Re: Traditional Xtianity teaches

From: Dr. Blake Nelson (
Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 14:04:20 EDT

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    This has touched off quite the discussion on
    political/religious issues, here's my brief two cents
    worth --

    We have stumbled into generalities about political
    party supporters that are as egregious as stereotypes
    about racial groups. In a two-party system like the
    US has, there is tremendous diversity within both
    parties in both the religious affiliation (and
    beliefs) of its members and in the proposed policies
    and the rationales used to support those proposed
    policies. I imagine someone can put together a rant
    about the Democrats being a party reflecting a secular
    humanist agenda -- including the muting of public
    religious voices -- just as well as one can rant about
    Republicans and "religious conservatism," and
    "fascism" -- all terms that have been bandied about

    Such facile views are rarely useful.

    As Terry's comment about the issue points out, the
    goals of both parties (or Christian supporters of the
    parties) are often shared, but they differ on how to
    accomplish agreed goals -- e.g., ameliorate the
    effects of poverty, etc. A christian who votes
    republican voting can point to lots of social science
    data that demonstrates "culture of poverty" cycles
    created by welfare systems. A christian who votes for
    the Democrats can do so under the pretense of the
    importance of taking care of the poor, and can decry
    the "heartlessness" of the government for cutting back
    on welfare programs, the "greed" of Republicans, etc.
    Yet, if neither one of those christians is actually
    out there doing what they can to serve the poor, the
    sick, the imprisoned, etc., at least some of the time,
    then perhaps they should both go back and think about
    what our Lord commands us to do. I do not think
    voting for the government to take care of the poor
    eliminates our obligation to do so _personally_.

    I think the most telling tale of modern politics is
    the level of discourse. Although I don't know if the
    level of discourse has ever been very high, but at one
    point in time I know I was not potentially bombarded
    by (hopefully faux)-angry/indignant political
    commentators and politicians and self-proclaimed
    policy wonks doing a bad imitation of all-star
    wrestling or Jerry Springer. Rather than talking
    heads, we have insulting heads, we have clear lies and
    misrepresentations spouted, and its all wrapped up as
    entertainment. I am sure we can trot out
    "unchristian" comments by any commentator. I have
    heard Rush Limbaugh say stupid things, I have heard
    Chris Matthews say stupid things, fact of the matter,
    I don't think there is a single person in the
    three-ring circuses of hawking "political discussion"
    as entertainment who hasn't said something
    mean-spirited and/or stupid at more than one point in
    time (some more so than others).

    Anyway, I think we need to sharpen our points (rather
    than using politics as a bludgeon) if we are to say
    anything useful.

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