God's Politics

God's Politics


Cynicism, Hope, Discipleship, and Democracy (by Tim Nafziger)

posted by God's Politics

How do we live out God’s call to prophetic witness in an apathetic and disempowered society? How can we learn from others who have remained faithful to Jesus’ radical call in the midst of failure?

These don’t sound like the questions you’d expect to be hearing from a van full of exhausted young adults on a 12-hour drive back from Washington, D.C.

But last March, that’s exactly what happened to a group of us from Living Water Community and Reba Place Church in Chicago on our way back from the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq.

Our epiphany was not in National Cathedral or during the bone-numbing walk to the White House. Instead, it happened the following morning during a humble gathering of Mennonites in the basement of a Methodist church lit by fluorescent lights and filled with orange and red plastic chairs. We were eating bagels and juice and listening to Peter Dula, the Mennonite Central Committee coordinator for Iraq from 2004 to 2006.

Dula spoke simply and honestly about the caustic combination of guilt and disempowerment that attacks those of us living in the United States. We are complicit in horrific acts of destruction, but our leaders have largely abandoned the rusty apparatus of democracy — a trend accelerated by Bush and company. Our protests begin to feel like empty rituals. Politicians have taken advantage of our culture’s apathy and nihilism to shed the last vestiges of accountability. As Dula put it, “We are no longer enough of a democracy that the people feel empowered, but still enough of one that people feel responsible.”

We left D.C immediately after Dula’s talk and discovered that each of us had been electrified by what he had said. For those of us who have come of age in the Bush administration, there is the knowledge that something is deeply wrong with our country, but we remain caught beneath a crust of cynicism that permeates every corner of our mental and spiritual space.

On the van ride home to Chicago we talked about how important it is for our generation to talk honestly about our disillusionment and learn from our failure and that of those who have gone before us. As we discussed what to do next, a surprisingly concrete idea emerged. We wanted to invite Dula and others to Chicago to continue the conversation. We even came up with a title for our gathering – Cynicism and Hope: Reclaiming Discipleship in a Post-Democratic Society.

I’ve had epiphanies on protest road trips before, but never with so many people so committed to doing something about it. If you feel the same way, come join us in Chicago on November 2 and 3 (one year before the 2008 elections): http://www.cynicismandhope.org/


Tim Nafziger is a Web developer, activist, and writer. He helped found the Young Anabaptist Radicals blog, is a regular blogger for The Mennonite, and is a reservist with Christian Peacemaker Teams.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(118)
post a comment
kevin s.

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:45 am


“our leaders have largely abandoned the rusty apparatus of democracy ”
This is a ridiculous thing to say. Democracy functions in this country, but only a very small percentage of the population is pacifistic. Democracy exists whether or not you are able to persuade the populace to your cause.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:51 am


Tim Nafziger wrote:
For those of us who have come of age in the Bush administration, there is the knowledge that something is deeply wrong with our country, but we remain caught beneath a crust of cynicism that permeates every corner of our mental and spiritual space.
I’m wondering what’s with the “but” there. Has it ever occurred to you that there might be a connection between cynicism and the failure of American politics? Did it ever occur to you that might might share in and contribute to that cynicism?
Might I suggest an amendment?
Something is deeply wrong with our country: we remain caught beneath a crust of cynicism that permeates every corner of our mental and spiritual space.
You seem to be ready to acknowledge your cynicism, a cynicism that leads you to bathe the entire world in acid as you reach for ever more potent expressions of outrage. You specialize in assuming the worst possible motives in your political opponents, a habit that kills all chance of finding common ground.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Jim Wallis accused Christian Conservatives (or “neocon war promoters”) of putting nationalism ahead of God based on no evidence other than the fact that we make up a minority within the global church.
Look, I’m not saying that the right hasn’t made mistakes, that Iraq is guaranteed to succeed, or that our rhetoric doesn’t run away from us at times either.
But I do think you need to seriously consider the possibility that the left has become too cynical and bitter, and that this is a big part of the problem with American politics.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

js

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:16 am


One may not agree with Tim’s stance on pacifism, but to not recognize our nation’s democratic apathy, is naive. The data presented by the census bureau showed that only 64% of the country voted in the last presidential election. One and four people are not even registered to vote! Worse yet, only 47% of young people aged 18-24 voted. A movement of hope and action is needed in this country. James states that faith without works is dead. Regardless of who one votes for, voting maybe one of the easiest actions a person of faith can make.
http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p20-556.pdf



report abuse
 

sixtyfeetunder

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:16 am


I applaud your efforts to draw up hope through the cynicism, and for being honest about your frustrations. As long as there are Christ-followers who remain honest about their feelings and frustrations, and can talk about them without building walls, and seek to work together for justice within our less-than-perfect democracy, there is hope. Thank you.



report abuse
 

N.M. Rod

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:42 am


The thing that’s true is that although there’s voting (for candidates chosen through a process that has no real input from anyone other than a coterie of political insiders) the propagandizing on an enormous mass scale selling those candidates is paid for by special interests whose wealth dwarfs and pushes aside the concerns of ordinary people.
The wealth that’s channeled year-round in permanent election fundraising means that there’s not much attention left for anything else – even legislation, which remains unread – let alone constituents’ concerns. Legislation itself is conceived by fewer and more centralised power.
The votes purchased through mass media advertising might technically decide an election, but the elected officials are accountable only to those who paid and continue to pay between the election cycle for their re-election.
Substantive policy meetings with legislators occur mostly on a “pay for play” basis.
Therefore, law is mostly made with concern to the interests of the rich and powerful.
Since there is less and less genuine journalism, with more toiling away in opinion and advocacy journals often financed by wealthy contributors to think tanks and foundations – paid partisan hacks, really – and because the genuine media is becoming concentrated in fewer wealthy hands that seeks to make it serve their own political and financial interests, there’s
much less oversight and accountability to the people, even through media scrutiny.
There just aren’t as many reporters being paid to do the hard slogging and expensive investigative reporting anymore.
This holds whether we are talking about Republican or Democratic politics.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 26, 2007 at 1:55 pm


It wasn’t all that long ago that Jim Wallis accused Christian Conservatives (or “neocon war promoters”) of putting nationalism ahead of God based on no evidence other than the fact that we make up a minority within the global church.
Wolverine, that charge is, frankly, true. Christians outside the United States don’t have the power/authority to strut around and demand that the culture adhere to their whims, while certain American evangelicals expect the rest of the world to kiss their collective heinie. They don’t wrap the flag around their faith; we do.
But I do think you need to seriously consider the possibility that the left has become too cynical and bitter, and that this is a big part of the problem with American politics.
Reaganism all but destroyed the left in this country, and only the Iraq War revived it. For that reason, the left is a little bit too new to be cynical.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 26, 2007 at 2:05 pm


“Wolverine, that charge is, frankly, true.”
It’s not true of me, and I don’t think it’s true of Wolverine. Wallis was accusing us personally.
“Reaganism all but destroyed the left in this country, and only the Iraq War revived it. For that reason, the left is a little bit too new to be cynical.”
The left carried a majority in both houses through to 1994, and has had it in the Senate since that time. This is a ridiculous statement.



report abuse
 

mark

posted September 26, 2007 at 2:28 pm


Kevin is of the opinion that:
The left carried a majority in both houses through to 1994, and has had it in the Senate since that time.
Depends what you mean by the left, doesn’t it. I find it difficult to think of a mainstream US politician that I would put in that category…
Mark



report abuse
 

Ted Voth Jr

posted September 26, 2007 at 2:32 pm


I’m investing most of my energy directly in the effort to preserve the Constitution, the Republic, and the rule of law, and lend my sympathy and prayers to Sojourners in your efforts for ‘social justice’, what the Lord simply calls justice, hoping you in sympathy are supporting and praying for my efforts.This is the time most crucial testing of the Republic in its history. In 200 years historians will say either ‘It was a good Republic; too bad it was assassinated: too bad the People abdicated their sovereignty’, or they’ll say ‘It was a miracle of God it survived.’ I’m counting on the latter; I’m counting on Him. Gotta run; I’m on my way downtown to nan anti-war pro-impeachment rally!



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 26, 2007 at 2:44 pm


Rick,
That Christians outside of the US have less influence over their countries is unfortunate, but it has no bearing on the faithfulness or lack of faithfulness of Christians in the US. I’ll leave aside the question of who else here might constantly writes as if he deserves his heinie kissed.
As for liberalism having been destroyed by Reagan and hence being too new to be cynical, it seems to me that nearly all of the current leadership of the Democratic Party lived through the Reagan Hillary Clinton is well into middle age by now, does that make her cynical?
One could just as easily argue that Clinton nearly destroyed the Right, but the whole argument over which movement got trashed later and is therefore “younger” is silly. It is a huge mistake to equate youth with idealism and age with cynicism. Or is Ted Kennedy a vicious cynic?
Wolverine



report abuse
 

mark

posted September 26, 2007 at 2:53 pm


Thanks Tim for an encouraging article (and don’t be put off by Kevin S and Wolverine – they always do that sort of thing).
Truth is, the sort of disempowerment-apathy-cynicism syndrome that you talk about is present in most mature democracies. Probably worse in the US for the reasons that NM Rod indicates, but we have it both here in Canada and in my native Britain.
A lot of people approach this by attacking the cynicism. The result is usually, I think, more cynicism. We need to find ways to empower people despite the political system – and for many of us cynicism is an important step on the way to empowerment.
It’s not that people necessarily don’t care. Britain has seen a steady decline in the proportion of people bothering to vote and a decline in the membership of political parties, but activist organisations are getting better support than ever – for example, Make Poverty History got enough public support to shift government policy significantly, and the two biggest demonstrations ever in Britain were against the invasion of Iraq. In Canada, a government with no understanding of environmental matters was compelled by public opinion this year to reinstate (albeit re-badged) most of the energy-saving programmes which they had just abolished.
But there is much much more to be done, and I’m glad you’re working on it Tim.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 26, 2007 at 3:14 pm


It’s not true of me, and I don’t think it’s true of Wolverine.
Kevin, based on your previous posts, it certainly is true about both of you.
The left carried a majority in both houses through to 1994, and has had it in the Senate since that time. This is a ridiculous statement.
That’s because you assume that all Democrats are fire-breathing, knee-jerk leftists, which itself is more ridiculous than what I just said. In fact, the Democratic Party, relatively speaking, also caved in to Reagan much of the time when he was president.
The arrogance that drips out of your last post would eat through steel if it were to escape cyberspace, and your ignorance nearly sucked all the light out of my office.
If you were trying to make me or anyone else laugh, know up front that you failed miserably.
That Christians outside of the US have less influence over their countries is unfortunate, but it has no bearing on the faithfulness or lack of faithfulness of Christians in the US. I’ll leave aside the question of who else here might constantly writes as if he deserves his heinie kissed.
You just proved my point. Christians may have influence in other countries but they don’t accept it as a given the way we do here — and they understand the difference. Furthermore, Christians in other countries do not necessarily subscribe to conservative politics, even by their standards, or equate them the God or the Bible.
As for liberalism having been destroyed by Reagan and hence being too new to be cynical, it seems to me that nearly all of the current leadership of the Democratic Party lived through the Reagan Hillary Clinton is well into middle age by now, does that make her cynical?
The Democratic Party is at its furthest right since white Southerners left for the GOP beginning in the 1960s — remember, Bill Clinton once headed the Democratic Leadership Council, hardly a bastion of the left, and supported going into Iraq. The true left in this country is hopping mad at the Democrats for not doing more to pull the troops out of there. That said, truth be told, that comment shows how far to the right you are.
One could just as easily argue that Clinton nearly destroyed the Right,…
Which is precisely why the right tried to destroy him first — and failed.



report abuse
 

Another nonymous

posted September 26, 2007 at 3:49 pm


You know, Wolverine, when I read your posts, it’s hard to believe we live in the same country. You seem like a reasonable person, so let me try to explain that I have been a leftist all my life, and I am not aware that there has ever been much of a political left in this country (and yes, I do remember the 60s). One of the most shocking things for those of us on the left to hear when Reagan was elected was that the left had been in charge of the country for years, and that was going to change. I had certainly never felt like the left was in charge of anything. Likewise, for Bill Clinton to have destroyed the right, he would have had to be a leftist. I’m not a big fan of Clinton’s, but a leftist he isn’t (nor is Hillary, for that matter).
So I try very hard not to be cynical, but it’s a struggle. I have been effectively excluded from the political process for a very long time, and have watched the “liberal,” once a badge if honor if hardly a ticket to power, become a four-letter word in popular political discourse. Frankly, I’m tired of it, and I applaud what these people are doing with everything I’ve got.



report abuse
 

Tony Dickinson

posted September 26, 2007 at 4:22 pm


This is a fascinating exchange which, as Mark says, could be reflected here in the UK – though my impresssion is that we don’t normally have quite the viciousness and mutual incomprehension between left and right that is on display in many posts on this blog. But then, as Michael Flanders remarked nearly fifty years ago, in Britain we don’t have Republicans and Democrats. We have the Labour Party (or, as you would call them, Socialists) and the Conservative Party (or, as you would call them, Socialists).
Grace and peace



report abuse
 

Mick Sheldom

posted September 26, 2007 at 4:27 pm


and I am not aware that there has ever been much of a political left in this country
Sometimes when we are very much on one side on issues , in your case the left , everything will appear to your right my friend . The liberal of George McGovern is nothing like the liberals of moveonorg or people who enjoy Air America.
Air America sells advertisements for athesim supporters , I kid you not .
If you disagree you with Sojoruners you are seen as disagreeing with God .
That why the reliogious right lost a voice in the mainstream . Just their are larger believers of the Bible in conservative circles .
I see many things written about religious conservatives and their control , even here .
Almost a jealous self righteous anger , And I wonder what are they talking about , look at abortion , academia ,
You see safe zones for sexual preferences at secondary schools and Junior Highs , and school prayer is seen as pushing an agenda .
. And I am sure you could go the other way , but look at the latest marriage stats , people are shacking up on a higher percentage , that looks like a lost to conservatives in our cultural perspctive . many on the left see it as freedom to choose !
.
If you don’t see certain cultural changes as a decline in our culture , you don’t see why conservatives don’t understand why you think we ever had control . Most Evangelicals in my opinion feel left out of the conversation in this culture , and I don’t see that as all bad , this culture is need of a Lord and Savior
You see things differently . Your right two worlds.



report abuse
 

Another nonymous

posted September 26, 2007 at 4:38 pm


Actually, Mick, most real leftists I know (as opposed to culturally trendy leftists) are strong family values people. Oh, I see the changes in our culture, all right; I just think the political right is wasting its breath trying blame them on the left. Nor do I think the solution is to turn back the clock, since the older culture had its own set of problems. I’ll repeat the words of G. K. Chesterton that I once quoted here: “The only real reason for being a progressive is that things naturally tend to grow worse. The corruption in things is not only the best argument for being progressive; it is also the only argument against being conservative.”



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 26, 2007 at 4:55 pm


If you disagree you with Sojoruners you are seen as disagreeing with God. That why the reliogious right lost a voice in the mainstream. Just their are larger believers of the Bible in conservative circles.
But, having run in some of those “conservative circles,” I have often felt marginalized because I did and do not subscribed to the “received doctrine” on Christianity and politics/culture. And I think you’re projecting that onto Sojourners — “we do that, so they too are doing it” — when it really isn’t the case. At least here you have a voice.
I see many things written about religious conservatives and their control, even here.
Almost a jealous self righteous anger, And I wonder what are they talking about, look at abortion, academia,

You just proved the point they — and we — make. All many conservative Christians talk about is the “cultural” issues, when we on the more “liberal” side are trying to broaden the conversation toward other concerns that are equally Biblical (if not more so). But the things you brought up only divide people (by design) because they turn everything into an “us” vs. “them,” because conservatives make a lot of money with outrage. At some point that strategy gets old, and as far as I’m concerned it has already done so.
If you don’t see certain cultural changes as a decline in our culture, you don’t see why conservatives don’t understand why you think we ever had control. Most Evangelicals in my opinion feel left out of the conversation in this culture, and I don’t see that as all bad, this culture is need of a Lord and Savior.
Part of that is because we evangelicals have become part and parcel of the culture — we don’t have a distinct message and don’t live much differently. Thus, many of us don’t really have the courage of our convictions to stick to what we believe no matter what anyone says or does — we continally have to go to war for “supremacy.” Besides, most of the cultural conservatives basically want to return to their idea of the 1950s, never mind the vacuousness and conformity-based cultural “terrorism” that existed then — it’s why we had the ’60s.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 26, 2007 at 5:24 pm


“The arrogance that drips out of your last post would eat through steel if it were to escape cyberspace, and your ignorance nearly sucked all the light out of my office.”
And that was before he wrote the post to which I am responding.
“Kevin, based on your previous posts, it certainly is true about both of you.”
No, it isn’t, and your mere assertion doesn’t make it so. I simply disagree with you about what is wrong with this war effort, and why it has gone poorly, which is insufficient evidence upon which to label me a blasphemer, whether or not you are a journalist.
“That’s because you assume that all Democrats are fire-breathing, knee-jerk leftists,”
Nope, it’s because I assume Democrats to consitute the political left in this country, which is indisputable.
“also caved in to Reagan much of the time when he was president.”
Well, they couldn’t very well argue with him on the basis of Carter’s example. If anything, Carter and his disastrous policies took the teeth out of the far left movement.
“Which is precisely why the right tried to destroy him first — and failed.”
In your effort to evoke your hobbyhorse, you accidentally conceded the main point.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 26, 2007 at 5:41 pm


No, it isn’t, and your mere assertion doesn’t make it so. I simply disagree with you about what is wrong with this war effort, and why it has gone poorly, which is insufficient evidence upon which to label me a blasphemer, whether or not you are a journalist.
This is not worth responding to, because you mixed in several arguments delivered to other posters having nothing to do with you. Move on, please (and that’s not a pun).
I assume Democrats to consitute the political left in this country, which is indisputable.
Several other posters on this very thread have disputed that, far more eloquently than I have.
In your effort to evoke your hobbyhorse, you accidentally conceded the main point.
Sorry, but I did no such thing. Because the right is so far right and its activists are very intolerant, anyone perceived as even a little bit of a threat needed to be taken down; Bill Clinton was the only one that they eventually failed to get. And as for Clinton being a “leftist,” may I remind you that the true left in this country hated him almost as much as the right did, but it at the time had no voice. (And it doesn’t care for Hillary, either.)



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 26, 2007 at 7:04 pm


Rick,
I’m not going to waste a whole lot more time on your red herrings. I’ll just observe that your only evidence for the bad faith of American conservative Christians is the relative political weakness of Christians in the rest of the world, and your defense of the left against cynicism is based entirely on the fact that Reagan was effective.
That and bile is all you’ve got, and if you want the case that the left is bitter and cynical, your posts make a pretty good Exhibit A.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

N.M. Rod

posted September 26, 2007 at 7:51 pm


The ascendancy of highly nationalistic and patriotic Christianity in every other nation of the world certainly wouldn’t do anything to prove that such a Christianity in America is a truer form of Christianity.
We’ve had that before: Christian vs. Christian in orgies of bloodletting in the name of various ascendant nationalisms. In fact, the decline of this sort of Christianity in other nations and even the disenchantment with it are direct results of the horrors of wars where the greatest slaughters in human history happened with participation and collusion of Christian patriots.
Making this sort of parochial Christianity the ideal throughout the world would only lead again to more fragmentation and alienation of Christians from one another – and justifications for warfare driven by national interests alone – contrary to Jesus’ stated desire for the true church.
Since America’s been unscathed by the kind of warfare that’s devastated cities and populations elsewhere, perhaps nationalistic, patriot-pastor military Christianity still holds an appeal, especially since it gives its imprimatur to our nationalistic and self-interested actions, whether or not they even have anything to do with God at all or are even conceived for Christian reasons or even dreamed up by those who are Christians at all.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 26, 2007 at 7:59 pm


I’m not going to waste a whole lot more time on your red herrings.
Wolverine — I’m going to say this so that you can understand:
You are in utter, complete denial of reality — and I’m not the only one here that understands that.
Calling my postings “bile” completely misses the point that the conservative agenda has been, on a national level, exposed as bogus, benefiting only a few and using religion to justify it. I’ve been proclaming that from the housetops for a quarter-century, in the same tone of “voice” I write with now. Your side has lost — get over it.
The truth is, a number of us on this blog, let alone around the country, have completely had it with the right’s failed agenda and want something different, and your continuing to defend it here in the process only isolates you. Furthermore, name-calling isn’t going anywhere; it adds nothing to the discussion.



report abuse
 

N.M. Rod

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:21 pm


Both “left” and “right” failed.
After all, the neo-cons are largely drawn from the ranks of “leftists” disappointed in its failures, yet applying the same “leftist” analysis and solutions within their newfound ideology to the chagrin of old guard conservatives.
Reagan’s personal charisma and essentially decent personality, along with his history as a union leader who said that he didn’t leave the Democrats, they left him, made the hope he offered in the face of stagflation, Iranian hostage-taking and declining energy supplies something psoitive for us to go for. Millions of blue-collar people voted for him since the Democrats’ policies were failing them throughout the rust belt belly-up disindustrialisation.
So therefore Reagan was simply a phenomenon of the failures of liberals to live up to their promises for a better life.
Today we have the same thing – a group of tired and corrupt politicians, who came into office as a conservative answer for the problems that assailed us – have now become bereft of ideas that work and are bankrupt and spend all their time telling self-serving lies.
Left, right – been there, done that.
Christians need to hold politicians of whatever stripe – ideologues of left or right or self-serving demagogues or even independent pragmatic thinkers who just want to do the right thing, not be ideologically correct – accountable to Jesus’ timeless truths of how we’re supposed to live together.
We don’t need to label each other to decide whether an idea’s good or bad – we just need to do what’s necessary for the good of the country without partisanship stirred up by the rabble-rousers stirring everyone up for fun and profit.



report abuse
 

canucklehead

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:22 pm


If such is true, I’m thinking there wasn’t much light to start with? Anyone who has spent considerable time OUTSIDE the USA well understands the points Rick is scoring.
>>>…while certain American evangelicals expect the rest of the world to kiss their collective heinie. They don’t wrap the flag around their faith; we do. Rick
And then there was the time one of your prominent TV evangelists came up here and told a bald-faced fabrication in front of 6,000 people which I later verified as such with the PD in the city where his mega-church is situated; as the investigating officer summarized, “I’ve found nothing to date to verify what was said and I can assure you that if there was any legitimacy to the story, we’d know about it.”
There used to be a day when good ol’ Southern boys labelled the kind of stuff dispensed that night as “BS.” Now it’s circulated by certain prominent American evangelists as “gospel” which is why so many Canadians view the Robertsons and Hagees of TVdom as curious old tarts whose fodder is often better than that found on the late-night talk shows.



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:31 pm


Hey Rick- A couple of things you said were pretty interesting:

Because the right is so far right and its activists are very intolerant, anyone perceived as even a little bit of a threat needed to be taken down;

I don’t know if that’s true of the “right” in general, but it is surely noteworthy that the littlest thing causes such bile-laden responses as we’ve seen today. There wasn’t anything wrong with Tim’s post about cynicism, but the way a couple of the stalwarts on the right have responded, you’d think he advocated Anarchy or something. What it really shows is how threatened these people are by the existence of thought among Christians that isn’t pre-programmed to think on the right side of the spectrum in an almost knee-jerk fashion. ;-)
Bill Clinton was the only one that they eventually failed to get. And as for Clinton being a “leftist,” may I remind you that the true left in this country hated him almost as much as the right did, but it at the time had no voice. (And it doesn’t care for Hillary, either.)
Thank-you for that. I more or less subscribe to the Counterpunch.org mindset -think Ralph Nader- It’s a great resource that I wonder why Sojouners doesn’t use more often. It’s tough-minded, factual and the Conservatives here would be in fits to try to deal with the things they present. And they regularly rake the Clintons over the coals.
Of course, like you, Rick, I prefer to disagree with Bill & Hillary on policy and not on the urban legends many Conservatives seem to traffic in.
Speaking of which, Hillary did kowtow into the Iraq war and the Patriot act, the latter of which definitely says a lot in favor of Tim’s assertion that “our leaders have abandoned the rusty apparatus of democracy.” Conservatives who have their heads on straight aren’t giving Bush a pass on his wiretapping & torture approach to governing.
Currently on Counterpunch is a lengthy article by Bill Quigley about widespread racial discrimination in housing, which is backed up by good arguments and hard data. I worked for a company that was paid to do research on Fair Housing issues,so I know some of the stuff he’s saying firsthand.
I think I’ll go add it to the Jena discussion we were having.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:40 pm


Anyway, earlier today I stumbeld across Exhibit B: MSNBC anchor David Shuster demanding to know why Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn didn’t know the name of the last soldier from her district to be killed.
Now this strikes me as rather ghoulish. Do we seriously expect Congressmen to scour casualty lists daily? Is it really all that uplifting to use the names of the dead as political clubs?
Shuster had an answer handy, except he had the wrong guy, but what the heck, the point of this little exercise wasn’t to shed light on the Iraq War issue, or even to make a reasoned case for withdrawal, it was to make Marsha Blackburn look like a cold-hearted bitch.
And among some members of the audience it probably did, but those were mostly people who agreed with you anyway. Among conservatives and moderates the effect was more likely to generate sympathy for Ms. Blackburn. The MoveOn types were probably moving their fists in circles and going WHOO! WHOO! WHOO! but I doubt it did anyone else any good and the overall cynicism level was nudged up a little higher.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:49 pm


Coda: I’ll go add it if Souljouners will let it through that is. lol It’s a good article though- Title of it is “HUD’s Home Wreckers: Tightening the Noose Around New Orleans” by Bill Quigley. It’s on Counterpunch.org right now.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 26, 2007 at 9:08 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote:
Wolverine — I’m going to say this so that you can understand
I’m sorry Rick, I didn’t understand. I’ll never understand. I’m an idiot. If I weren’t such an idiot I’d agree with you about everything.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:06 pm


Mr. Wayne,
I’ll admit it can be gratifying.
Anyway, now that I have your attention, do you mind if I ask you about Shuster’s interview of Marsha Blackburn? Do you think that sort of thing improves the quality of political discourse? Improves our chances of finding common ground?
Do you happen to know the name of the last soldier from your town to die in Iraq? (No fair looking it up real quick — they didn’t let Rep. Blackburn!) If you don’t, what do you think this shocking lack of knowledge shows about your character?
I’ll admit I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m a conservative, which means I’m a heartless jerk. And an idiot.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

jesse

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:21 pm


The heart of a lot (if not most) of the debates on this blog is whether good Christians can have honest disagreements over political policy. Some people think there can be honest disagreements; others believe that those who do not agree with them politically are in sin–even lifting America above Christ.
I’ve been on this blog for over a year, and I don’t think I’ve ever read Kevin, Wolverine or Moderatelad attack anyone’s faith for having liberal positions on issues. Indeed, when they (or I) respond to posts, it is generally with a call for nuance…to give another side of the issue, and say that things are not as simple as Wallis and others would like to make them out to be. The point some of us make is that good Christians can come to different conclusions on issues. These are not tests of faith.
It is kind of funny, though, to see people judge each others’ faith just on the basis of their views on politics (Note: almost no one here is even INVOLVED in politics). Politics and political debate is such a tiny part of most of our lives (we vote every 2 years??)…strength of faith and obedience to God involves so much more than what positions you defend on a blog. It’s silly, really.
I know this is kind of stating the obvious to some, but it’s something worth saying again and again on this blog: those who judge the faith of others only on the basis of what political views they hold really need to grow up.



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:31 pm


I’ll admit it can be gratifying.
No wonder, because you do it at the expense of contributing anything of value every time. Right now would be a good example.
Anyway, now that I have your attention, do you mind if I ask you about Shuster’s interview of Marsha Blackburn?
Well seeing as how I’ve never seen/heard/read it and didn’t know anything about it until roughly an hour ago (when you posted it), it seems disingenuous of me to address the topic. Of course, I know that kind of thing never stopped you.
Do you think that sort of thing improves the quality of political discourse? Improves our chances of finding common ground?
Again: I didn’t read the interview, and actually have no idea why you are harping on it here.
Do you happen to know the name of the last soldier from your town to die in Iraq? (No fair looking it up real quick — they didn’t let Rep. Blackburn!)
No, but I’m not a public official. So no one is going to quiz me on that little detail.
If you don’t, what do you think this shocking lack of knowledge shows about your character?
Nothing, but it shows me you listen to talk shows a lot to learn how to argue.
I’ll admit I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m a conservative, which means I’m a heartless jerk. And an idiot.
As you would have it.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:39 pm


“This is not worth responding to, because you mixed in several arguments delivered to other posters having nothing to do with you. Move on, please (and that’s not a pun).”
Huh? You said that my comments make it clear that I have put country above God. I called you out on this. You want to insult me and then tell me to move on? No dice. Defend your statement or take it back, tough guy.
“Several other posters on this very thread have disputed that, far more eloquently than I have.”
They fail understand the very definition of what constitutes the political left, relative to the political paradigm of a particular nation. To say that Democrats do not represent the left is absolutely silly, whether you are eloquent or not. Do they represent the far left, or the European left? Of course not. This will never be the case in a two-party system.
But this is from the topic at hand, which is whether the political left can be cynical. You said the political left is new to power, which is a nonsensical observation.
“Sorry, but I did no such thing. Because the right is so far right and its activists are very intolerant, anyone perceived as even a little bit of a threat needed to be taken down; Bill Clinton was the only one that they eventually failed to get.”
You said the “Reaganism all but detroyed the left”.
The counter: “One could just as easily argue that Clinton nearly destroyed the Right,…”
To which you responded: “Which is precisely why the right tried to destroy him first — and failed.”
So, you conceded that the right was nearly destroyed. Both are hyperbolic, as the right and left have held each other in check, but the notion that the political left is somehow a new phenomenon is ridiculous.
“And as for Clinton being a “leftist,” may I remind you that the true left in this country hated him almost as much as the right did”
And might I remind you that large sections of the political right are upset with Bush for failing to represent conservative political values. Coins have two sides, dude. You don’t get to mint both.



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 26, 2007 at 10:51 pm


I’ve been on this blog for over a year, and I don’t think I’ve ever read Kevin, Wolverine or Moderatelad attack anyone’s faith for having liberal positions on issues.
Perhaps. But when someone exhibits an un-Christlike attitude, should they not be corrected? Example: Sentences that begin with “Why should my tax dollars be used to help someone with ____.” (fill in the blank) If Jesus said that we are to sell everything and give to the poor, then we should at least not enter into these discussions with such an “I own it” attitude? Also idolatry is sin, and idolatry can be putting your faith in politicians and refusing to see where reality has led us- as in the Iraq war- can be an idolatrous form of obtuseness.
I might add, what does any of this have to do with the topic at hand started by the author of todays blog? Are you trying to join in the derailment?
Which leads me to my next comment- the names you mentioned are individuals perceived by many on here as those who’s purpose is to disrupt, not dialogging. There are perfectly sound reasons for thinking that may be the case.
If they weren’t perceived as such, there would be no reason for them to get the treatment that they do.



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:00 pm


It’s nice to see some real leftists stand up. I have been a leftist for much of my adult life. I was originally a moderate democrat like my parents and then I grew up.
Jesse,
Wolverine has been a gentleman the entire time I have been here. Kevin not as much. But he has gotten a lot better. I am not claiming I am not critical of everything from conservative theology to conservative values to…
Both sides question the other’s faith as Kevin and Wolverine do regularly. They believe the left’s use of the government to right social and historic wrongs is wrong. They believe us leftists trust the government too much. They don’t want us to use it to the extint that my green party roots dictate.
My point is that we all seem to question the other’s faith. I question the right’s faith in the market and greed.
By the same token those that are controlled by fear of loss need to grow up. That’s true on either side of the political aisle.
p



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 26, 2007 at 11:17 pm


My responses to Wolv & Jesse were held up, so I guess they will have to wait until if and when Sojo decides to release them.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 27, 2007 at 12:13 am


“Wolverine has been a gentleman the entire time I have been here. Kevin not as much. But he has gotten a lot better.”
I did call the weird dude who keeps changing his name a “twit”, and my goal isn’t to be a gentleman, but I have not questioned anyone’s faith based on their political beliefs.
“Perhaps. But when someone exhibits an un-Christlike attitude, should they not be corrected? Example: Sentences that begin with “Why should my tax dollars be used to help someone with ____.”
I’ve seen very little of that here. Who are you quoting?
“If Jesus said that we are to sell everything and give to the poor,”
Then you are certainly a hypocrite by virtue of bringing this up on a blog that requires internet access. Clearly, you don’t interpret this verse this way (nor should you), so what is your point?
“Also idolatry is sin, and idolatry can be putting your faith in politicians”
But who is doing this? Who has said “I’ll go ahead and put my faith in (politician A)?”
“and refusing to see where reality has led us- as in the Iraq war- can be an idolatrous form of obtuseness.”
But disagreeing about how and why reality led us where it led us is disagreement. The logic you are employing essentially renders disagreement (with you) as idolatry.
“I might add, what does any of this have to do with the topic at hand started by the author of todays blog? Are you trying to join in the derailment?”
I think it relates to the assumption that one’s own political beliefs constitute God’s will. Conservatives make this mistake as well, don’t get me wrong, but it seems the author of the post is frustrated that America’s political beliefs do not gel with his own.
“Which leads me to my next comment- the names you mentioned are individuals perceived by many on here as those who’s purpose is to disrupt, not dialogging.”
Well, I am attempting to dialogue, but that DOES mean disrupting the monologue that is going on here. When have any of the Sojo bloggers disagreed with anyone else who posts here? Visit the National Review blog sometime. They disagree fervently with each other. Everyone here is in lockstep. That’s not dialogue. Nothing here resembles dialogue.
“If they weren’t perceived as such, there would be no reason for them to get the treatment that they do.”
Okay, so as long as I perceive something about you, it is okay for me to treat you accordingly? This is silly logic.



report abuse
 

N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 1:16 am


It is possible to get free internet access under some circumstances, depending upon location…



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 1:20 am



I’ve seen very little of that here. Who are you quoting?

I wonder ;-)
Then you are certainly a hypocrite by virtue of bringing this up on a blog that requires internet access. Clearly, you don’t interpret this verse this way (nor should you), so what is your point?
If you would reproduce my quote in it’s entirety, instead of leaving part of it off to suit your purposes, you would know what my point is. Explained it nicely.
But who is doing this? Who has said “I’ll go ahead and put my faith in (politician A)?”
Oh, I dunno… somebody who repeated urban legends about a former US President but can’t deal with the current US President’s incompetence.
But disagreeing about how and why reality led us where it led us is disagreement. The logic you are employing essentially renders disagreement (with you) as idolatry.
Nope. That would only be true if people of all stripes weren’t coming to the same conclusions. In any case, note the oprative use of “can” in the sentence.
I think it relates to the assumption that one’s own political beliefs constitute God’s will.
Which has nothing to do with Nafziger’s post.
Conservatives make this mistake as well, don’t get me wrong,
Another light comes on!
but it seems the author of the post is frustrated that America’s political beliefs do not gel with his own.
So what?
Well, I am attempting to dialogue, but that DOES mean disrupting
Here we HAVE it, folks- his confession!
the monologue that is going on here.
There is no such thing. Otherwise the contributors wouldn’t be posting stuff from those of other political/theological stripes. In any case “dialogue” implies agreement on something. If the Conservatives who were against the war were the ones who frequented this blog instead of those of your ilk, there would be something to dialogue about. As such it’s not dialogue you’re presenting but factionalism.
When have any of the Sojo bloggers disagreed with anyone else who posts here?
In fact, I have. But I don’t focus on those things so strongly here because I appreciate the contributors perspective enough to conduct myself with respect.
Visit the National Review blog sometime. They disagree fervently with each other.
So?
Everyone here is in lockstep.
Not true. That’s just more of an indication of how far out in right field you are.
That’s not dialogue. Nothing here resembles dialogue.
Including your contributions?
Okay, so as long as I perceive something about you, it is okay for me to treat you accordingly? This is silly logic.
I actually used “perceived as” to be kind. Perhaps I shouldn’t have?



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 1:25 am



It is possible to get free internet access under some circumstances, depending upon location…
Posted by: N.M. Rod | September 27, 2007 1:16 AM

I in fact, live in one of the few places in the US where that’s been a sucsessful venture! :)



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:03 am


I’m sorry Rick, I didn’t understand. I’ll never understand. I’m an idiot. If I weren’t such an idiot I’d agree with you about everything.
You don’t have to agree with me on anything if you don’t want — I’m not God, after all. But if you expected to come onto this blog spewing Reaganistic trash and not get criticized for it, well … those days are over. For good.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:08 am


That post above also was mine.
I’ve been on this blog for over a year, and I don’t think I’ve ever read Kevin, Wolverine or Moderatelad attack anyone’s faith for having liberal positions on issues.
You simply haven’t been reading carefully enough. When I challenged theirs I did so on the basis of their language, not their ideology.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:52 am


Huh? You said that my comments make it clear that I have put country above God. I called you out on this. You want to insult me and then tell me to move on? No dice. Defend your statement or take it back, tough guy.
My statements don’t need a defense — your own convicted you long ago. Not everything is about me, you know.
They fail to understand the very definition of what constitutes the political left, relative to the political paradigm of a particular nation. To say that Democrats do not represent the left is absolutely silly, whether you are eloquent or not.
Says you. Because, for openers, the right convinced itself beginning with the Reagan years — and trumpeted loudly — that it, and no one else, truly reprsented this country and anyone to its left, in that view, was “the left” (and thus not fit to live). The right believes that same nonsense. In other words, you engage in a false dichotomy.
So, you conceded that the right was nearly destroyed. Both are hyperbolic, as the right and left have held each other in check, but the notion that the political left is somehow a new phenomenon is ridiculous.
The “left” is new in the sense that it is starting to organize the way the right did, which it had never done before (at least, in the same fashion). But in truth, the right is being destroyed by its own rhetoric; Clinton didn’t answer to it, so he had to be destroyed BAMN. In fact, the right’s failed campaign against him all but ensured that his wife will be president in 2009 because it eventually made them rich.
And might I remind you that large sections of the political right are upset with Bush for failing to represent conservative political values.
Conservative political values were never tenable in the first place because its adherents subscribe to a strict orthodoxy which brooks no dissent; however, most people, when it comes to their own belief systems, think a la carte. Even Reagan took some heat, especially from the “neo-cons,” whom he canned after Iran-Contra. Besides, those activists thought they owned Bush lock, stock and barrel and that he would take orders from them.
On top of that, leaders on the right are still in denial that their side is losing. I recently read a piece on the wire at work by Richard Viguerie telling Bush to pick a fight with the Democrats concering the next AG in the hope that doing so would raise his poll ratings because they would be seen as “obstructionists.” They have believed never in negotiation, just dictation, and truly don’t understand the political sacrifices to be made when it’s time to run a government. On the other hand, the Democrats have made out over the war in Iraq because they had nothing to do with it, and so as (to a certain extent) Ron Paul.
And let’s not forget GOP corruption over the past few years, especially with the K Street lobbying scandal — Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay and that crew, whose intent was to put everyone who wasn’t with them out of business. Even now DeLay is still claiming political persecution.
Back to the topic. This particular post surrounded cynicism about the political process, and do you understand why? I predict that you’ll see even more grass-roots activism in the next few years, even Christian based — and virtually all of it will come from the “left.”



report abuse
 

jesse

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:55 am


Kevin Wayne,
I suppose I bring it up now because Rick’s rhetoric was getting especially heated here, and, frankly, I don’t believe Rick can post without attacking the faith and motives of all conservative-leaning people here and elsewhere. That’s the kind of obnoxious judgmental attitude I wish would stop. Rick has clearly been wounded by some conservatives who have done this to him in the past. I hope he will not continue to contribute to this cycle.
I should also say that Wallis in almost every post cannot acknowledge genuine disagreements others have with him and attacks the faith of others in many of his posts. How can any sort of “dialogue” occur when you attack the motives and faith of everyone who disagrees with you from the get go? The stated purpose of this blog is to promote dialogue, yes? On this, Sojo is failing miserably.
Payshun,
Both sides question the other’s faith as Kevin and Wolverine do regularly. They believe the left’s use of the government to right social and historic wrongs is wrong. They believe us leftists trust the government too much. They don’t want us to use it to the extint that my green party roots dictate.
–Sorry, but I consider these honest disagreements, and I’m sure they would agree that good Christians can come to different opinions on this matter about the proper role of government. That is my complaint with Rick, Wallis, and some of the others who post here.



report abuse
 

anna

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:10 am


Once upon a time, Britania ruled the waves…
Nowadays, things are more complicated and democracies are not always worth that name.
Churchill once said that each nation has the government it deserves. Not that simple in my opinion – not with global economy.
It is a comparative “luxury” we can express our opinions (for me – I don’t live in the US)in some blogs – but many times the voices do not reach higher or outwards. Still, it is good that people discuss matters- we can then think better.
I would like us all (in the westwern world, starting here on this site) to think about solutions , because many people feel deceived with politics and institutions – we know (proof is another matter) there is much corruption and deals of lobbies. Honest people are left out. Only faith can then redeem us not to become indifferent or cynical.
We (=many people in my own country despite political tendencies) feel we pay for the “cake” (budget)but are not allowed in the party…
Peace only comes with justice otherwise it becomes “anaemic”.
(“When evil men plot, good men must plan; (…)When evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, goos men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.” M.L. King)
Thank you for your attn. Anna



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:39 am


Wolverine has been a gentleman the entire time I have been here.
Stop that Payshun, you’re embarassing me.
I’ve bumped heads with Payshun more than once on this blog and I’m pretty sure we’ll bump heads again, but Payshun has interesting things to say and he’s always been good about avoiding personal stuff — if anything better than me.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:59 am


As for Mr. Wayne,
Look, I freely admit to being a smart-aleck on occasion, but the Shuster-Blackburn thing was entirely relevant. Nafziger wrote about the cynicism that he and his friends feel, and I gave an example of a very cynical “gotcha” game that a reporter played on a Republican Congresswoman. The point is to show that a lot of this cynicism is coming from the left, and your cynicism isn’t any more constructive than ours.
Now just because you weren’t aware of it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, doesn’t matter, or can’t be raised in a debate. But just to help you get up to speed, here’s a link:
http://media.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NTdmMjVkNTExMWZiODI2NDY4MmNlYTNkYTVkNTk2NTY=
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:44 am


Rick Nowlin wrote:
Says you. Because, for openers, the right convinced itself beginning with the Reagan years — and trumpeted loudly — that it, and no one else, truly reprsented this country and anyone to its left, in that view, was “the left” (and thus not fit to live). The right believes that same nonsense. In other words, you engage in a false dichotomy.
Before anyone challenges Rick on the above, I remember the 80’s well and I concur that this is fairly accurate.



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:12 am


I should also say that Wallis in almost every post cannot acknowledge genuine disagreements others have with him and attacks the faith of others in many of his posts. How can any sort of “dialogue” occur when you attack the motives and faith of everyone who disagrees with you from the get go? The stated purpose of this blog is to promote dialogue, yes? On this, Sojo is failing miserably.
I don’t see this at all. I’ll repeat what I just told Kevin s: Dialogue implies agreement on something. I think if the Conservatives who saw through the war were more of the type to show up here instead of what we get stuck with, we’d have great dialogue.
Unfortunately the ones who are here are of the type to believe in things by now largely discredited. That appears to the rest of us to be a deparate attempt at derailment, since it’s obvious even other conservatives don’t buy their bee ess anymore. It quite frankly looks like a childish temper-tanrum.
In fact, I’ll even go up one on that: I think there’s a tendency to equate “dialogue” with “debate.” Or better yet: “food fight.”
You would think they could open just one discussion on the points raised in a particular post with something like “Hey Jim, that’s different, why do ya think that way?” Or if not those words, at least with that kind of attitude. But no it’s usually with comments meant to inflame, and often over a nit-picky point. Were you here for the discussion we had about the word “bias” a few days ago? Classic example.
And, directing this at you Jesse, but I think it also applies to others as well: There”s also a tendency to equate “dialgue” with “no moral backbone. If someone spouts off things that are unChristian as I understand it, then I am not only with in my rights, I am obligated to say so! And all three of these gentlemen we are talking about have said things I see as in direct conflict with the Faith in a way that goes beyond politics and gets to how we define what it means to be a Christian.
Therefore I stand by my earlier comments: Sojouners has presented views by others of different stripes both politically and theologically here. Granted, “dialogue” per se may not be happening, but Sojo ain’t the problem. It’s 3 overgrown little boys who don’t know when it’s time to go home.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:13 am


Oh piffle, that kind of thinking dates back at least to the 70’s with Nixon and his “silent majority”. On the left there was Roosevelt’s “forgotten man” way back in the depression.
There isn’t a politcal movement in a democratic society that doesn’t argue that the people are really on their side, and there isn’t a movement that isn’t vulnerable of taking its own propaganda too seriously.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:48 am


Kevin Wayne wrote:
Granted, “dialogue” per se may not be happening, but Sojo ain’t the problem. It’s 3 overgrown little boys who don’t know when it’s time to go home.
Ya know, I’ve been angry, and I’ve been blunt, and I’ve been sarcastic, but it’s been a long time since I’ve suggested that anyone, let alone three prominent posters, should just shut up.
Anyway, we were talking about bitterness and cynicism in politics…
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:08 am


Rick has clearly been wounded by some conservatives who have done this to him in the past.
Actually, I haven’t. But I remember being in a church in Atlanta in 1980 and the pastor started preaching conservative politics from the pulpit. The church, among other things, also supported Ronald Reagan for president (and consider who was in office at the time) and supported a local anti-ERA rally. I was young in the faith at the time but immediately smelled a rat without being able to lay a finger on just what was wrong. It took a change of churches to recognize just what the problem was — the first church operated under a spirit of fear, that it needed to “defeat” certain people for God to bless this nation. (I now recognize that as sheer idolatry.)
That experience has colored my view of the “religious right,” which I didn’t even know about until I got back home. I later went to college in my hometown, attending a debate between Birch Bayh and Cal Thomas (some guy got up and called Thomas a Nazi, which to me was unfortunate) and becoming as well-informed as I could about it — hey, I was a Christian and I knew it would affect not only me personally but the entire Body of Christ.
As I have said often on this blog, ideological conservatism has no role for people like me who have fundamental and substantive disagreements with its agenda, methodology and interpretation of history. I was aware of this mentality all the while, but I didn’t start speaking out forcefully until the right wing decided to go after Bill Clinton — because it knew full well that if his program became popular it was basically finished. In 1995, when I was a campus newspaper columnist and after getting considerable information and connecting the dots — this was around the time of the Vince Foster “situation” — I wrote a piece about a “right-wing conspiracy” against him centered around one of the major players, who lives in my city. (When Hillary made that charge on TV three years later, probably most people laughed at her. I said, in contrast, “Girl, you’re just now figuring that out?”)
I have learned over the years that modern conservatism intended to build a de facto aristocracy at the expense of everyone else, which deeply offends my sense of justice and fairness. The way it has gone about it has consistenly violated Biblical principles — at times it has, among other things, filed unnecessary lawsuits, defamed its opponents and in some cases flat-out lied. With constant conduct like that I find it almost impossible to respect it. Plus, that mentality actually fosters racism, which I as an African-American cannot stomach (especially since I, too, was at one time a perpetrator).
You see, I am at heart a reconciler who would love nothing better than to see folks working together for the good of everyone. However, to do that effectively sin must be addressed and dealt with, and I see the right refusing to do so, stubbornly clinging to its agenda as though it “just can’t be wrong.” Again, that indeed is idolatry and we won’t make any progress unless and until it’s recognized as such. What’s more, it’s been my experience that conservatives “project” their attitudes onto others — earlier on this thread Wolverine accused me of harboring “bile” toward the right (when in fact it does that to anyone else).
Now, this ideological obsession on the part of the right has even divided the church and hampered efforts to reconcile across racial and cultural lines and, thus, our efforts to preach and live the Gospel. A couple of weeks ago I had an e-mail correspondence with someone involved in one of the local anti-abortion lobbies; the conversation shifted to why virtually no black lawmakers openly opposed abortion, as I do passionately — I let him know that many, if not most, of the same people who oppose abortion also ignored or opposed civil rights for blacks (who know full well who their friends and enemies are).
Bottom line, the issue is not, and never was, my “nastiness” toward people who don’t see things my way. Rather, I have this deep, deep hatred toward evil of all kinds, especially hypocrisy, from people who call themselves followers of Christ, and my blood boils when the faith is confused with such a self-centered mentality. After all, Jesus Himself was not always nice when dealing with His opponents, who hated Him largely because He didn’t answer to them. That being the case, I’m in good company (and so, apparently, is Jim Wallis!).
So, if anyone here is serious about this “new conversation,” we need to remember that “the old has passed away.” We need to get beyond categories of right and left to address real issues, and I hope we can do so in my lifetime — but for that to happen the right will have to leave that agenda behind because it is by definition divisive. (The “left” doesn’t have the heft of the right at this point.)



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:27 am


“My statements don’t need a defense”
They absolutely do. Can you find me a passage where Jesus accuses other of Blasphemy and idolatry, and yet fails to make his case? This is the crux of the Sojo/Emergent movement. Make an incendiary remark, and dodge when you are called out on it. You, however, claim to be reformed.
“Says you. Because, for openers, the right convinced itself beginning with the Reagan years — and trumpeted loudly — that it, and no one else, truly reprsented this country and anyone to its left, in that view, was “the left” (and thus not fit to live).”
This is rational. Because conservatives rallied around Reagan, anyone else was unfit to live. Your flying off the tracks, but my statement stands that the political left is not new. In fact, the new Democrats recently elected to congress are probably more moderate than the Democrats of the 1980s.
I don’t think anyone deserves not to live on the basis of their political viewpoints. I still believe we have a political right and a political left in this country. I am going to make the bold claim here that one can believe both of these statements to be true.
“The “left” is new in the sense that it is starting to organize the way the right did, which it had never done before (at least, in the same fashion).”
Not true, they are organizing much the way they did under Humphrey’s lead, by purging the more extreme forces, rallying around moderates, and uniting around 60% issues (cleaning up Washington, for example).
“Conservative political values were never tenable in the first place”
Blah, blah, blah. I know what you think of conservatism. Nonetheless, a number of conservatives have been angry with Bush about his unwillingness to use the veto pen on bloated budgets.
“On top of that, leaders on the right are still in denial that their side is losing. I recently read a piece on the wire at work by Richard Viguerie telling Bush to pick a fight with the Democrats concering the next AG in the hope that doing so would raise his poll ratings because they would be seen as “obstructionists.”
That’s politics, guy. Democrats do it, too. Has nothing to do with dictation.
“Back to the topic. This particular post surrounded cynicism about the political process, and do you understand why?”
People are cynical for different reasons. Some are cynical because they believe the whole process is about money. Others are cynical because they think the populace is too stupid to vote for the right people. Others are cynical because their political beliefs are not represented by any prominent party.
This fellow falls in the latter category. He is cynical because he feels his leaders aren’t listening to him and his pacifist ilk. They aren’t listening to him because he represents a small minorty.
I can sympathize, on a certain level. But to suggest that our Democracy does not work for this reason is incorrect.
“I predict that you’ll see even more grass-roots activism in the next few years, even Christian based — and virtually all of it will come from the “left.”
I think Democrats will do well at the polls for the next couple of cycles, but I disagree that “virtually all” grass-roots activism will come from the left.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:36 am


Can you find me a passage where Jesus accuses other of Blasphemy and idolatry, and yet fails to make his case? This is the crux of the Sojo/Emergent movement. Make an incendiary remark, and dodge when you are called out on it. You, however, claim to be reformed.
I did make the case, each and every time, and you simply chose to reject it. That’s your problem, not mine.
In fact, the new Democrats recently elected to congress are probably more moderate than the Democrats of the 1980s.
But they were helped by the extreme radicalism of the GOP right — which still hasn’t gotten the message.
Nonetheless, a number of conservatives have been angry with Bush about his unwillingness to use the veto pen on bloated budgets.
Except that those “bloated budgets” — and, remember, Reagan never submitted a balanced budget — kept their people in office. They forget that.
I think Democrats will do well at the polls for the next couple of cycles, but I disagree that “virtually all” grass-roots activism will come from the left.
Time will tell — but I think I’m right.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:49 am


Okay, let’s try a different tack.
Rick Nowlin wrote:
You see, I am at heart a reconciler who would love nothing better than to see folks working together for the good of everyone. However, to do that effectively sin must be addressed and dealt with, and I see the right refusing to do so, stubbornly clinging to its agenda as though it “just can’t be wrong.”
Rick, could you distinguish between conservative ideas you consider sinful and those you merely disagree with?
It doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list, a few examples of each would be helpful.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:51 am


“In fact, I have.”
You are not a Sojo blogger, at least that I have seen. My point stands that there is no dissent from a single orthodoxy from the posters on this site (not in the comments).
“Dialogue implies agreement on something.”
Perhaps, but if that dialogue requires agreement with Wallis’ political viewpoints, then that isn’t dialogue.
This discussion aptly summarizes everything I think about this movement.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 12:06 pm


My point stands that there is no dissent from a single orthodoxy from the posters on this site (not in the comments).
Well, you represent a single orthodoxy more so than any of us “liberals” do. Thing is, you see everyone who disagrees with you as a single unit, which in my experience is typical of the political right, which as a rule is single unit in comparison. That’s no way to have a conversation.
Perhaps, but if that dialogue requires agreement with Wallis’ political viewpoints, then that isn’t dialogue.
If you’re going to disagree with Wallis’ viewpoints you have better give a good reason why. However, most of the time you go straight to the “motivation” part and ignore the issues he and the others are trying to raise. Again, that does nothing to enlighten anyone.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:03 pm


“Well, you represent a single orthodoxy more so than any of us “liberals” do. Thing is, you see everyone who disagrees with you as a single unit, which in my experience is typical of the political right, which as a rule is single unit in comparison. That’s no way to have a conversation.”
I would be curious as to what constitutes a dual-orthodoxy, and as to how a sane person could adhere to one, but… My point stands that there is no dissent among the bloggers here. I say this precisely because I am aware that there are many disparate viewpoints outside of the conservative ideology. If I painted everyone with a single brush, then my statement would be internally redundant.
“If you’re going to disagree with Wallis’ viewpoints you have better give a good reason why. However, most of the time you go straight to the “motivation” part and ignore the issues he and the others are trying to raise. Again, that does nothing to enlighten anyone.”
I do have good reason to disagree with Wallis. But my concern is not entirely that he is a political, well, I’ll use the term progressive since I am forbidden from using the term liberal for some reason. My concern is that he attributed his political beliefs to God. When you claim to have found God’s Politics, it doesn’t leave much room for reasonable disagreement.



report abuse
 

Another nonymous

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:21 pm


“When you claim to have found God’s Politics, it doesn’t leave much room for reasonable disagreement.”
Fair enough. At the same time, I don’t think it’s fair to say (as some have suggested) that Jim Wallis is impugning anybody’s faith. What he’s impugning is their works, which are fair game since they’re supposed to be the fruits of salvation, not its cause.
Those who doubt that there is a problem here should take a look at Bill McKibben’s classic article “The Christian Paradox,” which you can find through a google search. A teaser: 85% of Americans self-identify as Christians, more than in any other developed nation. At the same time, we are second from last in the percentage of our budget devoted to foreign aid, and highest in our rates of violent crime and divorce. Pointing out the disconnect is neither mean-spirited nor un-Biblical.



report abuse
 

Tim Nafziger

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:29 pm


This thread has long ago moved past Wolverine’s first comment, but I thought I’d take a moment to respond to it anyway:

You seem to be ready to acknowledge your cynicism, a cynicism that leads you to bathe the entire world in acid as you reach for ever more potent expressions of outrage. You specialize in assuming the worst possible motives in your political opponents, a habit that kills all chance of finding common ground.
Okay, I’ll take your first point, although “bathing the entire world in acid” may be stretching it. But can you explain to me what you’re basing your second sentence on? What leads you to believe that I specialize in believing the worst in people?

But I do think you need to seriously consider the possibility that the left has become too cynical and bitter, and that this is a big part of the problem with American politics.
This is exactly what we’re hoping our gathering will address: cynicism among ourselves. That’s why we didn’t call it “Cynicism among Conservatives” or something like that.
The level of cynicism among Christians passionate about God’s vision for shalom threatens the sustainability of our movement and undermines our effective participation in US politics. It also contributes to a political climate in which elites (Democratic and Republican) can get a way with anything they please. That’s why we see a need for this conference.



report abuse
 

Mick Sheldon

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:31 pm


When you claim to have found God’s Politics, it doesn’t leave much room for reasonable disagreement.
Posted by: kevin s
Well said Kevin , and just part of the problem I find here also . In defence of many on the left , they might say the same about views on abortion . property rights and such . Western civilization has had such a large impact in our laws and views , and are Bibically based . It is true that those laws and values from the Bible at times have been promoted without using the whole Bible in balance . I know many people people like Jim Wallis , they will come up to you and say Jesus told me that you should do it this way , what Jim Wallis does not get, or care about , is Jesus is willing to talk to me too .



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:40 pm


You are not a Sojo blogger, at least that I have seen. My point stands that there is no dissent from a single orthodoxy from the posters on this site (not in the comments).
My my, my… never have I seen the virtue of unity so utterly maligned. On Counterpunch you have unity. On the Prism E-Pistle (Evangelicals For Social Action) you have pretty much common ground expressed. On Peace Signs (Mennonite) there’s basic unity- these are all sites/newsletters I occasionally read/visit. And you put down the Sojouners contributors because they don’t squabble amongst themselves like National Review? Most likely it’s because at NR they are either a) not a faith-based group or b) confused. Either way, a Christian group is hopefully going to have a lot more unity expressed. Or they better.
Perhaps, but if that dialogue requires agreement with Wallis’ political viewpoints, then that isn’t dialogue.
The fact that he and others like him have a voice that’s being heard really bugs you, doesn’t it?
This discussion aptly summarizes everything I think about this movement.



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:43 pm


Ya know, I’ve been angry, and I’ve been blunt, and I’ve been sarcastic, but it’s been a long time since I’ve suggested that anyone, let alone three prominent posters, should just shut up.

Or, actually engage in dialogue, not disruption. That too is an option.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:48 pm


” At the same time, we are second from last in the percentage of our budget devoted to foreign aid, and highest in our rates of violent crime and divorce. Pointing out the disconnect is neither mean-spirited nor un-Biblical.”
No, it isn’t, and I don’t think anyone here has argued that point. But when Wallis suggests, for example, that Social Security reform will violate the 5th commandment, we’re in dodgier territory. I would note that, while 85% of Americans may identify as Christians, a much smaller percentage actually believes the basic tenets of the Christian faith.



report abuse
 

Kevin Wayne

posted September 27, 2007 at 2:49 pm


When you claim to have found God’s Politics, it doesn’t leave much room for reasonable disagreement.
Of course. We should just be mealy-mouthed and say all is relative. Hey Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Menno Simons, Jacob Arminius, John Wesley, George Fox, Martin Luther King, Jr. – you guys all got it wrong. You couldn’t have heard from the Lord because it’s not PC to claim you can know truth.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 3:25 pm


I know many people like Jim Wallis, they will come up to you and say Jesus told me that you should do it this way, what Jim Wallis does not get, or care about, is Jesus is willing to talk to me too.
When you’ve been doing what Wallis has been doing for as long as he’s been doing it — ministry in one of the poorest sections of Washington, D.C. for well over 30 years — you are going to develop a theme, an agenda. We as Christians can’t all do everything, but we all need to do something, and that’s what he does to fulfill his role as a messenger of the Gospel. Other people will serve the LORD in different ways, and it’s patently unfair for anyone to disparage his legitimate role in the Kingdom because it doesn’t square with what you personally believe. Yet that’s just what the “religious right” has done since the late 1970s and, as I mentioned earlier, folks — likely including the writer of this particular blog entry — are getting tired of that, looking for a new political paradigm.
You mention that Western culture has been impacted by the Bible. While that is undeniably true, it is also true that the expression of the Christian faith has been shaped by Western culture as well, to the detriment of the faith in some key areas. I’ve recently done some study on the Protestant Reformation, and I’ve noticed that it also represented power politics of the worst kind, with the nobility backing one theology or another for supremacy. (Eventually the mercantile/middle classes decided, “A pox on all your houses!”, which is why Europe is so secular today.) Theologically I come from a Reformed background, and I’ve learned that in those days Calvinists subscribed to the idea that the state itself should be subject to Biblical edicts. However, the Reformed version faith had a lot of adherents in Scotland, which culturally is individualistic (and at times thus at odds with the still-collectivist culture of the Middle East), and when the Scots migrated here from Northern Ireland beginning in the 17th Century many settled in what is now the South.
Thus, there is simply no way that I can see being a Christian and politically “conservative” unless I’m focused on political and cultural authority, which I don’t think should be the Christian’s goal anyway. My paraphrase of the two great commandments are 1) Worship God with everything you got; and 2) Do right by others, which in my view directly contradict much of the conservative ethos.



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:25 pm


Kevin,
I said you got better. I never said you were a gentleman. I don’t want to lump you w/ Wolverine and cause him further shame. I am kidding about that. You have a long history on this site of being insulting and rude. You have done it to me, and to many other leftist posters. You will probably keep doing it but then I do my best to trash your views, ideology, theology and the half a–ed practice of right leaning Christians.
Oh and Kevin it is a dialogue. It’s the dialogue not an argument. They are not the same thing, one can involve the other but one must always lead to a consensus or resolution of some sort. You’re arguments don’t do that. You are interested in honest dissent. I can respect that. I do. But the dissent you bring leads to no dialogue. It’s just arguing. Dialogue has to accomplish or lead to something. You’re not doing that.
Wolvie:
Rick, could you distinguish between conservative ideas you consider sinful and those you merely disagree with?
Me:
I am not Rick but I will answer the question. I have a really hard time doing that. The Iraq War, Preemptive striking, international and domestic spending policies… are all plans I consider sinful or unfair. But you all are right to some extent about abortion. I also see that your side is extremely legalistic. Then let’s get to who you all attract. Conservatives tend to be racially and culturally homogenous. There are exceptions but in general you all seem to lack any real connection to “other folks.”
That doesn’t mean I can’t work w/ you or people on your side. I like doing it because it does reconcile the two viewpoints together and does my Father’s will. The question is can you work w/ us when we are the ones setting policy?
p



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted September 27, 2007 at 4:36 pm


Mick,
I respect you but instead of saying what Jesus said to you about how you practice your faith you assume we on the left know. Well we don’t. You all ((Wolverine, Moderatelad (a misnomer if I ever heard one, and Kevin)) never say what God says to you or speak about the spiritual dimension in regards to your market values or your values for national defense.
If anything you all rarely do (w/o Kevin’s defense of Romans) to justify war. There is next to no dialogue about what the scriptures reveal about how God relates in politics or how to pursue peace. You folks on the right seem all to trigger happy.
When you get called on you get defensive. I think that’s the problem. When we on the left use the scriptures to reveal God’s love for mercy for all you all take your fears, worship them and then use them to create national policy. It doesn’t matter if the issue is gay marriage or the Iraq War or possible war w/ Iran. It’s all fear based w/ you guys.
I am not saying us on the left are w/o fear but unlike you all we don’t let our fears dictate whether or not we bomb a country for something they don’t even have yet. That’s just dumb. Yes I am referring to Iran w/ that.
p



report abuse
 

sqeuaky

posted September 27, 2007 at 5:36 pm


“When you claim to have found God’s Politics, it doesn’t leave much room for reasonable disagreement.”
I agree with this statement. However, I would point out the irony in that it came from someone of a conservative ilk. The reason that is ironic is that conservative Christians have been claiming to have God’s politics for years. So it is a statement that would be far more genuine coming from a liberal-minded person who is recognizing the error of conservative Christians and resolving not to make the same mistake. I do agree that liberal Christians often fall to this same error, but it isn’t a criticism I take easily from a conservative Christian, especially since the conservatives wrote the book on equating their politics with Christianity.



report abuse
 

jesse

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:21 pm


Squeaky,
I think every conservative-leaning person posting here has admitted at one time or another several Christian conservatives often equated their own politics with God’s in the past. We’ve acknowledged that that was wrong. However, none of us have ever said that we had God’s politics.
We’re quick to point out that the left is not above committing the same error today. There is nothing new under the sun, and Sojo and Wallis are proof positive in this regard.



report abuse
 

N.M. Rod

posted September 27, 2007 at 6:48 pm


Can you imagine how absurd it is in a cosmic sense, looking down on earth from that perspective, and see people absolutely consumed with all this “left” vs. “right” nonsense as if it had any ultimate meaning whatsoever?
I mean, these are artificial constructs, change definition depending on where they are used and by whom, without precision. They are mostly used as cudgels. I think they’re a form of internal nationalism, just like racism, fulfilling the human propensity towards ever more schism and the great need to have easily identifiable enemies, to mask the truth with emotion and hatred, in order to avoid confronting one’s own true nature.
The ship hit the iceberg, is taking on water, and the band plays the same tunes to distract…



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:16 pm


Jesse,
What are you talking about?
You all still do it. Just look at gay marriage or abortion rights or any other purely social issue. You all believe God thinks what you do in regards to that is righteous.
I am for gay marriage, against abortion but the other social issues don’t matter to me. My beliefs allow for any adult to live the life they want w/ no discrimination from society or the government. Yours do not. It’s really that simple.
p



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:21 pm


N.M. Rod,
Your attempts at trying to get us to see through the illusion of the right and left are noble but almost futile. I agree w/ everything you wrote except for one point. I don’t worship this nation. I am not a nationalist in any sense of the world. My beliefs actually allow for those walls to come down a lot. I don’t use them to beat people into my view. I just use them to speak truth to power.
p



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:30 pm


Payshun:
I appreciate the attempt to answer the question, but it really was directed at Mr. Nowlin.
That aside, I think you misunderstood the categories. What I was looking for was the difference between issues where your position is so firm that you are inclined to see differences as indicating some sort of moral failure, and issues where you acknowledge that the conservative position is ethically defensible, even if you disagree.
If you would like, I could take a stab at it myself from my perspective, although that will have to wait until after dinner.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 7:50 pm


I just finished my dinner, so I’ll respond now.
The number one problem with the conservative agenda is one I have already mentioned on this thread: It has always tried to set itself up as an aristocracy answerable to no one, not even God — and I’ve already mentioned what that’s called. All the other problems come from that fact.
You have things like supply-side economics, which essentially took from the poor and give to the rich and allowed the rich to buy more politicians. Constant tax cuts for the wealthy, which drain (among other things) the treasury so that things like infrastructure and transportation cannot be funded properly. Cutting back on social programs, including college loans and grants and job-training programs — and then dumping the responsibility onto churches, at least theoretically. The attempted demonization of affirmative action, never mind that folks are often still “locked out” of school, jobs or promotions because of who they are, how much they make or where they live. And that’s just for starters.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:04 pm


Rick,
I’m I correct in assuming all those are on the “sinful” list?
Perhaps you should move on to the list of issues where we disagree but where you don’t think our position is necessarily sinful. Or is that an empty set?
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:15 pm


My point is not to promote some kind of “sin list” but to examine the motivation for such. And because of that the things I have mentioned, and some more that I didn’t, have become sinful.



report abuse
 

Mick Sheldon

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:35 pm


Hi P , Thanks for writing .
Mick,
I respect you but instead of saying what Jesus said to you about how you practice your faith you assume we on the left know. Well we don’t.
Me
Well Thank you P , and you indeed have an aspect of you that is quite willing to dialogue . I appreciate that about you . Also your ability to rach out even whenhostility has been acknowledged . I had thought not to reply to you m, your a better man then I .
P
You all ((Wolverine, Moderatelad (a misnomer if I ever heard one, and Kevin)) never say what God says to you or speak about the spiritual dimension in regards to your market values or your values for national defense.
Me
I am not sure you what you mean . I am against our involvement in Iraq . In fact my own personal opinion is we should not put any American boots in Iraq or the Middle East . I however was concerned of the threat of Iraq , and certainly did not condemn our policy there . I was always more concerned about the kids who were over there then pointing fingers I guess.
P
If anything you all rarely do (w/o Kevin’s defense of Romans) to justify war. There is next to no dialogue about what the scriptures reveal about how God relates in politics or how to pursue peace. You folks on the right seem all to trigger happy.
Me
I guess it would appear that way , perhaps that is true . I liked Roosevelts Policy of speaking softly but carrying a big stick . Reagans peace through strength makes much logical sense to me . Bullies won’t attack you if they know you can or will beat them up . We are dealing with bullies . I tend to believe that the Federal Government’s main job was to protect us , not what it has become . I think that may be part of it . States should be doing what we talk about from my conservative view point . That is not based in Faith , perhaps some of it is . but it just seems logical that government works better when people in our own areas decide what is best to help us .
P
When you get called on you get defensive. I think that’s the problem. When we on the left use the scriptures to reveal God’s love for mercy for all you all take your fears, worship them and then use them to create national policy. It doesn’t matter if the issue is gay marriage or the Iraq War or possible war w/ Iran. It’s all fear based w/ you guys.
Me
That is strange , because that is how we on the right see the left . I hear comments at times like we religious conservatives had our run at power and such . What the heck ? Social conservatives have always seen the culture decaying . We had power ? Heck , we often have felt invisible . Its probably why so many conservatives get so outrageous with their comments , just to draw attention .
The left uses fear from our view , if the government does not do something innocent peopel will starve , there is a health care crisis , their is a crisis of the haves and have nots . , their is always a crisis where if you do not do something with government , innocent children or the poor will suffer , the problem will grow , and its all the uncaring fault of the GOP . So I guess there is some defensive aspects of the GOP’s rhetoric , mention to a left that they are unpatriotic and see what happens . When yu get attacked for your beliefs , defensive is normal .
Even when I agree with the left at times , seldom though , I still have a hard time swalling how they promote the issue .
Look at the debate on the medical care , Jim Wallis is saying Bush does not care about the children .
P
I am not saying us on the left are w/o fear but unlike you all we don’t let our fears dictate whether or not we bomb a country for something they don’t even have yet. That’s just dumb. Yes I am referring to Iran w/ that.
Me
P I have heard people here say if you serve in the military you can not be a Christian . I think you have overstated a stereotype here .
I am not saying bomb Iran , what I am saying is obviously you have leaders and a sect in that country that have stated publicly that they believe Israel should go by by . What bothers me about the left P , is that they believe they can love evil into doing the right thing . Or even mentioning that word causing some on this site to believe you have committed a sin of judgment .
There is evil in this world , and sometimes it is used to gain political power . Nazi Germany, KKK , are examples that people have agreed on both sides most of the time to illustrate what happens when evil gains power , and what can happen if we do not do anything .
Iraq should be a good lesson for the right , I had thought Vietnam would have been , but I guess not . But the left and the belief that we don’t have to deal with Iran as a threat to this country and the world is off base in my opinion.
But your right , I do see issues like Abortion and gay marriage as something that I thought that all Christians would, should agree on , and I believe is bad for children . Those Bibical principles appear so easy to understand , I can understand cultural forces not putting them on the top ten , but not understanding them at all is just strange . Not believing the structure of the family , and honoring God’s creation seem so fundamental to me .
The Standard of a Man and Women as man and wife , Mom and Dad appears logically and Bibically easy to understand what is best for us all . Gay kids are better off having God’s creation of a Female and Male nurture their growing up experience because of the different qualities God gave to each gender . I don’t get how this became mean spirited or something theleft sees as unimportant .
P I had hoped this organization would have stopped one political party of using Christianity as a political action committee. I see that with African Americans and the democrats also . Putting your support in political parties and not individuals has hurt us I think .
I can easily see your views of supporting the poor by use of government .
And thats the shame here , you have to consider important beliefs of what God is telling you what is important , and replace it with a humanistisic belief of social justice that promotes certain values as unimportant , while I and other Evangelicals believe will cause harm on children and families if the same politicians you support are elected .
Don’t you see that ?



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 8:37 pm


Rick,
I’m not asking you to promote a sin list. I’m asking you if you acknolwdge any issues where you disagree with conservatives, but do not see the conservative position as inherently wicked.
Call it the “not necessarily a sin” list.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:01 pm


By the way, I had a post earlier today on the Shuster/Blackburn flapdoodle that has yet to turn up in the comments section. You guys at Sojo are checking the spam filter periodically aren’t you?
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:14 pm


I’m asking you if you acknolwdge any issues where you disagree with conservatives, but do not see the conservative position as inherently wicked.
“Less government,” for example, is not inherently a bad thing, as I’m not one of those people who believes that the state is everything.



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:41 pm


Mick,
I don’t replace my beliefs w/ humanistic ideals. That’s the assumption that you guys on the right make. It’s not true. Using the government to help the poor is a universal truth shown throughout scripture. It doesn’t matter what culture (think Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Rome…,) or form of government or the society human use God holds all the nations accountable for how they treat their immigrants (illegal or not) and their poor. It’s really that simple.
We know when we elect your folks that the poor suffer more. WE also know that your family values stance about one man one woman is mainly (for lack of a better word) crap. I realize that’s harsh and I don’t mean it as a personal insult to you. But and this is a big but you all on the right create and foster a form of family that you don’t do a very good job of keeping. It’s hypocritical and un-American for you and folks on the right to defend the family when you all don’t hold each other accountable and work from that.
Also if two grown adults that happen to be the same gender want to love each other and want to express that thru marriage they should do so. As citizens of this country they should be allowed to do so w/o you, me, my religion or anything else coming in the way of that. That’s wrong when it does. America is supposed to be bigger than that.
What’s w/ the deification of male female relationships. As everyone knows our relationships w/ the opposite gender are anything but simple or even the best example of what God has for us. If we are honest about ourselves and our brokeness most married couples struggle.
That doesn’t mean the institution is wrong it just means that it really doesn’t matter how our brokeness expresses itself. Brokeness is equal across the board. Two gay men or women are no less broken than a man and a woman. That’s all I am going to say about that.
I am not a democrat. I have not been for years. They are way too weak and spineless for me.
Black support of the democrats has not helped but had we supported the republicans we would be worse off as your values don’t subscribe well to community uplift. Your values as a conservative are more for the individual. I can’t speak for all black people but I can speak for some aswell as myself. That doesn’t work. We are in this together and we (all Americans) need to tackle the issues of race that conservatives by and large tend to ignore.
p



report abuse
 

CindyB

posted September 27, 2007 at 9:45 pm


Tim,
Thanks for your post. I got tired of reading all the arguing which seemed to quickly depart from your subject.
I wish this middle-aged woman could join you in Chicago, but I’ll be praying for you, and continuing to engage in a similar search for how to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in my neck of the woods (while working like a maniac trying to figure out how to pay for my health insurance!).
Bless you.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:03 pm


We’re quick to point out that the left is not above committing the same error today. There is nothing new under the sun, and Sojo and Wallis are proof positive in this regard.
Not true at all. The “Call for Renewal,” for example, has conservative signatories, one of them Cal Thomas (certainly no liberal), and I think the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusade also agreed. On the other hand, when the right was in control it has always shut us out, as though we have nothing to contribute, and that hasn’t changed one bit.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:09 pm


And thats the shame here, you have to consider important beliefs of what God is telling you what is important, and replace it with a humanistisic belief of social justice that promotes certain values as unimportant, while I and other Evangelicals believe will cause harm on children and families if the same politicians you support are elected.
That’s a matter of opinion only. I see this comment as the right still wanting its own way, the final determination as to what the real issues are. And that’s the problem — you apparently have no room for other perspectives, nor do you truly listen to people who have them.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 27, 2007 at 10:10 pm


That last post was mine.



report abuse
 

N.M. Rod

posted September 28, 2007 at 1:02 am


What I meant as internal “nationalism” was the division into “conservative” and “liberal” Americas, almost like two nations with their own hyper-patriots gassing at each other almost like two nation-states geared up for conflict and talking past each other.
The idea of the “culture wars” captures this divisive spirit and uses the language of conquest. Even the putative division into two Americas – the Red States and the Blue States conveys this ultimately unhelpful division.
I guess the media doesn’t mind enhancing this perception because conflict is the stuff of ratings, but it’s more perception than reality – but perception is where people end up living inside their own minds.
Let’s create a new perception in our selves more attuned to reality.



report abuse
 

Mick Sheldon

posted September 28, 2007 at 2:10 am


Mick,
I don’t replace my beliefs w/ humanistic ideals. That’s the assumption that you guys on the right make. It’s not true.
Me
I know I do this , but the logic and values you appear to have seem so similiar . I would still say you are greatly influenced by humanism , as I am from the propaganda of the right .
I see more in common with you and the left who share no belief in a Knowable God , and don’t yourself feel as though humanists on the left share more commonality with your value systems then say a conservative believer like me . Who sees the Bible as the word of God . His owners manual for us so to speak ? I may not share your understanding of the word , but I adhere to it as God’s word , that is seen laughable from many on the left .
You
Using the government to help the poor is a universal truth shown throughout scripture. It doesn’t matter what culture (think Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Rome…,) or form of government or the society human use God holds all the nations accountable for how they treat their immigrants (illegal or not) and their poor. It’s really that simple.
Me
Thanks , that does make sense . But why then do the people who espouse that belief the loudest , often tend to say the issues I hold important and often try to malign the reputations of Evangelicals the loudest . Also , are not nations then accountable to God for how they trea immigrints ? If so , then are they not accountable how they treat God’s unborn ?
P the world of today , does not like God being involved in decision making , you are accepted by the left because you agree with them politically , my opinion and what I have seen is you will be cast aside when you are no longer needed . God and a strong realtionship with a God that you know is considered intellectually lacking by the left in academia and many leftist organizations . Have you not seen that ?
You
We know when we elect your folks that the poor suffer more. WE also know that your family values stance about one man one woman is mainly (for lack of a better word) crap. I realize that’s harsh and I don’t mean it as a personal insult to you. But and this is a big but you all on the right create and foster a form of family that you don’t do a very good job of keeping.
Me ,
Well I can say I was horrible personally at keeping standards I believe are important . My past I shared with you only re infoced my belief there . , I was a single dad , but my great parenting skills was basically based on I was the only left and willing to stay around . Thank God I found Christ . No pun intended . Those standards are what our civilization was and is based on . Your lack of understanding that or acknowledging it is not crap to me , its just the strange circumstances you have witnessed and you seem to hold no bvalue in it . . The love and security that God so Giving allows us by His grace is easier seen by us when we have a Father figure in our lives that is loving and giving . Its the way we were designed , you don’t see that . Thats not crap . People growing up in homes without loving fathers are going to have a hard time understanding the Love of Christ . That is not crap , thats just the way it is .
You
It’s hypocritical and un-American for you and folks on the right to defend the family when you all don’t hold each other accountable and work from that.
Me
Your stereotyping P , big time . I could say the left loves the sin more then the sinner . Because when a person on the right tap toes in a toilet , all of a sudden we all are tap toeing hypocrits . And the standards that they were speaking about are made out to be less important by the left , actually when people on the right fall below the standards they speak to , members of their family’s are hurt and they are hurt . Just why I believe those standards become more important , not less . The proof is people get hurt when fall victim to sin . God wants us happy right ?
You
Also if two grown adults that happen to be the same gender want to love each other and want to express that thru marriage they should do so.
Me
I never said anything on that . Please you are stereotyping . I am talking about standards , and what is best for children and families .
If I did not care about gay people , i would not have included them in the benefit of having a Mom and Dad . I see that as good , better then one Dad , better then two Dads or any combination . I did not say I would condemn any one , I said I would promote the family as I believe God designed it for our benefit . Mom and a Dad .. From how I understand it , its still the combination needed for babies to be born .
You
As citizens of this country they should be allowed to do so w/o you, me, my religion or anything else coming in the way of that. That’s wrong when it does. America is supposed to be bigger than that.
Me
Totally agree , this April I am flying out to Iowa , my sister is marrying her partner . I am glad she has someone who cares about her , I am glad she is happy . Sorry I will not say God is Blessing that marriage , just that I love her and hope all the happiness for her . I will be praying for her as always . Even though to some my prayers are crap .
You
What’s w/ the deification of male female relationships. As everyone knows our relationships w/ the opposite gender are anything but simple or even the best example of what God has for us. If we are honest about ourselves and our brokeness most married couples struggle.
Me
Hello ! The whole Bible deals with dysfunctional family and couples . Thats not the issue here . As if a herosexual is better then a homosexual ? As if . I think you have not ever had deep intellectual exchanges or have thought about this in different ways . There is nothing better about me then a gay person . In fact , I have no urger to be with another man . I do enough things wrong in my own life with no urges requiring me to do so , as If I condemn a gay man for doing so ?
You
I am not a democrat. I have not been for years. They are way too weak and spineless for me.
MeToo .. ;o}
You
Black support of the democrats has not helped but had we supported the republicans we would be worse off as your values don’t subscribe well to community uplift.
Me
Often wish African Americans would take the GOP by storm , as many Evangelicals di in the 80s. But that won’t happen . Obviously your view has much support . But the Gop is ripe for change and I hope the money changers don’t gasin even more control .



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 28, 2007 at 2:15 am


“Of course. We should just be mealy-mouthed and say all is relative. Hey Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Menno Simons, Jacob Arminius, John Wesley, George Fox, Martin Luther King, Jr. – you guys all got it wrong. You couldn’t have heard from the Lord because it’s not PC to claim you can know truth.”
Did John Calvin and Jacob Arminius both hear the truth? Either way, I’m sure both would question whether Wallis is hearing the truth, as you define hearing.
“The reason that is ironic is that conservative Christians have been claiming to have God’s politics for years.”
Some, not all. I found Wallis because I was looking for a new way, not the same way. I have said before that Wallis is the Robertson of the left. I have seen nothing that ought to make me change my view. You’re a liberal (or whatever I have to call it to avoid the label-police) Christian, so lament with me, eh?
And surely you are aware that a number of political moderates have raised similar questions about this movement.



report abuse
 

jesse

posted September 28, 2007 at 5:37 am


You have things like supply-side economics, which essentially took from the poor and give to the rich and allowed the rich to buy more politicians. Constant tax cuts for the wealthy, which drain (among other things) the treasury so that things like infrastructure and transportation cannot be funded properly. Cutting back on social programs, including college loans and grants and job-training programs — and then dumping the responsibility onto churches, at least theoretically. The attempted demonization of affirmative action, never mind that folks are often still “locked out” of school, jobs or promotions because of who they are, how much they make or where they live. And that’s just for starters.
–Rick, you do realize that affirmative action, college loans, high taxation of the rich, etc. did not exist really in any government prior to the 20th century? Were all those governments sinful up until God showed us his politics via Wallis and friends?



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 28, 2007 at 10:34 am


Often wish African Americans would take the GOP by storm, as many Evangelicals did in the 80s. But that won’t happen. Obviously your view has much support. But the GOP is ripe for change and I hope the money changers don’t gasin even more control.
Evangelicals did not “take the GOP by storm” — their votes were carefully cultivated by one Richard Viguerie, a holdover from the Goldwater/Nixon era who had already begun a direct-mail fundraising effort and recruited Jerry Falwell to start Moral Majority, which he did in, I think, 1979. Furthermore, the “religious right” was jump-started the year before when the Carter Administration sicced the IRS on private Christian academies in the South that he suspected were founded to avoid court-ordered desegregation efforts. Basically, there was tinge of racism up and down the conservative movement, and it’s quite accepted in the black community that white Southerners became Republicans to “get away” from blacks.
I have said before that Wallis is the Robertson of the left. I have seen nothing that ought to make me change my view.
He isn’t, because if he were you wouldn’t be on this blog — in fact, it wouldn’t even exist (try writing to the 700 Club in rebuttal). Wallis lives in a very poor neighborhood; I can’t imagine Robertson living in one.
Rick, you do realize that affirmative action, college loans, high taxation of the rich, etc. did not exist really in any government prior to the 20th century? Were all those governments sinful up until God showed us his politics via Wallis and friends?
Given the particular situation and the times, occasionally the instruments of justice need to change or be created — what may have been accepted practice before may not work today, which is why “turning the clock back” is not an option. And as for “high taxation of the rich,” we’ve had an estate tax in this country since literally the very beginning, and the conservatives are trying to get that repealed.



report abuse
 

Tim Nafziger

posted September 28, 2007 at 11:24 am


Wolverine,
Are you deliberately ignoring my response to your initial comment or did you just miss amidst the dozens of other messages? I’d still be interested in hearing a response.



report abuse
 

Mick Sheldon

posted September 28, 2007 at 4:00 pm


Kevin said
I have said before that Wallis is the Robertson of the left.
I believe that myself Kevin . He even seems to be making the same mistakes , in fact more so .The biggest I see is trying to champion too many policies of the democrats and usning rheetotic that does not allow an honest understanding of the other view .
From a MoveonOrg perspective that is fine , from a Bibical perspective you are limiting your numbers to just democrats . Maybe that is all he wanted , to be the lefts version of the 700 club ?



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 28, 2007 at 4:02 pm


Tim,
Sorry to take so long to get back to you. You ask a fair question and it deserves an honest response.
I should have been clearer about who I was talking about — the “acid bath” is not entirely the responsibility of Sojourners but of the left in general. Sojourners has been better about that than a lot of other groups, but I would argue you have contributed to it. In particular, as I noted in the very next paragraph:
It wasn’t all that long ago that Jim Wallis accused Christian Conservatives (or “neocon war promoters”) of putting nationalism ahead of God based on no evidence other than the fact that we make up a minority within the global church.
Now certainly you know that simply being in a minority of any group doesn’t make one wrong, but Jim Wallis’ Sept. 13 post (“The Global Church and America’s War”) sure seems to imply that American Christians are probably wrong because war supporters make up a minority of the global church. And then Wallis wraps up:
For all the vitriolic debate about politics this week in relationship to the war in Iraq, I think the real issue is our theology and ecclesiology. Many American Christians are simply more loyal to a version of American nationalism than they are to the body of Christ. I want to suggest that the two are now in conflict, and we must decide to whom to we ultimately belong. That’s the real issue.
That looks to me like he’s questioning our motives and in particular our commitment to Christ. Which he is allowed to do I guess but he shouldn’t be surprised if we take exception.
More to the point: by failing to show the logical connection between our policies and our supposedly out-of-whack theology, Wallis contributes little to the debate except an accusation of bad faith.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

matteroffact

posted September 28, 2007 at 5:28 pm


More to the point: by failing to show the logical connection between our policies and our supposedly out-of-whack theology, Wallis contributes little to the debate except an accusation of bad faith
Spot On



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 28, 2007 at 7:06 pm


That looks to me like he’s questioning our motives and in particular our commitment to Christ. Which he is allowed to do I guess but he shouldn’t be surprised if we take exception.
Well, perhaps you ought to listen to people who don’t agree with you. The best post I’ve ever heard on the topic was mentioned above — questioning not so much a person’s faith but the works that come from supposed faith, which is frankly suspect. I’ve been accused of that, of course, but given the attitudes and clearly misinformed reading of the Scripture I think I had good reasons to. (If we actually went chapter-and-verse with our specific concerns you would dismiss it out of hand — heck, you’ve done it before.)



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted September 28, 2007 at 8:15 pm


Ah Wolvie:
That looks to me like he’s questioning our motives and in particular our commitment to Christ. Which he is allowed to do I guess but he shouldn’t be surprised if we take exception.
Me:
No he is not. He is questioning your allegiance to the global body’s welfare. well since christ and the body are one I can see your point but that would still be a stretch. He is not questioning your committment to the Christ, but to the body. He is saying that you all seem clueless when it comes to connecting to the glogal community and that you are more connected to the America than to the body.
That is a problem. If you are connected to this country over the global body there might be a problem.
Mick:
Often wish African Americans would take the GOP by storm , as many Evangelicals di in the 80s. But that won’t happen . Obviously your view has much support . But the Gop is ripe for change and I hope the money changers don’t gasin even more control .
Me:
The GOP is not ripe for change. It has not been ripe for change since 1967. Change is not your party’s strong suit.
You:
Hello ! The whole Bible deals with dysfunctional family and couples . Thats not the issue here . As if a herosexual is better then a homosexual ? As if . I think you have not ever had deep intellectual exchanges or have thought about this in different ways . There is nothing better about me then a gay person . In fact , I have no urger to be with another man . I do enough things wrong in my own life with no urges requiring me to do so , as If I condemn a gay man for doing so ?
Me:
Agreed. But your party and many in it do condemn strugglers and that’s wrong.
You:
I never said anything on that . Please you are stereotyping . I am talking about standards , and what is best for children and families .
If I did not care about gay people , i would not have included them in the benefit of having a Mom and Dad . I see that as good , better then one Dad , better then two Dads or any combination . I did not say I would condemn any one , I said I would promote the family as I believe God designed it for our benefit . Mom and a Dad .. From how I understand it , its still the combination needed for babies to be born .
Me:
Not stretching at all. You are saying that they are not the best form of parents for their children. That’s just rude, regardless of what you believe. At least respect them as human beings and acknowledge that they are equal to you. It’s more important for kids to be raised in a loving two parent home than to have no parents or one single parent.
You:
Your stereotyping P , big time . I could say the left loves the sin more then the sinner . Because when a person on the right tap toes in a toilet , all of a sudden we all are tap toeing hypocrits . And the standards that they were speaking about are made out to be less important by the left , actually when people on the right fall below the standards they speak to , members of their family’s are hurt and they are hurt . Just why I believe those standards become more important , not less . The proof is people get hurt when fall victim to sin . God wants us happy right ?
Me:
I did not even mention Craig but I am glad you brought him up. My point about you all being hypocrites deals w/ masterbation, adultery… I am not telling anyone how they should act out their sexuality unless they are causing themselves or other people harm. That doesn’t mean I love their sin it just means that I have not done a very good job of taking the plank out of my own eye. Since I am not fully good at that I think I should shut up until I get better. You folks on the right need to learn that lesson.
You:
Thanks , that does make sense . But why then do the people who espouse that belief the loudest , often tend to say the issues I hold important and often try to malign the reputations of Evangelicals the loudest . Also , are not nations then accountable to God for how they trea immigrints ? If so , then are they not accountable how they treat God’s unborn ?
Me:
Ofcourse they are. You evangelicals earn whatever scorn you get. Most of your ilk are about as gentle as anvils and as ignorant as GW Bush. If you all can’t handle the scorn then go hide in a hole either that or prove to the world and the rest of us you all are not as ignorant as you seem.
You:
I know I do this , but the logic and values you appear to have seem so similiar . I would still say you are greatly influenced by humanism , as I am from the propaganda of the right .
Me:
You can say that all you want but you don’t know where I get my values from. My values w/ the exception of gay marriage come from the long history of Christian mysticism. They overlap w/ humanism but that doesn’t make me a humanist. Anyway what do you mean when you use the term?
You:
I see more in common with you and the left who share no belief in a Knowable God , and don’t yourself feel as though humanists on the left share more commonality with your value systems then say a conservative believer like me . Who sees the Bible as the word of God . His owners manual for us so to speak ? I may not share your understanding of the word , but I adhere to it as God’s word , that is seen laughable from many on the left .
Me:
So. Who cares what they say? I don’t see why that matters.
I see Jesus as the Word of God. I love the bible but unlike you conservative folks I don’t worship it. We are in the age of the great counselor maybe you all should make it a point to learn to listen to him more and maybe you will get less scorn or maybe more. If anything you should count their scorn as honor.
Not only that but some of the beliefs some of you hold are laughable. I mean how stupid is the idea that dinosaurs lived on earth w/ man? How stupid is the idea the creation narritives in Genesis are literal? How stupid is the idea that science can be used to substantiate faith? It’s just silliness and we on the left laugh at that because we expect you all to think. When you don’t we laugh at you.
Think and we won’t.
p



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 29, 2007 at 2:24 pm


“He is saying that you all seem clueless when it comes to connecting to the glogal community and that you are more connected to the America than to the body.”
Well, no, Wallis literally said that we are putting America before Christ. One presumption you (and Wallis) are making is that we hinging our support of the war on our patriotism.
I can say for myself that this is not the case. I think it would be better for the whole world if the United States were successful in it’s ultimate goal of establishing a peaceful, stable government in Iraq, and I think Christians worldwide would like to see a peaceful, stable government in Iraq.
Where we disagree is whether or not the tactics is question were justified or correct. I would argue that the steps taken were correct, not because I idolize our imperfect country, but simply because I think they were correct.
If Britain were to ban abortion, and global Christians were to lend their support, I would say that America should reject its Godless policy and join global Christians in adopting British reforms.
It has nothing to do with having faith in America, which I do not have, and everything to do with having American do the right thing. Again, we simply disagree about what that is.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 29, 2007 at 5:51 pm


Well, no, Wallis literally said that we are putting America before Christ. One presumption you (and Wallis) are making is that we hinging our support of the war on our patriotism.
That’s a fair and reasonable statement despite your protests to the contrary.
I think it would be better for the whole world if the United States were successful in its ultimate goal of establishing a peaceful, stable government in Iraq, and I think Christians worldwide would like to see a peaceful, stable government in Iraq.
Which is not going to happen anytime soon, if ever. The Bush coterie had the mindset that if only Saddam were removed that would happen fairly quickly, ignoring that Saddam was the only thing holding Iraq together. That’s what happens when you’re blinded by ideology — and the point that John Kerry was trying to make (but botched) a few months ago.
If Britain were to ban abortion, and global Christians were to lend their support, I would say that America should reject its Godless policy and join global Christians in adopting British reforms.
It is my understanding that abortion is already largely illegal in Britain anyway, as it is in most of Europe, and even if that weren’t the case the abortion rate is far, far lower than here. You’d be crazy, however, to say that it had anything to do with God, since Europe is mostly secular.



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted September 29, 2007 at 9:12 pm


K:
Well, no, Wallis literally said that we are putting America before Christ. One presumption you (and Wallis) are making is that we hinging our support of the war on our patriotism.
I can say for myself that this is not the case. I think it would be better for the whole world if the United States were successful in it’s ultimate goal of establishing a peaceful, stable government in Iraq, and I think Christians worldwide would like to see a peaceful, stable government in Iraq.
Me:
Actually Christians world wide would like us to acknowlege the hubris in that idea you mentioned. The United States can’t give what you are asking. it’s beyond it’s power and what Wallis and others of us are asking is that you and others like you be honest about the pride you have in this country to give Iraq what it really has no power to give.
K:
Where we disagree is whether or not the tactics is question were justified or correct. I would argue that the steps taken were correct, not because I idolize our imperfect country, but simply because I think they were correct.
Me:
It’s bigger than that. We don’t think we should have gone in the first place and we know that this war is absolutely unjust and wrong for all the wrong reasons. We went to war for pride, we went to war for oil, we went to war for power. We went to war for greed. If you doubt that then please continue to ignore that private army that is actually bigger than actually American military presence.
p



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 30, 2007 at 12:23 am


“That’s a fair and reasonable statement despite your protests to the contrary.”
Insofar as a statement can be fair and reasonable and incorrect at the same time.
“Which is not going to happen anytime soon, if ever.”
Perhaps, but that is a different discussion.
“It is my understanding that abortion is already largely illegal in Britain anyway,”
No. It requires consent of two doctors, but most doctors think abortion is just fine.
“as it is in most of Europe,”
Again, no.
“and even if that weren’t the case the abortion rate is far, far lower than here. You’d be crazy, however, to say that it had anything to do with God, since Europe is mostly secular.”
As is America. My point (with which you did not contend) is that if Britain banned abortion, and the world’s Christians voiced their support of this policy, I would join in their call for America to adopt Britain’s policy, as opposed to clinging to America’s “way of life”.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted September 30, 2007 at 12:37 am


“The United States can’t give what you are asking. it’s beyond it’s power and what Wallis and others of us are asking is that you and others like you be honest about the pride you have in this country to give Iraq what it really has no power to give.”
Well, we aren’t “giving” it to Iraq. We are endeavoring to provide the security necessary to preserve a Democratically elected government. Thus far, we have struggled, and you can argue that the United States could never have provided enough security for this to happen.
However, if you are asking me to recognize that Saddam Hussein, while he was a brutal, murderous dictator, was the best the Iraqi people could do… I’m not ceding that argument.
Nonetheless, the world would be better off if we achieved our goals in Iraq, impossible to achieve as they may be.
“We went to war for pride, we went to war for oil, we went to war for power. We went to war for greed.”
And to the extent that Wallis’ argument that I put America above Christ depends on this canard (and I think it does), I will gladly defend myself. This is the paranoid fantasy of the political far-left, and if you continue to believe it, please show me how we have garnered money, oil, or power out of this deal.



report abuse
 

TheOtherJames

posted September 30, 2007 at 2:35 pm


It’s not true of me, and I don’t think it’s true of Wolverine. Wallis was accusing us personally. Kevin S.
If you interpret the charge being leveled against you personally so be it. It was well-founded.
To Rick Nowlin: That and bile is all you’ve got, and if you want the case that the left is bitter and cynical, your posts make a pretty good Exhibit A.Wolverine
Good job, Rick. Wear the criticism as a badge of honor- considering its horse**** source.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 30, 2007 at 5:44 pm


My point (with which you did not contend) is that if Britain banned abortion, and the world’s Christians voiced their support of this policy, I would join in their call for America to adopt Britain’s policy, as opposed to clinging to America’s “way of life”.
I did not contend it because is was a ridiculous statement for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. Again, Europe is mostly secular but has a lower abortion rate than this country, by far the most religious in the Western world. Linking the presence of God to an anti-abortion mentality still makes no sense.
And to the extent that Wallis’ argument that I put America above Christ depends on this canard (and I think it does), I will gladly defend myself.
You’ve already lost that one, handily.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 30, 2007 at 6:07 pm


TheOtherJames,
When Jim Wallis referred to “the handful of neocon war promoters who regularly clog the comments to this site”, it was hard not to take this as a direct criticism of myself (I’ve openly described myself as a neoconservative) and other frequent conservative posters such as Kevin S and Moderatelad.
Look, Jim Wallis is allowed to criticize us if he wants to, but let’s not pretend he hasn’t done so when he clearly has.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

TheOtherJames

posted September 30, 2007 at 7:15 pm


When Jim Wallis referred to “the handful of neocon war promoters who regularly clog the comments to this site”, it was hard not to take this as a direct criticism of myself (I’ve openly described myself as a neoconservative) and other frequent conservative posters such as Kevin S and Moderatelad.
It was a direct criticism and he was totally justified in doing so. You, Kevin S. and Moderatelad deserved it.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 30, 2007 at 7:16 pm


When Jim Wallis referred to “the handful of neocon war promoters who regularly clog the comments to this site”, it was hard not to take this as a direct criticism of myself (I’ve openly described myself as a neoconservative) and other frequent conservative posters such as Kevin S and Moderatelad.
Perhaps you deserve the criticism; you can take the “high road” for only so long before you have to call a spade a spade. Besides, what he said, based on your posts, is actually accurate.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 30, 2007 at 7:27 pm


Rick, James
Now that’ we’ve agreed that Jim’s article was directed at us personally, let me ask you something: what would your reaction be if someone who had never met you started criticizing your spiritual life based on nothing more than the fact that you were in a minority on some political issue?
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 30, 2007 at 7:41 pm


Now that’ we’ve agreed that Jim’s article was directed at us personally, let me ask you something: what would your reaction be if someone who had never met you started criticizing your spiritual life based on nothing more than the fact that you were in a minority on some political issue?
Been there, seen that, since I’ve myself been dealing with right-wing media since 1984. But in your case, it’s not simply your “minority status” that people react to; it’s your obstinancy in the process because you on the right simply do not appreciate being told that you’re just plain wrong even when you are, and that is a legitimate spiritual issue to address. When you hold fast to an ideology no matter what even though it has shown not to work, that is — dare I say it again? — idolatry.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 30, 2007 at 8:41 pm


Rick,
Don’t you understand yet? I can hardly imagine a more useless thing to do than accuse some guy I don’t know of “idolatry” based on the fact that he disagrees with me on politics.
All right, let me illustrate:
“Rick, I’ve been dealing with the liberal media since the early nineties. But in your case, it’s not just your obvious bias that is causing you to lose readers year after year, but the way you fail to acknowledge factual errors. You obviously do not appreciate being corrected. Your stubborn refusal to acknoweledge the blindingly obvious truth that you are wrong about every political issue is conclusive proof that you are — dare I say it? — guilty of idolatry”.
Now, I don’t really believe that. I know we disagree about a lot of things, but these are tough issues and people of good will can disagree about these things.
But if I did want to seriously make that accusation, how would you prove me wrong?
More to the point: I have a fair number of Christian friends, many of whom disagree with me about politics, but none of them have told me that they think my spiritual life is all that screwed up. If the people who know me don’t think that about me, why in the name of God should I take your accusations seriously?
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 30, 2007 at 9:03 pm


Don’t you understand yet? I can hardly imagine a more useless thing to do than accuse some guy I don’t know of “idolatry” based on the fact that he disagrees with me on politics.
You’re the one who doesn’t understand. It’s not mere disagreement that labels you; it’s constant contempt that you’ve shown on this blog for those that you disagree with. In essence, you’ve consistently questioned his — and, by extension, our — faith because he openly proclaims Christ but doesn’t subscribe to the “received doctrine.” That has been part and parcel of the conservative mindset, specifically the “religious right,” from the late 1970s, and some of us are just plain sick and tired of it and not going to be “nice” about that. But, as James says, faith is confirmed with deeds, and I would add character as part of that.
Also, comparing the “conservative” and “liberal” media is completely unfair — all conservative media, without exception, are owned and operated by either Republican Party figures or conservative activist groups and thus were founded fairly recently to promote a specific ideological viewpoint. You can’t truthfully say that any of the MSM are in bed with liberal activists or the Democratic Party. (Having worked in media for much of my adult life, I know the difference.)



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 30, 2007 at 10:02 pm


“Good job, Rick. Wear the criticism as a badge of honor- considering its horse**** source.”
If you are talking about Wolverine, take on his points, one-by-one. If the above statement is correct, you will be vindicated withut your declaring it so.
Frankly, the same challenge goes to Wallis. In fact, Jim, debate him live in Michigan before a neutral audience. Only, no planting convenient audience members to lob the “poor you will always have with you” question.
I’m looking at you, LaTondresse.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 30, 2007 at 10:09 pm


Rick,
I don’t believe I have ever questioned Jim Wallis’ faith, or yours for that matter. I certainly have questioned his politics, and yours, and have done so rather sharply. I am convinced that you both have a rather shallow understanding of conservatism, but I wouldn’t run either of you out of the church over that.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 30, 2007 at 10:26 pm


I am convinced that you both have a rather shallow understanding of conservatism, but I wouldn’t run either of you out of the church over that.
In my case, nothing can be further from the truth. I’m a long-time student of not only politics but also history and theology, and recently I’ve come to understand just how they’ve come to intersect. Thing is, it is precisely because I don’t subscribe to modern conservatism that I plainly see its fatal flaws, the biggest of which is that it benefits only a relative few people at the top of the food chain. That’s a harbinger of economic, social and political disaster because it necessarily leads to hubris, as they tend to believe that they are entitled to wealth, power, authority etc. It is in that context that they want to roll back things like affirmative action and the “welfare state” — because of their generally superior class status they really do look down on people who aren’t like them. Add to that their misuse of religion, simmer gently and you have a recipe for unending conflict.



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 30, 2007 at 10:59 pm


That’s funny, I’m also a long-time student of not only politics but also history and theology, and I’m coming to understand just how they’ve come to intersect. Thing is, it is precisely because I don’t subscribe to modern liberalism that I plainly see its fatal flaws, the biggest of which is that it empowers only a relative few people who are in positions of political authority. That’s a harbinger of economic, social and political disaster because it necessarily leads to hubris, as they tend to believe that they are entitled to influence, power, authority etc. It is in that context that they want to expand regulations, taxes, and the “welfare state” — because of their status as a political elite they really do look down on people who aren’t like them. Add to that their misuse of religion, simmer gently and you have a recipe for unending conflict.
Wolverine



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted September 30, 2007 at 11:16 pm


Wolverine — Your parroting of my statements represent an prime example of your contempt for other views that I’m talking about and your refusal to consider that maybe, just maybe, we on the “other side” might be right. Not to mention that there’s no real comparison between conservatives and “liberals” (though not everyone who is not a conservative is truly a liberal). Apparently Wallis was right about you.



report abuse
 

TheOtherJames

posted September 30, 2007 at 11:40 pm


“what would your reaction be if someone who had never met you started criticizing your spiritual life based on nothing more than the fact that you were in a minority on some political issue?”Wolverine
The first thing I would do is examine myself to see if the accusation is founded or not. I have yet to see you, Kevin or Moderatelad question whether you’re right or wrong. I have decided that I will take the same tact in interacting with you.
Second, I would recognize the divide. I believe that it is sharp enough that I am willing to go so far as to say that we are not of the same religion. I certainly don’t want to incorporate your political views into my religous paradigm and you don’t want to incorporate mine into your religious framework. You can have the title Christian because after I have seen what many Christians in this country have done and supported I don’t know if I want to be associated with the faith.
Third, grow up. If you think that Jim Wallis and company are so offensive, maybe you want to consider posting at another blog.
Fourth, when you assail Jim Wallis’s political statements, expect those of us who agree with him to come to his defense.



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted October 1, 2007 at 12:18 am


Wolverine:
That’s funny, I’m also a long-time student of not only politics but also history and theology, and I’m coming to understand just how they’ve come to intersect. Thing is, it is precisely because I don’t subscribe to modern liberalism that I plainly see its fatal flaws, the biggest of which is that it empowers only a relative few people who are in positions of political authority. That’s a harbinger of economic, social and political disaster because it necessarily leads to hubris, as they tend to believe that they are entitled to influence, power, authority etc. It is in that context that they want to expand regulations, taxes, and the “welfare state” — because of their status as a political elite they really do look down on people who aren’t like them. Add to that their misuse of religion, simmer gently and you have a recipe for unending conflict.
Me:
Keep that bs moving. I mean seriously your entire political party is all about supporting the rich and making sure that the elite stay that way. Talk about creating a permanent underclass your party has been doing that for 50 years. Welfare fails in part because you folks on the right sabotage it. So don’t try and pretend that you and your ideology are about society uplift. It’s not, never has been and won’t be. Your side doesn’t believe in it. It supports the market too much. In my bible that’s called serving mammen.
p



report abuse
 

Payshun

posted October 1, 2007 at 12:56 pm


What errors?
p



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting God's Politics. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:14:07am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Why I Work for Immigration Reform (by Patty Kupfer)
When I tell people that I work on immigration reform, they usually laugh or say, "way to pick an easy topic." Everyday it feels like there is more fear, more hate. Raids are picking up in Nevada, California, and New York. A number of senators who supported comprehensive reform only a few months ago

posted 12:30:52pm Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Audio: Jim Wallis on "Value Voters" on The Tavis Smiley Show
Last week Jim was on The Tavis Smiley Show and talked about how the changing political landscape will affect the upcoming '08 election. Jim and Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, debated and discussed both the impact of "value voters" on the election and what those values entail. + Down

posted 10:11:56am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Verse of the Day: 'peace to the far and the near'
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss u

posted 9:35:01am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Daily News Digest (by Duane Shank)
the latest news on Mideast, Iran, Romney-Religious right, Blog action day, Turkey, SCHIP, Iran, Aids-Africa, India, Budget, Brownback-slavery apology, Canada, and selected op-eds. Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail » Blog action day. Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green

posted 9:31:25am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.