Wednesday, November 03, 2004

 

BIZARRO WORLD CHRISTIANITY

Exit poling last night indicated that the single most important issue to voters was moral values. Those voters who indicated this was there most important issue voted 85% for George Bush. Not surprisingly, most of these people identified themselves as Evangelical Christians.

I am constantly amazed at what passes for morality among the new Christian right. They believe life is so sacred, we must protect even potential human lives, but but have no problem with 100,000 civilians killed in an unnecessary, not to mention immoral war. It doesn't concern them that 18,000 people a year die due to lack of health insurance. They believe in family values, but it doesn't bother them that their children are being slowly poisoned by air and water pollution. Even the fish sticks their kids eat are a potential hazard. But no matter, as long as the queers can't marry, things are good. Their parents can't afford the medications they need, one out of five kids live in poverty, but these aren't the family values that matter, apparently.

I grew up in an Evangelical home, and as I recall corruption and cronyism were not considered good moral values. Back then corruption was bad. Guess things have changed at church.

The truth is, the christian right has become a danger to democracy. Their agenda is simple. Blur the constitutional line between church and state, and force their "values" (and I use that term loosely) on the rest of us.

I'll have a lot more to say about this in the coming days. Stay tuned.


Comments:
I clicked on your homepage off of iddybud's site. After reading your post here, I couldn't agree with you more on this topic. It is important to me that some day prejudice and segregation will be replaced by love and understanding. Keep up your good work!
 
I was hurt by this paticular post. I took it personally because I am a Christian and I voted for Bush. I think what you said was very unfair. You were the last person I would ever have thought would use stereotyping. Maybe some Christians are tryin to push their "values", as you call them, on everyone. Maybe some Christians want to blur the constitutional line between church and state. Maybe some Christians have the wrong idea of morals and values. I can assure you not all Christians share this view, including myself. I do not think it is right to use embryonic stem cells for research when their are several other options that can be explored. Bush didn't turn the light out on embryonic stem cell research completely, but he did decided to not use federal dollars on the research. How right would that be to use the money of Americans on something not all Americans support? Its not like I don't have a personal or emotional connection to this topic, making it easy for me to say its wrong. My dad had a stroke from diabetes and suffers from its affects everyday. This is one of the diseases the research could help. My mom has aids, so I know what its like to watch a loved one affected by a disease that is devistating. I would like to see other options exhausted before the use of embryonic stem cells. I also think the war is wrong. Its not that I think potential life is more valuable than that of the people dying in the immoral war. This war maybe wrong, but it is bringing democracy to the Islamic people... I may have voted for Bush but that doesn't mean I support the war and don't pray everyday that it would end. "...Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore." Isaiah 2:4 I don't believe in this war anymore than you. Again I care that people don't have the health insurance they need...an issue that effects both of my parents and other family members. Just because I voted for Bush doesn't mean these family values don't matter to me. It was wrong to say things have changed in the church. You don't know because you don't go. Again maybe some churches have changed, but not all. Our agenda isn't as simple as you say. Our agenda is to serve God and be good servants of His word. Our agenda is to go to Heaven. I'm sorry if you feel Christians are pushing thier values on everyone, but I feel like non-religious Americans are pushing thier non-religion on everyone. Either way not everyone can be pleased. You can't have it where people don't feel violated. For being so open minded I feel you are really close minded to the issue of religion. You are a political genious to me because you are the most informed person on the subject I know. I'm entitled to a vote, my own set of morals/values, and an opinion. I don't put down your reasons for voting for Kerry, I accept them as intelligent and right for you. So why are my reasons voting for Bush wrong and unintelligent? I voted for Bush because he made his plan clear, where as Kerry just seemed to take the opposite stand on all the issues. I didn't feel Kerry adequitly layed out how he would go about his plan. Bush supported tort reform. I felt Bush needed 4 more years to finish implementing his plans. And while foreign policy isn't the greatest with Bush, He has made it clear we will not be pushed around. I know I don't have all these facts and statistics to support my opinion, at least not like you can. But for me I voted with my heart and my head, and for me that is right. I understand where you are coming from and can't say I'm right over you. I just wish you would do the same, without putting Christians down. You are entitled to your opinions, especially since this is your page. I just had to comment on how that made me feel.
 
Dear Cara, this post was not meant to criticize you personally. nor my brother-in-law (the minister) or any other individual. However, as a social movement, the Christian right has been increasingly bold the last 20 years, and they have had a very simple agenda. Which is, to push a "Christian" agenda on the entire country. It is an agenda based on a false premise, that America was formed as a Christian country. It wasn't. The Founding Fathers deliberately, expressly insisted that the US have a secular government. Most Americans at the time were descendants of people who migrated here to flee religious persecution. Persecution perpetrated by state sponsored churches. They were determined that there would be no appearance of an endorsement of religion. The reason the word God doesn't appear in the Constitution is that the two men with enough political clout to scuttle the whole deal, Washington and Franklin, refused to sign it if any references to Gpd were included. They felt that strongly about it.

America should be a place where all it's citizens enjoy the benefits of that citizenship. It cannot be allowed to become a place where the majority tyranizes the minority. That is why we have a bill of rights. It should not be a nation of a few haves and a whole bunch of have nots. It should be a place where everyone is free to live according to the tenets of their beliefs. It should also be a place where compassion for people like your parents is more important then drug company profits.

I am proud that you had well thought out reasons for your vote. Unfortunately, that was not the case for the vast majority of Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians. Of the people who identified themselves as members of this group, almost 90% voted for Bush. Of these 85% said that "moral values" i.e abortion, gay marriage, were the reason for their vote.

This post was not a shot at Christians. There are plenty of Christians of countless denominations who understand the duties of citizenship in a democracy, who are truly compassionate, and vote for rational reasons. There are others whose agenda is to force their view of God on the rest of us. I love the former, I'll fight the others with very ounce of my being.....love, Mark
 
I completely understand what you mean. I may share similar views as the Christians you speak of, but I agree that it is wrong for us to push our beliefs on others. There is a lot of pushing of beliefs these days and not just religious beliefs. Its kind of sad things can't be thrown around for others to consider or just to disagree but understand. I really like reading your blog...its really purposefull and direct. keep doing your thing! love, cara
 
there are so many directions i could go with this mark, but i will try to be less wordy than i am known for...
yes, there were many that voted with their hearts and not with their heads, and i have to say it wasnt only the republicans that werent thinking clearly this time around.. i have talked with many people since the election, mostly those who claim to have voted for kerry though very few that can give concrete examples of why they thought he was better than bush.. now me, i can give a seemingly endless list of why anyone is better than bush..
it wasnt only the evangical christians that thought that bush's morals were somehow higher than that of the evil democrats, it was also those that are easily fed paranoia, and dont forget those that are sure that tax cuts for the wealthy is the way to spur the already weak economy.. there are those, and i believe that cara is one of them, that truly felt that bush was the best candidate for what they believed in rather than what the candidates tried to tell them what to believe in..
one of the scariest things to me is that with this administration society is backsliding on social issues, not only on health care, but also on programs to help the needy.. bush and his croneys are of the belief that we should return to the puritan era, where only those with poor morals need anyone's help.. if only we all had those great morals that the rich white republican men held we would never need anyone to help us..
to those who receive, or have ever received, any type of help from the government they know that asking for that help is the hardest thing they have done... it has absolutely nothing to do with poor morals when you loose your job and need unemployment, morals shouldnt be in question when you return to school to improve your lot in life and ask for aid, morals have nothing to do with the fact that your kids are hungry and you are a single parent who's income is less than the poverty level, morals have nothing to do with the fact that you have a terminal illness yet cant get medical coverage to get the care you need... and these domestic issues were ones that are much more important than much of what was said during the debates.. yet many people seem to have forgotten about our poor, weak, sick, and women in this nation when it came to voting..
cara you stated that we shouldnt spend money on issues that the entire population doesnt think should have money spent on.. well, look at every cause that money is spent on and i am sure you will find that there is always people who are against spending their money on it.. the fact of the matter is that we do spend money on issues that we dont all agree on.. we just need to pick who we think will be more likely to spend it on a host of issues we believe in rather than to vote or not vote for someone based on one issue..
i am not a supporter of the war in iraq, though like millions of citizens who dont agree with the war we would never vote to keep our troups from having the wages or protective items they need to stay as safe as possible.. we dont want our troups killed, but we also dont want our troups to have to kill others.. there has been a patriotic surge in this country like we havent seen in my lifetime, though i think that many of those that suddenly found patrotism share a lot of the same 'blindly led' ideals that born again evangical christians have.. i believe that we can thank the media for much of our misinformed masses..
we have to learn to not only question authority, we need to learn to think for ourselves and become tolerant of each others beliefs.. we need to learn about other cultures and understand that there are differences that may not make sense to us, but that doesnt necessarly make them wrong..
who is to say that our form of govenment is the right one for every country in the world... we are a nation that has fought for our right to be free and enjoy freedoms, yet we seem to think it is our duty to impose our own beliefs on other cultures that we havent taken time to understand..
for all those that voted, good for you.. i wish the outcome would have been different than it was though i am not going to kill myself or anyone else over the fact that bush won.. i have survived much worse things in life than the fact that yet another republican has won an election..i will fight my battles in a much different manner, one that i might be able to make even a small difference in someones life.. i will instead work at educating the voters in the next election..
 
I've known you for a long, long time -since I was 8 years old and you were about 12. And I love you dearly -always have, and always will. But please don't do the self-righteous liberal crap about Christians. The idea of separation of church and state originated with Roger Williams, a minister, the concept was helped along by the our founding fathers because none of them wanted to see the government interfering with our right to worship God (as happened all over Europe). It was all about protecting the church from an oppresive government and was supposed to ensure our right to worship God publicly.

Now we are at point in our culture where many people absolutely hate God -and so they want to twist the constituion to fit their personal agendas, and all the while complain bitterly that our system allows Christians the right to vote -as if the founding fathers had in mind only for pagans, athiests, and amoral people to vote.

You know me -I am not a war monger, hate monger, or any other hateful, mean-spirited cliche people use to describe Christians -but I do love Jesus -and I did vote. Sorry if that disturbed a few (as it turned out, a minority) people.

Go ahead and rail all you want to about politics, and the President, and whatever else irks you -and even believe Michael Moore is telling the truth about everything if you must and are able to keep from laughing -but in your heart of hearts, you know that I'm not the problem with America.

Your Long Time Friend and Brother,
Steve Pennell
 
Steve

You and I have been friends almost as long as I can remember. As far as I am concerned that will never change. However, your post is factually incorrect in so many places it is hard to know where to begin. So I guess I will begin with the founding fathers and the constitution.

While the idea of separation of church and state started with Roger Williams, it was not protecting the churches the founding fathers had in mind. The vast majority of the men who signed the constitution were at best nominally religious. Virtually none of them believed in the deity of Christ. And they believed in the separation of church and state because they knew the mayhem and havoc state sponsored churches had caused in Europe, especially Great Britain. Virtually 600 years of constant civil war or repression that would make Stalinist Russia blush. catholic Mary vs anglican Elizabeth. King Charles and the Cavaliers vs oliver Cromwell and his roundheads. etc. etc. The founding fathers, especially Washington and Franklin, were determined that there would be even no appearance of state support of religion. That is why the word God appears nowhere in the Constitution. The two men with enough political power to scuttle the whole deal, Washington and Franklin, refused to sign it if it did. Washington, incidentally, despised clergymen, which is why none were present at is death bed. One of the most famous moments of his first term as president was when he had 5 of the most prominent clergymen of his day physically removed from his office. Their crime..demanding to be consulted on legislation. As they were escorted out of his office he bellowed behind them "this is rule by law, not theocracy".

Second, I did not refer Christians as dangerous. I referred to a specific brand of Christian as dangerous. That brand who believes they have a divine right to foist their beliefs off on everyone else, who have no respect for the separation of church and state, or the right of others to believe differently. Those who do not understand that the reason we have a bill of rights is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

The evangelical church has changed mightily in the past thirty years, and quite frankly, not for the better. When we were kids, mixing the pastorate and politics were absolutely taboo. That is because the WWII generation believed VERY STRONGLY in the constitution and separation of church and state. Men like my dad (whose battalion spearheaded the counter attack at the battle of the bulge and took 80% casualties), my uncle, the English bros., Dave Wells, Wes Wood etc., sacrificed mightily to defend that constitution. In fact, the most successful pastor in the history of the Pontiac church (your fathers predecessor, Bill Burgess) lost his job in large part because he made his politics too well known.

And as for your jab about my being a follower of Michael Moore. I do not believe the things I do about Bush because of Michael Moore. I am greatly influenced by the number of well respected historians, journalists and commentators who have said the same things (and in fact inspired Michael Moore). Men Kevin Phillips, historian, political advisor to Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush senior. The 6 former chairs of the joint chiefs who actively campaigned against Bush (3 of whom were Republican appointees). And on and on.

Finally, I have no problem with christians, jews, buddhists, mormons, islamists, ba'hais, or any other religion voting. I do however, reserve the right to comment on blatant hypocrisy when I see it.

When you look at the issues, from health care, to torture, to corruption (remember Jesus and the money changers), to unjust war, to the environment, and conclude that what Jesus would do would be vote for Bush, then you can understand why I am no longer a christian.
 
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