’t hear a peep on this from the Christian Right, unless they explicitly come out in support of Blackwater.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 28, 2007 at 9:45 am


I have 2 questions for those supporting this and other welfare type programs:
1) Does Scripture give the task of caring of the poor to the government, or to the church?
2) Where in the US Constitution is the federal government given the authority to impliment welfare programs?
As the war on poverty is a dismal failure, perhaps we should rethink how we approach poverty.
And this SCHIP bill seems to give a program to people who can afford to get their own health insurance. $80k per year? That is way too high a limit. And raising the age of “children” to 25? Quite a bit excessive. Perhaps after the president veto’s this, the Democrats will rewrite this bill to reflect something more reasonable, instead of playing politics, and trying to score points against Bush. Maybe, if we are lucky, they will find a cure for this Bush derangement syndrom, and act in the best interest of the people, not the poll numbers.
Paul C. Quillman



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Moderatelad

posted September 28, 2007 at 10:29 am


One of the interestin item about this SCHIP bill is that the Dems’ want to finance the increase on an increase of the cigerette tax. So – where does the money come from when everyone has stopped smoking because they finally realize it is bad for their health?
just a thought -
Blessings -
.



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Garth

posted September 28, 2007 at 10:34 am


Paul,
No Democrat like Wallis is going to see a rational reply like yours. Socialists are driven by hedonistic totalitarianism. It is the only thing that drives them. They need to enslave the masses under their power and control. If a conservative Christian EVER spoke and wrote the way that Wallis does, the ACLU would hound them out of existence. Notice those pederasts leave him alone. This is all about inflicting a western european socialism on Americans. Which does NOT lead to Christian love entering society. It leads to legalized drugs, prostitution, porn, child porn and ubiquitous gay sex. Now, see why the Democrats need young people to be healthy.



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Payshun

posted September 28, 2007 at 10:42 am


“1) Does Scripture give the task of caring of the poor to the government, or to the church?”
Everywhere throughout the old testament beginning in part in Leviticus and the levitical codes for the priests, the immigrant and the criminal to Babylon w/ King Neb. You should really read your bible more it’s everywhere. For the prophets this is a huge issue. When I get back from work I will show the scriptures from that to back it up since you seem unaware. God doesn’t discriminate against people he wants all human endeavors to find a way to look out for the poor. My question to you is why don’t you want your government doing what God commands?
“2) Where in the US Constitution is the federal government given the authority to impliment welfare programs?”
Well that depends entirely on the Supreme Court to determine that one and since the Court is unfortunately stacked w/ conservatives it probably means that it won’t go far enough.
p



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babble on

posted September 28, 2007 at 11:28 am


>>>”Are there two Kevin S’s here? Wow!”
>>>”Apparently so…”
The last days be upon us, I tell yez!
I think the real Kevin S. just became Garth.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:26 pm


If we spend our tax money on health care, it won’t be available for unconstrained military adventures!
Now that is one way of restraining the vast hungry maw of Leviathan I hadn’t thought of.
And if some say the money’s wasted… well, nothing could be more wasteful than death and destruction with no point other than supposed economic gain for one segment of society – the transfer of vast sums to weapons manufacture.
It’s an old obstructionist trick to say you won’t pass something unless it’s perfect, when your real reason is you want nothing at all, and having that unattainable goal means nothing ever will be passed, just as was your aim.
Reduction of vast global military expenditures is a worthy small-government conservative financial goal, if not a neo-conservative one.
Instead of eviscerating public infrastructure, of which it could even be argued that health care falls under, supposedly to cut back on big government, but instead resulting in even greater expenditures via military bloat, this could be a good compromise that results in overall expenditure reduction and investment in our greatest resource, people.
I can’t trust the motives of the same people who want to “reform” the great imperfection of social security by “privatizing” it – the transfer of the funds of people who aren’t savvy investors or have reduced capacity to carry out their own affairs, transferred to Wall Street speculators. Hey, what would happen to Grandma’s care when it was invested in no-money-down mortgage derivatives or Enron pension funds? Too bad for her – that’s the beauty of the market, right, competition, the strong devour the weak and overall society grows stronger through Darwinian competition.



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Anonymous

posted September 28, 2007 at 2:30 pm


“Remember how Richard Nixon was such sweetness and light for Billy Graham?”
Some people, however, did immediately see that Nixon was a calculating man without imagination or mythos — namely Russell Kirk and, even more so, his wife Annette (who once said to Nixon in the oval office “So this is how you dine with the devil”)…
P, I find it interesting that many progressives will see Old Testament “state” poverty measures as evidence of God’s mandate to the government to help the poor… but are so eager to avoid the parts where God uses massive amounts of war and violence and slaughter to get His points across. I’m not saying this is you, and perhaps it’s an unfair stereotype, but it seems odd.



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Mark P (the Yank)

posted September 28, 2007 at 2:32 pm


^^My post.



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letjusticerolldown

posted September 28, 2007 at 3:14 pm


I personally would like an explanation of what happened with “compassionate conservatism.” Jim, were there accountability measures established between faith groups and the Whitehouse as to what would be accomplished, reporting back, etc. Why can’t the groups meeting with the Whitehouse obtain an answer to the question through the Faith-based office ( a real answer–not just a line)? Are you saying you have not received an answer, you don’t like the answer, or you haven’t asked?
Does this matter?
I seldom like written pieces that first project all kinds of meaning onto the support or non-support of particular pieces of legislation and simultaneously do not lay out the issues in the legislation.
Please clarify.



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Moderatelad

posted September 28, 2007 at 3:42 pm


Posted by: babble on | September 28, 2007 11:28 AM
I assure you that there is only one kevin s.
I had a beer with him not long ago and he is well read and versed in what he knows. I had a hard time keeping up with him on several issues.
Blessings -
.



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Kimberly

posted September 28, 2007 at 3:45 pm


I really enjoyed listening to Barak Obama at last year’s Sojourner’s conference. I was impressed and inspired by him.
That being said, I was deeply disappointed to find that he had failed to vote on this issue of child health insurance.
Do I support President Bush in vetoing the bill? No. I do not.
But I am possibly even less in support of the man who wants to fill the President’s shoes, yet can’t even go on record with an opinion expressed as a vote.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 28, 2007 at 4:20 pm


“1) Does Scripture give the task of caring of the poor to the government, or to the church?”
I would say it gives us the responsibility , but we are also part of the government . We are on our own conscience here ,
Our form of governemnt is founded on much different principles then Israel was also .
The problem I have with those who want their religion honored in government , say the left in this instance is the same folks want nothing with saying prayer in a public school or a graduation event , as to honor God is a violation of the Bible ? Man it must get God ticked , we want him to help feed the poor , but don’t tell Him Thanks or ask for Help . .
Also if you want vouchers for anything but a secular viewpoint forget , not with government . But if you twist your opinion into be God Given , well you can join this movement .



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Shane Vander Hart

posted September 28, 2007 at 4:46 pm


To echo Mick – it is the Church’s responsibility. SCHIP is just another way to enlarge our government. Here’s a thought – shrink government, cut taxes for everybody including the poor and increase people’s capacity to give to charitable organizations that can help people far more than the government can.
We have to stop looking to the government to solve our problems. According to the constitution there are two functions of the Federal Government – 1. Defense 2. Interstate Commerce. Not social services – that is the Church’s job and the Church did a great job of it until FDR and the New Deal expanded the role of the Federal Government.
SCHIP is just one step towards universal healthcare and we know how well that works for our friends in Canada, UK and Europe.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 28, 2007 at 5:14 pm


To the “Democrats” (and STOP calling them Democratic, they’re not) it is all about Pederasty and teaching perversions be embraced by the children. The poor being the easiest to debauch.
See the proof here from the very first response JIM got:
“Jim I watched the democrat debate last night and the comment was made that the next President if a democrat would refuse the honorary position as the leader of the Boy Scouts because they are a discriminatory organization.”
The Democrats look at poor people as the next group of young bodies. Like king Bera of Sodom said to Abramham “Keep the treasure, just give the persons to me.” The pre-runner to Democrat lascivious licentiousness was Sodom’s politics and social scene.
Posted by: itsme | September 28, 2007 8:53 AM
To itsme:
My God Be With Thee
Those who proclaim themselves to be
Are NOT ALWAYS WHAT YOU WISH to see
Of course, the Democrats view the world through Rose colored glasses
They will never see what asses they MAY be
In God’s Holy Plan
For All of MAN
KIND!
And just what is PEDRASTY?
Never mind! I just looked it up
And SHAME on you!
The Democrats may pander to those
who value their freedom to sin,
The Republicans pander to those
who feel they have no sin.
In the final anlysis, none of us will win
When we give in to our selfish whims
When we MUST rely on Him
Who died without pride
And nothing to hide.



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 28, 2007 at 5:25 pm


Sorry for the Typo!
None of US is perfect–don’cha Know?
That was pederasty:
The practice of engaging in
anal intercourse with a boy
Boy! Oh, Boy!!
What an annoying
Way to speak
Of today!!!



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JCinSunnyLA

posted September 28, 2007 at 5:55 pm


Remember how Richard Nixon was such sweetness and light for Billy Graham?”
Some people, however, did immediately see that Nixon was a calculating man without imagination or mythos — namely Russell Kirk and, even more so, his wife Annette (who once said to Nixon in the oval office “So this is how you dine with the devil”)…
P, I find it interesting that many progressives will see Old Testament “state” poverty measures as evidence of God’s mandate to the government to help the poor… but are so eager to avoid the parts where God uses massive amounts of war and violence and slaughter to get His points across. I’m not saying this is you, and perhaps it’s an unfair stereotype, but it seems odd.
Posted by: | September 28, 2007 2:30 PM
Posted by: Mark P (the Yank) | September 28, 2007 2:32 PM
Mark:
What can I say today?
But that we all must pray
For God’s Will Be Done
For All Time to Come
Just let it be true
For EVERYONE!
God DID—after all—create a theocracy of sorts
As Israel was chosen to bear the burden
Of bringing the word
Before we heard
The Word of God
How Odd!
That He would choose to live among us
The One Who brought us to life
And that He would give
US the Way to Live!



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neuro_nurse

posted September 28, 2007 at 6:40 pm


“To the “Democrats” (and STOP calling them Democratic, they’re not) it is all about Pederasty and teaching perversions be embraced by the children. The poor being the easiest to debauch.”
Well, I couldn’t find any statistics on sexual abuse by state, but I did find incidence of gonorrhea by state. The top six are:
(by 100,000 population)
Alabama 294.9
Georgia 276.1
Louisiana 287.2
Mississippi 391.5
North Carolina 259
South Carolina 307.8
(cdc.gov)
all of which went to bush in the 2004 election, and all but Louisiana have Republicans in both Senate seats.
Isn’t that the Bible Belt?



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Don

posted September 28, 2007 at 7:31 pm


Interesting, neuro_nurse.
Flannery O’Connor saw through the trappings of the Bible Belt back in the 1950s.
D



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Bill Samuel

posted September 28, 2007 at 7:47 pm


1. I personally believe Bush was sincere in seeking how he could be more responsive to the poor, in seeking to be sure all ethnic groups were considered in government programs, and even in the U.S. having “a more humble foreign policy” (one of his platforms in his first Presidential campaign). But he came under the influence of ideologues who mostly didn’t share these concerns, and after 9/11 they completely carried the day with him. I agree with Jim Wallis that we have a different President than the one who first took office in 2001 – and a much worse one at that.
2. We should not oversimplify. In fact, one of the White House arguments is that we need to focus resources on the truly poor. There is no argument about SCHIP in itself. Bush supports continuation of the program. The argument is about expanding it to cover children whose families have somewhat higher incomes than those now covered. So the debate is partly about how we define the poor. I myself see that families in this expanded income range have serious problems in covering the medical needs of their children if they are not covered by insurance, and so I believe the expansion to be helpful. But the opponents (I’m speaking of those who do support Bush’s proposal to continue funding the current SCHIP) are not maintaining that truly poor children should not receive government help to meet their medical needs. We shouldn’t demonize them by implying they take a position which in fact they don’t take. Caring for the poor is a Biblical imperative. So is having integrity in dealing with others (something politicians on both sides of this issue seem to be having some trouble with).



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Payshun

posted September 28, 2007 at 9:38 pm


Mark P said:
P, I find it interesting that many progressives will see Old Testament “state” poverty measures as evidence of God’s mandate to the government to help the poor… but are so eager to avoid the parts where God uses massive amounts of war and violence and slaughter to get His points across. I’m not saying this is you, and perhaps it’s an unfair stereotype, but it seems odd.
Me:
Well you need to hang out w/ more progressive Christians.*smiles* Many of us don’t ignore the brutality of what we saw in the old testament. We just decry it and see that God also meant mercy and that every violent act He initiated or allowed to happen was meant to make mercy and grace the goal.
There is also another view among some progressive Christians that the wars and violence in the old testament were purely man made. They were a reflection of man’s own greed and lust for power and had very little to do w/ God. I don’t share that for every war in the old testament but it is clear that may be the case for a few.
He knew the people of that time were bloody and nothing else could get through to them. It was all those wars and violence which led to so much destruction. Men don’t know when to stop but God does that’s why David could choose to see Jerusalem punished by the plague over letting man destroy it. That’s a great story that we should really pay attention to.
p



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TheOtherJames

posted September 28, 2007 at 10:28 pm


“I had a hard time keeping up with him on several issues.”
Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 28, 2007 at 11:41 pm


Paul:”1) Does Scripture give the task of caring of the poor to the government, or to the church?”
Payshun: Everywhere throughout the old testament beginning in part in Leviticus and the levitical codes for the priests, the immigrant and the criminal to Babylon w/ King Neb. You should really read your bible more it’s everywhere. For the prophets this is a huge issue. When I get back from work I will show the scriptures from that to back it up since you seem unaware.
Paul: I am aware that the OT law is very specific on how the poor are to be treated. But is that deligated to the civil magistrate, or are these laws spiritual in nature? Crimes like murder, rape, ect. are clearly for the civil magistrate. However, the gleaning laws are far more spiritual in nature. By that I mean that hunger is partially a physical need, and God has specific means by whih His people are to provide for those needs (SCHIP and other such laws are preditory on the poor, and therefore unBiblical, and should be rejected by the body of Christ). But those physical needs have a spiritual component, and the state is not in any way qualified or equiped to deal with that.
Payshun: God doesn’t discriminate against people he wants all human endeavors to find a way to look out for the poor.
Paul: God indeed does discriminate. Read Ephesians chapter 1, and Romans chapters 8-10. He commands His people to extend mercy and grace to those in need, and that is how the Gospel is preached. The government can’t do that.
Payshun: My question to you is why don’t you want your government doing what God commands?
Paul: Because welfare is not what God commands of the government. He commands the church to extend charity. Do you want the church to do the states job, and vise versa?
Paul: “2) Where in the US Constitution is the federal government given the authority to impliment welfare programs?”
Payshun: Well that depends entirely on the Supreme Court to determine that one and since the Court is unfortunately stacked w/ conservatives it probably means that it won’t go far enough.
Paul: Show me where in the Constitution that the federal government is allowed to hand out welfare? Having read it a few times, I could not seem to find it.



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Payshun

posted September 29, 2007 at 1:42 am


paul:
But those physical needs have a spiritual component, and the state is not in any way qualified or equiped to deal with that.
Me:
Never did I say they did either. That doesn’t mean the state should do nothing. The bible is clear in every culture whether spiritual issues or secular the state is used by God to feed people. If you doubt that then please ignore the story of Joseph. It had very little to do w/ spreading Yaweh worship it had to do w/ God saving the world thru Jospeh. There are other examples as well.
Your twisted understanding of the role of the church and the government should not get in the way of doing good where you can. Why would you wish to hinder the good work God can do thru the government?
You:
By that I mean that hunger is partially a physical need, and God has specific means by whih His people are to provide for those needs (SCHIP and other such laws are preditory on the poor, and therefore unBiblical, and should be rejected by the body of Christ).
Me:
Prove it. Why? Because you want the church to do a job it can’t? Logistically what you are asking the church to do it can’t. Do you like setting it up for failure?
You:
God indeed does discriminate. Read Ephesians chapter 1, and Romans chapters 8-10. He commands His people to extend mercy and grace to those in need, and that is how the Gospel is preached. The government can’t do that.
Me:
I will remember that when I read Jonah or this:
Isaiah 32:6
6For a fool speaks nonsense,
And his heart inclines toward wickedness:
To practice ungodliness and to speak error against the LORD,
To keep the hungry person unsatisfied
And to withhold drink from the thirsty.
You are right God does indeed discriminate when it comes to those that are his own. But he is also no respecter of persons and wants the nation’s governments to act justly. Ask Amos or Ezekiel about that one. When we don’t there will be judgement. It’s really that simple.
You:
Show me where in the Constitution that the federal government is allowed to hand out welfare? Having read it a few times, I could not seem to find it.
Me:
It doesn’t mean we should not do it. Will be known as a nation of compassion and grace or a nation of greed and selfishness? From your comment it sounds like the latter. I choose the former. Oh and we don’t need to the constitution to do good as a government and as a people. There are things that are good that we should do just because they are good to do, like feeding people.
How is Schip predatory on the poor?
p



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Payshun

posted September 29, 2007 at 1:45 am


Correction:
Oh and we don’t need the constitution to do good as a government and as a people. It lays the framework but it cannot meet all the legal needs we have now. There must be new laws that’s why welfare was and still is necessary. It’s charity and in some cases justice.
p



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TheOtherJames

posted September 29, 2007 at 7:19 am


“P, I find it interesting that many progressives will see Old Testament “state” poverty measures as evidence of God’s mandate to the government to help the poor… but are so eager to avoid the parts where God uses massive amounts of war and violence and slaughter to get His points across. I’m not saying this is you, and perhaps it’s an unfair stereotype, but it seems odd”
Are you saying that you would help the poor and slaughter your enemies to have strong Bibilical ethic? I’m not being mean here but this is a discussion that is long overdue. When people say they take the Bible is the infallible, inerrant word of God, how do they reconcile these very different concepts. Ultimately BOTH SIDES seem to pick and choose the verses that support their worldview and ethic- to the detriment of the other set of Bible passages. Hence both sides become relativistic pragmatists.
Is there a better way? I think so.
The God I serve does not command us to take revenge on our enemies. He is not pleased when we take actions that ignore the poor and result in the death of innocents (whether that be though abortion or military-executed bombings). When I read in Bible that God’s people went to go into villages and kill all men, women and children- I find those passages neither inspired nor of God.



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TheOtherJames

posted September 29, 2007 at 7:22 am


“Paul: Show me where in the Constitution that the federal government is allowed to hand out welfare? Having read it a few times, I could not seem to find it.”
In order to understand the constitution, the starting point is to read it. Then you turn to court decisions that interpret it.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 29, 2007 at 8:58 am


paul:
But those physical needs have a spiritual component, and the state is not in any way qualified or equiped to deal with that.
Payshun:
Never did I say they did either. That doesn’t mean the state should do nothing. The bible is clear in every culture whether spiritual issues or secular the state is used by God to feed people. If you doubt that then please ignore the story of Joseph. It had very little to do w/ spreading Yaweh worship it had to do w/ God saving the world thru Jospeh. There are other examples as well.
Paul:
The account of Joseph actually has very little to do with feeding people. It has far more with God providing for His chosen people, the rest of the known world did bennifit, but His primary motive was to keep His promise to Abraham, not feed the world.
Payshun:
Your twisted understanding of the role of the church and the government should not get in the way of doing good where you can. Why would you wish to hinder the good work God can do thru the government?
Paul:
Because Scripture does not give the care of the needs of the poor to the government. Scripture does not place the work of welfare to the state.
Hunger, need, and want are not simply physical needs, and in order to properly, and fully meet those needs, not only must the physical needs be met, but the spiritual needs as well, and to meet one without the other is a sin on the part of the state and the church. The state oversteps it’s Biblical mandate, and the sin of the church is in ignoring the poor, and not preaching the Gospel.
Paul:
By that I mean that hunger is partially a physical need, and God has specific means by whih His people are to provide for those needs (SCHIP and other such laws are preditory on the poor, and therefore unBiblical, and should be rejected by the body of Christ).
Payshun:
Prove it. Why? Because you want the church to do a job it can’t? Logistically what you are asking the church to do it can’t. Do you like setting it up for failure?
Paul
Wrong. The church has done this successfully through out history. One example I have been studying is Thomas Chalmbers in Scotland. At one point, the city of Edinburg was reduced to defunding it’s social services. Why? Because the church believed the Gospel. The church engaged the needs of the poor, and did, so successfully, that Scotland experiened an amazing revival.
There are other examples. TH
You:
God indeed does discriminate. Read Ephesians chapter 1, and Romans chapters 8-10. He commands His people to extend mercy and grace to those in need, and that is how the Gospel is preached. The government can’t do that.
Me:
I will remember that when I read Jonah or this:
Isaiah 32:6
6For a fool speaks nonsense,
And his heart inclines toward wickedness:
To practice ungodliness and to speak error against the LORD,
To keep the hungry person unsatisfied
And to withhold drink from the thirsty.
You are right God does indeed discriminate when it comes to those that are his own. But he is also no respecter of persons and wants the nation’s governments to act justly. Ask Amos or Ezekiel about that one. When we don’t there will be judgement. It’s really that simple.
You:
Show me where in the Constitution that the federal government is allowed to hand out welfare? Having read it a few times, I could not seem to find it.
Me:
It doesn’t mean we should not do it. Will be known as a nation of compassion and grace or a nation of greed and selfishness? From your comment it sounds like the latter. I choose the former. Oh and we don’t need to the constitution to do good as a government and as a people. There are things that are good that we should do just because they are good to do, like feeding people.
How is Schip predatory on the poor?
p
Posted by: Payshun | September 29, 2007 1:42 AM
Correction:
Oh and we don’t need the constitution to do good as a government and as a people. It lays the framework but it cannot meet all the legal needs we have now. There must be new laws that’s why welfare was and still is necessary. It’s charity and in some cases justice.
p
Posted by: | September 29, 2007 1:45 AM



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Jeff

posted September 29, 2007 at 9:02 am


I believe the bottom line is, the president and congress both have plans to help insure these kids. Since the president disagrees with the congress and Jim Wallis, the pres. is tagged as lacking compassion. Jim’s article is a hit piece. We need more honesty from SOJO on these issues. Like why they believe their plan is better. At that point we can have a beneficial discussion.
Jeff



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jesse

posted September 29, 2007 at 1:08 pm


Jeff,
Wallis is being completely honest here and fully addresses the criticisms of opponents of this legislation. He said: “Most of your expressed objections to the bill have been vigorously refuted by Republican senators who helped craft the bill and support it passionately.”
I had mixed feelings about this legislation, which appears to be more about creating middle class entitlements than helping poor kids without health insurance. But Wallis resolved these doubts when he said that some Republicans “vigorously refuted” Bush’s criticisms. That was all the argument I needed to hear.



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kevin s.

posted September 29, 2007 at 1:56 pm


Jesse,
That was very funny.
“In order to understand the constitution, the starting point is to read it. Then you turn to court decisions that interpret it.”
This reminds me of the scene from “Waiting for Guffman”, where Christopher Guest is arguing with Bob Balaban, the music director. Balaban wants the actors to learn the music, and Guest argues that they are going to learn it and then “unlearn it”, so why don’t the just go straight to the latter step?
While we’re on the topic, can you find me the court decision that says the United States is required to provide a public forum for a leader of another nation? You earlier chastised me on this point for failing to understand the first amendment.



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Anonymous

posted September 29, 2007 at 2:41 pm


How is Schip predatory on the poor?
p
Hi P ,
I would like to add an element that I see my wifes Christian Daycare. I have mentioned before of the lady that had to quit one of her jobs so she continue to receive medical aid for her kids . that is one way I would say governemtn indirectly hurts the poor , it promotes help for those in need , then abandons them before the on their way out of their hole , just when they they help the most .
Me
Perhaps that is one example of when compassion is given out by for justice’s sake , but given out by rules and regulations that do not allow justice to be done . In this issue , I would side with your view that this is a good program , but I don’t see it as an answer , and the flaws in it need to be addressed .



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 29, 2007 at 2:43 pm


That was me , sorry .



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TheOtherJames

posted September 29, 2007 at 4:17 pm


“This reminds me of the scene from “Waiting for Guffman”, where Christopher Guest is arguing with Bob Balaban, the music director. Balaban wants the actors to learn the music, and Guest argues that they are going to learn it and then “unlearn it”, so why don’t the just go straight to the latter step?”
Your comment seems to deride the judicial role in interpreting the constitution. Do you have a better system given that the Constitution does not address every scenario and does require interpretation? I certainly would not want all of that power vested in the executive branch or the legislative branch. And your next question proves my point exactly as to why a little reading and learning (and yes, abstraction) is required in order to handle these issues. Read below:
“While we’re on the topic, can you find me the court decision that says the United States is required to provide a public forum for a leader of another nation? You earlier chastised me on this point for failing to understand the first amendment.”
I didn’t chastise you. I just thought that you were making an overly broad statement. You did not address whether it was the government that should prevent him from speaking or whether private institutions should voluntarily deprive him of a forum. If it is the latter (i.e. private institutions not giving him a forum) there would be no 1st amendment issue involved. If it is the U.S. government, then there is a definite 1st amendment problem as everybody in this country has the right to free speech. You need to be precise in what you say.
Even the way you frame your question is dismally lacking in precision:
“can you find me the court decision that says the United States is required to provide a public forum for a leader of another nation?”
That is an extremely poorly framed legal question. In legal parlance, when you refer to the “United States”, you are speaking about the U.S. government. Do you really mean that? The United States government is not required to provide a forum to anybody. But the United States government may not prevent a person from speaking their political opinion (no matter how reprehensible).
Your question, and the manner in which you pose it, betrays your ignorance of the law. So before you start mocking somebody who states the simple truth that you cannot read the constitution in a vacuum, please know what you’re talking about.



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another view

posted September 29, 2007 at 4:54 pm


Expanding SCHIP eligibility further up the income ladder is not a good way to help families that lack insurance yet have incomes above the current federal threshold. Enrolling children in families at these income levels is inefficient and will disrupt the private coverage many of them have today. This is because government programs and taxpayer dollars will increasingly become substitutes for private coverage and funding. This policy-induced phenomenon, known as “crowd out,” substantially increases the cost of covering uninsured children.
An analysis by the Heritage Foundation was based on a modified and extended version of the methodology developed by MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a leading expert on the crowd-out effect. This analysis found that Congress’s expansion proposals for SCHIP could cover as many as 2.4 million newly eligible children, but because of crowd out, the ranks of the uninsured would decrease by only 1 million. This is because, for every 100 newly eligible children in families with incomes between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), 54 to 60 children would lose the private coverage that they have today. [1]
To avoid undue costs and ensure that the program effectively and efficiently serves its intended purpose,[2] Congress should change course and focus SCHIP on uninsured children in low-income families. To accomplish this, it should provide tax relief or direct assistance to needy families currently unable to afford to enroll their children in available private coverage.
When Congress reauthorizes SCHIP, it should keep in mind two important points. First, policies that expand eligibility thresholds cause children to lose private health insurance, which is often replaced by public programs. Second, estimates of this crowd out and its costs are significant and supported by most research in the field.[3]
SCHIP and the Crowd-Out Effect
Most of the debate over SCHIP reauthorization hinges on expanding program eligibility to children in higher income families. While expanding SCHIP eligibility would, to some extent, reduce the ranks of uninsured children, these gains would be significantly offset—or even outpaced—by losses in private insurance. As the safety net is cast further up the income ladder, instead of complementing private coverage and reducing the ranks of the uninsured, SCHIP would increasingly become a substitute for it.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently conducted a literature review to estimate crowd out due to previous SCHIP expansions. CBO estimates crowd out for these expansions is between 25 and 50 percent. In other words, one quarter to one half of newly enrolled children would have otherwise had private coverage.[4] Indeed, most leading studies of SCHIP expansions find crowd out of this magnitude. Moreover, it is generally agreed that the magnitude of the crowd-out effect will grow with further eligibility expansions because an overwhelming majority of newly eligible children already have private coverage to lose. [5] Yet recent studies have not estimated the crowd-out effects of SCHIP expansions relative to income eligibility thresholds. To fill this gap in the literature and to estimate the potential crowd-out effects if Congress were to expand SCHIP to children from families with higher incomes, The Heritage Foundation conducted its own econometric study.
Congress’s SCHIP Eligibility Expansions and Crowd Out
The Heritage Foundation estimates show that SCHIP expansions have significantly substituted government programs for private coverage among newly eligible children. Moreover, this effect grows significantly in magnitude as children from higher income families become eligible.[6] (See Table 1.)
On the aggregate, for every 100 children newly eligible for SCHIP, between 30 and 35 children lose private coverage. Disaggregating the analysis by income eligibility thresholds, however, indicates crowd out grows in magnitude when the program is extended beyond its intended focus of covering uninsured children in families below 200 percent of the FPL[7] In summary, Heritage finds:
For every 100 newly eligible children in families with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of the FPL, 34 to 42 children would lose private coverage;
For every 100 newly eligible children in families with incomes between 200 and 300 percent of the FPL, 44 to 51 children would lose private coverage; and
For every 100 newly eligible children in families with incomes between 200 and 400 percent of the FPL, 54 to 60 would lose private coverage.



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kevin s.

posted September 29, 2007 at 7:08 pm


“Your comment seems to deride the judicial role in interpreting the constitution. Do you have a better system given that the Constitution does not address every scenario and does require interpretation?”
I am deriding those judges who seem uninterested in interpreting the constitution, but rather simply decide what they believe is right and use the Constitution to justify their decision.
” You did not address whether it was the government that should prevent him from speaking or whether private institutions should voluntarily deprive him of a forum.”
I said that, if America (collectively) were at its best, it would not provide a forum for Ahmadinejad, to which you responded “so much for the 1st amendment”. It wasn’t a legal statement to begin with, but you rendered it so with your question.
But let me ask the narrowest possible legal question here (one that was not implied by my statement). If a university wished to have a leader of a foreign nation speak at their college, does the 1st amendment require the United States government to permit the college to grant that forum?
If it is bad to be vague, why not clarify before making a (equally, if not more) vague statement such as “so much for the 1st amendment”?
“That is an extremely poorly framed legal question. In legal parlance, when you refer to the “United States”, you are speaking about the U.S. government.”
That was the intention of my question, to ask whether the U.S. government is required to provide a forum in accordance with the 1st amendment? The answer is no.
So, we have established that
1) The U.S. government is not constitutionally required to provide a forum for Ahmadinejad.
2) Ivy League institutions are not constitutionally required to provide a forum for Ahmadinejad.
3) “America”, by virtue of being a vague term, is broad enough to include “Ivy League Institutions” or “The United States Government”, and certainly does not exclude either.
Therefore…
My statement that “America at its best would never give a fellow like Ahmadinejad a forum to speak,” can, by no definition of any of the terms therein, be construed to violate the first amendment to the United States constitution.



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TOMPAYNE

posted September 30, 2007 at 1:20 am


I am surprised that you are disappointed in the conduct of the adnministration with respect to faith based initiatives and any “faith” based initiative What has faith got tot do with politics…. Who would credit any intention of honouring a faith based initiative to any politician? IMHO the expectation that any politician will honour a course of integrity is foolish, if not craven.
In the 1880′s Sir John A. MacDonald, one of the fathers of confederation of Canada summed it up neatly. In short he said, firstly, that the aim of a political party is not to administrate wisely or legislate carefully, the aim of a political party is to gain power and hold power. Secondly, he stated that there are only two kinds of political parties; those whe are right, and those who are wrong. Those who are right are in power, those who are wrong are not.
I have not noticed, either in the Dominion of Canada or the United Sates of America any administration which, upon proper analysis, have had deviated from these principles.
What would lead us to expect, or hope for anything different?
Why mis up any item of faith with civil administration. In my view it is a fool’s errand.



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TheOtherJames

posted September 30, 2007 at 6:43 am


“My statement that “America at its best would never give a fellow like Ahmadinejad a forum to speak,” can, by no definition of any of the terms therein, be construed to violate the first amendment to the United States constitution.”
Bottom line- you talk out of both sides of your mouth and you don’t know what you’re talking about.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 30, 2007 at 12:21 pm


From my years in the political conservative movement, I have reluctantly and painfully come to the conclusion that much of its intellectual effort, though certainly not all (the critiques of communism were particularly valuable, if not some of the cruder aspects of anti-communism), has been motivated to try to provide philosophical and moral rationalizations for greed.
Conservative Christianity, on the other hand, was attractive to me for iys putative propensity to hold fast to an unchanging faith, whatever its adaptability to outward cultural expression.
Unfortunately, conservatism as an attitude is basically to try to keep things in a status quo, whether or not change needs to be addressed. This becomes acutely important in the negative sense when corruption creeps in over a period and change is needed, but it will be resisted by the conservative mindset. Additionally, those financially benefiting from present arrangements, whatever they are, and whether just or not, will always be conservative.
There is no consistent conservative ideology, other than as William F. Buckley has quipped, “standing athwart history, and yelling ‘Stop!’”
What conservatism needs, is the sense of preserving the best of the past that is true and tested, while being adaptable to circumstances where new problems demand new thinking. Unthinking reactionary reflexes are not useful.
In fact, if conservatism is not an ideology, then we ought not to act as if current or past conservative consensus holds that high holy inviolability. If it is based on the best of what has worked in the past, then it ought to be remarkably pragmatic and flexible. Its strength in helping us find new solutions to new developments will be the ability to draw on practical experience to guide us through new challenges.
This does not require a cold dead “Gormanghast”approach where nothing new can be conceived and things must continue as they have always been, with a hostility to new ideas and discoveries.



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JKCuster

posted September 30, 2007 at 1:52 pm


Once upon a time a crowd gathered on a hillside to hear an Itinerant Preacher, Who seemed to be saying some new things. As the hours went by, some of the Preacher’s closest friends said, “Hey!! We gotta send these people on their way; they are all getting hungry, and they might faint from hunger if we don’t.”
The Preacher said: “Quick. Call Congress and get them to pass a bill to allocate sufficient funds to buy food for everyone! Hurry before it’s too late.”
One hundred fifty-four children starved to death that evening. . . . OH WAIT!!! I misquoted the Preacher, didnt I? What He actually said, to His friends, was – - – -”YOU feed them.”
If we want children with no health care to have health care, then let US (the churches) stop with the multi-million dollar building projects, and the carry-ins every other Sunday, and the big-screen TV’s in the community rooms, and LET US DO IT.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 30, 2007 at 3:31 pm


someone said
My statement that “America at its best would never give a fellow like Ahmadinejad a forum to speak,” can, by no definition of any of the terms therein, be construed to violate the first amendment to the United States constitution.”
someone else said
Bottom line- you talk out of both sides of your mouth and you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Me
The same college refused to allow the leader of the anti illegal immigrint gropu Minutemen to speak at their campus . I don’t see this issue at all as a First Amendment issue , neither does the college obviously , they let the Iranian President speak , and the American citizen not to . Obviously it dealt with other issues .



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N.M. Rod

posted September 30, 2007 at 3:55 pm


It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.



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karen

posted September 30, 2007 at 6:32 pm


Jim:
Anyone that was taken in by the so called(compassionate conservative)label should have looked up the words to begin with.
These two words are in oppostion to each other.
As for Bush’s being a Christian



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kevin s.

posted September 30, 2007 at 9:43 pm


“Bottom line- you talk out of both sides of your mouth and you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I’m right on this one. America, at it’s best would not provide a forum for people like Ahmadinjed to speak. You think this statement runs afoul of the first amendment. It does not, no matter how many sides my mouth has. You have read (and, interpreted, I hope) the first amendment, and you are conceding (by way of resorting to your usual one-liners) that your argument has no merit. Bottom line.



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Jeff

posted September 30, 2007 at 10:02 pm


Jesse,
In Jim’s opinion some Republican senators vigorously refuted the presidents objections. That is opinion. He may be right, or he may be wrong. But the bottom line is, If you disagree with Jim Wallis on how to help the poor you are labeled as uncompassionate. That is my point. Wallis needs to dump his constant straw man arguments. Let’s discuss issues instead of ad hominin attacks.
Jeff



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jesse

posted September 30, 2007 at 10:24 pm


Jeff,
I don’t think you caught the sarcasm in my post (sorry). I think Jim has a lazy way of arguing that consists of frequent appeals to authority like the “Republicans supported it” line. Seriously addressing the criticisms of his opponents doesn’t make for great stump speeches, I guess.



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TheOtherJames

posted September 30, 2007 at 11:24 pm


you are conceding (by way of resorting to your usual one-liners) that your argument has no merit. Bottom line. Kevin S.
I concede nothing to you. And if you had only meant that American institutions should voluntarily deprive the Iranian President of a forum (thereby not implicating the 1st Amendment), you wouldn’t have asked the question: “can you find me the court decision that says the United States is required to provide a public forum for a leader of another nation?”
You seek to cover up your utter ignorance by twisting words and reinventing your rationale. It is obvious and we see right through your smokescreen. Are you always this dishonest in your dealings or do you just reserve it for the anonymity of this blog?



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andy

posted October 1, 2007 at 4:25 am


Keep up the good work Jim!
Sometimes, I hope you don’t read these hostile comments.
Peace be with you!
Peace be with us all.



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kevin s.

posted October 1, 2007 at 9:43 am


“I concede nothing to you. And if you had only meant that American institutions should voluntarily deprive the Iranian President of a forum (thereby not implicating the 1st Amendment), you wouldn’t have asked the question: “can you find me the court decision that says the United States is required to provide a public forum for a leader of another nation?”"
I was trying to figure out why my original statement, which again was that America at it’s best wouldn’t provide a forum for folks like Ahmadinejad to speak, ran afoul of the 1st amendment. It doesn’t, no matter which way you slice it, whether I meant the United States government, Columbia University, or a knitting club in San Diego. You’re running in circles to defend an untenable statement.



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Amazon Creek

posted October 1, 2007 at 5:08 pm


What happened to you, Mr. President….. Hmmm….
You’re kidding me, right?
Here’s what happened. It happens to all sincere,
well-meaning Christians who start out trying to swim against the tide.
The powerful religious “goon squads” come out. The religious thugs come after you. They badger you. They turn people against you. They stir up trouble. In town after town after town.
Until you can’t stand it anymore. Until you hate getting up in the morning. Until you wish you were dead. Until it starts to seem so much easier to just “go along” with the powers that be. And you start to dream of all the worldly “goodies” and accolades you’re missing out on. That could all be yours – if you only just “join the team” and play along with the game-plan they’ve adopted.
Read the report of Jesus’s trial in the gospels. Read the daily journaling in Acts as Paul, Barnabas, Silas, and Timothy traveled and tried to remain true to the truth. Only the names and faces change.
Religious thugs have always been MASTERS of finding people’s “buttons”, their weak spots. They appeal to their target’s ego, to the boastful pride of life.
Pontius Pilate was interested in what “the truth” was. But he lusted after worldly power more than the truth.
The religious goon squad caught on – and appealed to Pilate’s weakness. “If you release Jesus…then you’re no friend of Caesar.”
Pilate knew darn well that Jesus was innocent – and he was well aware how treacherous the Pharisees were! But he loved power and influence more than he loved the truth. Truth was more valuable as a casino chip. It could be used to trade in exchange for the status and prestige he wanted.
Read the book of Acts. Religious thugs do not go away. They stir up trouble all over. Do you have any doubt that the people that stalked Paul and Barnabas and Silas probably had an entire THESIS of proof-texts to support why believers in these cities should stick with the Pharisee’s talking points? Read in those pages the kind of pressure they exerted.
Do you have any more doubt that President Bush hasn’t been stalked by the religious powers today – shaking their fingers and fists at him – to stick with the old way of doing things?
They can cut off your funding. Political parties and campaigns don’t run on love and good intentions. It takes lots of moolah to run political campaigns. And it takes an awful lot of bedrock-strong faith in God to buck the establishment, knowing you can blow a big kiss goodbye to the funds you needed. That’s the point where you REALLY have to have your trust in God to provide the funds.
And not all people have that. Many sincere people who started out okay buckle under the pressure. Can you imagine what would happen to President Bush if he bucked the religious establishment in America? There’d be HELL to pay!
The religious goon squads can turn people against you. Try losing friends you really care about – because you won’t go along with the stuff that is wrong.
Nobody’s THAT strong. It hurts. We’re all born human. Nobody is born not caring what others think, not wanting love and acceptance. We all want those things.
It takes God’s strength to say no. It takes getting alone – someplace quiet – to listen to God’s voice, instead of the maddening crowd’s.
Even as a lowly nobody, do you honestly think it hasn’t cost me dearly to say “no” to the crowd, and to follow God’s voice? Nobody escapes unscathed. There are friends I’ve lost. Things I’d like to do and can’t. I’m weak and I’m human. And I hurt.
Philippians 1: “For to you it has been granted, for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”
And in all honestly, I don’t find it easy. I pray daily for the Lord’s strength to bear me up. Because my own isn’t enough.
No, you can only do it by keeping your eyes on heaven – and the prize of hearing God say at the end of the road, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
That’s what happened to Bush. He was bombarded and accosted on a daily basis with the screaming and fist-waving and intimidation of the religious thugs. Until he could no longer hear God’s voice. Just the mob’s.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:45 pm


To be fair, in political life, it’s not primarily the church voices who are doing the corrupting, although by their proximity they may have been corrupted as well… all too often, they are seen as the capitalist equivalent of Lenin’s “useful idiots” by the wealthy and powerful.



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Mark Brown

posted October 3, 2007 at 12:32 pm


Jim and all,
Well the unthinkable has happened, this “compassionate conservative” has vetoed the expansion of Child Health Insurance. I am a man who wears several hats. I am a board certified pediatric ER physician/progressive Christian/member of Sojourner’s Sustainer Circle/Member of Physicians for National Health Plan(pnhp.org). All four of my “hats” agree that this is an incredibly bad and morally questionable decision.
AS A PEDIATRIC ER PHYSICIAN I see a great number of people daily who get their only pediatric care through the emergency room. This creates incredible waste along with only “band-aid” health care for these children.
AS A PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN, I am appalled that our country literally throws these chldren to the “market wolves” to get health care. The same people who oppose abortion(AS DO I!!) somehow can reconcile not helping a 6 month old bably get appropriate care. Maybe the old joke is correct…
“The republican concept of the sanctity of life begins at conception and ends at birth!”
I have read many blogs saying $80,000 income per year is way to hight to get assisance. I wonder how many of these folks pay for their own insurance. I presently pay $9700 per year for a $5000 deductible policy for my wife,son, daughter, and myself!!! So that would be quite a chunk of my monthly income if I was making $80000 per year.
AS A MEMBER OF SOJOURNER’S SUSTAINER CIRCLE, I am proud that Jim has taken the public lead in criitcising this decision from a moral and spiritual basis. These policies of “compassionate conservatives” have to be honestly discussed for their effect on future generations of Americans. As Jim eloquently stated unless we help the poor children there is no hope to break the pathologies that cause poverty to continue in the richest county the world has ever known.
FINALLY AS A MEMBER OF THE PHYSICIANS FOR A NATIONAL HEALTH PLAN, I absolutely agree with Jim that health care can no longer be viewed as a commodity to be at the mercy of market forces and for profit insurance companies. All of these problems would be settled with a comprehensive national health care plan that would cost the average American making $45,000 or more about a 2% increase of their present federal tax payments. For me that would mean for about for about 1/5 of the present $9700 I now pay I would have birth to death coverage for myself and family including dental compared to the $5000 deductible coverage I now have.
We all need to continue the good fight. Presidient Bush is not “Evil” as many have suggested, and ai thnk he feels he is doing the best for all Americans. But when OUR chldren and OUR future suffer for misguided and ethically poor positions we must fight for change!



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John Rasmussen

posted October 5, 2007 at 11:27 am


Jim, your word picture of the current President shows a very different man than the public figure so many of us love to mock. At one time, he appears to have been a genuinely “Compassionate Conservative.” In his heart, he may still be one. But it is his actions that will define his legacy–and increasingly, those actions speak of a man isolated from the harsh realities of the life many Americans live, pinched by flat real wage gain and skyrocketing medical and other costs.
Mr. President, I pray that you will come out of the shell your staff has built around you and look at our world with feeling eyes again, so that you may truly do, not what is politically expedient, but what is just and merciful.



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dlowen

posted October 8, 2007 at 3:15 pm


Isaiah 10:1-3
1 Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims – 2 Laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, Exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children. 3 What will you have to say on Judgment Day, when Doomsday arrives out of the blue? Who will you get to help you? SOUNDS CLEAR TO ME.



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