Religion in (Political) Season

With all the focus on religion in this year’s election campaign it is worth remembering a little something about religion in general. While it is common knowledge that all politics is local, few comprehend that all religion is political.

I recently made my way through Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion" with an eye toward an article on the political consequences of religious faith. What was remarkable about the book was the presumptuousness of an author who assumes there are no real existential questions. Dawkin's world is as it is. He KNOWS reality and, ominously, is perfectly comfortable imagining imposing his assumptions about reality by fiat if necessary. This is the atheist religious inquisition in its infancy. If you all believed as I believe (whether you actually understood the foundations of your belief or not) the world would be a better place. Therefore you must.

Yay.

The problem is that atheists like Dawkins do the perfectly human thing and define away the religiosity of their dogmas. After all, since, by definition, unbelief innoculates conviction about "right", "wrong", "good", and "bad" from the weakmindedness of "faith" no one of any intelligence should object to the imposition of the convictions of the unbelievers on the uncomprehending masses. The foundation of the atheist's authority is, well, atheism. (Now, Dawkins does make a show of asserting that morality rises from a sort of collective and evolving social sense of the good, but even as he does so he stands firm in the assurance that the more than nineteen of every twenty people in the general population who believe in a god or gods are hopelessly deluded. This seems an equivocal endorsement of the authority of common knowledge.)

In example after example religions the world over have done the same thing through history. Those who know the truth and bear it to us use the truth they know as the foundation of their authority to impose that truth on the rest of us. (See the Wikipedia article on the "Gallileo Affair") Cultural unanimity thus enforced reduces the difficulty of governance. That is a political principle.

Examining the current political attentions toward religion in the light of this understanding leads to a couple of conclusions. First is that there is a strident effort to appeal to such religious unanimity as there may be in the culture of America today as though it is a form of bigotry. It is assumed that a majority of the religious folk in the United States will treat Mitt Romney's Mormonism, for example, as a sort of social anathema, a heresy to be condemned as a threat to the very fabric of our society. Religion, in this view, never rises above the term "opiate of the people", the means by which masses are manipulated to move as a human tide.

This is a kind of cynicism that seems, interestingly, to be a cooperative effort of both the religious right and the anti-religious left, as attitudes on the left seem to favor pushing former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee during the Republican primary process as someone who, because of his religious beliefs, would be unelectable in a general election. In this case the assumption is that the religion-weary public would be bigoted against anyone who had ever been publicly associated with religious views. Richard Dawkins would be proud.

The second conclusion is that one must, in dealing with religion in public life, separate the political consequences of religious faith (a strictly human enterprise) from the existential and metaphysical assertions of religion (an exploration of the essentially unknowable). It is interesting that, among the detractors of Mormonism, it is the religion's existential and metaphysical assertions that arouse the most outrage, while the relatively benign influence of the religion on the community most profoundly affected by it, Salt Lake City, is seldom mentioned. If Salt Lake City has the sixth lowest inner city crime rate of the metropolitan areas with over a million people, one might be tempted to reflect on Jesus's admonition that we will know his real followers "by their fruits".

By contrast Islam is routinely held up as a religion of peace and cooperation, but it is so politically conflicted that the 1.4 billion people in predominantly Islamic countries, one-fourth of the people in the world, have a total economic output surpassed by the 120 million people in the six most prosperous American states.

Musing on these and other reflections on belief one can see in the tangible efforts of peoples both religious and irreligious I recently only half joshed to one of these boards that religious people really have only one first-level question to ask themselves. Do they or do they not believe in the omnipotent God? If they do the only consideration they must consider on other religious questions, however bizarre, is what they can determine God believes himself. Is the virgin birth strange? Not if an omnipotent God believes. Love the idea of Creationism? Why does God seem so determined to plant evidence of evolution? If Mormonism is so bad what does it say about what God believes that Mormons seem so routinely good? If Islam is so good why can't even one of the fifty-two Muslim countries muster the per-capita income of the poorest American state? Does God not believe in Muslims?

You see, when it comes to the reality of religion, it does matter what we do about what we believe. It seems not to matter so much what we believe about what everybody else believes.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at January 1, 2008 11:49 PM
Comments
Comment #241943

Nothing scares me more than people who claim to know the mind of God.

If Islam is so good why can’t even one of the fifty-two Muslim countries muster the per-capita income of the poorest American state? Does God not believe in Muslims?

Shall we then assume that wealth is the measure of God’s approval of a country? That the rewards of serving the will of God are cold, hard cash?

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon” Matthew 6:24

But then, what do I know? I’m not a follower of an Abrahamic faith. I just seem to recall hearing something about camels and the eyes of needles once or twice, from the same long-haired hippy peacenik that said that thing about knowing his followers by their fruits. And if you’re going to take his word on that part, you might want to think about taking his word on the camel thing too.

“I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24
Posted by: Jarandhel at January 2, 2008 2:45 AM
Comment #241949

In feudal times and before, religion and politics were one and the same for all intents and purposes. It was Henry VIII who recognized that to control the church is to control ALL of England, and through the church, all subjects of the land.

It was precisely this kind of autocratic authoritarian control of both government and church which our founders revolted against, knowing the King rendered as means and servants to the ruler’s ends, the people, the religion, and the nation.

Those on the right, in many a subtle and sophisticated manner attempt to reinstate this merging of religion and state making all politics religious, and all religion political. But, Christ said, render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s, and render unto God that which is God’s.

One’s soul, spirit, and character before God’s moral yardstick is the province of religion. One’s obligation and responsibility in dealings with one’s neighbors and one’s voice in matters of electing national and local leaders, are the province of politics.

Certainly, as one goes about one’s daily affairs one is moving back and forth amongst these provinces and often simultaneously in both. But, this action of living in both realms does not negate the wisdom of Christ’s words that the world of state affairs, and the world of spiritual affairs, are worlds that are not, and should not, be governed by the same authorities.

The Church, not the religion; that is to say those organizational leaders in the church who make their living off the congregation, are mostly want to broaden their power and secure their wealth by expanding their role to include politics, even to the point of securing taxation for their own control and purposes. The Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, stand as testament to the desire of fallible church leaders to desire to become political leaders with the power that accompanies.

Christ’s church was not made of brick and mortar, but, of the human soul and heart. Brick and mortar are of this world, not the next, and when men and women seek control of the brick and mortar, they inherently become politicians and their efforts and actions are secular in nature. Therefore, beware of those who would call themselves religious leaders while serving the master of brick and mortar, money, because power is their real motive, not the charitable act of serving others.

This should at all times be guarded against by both the citizens of the state, and the members of the congregation. When state and religion merge, the people will no longer have power over their own lives, nor the freedom to act as conscience or religious prophets teach. They will become subjects of authoritarian rule which justifies all its reprehensible acts in the name of god and country while serving only its self and selfish desires.

Do not allow those on the Political Right to deceive you into thinking they are fighting for your soul while yelling “tear down this wall” between church and state, to mime Reagan’s words regarding the Berlin Wall. They are fighting for their own right to govern and become powerful over you and I, regardless of our affiliations. Our founding fathers knew this; we would be wise to observe the words of both Christ and our founders as they speak in concert on this issue of separation of church and state.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 2, 2008 5:43 AM
Comment #241951

The great problems we have had with religions controlling governments have come not from people acting out of faith for the good of their fellow man. Rather, they come as a result of the actions of people like Richard Dawkins, who seem intent on quelling any dissonances in the message of culture, and are comfortable with using government to achieve their religious goals. This is actually a manifestation of faithlessness because the control is exercized out of an assurance the masses are too venal to be moved to act as they should without force. The old Soviet Union and Mao Zedong’s China were as theocratic in this regard as Pope Urban’s Europe, but many intellectuals in the modern world fail to see how they are the same because they have not the imagination to get past the word “God”.

The truly faithful can hear the many messages of the faiths of others without fear and feel no need to act to stamp those messages out. They will act out of the impulses for good their faith provides and not require that others be forced to act on the same impulses.

Jarandhel, I don’t pretend to “know” what God is thinking but it is interesting to note how the value foundations provided by religions in various places either support or confound the efforts of people to do well by themsleves, their families, and each other. As I said in my last paragraph, it is important what people DO about what they believe.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 2, 2008 8:44 AM
Comment #241953

God willing, those who claim to follow Jesus Christ will someday recognize the phony Pharisee faith that passes for “Christianity” in the U.S. these days for the fraud that it is and rediscover the true teaching and example of Jesus of Nazareth as in http://LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/

Posted by: Ray Dubuque at January 2, 2008 9:01 AM
Comment #241954
Jarandhel, I don’t pretend to “know” what God is thinking but it is interesting to note how the value foundations provided by religions in various places either support or confound the efforts of people to do well by themsleves, their families, and each other. As I said in my last paragraph, it is important what people DO about what they believe.

You did not go into how the values provided by the Muslim religion support or confound such efforts. You suggested that it may be the result of God not believing in Muslims. Either way, though, your question places dollars and material wealth as the sole measure of someone doing well by themselves, their families, and each other. This is not, in any sense, what that hippy we were talking about earlier taught.

“And he looked up, and saw the rich men that were casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than they all: for all these did of their superfluity cast in unto the gifts; but she of her want did cast in all the living that she had.” Luke 21:1-4

If you are not pretending to know what God thinks, how can you tell other people of faith that the only further religious question they need ask themselves is what it is that God himself believes? In order to answer this on any subject, you must believe you know the mind of God.

Posted by: Jarandhel at January 2, 2008 10:38 AM
Comment #241970

This is not Iran. Clerics have no business deciding who the leaders are.

Posted by: BillS at January 2, 2008 2:20 PM
Comment #241972

Jarandhel,
There is a difference between seeking the mind of anyone and knowing it. I have known my wife for 32 years, but she continues to surprise me. Were I to approach dealing with her as though all I thought I knew of her when we were married was all I needed to ever know our supposed relationship would be a travesty. None the less people, particularly overtly religious people, have a tendency to deal with God in a way similar to the foolish groom who thinks he knows all he need ever know about his bride on his wedding night.

As to your assertion that I have “place(d) dollars and material wealth as the sole measure of someone doing well by themselves, their families, and each other”, I wholeheartedly disagree. In an article written in September I argued that a whole suite of very pluralist values adhered to most strongly in the United States were the real foundation of what appears to uncomprehending eyes to be monetary wealth. In the absence of these values such wealth can never develop. That Christianity and Judaism support these values has long been a benefit to western democracies. That Islam supports them poorly has been a great burden on Muslim economies.

If one assumes the world runs to some extent as God would have it then it is my conceit, I suppose, to think observing the results of the political consequences of these two world-views gives me a glimpse into the mind of God. Is that “knowing”? No. But is is not blind assuming either.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 2, 2008 2:53 PM
Comment #241974

Lee said: “If one assumes the world runs to some extent as God would have it then it is my conceit,”

Logically and philosophically this is an all or none proposition. If god intervenes in the course of events of its physical universe, then by definition, everything that happens within this universe is by God’s hand, since he has the power to both help outcomes as well as allow outcomes like the Holocaust, war, famine, kidnapping, rape, and murder of little children to happen. Making God responsible for all that happens by action or lack there of.

I personally can not get close to a God that would allow enormous and unspeakable human suffering by children. Therefore, I have to believe God created tyhe universe, and gave natural order to non-sentient entities and free will to sentient beings, and DOES NOT intervene in the exercise of that FREE WILL, for that would preempt the concept of Free Will, entirely.

This fundamental contradiction in Christian Church teachings is what prompted my adoption of the Buddhist religion in 1967. For me, a religion has to make sense in order for me to follow its teachings. Christ’s teachings make perfect sense to me. The teachings of the Christian Church never have when anchored to this contradictory dictum of divine intervention.

Politically speaking, it is hard for me to understand why Christians believe in democracy or government at all. If outcomes are in God’s hands, why assume responsibility for governance in the first place? That implies the usurpation of God’s will and design. It makes no sense.

If it is a child’s time by God’s clock to suffer rape and murder at the hands of a pedophile, what need is there for police, courts, or government. God’s will for that child to suffer and die cannot be vetoed by the actions of human beings, according to the teachings of the Church.

Many Christians would be quick to respond, but, we cannot know God’s will. But, it is an illogical response. Is God good? Answer: yes. Then why does God ALLOW Bad things to happen to children? By definition, that is not Good. If God is good, then God would not allow bad things to happen. Since, God does allow bad things to happen, God is either Not Good, or, God is not, whether by choice or definition, Omnipotent; willing or capable of intervention in the events of his creation.

Politically speaking, if God is not an intervener, then, government and elections make sense. If God is an intervener, then, government is an act of futility. Politicians who invoke the belief in divine intervention and run for office in government, are so illogical to me, that I would never, ever, want them in office wielding such awesome power as government has, over me or others.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 2, 2008 4:37 PM
Comment #241978

BillS
I am not a religious person by any standard but when, and if now who is the clerics that have or are now deciding who are our leaders? Do you believe religious people Pastors, Preachers, Monks, etc should not be able to support or run for any political office? Should they not be able to vote? And if the majority of Americans were Christion,Muslum,Buddist, Jewish or any other faith and voted to have a religious leader or leaders of that faith would that be un American? One more note, I believe Atheism can be described as a religion also they also would like everyone to think and act as they do.

Posted by: dolan at January 2, 2008 4:58 PM
Comment #241992

This has been an enormously interesting thread to read, and I have also recently read Dawkins book “The God Delusion.” While I found myself laughing out loud (with genuine enjoyable humor) at many of his assertions about the state and practice of Christianity, he is indeed extremely presumptuos about his own perspective, and were he to choose a God to worship, it would certainly be Darwin. Though I could never prove it, I would wager a small fortune that a picture of Darwin graces the walls of his home, much like a picture of Jesus (or assumed likeness) graces the walls of many Christian believers. He doates over the man constantly throughout the book.

I agree wholeheartedly with Bill that Atheism is simply an un-theist form of religion, only I fear it more than any traditional religious sect because it is based on the whims and fancy of each particular person, regardless of how twisted their concept of right and wrong, may (or may not) be - AND most atheists that I have met or engaged in some form of discussion have such venom for people of faith that giving that kind of secular anger a tremendous amount of power is as terrifying to me as having a president that believes in Divine Internevtion in the White House is to David.

At least with Theistic religions you have a (by choice or not) adherable, code of conduct as it were, by which you are SUPPOSED to live. No one ever accomplishes this, but at least it is a standard by which to try to hold yourself. With Atheism, there is no standard, ask an atheist the definition of right and wrong and where they draw the line and you will always get a different answer.

The problem I have with Faith in the political arena (and they are indistinguishable nowadays) is the pervasive truth that the vast majority of Christians are “check your brain at the door” believers, and if their pastor preached a sermon on the evils of Tang, they would promptly throw it out when they got home without a second, rational, sensible thought.

Jesus did say “Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give unto God what belongs to God” which had been almost universally interpreted as give your taxes to the government and give your soul to God. Were a government to be controlled by a group that believes there is no such thing as a soul is a scary proposition indeed, because of the obvious ramifications.

Dawkins makes many good and humorous points in his book, and to David, I acknowledge that bad things happening to Children is indeed a bad thing, but you cannot make so presumptuous a statement as to descry or prove God’s ability to intervene on this issue alone. I can give you dozens of personal experiences that defy coincidence, but someone who does not believe god (A)ffects things in this world will say I am seeing what I want to see, and in my (I believe) rational, thinking mind, it simply cannot be coincidence - over and over and over again. Relating to your all-too-simple attempt to disprove divine intervention, I can only offer my wife’s testimony. She was abused as a child, in some of the most unimaginable, you-couldn’t-even-put-it-in-a-movie ways, and she has had an impact in our community that has been so powerful, and so dramatic, that we get calls each week from people we don’t know who were impacted by her messages in the Bible Studies that she leads. From her walk with Christ, she has turned what would have left most women on the streets, on drugs to numb the pain, without hope or heart, into the most amazingly generous, selfless, charismatic women I have ever met, and I do indeed consider myself lucky. And she no longer resents the abuse of her youth, but is convinced it was like the hardening of the steel of her soul, and with it, she will help women like her fight off the demons and baggage that travel with victims of abuse. She is amazing.

Interestingly enough, Dawkins writes of the Death of a child in the old testament that God “allowed” to happen and says “if there is a God, why would I worship that one?” He then goes on to say that molesting a child is far less emotionally tramatic than parents explaining hell to children as a punishment for sin. He gives a few examples of people saying (of molestation) that it just made them feel dirty for a few days, and then gives others to the effect of “OH THE HORROR, OH THE TRAUMA, of going to bed every night and imagining the fires of hell gobbling up little children who didn’t eat all their peas.”

That is patently ridiculous and parents who put this kind of enormously cruel fear in the hearts of their children are not walking the right road anyway, and MOST who claim to be are not walking the right road either. That’s the problem, you have people speaking for Christianity who only give it lip service.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 2, 2008 6:51 PM
Comment #241998

Yukon Jake, the case studies in psychology and sociology texts easily and very rationally and statistically explain your wife’s overcoming of her childhood experiences, without any need of religion at all save as an alternative to other choices.

Anecdotal successes from impoverished or debased childhoods exist in the stories of atheist’s overcoming as well. It proves nothing, and evidences nothing. If an atheist with similar experiences such as your wife becomes a great success as an existentialist, does it prove there is NO GOD? Of course, not, no more than turning to the Church as a means of overcoming is proof there IS A GOD.

If you want to believe, then believe. Just don’t try to pawn it off as rational, logical, or empirical, or truth beyond your own personal notion of that word. Belief has a definition, and it is very different from the words fact, and truth. Inherent in the definition of belief is the absence of proof.

The argument I made was a logical proof. The argument you make is an anecdotal choice in belief. Apples and oranges. And yes, there are many people who believe who DO in fact, check their brains at the door of the Church. Just as there are many atheists who check their brains at the door of opinion pontification.

Conversely, there are highly intelligent, rational, and logical theists and atheists. But, neither camp can prove the existence or non-existence of GOD. That is both a truth and a demonstrable fact by the very definition of the terms used.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 2, 2008 8:04 PM
Comment #242001

dolan, where do such questions come from. I don’t see where anyone has even hinted that persons of faith should be denied candidacy or suffrage. Perhaps if you tell us what field you are playing in we can participate in the game with you.

As for atheism being a religion, your and Yukon Jake’s comments are patently wrong. Religion is by definition organized, it has organization of people, roles, positions, tenets, rituals, and priorities.

By definition, atheism is not a religion. It has no organization along any of those criteria which define organized religions. Atheism is a purely personal perspective and belief which posits that one will not believe what cannot be demonstrated or proved to exist. No other organization is required.

Atheists have formed organizations centered on protecting their rights to exist as atheists and to raise their children as atheists. But, their organization lacks all the criteria which define the world’s great religions.

If one person proposes a religious paradigm, to which only that one person subscribes, is it a religion? Not by the terms that the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims or Hindu’s define their religions by.

Note the definitions:

1.
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

(By definition, atheism is not a religion).

b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

(Again, by definition, atheism is not a religion).

2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.

(Obviously no reference to atheism here).

3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.

(Again, atheism does not qualify as it has no spiritual leader proposing a unitary set of beliefs, practices, or teachings).

4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

(Like a gymnastics gold medal, or pursuit of a life of successful crime? Hardly a definition of religion as the world’s great religions define themselves.)

Sorry, but your attempts to create your own definitions to suit your objectives in your arguments falls flat on its face. Though you may wish to be the author of the English language for the sake of winning arguments, we fortunately do not allow debates or arguments to be won by that methodology.

The root of anarchy is everyone defining the terms according to their own needs. The root of authoritarianism is one or a small group controlling the definitions all acts and words describing those acts. The core of organization, including religions, is its members agreeing to discreet definitions of words facilitating communication and understanding, and rejecting attempts to play fast and loose with those definitions for personal enterprise.

Which is what you attempted to do, intentionally or not, when defining atheism as a religion. It isn’t, by definition it isn’t. If you don’t like the English language, I know a realtor with a listing on a deserted island where you can move and be free to invent whatever language you wish to win arguments with your reflection in the sea.

But, if you want to debate here and win, I suggest you use English and definitions based in common understanding writ in place for everyone’s reference and common understanding.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 2, 2008 8:33 PM
Comment #242004

Politically speaking, if God is not an intervener, then, government and elections make sense. If God is an intervener, then, government is an act of futility. Politicians who invoke the belief in divine intervention and run for office in government, are so illogical to me, that I would never, ever, want them in office wielding such awesome power as government has, over me or others.
Posted by: David R. Remer

God is, in fact, an intervener when He is asked. But, God, (like Godly Christians), does not impose His will on others.
Neither religion or politics are futile. For God has created them both. It is not wise for men to be led by those with questionable character, who adhere to no moral standard whatsoever.

Those who proclaim Christianity during an election campaign are expected by their constituents to live and govern by a code of moral ethics that anyone with any knowledge of Christianity can judge for themselves. Indeed, it is true, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

Claiming Christianity is often mocked and ridiculed by the left as “someone trying to take advantage of the Christian right” vote. Yet, claiming Christianity is a disadvantage politically, because those who do so are held to a much higher moral standard than those who do not.
This is a good thing, not a bad thing. It should be the intent of any organization to strive for the highest standard possible, rather than the lowest common denominator which seems to be the direction liberals wish to take us.
This is true whether it is the Church, Government, business, etc.! Society works better and maintains its ethics and morality by doing so.

“If it is a child’s time by God’s clock to suffer rape and murder at the hands of a pedophile, what need is there for police, courts, or government. God’s will for that child to suffer and die cannot be vetoed by the actions of human beings, according to the teachings of the Church.”
Posted by: David R. Remer

Is it God’s fault that a man or woman chooses to molest a child? Who do you think gave us the knowledge to appoint judges, police, etc.? There is an entire book in the Bible entitled “Judges”.
People like Dawkins say that it is dangerous and harmful to teach that doing wrong will be punished by God.
If it is dangerous to teach that doing wrong shall be punished by God, is it, therefore, also dangerous to teach that doing wrong shall be punished by man, thus, creating a (“delusional” fear as apparently Dawkins claims) of the police and authority?
In this world, should all wrong only be punished, if and only if, you are caught by the police and brought before the judge.
If so, then there is no wrong as long as you do not get caught.

Where is the justice for that child that was molested for years and the perpetrator was never caught or judged?
Is that the world in which you wish to live, David? You see, David, for one to believe in God, one must be willing to trust God.
He is in control and always gets the final say. Believe me, the one who abandons God and molests the child will suffer much greater than anything the liberal courts and judges in America could possibly throw at him.
As for the child, it is fortunate that we have such a loving God who knows how to heal the spirit, heart, and body. For without, the child has very little hope after living or dying through such brutality.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 2, 2008 8:46 PM
Comment #242010

“My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.”

Bertrand Russell

http://www.solstice.us/russell/religionciv.html

(I would personally add that atheism is a religion in itself, I’m agnostic …………. just freakin’ clueless ……….. but I find it important to treat everyone as I’d like to be treated myself …………. and I find it odd that our “Shock and Awe” can result in a gleeful indignation for the life of others)

Posted by: KansasDem at January 2, 2008 9:42 PM
Comment #242015

“The root of anarchy is everyone defining the terms according to their own needs.”
Posted by: David R. Remer

Funny, I thought that was the liberals’ new definition of freedom. For without some standard moral compass, everyone defines his moral terms according to his own needs, does he not?

JD

Posted by: JD at January 2, 2008 10:08 PM
Comment #242018

JD,

“For without some standard moral compass, everyone defines his moral terms according to his own needs, does he not?”

What “moral compass” do you speak of?

Mosaic Law? The code of Hammurabi predates that by nearly 300 years.

There have been tenets that men have followed long before Christianity.
Every civilization back to the Sumerians and before that Ur, has honed the laws we now follow.

The leader that I follow must, first and foremost follow the American Constitution.
I want that to be his/her inspiration.
I want them to be a student of history.
I want them to use their experience, and those of their cabinet members to make the decisions that are of the utmost importance to this country.

In other words I don’t care what religion they believe in, or even if they are religious at all.

The “moral compass” they follow should be the laws that have been enacted by the founders of this country.
That is the mandate that every candidate should be touting.

Posted by: Rocky at January 2, 2008 10:56 PM
Comment #242019

Government is the best demonstration of theodicy…

Posted by: Rachel at January 2, 2008 10:58 PM
Comment #242021

David,
While your skills at filleting dolan’s point with the webster’s definition of religion are both finely honed, and in this case, tough to argue, I don’t suppose, and I doubt you do either, that dolan meant “Atheism and Christianity are identical both in practice and in tenet structure.” He was merely saying that Atheism is quite often practiced with the same zealotry and intolerance as Christianity, Islam, etc.

A very clinical exercise in Lexi-Kwon Do. After probably 5000+ posts, you are indeed a black belt.

The point remains however, that the secular movement is no less intimidating in it’s agenda (to those who fear the forced removal or replacement of our standard of conduct in society) than the bible belt’s right wing agenda and abhorence of infanticide, desire to protect the sanctity of marriage as it has been traditionally defined, etc. is to the secular “progressive.”

For evidence of that secular agenda see the many challenges that have been made to the ten commandments presence in the places where the rule of law is supposed to govern - i.e. Courtrooms. I will defer to your talents with Google as by now they too are finely honed I’m sure.

For your quick dismissal that my wife’s assertions have no basis in emprical evidence, I will give you two quick examples because I’m in a hurry, and I’d love to hear your postulations regarding their rational explanations.

1) When my wife was 18 and was not a Christian, she was emotionally at rock bottom and she was crying, at home, alone, and she decided, “what the hell, I’ll give prayer a try.” She had no more asked Jesus to send her a sign that her life was worth something and she had a purpose than her phone rang, and on the other end was a woman she had never heard of in Nevada (She was in Colorado) at a prayer warrior Bible Study who said she was told by God to call this number and tell whoever answered to take heart, that God was with you.

That woman is now one of her best pen pals and after much probing and exhaustion, neither can find a link between them before that moment.

Explain that away David.

2) In the second trimester with our first daughter the UltraSound showed abnormal skull development and so we had an amniocentesis done, after which we were told our daughter had Pelazius-Merzbachers disoder (basically a really bad version of Cerebral Palsy that is recessive on the woman’s side of her family)and that she (our daughter) would never speak or walk or talk or think or play or feel. She would drool her whole life and probably live to 30 or 40.

We fasted and prayed and fasted and prayed about what to do, and prayed for God to heal our baby or give us guidance on what to do.

Two months before she was supposed to give birth, she had a second amniocentesis and ultrasound and the specialist up here, supposedly the best in the state who diagnosed PM Disorder without us having even known about it being possible in our family said she couldn’t understand how it was even poissible as PM is a genetic and not a developmental trait. Our daughter was / is perfectly, abnormally bright and beautiful. To this day, she (the doc) cannot offer ANY explanation for what happened.

Explain that away David.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 2, 2008 11:07 PM
Comment #242024

Yukon Jake:

I don’t believe I saw anywhere where David said God doesn’t exist, nor denied that miracles happen. By their nature, both are unprovable, the existance of God and the cause of miracles.

At least with Theistic religions you have a (by choice or not) adherable, code of conduct as it were, by which you are SUPPOSED to live.

And no one else, particularly those atheists you “know” have no moral code they follow? Please. And Christians don’t have the best history in that regard either.

This is why law and government should stay law and government. Religion should stay religion. The ten commandments have no place in our legal governmental buildings. They do not apply to all the religions our government is supposed to serve.

Please, keep religion out of politics and government. Otherwise, tax the hell out of them.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 2, 2008 11:42 PM
Comment #242027

“For evidence of that secular agenda see the many challenges that have been made to the ten commandments presence in the places where the rule of law is supposed to govern - i.e. Courtrooms.”

Yukon,

Duh, we don’t follow Sharia law! The Ten commandments are NOT THE LAW OF THE USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We elect individuals that write the law. If we don’t like the law we (eventually) elect folks to change the law. Besides, if the ten commandments were a part of American law every lawyer that entered the courtroom would end up in jail for contempt.

But I’m glad your daughter turned out fine. Obviously there was a misdiagnosis by a human being. We ALL are just human and therefore fallible.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 3, 2008 12:00 AM
Comment #242028

Rocky, it is not the moral compass of which I speak, but rather the insistence for the lack thereof that I find so dangerous.

For if one claims no moral code of ethics, but only the Constitution, even liberals claim that we can not legislate morality.

If then, that be the case, the Constitution is not a “morally binding document”. The Constitution is only a piece of paper. It is the morality and character of the men who define it that has made this country great.
Can the Constitution hold our leaders accountable? Never!!!

It is man’s tolerance for evil and corruption that destroys nations. While liberals whine and criticize the “intolerance” of Christians from one side of the mouth, out of the other side of the mouth they decry the standard practice of corruption in Washington. Washington is just practicing “tolerance”.

Liberals have tried to do everything they could to demean, castigate, and shut Christian Conservatives out of having a voice in society for the last thirty plus years.

If liberals wish to demand that all candidates do not promote or “preach” a Christian morality during campaigns, why then, do they moan about the corruption in Washington perpetrated by those who do not profess, and most often neither adhere to any morality at all? You get only that which you demand!

This is the same old question, “Does moral character matter?” Being a Christian, I say it matters quite a lot. And this is most important:


“having high expectations of moral standards by those who would publicly claim Christianity as their religion, I find this character trait to be a great plus, not a negative.”

That is worth repeating:

“having high expectations of moral standards by those who would publicly claim Christianity as their religion, I find this character trait to be a great plus, not a negative.”

I have personally found that Christianity has one of the highest moral codes of character. There are millions of Christians who live their lives every day proving this. To them, I tip my hat in gratitude, for they understand the “absolute” importance and necessity of moral character in a free society.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 3, 2008 12:19 AM
Comment #242034

To KansasDem,
Julie (the doc) has since sent that sample to four different labs, 2 of which are out of state, and all four come back with the same postiive findings. It was not a misdiagnosis, it was a miracle and David most certainly DID say that god does not intervene in the lives of people. He said that specifically. He said that GOD created the world and has sinceforth been hands off, and I offer two very personal examples of how I believe this to be false.

David said “Therefore, I have to believe God created tyhe universe, and gave natural order to non-sentient entities and free will to sentient beings, and DOES NOT intervene in the exercise of that FREE WILL, for that would preempt the concept of Free Will, entirely.”

David expresses a common pantheist sentiment, that the universe couldn’t have happened by accident, but the idea of a personal God is absurd, or at least incorrect. In Dawkin’s book, he lists many great thinkers who believe the same thing - like Einstein. (though Einstein was not a Buddhist :-)

To JD - Here here my friend regarding the moral standards of good Christians. Many Christians miss the mark, as do all people’s of all societies, but the Ten Commandments are a particularly FABULOUS set of rules by which to hold onesself. Which is why they are placed where they are placed, and which is why our system of laws is based in Judao-Christian principle.

To KansasDem,
I never said the ten commandments are law of the USA, so I’ll thank you to keep your DUH’s to yoruself. They are “symbolic” of the highest moral and ethical standard ever penned in human history, and that we as a people should aspire to such goodness and righteousness should engender inspiration and not repugnance.

So… only absolute law can be placed in a courtroom? No symbolism? Well there goes the gavel (do some research) and there goes the robe, etc. Symbolism is everywhere in our society, but it is “Christian Symbolism” that is attacked relentlessly by the secular progressives. And to what end? Is there any part of the ten commandments that is offensive to you?

In layman:

God is God(besides this one)
Honor your parents
Rest once a week (it’s important)
Don’t murder
Don’t Cheat on your spouse
Don’t steal
Don’t lie about others
and finally…
Don’t envy people of their lives

Wow, I see your point. That is ridiculous, get this trash out of our courtrooms YESTERDAY! IF anyone finds this offensive, then it is the fact that this has a Christian source that is causing the rub, because no honest hearted man or woman would have a problem with any of this.

It doens’t say “Jehovah is your God” it says “I am the lord your God” and you may interpret that however you like - it shouldn’t even matter to someone who has no God in their life because then there is no consequence - so why care? You say “You are not my God” and he says “Okey Dokey Smokey.” No Judge ever asks you to proclaim fealty to Jehovah, they ask you to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God. God Forbid there be honest in a courtroom.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 3, 2008 1:43 AM
Comment #242037

JD said: “It is the morality and character of the men who define it that has made this country great.”

And it is the morality and character of the ?men? who define it that is now making China, India, and Malaysia great nations of the 21st century, and that of Japanese that made Japan the great nation it is now. None of these are Christian. China destined to be the greatest nation in this century is not even officially theistic. Yet, most of China’s people do observe ethics and fair interaction with each other despite their government, their large atheistic components and many diverse but underground religious groups ranging from Buddhist to Taoist to Christian.

Sorry, but, your argument again falls flat. Christianity is no more necessary to become an honorable, trustworthy, and valued person than is an abused childhood. Intelligence alone can arrive at the concept of doing unto one’s neighbors as one would have them do unto you, and admonitions against lying, murder, and theft.

Despite the Christian Church, America’s history is replete with Christians hatred and cruelty toward others. KKK, Aryan Nation, Sen. Joseph McCarty’s Red Scare supporters, the bombers of the 4 little black girls in their Church in 1963, the Christians who burned and looted our cities in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, the National Guard who shot down unarmed students at Kent State, and the list could go on for a hundred pages, to include our soldiers in Iraq who kill and maim on secular orders, hardly a teaching of Christ who said: “turn the other cheek”. Or how about priests seducing and raping children in the Church itself? Religion is no guarantor of moral or ethical behavior. That is a demonstrable and empirical fact.

So, naturally, neither is atheism a guarantor. Folks will become good or bad people regardless of the presence of religion or absence of it. Some of the great non-theistic writers make powerful and convincing arguments for ethical behavior, far more logically convincing than “because some prophet said so”.

Fact is, Congressman Pete Stark, an atheist, has a demonstrably more honorable record as a politician than some of his contemporary Christian politicians ejected from office or resigned for their unethical or immoral behavior, many of them Republican to boot. Richard Nixon comes to mind, caught red handed lying to save his own ass while abandoning and offering up those most loyal to him. Christian morality? Surely not. Yet, he was a Christian. So, spare us indefensible argument that religion is a prerequisite for ethical and responsible behavior.

Had the teachings of Christ changed during the Inquisition or Crusades or the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Yet, Christians, students of the teachings of Christ, were responsible for these and much, much more.

Christ’s teachings are admirable and without question wise as any philosopher ever lived. The Christian religion is in Christ’s teachings, not necessarily the Christian Churches, where money, power, organization, hierarchy, social and community agendas, all compete with Christ’s teachings for control of the behavior of its occupants.

It is an enormous mistake to confuse the organizations associated with the great religions, as the religions. Monumental mistake. Just as it is a monumental mistake for voters to put too much faith in a politician claiming to seek office for religiously guided purposes. Such a candidate will unavoidably serve two masters.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2008 2:53 AM
Comment #242041

Yukon
The 10 commandments as law was the discussion. That is not the same as whether they are good ideas. Should people go to jail for mowing their lawn on Sunday etc.
Miracles happen all the time.God is omnipotent and omnicient.The broad topic here is how much influence HUMAN institutions that claim to speak for God should have over Human government.If these institutions really had their claimed direct line to God,for one thing there would not be so many of them argueing about who is right and some obscure point of theology,now would there.

Posted by: BillS at January 3, 2008 4:23 AM
Comment #242046

JD,

I must echo David’s sentiments.
It doesn’t take a Christian to possess moral character.
If I was a liberal, I might take offence at your inference that liberals and non Christians are incapable of said moral character.

Apparently there is no middle ground for the right wing Christians that feel this is their country, and their country alone. They feel that their inherent moral superiority entitles them to rule this country despite the laws that were laid down in that “piece of paper” you so disdain.

It just ain’t so JD.

Like it or not, that “piece of paper” is also an ideal. An ideal that has stirred the heart of the lowliest African tribesman, and the poorest Chinese farmer to come to this country and be a part of this grand experiment.

I would submit that any candidate that places his religion above this country is merely pandering to those that would do harm to this grand experiment called America.
Republicans have won nine of the thirteen Presidential elections since WW2, most of whom wore their Christian moral superiority on their sleeve, and for the life of me I can’t see that America is in a better place for it.
Christians were worried that Kennedy would run this country as a “Catholic”, now we hear that Christians are worried about Romney being a Mormon.
What a crock. Just where do you guys get off?

I think it’s past high time that we start worrying more about the ability of the leaders we elect, than the color of their religion.

Posted by: Rocky at January 3, 2008 10:00 AM
Comment #242054

After all this discussion (and with previous meditation) it occurs to me that whether or not a person will conduct themselves in a moral, upright, ethical manner has something only to do with the person’s makeup — not what religion he professes to follow, or whether he/she choses to believe in a higher power or not — there appears to be something about the person’s internal workings.
Some of it is inherent — with them from birth
Some of it is the result of their experiences
(Nature vs nurture??) — I have seen both —
People who were vicous and evil from day one
and those who became so and vice-versa.

I have seen addicts that profess to be sorry and will “follow a plan” and “need help” to get and stay clean, only to fail, and I have seen those who become clean totally on their own — by pure will and personal determination.

What is it that makes some people behave rightously while others fall to the lowest gutter??
Don’t know, but merely professing to follow some rules, guidelines, commandments does not do it — that person normally would follow them anyway, or not, whether or not they knew that such a thing as “10 commandments” existed.

So why do we insist (or continue to think) that the imposition or existance, or promotion of such artifices is what will cause humans to behave or not??

give you a concrete example — a boyfriend of my daughter abused her verbally — very cruelly (not physically, as she probably would have kicked his ass) —
He professed his remorse — but then it happened again — and as normal, she is having a hard time breaking totally away,
But I know if she stays with him, it will only continue — why??
Because for him, those actions are in his conciousness — they are an option, and he can chose to do them or not, so that when things get really tough, he ends up chosing those actions.

I know, for me, it is abhorent and I KNOW I would never resort to such actions, because for me (in my extensive experience) in similar heated situations — such actions do not even exist in my conciousness — they will not happen, I do not have to choose whether or not to act that way, because, for me, such actions do not exist — period.

Why?? I have no clue, I would never stike someone weaker — would not even occur, the hand would never even RAISE to strike — why??
what is it that has such actions be totally non-existant for some of us, and yet for others — a viable option — that only concious decision is what keeps them from acting on such impulses??

I believe these rules and guidelines actually serve some other purpose — and we really don’t like to discuss it.
they serve as a tool by which to judge the actions of others — a collective agreement that should someone violate these rules, we agree to exact some “corrective” punishment — these rules and commandments are not what have us behave or not, it is that internal ethic, conciousness, whatever that directs us on a day-to-day basis
and you have it (or not) whether or not you believe in a god or follow some religion.

Posted by: Russ at January 3, 2008 12:05 PM
Comment #242074

I must assume you are referring to JD though he never mentioned the ten commandments, because I certainly never said you have to be a Christian to be a moral person. Actually, I have repeatedly said in other threads, and will repeat again here that the atheist who is a moral man because he believes it is the right thing to do, is a better person than the guy doing so he doesn’t get burned down the road. Pun intended.

To BillS,
Where did the discussion change to the Ten Commandments becoming the rule of law, OTHER than when KansasDem incorrectly summarized my comments as though I believed they were supposed to be the highest rule in American lands.
The discussion began with a simple statement that it is not really what we believe that determines who we are (faith or not) it is what we DO about what we believe.

To David,
You are absolutely right, which is exactly my point (I believe you were adressing JD) “Christians” have committed any number of awful crimes. As have peoples of every religion. But it is the PERSON who commits the crime, not the doctrine. What would you say to buddhist parents in Thailand who (and I have seen this dozens of times there) saw off and mangle the hands of their own children to make them better beggars because “all life is sufferring?”
They have to hold their little margarine tubs with their gnarled stumps while they sit in rotting street gutters begging for pennies.

Does that mean Buddhists are all child abusers of the worst kind? NO. And meathead politicans or laypeople who profess to be Christian and then do horrible things do not represent the Christian doctrine either.

Let me be crystal clear, the point I am making and defending is that (genuinely) holding / proclaiming yourself to a certain standard that is OUTSIDE of onesself and ones suffocating ego is far more noteworthy and honorable, than to seek shelter un-declared and change your positions at the whims of your own needs.

When a person defines themselves within a spiritual doctrine, they tarnish or polish that doctrine with their actions. Since Atheists have no doctrine, the fact that they have no doctrine is never mentioned in regards to their crimes because there is nothing to be attacked. History records the bloody deeds of “Christians” and “Muslims” and “Buddhists” and “Hindus” - who INVARIABLY fall far short of the teachings of their faith, as representative of what people of that faith are capable of, so it is moot that you cite the actions of such a body - regardless the faith - because one cannot measure the crimes and deeds of atheists because atheists are never recorded as atheist John Doe - only John Doe.

You also cannot measure how many people profess a religion with their mouth, but never share that in their hearts they do not believe in a God for fear of a million consequences to stating that position to people with whom they have testified to believe (And I believe there are millions and millions of people like this - as Dawkins does in his book - and gives a dozen references to throught the text) So since you cannot measure it, you have no way of knowing how many people’s actions, labeled as Christian, were not the actions of Christians and not therefore representative of what the common Christian in capable of doing.

Dawkins blames Christianity for former Christians being afraid to come out and say they are atheists, where I find no direct blame - only examples of common human interaction. Say something you don’t really mean, and then regret it but don’t clear the air til you just can’t stand it anymore. Look at the 50% divorce rate for clues of that common phenomenon.

My other point is that Christianity is most often accused of hypocrisy, most often cursed by the liberal media, and most often villified in politics.

When Muslims or Atheists in America commit a crime, the newspapers won’t say “That Muslim Student who shot people in cold blood” or “that atheist pupil without a conscience”

only

“that disadvanted and disturbed youth who we failed.” If a Christian commits a crime, particularly a white-Christian, you can bet your ass that’ll be all over the nightly news.

CHRISTIAN STUDENT MURDERS CLASSMATES, NEWS AT 6!

Can you say, ridiculous double standard.

Posted by: Yuko Jake at January 3, 2008 2:29 PM
Comment #242089

Yukon replied: “As have peoples of every religion. But it is the PERSON who commits the crime, not the doctrine.”

You seem to have completely missed the context of my comment which you said you agree with. JD’s point was that religion is necessary to provide moral compass. To which I replied, religion and atheism both produce role models and despicable characters for all their efforts. Your reply is irrelevant to the dialogue JD and I were engaged in. NO one would disagree it is individuals who commit crime, but, religious orders do as well, as in the Crusades which violated every one of Christ’s teachings, and the Roman Catholic Church which covered up, protected, and for all intents and purposes, sanctioned the decades of sexual exploitation of children at the hands of their priests. Those were religious organizational acts, not just acts of individuals.

Hence, my quintessential point is made again, organized religions are not to be trusted without critical analysis and transparency, regardless of the nobility, wisdom, or verity of its founder’s teachings. Churches, Synagogues, Temples, organized around a religious prophet’s teachings are capital assets and avenues to wealth by their managers and clergy, who also aspire to roles control, hierarchy, power, often affluence, public recognition. Hence, organized religions are capable of anything and everything any other organization whose leadership seeks similar ends are capable of, including militaries as the Crusades evidenced, and fundamentalism in Islam now also demonstrates, or the Buddhists responsible for Christian massacres awhile back also attest.

You can speak of an individual’s actions apart from their religion when they are only a subscriber to that religion. But, when the leaders of the organized religion engage in similar behaviors, the organized religious element is integrally involved as well. The acts of organized religions frequently and totally fail to live up to the teachings of their founder.

Christ spoke of charity to the point of poverty so that God could replace worldly trappings with spiritual rewards. Which flies in total contradiction to the Roman Catholic Church having amassed the greatest wealth of any single entity organization in the entire world. They hypocrisy of religious organizations is a primary target of its priesthood to divert the congregation’s attention away from and justify on grounds having no resemblance to the founder’s teachings.

In this regard, Buddhism and Christianity have much in common, both organized religions twisted their prophet’s teaching of poverty and charity into the amassing of capital wealth and structural and reliable revenues for the manager’s and priesthood’s benefit.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2008 4:57 PM
Comment #242093

Russ, it established in volumes of research that a person’s character is molded more by their intrinsic capacities and role models in childhood than any religious affiliation.

Character can be diminished by neural chemistry, aberrant neural connections or lack of connections, by hormonal disruptions or imbalances, as well as role models who proffer either confusing and contradictory value systems of negative one’s which have obvious short term personal benefit. These influences can affect a person’s character long before they are capable of formal mental functioning around puberty which permits a grasp and understanding of the wisdom taught in the texts of the major religions. Core character traits are often formed long before puberty and become resistant to alteration with the passage of adult years.

There are exceptions of course, but, then, as Christians and people of all religions demonstrate readily, for every Commandment, their are exceptions, like lying to children about the Easter Bunny or killing for god and country and economic welfare, or theft of bread if starvation is imminent. Not that Christ acknowledged or proffered such exceptions, which the Bible clearly indicates he did not. But, hey, Christ is dead, the Church lives, and the Church of contemporary people are the teachers now, not Christ.

Which is why congregations would do well to remain critically vigilant of their clergy and religion’s managers. But, of course, that would defeat the whole practical purpose of faith, wouldn’t it? To deter and prevent such vigilant, critical scrutiny of the religious order living off the resources of the congregation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2008 5:11 PM
Comment #242119

“And it is the morality and character of the ?men? who define it that is now making China, India, and Malaysia great nations of the 21st century, and that of Japanese that made Japan the great nation it is now. None of these are Christian. China destined to be the greatest nation in this century is not even officially theistic. Yet, most of China’s people do observe ethics and fair interaction with each other despite their government, their large atheistic components and many diverse but underground religious groups ranging from Buddhist to Taoist to Christian.”
Posted by David Remer

David, China’s national average annual income of its people is $4,397.

Compare that to the freedom of Americans to produce and earn over $42,028 per year.

If it is the character of a great nation to produce toys for children tainted with lead paint, then I suppose China is a great nation.

The real winners in Asia are the Japanese, Taiwanese, and others who are a predominantly free people, being much more accepting of the U.S, and to religions including Christianity, and who have average annual incomes comparable to that of the U.S. people.

“If I was a liberal, I might take offence at your inference that liberals and non Christians are incapable of said moral character. Apparently, there is no middle ground for the right wing Christians that feel this is their country, and their country alone. They feel that their inherent moral superiority entitles them to rule this country despite the laws that were laid down in that “piece of paper” you so disdain.”
Posted by Rocky

Because I said that the Constitution is not a “morally binding document” you interpret that as having disdain for the Constitution? Even liberals dictate that we can not legislate morality.
No disdain at all, Rocky! But, the Constitution is a worthless piece of paper without men in office who possess the moral character to adhere to law and hold themselves, (and others) accountable. That was my point, and it is profoundly true!

As Yukon pointed out, those who possess no moral character are usually not even mentioned when it comes to doing something outrageous or heinous. It is simply this poor disillusioned victim of society (or victim of the opposition Party). You probably remember the phrase, “He’s the President, not the Pope.” Therefore, we should simply expect the worst from those who hold themselves to no moral standard or accountability.

The truth is that Christians do hold themselves to one of the highest moral standards. (I know Yukon, they also fail!) Yet, it is my opinion that the supernatural spirit of God Himself is able to keep them from failing as often as those who hold to no moral standard, and are blown about by the winds of popular opinion.

Christianity is one of the characteristics of our nation that has made it great. I don’t know why the liberals will recognize every other group of people; Blacks, Women, Chinese, etc., even giving some of them their own national months of celebration on the calendar in honor of their contribution to United States’ history, but let someone mention the contribution of Christians, and liberals seem to go ballistic. Let someone ask for even a national day of prayer, and some will get their britches in a bunch over that. Why is this?

“JD’s point was that religion is necessary to provide moral compass. To which I replied, religion and atheism both produce role models and despicable characters for all their efforts.”
Posted by David Remer

I did not say that religion was necessary to provide moral compass, David. My point was that those who profess Christianity have already provided a public statement as to the moral compass to which they hold themselves. I find this to be a positive, not a negative.

Those who view Christianity as a negative do so, perhaps out of their own prejudice. Perhaps, out of their own experience. In my experience, I have found that Christians are of the highest moral character, and some of the most giving people I have ever met.
However, what I have seen on a regular basis is the left, especially elitists with no moral character in Hollywood, and those in the media, characterizing Christians almost as poorly as the KKK and white supremacists characterized African-Americans at one time in our history.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 3, 2008 10:43 PM
Comment #242121

“If these institutions really had their claimed direct line to God,for one thing there would not be so many of them argueing about who is right and some obscure point of theology,now would there.”
Posted by Bills

And why not Bill? Have I not been taken out of context on more than one occasion right here on this blog, even though my words are here in black and white?
Why do you perceive that debate within the church or any other organization is unhealthy or somehow proves direct falsehoods?
Debate is good, but debate that is led with a true spirit is even better! This is a function of the Chruch even from its first disciples. There were times when the disciples actually argued with Jesus Himself. Men have been doing it ever since.
It is because we as humans do not understand all things. And that is all right. Our lack of understanding is another reason why we need God, and not the other way around.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 3, 2008 11:44 PM
Comment #242124

aaahhhh My friend DavidR,
I hope you had a safe and happy holiday. Back to the point I was trying to get to, Yukon Jake is correct its just like Liberals, Ultra right, secular progresives,greenies,all have the habit of not tollerating apposing views or beliefs. My question is again should people that believe in a religious diety and admit this be able to run for office or support candidates they want to? Yes or No David

Posted by: dolan at January 4, 2008 12:29 AM
Comment #242129

JD,

“Because I said that the Constitution is not a “morally binding document” you interpret that as having disdain for the Constitution?”

No, it is because you said in comment 242028;

The Constitution is only a piece of paper.”

That is why I feel you “disdain” the Constitution.
You and I and all other Americans are the “moral binder” of the Constitution. We are the folks that hold our leaders accountable. Christian or not, our leaders answer to us.
What you apparently don’t get is that it doesn’t take being a Christian to have moral character.
You also apparently believe that being a Christian is a prerequisite to be President in this country. It isn’t.
You also labor under the misconception that liberals aren’t Christians. They are.
85% of the people in this country claim to be Christian, I would think that at least some of them are liberals, as I don’t believe that liberals only make up 15% of the populace.

I don’t claim to be a Christian, though I do adhere to what you apparently think are only Christian tenets.

I am not a liberal, though I do believe in some liberal concepts.
I am also not a conservative, yet I also believe in some conservative concepts as well.

It takes all kinds of people to make up a country like America. You and Yukon appear to see people as Christian or liberal, and that just isn’t how life is.

Posted by: Rocky at January 4, 2008 1:17 AM
Comment #242132

Oh, and BTW,

George W Bush won the last two elections claiming to be a Christian and that he got his inspiration from God, yet I don’t see him as a man of “high moral character”.

Posted by: Rocky at January 4, 2008 1:33 AM
Comment #242134

Bush is neither highly moral nor highly immoral, as David once said, he is a child in a presidents body. So intellectually faint as to be worthy of pity, were it not for sitting in the most powerful seat in the world.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 4, 2008 1:57 AM
Comment #242139

Yukon,

I hold no animosity toward Christians other than frankly I am tired of hearing about how moral they are compared to everyone that isn’t a Christian.
Christians aren’t inherently more moral or immoral than anyone else.
As I said before, we all live by an accepted basic set of laws that have been honed through the millenia, and those laws are not the exclusive providence of Christianity.

Posted by: Rocky at January 4, 2008 3:09 AM
Comment #242171

Lee,

By contrast Islam is routinely held up as a religion of peace and cooperation, but it is so politically conflicted that the 1.4 billion people in predominantly Islamic countries, one-fourth of the people in the world, have a total economic output surpassed by the 120 million people in the six most prosperous American states.

Did you notice those 1.4 billion people happened to live in less human friendly area!?
Plus, indeed, Islam being both a religion and a society system, it failed so far to show how great mixing religion and society is.

As Christianism did in the past, until The Enlightenment century make it less influencing in nations political life.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 4, 2008 11:37 AM
Comment #242175

Yukon,

David, China’s national average annual income of its people is $4,397.

Compare that to the freedom of Americans to produce and earn over $42,028 per year.

If it is the character of a great nation to produce toys for children tainted with lead paint, then I suppose China is a great nation.

Under which nation’s trademarks these toys were sold already?
And since when global economy became the tool to measure (if such is even possible or desirable) a nation “greatness”!?

Or did I miss the “In Dollar We Trust” written on God?!?


Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 4, 2008 12:02 PM
Comment #242205

The Japanese and Chinese practice various forms of Animism, Tao, Buddhism, Confucianism and other Eastern religions, yet have powerful economies.

Should we say that worldly success, economically and politically, is the necessary result of being a Christian?

Let’s be clear about this: one of Christ’s basic teachings is mercy and forgiveness. Do we see such mercy and forgiveness out of the average politician nowadays? Of course not. They would be viewed as too soft.

So too in business. The virtuous do not necessarily succeed, at least not in terms of Earthly rewards. The Christian candidate would be the one who acts virtuous even if they cost themselves the election by doing so.

Depending on your personal definition of that, it could mean a great deal. Lying would be a problem. You’d have to take a more humble approach, be straight with people. You would have to sacrifice a lot of advantages, if you would want to be true to your claim of being a Christian Candidate.

I don’t see many people sacrificing such advantages. Consultants would call that being realistic, just as they would advise their candidates to make religion a big deal.

Why? Because public piety sells, and has sold for a long time. However, those of us who have chosen to be Christians should recall the words Jesus had to say concerning those who announce their religion and trumpet their piety for worldly gain: they already have their reward.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 4, 2008 2:09 PM
Comment #242266

“No, it is because you said in comment 242028;
“The Constitution is only a piece of paper.”
That is why I feel you “disdain” the Constitution.
You and I and all other Americans are the “moral binder” of the Constitution. We are the folks that hold our leaders accountable. Christian or not, our leaders answer to us.”
Posted by: Rocky

Rocky, why do you argue? You say the same thing I said. It is the character of the men behind the Constitution that hold our leaders accountable. The Constitution, as a piece of paper, holds no one accountable.


“You also apparently believe that being a Christian is a prerequisite to be President in this country.”
Posted by: Rocky

Exactly where did you misinterpret that?

“You also labor under the misconception that liberals aren’t Christians.”
Posted by: Rocky

Not at all, Rocky. I am well aware that some Christians are misguided.

“85% of the people in this country claim to be Christian”
Posted by Rocky

Then, why do you not trust one of those 85% of the people of the United States to be President of the United States? And why should not 85% of the people of the United States be represented by one of their own faith?

“And since when global economy became the tool to measure (if such is even possible or desirable) a nation “greatness”!?
Or did I miss the “In Dollar We Trust” written on God?!?”
Posted by: Philippe Houdoin

That was one that I posted Phillipe, not Yukon.
I am saying that freedom is a fundamentally Christian trait. I believe that there is no reason in this global economy that any nation’s people should be limited to $4,000 per year in annual salary. Especially, a nation as large as China with its resources. This speaks volumes to the oppression and lack of sound judgement practiced by the government of China. China should be embarrassed by this. It is not “great” by any standard other than its people build really “Great Walls”.
A free Christian society wants the best for its people. It does not want its people oppressed. And it governs accordingly. This freedom is what makes America great. And it is based upon a high moral and ethical standard, much of which was based upon a Judeo-Christian belief system.

The question I would like to ask you Phillipe is why are those who obtain wealth in America looked upon as the “great Satan” by those in the Middle East even though we share more of our wealth and technology than any other nation in the world? Why is the U.S. seen as the Evil empire even though our citizens are the most free people in the world; free to pursue their personal dreams as well as individual and collective ambitions? Why are we so despised by those who practice their own oppression, while some of their people would give their lives for the opportunity to live as free people in America? Why is freedom so despised in the World?

“So too in business. The virtuous do not necessarily succeed, at least not in terms of Earthly rewards. The Christian candidate would be the one who acts virtuous even if they cost themselves the election by doing so.”
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty

First, God is not slack to reward those who please Him, whether in this life or the next. Much of the reason the virtuous do not succeed “all of the time”, is the fact that there are those who are evil lurking about trying to swindle the virtuous from their hard-earned money. Yet, the swindlers get their just reward. So, do not be discouraged, or grow weary in well-doing. For that is your devoted service to God.
Secondly, I know a few Christian candidates who took an awful lot more than I would have taken and maintained their Christian self-control much better than I would have, given the same circumstances.

“Depending on your personal definition of that, it could mean a great deal. Lying would be a problem. You’d have to take a more humble approach, be straight with people. You would have to sacrifice a lot of advantages, if you would want to be true to your claim of being a Christian Candidate.”
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty

Are you admitting then Stephen that there is indeed a different ethical standard applied for the Christian candidate. Are you then also admitting that a Christian candidate would have to be held to a higher morality if he claimed Christianity publicly? That is what it sounds like to me, which is what I have been saying. This is a good thing, not bad. But, why is this the case, if Christians “do not” have a higher moral and ethical standard to begin with, as Rocky and others have suggested?

JD

Posted by: JD at January 4, 2008 10:51 PM
Comment #242270

JD,

“I am well aware that some Christians are misguided.”

And now we all are.

You appear to believe that because Chistians answer to God alone they have a leg up in the “moral character” department.
Christians do not hold the franchise on moral character.
I am willing to grant that you would be more comfortable with an overtly Christian President. I don’t care as long as that person follows the Constitution first in the service of this country, but I am unwilling to have a leader that is incapable of putting their attention to this country first and foremost.
You, on the other hand, think it is more important to have a Christian President than having a President that might not be a Christian, but is actually qualifed to do the job.

What will it take to convince you that there are people of high moral character that are qualified to do the job that don’t claim to be a Christian?

Posted by: Rocky at January 4, 2008 11:33 PM
Comment #242291

We have not been talking about qualifications here, Rocky. We have been talking about religion in politics. So, I’ll ask,

“If you have equally qualified persons running for political office; one of them claimed to adhere to a Christian morality and was part of a political Party which embraced Judeo-Christian traditions; and the other would not mention any personal code of ethics or morality and was part of a political Party whose constituents often depicted Christians as being as dangerous as Islamic terrorists, who would you, (if you were a Christian), vote for?

Think about that for awhile!

JD

Posted by: JD at January 5, 2008 2:30 AM
Comment #242299

So, after all of this discussion, you still belive the gist of this conversation boils down to whether I still beat my wife.

Priceless.

Posted by: Rocky at January 5, 2008 10:17 AM
Comment #242300

JD,

Perhaps that was a bit unfair.

Maybe the real question was about a man that was a party animal, and an alcoholic.
This man was such a lousy businessman he couldn’t make a go of anything, although he was still very good at raising money.
He finds God, but unfortunately still makes the same ridiculous mistakes over and over, but, after all he is a devout Christian, and professes it constantly.
Oh, and he is still really, really good at raising money.

Would you elect this man President?

I would guess we already know the answer to that.

Posted by: Rocky at January 5, 2008 10:42 AM
Comment #242301

Included in the definition of religion according to Webster:
4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
It is fun to debate religion because so many deny they have one only to justify their beliefs with faith in something unknown. A “church” is actually the body of organization for a particular set of beliefs. Some churches say individual Christians who don’t attend are anarchists. (I get this from both directions darn it!) Those who adhere to a belief might have their own term for their organization if they chose to structure one. The lack of organization doesn’t negate unity in belief systems.

It is however a complete sidetrack from politics.

Our founding fathers were concerned with hierarchy and elitism of any sort, church, monarch etc.. The more power you give to an entity the more the chances are for corruption. In the federalist they said that absolute freedom equals anarchy. Anarchy wouldn’t be bad but it tends to produce gangs and thugs and has no ability to defend an entire nation from another unified nation. The areas government is allowed to influence are called “objects” and they were careful to define them.
A representative republic gives both limited government and personal freedom. The Muslim countries today are just beginning to have representative governments. The theocrats happen to be the elite there in this era and don’t want to lose power.
The particular belief, Christian, Muslim, or atheism is irrelevant to the self evident truth that no man is an elite and we all have the right to live according to what we believe without threat of death and imprisonment.
Religion or personal beliefs belong in government and should be used in open discourse and the forming of new law, but government influence over lives need to be limited. This is because in the long run, those who start entitlements with the guise,” We care”, will die off and uncaring people can take the helm of what they instituted. You know, using designated funds for their own projects.
The only reason religion is an issue today is because of the power our government holds and the Christians don’t want atheists over their children and vice versa. When the power is limited, it ceases to be a big deal. That is why conservatives believe in less government, private schools etc..

Posted by: Kruser at January 5, 2008 10:45 AM
Comment #242311

Philippe wrote-

“Did you notice those 1.4 billion people happened to live in less human friendly area!?
Plus, indeed, Islam being both a religion and a society system, it failed so far to show how great mixing religion and society is.”
Do the Muslims in France live in a “less human friendly area” than the rest of the people of France? Do the people of the Phillipines live in a “less human friendly area” that the people of Hawaii? In what way is Turkey any less Human friendly than Alaska? Is Pakistan only two-thirds as human friendly as India? Your comment about the mixing of religion and society, by which I think you mean Islam is inherently theocratic, is, in fact, the point.
It is good to have a discussion of religion and politics together because you can’t separate religious attitudes and political action. Richard Dawkins thinks his conception of reality is not religious, but because it is a conception of reality and not reality itself one can’t logically separate the two without deceiving one’s self. Our religious convictions are our conceptions of reality. What those conceptions are, how flexible and/or humble they are, and how we act upon them are what create our political world. To try to sweep them under the rug or ignore them is crazy.

Fortunately we need not debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Rather, we can take a look at how people act toward others as a result of their committment to religious principles. Do they render to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and unto God what is God’s, or do they insist that it is all God’s? Does Barak Obama’s church tell us anything about Obama? Does Mike Huckabee’s history as a pastor tell us anything about Mike Huckabee?

Of course they do.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 5, 2008 12:45 PM
Comment #242312

Yukon Jake,
I hope you are still reading the thread. Your anecdotes about your wife were just wonderful. Of course, as with virtually all religious experience, they are not scientific. That means they wouldn’t sway Dawkins at all. You will doubtless have noted how he swept all the religious experiences of those who have faced him in public discussion under the rug with hardly a whimper of notice. Well, of course! Our experience of God is not communal. It is individual and thus, inherently, not particularly amenable to science. So, given that, does Dawkins eschew anecdotes in his own book? Of course not.

By the way, I think Dawkins is a good man as far as I can see, which is a credit to him. I just don’t want him deciding what my children should be taught about religion any more than I want Jimmy Swaggart deciding what they are taught about science.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 5, 2008 1:16 PM
Comment #242313

“Would you elect this man President?
I would guess we already know the answer to that.”
Posted by: Rocky

Obviously, you speak of President Bush.

I would probably not vote for Bush again, though I believe he has gotten a bad rap for the most part.
I don’t believe his fiscal policies have shown responsible behavior, but I understand completely his desire to protect America from the current Islamic terrorist aggression.

After the destruction of the Twin Towers in NY, Bush was faced with some of the most difficult decisions any recent President has ever been faced with. I believe he tried to make those decisions based upon that which he felt was right.
Some of those decisions I am sure he regretted. Others are just now beginning to show signs of, perhaps, he was right.

As the situation in Iraq continues to improve it will be a long time before we actually know whether or not our efforts will pay off for the American people with greater security from terrorist attack and friendships and allies in the Middle East. Time will tell.

It was told in 2000 that G.W Bush was a very successful Texas Governor. Even Democrats in Texas called him a man who crossed over the aisle to work with Democrats on bipartisan projects. This was that which most people based their votes on. After the polarization caused predominantly by the arrogance of the Clintons, the people wanted someone who was nice, down-to-earth, and brought people together. It is that for which the people were hoping. Bush seemed to many to be the man for the job.

I don’t think that Bush realized the partisan hatred he would face when he got to Washington, D.C. at all. His Dad didn’t face anything compared to that which G.W. has faced. About the only friend he found on the Democratic side was Joe Lieberman, and look what that cost Joe! He was booted out of the Democratic Party for having the “audacity” to like Bush.

I am reminded of the Washington video in which Al Gore is standing next to Bush scowling and talking under his breath at the ceremony to receive his Nobel Prize.
Bush, on the other hand, is being jovial, congenial, and smiling, even though it is obviously a tense situation between the two.
Even liberals within the Press noticed the stark contrast in Bush’s quiet spirit from Al Gore’s scowls.
It was very similar to the moment during the 2000 debates when Al Gore got up while Bush was talking, walked toward him with a scowl, and tried to interrupt and intimidate him. Bush simply looked at Gore and gave him a nod and a smile. People took to Bush’s humor and congeniality during that debate, and he connected with them.
I believe it is still the opinion of most Americans that Bush is a good man, who has faced many very difficult decisions, regardless of the incessant attempts by the media elites and the Democrats to demonize him and criticize his Christianity.
If I were to judge who was acting the most “Christian” during those moments, it would be G.W. Bush hands down!

JD

Posted by: JD at January 5, 2008 1:22 PM
Comment #242315

Christians had a failed bout with theocracy, communists with athiocracy. I hope for the day that Muslims learn how to allow religious freedom and a neutral representative government. You can read the Old testament and conclude that Jews have a tendency toward theocracies yet they learned the lesson. They will get along well with their neighbors when Muslims abandon destructive philosophies. A society that lives internally by force will exert force on other nations.

Posted by: Kruser at January 5, 2008 1:40 PM
Comment #242318

Kruser,
For the sake of the discussion, given that to so many people anything more than twenty years ago is ancient history, I’m presuming you’re referring to the Holy Roman Empire for failed Christian governance and ancient Israel for failed Jewish governance. Am I right?

JD,
Well stated. The younger Bush is by all accounts a genuinely affable, gracious man. He is also not stupid by the account of anyone who actually knows him. He seems to have done as well as he cared to do at Yale and a graduate degree in business at Harvard is not peanuts. He also has a 140 IQ or so. If that’s the cut-off for stupid about 99 out of 100 people are stupid. People who toss the word around lightly ought to be ready to show some good test scores.

To the point of this discussion, though, from day one his very religiosity was repeatedly used as evidence of how flawed he must be. Intelligent people, by the mindset of his attackers, could not be smart and must, therefore, be dangerous.

I’m currently making my way through “Heroic Conservatism” by Michael J. Gerson, who was Bush’s speechwriter for several years. Gerson draws a picture of a man driven by his convictions of right and wrong to do what he has done. Frankly, this is the man Bush has always presented himself as being. He told us what he was going to do and he did as he promised. Period.

That has probably been his greatest sin in the eyes of the powerful of Washington, D.C. It is heresy there to tell the truth and then act on it. I, on the other hand appreciate it, even as I have vehemently disagreed with Bush policies and his sometimes self-destructive tendency not to accept when he has been proven wrong.

Washington is a religious town and the religion practiced there is hardball politics. Committed Christians are the enemy if they threaten the city religion.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 5, 2008 2:49 PM
Comment #242325

To the point of this discussion, though, from day one his very religiosity was repeatedly used as evidence of how flawed he must be. Intelligent (woops, I meant RELIGIOUS) people, by the mindset of his attackers, could not be smart and must, therefore, be dangerous.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 5, 2008 3:19 PM
Comment #242338

Lee,

If by affable, you mean Bush is a guy I might go and have a beer with, I can accept that. However just because I might have a beer with someone doesn’t mean I want him to be my President.

It may be possible that, in order to be President, Bush signed some deal with the devil that got him stuck with Cheney and Rumsfeld, both of whom I have absolutely no respect for.
That Bush may have pulled one out of his butt on the surge and that the surge might finally be the first successful thing we have done in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
Both Cheney and Rumsfeld were part of an administration that got it right in the Middle East, and for a student of history, Rumsfeld appears to not know his butt from his elbow.

But, that’s all water under the bridge.

IMHO McCain was an honorable man in 2000, and I believe he is an honorable man still. While he may be a Christian, he is not pounding his chest about his Christianity, and that’s a plus in my book. I personally believe that, had he not been thrown under the bus in 2000, he may have defeated Gore himself, and things would have been very, very, different.

JD,

As to just how good Bush was as Governor of Texas, you’ll have to ask Remer, or Stephen.

Posted by: Rocky at January 5, 2008 6:21 PM
Comment #242343

Lee,
You are right, Our founders studied history well. They saw the importance of a limited government. Liberalism has close similarities to past theocracies. They both start out with good intentions, define “needs”, then broaden their influence by meeting them. Unfortunately the established hierarchy always, with time, becomes corrupt.
The Christians that founded our nation realized this. The Jews that established Israel understand these principles. Atheistic communists seem to understand it for now. Force hinders any society’s potential to produce good things. It is time for Muslims to also look at freedom. I am glad to belong to a nation that is willing to help them with the means.

History would be quite boring if every war went according to plan.

Posted by: Kruser at January 5, 2008 7:38 PM
Comment #242346

“History would be quite boring if every war went according to plan.”

So not appearing to have a plan made this one that much more exciting?

Posted by: Rocky at January 5, 2008 8:31 PM
Comment #242355

“I’m currently making my way through “Heroic Conservatism” by Michael J. Gerson, who was Bush’s speechwriter for several years. Gerson draws a picture of a man driven by his convictions of right and wrong to do what he has done.”
Posted by: Lee Jamison

If Gerson’s book-writing skills are as good as his speech-writing skills that will be a great read! I’m not much of an avid reader myself, except internet blogs and news, (of course). Perhaps, more reading could be a New Year’s resolution for me.
The last real political book I read was “Best of Intentions” about the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon era (War on Poverty).

Personally, I think G.W. Bush has given some of the most honest, forthright, and genuine speeches of any President I have ever watched. His down-to-earth demeanor reminds me a lot of Reagan, but he does not have anything close to Reagan’s flare or communicative style.
This lack of communicative skill, and as you pointed out, his claim of Christianity, has caused him to be labeled as stupid.

I guess he really reminds me more of Jimmy Stewart, who was a very poor speaker, but an extremely likeable, and very intelligent person; one who would certainly be considered by most as an American heroic figure (historically speaking). Bush has that same demeanor about him.

Anyway, perhaps I’ll pick up that “Heroic Conservatism” this year myself! Thanks!

JD

Posted by: JD at January 6, 2008 12:59 AM
Comment #242370

What wasn’t planned for was the apathy shown in two areas.
First the Iraq people had a hard time standing up to the terrorists that were left boosted by a mistrust toward the USA due to our abandonment in the first war and fear caused from the following area.
Second was abject disloyalty and lack of follow through from the left and the media. This also was not planned. At least the scale of it. It severely complicated the ability to bring Iraqis to our side and the only option left was an all cards in “surge”. Thank God it is working.

Posted by: Kruser at January 6, 2008 10:11 AM
Comment #242371

JD,

“This lack of communicative skill, and as you pointed out, his claim of Christianity, has caused him to be labeled as stupid.”

Bush’s label of “stupid” has nothing to do with the fact he is a Christian, and everything to do with the fact he seems incapable of speaking without the words on paper in front of him, and sometimes even then.
His “Bush-isms”, and malaprops would be hysterical if they weren’t coming out of the mouth of the most powerful man on the planet.

Any comparison between Bush and Jimmy Stewart is laughable at best. Jimmy Stewart actually answered his country’s call and served with honor during WW2.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Stewart#Military_Service

Stewart went far beyond the call to join after being rejected because of his weight, and piloted many “unofficial” combat missions, as well as his 20 official missions over Germany.
Please, let’s not compare Stewart, a bonafide hero, to a man that hid behind his father’s connections to join the Air National Guard, trained in fighters that he knew wouldn’t be deployed to Vietnam, and then bailed from the service at the first opportune moment.

Posted by: Rocky at January 6, 2008 10:29 AM
Comment #242372

Rocky,

Thanks for filling me in on the fact that both were military pilots. I was only focusing on their speech patterns, which most people find humorous and down-to-earth.
There is more of a resemblance now than I realized.

I am amazed that the left is always talking about having to have a leader or President who understands us and is one of us. Then, when they get someone like that, they have to analyze and criticize every syllable the guy speaks in an effort to castigate him as too stupid to be President.

But, alas, the left is well-known for always wanting to have it both ways.

JD

Posted by: JD at January 6, 2008 10:42 AM
Comment #242374

kruser,

You fail to mention that we didn’t make any plans to secure the real estate of Iraq we took on our rush to take Baghdad, and as a result ended up having to retake areas left unsecured, again and again, including ammo dumps that most likely have been the supply of the explosives for the IEDs that have killed many of our soldiers and a great many Iraqis civilians as well.

Sorry, it’s just too early to revise what actually happened, especially because we all were witness to the many blunders that hindered our soldiers ability to secure the country of Iraq.

This, more than anything, is the reason the “surge” was necessary more than four years after Bush declared “mission accomplished”.

Posted by: Rocky at January 6, 2008 10:46 AM
Comment #242376

JD,

I can only assume that you define “the left” as anybody that is merely slightly “left” of the far fringe right.

No, I don’t want my President to be like me. I want my President to be someone that is astute, and well spoken enough to navigate the minefield of world politics without having his hand held.

Posted by: Rocky at January 6, 2008 10:56 AM
Comment #242388

Kruser “What wasn’t planned for was the apathy shown in two areas.
First the Iraq people had a hard time standing up to the terrorists that were left boosted by a mistrust toward the USA due to our abandonment in the first war and fear caused from the following area.
Second was abject disloyalty and lack of follow through from the left and the media. This also was not planned. At least the scale of it. It severely complicated the ability to bring Iraqis to our side and the only option left was an all cards in “surge”. Thank God it is working.”

Kruser thanks for the comic relief. If we didnt know your keen sense of humor we would assume you actually meant all this nonsense you have just espoused.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 6, 2008 1:21 PM
Comment #242441

Rocky,
People act as though training in fighter jets was a walk in the park. The truth is, though, that fighter training has consistently been more dangerous, in terms of people lost, than actual combat since the early days of W.W.II.

As to Bush’s intelligence, what you seem to be saying is that you don’t care how intelligent he really is, or how well he leads others (such as the military whose lives are literally in his hands). You just don’t want him to cause you emotional discomfort.

Finally, in a very real sense “the left” is a population that considers government to be something akin to what the church would have been thought to be a century ago- an agency of good and a focus of faith. The people who work for the government are a better kind of people. Their intentions are purer, their morals truer. Making a Christian the “pope” of this secular church is an essential heresy in such a world-view in which religion is a character flaw.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 7, 2008 9:35 AM
Comment #242449

Lee,

I hate to say this but I think most of your last post is absurd.

Training in an out dated jet fighter, here in the US, while dangerous, in no way can be compared to Jimmy Stewart flying multiple bombing missions in a B-24 over WW2 Germany.
Bush did everything he could not to go to Vietnam. Jimmy Stewart not only volunteered, but put himself into shape to be able to fight after being rejected for the service multiple times.
Jimmy Stewart is a bonafide hero. He actually put his life on the line. I’m sorry, George W. Bush is not now, nor has he ever been a “hero”. Actions speak volumes about a man’s “moral character”.
Where was George W. Bush when his country needed him then?

All this is not to say that I think the job of President is easy, but Bush knew the job was dangerous when he took it.
Bush is the most powerful man in the world and we should expect anyone that is in that position to act that way. Having pet names for foreign dignitaries and using them in front of the whole world is lame, and not at all Presidential.
I do care how Bush leads this country, just as I care how anyone that is elected to the position does the job. So far Bush has been a vast disappointment, and I don’t think I am alone in that assessment.
If you feel that is because of my “emotional discomfort” I suppose you are entitled to your opinion, but, like I said, I am not alone.
Bush has allowed the “most powerful military” on the planet to become bogged down against penny ante criminals.
He fired anyone that disagreed with the way he thought things were, or should be, and waited 4 years to do anything truly meaningful about it.

Am I now supposed to cheer?

You guys on the right insist that your President must be a Christian.
Fine.
But as we have seen with the last two Presidents, loudly proclaiming your Christianity does not define your “moral character”.

Posted by: Rocky at January 7, 2008 11:12 AM
Post a comment