Category Archives: Politics

Free Speech

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No matter whether you come at this as a Christian or as a non-Christian, the freedom to speak is what has made democracy possible for so long. Free speech entails free thinking. Sure it irks me when I see some vile t-shirts that declare stupid things (I am thinking here of the “Big Johnson” or any other sexually suggestive t-shirts that declare the wearer a lady’s man or a sex toy)…but I do not want to ban people’s freedom to say what they think. If they think foolish thoughts, I should also have the freedom to try to encourage them to think wisely.

Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal yesterday that is a 3 minute read on some of the latest the SCOTUS is going to be hearing on free speech. Take a look.

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Filed under Culture, Current Events, Politics

The Obama Slide

David Brooks open-ed in the NY Times:
“The result is the Obama slide, the most important feature of the current moment. The number of Americans who trust President Obama to make the right decisions has fallen by roughly 17 percentage points. Obama’s job approval is down to about 50 percent. All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but in the history of polling, no newly elected American president has fallen this far this fast.”

Fascinating article that mentions the rise in independent voters and the Administration’s need to stymy their downturn in popularity. Are the days of two party pleading over?

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“That One”

My wife and I watched the latter part of the presidential debate last night; and I realized why I have not cared much for either candidate (although I am sure I will be voting for the candidate who is pro-life first). It came after some responses from those analyzing the debate immediately afterwards. The commentators brought attention to McCain’s comment referring to Obama as “that one.” All four of the people said that it was “childish” and “uncalled for.”

Now I am not going to argue whether it was right or not (I’m sure many pundits will be working on that today). What I do want to draw attention to is what has bristled me for some time. McCain’s statement brought in an element of human-ness. That is, he got fired up at that point and was pointing fingers and showed that he was emotionally committed to his position. So much of the irenic debate was merely robotic. The only other time (and again, I am referring to the latter part) the candidates looked like they had emotions was regarding the questions on Pakistan. Obama asked if he could give a response and McCain wanted to give his response.

Other than that I found myself yearning for a candidate that had blood pulsing through their veins, not cold water. I want to see a candidate that has veins popping from his head. I want to see the tension in the room rise. I want to see eyes flare up. In a word, I want to see humans. 

So much of these interactions are plastic rhetoric and a “he said, “she said.” I find it hard to follow these candidates’ jargon that, it seems, only those who have been spending hours studying issues can follow. Even then it is convoluted. Give me a candidate who speaks clearly and wants people to understand him. Don’t give me a politician who tries to flower all his language so as not to be tacked down by the opponent. 

I fear that much of the reaction is due to our cowardly society. We seem to want truth, but when people speak plainly, we call then narrow-minded. I was amazed that one of the undecided folk actually said he had made up his mind from this debate. I don’t see how he could. I would love to see candidates speak candidly – rather than saying they speak candidly. Come on, let’s get some people fired up about issues. Let’s see people care about their positions.

One last comment I want to make about the “that one” statement reflects a good point my wife made. The commentators were chiding McCain for making a statement that was “immature.” They made it sound like they could not accept a candidate who said something like that. My wife drew attention to the fact that we all say hard things. We can’t expect a candidate to be perfect, but human. It must make us feel good inside to be able to point out error in a public figure so long as we don’t have to evaluate what we see in the mirror.

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Filed under Christian Living, Culture, Current Events, Politics

Is It Okay to Abort If the Woman Was Raped?

This is a question that has been brought up recently in the presidential campaign as Sarah Palin has said that it is not okay for the, woman to have an abortion. I read the comic “Get Your War On” by David Rees in Rolling Stones magazine yesterday that said this:

“I wonder why McCain didn’t just pick Rachael Ray as his running mate? She’s even feistier?”

“Does Rachael Ray oppose abortion even in cases of rape, like Palin does? Remember, Palin’s on the ticket to please fundamentalist Christians. (And rapists.)”

“I wonder if Palin is in favor of pressuring rape victims to marry their rapists? It must break her heart to see unwed mothers.”

Other than the mere emotional arguments in this comic (hey, it’s a comic, but humor often betrays underlying presuppositions), it is telling that those who think such a view as Palin’s is archaic have not thought about the implications of their view of justice. Doug Wilson has written a good post on this issue. Here’s the gist of such a view of justice:

So here is the answer to the “rape and incest” objection. When a woman conceives as the result of a rape, there are three parties involved. There is the rapist, there is the woman, and there is the child. Two of these parties are innocent, and one of them is guilty. What kind of sense does it make to execute one of the innocent parties for the crime of his father?

[Read whole article]

This is not an easy issue to talk about. For we are not just speaking about some mere impregnation, we are talking about a violation of what it means to be human and made in the image of God. May we pray earnestly for all three people involved in this travesty. And may we remember that in no law court would it be permissible to punish an innocent person for the guilt of another. And may we remember that he who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God.

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Filed under Abortion, Apologetics, Culture, Current Events, Family | Parenting, Pastoral, Politics, Social Justice

Acceptable Biblical Illiteracy

Gene Veith posts some thoughts on Obama’s lack of biblical clarity and faithfulness. 

I would encourage Christians to use such openness about what politicians claim the Bible says and what it says. I would encourage us to press people to come to terms that they do not know what the Bible actually says, thereby risking their lives to spiritual laziness and ineptitude.

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Filed under Abortion, Culture, Current Events, Ethics, Evangelism, Family | Parenting, Politics

Where are the Prophets?

First Things put up an article by Peter Leithart that provokes and informs. I may write more later regarding prophets and prophecy – as this has been a focus of my studies this semester. But for now, read this snippet and pick your jaw up from the last sentence:

Far from simplifying prophecy, the Bible greatly complicates it. It’s as easy to denounce from a distance as it is to launch smart bombs from a command center on the other side of the world. Gestures of repudiation cost little, and adding the term prophetic lends an aura of piety to our reputations.

Prophets in the Bible, though, cannot afford gestures. They are called to speak the word of the Lord from within the court, mounting an internal critique. The pressures on Nathan to keep silent after David seized Bathsheba and sent her husband to his death must have been enormous. He could have vented himself in a scathing editorial and then kept his head down. From all appearances, though, Nathan had free access to the court, was a friend of David, and a close adviser. It is said that prophets spoke truth to power, but that goes beyond cliché when we realize that prophets spoke the truth face to face with power, to powerful men and women whom the prophets knew intimately, frequently from their own position of power.

Power corrupts, and it always has. Court prophets were often pusillanimous yes-men like Ahab’s four hundred, who dramatized Ahab’s coming victory over Aram by shaking around iron horns. But power doesn’t always and necessarily corrupt, and the company of priestly and court prophets also included spokesmen of Yahweh. Faithful “insiders” were always a minority, but the biblical picture shows that we can’t tell a true from a false prophet simply by answering the question, Where is the prophet? Not all prophets are in king’s houses, but some are.

Judging by the biblical evidence, though, we are as likely to find a prophet in a presidential Cabinet, at the Hague, or roaming the halls of WCC headquarters as we are in the mountains of Northern Idaho or the deserts of Arabia or the desperate ghettos of Chicago. God is no respecter of persons, and a Karl Rove or a Paul Wolfowitz, as scandalous as the suggestion may be, is as likely to be a prophet as a Jeremiah Wright. 

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Filed under Bible, Charismata, Culture, Current Events, Ethics, Interpretation, Pastoral, Politics, Social Justice, Theology

Imagining Sniper Fire

I got a good chuckle out of this today. Gene Veith shares a video where Sen. Clinton’s claims to having been fired at by snipers while on a visit to Bosnia. CBS provides the rest of the true story. A great statement on the news footage says that it calls into question whether all the experience Sen. Clinton has been claiming to have over Obama is mostly imagined: 

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