Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Voting for President 4

posted by xscot mcknight

Last Monday (here) I posted a response to the reader who asked about how anabaptists think about this election. (I don’t speak for all or any other anabaptists.) I made my recurring point: I’m a Christian; my first assignment is to live as a Christian; I don’t think who becomes our next President will lead us to the kingdom nor do I think the next one will lead us to apocalyptic doom. The issue I am exploring today is what will happen if Obama becomes President.
What do you think of what it would be like if Obama were elected?
I like Barack Obama; I respect him; I’d like to have coffee with him. I think he’s genuine and I think he tells the truth. I’m not crazy about Biden, but I think he’d be fun. He knows his stuff when it comes to international affairs. I cannot say enough about how good it would be for our country to have an African American and a bi-racial person in the White House.
If the Democrats win, the first thing I will like is this: the USA is not doing well in opinion polls in the world; I take that as a fact reflecting a widespread reality. I don’t care how one explains it, this is a fact. I believe Obama will, at least initially, help our worldwide reputation. Furthermore, if the Democrats shift funds toward the poor and toward health care (and Obama’s plan seems to be reasonable), that will be good for many in America. And I hope they will shift funds toward education and our public schools.
I don’t know the best resolution to the conflicts in the Middle East, but I’m not convinced what we are doing is working. Perhaps the Democrats will have other and even better ideas. If they do, I think that will be good. (I don’t think Obama has walked a straight line on the Middle East conflict since he became vocal about it, but neither does that bother me: I hope he learns and adjusts to what he learns.)
Obama’s position on abortion runs completely contrary to his position on war, which values life. The routine statement by Christians who are Democrats — that they are “personally against abortion” but they defend it politically because it is now part of our law — denies the priority of one’s moral, Christian views. I disagree completely here with Obama, and wish he’d think outside the Democrat box on this issue.
But I don’t think getting a Democrat, or Obama, is the solution to our problems. I don’t think he did very well in the famous Rick Warren interview. Obama’s a bright guy, but speaking in those situations means “give your point and clarify” instead of “give your nuances and build toward a complex solution.” Obama’s choice of Biden was an odd one: getting someone who knows international stuff is important — for the Cabinet. VPs tend to be public speakers and vote-getters and McCain surely got more out of his choice.
I’m not convinced Obama’s economic theory has been spelled out, but I am aware that Democrats in the White House have done well in stimulating the economy. I’d like to hear what he thinks of free enterprise and what it takes to make the economy better. What, in other words, best relieves poverty? Does it come through stimulating economy, through welfare programs, or a combination of both — and how does the first one work with two and three? I’d like to hear more about the fuel crisis we are going through. Frankly, I doubt Obama can deliver on cutting taxes for most of us.
So, as I said about McCain. If Obama wins, there’ll be some things to like and some things to be concerned about. I think we’ll be able to work for the gospel under either President, and that is what matters most to me.
“The worst thing that can happen to the Church,” Peter Kreeft says, “is what is happening to the Church now in the West, namely that the Church is deliberately conforming to the world.” And he adds: “The Lion of Judah has become tame.” And he adds: “The imitation of Christ has changed into the imitation of popular culture.” “The modern world politicizes everything and imposes the political categories of Right and Left on everything…. And the Church is following the tune of this pied piper.” (The God Who Loves You, chp. 10.)



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joe beach

posted September 15, 2008 at 1:15 am


AMEN!
I agree with your post so much… I wish I’d written it.
You pretty much expressed my thoughts and gave the reasons why I may, for the first time, vote 3rd party – or not at all. And, just in case anyone is worried that I’m biased towards the “left,” this’ll be the 9th presidential election that I’ve voted in – and I’ve voted Republican in all 8 previous elections (I’m not necessarily proud of that – or embarassed by that – just the fact).
From Joe B. – a pastor of a “regular” evangelical church in Denver for the last 25 years.



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ADHunt

posted September 15, 2008 at 2:28 am


I must disagree with your assessment of the Saddleback interview. I think his nuanced and well though responses demonstrated his honesty. He was not about to just rattle something off quickly to satisfy the masses. And when was the last time that a Democrat not only showed up at a church for an interview like this, but said in all seriousness that he supports Roe v Wade in front of the congregation? I certainly disagree with him as you do, but that took balls huh? (that whole ‘above my pay grade’ thing, lame)
All in all I do not want to see relief for gas prices. The only, and I mean only way that we are going to start to get more fuel efficient cars, lots more renewable clean energy, and better public transportation is for gas prices to stay high. So, “Don’t drill baby drill” for me. We will consume less, burn less, and look for better solutions.
I voted for Bush last time, I still was letting the Evangelical mainstream tell me how to listen to the Spirit. I am voting for Obama, and I am happy to do so. I despise his position on abortion, but it is hardly the only “life issue” we are dealing with for this or any other election.
Thanks for your posts and honesty!



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 3:43 am


Yes. I really wish we’d here more of substance from both sides. Yesterday they were remarking on how Palin did when interviewed by Charlie Gibson. They said that she did well on style, even though lacking somewhat in substance, but the style is really what mattered in political terms. I guess I’d agree, but so far I don’t see that much difference between any of the four, though I haven’t heard much of Biden yet.
But good reflection, Scot. And I think I essentially agree with you, across the board.



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John C

posted September 15, 2008 at 4:28 am


Thanks for this critical analysis, Scot. On the world opinion point, a recent BBC poll found that across 22 countries, people favoured Obama by a 4 to 1 margin. I do think that if he won he would radically change perceptions of the US worldwide. But do most Americans care about how their country is perceived?



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Jill Shaw

posted September 15, 2008 at 5:03 am


People here in NZ are making great sport of McCain & Palin. NZ’s liberal majority think Obama “would be a great experiment”. I respond that I’m not happy with experiments in MY country! You’re right, Obama would lift our image worldwide. How difficult to get a balanced president; one good in both foreign and domestic policy.
Elections are happening here too. Lots of words flying in the air when they need to be in prayer.



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Faith J Totushek

posted September 15, 2008 at 5:46 am


I have also thought that if Obama wins, out nation would be making an immediate statement as a people about our concern about the war and the need for better international relations. I also think that Obama has more sensitivity to people of other cultures and that will bring a positive aspect to world relations. (sometimes we do much damage because we do not think about how culture affects our understanding and interpretation of people and events). I like Obama’s desire to bring people together and bring respect for all people.
I am concerned about his position on abortion but value his concern for life around war and the need for healthcare reform.



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Ben S.

posted September 15, 2008 at 5:55 am


As a person currently living in Burkina Faso, West Africa, I get asked all the time about Obama. Most the Africans I know here would love to have Obama in if only to have someone of African decent in the White House. But I have also met enough non-Americans here and elsewhere to know that if people don’t like Americans or America, I don’t think the figure head will change that distaste. While people might not like President Bush, I don’t see how having a more “globally sensitive” president will radically alter people’s disdain for America and American culture. Personally, if you’re going to vote for Obama, I’d do so because you think he’s going to do what’s best for America, not because he’s going to make everyone in the world like us again.



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james petticrew

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:03 am


The issue of how America is perceived outside the States is an interesting one. Our newspapers here in the UK have been full of articles about how America just doesn’t understand other countries.
I can say there is a fair amount of truth to that I was asked some astonishing questions during my time living in the States. I was asked if we had trains in Scotland or the internet. Most Americans I meet seem incapable of separating Great Britain from England in their minds.
However I would also want to say that by and large Europe, especially the so called “chattering classes” refuse to understand America. They just cannot comprehend a political system where biblical morality (rightly or wrongly understood) can play a decisive role in how people cast their votes. Some of the articles I have read about “middle America” over here, had they been descriptions of Africans or Asians, would rightly have been accused of racism.
My advise to my American friends would be not to pay too much attention to what the outside world thinks about America because such is level of illogical anti-Americanism among some that every US leader will eventually incur their sarcastic wrath.
That’s not to say that a bit more of bipartisan approach to the problems of the world by the US would be welcomed.



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james petticrew

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:05 am


Sorry that should have been “That???s not to say that a bit more of bipartisan approach to the problems of the world by the US wouldn’t be welcomed.”



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Joel Frederick

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:08 am


Thank you for the ending quote from “The God who Loves You”. That seems to be the largest issue to me.



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John Frye

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:13 am


This may not be popular, but I think that much more of the U.S. will become like the State of Michigan. Incredibly high taxes, businesses fleeing south, plunging economy, virtually dead housing market, and a dismal outlook if “change” does not come soon. Obama’s plans sound a lot like didn’t work here.
I’m not sure I want to trade national popularity in the eyes of (failed) European nations for more of Michigan-like living.



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John Frye

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:16 am


last line, first paragraph in comment #11 should read…” a lot like what didn’t work here.”



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Scot McKnight

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:18 am


John,
Is your governor named “Blagojevich” too?



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Tom

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:49 am


Regardless of who is elected we are going to live in a very different world in ten years. I started reading “The World if Flat” in the middle of the night, and have been propelled to think about the economic crisis in global terms today. I think Obama would help us in this new integrated world to establish stronger global connections. I also think he actually is more in touch with the financial challenges of the average working family. But, I don’t know that more government is the help, as the middle class usually gets the squeeze in that scenario.



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Clay Knick

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:54 am


Excellent, as usual(!), Scot. I love the
civility in this post & the other one too.



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Anonymous

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:06 am


RedBlueChristian » Blog Archive » TRUTH AND FAIRNESS IN POLITICS #2: ASSESSING THE CANDIDATES

[...] Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed has posted his political assessment of both John McCain and Barack Obama. He highlights what he likes about each candidate as well as his concerns; and he does so in a way that he neither elevates them to quasi-divine status on the one hand, nor demonize them on the other. [...]



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John C

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:11 am


I agree with James Petticrew that European elites can be terribly condescending about middle America (and completely uncritical about themselves). But the point about worldwide perceptions of the US isn’t merely cosmetic (‘isn’t it nice to be liked’). It’s much more important than that. American military might cannot do what the neocons in their hubris thought it could (see Iraq), so the US needs to rediscover its capacity to inspire and harness international opinion. That’s in the American national interest, but shouldn’t Christians also be instinctively sympathetic to such an approach?



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Matt Dabbs

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:26 am


Thank you for being even handed. I am wondering why you think strategy in Iraq isn’t working when violence is down and territory is being handed back to Iraqi control. Isn’t that progress? It is also amazing to me that we haven’t had any terrorist attacks in our country since 9/11 with basically open borders and as many and diverse people who live here. Something is being done right to protect the citizens of this country.
It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.



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Anonymous

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:43 am


Today’s (Semi)-Political Quote : Aletheia – Songs of Unforgetting

[...] Today’s (Semi)-Political Quote Posted on September 15, 2008  Filed Under christianity, politics So, as I said about McCain. If Obama wins, there???ll be some things to like and some things to be concerned about. I think we???ll be able to work for the gospel under either President, and that is what matters most to me. – Scott McKnight [...]



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John Frye

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:47 am


I travel to Ukraine at least twice a year to do pastoral mentoring. I love the Ukrainian people and I have wept over their historical sorrows under Stalin, their horrors at the hands of the Nazis, etc. When the (bloodless) Orange Revolution was waged, the EU was gutless and it was the USA’s weight that caused Russia to back off. Now that Georgia has been invaded, where is NATO? Gutless. I get so tired of those who view the USA as some sort of militaristic empire. The negative comparisons to empire are at the least laughable and at the most so ignorant. The last so-called “empires” in recent history were led by Hitler and by Stalin.
When the 2004 Olympics were in Athens, the news commentators often said that European people do not like USA policies (the Iraq war was in full swing), but they admire the USA people. My Ukrainian brothers and sisters do not despise the USA. They do believe the Church has become sloppy and shaped more by our materialistic and entertainment-obsessed culture. Yet, they view the USA as a “big brother” who can help them to avoid reliving the deplorable years under heavy-handed Communism. Can anyone here say “Putin”?



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John C

posted September 15, 2008 at 8:10 am


John, I don’t see anyone here denying that American military power can be used for good. Nor is anyone claiming that the US is a ‘militaristic empire’ – it may have military hardware that previous empires could only dream about, but it is not under military rule and it has far higher ideals than mere domination. The point is that America’s international leverage depends quite heavily on respect for American ideals and their prime spokesperson (the President). Having a thoughtful, eloquent and cosmopolitan spokesperson would be a real asset.



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sheryl

posted September 15, 2008 at 8:41 am


Evenhanded treatment of the candidates Scot. You pulled it off!
Like others #7, 8, 20, I am not as concerned with the “world’s opinion” of the USA. How the USA is presented to the rest of the world is a caricature anyway and framed by the media. (I’ve lived overseas twice, so I speak from experience.) And Western Europe and dictatorships do not the “world” make. But if you embrace Socialist style of governing, which is how Obama would govern, then you might care what those countries think.
I do care about this election and, unlike Scot, I do think it will affect our lives who is elected. BUT Jesus is still alive and the Gospel is still true. Frankly, I am much more concerned with Peter Kreeft’s observation that “the Lion of Judah has become tame”. . . . .



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ChrisB

posted September 15, 2008 at 8:43 am


I’m curious: Why should we care how the US is perceived abroad?
Aren’t Christians supposed to be used to being disliked? In a similar sense, lots of people are mad at the US for doing what we thought was right (the actual rightness of our actions can be discussed later); guess what — people who stand for their convictions are often unpopular.
One thing I’ve liked about Obama: He’s the first major politician to say just throwing more money at education won’t change anything until parents get involved. We’ve put a LOT of money into education to no avail; parents need to tell their kids to do their homework!
But on many issues I don’t think Obama tells the truth. He’s told two opposite stories on NAFTA, gun control, Iraq, public financing of his campaign, and he loves the midwest until he’s talking to people in California. He’s just a standard issue politician, not a “post-partisan” change agent.
“if the Democrats shift funds toward the poor and toward health care, that will be good for many in America”
Well, not poor people or people who need health care, but I’m sure it’ll be good for somebody.
As for his economic plan, since now even Obama’s implicitly admitted that his Hoover-esque tax increase would only aggravate a recession (which we’re teetering on the edge of), I don’t think he is what we need.



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Rusty

posted September 15, 2008 at 8:46 am


I find myself conflicted. Should we vote for a person to see that government upholds our values? I am all for helping the poor and oppressed but should my hope be in the government or the church to do this? I am pro-life but do I hope government will regulate morality or that the church should become creative and inventive in helping women make better choices and have better alternatives? I am an environmentalist and believe in being a steward of God’s creation but see very few churches conserving and building environmental friendly buildings. Voting is a theological decision but I am afraid that many Christians will vote in hopes that the government will do what Jesus has called us to do. I am a Libertarian so my view may be biased.



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John Frye

posted September 15, 2008 at 8:48 am


John C (#21),
I agree that no one in this particular thread has written that the USA is a militaristic empire. I should be more careful. I do know, however, that many evangelicals lean toward that view, if not embrace it.
You write, “Having a thoughtful, eloquent and cosmopolitan spokesperson would be a real asset.” I would agree if that spokesperson were at the same time a proven leader. I am one who has not yet been convinced that Barak Obama is *more than* an eloquent, cosmopolitan person. In many ways his persona is welcoming and commendable. Am I ready to rest the future of the USA to him? No, not at this time.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 15, 2008 at 9:00 am


John #20 and #24
I want to chime on John Frye’s comments about “being liked” by the rest of the world and echo his concerns. The Pew Global Attitudes Project did a survey in 47 nations around the world. One of the questions asked was whether people had a favorable or unfavorable view of the U.S. (See table)
What struck about this survey was that predominantly Islamic nations had the least favorable view of the US. Western Europeans nation were the next lowest. The highest marks tended to come from the poorest emerging nations.
Personally, I think Bush has been one of the weakest presidents at international diplomacy we’ve had in recent years. That said, I’m really concerned that so many Obama supporters see “being liked by Western Europe” as a top selling point. I’m not suggesting indifference toward these nations nor am I suggesting we’ve had stellar performance by the US. But it seems to me we should be guided by higher standards of just behavior in the world than being liked by these nations. If any thing, the fact that the US is liked by most emerging (non-Islamic) nations and disliked by the wealthier nations, would seem to me to be something to be proud of.



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Anonymous

posted September 15, 2008 at 9:24 am


Voting Like an Anabaptist (con’t) | michaelcrook.ca

[...] His latest post in the series is up.? He contemplates life after an Obama victory. [...]



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Faith J Totushek

posted September 15, 2008 at 9:58 am


i think part of the reason why we should care about how people perceive us abroad is that there could be a mission concern for those missionaries seeking to spread the gospel in places around the world who view our war policies as coming from “Evangelical Christian” America and do not wish to associate with the God of the enemy.



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ChrisB

posted September 15, 2008 at 10:13 am


Faith, I understand your concern about how the US’s reputation affect mission work, but given that some parts of the world insist on thinking of the US in terms of a Christian caliphate, I’m not sure what we can do. Some thoughts:
1) They will never like what the US does until it offically converts to Islam.
2) They know full well that many missionaries aren’t American.
3) If it comes to it, should we let other parts of the world go to pot in terms of democracy, poverty, or religious freedom so that we don’t “look bad” on the world stage when we preach a gospel that won’t appear to care about the here and now?



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Daniel

posted September 15, 2008 at 10:24 am


Scot, I really appreciate your “ultimate” view of politics, aka whoever becomes president won’t change our responsibilities as Christians, nor will they “usher in the kingdom.”
I fear that a lot Obama supporters are either ignoring or not caring about the historic implications of his socialistic policies. A famous democrat once said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask rather what you can do for your country.” The overwhelming voice of the modern democrat platform (stated very eloquently by Obama) turns that phrase on its head. We have and are devoloping a people that depends on government for education, healthcare, retirement and even their wages (aka welfare).
Another aspect that I see happening with a liberal controlled government is that political correctness will start effecting the church. The elite ideologies of Obama and like-minded people are eerily similar to the elite ideologies of communist China during the cultural revolution. The goal is a perfect society, and anything that is deemed imperfect by the government is suppressed at best, eradicated at worst (i.e.”defective” babies, “offensive” religions, etc). I’m reminded of the other quote (by whom I don’t know) “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Honestly, I see this ultimately happening in our country whether Obama becomes president or not…he might just speed it up a bit.
But as you say: “I think we???ll be able to work for the gospel under either President, and that is what matters most to me.”



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Kathy Khang

posted September 15, 2008 at 10:49 am


What would it be like if Obama were elected? There is the potential for an incredible shift in America’s narrative.
Scot, your point about having an African American and biracial person in the White House is one that I’ve been mulling over for awhile. I don’t think it erases the past or absolves America from its history. It’s no magic wand, but I can’t help but imagine how different the conversations could go for my kids and their friends. It has been exciting to talk with my two older children about the questions they have on the Civil Rights movement and suffragists brought on by current politics and turn that into conversations about Christ and the Church.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 15, 2008 at 11:15 am


I’ll also add that I’m not convinced “Democrats in the White House have done well in stimulating the economy.” I’m guessing this is in reference to Bartel’s “Unequal Democracy.” I have the book but haven’t read it through yet. His argument, based on data since WWII, is that economies grow faster and inequality becomes less during Democrat administrations. The one exception is the Carter administration. What that means is we have one Democrat administration to look at over the last forty years.
Business cycles (recesssion > growth > recession) are inescapable. Based on where a president enters and exits this cycle will have a big impact on what growth looks like during the term.
Clinton came in office just after the economy had bottomed from a mild recession. He reaped the benefits of the peace dividend from the collapse of the Soviet empire and toward the end of his administration experienced the economic bubble of the dot.com boom, the inflated earnings of corps like Enron and Worldcom, and the growth in home ownership through sub-prime lending. Furthermore, two of his signature reforms that we would expect to have significant impact on economic growth and poverty were distinctly un-Obama and Republican friendly. 1. Passage of NAFTA and other free trade agreements. 2. The 1996 Welfare Reform Act. Obama’s policies are more similar to Carter’s than Clinton’s. Thus, for the past forty years we have the exception (Carter) and the peculiar (Clinton).
We could also make the argument that women will fair better compared to men if McCain is elected because women do better in this regard according to this Wall Street Journal Article. Correlation is not causation. I think more pertinent are the specific policies; something we hear precious little of from either candidate.



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JMorrow

posted September 15, 2008 at 11:23 am


ChrisB, (#29)
I understand the point you are making about the Church’s mission work continuing regardless of what the US government is doing, or what radical Islamists might think about it, but “They” is a pretty amorphous term and needs to be clarified. There are a great many people, non-religious, muslim or practitioners of traditional religion that are in the “Islamic” world and interested in hearing the message. But the character of the message bearer is just as important. I know plenty of Americans who work in majority Islamic countries in Africa doing mission work who grapple with distinguishing themselves from the America most of their potential audience views through media and US Govt policy. But its worth noting becuase we do have a say in those policies via our instruments of democracy (not just our vote), other peoples (particularly 2/3rd world ones) do hold us alittle more accountable for what happens.
While I’m not enamored of any of the candidates, one area where I hope to see a change through Obama is on the issue of torture. I know security is a touchy subject since 9/11, but I’m dissapointed that this has not become a larger issue for not just the candidates but the Church, which should be leading the way for all sorts of valid theological and missional reasons. The actual benefits of engaging in torture for security is by most accounts negligible, but when USAmerican Christians have so little if anything to say about it, it raises question about how important “security” is for us over the Gospel. For Christian participants in a democracy, just as our stance, vote and efforts on abortion say something about us, so too does this issue of torture.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 15, 2008 at 11:25 am


Michael,
I’m game to hear that theory disproved, but it is not just Bartel. I’ve seen this elsewhere.
Not sure what you mean by one Dem admin.
We’ve got Kennedy-LBJ, Carter, Clinton. That all?
I’m with you and have learned form you on policies.



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ChrisB

posted September 15, 2008 at 11:42 am


JMorrow, I think McCain’s been pretty clear and forceful about shutting down anything that even remotely smells like torture.



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sheryl

posted September 15, 2008 at 11:45 am


Kathy Khang #31 – I think having a conversation about one’s skin color making them electable is demeaning and does more harm than good to racial relations and equality. In fact, Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a nation where his children “will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The context of his quote differs, but the principle is the same. I find identity politics a shallow reason to vote for a politician. As I discuss these issues with my children, I press them to provide specific reasons and policies for their support of a candidate (if they could vote). Not that he is African-American or she is a woman.
The fact is African-Americans do serve at the highest levels of government, e.g., Condolezza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas. These are all eloquent, intelligent, successful people who do not use their skin color to promote themselves. I respect that.



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RJS

posted September 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm


Michael (#32) is dead on that correlation is not causation. If only the media (and some “researchers”) would figure this out and demand at least a plausible hypothesis with some strong evidence for causation before sensationalizing correlation we’d be far better off.
Of course 40 years takes us back to 1968 and we are left with only Clinton and Carter as Dems in the White House.
The real problem with all such discussion is that the experiment is only carried out once and the background conditions always change significantly – making it impossible to move clearly from correlation to causation. History isn’t science.



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Dana Ames

posted September 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm


Chris B #35,
McCain may not have backpedaled on this, but he certainly lost the energy he was directing toward it. It’s too bad; his energetic stand against torture was one of the reasons I was considering voting for him earlier on. No more, for this and other reasons.
http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1729891,00.html
Dana



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Kathy Khang

posted September 15, 2008 at 12:21 pm


Sheryl,
You are correct. African Americans serve at the highest levels of government. And they all at one time or another have faced scrutiny and judgment based on stereotypes. I am simply pointing out that Obama’s life story and the perspective he brings to the table as a biracial man is part of that story and not the only or most important reason anyone should or should not vote for him. And I did not say that his skin color makes him electable. That was not the question Scot posed, nor was it the question I was answering.
Nor am I implying at all that Obama or any of the other leaders you mentioned used their skin color to promote themselves. That is demeaning.
Unfortunately, we still live in a broken world where some consider character and abilities are still connected with skin color. The discussion of character often can’t come into play when the impact of a racialized society come into play first.
But how do you talk about racial relations and equality without addressing race and racism?



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ChrisB

posted September 15, 2008 at 1:15 pm


Dana, perhaps you need to read that article again. The authors seem to think he hasn’t changed on torture.



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PJ Condit

posted September 15, 2008 at 1:20 pm


Thanks Scot for your insights. I tend to be a little Obamish in conversation – I think, mull things over, and take a little time to arrive at something, so I can’t hold that against him.
What I do hold against him is the ‘present’ votes that I think are linked to his nuanced and complex take on politics. I don’t want a president voting ‘present’ on issues.
Our ‘worldwide reputation’ is in the hands of socialists, cruel dictators, and corrupt governments. I’m not sure I want to be thought well of by that crowd…



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 15, 2008 at 1:49 pm


Scot #32 and RJS #37
Scot, RJS makes my point succinctly. Here is the extended version :-)
I???m drawing the distinction between correlation and causation.
If we examine GWB???s years we look at GDP as of Dec 2000. That is the last month before he became president. It serves as our benchmark. Then we look at the economy at Dec 2008 to see what GDP growth there was. I???ve done this before with each of the recent presidents and indeed the economy has grown faster during the administration of Democrats compared to Republicans. I don???t think that is controversial. What I???m saying is that this is thoroughly factual and utterly meaningless. :-)
In every presidential election year from 1936 until 2000 (17 straight elections), every time the Washington Redskins won their last home game before the election the incumbent party won the White House. The 2004 Bush election broke that string. Every president elected in a year ending in zero between 1840 and 1960 died in office: 1840 Harrison, 1860 Lincoln, 1880 Garfield, 1900 McKinley, 1920 Harding 1940 Roosevelt, and 1960 Kennedy. Reagan broke that string. Lots of things correlate without any causal relationship.
We???ve had five Democrat administrations (Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton) and five Republican administrations (Eisenhower, Nixon/Ford, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II) since WWII. Bartels says Carter was an exception (like Bush winning in 2004 or Reagan not dying in office?) We know that the business cycle goes through upswing > boom > downswing > trough, though each cycle varies in length and magnitude of swing. There appears to be no correlation between administrations and recessions. How do we know that the difference between administrations isn???t random coincidence instead of cause and effect?
For instance, had the Clinton administration entered and exited one year later (Jan 1994 ??? Dec 2001), the beginning benchmark would have begun a little higher and the ending GDP data would have included the full impact of the 2000-2001 recession (and dot.com bust) and the impact of the 9/11. This would have severely altered his stellar performance. Meanwhile Bush would have had a benchmark at a low trough and today would look stellar in terms of economic growth.
If (and that is an enormous if) there is a presidential impact, then it comes from specific policies. But policies differ between presidents from the same party. Kennedy decreased taxes and Clinton raised them. Johnson massively expanded poverty programs and Clinton cut them. Nixon imposed price controls and regulations, and Reagan deregulated. Connecting the causal dots from party affiliation to responsibility for overall GDP growth is all but impossible when there is no consistency between administrations within each party.
My point is that if the economy is the New England Patriots, then the president???s role is more akin to the role of the referee than coach Belichick. The president can fiddle around the edges to keep the game fair but the president can???t truly direct the game. And when they try to direct, chaos usually ensues.
My reference to Carter and Clinton was to observe that there have been radical economic changes in the past forty years. The economy did not grow under Carter and my earlier comment was meant to highlight the unique nature of the Clinton administration, the only other Democrat administration in the last 40 years. What I need are the specific polices that Democrats implemented each time they entered office and how these played the central role in overall GDP growth before I can accept the idea that electing Democrats will result in higher GDP.



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Scot McKnight

posted September 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm


Michael,
Yes, got the causation/correlation issue. But the economy’s figures during a Presidency is a little different than the Redskins winning. But, yes, the point is well taken.



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JMorrow

posted September 15, 2008 at 2:09 pm


ChrisB,
Its true that McCain has spoken out against torture and backed it up with votes, to a point. And as the article pointed out he fell short of confronting the Bush Administration because he wants to win the White House. The expediency factor concerns me much. How much is the White House worth? How do I know he won’t shy away from condemning torture once in office, calling “security” the more important issue? Obama has also raised those concerns for me with his change on campaign financing in order to face off the “Republican attack machine”. When both candidates start putting ambition before principle the voter is left with little confidence.



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Brian

posted September 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm


When it comes to the Clinton years, we also need to consider the impact of the Republican revolution. Bill Clinton did not exactly have his way with the congress.



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sheryl

posted September 15, 2008 at 3:27 pm


Kathy Khang,
The issue of race was raised by Scot in the post, and you commented favorably on that fact. I am taking issue with race even being A factor in voting for Obama or anyone for that matter. Obviously, our country has a sordid history on race relations. In that respect, Obama’s nomination is monumental, as well as Palin, a female, being on the Republican ticket. But to identify gender or skin color as a reason to vote for someone does a disservice to furthering our country’s healing, communication, interrelations, and maturity between these differences.
“But how do you talk about racial relations and equality without addressing race and racism?”
Deal with the issues, ideas, philosophies, policies. Stop injecting race and gender into the conversation AND looking for it under every rock. It doesn’t help that people strong arm others with race and “white guilt.” That skin color dictates ideology and if you stray from that ideology, then you’re a traitor to your “people.” Or if you disagree with someone with a different skin color, then somehow that makes you a racist. Too many examples to cite, but the racist comments said about conservatives Condolezza Rice and Clarence Thomas illustrate this fact all too well.
The Church should set the example (and I think JC does this so well) by focusing on the issues. We should be the standard bearer in civil discourse, being able to agree to disagree with civility and respect.



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Dana Ames

posted September 15, 2008 at 4:05 pm


ChrisB #40,
If you read again what I wrote above the link in #38, I hope you will see that I understand what the authors of the article said. Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I agree with JMorrow in #44. There are problems with both tickets, but more for me with the Rs.
Michael #42,
That the economy did not grow in the Carter years is probably a reflection of our being able to withstand the late ’70s energy crisis, at least to some extent. (Unless the problems in the early Reagan years were a result.) At least Carter understood the problem and told people the truth about it. Too bad he got voted out for it…
Dana



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Nathan

posted September 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm


Scot,
Well said. I really appreciate your quote at the end, “..the imitation of Christ has changed into the imitation of culture…” Thanks for your post and your insights.
Nathan



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 5:23 pm


I am wondering if proper government regulations would have helped prevent the financial meltdown we’ve seen today- more a Democrat staple- as opposed to government deregulations in the name of letting free enterprise have it’s way, but not holding institutions accountable for human greed- more in the Republican tradition.
This may be unfair, and I’m not an expert on economics, but I remain unconvinced that Obama is that far afield as some think here, and I think these financial institutions need some accountability and oversight since more is riding on what they’re doing and the outcome than just themselves.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 5:42 pm


#11 John,
As a resident in Michigan since 1986, I must say a Republican governor (actually serving more consecutive terms I believe than any other governor) left this state in economic shambles. Even my Republican friends at work say they don’t know what happened in the last part of his governorship. Of course the problems of the big three auto makers in Detroit along with the strength of the unions and lack of foresight by all- this all has been major in our economic misfortunes here. It is a grave mistake to blame Michigan’s woes today on Governor Granholm (Democrat). Even though this time around I may vote to give DeVos (Republican) a chance if he runs again.
You also know the gridlock in Lansing since the Republicans and Governor Granholm have not found much common ground in trying to fix the budget crisis here.
So you can’t just blame the Democrats to explain the problems here. Far more to it than we understand. And I think the blame is shared.



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Kathy Khang

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:01 pm


Whoever wins the election gets a heck of a benchmark.
Sheryl, I did not intend my comment to push the conversation in this direction. By your comments I can only guess that you have some strong opinions and perhaps personal experiences in engaging in conversations where the race card has been used in unhelpful and hurtful ways. Again, that was not my intention and again I did say race or gender was the reason anyone should vote for either party’s candidate.
Scot started this post in response to a question – “How do anabaptists think about this election?” I am not an anabaptist; I do not see, interpret, etc. through this lens. But I experience and process this election through the lens of a broken eikon who is first a follower of Jesus but also a woman and an Asian American. Issues, ideas, policies, philosophies are all impacted by the fullness of my identity and not by what my “people” have to say.
I have appreciated the forum Scot has provided through this blog for many to agree to disagree on issues of politics, race and gender. I hope my initial response did not offend you. Your responses have had a very strong tone I am uncertain as how to interpret.
As for the economy, I agree with Ted. The government can’t fix everything, but man this is a mess. The housing/mortgage industry continues to fall apart. Watching the news coverage on Hurricane Ike’s aftermath – all of those homes, businesses, lives destroyed. It seems that evacuation plans were better but there’s already some buzz that FEMA was not prepared to move now that the storm has passed. Dems or Reps, Lord have mercy.



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sheryl

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:41 pm


Kathy Khang,
If I read more from your comment than you intended, I am sorry. Perhaps my comments should be directed solely to Scot’s statement in the post, “I cannot say enough about how good it would be for our country to have an African American and a bi-racial person in the White House.” As I said earlier, we do have a number of African Americans and biracial people serving in the White House.
Yes, I do have strong opinions and feelings regarding this issue. The race (and gender) issue is on the table in this election. I don’t agree with identity politics and I think voting for someone based on one’s gender, skin color, ethnicity is the wrong reason to vote for a candidate. Having a colorblind society is idealistic, I know. In this election thus far, I see more people using race to divide and separate people, rather than unite. Most often the accusations I shared in #46 are used against white people. What bothers me deeply about this rhetoric is the division it sows. For example, a few days ago Whoopi Goldberg asked John McCain if she should be worried about being a slave again simply because he wants strict constructionist judges. Sounds crazy, but this is too common. Rather than sticking to the ideas and issues, she used race to divide and scare people.
I live in an extremely diverse community and practice what I espouse. I get very frustrated when I hear people tout the idea of voting for someone based on their race or gender, doesn’t matter the party. Give me the most qualified individual for the job, not just an affirmative action candidate. I guess I picked up that sentiment in your response.



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ChrisB

posted September 15, 2008 at 6:44 pm


Ted said: I am wondering if proper government regulations would have helped prevent the financial meltdown
Probably, at least somewhat.
Surprise: the Democrats have been closely involved in the misadministration of both Fannie and Freddie. No one’s innocent in this mess.
Truth is, just about every mess we’ve got going on right now is the product of many years of mismanagement or neglect by both parties. But of the two candidates, McCain has done much more to steer the government in the right direction.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:02 pm


Chris,
Maybe so in the case of McCain, but his own admission of lacking in economic understanding is hardly reassuring. And Obama lacks experience for me. So I want to hear more from them both.
Also I’m not convinced on McCain steering us a better direction economically if he doesn’t understand it well himself. Nor am I sold on any kind of trickle down economics. It’s good to a point, but it doesn’t do well enough that way.
As to utopian ideals, as some one said here, I’m not sure Obama is moving us in that direction. Just more of the same American myth but within it the good that does exist in free markets and democracy. To advocate affordable health care for all is hardly socialist at its core, and if so, I’m for it. Obama wants all involved in that, not just the government.
So on this, I’m leaning more on the side of Obama and the Dems, while wanting to hear much more in days to come.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm


Let me add to this that I’m not convinced that McCain is going to be essentially different than President Bush was in regard to foreign policy. While I don’t see America as the big world bully, I do think sometimes, our acts in the name of national self-interest, may border us towards empire. And I just think we need a bigger change than from Bush to McCain on this issue. From Bush to Obama gives me hope that war will truly be a last resort.
It’s not important to be liked by the rest of the world, but we must be careful just how close we come to making a similar mistake our British friends made for a couple hundred years in the past. I think there may well be some parallels in what we’re doing in the name of promoting democracy, with what they did. It’s a different world, but I think the United States should be much more humble in what we say and do in it, than I think we’ve been. And I believe with Obama, there’s more hope for that to occur.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:18 pm


I should say MORE hope, as I will have some hope on war as a last resort, with McCain.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:19 pm


Ted #49
Echoing ChrisB in #53 there is blame to throw in mulitple directions. The Clinton administration (again out of keeping with party stereotypes) lessened regulation on the lending institutions and encouraged sub-prime lending schemes in order to increase home ownership. Opponents of this change were labeled as indifferent to the needs of the poor.
Irresponsible lending institutions and investment banks took advantage of the loose regulations to lend irresponsibly. Dems and Reps alike failed to halt this stuff over the last several years until we hit have now hit this disaster. That’s how I see it. I don’t think we can sort this one out well on party-lines.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:28 pm


Michael,
Point well taken.
I guess I tend to side more with a party which acts with said motivations to help the poor, even when they make mistakes in doing it.
I still see Republicans however, in general, as advocating deregulation, and Democrats in general as advocating regulation. I think one can go overboard with regulations, but greed has to be regulated in the free market, and Democratic voices are the ones I’ve heard speaking of that, and Republicans probably rarely at best or just the opposite.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:37 pm


And my point is a general one. It all goes back to freedom versus government in the eyes of many, and Republicans try to ride that pony hard. The philosophy behind the two parties is different, though it may be true that it is not as clear as it once was.
I think there’s little or no serious solution to the health care crisis here, to make it affordable to all. I’m not convinced McCain will really do anything much about that if president. But I do think Obama will try to. And I like the way he wants to do it with everything in the mix. Everyone can say what they like, but I can’t understand how we can have 40-50 million people in this country without health insurance. That is a crime, surely!
But I want to listen to all sides on this.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:38 pm


“crime” metaphorically, but surely morally so, though it’s legal.



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Jeff from PA

posted September 15, 2008 at 7:50 pm


The routine statement by Christians who are Democrats ??? that they are ???personally against abortion??? but they defend it politically because it is now part of our law ??? denies the priority of one???s moral, Christian views.
I completely disagree with this statement. Most Dems that I know that are Pro-Choice feel that legislation is not the answer to this problem. For instance, the country that has the lowest abortion rate in the world is the Netherlands, where it is completely legal, but they have free education, health care, sex education, women’s programs, etc. Matter of fact, the entire top ten lowest countries for abortions all have it legal.
Besides, I do not believe that most high profile “Pro-Life” politicians even want it to be illegal, they merely want to use it to get votes. Proof: 7 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices were appointed by Pro-Life presidents. For 20 out of the last 28 years they have used it as a way to get in office and every time they could have overturned Roe, they did not. Matter of fact, they do not even present plans for what they would do about the problems that would result:
1. Who and how we would prosecute?
2. What we would do about miscarriages (do we investigate if someone falls down a flight of stairs?)
3. Our jails are already overcrowded, when we start arresting doctors and mothers, how do pay for more jails?
4. When it becomes a state-by-state issue (If Roe is overturned), how do we deal with the courts being backed up for years?
5. Our adoption system is already backed up, how do we handle an influx of 100,000’s of babies flooding into it each year?
6. Where do we draw the line? Is the Morning after pill illegal? Birth control?
I am not saying we could not overcome these problems, but I have yet to hear a Pro-Life politician have a plan for dealing with them. I think I would be more likely to believe them when they addressed these issues. Until then, I refuse to put another Republican in office that increases poverty, starts wars, and does not help the least of these.
My point: the abortion issue is a lot more complicated than each side makes it out to be.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 15, 2008 at 8:03 pm


Ted #58
I think the best disinfectant for greed and corruption is transparency. When people in the markets can see abuse they tend to punish wrong doers with their market decisions.
Regulation can be written to make things more transparent but it can also be written to obfuscate. Some insist that that was the case with Enron. There was lots of regulation and Enron used the complexity of regulation to its advantage to hide what it was actually doing. I think a similar set of circumstances applies to sub-prime mess.
So often it isn’t about more or less regulation. It is about effective regulation.



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M. VanDrie

posted September 15, 2008 at 9:30 pm


“So, as I said about McCain. If Obama wins, there???ll be some things to like and some things to be concerned about. I think we???ll be able to work for the gospel under either President, and that is what matters most to me.”
This is so true, it does not matter who is president and Christians proclaiming the gospel… look at China. Now I will vote for who I think is the best option for helping the church proclaiming the gospel.



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sue

posted September 15, 2008 at 11:36 pm


I don’t have time to make each of the points I’d ike to here, but will start. The transparency issue, concerns over big government spending, economic stability and national security are significant reasons I am voting for Obama. After working with this Administration for 5 years I could tell you many stories of systemic and intentional lack of transparency. The cover-ups are amazing, and free market is a joke. The lobbyists and big business ties that have created this BIG government (most fiscal irresponsbility of my lifetime) military industrial incest are astounding. Just before the 2004 election, I asked a friend of mine if she had seen an administration shut down the truth so effectively (because I was living the lies everyday and being asked to tell them myself), and she said “yes, it was this way under Nixon.” This friend is 73 and still working for me in the leadership courses I teach with execs from all the federal agencies. She has worked closely with Republican White Houses back to Reagan, and has been working in the exec or legislative branch since ’58.
Just one example: one year before the last election the administration ordered televisions put in all of our executive offices (this is a government agency…), in the lobbies of the leadership development centers, and in the restaurant of the hotel where our leaders stayed (it was separate from their restaurant and only for guests of our programs). They required that Fox News be played at all times!!!
I don’t think McCain would have created such a mess, but he does not have the ability (no Republican would given the way our two party system works) to clean house with all the corrupt people (trained to cover up) in leadership positions throughout our government. A change in party is necessary. Plus, Obama has a record of transparency in his career.
I came into gov in ’96 as a Republican and worked with the Clinton Administration to implement the Government Performance and Results Act. I found myself working for an Admin that would downsize gov smaller than it had been in 30 years. I was not a Clinton fan, but after 5 years working for him, then 5 years working for Bush, I was astounded at the difference. Clinton downsized, balanced the budget, delayered and started the process of revolutionizing the systems. The command and control, old style leadership of this Admin increased INefficiencies and waste tremendously!!!!
I am frustrated with both campaigns that they are talking about lowering taxes. Yes, we are in a financial crisis, and we are going to be for a long time! Whomever gets in must deal with a mess, but it is absolutely immoral to go to war, borrow from other countries to pay for it, and leave the bill to the next generations!! War takes sacrifice, not more shopping. I did not agree with this war, but I am astounded that the folks who are for it are the ones least willing to pay for it through taxes.



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Patrick

posted September 16, 2008 at 12:07 am


Jeff #61–right on! I couldn’t have said it better. This country has a strange combination of oversexualization and puritanism that has baffled me ever since I moved down from Canada. In addition to the progams you mention, how about better paid parental leave and affordable and accessible child care? Other countries are way ahead of us on this.
And maybe it’s those Canadian roots, but by what standard do people think Americans are overtaxed? Does anyone think we can afford to let our infrastructure continue to crumble or keep tying the quality of your health insurance to the kind of job you have (or can’t get, or don’t dare to leave…) And somehow tax cuts never seem to paid for by reductions in military spending (except in health care for veterans, of course).
I have no illusions about Obama making a fundamental difference in all this, and I try to keep a focus on the larger Kingdom picture, but he would introduce a little sanity and sense of proportion after the last eight years.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted September 16, 2008 at 2:04 am


That makes sense, Michael.



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Jeff from PA

posted September 16, 2008 at 4:43 am


Thanks Patrick! Parental leave and child health care are great additions to what I have listed. The other thing that I have forgotten was that the average person works 46 hours a week and often both parents have to work. Countries that have lowered the work week have seen abortions decrease, divorces decrease, violence decrease, etc. While personal responsibility is important as well, personal responsibility is much more difficult when the government is working against you. My parents have worked 2-3 jobs their whole life, yet cannot afford their health care and may lose their house. We need a government that is for the working people, not for the wealthy.



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sheryl

posted September 16, 2008 at 9:41 am


sue #64 – Your response made me think I was watching an Obama campaign ad or reading a fundraising letter. This isn’t astroturfing, is it? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing



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sue

posted September 16, 2008 at 1:13 pm


Sheryl – Nope, no astroturfing, but thanks for the term. That’s interesting. I am a regular part of this community, don’t work for any campaign – can’t legally since I work with leaders in all federal agencies (90% of my public sector work right now is with the natural resource agencies, and the DoD).
I don’t think Obama is perfect, I don’t agree with all of his policies, but as a follower of Jesus who has spent my life in the evangelical church, I am a strong supporter of what he will do for the overall health of this country in the long term. It saddens me that people think they are voting for smaller government, when in reality it is more tax payer dollars going to a few large government contractors.
And I completely agree with Scot that neither party should be looked at as the answer for the Kingdom of God. THAT is a global issue, and there is definitely a tension between what is good for America and what is good for all of God’s children on the planet.



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pam w

posted September 16, 2008 at 2:02 pm


“I cannot say enough about how good it would be for our country to have an African American and a bi-racial person in the White House.”
Couldn’t agree more. And absolutely he gets extra points BECAUSE he is black. This is not affirmative action in any way, shape or form. Leadership is about character, and the path of your life, and your choices along that path develop your ability to understand the depth of complexity of the issues facing this country. Given two people with equal qualifications (not using McCain here – they are very different in their quals), the person who was raised and struggled as part of a minority has dealt with things that those coming from the race/class of power have a very hard time comprehending. A man who has grown up in challenging circumstances of being a black man in America, making many choices for public service over a 6 figure income, and still was able to get to this point! Amazing! If I didn’t think he was qualified, I would not vote for this reason alone, but given his intelligence and understanding of our democracy, and the people who have great respect for him from both parties…AND he brings the experience I can never have as a white Christian with easy access to education.
It would also help our standing in the world for many reasons. And our standing in the world is directly tied to our national security! Not just the fact that he is bi-racial, but that he has multiple faiths in his family, and a history of bringing people together across boundaries. His rhetoric is about collaboration. You can say that is just rhetoric, but the words they have heard of recent have not been respectful, and that has had an impact. Those are the comments my friends/colleagues in other parts of the world are hearing. And that it would be a tremendous statement to the world to say we value these things.



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ron

posted September 18, 2008 at 10:03 am


“Values voters” whose choice depends on more than a candidate’s avowed “pro-life/choice” position may wish to read this recent commentary by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite in the Washington Post “On Faith” section:
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/susan_brooks_thistlethwaite/2008/09/den_of_thieves.html



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Dianne P

posted September 18, 2008 at 11:45 am


I may be a little late in jumping in to respond to John C #4…
Yes, I care deeply about how my country is perceived throughout the world, but that is not, and honestly cannot be, the priority for choosing whom I elect. Nor should it be for any other country. I recoil from any implication that I must choose one or the other.
From the time we are children, we are taught that our reputations (what others think of us) are priceless, but we are also taught to not compromise our integrity for the sake of what others think of us.
I especially like chapter 8 in The Jesus Creed book – about reputation and identity, using the story of Joseph. Scot does a great job of unpacking reputation and identity – what others think of us and who we really are.
Ideally, when we set about doing things with integrity, our actions lining up with our claims, then our identity will also line up with our (global) reputation. I see it as a both/and, not an either/or.
Currently I’m one of the great undecided, though leaning heavily toward Obama at this point in time. His global reputation is a bonus for me, but it’s definitely icing on the cake, not the cake itself. My biggest concern IS the cake itself – Obama has a great global reputation right now based on absolutely nothing other than a campaign, which by definition in the US, is pretty much marketing.
Re Obama’s economic policy, in response to Scot’s words: “I???m not convinced Obama???s economic theory has been spelled out”…
have you waded through the NYTimes magazine article on this a couple of weeks back? (personally, I’m still wading)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/magazine/24Obamanomics-t.html?_r=1&emc=eta1&oref=slogin
Would love to hear Michael Kruse’s comments on this…



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Michael W. Kruse

posted September 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm


Diane P #72
Fascinating article! Thanks for the link. I’ll try to make some brief comments later but I suspect there are those here are actual economists with insights as opposed to wannabes like me. :-)
Two additional comments on issues I raised earlier.
On the issue of economic performance of Dem vs Rep presidents, Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore:
“Looking at the last two business cycles (first year of recovery to first year of recovery), this low-income group [lowest income quintile] experienced a 10% rise in their inflation-adjusted after-tax incomes from 1983 to 1992 and then another 11% rise from 1992 to 2002). Roughly speaking, the Reagan and Clinton presidencies were equally good for them.” (Source
IMO, picking similar points in the business cycle to compare is much better measure than start and stop of administrations. The article also challenges the perception that incomes have not been rising for the lower and middle class, a key assumption of the Obamanomics presented the NYT article you linked.
Second, on Dems vs Reps on regulation, check out this article from Sept 11, 2003 in the New York Times. Particularly note who is proposing regulation in the first four paragraphs and who opposes it in the last three.
New Agency Proposed to Oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae
Things don’t always play according to stereotypes.



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Anonymous

posted September 19, 2008 at 4:45 am


Our Next President « Logomanikos

[...] September 19, 2008 by Steve In case you haven’t come across it yet, Jesus Creed is probably the best Christian blog I read regularly. Scot McKnight recently wrote a couple posts about John McCain and Barack Obama that are about as reasonable, balanced and level-headed as anything I’ve read in this political season. Check out his very thought-provoking introductory note too. A couple random thoughts: [...]



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Anonymous

posted September 24, 2008 at 1:19 pm


here am i. « yep.

[...] election year. and politics are more frustrating to me than anything. but i like what i’ve read over on jesuscreed.org about the election (1 2 3 4). [...]



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posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




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