Christianity and Politics? Is there a stand?

I have been reading a few blogs that try to address the idea of politics while balancing their faith in that sphere…got me wondering – is there a stand we should take?

We have this huge political race down in America and it seems to me most Christians want to vote Republican – again. Meanwhile we take a look at either sides platforms and I have to admit – you take the good with the bad on both sides – but neither of them are reflective of the gospel message and honestly, at the end of the day, they are the same one’s when in power whom we will also oppose on many an issue.

I also hear some people talking about issues of global importance and what stand we should take in various scenarios – which almost is like we should defend some political ideology in a place we have no vested personal interest in (nor truly know about).

Then we have the idea of theocracy – that God should lead the nation. I am not sure this exists on the planet nor ever has – some claim it but I am claiming their claims are swiss cheese to the bread. I think as faith systems we are looking and desiring to be directed by God – are we? Or are we co-erced by the states of our times and countries we reside in (and the politics therein)?

Did I not get the memo that God wants us in politics or something? Is God into our politics? If so, who does God vote for and defend in various scenarios? Any ideas…anyone?

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43 thoughts on “Christianity and Politics? Is there a stand?

  1. Obviously we are too love mercy and act justly while walking humbly with our God…in the area of politics as well. I am supporting Republican Mike Huckabee because he is the closest to what we should be supporting. That does not mean that I am blindly for every position. I have criticized him as well on my blog. But he is unwavering on abortion while liberal toward the poor and middle classes. A conservative pundit recently called him a “Christian socialist”. That’s my guy!

  2. Jesus is the King of Kings and I think God gives us the leaders we deserve. I vote as it is my responsibility but I put little hope in governement. The Republican party has been sucessful in co-opting the concerns of conservative Christians in their platform but if they were to actually work towards solving those concerns, they would remove an important plank in their platform and they aren’t about to do that! I really think folks are catching on to this and I don’t think the country will be split down the middle to the extent that is has been in recent years.

    Pam

    p.s. I hope you don’t mind me being around. Feel free to delete me if you like. I would understand.

  3. “I am supporting Republican Mike Huckabee because he is the closest to what we should be supporting” (Jim)

    Who is we? I am a Christian and I wouldn’t upon the threat of death claim Huckabee is close to the ‘Christian ideology’in his campaign – even if he was a Baptist minister. Huckabee is a short-sighted nationalist – faithist type person that thinks he is representing what Christ stood for in the political arena – and I am here to vociferously say ‘ he definitely does not’. Now Huck may represent American interests – I’ll grant you that much – but representing the ‘gospel’ – beyond laughable.

    “That does not mean that I am blindly for every position” (Jim)

    True – but are you swayed by the idea that because Mike says he was a Baptist minister it lends credibility to his campaign? For me, that would be surface level thinking in one sense.

    “But he is unwavering on abortion while liberal toward the poor and middle classes” (Jim)

    And let’s not forget ‘war-mongerer’ and ‘gun nut’. As much as I admire your stand on abortion is it is quite dead and old – because on one hand your against that ‘type of murder’ all the while supporting candidates that outright say they are ‘pro-war’ – which in essence is another ‘type of murder’ – thus making your stand on a tough moral issue quite mixed (like oil and water). If he is for the allevation of the ills upon the poor I cannot say anything about that – but what about the poor in other countries where he will go with his war machine in the name of ‘freedom’? I’ll be honest – this guy scares me as much as Bush – they both come off like Constantine in Rome.

    “Jesus is the King of Kings and I think God gives us the leaders we deserve” (Pam)

    Do you obey everything your leaders say?

    “I really think folks are catching on to this and I don’t think the country will be split down the middle to the extent that is has been in recent years.” (Pam)

    I tend to agree with you on this – if men like McCain or Obama get in – since they are the most liberal of both sides. If men like Huck get in – then I think the division will not only stay but be cause for true concern internationally and internally.

    “I hope you don’t mind me being around. Feel free to delete me if you like. I would understand” (Pam)

    No probs Pam – I never held anything against you in that whole scuffle – but you did not have my back and that was interesting. I would ask you quite simpy – do you think they were the ‘right’ to my ‘wrong’? You have to admit Gracehead came down a little hard for the assumptions they were making – none of it based in any fact.

    As for politiks, we lambaste the socialism of the 50’s and so on – yet the only super-power left (America) is abusing it’s power and building a massive over-load of weapons, sleeping with capitalism in the war effort, lying to it’s own citizens, coercing media, and defying any and all international dictates…this happened once before you know that right?

  4. I only obey my leaders as they obey God when it comes to moral issues. On some other issues, I give to Ceasar what is due Ceasar. Any hopes I have for myself or the future lie in God, not politics. The older I get and the more I have seen of man’s governance of himself, the more I know he isn’t the one in charge! We would have already killed each other off!

    I guess I kind of thought everybody was wrong. I wouldn’t have deleted any comments, that’s not my style. I don’t think we should ever judge another’s faith or try and make someone question what they believe comes to them directly from God in either of your situations. Honestly, I don’t know most of what passed between you guys as you don’t know all that has passed between me and the other guys. I try not to take sides but remain on the Lord’s side and trust Him to work things out in others and between others. If someone were threatening your life, that would be different. Anyway, I have no authority to make any difference.

    Pam

  5. but if they were to actually work towards solving those concerns, they would remove an important plank in their platform and they aren’t about to do that!

    People are catching on, Pam. There was the exception of Pres. Bush’s two Supreme Court justices who will defer to the Constitution rather than inventing new laws.

    Jason, I missed the part where I said I was joining the First Church of Huckabee.:-) He’s just my pick for president. I have given my reasons extensively on my blog.
    Regarding “warmongerer” Huckabee has stated that he would not want to use our military force but at the same time we should have the strongest defense on earth. If he supported the Iraq invasion, I would like to know what Bible Lesson he based that decision on. My attitude is that we must never attack first, but if we are attacked by another country, we would reserve the right to retaliate w/o limits. That seems to be Huck’s position as well.

    I’ve never handled a gun except the water-filled kind, but the right to bear arms is essential so folks can protect themselves from their very own government. That’s why the 2nd amendment is there. Limits on the reach of government are imperative. Are you going to tell the people of North Korea that they “get the government they deserve” AND they shouldn’t have the right to bear arms?

    Jesus did not say, “Pay everything to Caesar because it’s all his”.

    If you were a US citizen, who would your candidate be?

  6. Societyvs,
    You wrote, “I am a Christian and I wouldn’t upon the threat of death claim Huckabee is close to the ‘Christian ideology’in his campaign.”

    Do you think any of the canditdates are close to the ‘Christian ideology?’

    You write, “Now Huck may represent American interests – I’ll grant you that much – but representing the ‘gospel’ – beyond laughable.”

    Ok fellow, can you name one person, and for that matter, Huck, who that says “he is representing what Christ stood for in the political arena?” Name the person, and please give the quote and site it.

    He just like most every canditdate has referenced God/Jesus and the gospel, but Huck or any of them for that matter have NOT proclaimed themselves as representing Christ as a candidate.

    You take way to much liberty in characterizing him as you do, when it comes to Jesus and the gospel.

    You ask: “…are you swayed by the idea that because Mike says he was a Baptist minister it lends credibility to his campaign?”

    For me, no. I will admit that 8 years ago I was swayed by President Bush’s declaration of being a Christian–though if he had not made such a declaration I would have still voted for him.

    But then, Rev. Jessie and Rev. Al were preachers, and that didn’t encourage me to vote for them–it was the positions they took. So, if I vote for Huck, it won’t be because he was a pastor, but because his possitions are closes to mine.

    You obviously will not vote for Huck, but would you have voted for Rev. Jessie or Rev. Al?

    You say, “And let’s not forget ‘war-mongerer’ and ‘gun nut’.”

    Those kinds of actuzations take something away from you credibility. When was the last time you used the term “war-mongerer” in reference to Bill Clinton? Bosnia??? Iraq when he had them bombed??? I wonder how many Bosnian’s and Serbs were killed by Clinton bombs??? I surely don’t remember when the Bosnians attacked USA???

    You write: “I tend to agree with you on this – if men like McCain or Obama get in – since they are the most liberal of both sides. If men like Huck get in – then I think the division will not only stay but be cause for true concern internationally and internally.”

    Now that just proves you have no idea about American politics.

    Well, company calls, so I will stop for now.

    MAKE IT a great day.
    fishon

  7. “Any hopes I have for myself or the future lie in God, not politics” (Pam)

    I agree – politics is such a sham anyways.

    “I try not to take sides but remain on the Lord’s side and trust Him to work things out in others and between others. If someone were threatening your life, that would be different. Anyway, I have no authority to make any difference.” (Pam)

    Agreed – I think that’s a good stand – because you did not have to take a side in the issue – I think I admire you for that and it helped you keep friendships with all (and I have to say – good on you for that). I also live my life like this – in the real world obviously – and I don’t let little tiffs seperate me from others. However, I am giving you authority to make a difference.

  8. “Regarding “warmongerer” Huckabee has stated that he would not want to use our military force but at the same time we should have the strongest defense on earth” (Jim)

    Why have the strongest military – even more than many UN countried combined and the Middle East – why keep building that which is huge enough already? Of course you should have the strongest defense – you been attacked how many times since Pearl Harbor? Makes all the sense to me also. Also, just because Huck is pro-defense don’t mean he ain’t pro-war – I see Bush calling out Iran now – and how long before Americans pull out of Iraq? Huck is inhereiting a ‘war’ already and possibly another new campaign – you mean to tell me he ‘wont use your military force’ and pull out of these already happening skirmishes? Yeah…right…if anything with his rhetoric we will see Bush part 3.

    “we would reserve the right to retaliate w/o limits” (Jim)

    What bible lesson is this based on? I notice w/o limits – you mean – let’s go nuclear don’t ya? Hey, I ask something very very very very very simple – show me one place where Jesus actually teaches us to take that same stand?

    “but the right to bear arms is essential so folks can protect themselves from their very own government” (Jim)

    That’s a laugh and a half – yeah your handgun or automatic will protect you from tanks and missles – I am so sure. They make for good killing weapons but not in some mythical battle with your gov’t – check the newspapers – you got some serious gun issues in your malls and schools.

    “Jesus did not say, “Pay everything to Caesar because it’s all his”.” (Jim)

    What did Jesus say – and what does it mean for out context?

    “If you were a US citizen, who would your candidate be?” (JIm)

    I like Obama but basically they all inherit the same problem and I haven’t seen any president in your country since Eisenhower that actually bucks the system they inherit. So any old clone will do.

  9. “Do you think any of the canditdates are close to the ‘Christian ideology?’” (fishon)

    Honestly, not really but I have to say one side is less pre-occupied with war and fear tactics internationally than another party. Now they all smell of American arrogance and ideology and not Christianity anyways – politiks us useless.

    “have NOT proclaimed themselves as representing Christ as a candidate.” (fishon)

    But isn’t that what you do when you bring your faith into the political arena? When someone starts spouting about their Christian faith (ie: Bush) and then committs actions of horrrendous atrocity and sleeps with capitalist fat-cats – how can one determine when Bush (or Huck for that matter) is not being a sincere Christian when he does that? How can you seperate faith from the person who so claims it? Unless we start playing that schizophrenic game where ‘well he acts like non-Christian when he does that’. You ask me – he’s just acting like American ideology and not Christian ideology – and Huck is prancing down the same beaten and worn path.

    The fact is neither Bush nor Huck stand for Christian ideals in the political arena – and that’s a fair assumption based on the actions they committ as compared to the gospels ideas on morals. I am not saying they represent Christ as a candidate – but they do represent this faith when they make claims to it (on some level) – true?

    “it was the positions they took” (fishon)

    Please do explain this on fishon – I love watching a fellow person of the faith ‘eat their socks’. You voted for Bush and not Rev(s) Al or Jessie – why? What is it about Bush that truly appealed to you 8 years ago – or even 4 years ago? Maybe it’s just me and about 67% of the others in USA – but Bush is joke of a president and his stances on almost every issue have done more to hurt the credibility of your country than enhance it – all over the world. The guy has made your nation into a ‘bully’ plain and simple – is that what you voted for? Irregardless – how does Bush represent his faith in Christ – because he can do some rituals and bow his head? What ever happened to that help in Katrina – huh?

    “You obviously will not vote for Huck, but would you have voted for Rev. Jessie or Rev. Al?” (fishon)

    Jessie maybe – only because he stood beside Martin in the struggle for civil rights in the southern regions of America. But we both know neither of them have a chance to win anything so – wasted vote…maybe? I would personally vote for Nader – someone that has actually done something to improve the American way of life (time and time again) – and fought to keep the capitalist fat cats at bay.

    “Those kinds of actuzations take something away from you credibility” (fishon)

    Not really – they are pretty much assumed in his platform with his ideas about the ‘continuance of the Iraq war’ and ‘2nd amendment rights’ – I am not making an emphasis on something that doesn’t exist on his website. You ask me, that guy is so far out of the loop with current concensus in America he deserves to lose the nod.

    Also as far as any past President is concerned – republican or democrat – both sides seem very at home participating in wars of any kind – and making sure America always has an enemy. Honestly, every president you ever had since WW2 has sent your country to war – so yeah – ‘warmongering’ is fairly accurate a term. It seems to me the love for war has no boundary in American politics – and the gun issue is also quite the same thing (they are tied together).

    “Now that just proves you have no idea about American politics.” (fishon)

    I have no clue about your view of American politics but i have a fairly firm grip on what someone says and does for a political reason. Just cause some people like Obama or McCain – what wrong with that? They seem to be middle of the road people – they aren’t Nader mind you – but we likely won’t find another like him for some time.

    As for politics I asked the simple question ‘what’s the Christian stand’ on the issue – and I personally think there is none. But the fact it is left right out of the whole texts of the gospel or letters should mean something – if not the obvious – Christians had little to do with the political sphere as far as getting involved in that garbage. At some point Nationalism replaces faith – and that’s a fine line we all walk – but you’ll never fully know the depth of what it all means unless you lose the American flavor of the faith for one more international.

  10. Pingback: Why Politics and Religion Shouldn’t Mix | The Blog of Lon

  11. “The day will come when you cry out because of the king whom you yourselves have chosen; and the LORD will not answer you on that day” (1 Samuel 8:18 JPS)

    For God’s sake don’t vote!

  12. Societyvs,
    Having the strongest military is a deterrent just as warning your enemies that you’ll flatten their country will likely discourage them from attacking us. Making these declarations and keeping the military at the ready is the best way to keep the peace. Teddy Roosevelt: “Walk softly but carry a big stick”.

    You have the right to bear arms in Canada and a higher percentage of folks own firearms north of the border. You have the same laws and the same principles in force. Might want to study some of your own politics, eh? 🙂

    What did Jesus say – and what does it mean for our context?

    “Pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. There are different roles for Caesar and for God. Paul sums these roles up well in Romans 13.

    I like Obama
    Obama would be great if he wasn’t pro-death.

    I think I can sum up the debate here. If we are doomed to be taken advantage of, should we drop our proverbial, note proverbial, drawers for a politician who is pro-life or pro-death?

    I would also add that Huckabee has called Bush’s foreign policy “arrogant” and “bunker mentality”. Doesn’t sound like someone who is going to copy Mr. Bush’s tactics.

    Huckabee seems to be assailing the compromises the Religious Right has made in the last decade, espousing war and corporate welfare in return for the pro-life, pro-marriage concessions. He is solid on social issues like abortion and gay marriage while liberal towards the poor and middle classes. That’s as close as my political philosophy has ever gotten to a single candidate in my lifetime.

    So Viva Huckabee!

  13. First off, I am with Hineini on this one (lol) – which I must add was a great comment!

    “Having the strongest military is a deterrent” (Jim)

    Prove it. You make this statement to someone who knows American history and all the battles the USA has been involved in since the end of WW2 – and may even be very much responsible for amping up the arms race with the Soviets. Show me the deterrance factor in all of those wars…we can start with the attacks on Cuba or even Korea and wrap up with Iraq (a war mind you that had nothing to do with the original intention claimed for the war – WMD’s – they switched tracks later and called it democratizing a un-free nation). It seems to me having the strongest military actually has put America in the mode of making war more than preventing it. USA has been attacked one time since Pearl Harbor – yet has been involved in armed conflicts globally since shortly after WW2…deterance or conquest – can’t really tell.

    “Making these declarations and keeping the military at the ready is the best way to keep the peace” (Jim)

    And how pray tell does this even remotely line up with the gospel? Oh yeah – blessed are the arms dealers for they shall be called the children of God.

    “You have the right to bear arms in Canada and a higher percentage of folks own firearms north of the border. You have the same laws and the same principles in force.” (Jim)

    Well at least this is slightly true…however when we start looking into handguns and automatics – they are outright banned and carry heavy criminal offences in most provinces. Most of out gun owners in Canada want to hunt game with their hunting rifles and bows – which makes sense (those are hunting equipment). However, the ownership of handguns and automatics is pretty much non-existent. So when you wanna discuss the use of firearms and their intentions – well that’s a whole nother story and Huck’s claims about the 2nd amendment are as about as ridiculous as I have ever heard (to protect yourself from your gov’t) – namely when you know full well America has stockpiles of the greatest weapons un-owned by most regular Americans (including tanks, missles, warplanes, bio-chemical bombs, and nukes).

    “Obama would be great if he wasn’t pro-death” (Jim)

    And all of the Republican candidates aren’t? Hello – all of them talk about war as if they are chewing gum – it’s that normal to hear from their mouth. Like I said, it’s hypocrtiical to defend abortion rights (which I also think are murder) and then to defend any Republican (or Democrat) who claims the ‘war is neccesary’ (which is also murder) – namely in this fiasco in Iraq.

    “If we are doomed to be taken advantage of, should we drop our proverbial, note proverbial, drawers for a politician who is pro-life or pro-death?” (Jim)

    Well it makes sense to be ‘pro-life’ since that is very normal stand for anyone that loves life – but show me how the Republicans are justifiied in this debate via their stand for war in Iraq as compared to the Democrats ‘abortion’ issue. Way I see it – according to how we define murder – aren’t either option murder? Now we can say ‘war isn’t’ and some can say abortion ‘isn’t’ – but I chalk it up to both of them being aspects of murder (ie: people are dying – and the worse of the two is war – which we can see on tv and videos across the world and is always labelled as ‘normal’).

    “Doesn’t sound like someone who is going to copy Mr. Bush’s tactics.” (Jim)

    I have read his website and his stands and heard the man speak on tv a few times – he is not Bush mind you – he’s just another Republican that is pro-war, anti-gay rights, anti abortion, pro armament for Israel and no one else in the Middle East, etc. The guy reads like a Bush if you ask me – I may be wrong – and if he gets in I hope I am – but as of now he sounds like Bush.

  14. Sorry Jim and fishon if I am a little harsh on America and the political system – I guess I am not a huge fan of politics but I am taking out on America somewhat as a country…my bad. I got too general on things but I take issue with Nationalism and the true fear inherent in that idea – when mixed with politics. Call it my fear factor or warning signs I see with the ‘rhetoric’ tossed around in the voting process – cause this does effect Canada and many a nation in this world. Sorry if I came off a tad harsh – I was going a little too far off the deep end on some of this – when all I wanted was a good discussion – not too push buttons on American nationalism or what not.

  15. Societyvs,
    Not to worry about being a little harsh. I think Jim and I can take it. This form of communication is hard to do, and getting a point across without the use of gestures and the voice inflextion makes us use words that sound harsher than meant to be–at least by most of us. Not to worry my Canadian friend.

    Question. Do you think a persons [candidates] faith should enter into the political realm?

    Do you think that a citizens faith should enter into who they vote for?
    fishon

  16. **He just like most every canditdate has referenced God/Jesus and the gospel, but Huck or any of them for that matter have NOT proclaimed themselves as representing Christ as a candidate. **

    Random question here … given how Christianity functions, isn’t the fact that Huckabee is a Christian mean that he’s proclaiming Christ as a candidate by default? Regardless of how one feels about the man, it is obvious that he is devout towards his beliefs. And those beliefs are swaying a lot of people. I’m finding it a little sobering how many stories I read about his supporters who say that they’ll vote for him because he’s a Bapist, or because he’s a former pastor. They’ll vote for him because he’ll be God’s voice for the country and such (the last is a paraphrase).

    I know that Clinton and Obama are displaying their faith as well. But I have not seen someone say they’ll vote for either of those two because they’re a … [My apologies, I don’t remember which denomination].

    **I think as faith systems we are looking and desiring to be directed by God – are we?**
    I would actually hope not, if we are associating “God” with a doctrinal belief set. Because then the question comes down to who’s interpretation of God?

    Now, if we mean that we are looking for our country to be directed by God in the sense of justice or compassion or morality — granted, all those are also up to interpretation — then yes. We are looking for that direction.

  17. “Question. Do you think a persons [candidates] faith should enter into the political realm?” (fishon)

    That’s the odd thing to be totally honest – since that same person will represent all of the nation – including various faiths and non-faiths. I think the faith question should not be ignored but then if someone is going to make that claim of faith in God – then it should represent the texts they read also. I think this is where the concept truly fails for me.

    “Do you think that a citizens faith should enter into who they vote for?” (fishon)

    I think it should – since we cannot dis-connect our being from our faith system – however the odd thing – and maybe the real problem is – is how co-opted are people’s faith by nationalism or patriotism? To me that is the big question hiding behind the small questions I am asking.

    As a Canadian citizen I do vote usually based on the platforms I think line up best with what will benefit all in society. Oddly enough I vote Liberal a lot or social democratic since I feel those people’s platforms want to work on behalf of the issues in society. Now the Conservatives in my country I never vote for and never have – namely because they don’t represent the best options for my community (First Nations people groups) and secondly, they seem to be all about answers via the market. I am not anti-market mind you but taken to the extreme the market is dangerous when out of control (not enough measures).

    However, the difference between Canadian politics and States politics is we don’t mind gov’t intrusion in our society – that doesn’t seem to bother us up here – so some of the rhetoric about ‘being scared of your representatives in gov’t’ is quite odd to me…I actually fear unaccountable corporations more than my own voted gov’t. Then again, Canada is not the same kind of nation as the America’s – some of the similar issues (ie: segregation and racism in it’s history also) – but histories that vary on a variety of issues (we seem to be a lot less divided on big issues and even politics). One can say the same for the fields of religion and discussions of sex up here.

    “if we are associating “God” with a doctrinal belief set. Because then the question comes down to who’s interpretation of God?” (OSS)

    Agreed. It’s a rather funny thing and basically the point of my blog – one can step into about 5 various Christian denominations and get 5 different world-views within blocks of one another in any city. The reason I write is to wonder ‘why’? Is this not the same gospel we all read? Is this not the same Jesus we all look unto and follow? I wonder how come things got so varied in so short a period of time – the last 400 years have been disastorous for this faith as far as unity goes – there seems to be little cohesion on many issues.

    One can name about 10 denominations in a matter of 20 seconds if pressured on the spot…and all those denominations believe a variety of things about this faith. Top off the fact there is around 100 denominations (most springing up in the 1900’s) then we see our own faith being dissected down to minut differences on many distinct levels. The problem then becomes the focus the faith takes in the 1900’s – what we believe is more important than what we do with said beliefs.

    Basically the faith has become a virtual buffet and we can pick n choose what we think is accurate. However, thinking something is accurate may not make it so (and eventually we have to come to a point where some of these Christian views are unfounded and not accurate). I think this bothers me on some level because I have seen good people do things that don’t line up with this faith (or not so good) in the name of good (God)…and leaves me stumped.

    I realize this faith is beyond mixed up at this point of time and is defending a few things that have nothing to do with our faith at all – like systems/institution, country, or mainstream beliefs from regular society. A great example of this is the great line we see in any and all churches ‘Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life’. Now nowhere in there does it say Jesus is the tradition of the church, the culture of the times, a certain people group, the law of the lands, and most definitely not ‘death’ (opposite of life). However churches will focus on Jesus being ‘the way’ – no problem from me there – but they fail to flesh any of this out.

    I ask questions about the absolute obvious in statements like that and what I see in church practice or dogma. I see churches defending truth and what not – yet they then limit the truth to scholars in their own denomination – and that ain’t truth – that’s drinking out of a cup of coffee and calling it tea – because one thinks it is tea and he/she cannot be wrong (they are guided by the truth). Also I mention war a few times in a few blogs and I see this knee jerk reaction to defend it’s premise as something legit and found in the gospels. But if Jesus is ‘life’ – how can he also be ‘death’? The two things actually cannot align.

    So now you see what I mean by ‘losing my religion’…and in essence…portions of my very narrow mind.

  18. Point by point, Jason
    First off, I am with Hineini on this one (lol) – which I must add was a great comment!
    The Scripture verse doesn’t differentiate between those who supported the king and those who didn’t. Voting is silence, and silence helps tyrants get into power. Just thought I’d point that out…

    “Having the strongest military is a deterrent” (Jim)

    Prove it. You make this statement to someone who knows American history and all the battles the USA has been involved in since the end of WW2

    Since the end of WW2, we have been attacked once, that was on September 11th, 2001 by 19 nutcases trained in Afghanistan. No state has had the poor judgment of initiating a military engagement with the US in that time. That we have voluntarily entered other conflicts is unfortunate, but it is not germane to the issue of deterrence. Our deterrence has worked even though we keep making the same mistake of attacking other nations first. Thus the rest of your ammo is disabled. One thing I hope is that the “military-industrial complex”, should it be as organized and powerful as they say, will meet their match in whoever the next president is.

    “Making these declarations and keeping the military at the ready is the best way to keep the peace” (Jim)

    And how pray tell does this even remotely line up with the gospel? Oh yeah – blessed are the arms dealers for they shall be called the children of God.

    Romans 13 – 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

    Don’t forget that Jesus didn’t want to be president. He delegated that out. 🙂

    “You have the right to bear arms in Canada and a higher percentage of folks own firearms north of the border. You have the same laws and the same principles in force.” (Jim)

    Well at least this is slightly true…however when we start looking into handguns and automatics – they are outright banned and carry heavy criminal offences in most provinces.

    I’d like to see the evidence for that last claim. Huck’s claims about the reason for the 2nd Amendment are historical fact. They are not ridiculous. The arms America stores for its own defense are not relevant to the 2nd Amendment.
    “Obama would be great if he wasn’t pro-death” (Jim)

    And all of the Republican candidates aren’t? Hello – all of them talk about war as if they are chewing gum – it’s that normal to hear from their mouth. Like I said, it’s hypocrtiical to defend abortion rights (which I also think are murder) and then to defend any Republican (or Democrat) who claims the ‘war is neccesary’ (which is also murder) – namely in this fiasco in Iraq.

    The candidates are talking defense; attack the US and “you’ll see the gates of Hell” (Huckabee quote). Its actually an isolationist concept and again a deterrent.

    The “war” question is moot as it comes down to managing the situation from here on out. It does not compare to Vietnam which was in full force when Johnson handed the reins to Nixon. The chances of it becoming a full-scale conflict in the near future is highly unlikely. I do agree that it was a tragic decision but once made, we coudln’t take back. War is Hell. Americans keep forgetting that.

    “If we are doomed to be taken advantage of, should we drop our proverbial, note proverbial, drawers for a politician who is pro-life or pro-death?” (Jim)

    Well it makes sense to be ‘pro-life’ since that is very normal stand for anyone that loves life – but show me how the Republicans are justifiied in this debate via their stand for war in Iraq as compared to the Democrats ‘abortion’ issue.

    The war is past tense. If you want to punish those who approved it in 2002, then you would scratch from your voters’ ballot John McCain, Fred Thompson, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.

    I agree that being pro-war is hypocritical for a pro-life candidate. But a “peace through strength” approach has kept us from being attacked by a foreign state since 1941. “Peace through strength” is not a pro-war stance. In fact, it is the one thing that has kept us out of more major conflicts. Look at Reagan’s record. A minor skirmish here or there but no war. Its sad that Bush didn’t follow in his footsteps. We would only have had Afghanistan.

    BTW, abortion is far more devastating than the Iraq War. 6 million to 3,700.

    he’s just another Republican that is pro-war, anti-gay rights, anti abortion, pro armament for Israel and no one else in the Middle East, etc.

    1) he’s not pro-war, see above 2) If, by “gay rights”, we are talking about same-sex marriage, why would you be for it? 3) “just another” anti-abortion Republican? Is that a lament of some kind? 4) pro-armament for Israel – Is there a reason Israel shouldn’t be armed?

    I recommend watching Gov. Huckabee’s film clips on Youtube. You should also look at his record on helping the poor and middle classes.

    It’s a fun chat, but I think we’ll all be tired of politics here in another 10 1/2 months, if not far sooner.

  19. “Just thought I’d point that out…” (Jim)

    I know – I just thought the comment was a piece of great humor

    “That we have voluntarily entered other conflicts is unfortunate, but it is not germane to the issue of deterrence” (Jim)

    Then that’s not deterrance Jim, that’s pro-active involvement. The pro-active involvement may serve as a sign of fear to others – thus becoming a deterrent – but then I have to label that a ‘bully complex’. As a Christian person, I am not sure you can truly stand for that type of ideology since we have no inclination our faith wants us to respond in such ways on this planet. If we boil this down to reality and one-on-one – I am almost sure no one likes their kid being bullied in a schoolyard – something about it seems unjust.

    “should it be as organized and powerful as they say, will meet their match in whoever the next president is” (Jim)

    I agree – I hope the next president dismantles a lot of the bombs and even puts the money where it needs to go – to the countries betterment. Bombs don’t feed people I once heard someone say.

    “Romans 13 – 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Paul – not Jesus)

    First off, the big misnomer is I said ‘gospel’ not Paul’s letters to some community. Granted maybe Paul’s letter are gospel – since he refers to them in such a way – but Paul is for sure not the actual quotes of Jesus (this is self evident in his writing). Thirdly, obeying the law of the land (to do good) is a lot different than saying ‘let’s support our gov’t no matter what’. We are quite aware that many a good Christian did die in Rome (to whom this letter is written) – were they breaking the law and deserved death? Likely not…they followed the gospel which brought them into conflict with the ‘powers that be’ (which even Paul mentions are ultimately controlled by evil in another letter – Eph 6:12). I think Paul is merely saying ‘obey the law’ – but even the law/state/politics has it’s limits to which we need adhere.

    “Don’t forget that Jesus didn’t want to be president. He delegated that out” (Jim)

    This is purely satirical – and if so – it’s rather funny. However, Pam made a great point earlier about Jesus being ‘king of kings’ or ‘at the right hand of God’ – doesn’t that idea pre-suppose his ideals would be held higher by his followers than that of any state? Jesus doesn’t want to be president – he would have to be greater than even that office.

    “I’d like to see the evidence for that last claim. Huck’s claims about the reason for the 2nd Amendment are historical fact. They are not ridiculous. The arms America stores for its own defense are not relevant to the 2nd Amendment.” (Jim)

    Well as for evidence – I will have to check into that and it might take me a while – but I am aware that handguns are banned in Canada – even heard the Prime Minister talking about this during election a few years back. As for automatics – I’ve never seen one so I am guessing that is a fairly good indicator they are not allowed – but I will peruse it even deeper.

    As for Huck’s claims – they are totally laughable Jim – just use a fraction of logic when you think about his stand on this issue. He claims you all need those weapons for protection – against your gov’t no less. It’s absurd on a few levels. What if Huck got in – then he would be admitting you need those guns to protect you from him? Sure inspires my confidence in his stand on the issue. Secondly, the arms you can actually buy to protect yourself are not even comparable to what your gov’t has if it ‘turned on you’ – you’d be wiped out before you could load the M-16 or rutger. Huck must be kidding with his stand on the 2nd amendment or he is rather ignorant to reality.

    “The candidates are talking defense; attack the US and “you’ll see the gates of Hell” (Huckabee quote).” (Jim)

    Wonder what happens if you don’t attack the USA? Call it what you want – but that’s an outright ‘threat’ – and one from a country known to use their weapons even when not attacked by a said country (ie: Iraq). This war machine the USA has going is dumb and pure bullish tactics – and not truly democratic and freeing as they want to claim. Gore Vidal said something about America that resonates with me ‘the United States of Amnesia’ – when referencing the war machine. It;s rather funny your country hasn’t pulled out of Iraq yet – knowing it was an out and out lie – same goes for Vietnam (which took like 8-10 years). Now we find Huck saying the same old thing – for a country that believes in democratic principles – the use if threats is all too common amongst your leadership.

    “BTW, abortion is far more devastating than the Iraq War. 6 million to 3,700.” (jim)

    You’re only counting Americans in that stat – which I find rather ethnocentric of you – are not Iraqi’s humans also? And that there is the real problem with war my friend and any person in a country that defends it – it has you picking a side of humans vs another side of humans – and then valueing one more than the other (which is a distinct breaking from ‘treat others how you want to be treated’ or ‘love your neigbor as yourself’).

    ““Peace through strength” is not a pro-war stance” (Jim)

    How well do you know American Militaristic history since 1941? Did you know America did not have to drop the 2 atomic bombs on Japan – since Japan was trying to surrender? They only did it for your idea ‘peace through strength’ – so Russia would see the American capabilities and fear them…nevermind some odd 80,000 had to die – the sacrifice must of been worth it. Wonder what a guy like Jesus would say about this ‘peace through strength’ ideal?

    “why would you be for it?” (Jim)

    Well, I have to obey the law apparently – and in Canada its legal for gay marriage to exist and I respect that. Also I am all for gay rights – they deserve the same treatment as anyone else in society – why not? Did turning gay make them inhuman or something?

    “Is that a lament of some kind?” (Jim)

    I am pro-life as well – I only mention the point because for people of faith – this seems to be the cornerstone on which their vote lies – and I am not sure this is where I put all my chips.

    “Is there a reason Israel shouldn’t be armed?” (Jim)

    Is there any reason Huck wants to help in that armament? He doesn’t seem to want to help any other of the countries in the Middle East.

    “but I think we’ll all be tired of politics here in another 10 1/2 months, if not far sooner.” (Jim)

    True

  20. I want to point out something I see obviously missing from a discussion on ‘politics’ and ‘Christianity’…the Christianity part. No one has even layed down one single idea outside of Romans 13 (and nothing from a single gospel) to defend their positions. This is leading me to believe one very simple thing – there is nothing to back that up from the gospels.

    Now voting for Huck because he is a Christian in not about using your faith – but merely using the peer acceptance factor…let’s see Huck defend his principles via the gospelic teachings? My guess is he cannot even come close to doing it – why – because he is more interested in defending the principles of his country than that of his Lord and Saviour…my opinion.

    Now I see some people telling me why to think Huck is worthwhile yet nothing that comes from the discussion even remotely resembles Jesus the Christ in the gospel writings…one only need check back a few blogs to see what I think the beatitudes are saying to us now – and not one of those ideas can be found at all in this blog from staunch defenders of the American ideal (not saying the Canadian ideal is better). Well, do we have politiks without faith?

  21. In general, Christians should not get deeply involved in politics. If they do, they should be there for the job of a politician and not their faith. The job of a politician (in a constitutional republic which is what Canada and the US are) is to represent the people who elected them. If the people want things that go against the politicians faith it can create a problem for the politician. Do I go against my promise to represent the people (and devalue the faith) or do I do my job and do the will of the people that is against my beliefs?

    That aside, I do vote but not for the one who says he is a Christian. I vote mostly for change because I think it is not good to let any one party get too comfortable.

  22. It bears repeating that I am only choosing who I am voting for in the primary. I think Huckabee is the best candidate. Ken has an excellent point in that serving as president is a job as is running a business.

    Now the biggest rift seems to be with a strong defense. I believe it is far better to have a strong defense because it IS a deterrent. Taking it upon ourselves to go half way around the world and start killing people is quite another policy. If we threaten to retaliate if Iran attacks us, well, if they attack us, aren’t we already at war? I mentioned Reagan because he (unless you can think back to Teddy Roosevelt) had the right idea. Don’t forget the Iranian government had the hostages boarding a plane just in time for Reagan to be sworn in. Not one shot was fired. That said, if we show we have little resolve, aren’t we inviting an attack?

    In that way Reagan was a good servant. Now you discounted Paul but Paul is only summarizing what the Bible says about the role of earthly government. I could list some cross-references but all you have to do is look at the margins of Romans 13.

    We should be thankful anyway that our citizenship is in Heaven and not here.

  23. My problem with the strong defense argument is that a built up military needs some place to expend its energy. I’m an Air Force vet, my ex is still Army. Nothing is more aggravating to military people than playing endless war games, and that is what the military does in peace time. I was in during the build up under Reagan. How many times did I hear laments about us needing a good war so we could play with all our ‘toys’ for real. And ever since then we have been playing with those ‘toys’, using them stupidly around the world, no matter the president. It’s the nature of the beast. A built up military is always raring for a fight. There has to be some restraint. We’re bankrupting our country because of our military budget and we don’t need the next president adding to that problem. My ex finds it all amusing. He’s making money hand over fist with all those nice little incentives and bonus’ without ever having to see Iraq. What a deal. Guess I shouldn’t complain too much since I benefit from the trickle down effect….Until the house of cards collapses.

  24. Viva Huckabee? Okay, here’s a direct quote:

    “I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

    Viva Huckabee indeed.

  25. Lon,
    I think Huckabee was addressing an audience of pastors but those remarks raise the question of whether he is throwing God’s name around mostly for votes. His positions on abortion and marriage are well-known but the election will be won or lost on the economy. He’s my pick in the primary, that’s all. Jason has said he likes Obama – we could have a field day digging up Obama facts. The one and only perfect candidate was crucified, don’t forget. Until He comes back to rule, we have to settle for these clowns. 🙂

    Yael,
    A weak defense can also encourage an enemy to attack (Pearl Harbor being a good example). 9/11 was a culmination of years of unanswered attacks from terrorists under Clinton and in Bush’s first 8 months. Soviets began building missile launchers in Cuba because the Kennedy administration had stood by as the Soviets advanced. An appearance of weakness is an invitation to attack.

    And ever since then we have been playing with those ‘toys’, using them stupidly around the world, no matter the president.

    Did you forget Reagan? Eight years, no wars, no accident. “Walk softly but carry a big stick” can be done successfully.

  26. If he was just “throwing God’s name around mostly for votes”, then he’s at minimum guilty of being insincere…simply saying whatever he thinks we want to hear. Granted, they’re all guilty of that, but Christians especially should note that his willingness to do so includes attempting to use God. A textbook definition of taking God’s name in vain if there ever was one. One would also point out that doing this goes against Jesus’ teachings regarding those who act pious but are not. Of course, the counter to that is to point out that belief in any of Jesus’ actual teachings hasn’t ever been a requirement in order to call oneself Christian.

    We had to take up arms to escape from a theocracy once before, do we want to even begin to start along that path again?

  27. We had to take up arms to escape from a theocracy once before, do we want to even begin to start along that path again?

    What theocracy? I smell propaganda.

    I said that Huck “threw God’s name around” because he was saying that children have a right to life and a marriage is made up of a man and a woman (I looked up the quote). It doesn’t take a Christian belief to understand that. Dropping the G word 5 times in one paragraph is embellishment for political gain. Although, I wouldn’t send him to the Gulag just yet. 😉

  28. Jim,
    Bankrupting our country to pay for this overwhelming military superiority you desire will save everyone the bother of figuring out ways to attack us. We’ll have done ourselves in.

    Reagan – Iran/Contra? Is that the Reagan you are touting here? Speak softly and carry a big stick which you can sell to nutcases around the world in order to have money to give to other nutcases who are against dictators you don’t happen to like? You were trying to prove my point, right?

  29. Ay ay ay Yael,
    The relevant point is “was there a war under Reagan?” I agree 100% that we mustn’t bankrupt our country. I would also remind everyone that excessive spending is taxation regardless of whether we are cutting taxes or not. deficit spending is worse because we are not only paying it, but with interest. Reagan’s monetary policies were poor; our current president has taken those policies to a new level.

    Put it this way – we should have the best defense we can afford. Fair enough?

  30. I have claimed Huckabee is pandering to the crowd – which is something all politicians have to do – but I think Lon raises a great point – Huck is a ‘Christian’ and this type of insincerity is not part of the teachings of Jesus (also the God’s name in vain thing – that also made a lot of sense). So I think in voting for Huck we are not toting the Christian agenda but some American-patriotic agenda – which has been part of my point all along. When you step into the voter booth – no Christian shoudl get so comfortable to think they are voting ‘Christ-like’ – since that is rather impossible – but they should note to themselves they are voting on some patriotic level.

    “Jason has said he likes Obama – we could have a field day digging up Obama facts.” (Jim)

    I heard the man speak again last night – and I have to say Jim – that dude has change written all over him. I think Obama is a great candidate and I am not sure what dirt we could dig up on Obama to be honest – but like everyone else – there has to be skeletons (that doesn’t phase me). I think Obama is more radical than any of the candidates I have heard to this date – from either said – when it comes to literal change within your country.

    “A weak defense can also encourage an enemy to attack (Pearl Harbor being a good example)” (Jim)

    That’s spin Jim – it’s basically a perspective one can take when looking at Pearl Harbor. The fact is it was a surprise attack on America from Japan – surprise being the key idea. I think America must of had quite a good defense at that point since it was the first time anyone attacked America on their soil – come to think of it – Canada doesn’t have 1/8th the defense America has and we have never been attacked on our soil from other countires. Actually all South American countries can basically say the same – they haven’t been attacked since Columbus. Hmmm…so your argument for a strong defense as a deterrent is not true of all others place in the America’s – just the USA.

    “Of course, the counter to that is to point out that belief in any of Jesus’ actual teachings hasn’t ever been a requirement in order to call oneself Christian.” (Lon)

    Now that Lon is a great point and I would say 100% true of the culture/social centres these churches have become. I think a lot of people claim faith in Christ yet when it comes to facing up to the teachings they ‘pick n choose’ what is important and what isn’t. The huge problem from 1st century faith to 21st century faith is the single idea ‘what we believe is truth is more important than what we do with truth’. I think that sentence is true.

    ““was there a war under Reagan?”” (Jim)

    Yes there were wars under Reagan – that Iran/Contra affair – support for Afghanistan vs Russia, Iraq/Iran support…all include American involvement with supplying weapons of mass destruction to countries to destroy one another – some of them in the Middle East. Was America specifically involved in a war – not really – but their administration was.

    “Put it this way – we should have the best defense we can afford. Fair enough?” (Jim)

    Too vague. Best defense would be what and compared to who’s defense? Canada’s? Britain’s? Russia’s? China’s? Australia’s? Fact is America spends so much on military the only true competition it will get is if we start adding those countries together – I am not sure with that spending we are talking deterence and not conquest at some point. America can do whatever it wants in the world with little to no impunity on the world’s stage – why? Weapons of Mass Destruction.

  31. A couple of links relevant to the Huckabee discussion: First, Chris Hedges talks about Huckabee’s links to Christian Dominionists. Next, Mainstream Baptist talks about Huckabee’s coded language.

    I find it interesting that he refuses to release the sermons he preached as a pastor. If he was preaching the Gospel, what does he have to fear? The thing is, I would have been opposed to the calls that he release his sermons….if him and his campaign had avoided using that in their pandering. He could have been like Thomas Jefferson, saying “Say nothing of my religion. It is known to my God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life; if that has been honest and dutiful to society, the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one“. But he has not, he has used his religion as essentially a plank in his platform.

    Since I’ve brought up Jefferson, I’ll point out that he also had quite a bit to say about the idea of Christianity having nothing to do with following Jesus’ teachings. His opinion is summed up by this quote: “The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words“. Or maybe this one “[Jesus’ teachings] have been still more disfigured by the corruptions of schismatizing followers, who have found an interest in sophisticating and perverting the simple doctrines he taught, by engrafting on them the mysticisms of a Grecian Sophist (Plato), frittering them into subtilties and obscuring them with jargon, until they have caused good men to reject the whole in disgust, and to view Jesus himself as an impostor“.

  32. I don’t find it at all controversial to say that a strong defense does NOT lead ineluctably to war. As Jason points out correctly, a weak defense also does not lead directly to war.

    I’d just rather have a strong defense. The problem is finding a leader you can trust with that weaponry.

  33. I’d just rather have a strong defense. The problem is finding a leader you can trust with that weaponry.

    I will agree with you that we need defense, but after that I’ve no doubt our ideas of what is sufficient are quite different. : )

    I don’t know of any leader I trust with all that weaponry. I especially don’t like them in the hands of leaders whose belief is that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and that this is what needs to happen in order for prophecy, according to their tradition, to be fulfilled. What is the motivation to try to make things better when the expectation is that wars will increase and the world as we know it will be destroyed? Now I don’t know how much people really believe this stuff, but I do wonder at times….

    Reagan? Have you forgotten the war in Grenada that lasted all those……..hours? Hey, I watched Heartbreak Ridge. On a serious note though, there were quite a few marines blown up in Beruit as we attempted to play policemen in a part of the world where we were and continue to be so woefully inept at understanding the dynamics.

    Anyway, my original point wasn’t that Reagan fought wars, it was that Reagan built up the military which has been used for no good around the world ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a person who thinks we can be pals with everyone if we all just exchange hugs and flowers, however…..thinking we can muscle our way around the world isn’t an answer either. Unfortunately I think too often our first reaction is to pulverize anyone who even annoys us just because we can. Sort of like blogging…..

  34. thinking we can muscle our way around the world isn’t an answer either.

    great thoughts, Yael. Watching President Bush’s interview last night with Greta Van Susteren I noticed how his only confidence seemed to be in our military muscle. In regards to Iran he talked only of forcing them to act a certain way. Yet Iran’s government has a large opposition that could force the Mullahs to change. What Ahmadinejad and company have going for them is that they rally around challenging American muscle.

    How soon we forget that countries can be changed from within. When President Clinton opened free trade with Vietnam there was a political cartoon that had as its caption, “Trade with Vietnam. What a great idea. Why didn’t they think of that in 1961?”

  35. Just curious how maintaining a military, either strong or weak, is reconciled with the “turn the other cheek” idea. Anyone care to share?

  36. Without starting a partisan debate, I believe that Christians should be engaged in politics because God wants us engaged with this world. The problem lies when we believe that it will solve our problems and it becomes the focus of what we do. Politics will not change hearts. Politics is not redemptive. A Christian’s role in politics should be redemptive desiring to bring about societal good, not to bring about a theocracy.

    I don’t believe we should be beholden to one particular party, but challenge both. The GOP positions are not always right or biblical and the Democrats need to be challenged as well. I guess the ideal is to have Christians involved in both parties in the U.S.

    What’s the Canadian political scene like?

  37. “What’s the Canadian political scene like?” (Shane)

    Oddly enough, it’s becoming more of a rift between out Liberal and Conservative party – however there is a 3rd party – the New Democrats. I notice up here we are not as divisive in politics but it still exists on some level. I pretty much vote for anybody but Conservative up here – but they aren’t that right wing of a party either – so not much changes from gov’t to gov’t – but small things make differences I guess.

    “The problem lies when we believe that it will solve our problems and it becomes the focus of what we do” (Shane)

    I agree with you on this. I think politics is something we are afforded by right of our respective countries and the choice is a good thing to have (democracy). However, I am not sure politics dutifully effects great change where change needs to exist – on both the communal and personal level (which I think Jim has also pointed to earlier).

    I think that as church groups/people – we need to place focus on what we can do in the communities we are in and how we can help society become more ‘freeing’ (personally and communally). Politics makes for fun banter but political systems are flawed and do not line up with out faith teachings all the time – they aim to do good but sometimes the logic for what they consider good and what we see as good varies by many degrees. So political systems/parties do not have to be altogether adhered to – but the obvious laws of the land should be kept (as referring to the idea in Romans 13 – which Jim also mentioned – ie: don’t steal, kill, or hurt others).

    But that being said, political parties make platforms or stands on issues and we don’t have to agree with that stand if it does not line up with the teachings of Jesus. Now I have only opposed platforms on here – Huck and others are likely nice people but they are caught up in something much bigger than them – and I think they pander to what might gain them votes. But those issue are truly the heart of the debate – because we need to decide what is Christ-like and what does that mean in society.

  38. Just curious how maintaining a military, either strong or weak, is reconciled with the “turn the other cheek” idea. Anyone care to share?

    You make a category mistake, Hineini. The role and responsibilities of a government is different than the role of a Christ follower. “Pay to Caesar what is caesar’s and to God what is God’s” – Jesus. It’s not one size fits all. And if the government has no responsibility to protect you, then why pay taxes?

  39. The reason I make that confusion Jim is because I have strong anarchic tendencies but I see where your coming from, thanks.

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