Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Purple Politics and George Bush

posted by xscot mcknight

Let me risk venturing into the realm of politics. There has been a call for more Christians, especially those of us who are smitten with the idea of a generous orthodoxy, to engage in a “purple” politics — and by that is meant a politics that absorbs the good in “red” and “blue” so that it is not simply partisan politics. This is a noble venture and high calling, but lots of what I hear is mostly blue in the guise of purple. For us to develop a purple politics we will need to be independent-minded, committed to the way of Jesus, and people who can see what is good in each side of the debate. Take, for instance, whether or not it is accurate to say that George Bush lied about Iraq.
Did George Bush lie when it comes to whether or not Saddam Hussein had WMDs? Which means, did George Bush “knowingly know” that there were no WMDs but, to provide fuller argument for his case, then say Saddam did in order to convince the American public, the Congress, and other nations that military intervention was justifiable?
This is what I mean by purple politics: that we have enough control of our emotions and our minds that we can see the evidence for what it is, even when it disagrees with our overall view. (If you want to know if I’m a “red” or “blue” kind of guy, I’ll tell you: I’ve voted Democrat for a long time and for all the wrong reasons. I’ll unpack that some other time, but let it be said that my “all the wrong reasons” is an adult life of what I’d call purple politics.) Can “blue” folk look this issue in the eyes and see what is really there? Can “red” folk do the same? Can we transcend the partisanship on this one?
It makes no sense to want to be purple if one is always, in the end, just red out looking for an argument or blue pretending to be non-partisan. Personally, I consider someone “purple” when I see some independent thinking about pressing political issues. Someone who thinks Iraq is wrong and abortion wrong; or capitalism wrong and defense justifiable; or Supreme Court Justice debates too political and libertarian when it comes local issues and pro-environment but also tolerant on big business. To be purple means not being consistently partisan as the parties now line up. Purple is not a hue of blue, nor is it a shade of red. It is both, and it gets messy.
On top of this, I’m a pacifist: I have no vested interest here, except maybe to find that military invasions are wrong.
My reading of the evidence is that George Bush did not lie, and it bothers me that so many of my brothers and sisters, who tend to lean left in politics, continue to provoke anger and promote their cause by contending George Bush lied. This is a serious charge, so serious that impeachment would at least be a legitimate concern. In spite of many, many counter-statements supporting the position that Bush operated within what he knew (and did not lie), many continue to trumpet the claim that Bush out and out lied. Purple politics asks to see the evidence.
Here’s some evidence I’ve considered, not because I agree with the ideology, but because I want to know:
The Conversation Cafe
Commentary magazine, December 2005 (lead article by Norman Podhoretz)
I read such sources because I want to know what the each side is saying, and on this one the “reds” have the goose by the neck.
Here’s why I believe he didn’t lie: George Bush, along with nearly everyone else in the Western world, was mistaken by intelligence or simply fooled by clever moving of evidence. (I still consider it possible that the evidence was moved; I don’t know.)
What is being argued by some today is that too many got it wrong. Including England, France (yes, France), the Germans, Hans Blix, and such notables as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger, William Cohen, John Kerry (yep), Robert Byrd, and Teddy Kennedy — each of these, somehow and in someway, made it clear in the years preceding the invasion of Iraq that they believed Saddam Hussein was building or seeking access to WMDs. Even Joseph C. Wilson IV made a statement, three months after Iraq’s invasion, to this effect.
I could be wrong, but I’m willing to listen to what I see as clear statement by many, many that they believed, short of invasion, that Saddam had or was gaining access to WMDs and that the intelligence community was behind it all — the intelligence communites behind the Clinton and Bush eras.
So here’s where I am: I think invasion was wrong (for Christian moral reasons), but I don’t think George Bush lied.



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Brian

posted January 11, 2006 at 7:48 am


Scot,
I am becoming increasingly interested in pacifism. I would like to understand the arguments behind the pacifist position.
Any online resources you would recommend? Any books you have found to be helpful?
Thanks,
Brian



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Scot McKnight

posted January 11, 2006 at 7:55 am


Brian,
I’d begin with these two:
J.H. Yoder, Politics of Jesus
R. Sider, Christ and Violence



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Ted Gossard

posted January 11, 2006 at 8:04 am


When Christians on the left speak factually about something they cannot know for sure, then they lose all credibility. I look at them as having “an axe to grind”.
This is too bad, because they often have important things to say. But they’re going to lose alot of the hearing they could have had because it seems to be all about partisanship and not integrity.



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Peter+

posted January 11, 2006 at 9:03 am


Good post.
Here is something I wonder about though. It seems to me that one could be fully red or fully blue and be an independent thinker. I guess it might be like someone being convinced of every word of the Westminster Confession. That might be the result of independent thinking even though one embraces a pre-packaged set of propositions.



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Steve

posted January 11, 2006 at 9:11 am


Absolutely Pete – I heard a number of MP’s vent frustrations at being called poodles, simply because they were voting with the Government.
Often the only people seen as free thinkers are those opposing the govn’t of the time – such as George Galloway, where it may simply be the case that they perpettually oppose…
I’ve found a number fo Mp’s disagree in private, but work from the inside the change – it’;s a big question, of when to step outside…
Steve



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Georges Boujakly

posted January 11, 2006 at 9:30 am


Scot,
I find myself going back and forth on this issue of the invasion. I think at times that not enough time has elapsed to interpret wrongness of military invasion? And at times I believe military invasion is always wrong?
Sometimes I think: Was invasion in WW2 on D Day? Or of the Gulf War wrong?
Then sometimes I think: What about the omission of doing good, relieving suffering if possible? Is that not wrong?
The question of the president lying has its residence in the mind of the president only. I Can’t help but think that he thinks about this possibility some time. We either trust the president’s integrity and character here or not.
Did he invade on the probability of the existence of WMDs? If so, it would be disturbing to me. I wouldn’t punish my children now for their past sins. But what I do as an individual is a lot less complex than what a country should or should not do.
Thanks for helping us be consistently purple. To become endemically or systemically puple is our challenge. Inherently, we are not so purple.



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Michael Kruse

posted January 11, 2006 at 9:37 am


I became Presbyterian Church USA while in graduate school more than twenty years ago and I have been directly involved with the social justice policies of the denomination. If I filled out a scorecard I would likely score a little to the right of center. If you are not familiar with mainline denominational politics it is almost exclusively left to radical left thinking.
I was directly involved in the defeat of two recnet PCUSA policy papers; one dealing with religous pluralism and the other with the nature of families. The General Assembly rejected both highly leftist perspectives and ordered they be redone. I had Ron Sider as a professor (and I served on a board with him) as well as Tony Campolo (and I very much respect both of them.) All this is to say I am intimately aware of the religous left, both mainline and Evangelical.
I just got Fitch’s book and I hope to finish reading it today. One quote I underscored is something he wrote about Emergent churches.
“As I have interacted with various members of these groups, however, I have noticed on the one hand a propensity to react against evangelcialsim’s modernity with versions of Christianity that look similar to classic Protestant liberalism.” (p. 25)
Bingo! I have been to Emergent events and have many connections with the movement. Fitch has nailed it except that I would qualify one thing. I don’t think it is modernism in evangelicalism that Emergents reject in this regard. I think they have chosen not to be seen as evangelicals. Evangelicals all vote Republican. Therefore, to be Emergent and not be evangelical, I need to not be Republican. That is how thinking often plays out to me.
I actually find the hype about Jim Wallis and Sojourners both humorous and disappointing. Wallis is preaching the same thing that he has been preaching for thirty years yet now that some Emergent types have found him, suddenly he is a postmodern prophet? Wallis is basically articulating a pro-life version of classic Protestant liberalism that squares up perfectly with the highly modernist mainline denominations and National Council of Churches crowd.
It appears to me that Southern Baptists have succumbed to uncritical acceptance of the political right. So the answer is now uncritical acceptance of the political left? In my view, the Emergent movement is dangerously close to making just that move. To them I would say just one thing, “Welcome to the Presbyterian Church, USA (or United Methodists, or United Church of Christ, or …)



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Denny Burk

posted January 11, 2006 at 9:47 am


I am of the opinion that most blue-types have misunderstood the original rationale that the President made for war. They have especially misunderstood the WMD argument. I have been writing a lot about this:
http://dennyburk.blogspot.com/2005/11/finally-bush-steps-up-to-plate.html
http://dennyburk.blogspot.com/2005/12/defeatists-just-dont-listen-even-at.html
http://dennyburk.blogspot.com/2005/11/vice-president-cheney-makes-case.html
http://dennyburk.blogspot.com/2005/10/cnn-is-dead-wrong.html



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Scot McKnight

posted January 11, 2006 at 10:04 am


Peter+,
If someone is independent and red or blue, they are not purple. I think that is what I am saying. If some of us are advocating for “purple” it can be “blue” in the guise of purple, or “red” in the guise of purple.



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Scot McKnight

posted January 11, 2006 at 10:09 am


Michael,
You are insightful, and I thank you for that. Hence, the focus of this post. If we emerging voices want to be genuinely purple, as Brian McLaren advocated, I want to see it be genuinely purple. Time will tell.
I’ve read Jim Wallis since I was in seminary; I’m not sure he is quite the same. He’s got a national voice now that he didn’t really have when he began. At that time, he was summoning evangelicals, stepping up Carl Henry’s voice one notch, to social action. I think he’s aligned himself too much with the Democrats and loses his prophetic edge/credibility in so doing. But, I will say this, I still read him and I find lots of good things in what he has to say. I think his Call to Conversion is a classic study still in need of careful readings.
And Sider has always been my beacon on these issues. Don’t always agree with him, either, but I find him to be the best evangelical voice on social issues.



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David Fitch

posted January 11, 2006 at 10:13 am


I think the question is not blue, red or purple. Instead should the church of Jesus Christ see the government as an ally of our justice we possess via the person and work of Jesus Christ. I am not saying the church should not support and engage in justice outside the church. I am saying the church should be itself as a politics which must manifest the justice of Christ from which it can truthfully engage the politics going on external to it … calling these efforts towards righteouessness. Jim Wallis it seems to me does from the left what Jerry Falwell does from the right, assume the government should be the justice arm of the church thereby marginalizing the church itself as the politic of Christ’s justice in the world. In this way I agree with Michael Kruze.
As for George Bush, whether he lied or not, because he has adopted a pre-emptive war approach (which for Christians is always unjust war from my understanding), he must be held accountable for his mistakes in judgment no matter whether he lied. In other words, if under the rules of pre-emptive war he proposes, anyone can declare pre-emptive war any time he believes he has sufficient evidence of being fatally attacked, we must have accountability for being wrong. If we don’t have such an accountability, we have an open invitation to non stop warfare within the confines of international law. This is why the question of whether Geo Bush lied is irrelevant. He must be held accountable for his judgements upon the evidence he relied upon.



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Scot McKnight

posted January 11, 2006 at 10:34 am


David,
Thanks for this.
My next point was to be just that: I don’t think Bush lied but I think he, and the rest of the intelligence community (and it was not just USA) was evidently wrong (until we see WMDs, they are wrong; I will hold out the option of Saddam actually being able to hide or move all his WMDs if he had them; we have no evidence for that either, so far as I know).
I am in total agreement with you: the Church should be an alternative communty where justice, a proper sense of justice, is sustained and held out as an option.
But, we still have to operate as citizens, taking sides here and there. And I think we should be “purple” because we are Christians — we cannot align with the blues or the reds, but forge our own path. I see “purple” politics as having a relation to Hauerwas, or at least to the anabaptist tradition (which is where I stand, so help me God! — that’s an attempt to be funny).
In a book I’m working on now, I’m thinking of tracing a line for “social gospel” from Rauschenbusch to Sider and Falwell/Dobson.



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Scott M

posted January 11, 2006 at 10:38 am


Did George W. Bush lie?
I see no evidence to support the idea that he intentionally lied to the country to build support for an invasion. There’s a lot of evidence he limited much of his advice to those who told him the things he wanted to hear and that WMD may not have been the sole reason for the war, but simply the one that would “sell” best. And, of course, there’s lot of evidence he focused on the best evidence and minimized the problematic parts, but any politician does that. I don’t think it’s necessarily good, but it strikes me as inevitable.
I also don’t find it a very interesting question. Even in the buildup to the war, my question was more along the lines of why so many people thought a few stray chemical and biological weapons in a country that had been rendered largely impotent were a justification for a war. I find the question of why so many Christians felt it met the much higher standard of a just cause for a preemptive invasion much more important and troubling.
But then, politically I’m all over the place. I think the natural capitalistic tendency of business to seek profit at the expense of its employees, customers, or any other group should be curbed by the government. At the same time, I think it is the role of the government in a society like ours to support business as it has a very positive impact on society when abuses are avoided or curbed. I now tend toward environmental support, but also recognize that most of us care about our planet. We just work it out in different ways and with different focuses. Sure, we need to halt abuse, but it’s not all abuse. Though I tend toward the Just War doctrine (though I acknowledge I could be wrong and the Christian pacifists right), I believe the Iraq War failed grossly to meet the standard of its demands, but the Afghanistan War did have a just cause. (I have since become concerned about things it seems we have done as a matter of policy that, if true, would certainly mark an unjust execution of the war.) I believe abortion is wrong, though I have reservations that attempting to make it a crime again is the appropriate method for Christians to engage the problem. I now believe capital punishment should be resisted by Christians.
And the list goes on. Is that messy enough for you? [g]
In truth, I’ve always been an independent politically, even in the decade plus as an adult before I found myself committed to Christianity. My faith has certainly changed a lot of my views over the years. My old self would have fervently supported the war, at least at first, if for no other reason than to finish the job of the first Gulf War, with no thought about ‘justness’. And I thought we didn’t execute enough criminals. At the same time I was fiercely libertarian in my thoughts on government encroaching on individual “rights”. Anything that directly affected only the individual was not an appropriate domain for the government. While I still tend toward libertarian, that has been softened a lot. There is, in fact, authority. God. And governments exist under his authority. My politics were messy before Christianity and remain messy now. The messiness has just changed shape.
With all that said, in my area I find it increasingly difficult to find a Republican candidate for whom I can in good conscience vote. That bothers me a lot. Of course, I’m rarely thrilled with a Democratic candidate either, but find myself tending to find them less … objectionable. Still, in some cases I vote for a third party candidate or simply don’t record a vote at all in that one race. (Both are forms of protest against the choices, since I want to make that fact known.)
I’m not certain what you have in mind by purple politics, Scot, but does my situation sound something like it?



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Scot McKnight

posted January 11, 2006 at 10:43 am


Scott M,
You are very purple. The Iraq War was not a just war issue; it was a crusader war issue. I spoke publicly with a military theorist one evening and he said the same thing: Iraq was not a just war foundation.



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Denny Burk

posted January 11, 2006 at 10:45 am


David,
I think that you are missing the point. The WMD intelligence was not the only reason cited for going to war. The legal premise of the war (which the President referred to time and again) was that Iraq was in violation of the a string of resolutions from the U.N. Security council. Resolution 486 was passed months before Colin Powell ever went to the U.N. to present the U.S.’s WMD intelligence. Under Resolution 486 (and about a dozen previous resolutions) Saddam was required to verify the destruction of his pre-1990 stockpiles. He never complied with this requirement.
What I’m saying is that the President’s WMD argument had two levels. Number 1: Saddam is in violation of the terms of his peace from the first Gulf War in that he won’t comply with U.N. Security Council Resolutions. Number 2: The U.S. has intelligence that leads us to believe that not only has he not destroyed his pre-1990 stockpiles, it appears that he is building new ones.
The president and the rest of the world’s intelligence services apparently got Number 2 wrong. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that Saddam was still in violation of number 1, which was in fact the legal premise for the war.



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Scot McKnight

posted January 11, 2006 at 10:56 am


Denny,
I was getting at this #1 argument in my Hans Blix inclusion. That argument dropped off the map a long time ago — while I don’t agree we should have done what we did, I do think the group assigned to work with Hans Blix never did find what Saddam claimed they had at an earlier date. That, in itself, was an issue. Very few even raise that anymore, and I don’t hear Bush or his supporters in DC raising it either. Know why?



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Call Me Ishmael

posted January 11, 2006 at 11:05 am


Even thought I may disagree with you at certain points, I thank you for a fair and balanced post.



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R. Mansfield

posted January 11, 2006 at 11:09 am


Should Christians join political parties or should we all remain independent? I was a Republican for many years, but switched to independent status a few years back. It’s a matter of personal conviction, but I believe it’s something we should think through.



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karen zacharias

posted January 11, 2006 at 11:19 am


Those interested in more information on pacificism should read the compliation of William Stafford‘s writing in “Every War Has Two Losers.” Stafford’s birthday is the 17th. I keep a copy of that book on my desk and read it from time to time. Stafford spent four years in an objector’s camp during World War II rather than serve. There are some interesting and intimate thoughts from Stafford. One of my favorite poems of his is the Un-National Monument along the Canadian Border.



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Scot McKnight

posted January 11, 2006 at 11:28 am


Karen,
Thanks for this. I linked to Amazon’s site for you. I was hoping you’d weigh in here.



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David Fitch

posted January 11, 2006 at 11:28 am


Denny,
Thanks for your comment … but I don’t buy it. Admittedly, the violation of the U.N. resolutions was cited by George Bush. But then Pres. Bush rejected the U.N.’s conclusions that further verification work was needed. The U.N. did not sanction the war based on the fact it had more work to be done. As such, I believe it only makes sense for the U.S.A. to base its actions on the U.N.’s resolutions if it is also willing to abide by their olwn assessment of what those resolutions mean and to whether their violation requires war. Pres Bush snubbed his nose at the U.N. for what some may argue are good reasons. Nonetheless, P. Bush cannot base a war on someone else’s resolutions, an International Body, and then refuse to abide by that ruling party himself. It is another example of the duplicity of the Bush administration.
But I admit, I am very close to being a pacificist as a Christian.



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Old Barbarian

posted January 11, 2006 at 11:42 am


If anyone is following this stuff closely, and if you have some Intel sources such as I do with some inside sources, the WMD proof is there – period. The only question is where did they get shipped? Israeli Intel indicates both Syria and Iran.
Secondly, the other issue that is being brought to light from the many thousands of confiscated secret documents that were captured from Sadaam and crew; is that terrorist training camps were standard operating procedure for this mad man and those that were trained by those camps were directly and indirectly involved in 9/11.
So…, the question becomes then, what is a country to do. If a madman is hell-bent on destroying the people of an entire nation with very destructive means, what and how does that country stop that?? Do we just let him do it? For instance, this mad man in Iran now is espousing Muslim worldwide dominance and that they will wipe out all the infidels; and this is a country that is increasing ramping up its nuclear capabilities? Do we just let them do it?
These are tough questions? It is similar to the murder entering your home with intentions to kill you and your family. Do you just submit and let them do it, or do you defend yourself?
I started a thread on the Ooze about this very topic, called, “God, Jesus, and War”! What is right? I look at great men like C.S. Lewis who believed in just War (and when all the facts are revealed, many will see this was a just war) and then I read Scott’s stuff about Pacifism, which also makes sense. It is all very confusing to me; especially since I am a retired Naval Officer and my entire life I have been sold the goods of God, Home, America and Apple Pie; but now I am resident alien and what am I to do??
Lord Jesus give us all wisdom in this area I pray!
In His Love,
Rich



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Matt Kennedy

posted January 11, 2006 at 11:43 am


I’ve recently become dissenchanted with Jim Wallis and Sojourners because they fail to speak out with the same outrage about abortion as they do with budget policy. If the group is genuinely pro-life, why then will they go to such lengths as to get arrested in the Capital rotunda to get more funding for government welfare programs but will not make the same efforts for legistilation regarding sanctity of life. I myself do believe that poverty is a serious moral issue in this country but it is not the trump card of American vices.



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Denny Burk

posted January 11, 2006 at 12:11 pm


David,
The U.N. did fail to pass a resolution to go to war after Colin Powell made his case. They wanted to continue the inspections regime. Basically, you had three points of view going into the war. (1) Treat Iraq as if it posed no threat to the world â?? Some countries had financial interests in Iraq, so they favored not only not going to war but lifting the sanctions against Iraq. (2) Iraq is a threat, but containment through inspections and sanctions is sufficient to address that threat (3) Iraq is a threat, containment hasnâ??t worked for 12 years, and Saddam must be forcibly removed. In America, the political debate was really between options 2 and 3. No credible voice on this side of the pond was arguing for number 1.
The President made the case for number 3. And I think he was right to do so. The burden of proof was on Saddam to verify the destruction of pre-1990 stockpiles, and he consistently refused to do so, violating a string of U.N. resolutions, the last of which promised â??serious consequencesâ? if he did not comply by December 8, 2002. The U.N. decided in early 2003 not to enforce resolution 486, and the President decided that it was too dangerous to allow the threat to materialize in Iraq. So yes, Bush did reject the policy of containment (number 2) because 12 years of it had proven to be ineffective, and Saddam was growing more and more defiant. I simply do not see how containment was a long-term option for the U.S.â??especially since more and more European countries were beginning to argue for number 1, which would have allowed Saddam to reconstitute his weapons program. And that was certainly not a viable option.
Scott,
Actually, I think the President has been making this case. See especially two major speeches given late last year (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/18/AR2005121800858_pf.html and http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/11/20051111-1.html), the latter of which complains about how Democrats have been rewriting the history of the run-up to the war. This history of this war has been rewritten, at least in popular public opinion, and I think major media outlets like the New York Times have played no small part in the revision (probably trying to atone for their pre-war WMD reporting which they now recant).
The President has been giving lots of speeches like this, but his arguments do not receive much coverage in the press. If you want to hear the Presidentâ??s side of the argument, you have to go read the speeches for yourself because you are not likely to hear it anywhere else.
Thanks for the feedback.
Sincerely,
Denny Burk



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Michael Kruse

posted January 11, 2006 at 12:35 pm


I have really enjoyed the dialog here.
I could jump in here and defend this or that political position but I think there is a more crucial question that has to be asked here. How do we make the scripture and “the story we find ourselves in” the gyroscope that shapes our political engagement?
Politics of left and right are ubiquitous. It can’t help but seep into our thinking as it touches personal passions, concerns, and proclivities. We often instinctively accept the political postion that “touches” us but that does not necessarily mean it conforms with God’s vision.
Sound scriptural teaching and reflection is anything but ubiquitous. That means we have to work hard and dig deep as individuals and communities to avoid being co-opted by that which is ubiquitous. I look to the Right and see Pat Robertson making comments that are based on what I understand to be a terrible misread of eschatology. On the other hand, Jim Wallis writes in God’s Politics:
“…the Jubilee Year in the Hebrew Scriptures where, periodically, the debts of the poor were cancelled, slaves were set free, and land was redistributed for the sake of equity.” (p. 15-16)
Wrong on all three counts. 1. There were no debts as we think of the term. A better description was that land/labor was leased out for a fixed period with an option for the actual owner to “buy back” before the end of the lease. Debt was abolished by the code. 2. Israelites could not be bought and sold as slaves and Juiblee did not apply to the aliens so there were no slaves to set free. 3. Land was redistributed so that each clan could participate in the inheritance God had given the Isrealites, and so that each family could not permanently be deprived of the means of production needed for survival. Robertson and Wallis both end up reading an agenda back into scritpure.
My point is not that either Robertson or Wallis are terrible people. I offer them to illustrate how prone ALL of us are to do the same thing. If the Church in North America can not find a way to make the Word regulative in our practical applications to daily living without endlessly being co-opted by “every wind of politics” then I think we are in for some very dark times in the coming generation.
I have found the book, “Toward and Evangelical Public Policy” edited by Ron Sider and the late Dianne Knippers (two from the more-or-less left and right) is one of the most useful resources I have ever read toward thinking about these issues.
Also, for what is worth, I posted about a month ago, “God’s Politics: Why Jim Wallis doesn’t Get it Either.” Here is the link:
http://krusekronicle.typepad.com/kruse_kronicle/2005/12/gods_politics_w.html



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John Lunt

posted January 11, 2006 at 3:51 pm


I believe if we are open to letting the Holy Spirit and scripture work in our lives, we’ll find ourselves moving in different directions
Before Christ I would have been considered a right wing radical on the political side of things. My dad used to say I was to the right of Attilla the Hun. ;-)
I still consider myself conservative, but within limits.
I used to have no concern for prisoners, until I visited one. I was a “lock them up and throw away the key” kind of guy, God touched my heart. Now, I’m sure there has to be a better way than those kinds of approaches. I can’t say what it is? But I’m sure there’s a better way to deal with people who are guilty of crimes. I’m not going to just throw open the doors, but there has to be a way of redemption and restoration so that when they come back into the community, they have hope.
I use to be strongly pro-death penalty. God changed my heart. It’s not that I believe the death penalty is in itself unjust. God even prescribed it for some crimes in the old testament. But I do doubt our ability to apply it justly. I have concerns about the kind of representation some death penalty defendents get. I have trouble with what we are finding with new DNA evidence in some cases. I would rather risk the guilty going free than the state executing an innocent man. A few years ago, my new view was tested when a man ruthlessly and without provocation killed a man my mom was dating. He was a fine gentleman who wouldn’t hurt anyone. The man received the death penalty. I would have preferred life in prison. I would be quick to say though that if we ever caught Osama Bin Laden, all bets are off – so maybe I haven’t completely changed yet.
I am very pro-business. I believe as economic systems go, there is none better than capitalism. But capitalism unrestrained -is greed. When people act on greed, they are no longer good citizens and they are not good for society. They end up hurting people. There has to be more than just “the bottom line.”
Are our businesses using the equivelent of “slave labor” to reduce costs. When they mess with people’s pension funds they mess with their lives. That’s not right.
I was once really down on the homeless. I had the “they need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”mentality. Then the Lord revealed this to me “whatsoever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done also to me.” I tentatively took my first steps to take sandwiches to the homeless in downtown Dallas. I was hooked. I looked into the eyes of these people and I couldn’t judge them. Now I’m hooked. I go as often as I can with food, clothing whatever to try to help. I get upset with all the laws passed against these folks. A lot of them bear responsibility for where they are. Some only bear partial responsibility and others frankly have some mental health problems and really can’t be heald responsible at all. Regardless of who is to blame -many of these are “his” whether the least of his or not and they need help. We have to be more compassionate. However, the liberals don’t handle this much better than the conservatives. I’ve seen lots of “social service” groups deal with homeless people like they were less than humans. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this attitude even with churches that are supposed to be helping the homeless, including “liberal” churches.
When it comes to Iraq, I was very resistant at first until the President began presenting his case.
Then I got on board. I believe that there are times when pre-emption may be needed. If there was a possibility of Saddam possessing a nuclear device and putting such a device in the hands of terrorist then that should be dealt with promptly. I don’t know if our intellegence was “that bad” or if someone manipulated the data (lied). I honestly don’t think the President knowingly lied. I believe he thought he was doing what was best for the United States and perhaps the region. I think it’s important to remember that Bush really wasn’t big into foreign policy until 9-11. I believe that colored his and the administration’s perceptions and maybe their judgement. So I would urge everyone to remember the context.
Where does it go from here. I don’t know. I believe good can still come out of this. Let’s face it Saddam wasn’t a good guy and he killed lots of people. If the Iraqis can ever really form a government and develop a competent security force, Iraq could have a good future.
I don’t guess I’ll ever be “blue” but I’m not as “red” as I used to be either. Lately, I feel like the Lord is even working on the way I approach issues. I feel like the Lord wants me to quit trying to make the world “look” like the Kingdom, and instead let him build his Kindom in me and by extension and ministry to “others”
Somehow the emergent conversation has to focus on the Kingdom and de focus the political side. If it doesn’t it will lose a lot of valuable participants from the conservative side of the spectrum and we’ll see two camps and no unity. Unity doesn’t mean we agree on every issue. But name calling has to stop. We should value the other, and when we can agree, and I think with dialog we can agree on alot, let’s work together. Most conservatives don’t have a problem getting involved at some level with the homeless ministry, or with helping the poor. So why can’t we work together where we do agree?
I’ll try to stop rambling now.
Thanks for a great post and an interesting topic



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Ron Fay

posted January 11, 2006 at 4:15 pm


It seems to me this has become more of a “what about Bush” rather than comments on purple politics.
I consider myself a Republican at this time, but I lean more and more to the left after reading my Bible, especially Luke. If Jesus indeed came for the marginalized, then why do I support the party of big business? Then again, I think no current political party in reality represents the marginalized, people just think they do.
I find myself in agreement with many of the Republicans’ ideas on gay marriage, abortions, and taxes, but disagreeing with respect to welfare, the environment, and war. However, those last three do not really match up with the Democrats general view, which tends to be “we are whatever they are not.” I think the Democrats do not have a voice right now, especially with the unfortunate elevation of Howard Dean to DNC chair.
I think we need a new party, a Christian party, one that indeed navigates a middle way, taking the good of both parties while staying away from the bad. The problem, however, is tyhat big business and/or Hollywood would never get behind such a party, and therefore the money would never be enough.
Then again, God is a God of miracles.



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Lukas McKnight

posted January 11, 2006 at 4:30 pm


Ron-
That’s the idea of Purple Politics- take the best from each and form a new party.



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len

posted January 11, 2006 at 5:46 pm


Politics is so tiring.. and I am ashamedly becoming a cynic. While on the surface we have three distinct major parties nationally, in reality the choices fall between left and right wings. Our Canadian politicians routinely lie or “spin” the truth. The few with integrity are ideologically left wing, too far left wing for me though I prefer the left over the right. And the dishonest right wing crowd have the most pull with believers because, after all, they are right wing..



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tatiana

posted January 12, 2006 at 1:44 pm


If you want to find “purple politics” (though I would suggest white… when all colors of light combine, this is what is produced), everyone might just have to become anarchists. : )



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dlw

posted March 3, 2006 at 2:55 pm


You might like reading my ideal-type party platform from the Christian Pragmatic Progressive Party.
If enough redstaters start to pick their political battles more smartly then they’ll start playing a more important role in their parties leadership and the Republicans will probably become more like the Christian Democratic Parties in Europe.
My preferred system would be a mix of a representational(particularly at the state-level) and majority rule system(with all campaign contribution in excess of 50 dollars per year taxed and with tax credits given to the losing parties for the next election in proportion to the total amount spent by all the parties on the election and the proportion of the popular vote that they received.) with two dominant parties and two or three third parties that would be able to keep the main two parties more dynamic.
It would also help a lot if during the primaries people could vote for multiple candidates. Primaries could consider incorporating computer technology so that voters could vote based on short position-statements by candidates on important issues and direct votes for candidates at the end(2 very much like, 1 like, 0 do not like), with the importance of the issues weighted(2 very important, 1 moderate important, 0 not important) and the final tallies determining someone’s official vote with ties resulting in a candidate getting only a fraction of a person’s vote.
dlw



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dlw

posted March 3, 2006 at 3:58 pm


Ron, considering a new party might be a pragmatic measure, though it will require other systematic changes to sustain and it may make common sense to have as a goal may be to move the Republican party on many of the issues you’ve mentioned or to stir up a wider debate among red-staters on the issues.
dlw



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mutual funds

posted April 5, 2006 at 4:58 pm


I’m Chelsea, the interesting article contained the information I was searching for, Thanks



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