Monday, November 10, 2014

Either I am a troll, or we are going to hell in a handbasket

Someone asked me lately if I believe that America is going to hell in a hand-basket because of the election results from November 4, 2014. I realize that at times, my online persona is that of a troll. I feel bad about it. But I am passionate about my faith and the way it informs my politics.

So, I may be a troll all the time, or, I may have a passion.

But I do believe that perhaps we are going to hell in a hand-basket. Or at least, we are setting ourselves up, as a nation for the judgment of God. I believe that many things are said in the name of Christianity are not biblical and do not reflect the teachings of Jesus.

I see a progression since 2008, when the President was elected. And I see it mainly in four areas. There is much, much more for me to comment on. And this is long. But, it is as abridged as I care to make it.

The first tidbit of rhetoric that I perceive will bring the judgment of God on the USA.

1). Marginalizing the poor: Isaiah 58. When believers "point their fingers at the poor," God denies them the blessing of revival.

Let us use Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Pastor John Hagey as examples. The three are powerful spokesmen for the Conservative and Religious right respectively.

I don't believe that it is an exaggeration for me to say that they make it sound as if the reason why our country is in dire trouble is because of the entitlements for the poor. I see them as people who are marginalizing the poor.

And that is just unchristian. It reminds me of what one of our Theologically and Religiously Conservative Brethren ministers said: "I hate the way Rush Limbaugh says what I believe." I overheard him say this while I as a ditto-head. I was offended by his remarks. But then, I started listening to the way Rush Limbaugh made his statements and I realized that I agreed that his speech was causing a divide. Once I began questioning his methods, I also began questioning his conclusions and I realized that he was only exposing one side of the argument. And, he was doing it with satire and ridicule. There wasn't much substance to his logic. I understand enough of logic to realize that his arguments are Ad Hominem: The logical fallacy of attacking the character of your (debating) opponent instead of his or her conclusions. To me. Ad Hominem amounts to a admission of defeat since the argument is no longer based on the merits of the respective side. However, it is one of the primary devices used by those engaged in Political Science.

So, my questions to the right are these: Do you see the marginalization of the poor in right wing rhetoric? And do you see how I can consider it as grossly unchristian rhetoric and as a preacher, feel a strong motivation to confront Christians about this kind of speech? Do you understand that not all, even most of, the poor are not lazy?

(Remember, I see this as a progression) This segues into:

2). Economic policies, Small versus large government, a debate since the inception of the Constitution.

2.a The great recession of 2008:

Following the string of "logic" from the previous point, the political right seemed to yell about the debt -a metaphor for a smaller government- and imply that the real problem with our nation is the staggering amount of debt created by entitlements. At least, that is what was heard, a lot, on FOX news.

I believe that it is an intentional mis-direction of the problem. The great recession was not caused by entitlements. The great recession was caused by deregulation of the banking industry. And, correct me if I am wrong, this might be the hyperbole from the left speaking, but it seems to me that one of the values voters embraced in this last landslide election was "smaller government." I.E. More deregulation. That was the problem. It seems to me that since this whole thing started, the Right has tried to change the story to blaming the poor instead of Wall Street.

(And, a point against my logic, but one I need to concede because it really is the bigger problem: the real problem is Wall Street's control of both the Democrats and Republicans. Both sides are in bed with them and they -as the Bible says- are the real oppressors.)

2.b Policies designed to strengthen the lower and middle classes (as opposed to the wealthy classes):

Let me give my own version of an example of how Keynesian economics works:

For numbers sake only, suppose I make $5,000,000 per year. How much of that can I spend? Let us imagine it is $1,000,000, for the sake of the example. The other $4,000,000 goes into savings and accumulates wealth. It is used for investments to help others and etc, but it isn't turned over in the economy like this second example.

Imagine I make $50,000 per year. How much to I spend? Pretty close to $50,000. All of that money is poured directly back into the economy. The grocer I buy from makes $50,000 and he spends all of his money, the gas station owner makes $50,000 and he spends all of his money. That income has now been taxed 3 times.

Because it isn't spent, the other $4,000,000 the wealthy guy has is not being used to buy gas, groceries, widgets and thing-a-ma-bobs.

(To be fair, I must say that Investments are not evil. Savings do get used to create investments and without it, the grocer, the gas station owner, etc. can't invest in their business in the first place, so I concede it is necessary -but economic policies must be balanced to ensure the survival of the middle class, and as a just, or righteous nation, the policies must also work to address systemic poverty.)

But if the guy making $50,000 per now makes $40,000, his ability to stimulate the economy is lessened, the rich guy, who owns the company that makes the thing-a-ma-bobs and widgets all of a sudden starts selling less. He lays off other (now) $40,000 per year guys, who now aren't buying the widgets and stuff, and more people get laid off and the cycle spirals downward.

Now, real life examples about the actual negative cost of the rhetoric of smaller government in this last election cycle. For example. Indiana has become a small government state. FWCS decided to outsource the janitorial services for all the school buildings. Politicians bragged that they saved the city over $3,000.000. The company that won the contract fired all the janitors and let them re-apply for their jobs. They were fired from $20 to $25 per hour jobs and re-hired at $13 to $15 per. They lost their houses, their cars, their pensions. Did the big businesses profit by this loss? I believe the overall impact to the entire economy was negative.

Governor Pence, small-government administrator, laid off many Highway workers and closed many InDOT "igloos." Then Indiana had a bad winter and there was not money, salt, budget or employees to clear the roads. As a result, many businesses were forced to close, losing revenue. Now I know the grocers sold as much food as they would, but the gas station, the restaurants didn't. Contracts that were dependent on critical time weren't finished. The economy lost. And, the biggest "savings" being wages for the snow-truck drivers, also meant reduced amount of money for people to buy the widgets, thing-a-ma-bobs and etc. Blue collar government jobs stimulate the economy, build vital infrastructure, and since the wages are relatively low, all that money goes right back into the economy. I remember an economics teacher in High School explaining to us that because the money is turned over 3-4 times a year, more is returned in tax revenue than is spent by the government. But, if it is solely kept in banks for investment purposes -building the war chests of the rich- it turns over less and its over economic stimulus is reduced.

Personal small points about this. My son, Tim, works in a "small government" county in Maryland. His contract ensures that he gets a nominal raise every year. The small government county commissioners refuse to honor his contract. My other son, John, has a different, but similar potential problem. When guys like Gov. Walker, of Wisconsin got elected by decrying the pensions of civic employees, civil employees lose. These small government types have publicly stated that they will not stop until they take away my son John's pension. To them -they are on the record as saying this- John is to lose his pension. Two of the people I love more than anything else in this world are actually harmed (Timmy right now, and John if they get to follow through on this rhetoric) by this idea of smaller government. And for what? Again, the payout is recuperated if and when there is a strong middle class.

I understand that people do not feel the economic recovery we have made. That is mainly because wages have stagnated while real costs have gone up. So, the average middle class worker has less buying power. Again, this is a negative cycle because less and less widgets and thing-a-ma-bobs are being produced (rich people lose) and the middle class has less money to buy them (poor people lose). The same has happened to me, but maybe for other reasons. My retirement investments are doing great, better than I projected. But I will have to delay because the height of my earning potential years have grossly stagnated. We are earning 30% less than what we anticipated earning at this age.

How did Gov Walker get elected by the people whose pensions he cut? It seems to me that he did it by creating moral outrage over the quality of benefits that civil employees get. (At least, I heard conservatives decry the pensions that civil employees get). Again, this directly affects two of my children who have entered civil service as careers. Why should they be denied basic retirement benefits? Why do police officers, teachers, fire-fighters and other unionized civil servants vote for those who promise to bust their unions and their collective bargaining rights? That will be showed in my third point. Remember, these are all only my perceptions of the facts. These are my opinions. I welcome yours. I do.

So, my questions to those on the right are these: Do you embrace the implications that the problems with our economy were MAINLY caused by entitlements or by deregulation? What is the biggest driver of our debt, is it entitlements, or wars fought on credit cards? And, if the debt is such an evil, then why put wars on credit cards?

This segues into:

3). Marginalization of the rest of the others:

Blue collar workers vote against themselves because they are outraged by the actions of the others and Conservatives promise to deal with them.

This addresses what I believe to be unchristian values by the religious right. These are those who are marginalized.

3.a. "Illegals." Simply put, Jesus would have us call them neighbor. Leviticus 19:33-34 gives us a spiritual principle of justice. Essentially, God said, "you were aliens once and I protected you, therefore, you must protect others." And then God said: "I AM THE LORD." That statement, I am the LORD is a warning: "I am watching how well you do this." The implication is that God's blessings will be given or withheld based on our obedience to this Spiritual Principle."

3.b. Homosexuals. Romans 1, and Ezekiel 16:48-49 tell us that God gave them over to their homosexual lifestyles because of Idolatry and rampant materialism respectively. God created them as a judgment. It is another spiritual principle, If people refuse to follow God, then God takes away our ability to reproduce. When Abimelech took Sarah as wife, all the women in his kingdom could not conceive. Terminal sexual deviations (sexual deviations that do not lead to reproduction -abortion, pornography and etc.) are the judgment, not the reason why we are judged.

(Note, added later. Two good friends called me out on this. Their comments -received via email- are copied to the comment section. Everyone needs to hear what they have said. I have an apology and response to this in the comment section as well. And I am working on a different paradigm for myself that is more generous and loving.)

And yet, the religious pundits cite these deviations as the cause, not the result. They fear-monger about coming judgment. But my whole attitude toward homosexuals changes when I view them as the victims of sin, just like medical conditions are a result of the fall. Therefore, to me, I must ensure that they are as loved and cared for, protected by, both the church and society. I, just like Jesus, love homosexual people. I will never say about them; “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I embrace them for everything they are because the Bible says that God made them that way. 

I want abortion to stop because I believe in justice for the unborn. But to fight it, I must -I am compelled- to preach against injustice everywhere. Christians cannot be single issue voters. Women, as well as the unborn, must have justice. If I want revival to break out, according to Isaiah 58 then I must "cry loudly and not hold back...."

3.c. Islam. Jesus loves Moslems.

3.d. Palestinians. Jesus loves Palestinians.

3.e. Racism. I am a police Chaplain. I believe in and support the police. If it were up to me, only the police would legally own handguns. They are trained to use them. They take this job to place themselves in the line of fire in order to protect the rest of us. I do not personally know any police who are racists and abuse this trust. If they are out there, they are very few and by far the exception rather than the rule. And our media, a media that makes its living on hyperbole and mass hysteria, sensationalizes the times that it happens and by so doing, they create terrible problems for the 99.99% of honest, dedicated peace officers.

Having said that. And this has nothing to do with the police. I believe that Trayvon Martin would be alive if he were white. I believe that Zimmerman killed him because of racial fear. And the fact of that, to me, proves that racism still exists.

My great change happened when I realized that I was paying to high a biblical price in the war against abortion.

Why do we have to embrace all the values of the Republican party to stop abortion? Does Jesus want us to respond to the border crisis by calling undocumented residents: "Neighbor?" Does the US constitution guarantee civil rights for Homosexuals, Moslems and everyone else who we consider "the other?"

And finally, this segues into:

4). Fear mongering by the right.

"Homosexuals are going to ruin this nation." Nope, biblically, idolatry (in our case, the worship of money) and marginalization of the poor are the reasons why God judges nations.

"Illegals are taking away jobs from us." Undocumented residents are working the jobs that we wont work. They stimulate the economy (years ago, someone paid Rush Limbaugh himself to say this. I heard it back when I was a ditto-head.)

The other emotional capital used to cause this landslide victory, according to pundits, was Ebola and Isis.

One person in the US has died from Ebola. One other person has it. And yet, they were able to frame an argument against the President based on this. It seems to be fear-mongering to me.

ISIS. ISIL is a problem and I wish we had a clearer strategy on it. But, I believe the President's policy of forcing Iraq to deal with it with their troops instead of our troops is what is needed. If we go in and clean them out, they will just come back, either as ISIL or some other form of Al-Qeada. Iraq ignored the Sunni's, they reverted back to the tribalism that has defined them for thousands of years.

I blame Bush. We should not have gone there in the first place. We have to figure out a way to embrace governmental systems that are not our form of Democracy.

But fear-mongering makes it happen.


Revnerd said...

In the spirit of full disclosure, the Economics instructor was a guest teacher on a cultural exchange from Denmark. She identified herself as a socialist. But then, Denmark has the highest standard of living in the world.

Anonymous said...

Your economic comments are pretty standard stuff. This is the same thing that has been taught in any macro economics course in the US for 40 years. The Multiplier effect is not a socialist construct.

Revnerd said...

Thanks, Anonymous.

I wonder, then, why the surge of libertarian economic dogma?

Don't people know how counter-productive it is? Or, am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

you misspelled Muslim :)

Revnerd said...


I thought that Muslim referred to the American Black Muslim movement and Moslem referred to international Islam.

But, indeed, several Internet articles point out that it used to be the case that either spelling was correct. However, Moslem at times, became a pejorative.


Anonymous said...

Regarding your comments on economics: Though I know little about economics, I am inclined to agree with you.

But regarding your comments on homosexuality, I have to raise objections.

You wrote, "I must ensure that they [homosexuals] are as loved and cared for, protected by, both the church and society. I, just like Jesus, love homosexual people. I will never say about them; 'Love the sinner, hate the sin.' " When you say this, I know that you are speaking out of a genuine desire to show love and concern.

But when you write, "Romans 1, and Ezekiel 16:48-49 tell us that God gave them over to their homosexual lifestyles because of Idolatry and rampant materialism respectively. God created them as a judgment," you are not only on shaky exegetical ground, you are also back where the conservatives that you decry started to begin with.

Here's why: "Homosexuality is a sin that will be judged by God" is hardly different from "The presence of homosexuality is a judgment by God upon the sins of others." It is merely a more subtle form of condemnation. Do you think anyone is going to prefer the second to be said about them, rather than the first? Are there any circumstances in which you would prefer the second over the first, to be said about you?

Consider the situation--thankfully, less common today--of someone who is being told by those in the religious community around him/her, "You are an abomination." What must it feel like, to be told instead, "Your presence in this community is God's judgment upon those who condemn you." It may ease your conscience to make that distinction--but for the person to whom it is spoken, this is even more perverse. It is savagely ironic--like those proverbial contracts with the devil, that turn out to mean something quite different than what the greedy signatory thought they were agreeing to.

God's blessing in disguise, maybe.

Revnerd said...

Well said and point taken.

I am sorry I marginalized you.

I have tried to defend myself in the past with the idea that my viewpoints please neither the left nor the right.

As this thread turns out. I am trying confront -not please- the right.

If my intention is to stand in solidarity, to stand in Christian love with my Homosexual brothers and sisters, then I have to work on that.

Indeed, I do not think anyone is going to prefer the second to be said about them. I would never prefer the second to be said about me.

About abomination. I have been considering the use of that term about homosexuality in scripture. I think, it has to do with the homophobia of the author. To me envisioning myself engaging in homosexual sex does not feel natural -just as heterosexual sex does not feel natural to a homosexual.

So, scriptural authors, who are heterosexual and not wired, by God, to experience eros in that way, may experience a feeling of un-naturalness that was politically correct to describe at that time as disgusting or an abomination. But, only because it is that way to them. My point being, it isn't that way to God.

For lack of better term, I call that homophobia. I am convinced, that when Christians are able to separate their feelings of it being un-natural, then their theological attitudes against it will lessen.

In short, what Conservatives describe as "the gay agenda" is exactly what we need in our culture. People need to get over it and accept it what feel un-natural to them.

I wonder, and I hope I don't get attacked by anybody for this, but I wonder if there is a similarity. I am only attracted to very specific female ideal. The good news is this: if I find another woman attractive, it is because she looks like my wife.

Generally, I am not attracted to women of other races. I don't get a feeling of un-naturalness about it, but I also do not have an attraction.

Which proves to me, that erotic attraction is genetically hard-wired into us.

Revnerd said...

In a secondary post to this. I promise I will work on this and come up with a better way.

I am also responding to you on the COB-L listserve.

Anonymous said...

Phil, your blog post almost brings tears to my eyes because it tells the story - your story - of thinking through and rejecting Rush Limbaugh’s reasoning or lack of it. So there's hope for all them thar people!

Better than that, I am in accord with everything but a few details of what you said in the long post. I basically LOVE your economic analysis of the illogic of right wing economic rhetoric.

My only quibble with your points, as you probably know, is in my differing attribution of the causes of homosexuality. Although I like you believe it is fully God-created, I believe also that rather than a judgment upon human sin, it is a good manifestation of God's good will and care for human beings, and has many good results and purposes, not least that it is generally non-reproductive, and can help human beings slow down - perhaps even end or reverse - their population growth and it's immense impact on the health of the natural environment.

That said, I entirely love where you go with your view of homosexuality and how it requires you to love the homosexual as brother/sister/neighbor.

A wonderful statement overall, my dear brother.

Revnerd said...


And again. I promise to work on that. You really helped me with the idea that it is fully God-created that it is a manifestation of God's good will and care for human beings...

Revnerd said...

And, I want my confrontation to be loving. I hope those on the right perceive it that way. I hope to engage in a respectful discourse.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, got to be tongue in cheek here, but I am surprised that you read or listen to the likes of Bill O, Rush, L, or John H.

You know, I have never read Harry Potter, but in reality, I do not criticize it, mostly because I have not actually read it.
I have read a lot of people talk about how evil it is. But I do not think that they have actually read it either.

What is your context, actual research or what someone said they might have meant if taken to an extreme?
The likes of Rush L exist to make money. But they do it by taking the opposite's side out of context and blowing what they say out of proportion.

I really think the nation needs to take this BS out of the debate.

Revnerd said...

I think you would enjoy Harry Potter.

Jim Dobson did a positive show about Harry Potter when it first came out. I remember because he was talking with mirth about "vomit" flavored jelly beans. But then he refuted the books.

I wondered if he changed because his views, or he was pressured to "toe the line" by his base.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for the admission about Rush L.

I get my sources from people posting those things on my wall hoping that it would sway me to conservative thinking, just as I used to do (up until last Friday).

A dear pastor friend (me) told me that it seemed to him that at many times, the salient sound bites from FOX news were the entire conversation during Sunday School. He told me how grieved he was that those who listen to other sources told him that they did not feel welcome in the class.

I am often sent emails with questions for me to respond to. So, I was forced to keep informed.

I confess, however, that I get some of it from Jon Stewart.

The point about Rick Walker came directly from several news sources. The anger and resentment against public employee pensions came from a retiree I know how confesses his love for FOX news. So, I heard it first when Walker's recall election took place, and then two to three years later when it was parroted by a Fox News advocate.

The information about FWCS contract savings came from a dear pastoral friend of mine who is a FOX news advocate. He celebrated the savings as good old capitalism at work. His wife, a left-winger, with whom he and she enjoy a fantastic marriage, is so liberal that she has her maiden name, on the other hand, he admitted, feels like I do.

He spent every Friday morning with me at my Church office and we very kindly and respectfully discussed our differences. It was good to hear his viewpoints.

Blessings. And, feel free to question and represent different sources and viewpoints. Please

Anonymous said...

1 and part of 2;

NO, The right wing is not marginalizing the poor.
Just because we differ on method does not mean we differ on compassion.
I have seen posts from the “Christian left” that imply that is who we are, untrue. I believe that the PR machines driving the debate want everyone to think that and therefore take what is actually said out of context.

As a conservative, I have never said or heard any credible conservative leader say or imply that: “THE problem is the poor are lazy”. Really, who says that? That would be stupidly simplistic and ignored as by thinking people. If someone thinks that is what the right is saying, they are taking their words out of context.
Isn’t the debate really over the term “entitlement mentality”. Is it true that when we use that term, it immediately implies that we believe the fault lies with the poor that feel entitled? NOT true.

While I do not speak for the “Right wing” I see that the “entitlement mentality” robs the poor. The resources are limited. The needs are desperate, and the desperate should get help. I am passionate to correct that social injustice. Stealing from the poor is wrong no matter if you are poor person cheating the system of some rich 1% er. But in our environment if we accuse the poor of acting entitled, then we are blasted for labeling them as lazy. Not true.
What I fault is the system that wants to create victims out of people and take away any personal responsibility. The Christian message, unless you are a 5 star Calvinist, is all about expecting people to take personal action. No matter how much money you throw at people, those that feel entitled or as victims will remain poor. All they need is an excuse. The poor will always be with you.

So when Paul stated that widows should not be put on the list if they had an able bodied person to care for them, was he marginalizing the poor?

The parable of the talents plays well here. Jesus praised those that took matters into their own hands, worked hard and rewarded them with more. However to the one that refused the same, that made excuses, acted out of fear of being a victim, was harshly treated. How does that fit with your social justice doctrine?

Anonymous said...

2. Conservatives typically want less regulation, not more. Libertarians, the extreme end of the right, want as little regulation inside our borders as possible.
I blame the left for creating the “house of cards” that caused the last recession. Bleeding heart liberals thought it unjust that some could not afford a house. Charlie Rangel, the banking committee demanded that we loosen the restrictions on borrowing for houses. Instead of 20% down, and a Principle plus interest loan, they forced acceptance of $0 down, no interest loans. The result is that the increased demand spiked the cost of housing, 20 - 40 % increases each year! The money did increase the number of houses built and more housing was available, yet a lot of those sit empty today. In the end it just inflated the cost of houses. Banks did not profit, just the mom and pop sellers out there. But that created the house of cards that only needed one or two small things to collapse it. Rising fuel costs, increase in minimum wage, maybe other factors, and it collapsed. Those stretched too far started losing ability to pay, causing further erosion, houses devalued when foreclosed, and now the dream of instant equity evaporated, and we got this mess. The only blame for the republicans here is bowing to the rhetoric of the left that they were not compassionate, maybe even racist, to not ease lending laws and raise minimum wage.

No, what conservatives want is to not have the government use their bureaucracies to over regulate people that want to start a small business.
Think about a parking lot, notice how now they all have “green space” included in the parking lot so that it looks better? That is become the law. A little island out there with a tree, it is not changing the carbon footprint, it is only for looks. Yet the demand means that more land is required. Stupid regulations are killing business. The only land that works now is out of town, furthering the urban sprawl. I can go on here.

If the 4 million dollars is sitting in a mattress then it is not doing anything. But that is not what is happening. It is placed out there at considerable risk building a pizza parlor for person wanting to try their hand at business (if they have enough space for a parking lot!) It is funding research and development that makes the next I-Phone or widget. It is getting taxed many times over. It is immediately recycled into the economy. This builds the GNP.
Think about spending money. If it buys a widget, builds a road, a power line, a pipeline, etc it is creating a durable good and until that good is thrown away, it has increased infrastructure or increased the net worth of the people. However, if it is spent on a Big Mac, or a bottle of Jamison, then it does not increase the net wealth. We have to eat, we have to have our distractions, but some spending is spending wealth and some is building wealth. That is where the government can make a huge difference. If what they spend it on is infrastructure, then it builds wealth. Unless it is overpriced or unnecessary then that portion is just waste. What we want is the limited resources to be used wisely, and build infrastructure, provide for the common defense, help the truly needy, and not be wasted by rules. IF the government is wasting money, it is just buying a candy bar and not building wealth. Forcing a small business to build an island in their parking lot does nothing for the overall wealth, and only wastes resources.

Anonymous said...

Therefore taxing the $4M as a windfall is taking the money from those that are proven to be able to create more with it, and turning it over to idealists that rule by accusing me of lacking compassion.. It decreases the GNP.

Still, if you want to help the economy, one word, lower energy prices. Cheap energy helps people make more widgets, and that builds wealth,

People entering the nation illegally. Our neighbors, and worthy of our love and care.
Hot button issue that is used by the right, not the religious right, and should just go away. But real reform is not amnesty, it is changing the laws that make it illegal in the first place.
If we take the finger pointing out of the debate we could solve this. But this issue is intentionally polarized by both sides, for political gain, and our neighbors are suffering.

Has nothing to do with changing the Senate. The start of this debate.
I do believe that a church should have the religious freedom to condemn the act. I would not want to go to that church.
I agree that Sodom’s immediate sin against Lot’s guests was not that they wanted to commit a homosexual act, but that the act was rape. They were given over to hedonism by disregarding the poor.
However, the state does have a responsibility with marriage, and redrawing the line causes angst. The polygamy laws should stop people like Warren Jefferies from selling 15 year old girls as sex slaves.
I wish the debate would go away, it hurts the churches position.
The problem is that marriage is the one institution that can be both religious and government. The government should not be able to tell the church what their doctrine is, even if it is wrong.

3c Right wing Christians and us conservatives love Muslims.
To say otherwise is to take us out of context.
The issue is not Muslims, but extremists, which I believe started by using religion as an excuse to practice class and racial hatred. But now it is more about dogma.

It can’t be ignored, we tried that once before. I watched a video this morning of a 7 year old boy running into the street to save his sister. A puff from an (Isis) bullet hit next to him. He played dead. Then got up and ran to his sister and dragged her to safety. Bullets whizzing around him the whole time, Look it up on you tube I think it will exist. This was not staged video, it was the amateur stuff from a cell phone. I have to think that both the boy and the one shooting him both claimed to be some form of Muslim. One of those forms of Muslim is very evil. Jesus loves them also. Jesus loves that boy, so do I.
If I was standing there, I would have done whatever I could, used any amount of violence if needed to help him, a Muslim! That is showing Christ’s love.

Anonymous said...

3d Right wing Christians and us conservatives love Palestinians and the Nation of Israel.
To say otherwise is to take us out of context.
I believe that the issues and problems are not the Palestinians, but foreigners that have very evil motives.
That does not mean that I do not love Palestinians.

3e Racism
Yes racism exists. That is not the fault of the republicans or Christians, to say otherwise in untrue.
When I walk though an airport, a place not likely to be filled with Gang Bangers, no one has a weapon, probably mostly more affluent than the “crime ridden population”, I button my back pocket to make sure that my wallet is not stolen. I do that whenever there is stranger, however, to hear the president say that when he was a stranger to someone, they would do that, and it must have been because he was black. He noted that once he was a known figure it stopped, Was it then that he was a stranger, or because he was black? He is racist to assume it was him being black.
Maybe you are right about Trayvon Martin, Maybe not, we really do not have enough facts to judge. Zimmerman is half white and half Hispanic, which side killed Travon out of racial hatred? Maybe his white side overruled his minority side. Or maybe latent Hispanic on Black hatred overruled both. Or maybe it was something else altogether. All we have is the innuendo based on speculation. But no matter what, you can’t blame the political right for this.

I think it the ultimate irony to claim “moral high ground” and not do everything to stop abortion. The unborn are the ONLY group of disadvantaged that have NO method of helping themselves. Every other group mentioned above has at least some personal recourse, even if it s just to run. Not the unborn. These people die because very rich and very powerful people control public opinion in order to control political power. They need you to somehow believe that the fact that they are the only ones that care for the poor to offset the issue of abortion.
You are right, God will judge this.

To think that the election was lost due to media hype over ISIS and Ebola is ridiculous. Seriously? The issues are far deeper than that. The exit polls stated nothing about those issues. If the left tells them self that, they are deluding themselves and will not see the real issues.

You are right, fear mongering is the political process.
I saw an ad for a democrat that said if you vote republican, more Fergeson shootings will occur. The Left claims that the right has a War on Women, BS. The local congress race painted the Republican as just another angry republican that hates women, will not fund abortion, and does not believe in equal pay for equal work.
Call Zimmerman racist, and then blame the right, and the use fear to get votes. Maybe he was racist, but is that because the governor of Florida is a republican?

The process is broken. Our parties need us engaged in bitter debate strong enough to drive us apart, you and me, blood brothers, raised the same.
The PR arms drive the debate. They bait us with innuendo. They need this polarization to drive the passion to keep their coffers full. They want you thinking that the right thinks the poor are lazy and dismiss their point of view. Their PR teams feed the thinking. They want you and me mad enough to give money and lose sleep over it. It is the only way that they survive, unless they can claim they are radically better than the other side, they do not have power. Look at you and me. Both compassionate about those that cannot help themselves. We are very close in our thinking, but if the parties allow us to even hint at agreement, then they lose control.
As I said before, the Democrats cant be always wrong on everything, Same for the Republicans, but when ever have you heard them say that the other side is correct? It does not happen, their power fails.
It is our fault for having this debate.

Anonymous said...

I rant
The problems with the economy, Palestine, Racism, health care, foreign affairs, education are nation sized problems that the best experts barely agree on. Yet, the process is decided by which political party can show the most dramatic ad or the wittiest sound bite.
I remember a few weeks before Obama rolled out his health care bill. You posted a video on facebook showing what looked like poor mountain folk and the likes walking across grassy fields desperately trying to get to a free clinic or someplace where there was health care. Seriously? High quality video like that is staged. It was a PR stunt, People walk on roads, along the side of a road, etc. It was designed to prep the populace for a coming policy point. How people fell for that is beyond me.

We are at a point where we need the experts to fix this not the politicians, however I would not for a minute turn this over to a Bureaucracy.

Revnerd said...

Thanks for the response.

Without names, I am also posting your answer to the blog as anonymous.

I hope you didn't think that I think you do not have compassion for the poor. I know your heart, and I know the power of the Holy Spirit inside of you.

My question is more about perception and rhetoric. I see the right wing as marginalizing the poor in their rhetoric that they use when they say that the problem is "their entitlement mentality." I saw, heard and felt a lot of anger against the poor during this last election cycle. I guess it has to do with the lens whereby we perceive things. Right or wrong, justified or unjustified, correct or misleading, American Christianity has an image problem. Do you see that?

I concede, even embrace, the point that -dependency?- was created. And now, maybe we agree, we have a problem that has to be dealt with. If we -whoever the we is- created this solution, doesn't the same "we" have the moral obligation to help solve it? (I know that sounds awfully arrogant if I consider myself the "we.")

The libertarian solution is Social Darwinism: Let them live or die by their own resources. (With the "die" being a reasonable solution, after all, evolution is the survival of the fittest.) Read Ayn Rand, I.E.
"If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject." (Ayn Rand is Paul Ryan's muse).

I may sound harsh, or critical when I say it that way. But it is their solution. A kinder way of saying it is "buck up" -give them a chance to succeed on their own and have that sense of pride.

Revnerd said...

To find a middle ground. Hmmm.

The sad thing is, the Republican Party is pandering to the interests of the Libertarians. And in my opinion, Libertarianism, or to put it historically, unrestrained capitalism, is unchristian.

I am not sure the Christian message is about taking personal responsibility. There is indeed personal accountability, but the idea of grace is the foundational message. Grace is undeserved favor. I am not trying to argue that point with you. I accept my own personal responsibility. It is a real blessing when the power the Holy Spirit gives me success. I get to hear "you have earned 5,000 talents, well done, you get 5 cities." (Although that is not my motivation).

But, a passage that really affects me is Isaiah 55:1-2. Come buy, without money, without price. Please note, I am not trying to proof text with these verses. They signify my passion for the poor and my understanding of grace. They inform my theological understanding of grace. As you probably know, when we were at Ouabache State Park, near Bluffton, IN on Memorial day weekend and God called me into ministry I heard this audible in my ears: "Luke 4:18."

I am not saying that you, or conservatives do not have this compassion, but this is my calling. As a preacher, to speak on behalf of the poor and work against injustice, in this case, economic injustice, is my life calling.

So, again, do you see my passion and the reason why I am so vocal?

Now, the proscriptions for dealing with widows does inform the Church in its methodologies for dealing with the poor. And perhaps this is indeed a general principle for all dealings with the poor. But that is the Church, not government.

I am sure that you agree that the government has an obligation to ensure justice.

Revnerd said...

We are disagreeing on the methodology.

Jim Wallis said it like this: "the Church does indeed have a mandate to feed the poor, but only the government can build levies" (He was speaking of the levies that collapsed during Hurricane Katrina, monies set aside by the Clinton Administration which were used up to shore up the budget to make way for Bush's tax breaks.)

There are two ways of looking at this. 1). I does rankle me that these people choose to live below sea level. Why should I pay for that? Why don't they move to higher ground? Shouldn't the cost of living there reflect the cost of keeping the water out? Why is that a national problem? Or 2). Do I have a duty to help my brother?

The true Libertarian response is the first, not the second. And, my problem is the way the Republicans are being suborned by the Libertarians. The rhetoric of "why should I pay for them?" fueled the tidal wave in this last election cycle. Ayn Rand decries altruism. We Christians embrace compassion. So, what is the spirit behind the direction of the political policies leading toward "small government?"

Let me parse out Jim Wallis' meaning:

Only the government can pass laws to...

...stop insurance companies from insuring only the healthy.
...ensure justice for everyone, minority races, women, aliens, the poor, and yes, even the unborn.
...stop the banking industry from risky investments with the monies they have been entrusted with.
...ensure that coal miners have a safe working environment.
...ensure that our pollution does not destroy the planet.
...ensure that the national debt does not cripple our economy.
...ensure that hard work and entrepreneurship is rewarded.

Revnerd said...

The economic arguments in my first post are standard accepted economic policies that have worked. They worked well in getting us out of the great Depression.

And yet, the rhetoric around the last election cycle focused on the last two statements and part of the second.

The argument for small government is the economic argument against restrained capitalism and for unrestrained capitalism.

And here is the dilemma: unrestrained capitalism assumes the altruism of the capitalists. And yet, the muse behind the biggest voice in our government for unrestrained capitalism is that altruism (compassion) is counter-productive to economic growth and viability.

About the economic collapse (2).

I think you over simplify it. Deregulation got much worse than interest only loans, low down payments.

The deregulation lead to a heyday with the banking industry which took terrible advantage of it.

When I bought my house in Ephrata, the Country Wide Loan officer offered me a loan for $280,000. That was exactly double why I thought I could afford. She offered it with a balloon payment to keep me from paying PMI. The cost of that mortgage was only $30 less (on $1,100 escrow plus mortgage).

I got a loan with PMI (I only had 10%) to put down and yes, I, the mom and pop, made out very well.

But the failure to disclose exactly what she was trying to sell me combined with the exploitive practice of offering a loan for twice what I knew I could afford smacks of abusive practices by the banks, not the consumers. They got deregulation and took advantage of it.

So, you blame the deregulation on "giving the poor people a chance" while I blame it on the banks taking advantage of it. Maybe we will know who is right when we get to heaven.

And, that still does not yet address the entitlement, the government breaks and give-aways that home owners get. I have not paid Federal income tax since I bought a home. Here is a good description of how the poor can feel disadvantaged. Maybe it wasn't the right solution, but it was an attempt. Some people have no economic sense and do not deserve to be home owners.

Thank you for your agreement on undocumented residents. Did you see the "border crisis and the President" rhetoric that fueled the election fervor? Do you see how Christians cannot embrace this mentality?

If global climate change is merely a Democratic prop to garner votes (this is not an attack, I am saying that stopping abortion is a Republican prop to garner votes), then why are the Western European nations so gung-ho on renewable energy? I admit that American media has influence across the globe. And it could be stated that everyone wants to be like America. (Does this apply?) But these people are committing huge resources to this initiative. Are they being manipulated as well?

And more than anything. The system indeed is broken. As a nation, we cannot talk to each other.

The reason why there is no altruistic capitalism is advertising and spin doctors.

What to do?