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March 30, 2007

Comments

"I think the interesting think about this quotation is that it's from a man who obviously was committed to the inclusion of all people in our society and culture, to the classical sense of pluralism."

Yes, he was and that simple observation is at the root of things. The problem isn't hair-splitting on what the "wall of separation" means or what Jefferson wrote and when he wrote it. The problem is the quality of the folks you all support and the phobia some folks have when it comes to any mention of religion. Both of these things feed off of each other.

Earl Warren was a good man, with a good record, who made a terrible error and spent the rest of his life atoning for it.

"I have since deeply regretted the removal order and my own testimony advocating it, because it was not in keeping with our American concept of freedom and the rights of citizens. Whenever I thought of the innocent little children who were torn from home, school friends and congenial surroundings, I was conscience-stricken."

There is a simple reality here: Earl Warren, or a man like him, wouldn't get to first base in Republican politics today and conservative Christians would be in the forefront of that rejection. One has only to see how the Dr. Dobson's of your world react to the mere suggestion that Christians should focus on anything other then abortion and gays.

That we have a Republican apologist and ideological conservative quoting a long dead liberal Republican, who some conservatives wanted to impeach and all conservatives opposed, tells me that at some level a problem is perceived. Allow me to help.

The problem is that some Christians have bought into a bankrupt, dead-end political ideology and chosen to uncritically support corrupt, mendacious mediocrities for public office.

Those same Christians then cry hard times when others, in their hostility to Christianity, in particular, or all religion, in general, shoot the fish so conveniently placed in the barrel.

I hope quoting Earl Warren is at least the beginning of a general reexamination of the role played by Christian Conservatives and Christianists over the past decade or so.

On a related note, an interesting essay on media failure:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/03/30/harris_replies/index.html


Alan said: "The problem is the quality of the folks you all support".

You make an unsupported allegation about the presumed actions of some nebulous "you all"!

Actually Christians would say the problem is sin, to which every human is subject.

Alan also said: "The problem is that some Christians have bought into a bankrupt, dead-end political ideology and chosen to uncritically support corrupt, mendacious mediocrities for public office."

It seems to me that this would be a problem for anyone, not just Christians.

So what is the real solution to the problem of sin? I don't believe it is found in Republican or Democratic, etc. political movements. In a sense all human political ideology is bankrupt and a dead end unless it addresses the real problem!!

I believe that the solution is found only in Christianity, accepting Jesus as Lord. He has done what no other human could do out of love for us.

It seems from the quote that Earl Warren would agree!

Hi William, Naming the names and providing underlying links would have me posting a book and further trying the patience of all. Besides I have already done a little here and there. If you want more let me know; we are presently getting a felon a day so I won't have a problem.

I will do a couple more links:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_03/011044.php

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_04/011052.php

You are in a sense correct. All ideologies are bankrupt by definition hence it is wise to avoid them.

The necessities that make up a theologically driven person uniquely disqualifies them from an involvement in political life. That is what makes folks like Earl Warren so rare.

Runaway idealism, the tendency to a single issue focus and the corollary misplaced priorities, and a susceptibility to falling under the thrall of a cult of personality are all pitfalls that approaching politics from a theological POV lay one open to.

This is as true of the left as of the right.

Just to be clear, "you all" refers to anyone who considers himself a Christian who isn't at least going through what Matt Dowd is going through. At some point ones eyes should start opening. I assume that quoting a conservative bogyman favorably is somehow part of that process.

Alan said: "The necessities that make up a theologically driven person uniquely disqualifies them from an involvement in political life."

Not in this country!!! See below.

Seriously Alan, I really don't understand why you continue to believe this. It seems obvious that most of the founders felt Christianity true.

Given the fallen Nature of Man (susceptablity to sin) it is not, ultimately, good enough to just have good politics. You have to have a changed heart grounded in a true worldview. I propose that that true worldview is Christianity. It is a view that must touch all areas of life and thought.

Now this doesn't mean that someone calling themself a Christian will behave perfectly (unfortunately) since we are all still subject to sin by our fallen nature. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If not, I encourage you to more deeply investigate Christianity. For example try to understand the discussion in the Loving Jesus and the Church post.

"It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord."
-- Abraham Lincoln, proclamation of a national day of prayer, March 30, 1863

"This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being... All variety of created objects which represent order and life in the universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, Whom I call the Lord God." ---Sir Isaac Newton

"An ordering of society which relegates religion, democracy and good faith among nations to the background can find no place within it for the ideals of the Prince of Peace. The United States rejects such an ordering and retains its ancient faith." President Franklin Roosevelt, 1939

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens." George Washington farewell speech 1796

"Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity...?" John Quincy Adams 7/4/1837

"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." William Penn

"The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom." Alexis de Tocqueville, French statesman, from "The Republic of the United States of America and its Political Institutions, Reviewed and Examined," 1851
"If we ignore the spiritual foundations of our birth as a nation, we do so at our peril. It took a faith in God to win our freedoms." Harry S. Truman

: "The same revolutionary beliefs for which our forbears fought are still at issue around the globe, ... the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God." John F. Kennedy

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious
people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any
other." --John Adams

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have
removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the
people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are
not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my
country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot
sleep for ever." --Thomas Jefferson

Hi William, I believe I used the word "rare" and that word is qualified by time and space; you quote yesterday and, alas, we live today. If only we had more Jeffersons, Lincolns, Warrens, Roosevelts and Trumans. In terms of the character of our public life, we live in poverty today and, sadly, your co-religionists are responsible for a fair chunk of that poverty. To be clear, I don't believe that it had to be this way or that there is anything inherent in Christianity that leads to this; we are just in a bad space.

The men you quote were not driven by a single issue focus and were profoundly non-ideological. I was writing about conservative Christians today. I profoundly hope I will soon be able to consign my observations to history.

Alan said: "To be clear, I don't believe that it had to be this way or that there is anything inherent in Christianity that leads to this;"

The more interesting question is does Christianity lead to individual virtues that establish and supports the governmental forms that provide our freedoms.

The point of much of the above is to indicate that yes, in fact it does!

And, are our freedoms in fact only secure because they are given by God?


Individual Christians, conservative or otherwise need to continually evaluate how they behave, what they believe, in view of the teaching of Christ and the Word of God.

It is conceivable that a conservative Christian can maintain these virtues and still disagree with you politically.

So it is more appropriate (in my opinion) to debate the issue rather than trying to label this as a problem with conservative Christians in particular.

"And, are our freedoms in fact only secure because they are given by God?"

Nope, that's our job. If God protected our freedoms, the lightning would have struck several years ago.

Conservatism is in a sorry state but there may be hope:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/040407J.shtml

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