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05 September 2008

No Longer a Christian Nation?

I'll just start this by saying that I must be crazy for saying anything that has to do with politics. I've even added a new "Politics" label to my long list of labels at the left. Please go with me on this little journey of insanity as I ask a question. I ask it just because I'd like to know what you think about it, and to see if any of you have had the same question. Don't stop reading even if your blood begins to boil. Finish the whole post, please, and do so with the understanding that I do not intend to vote for Barack Obama, nor do I support his position on many, many issues.

There is an e-mail in circulation (one I'll bet you've received -- I've gotten it three or four times) quoting the following statement from Barack Obama: "Where we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation. At least, not just [a Christian nation]. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Bhuddist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers..." This is from a speech he made in June 2007. Below is a YouTube video of that segment from his speech.




I guess I understand how this statement has caused outrage in the Christian community. I also understand that America was founded upon Judaeo-Christian values and beliefs (and to be fair to whomever for whatever reason, that statement has drawn argument from certain groups), and I wish I had the e-mail handy to reference it specifically. But...

The first time I read that e-mail and subsequently watched the YouTube video, I immediately thought of a number of sermons I've heard from conservative, Christ-following preachers citing Barna polls which declare the very same thing: America is no longer a Christian nation. At least, not in the way that most readers here would define "Christian."

There are certainly more aspects to this than the Barna Research Group clarifies in this particular study, but the basis for their definition of "born again," below, is sound:

"In Barna Research Group studies, born again Christians are not defined on the basis of characterizing themselves as 'born again' but based upon their answers to two questions. The first is 'have you ever made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today?' If the respondent says 'yes,' then they are asked a follow-up question about life after death. One of the seven perspectives a respondent may choose is 'when I die, I will go to Heaven because I have confessed my sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.' Individuals who answer 'yes' to the first question and select this statement as their belief about their own salvation are then categorized as 'born again.'" (from the Barna Group website)

Based upon that definition, have a look at some of the results of their polling:

  • More than three out of five born agains (62%) have read from the Bible in the past week compared with 42% of all adults. (2007)
  • 37% of born agains believe that if a person is good enough they can earn a place in Heaven. (2007)
  • Half of born again Christians (46%) agree that Satan is "not a living being but is a symbol of evil." (2007)
  • 26% of born agains agree that "while he lived on earth, Jesus committed sins, like other people," compared to 41% of all adults. (2007)
  • Looking across the past decade we find the following percentages of born again Christians:
    2007 - 42% 2006 - 45% 2005- 40% 2004-38% 2002-40% 2001- 41% 2000- 41% 1999- 40% 1998- 39% 1997- 43% 1996-39% 1995-35% 1994- 36% 1993-36% 1992- 40% 1991- 35%

Those statistics don't make you feel very good, do they?

Was Barack Obama totally off-base when he said, "We are no longer a Christian nation"? If we're going to condemn this particular statement of his, let's make sure we apply the same standard of criticism across the board.

ADDENDUM: thanks to some thoughtful input via e-mail from a friend, I need to point out that the motive behind Barack Obama's statement is far afield from the motives of a pastor who presents statistics like those above. What I'm presenting here is not an attempt to get you to acknowledge that you may gratuitously agree with Obama on some issue, but a nudge to consider whether or not certain arguments may be judicious to present.

24 comments:

Christy said...

Out of all the comments Barack has made, this one didn't bother as much as others. I have to agree with him that our nation is no longer a Christian nation. I think that's quite obvious, actually. Just this week I've had to try and shield my son's eyes from semi-pornographic images. Once was on the internet when we were looking up pictures of moths! MOTHS! For crying out loud. Why would someone even think to post a half nude woman and entitle it 'moth pics'? That's crazy. The other time was while he was trying to see what was on TV. Watching the TV Guide channel his eyes were distracted with a nude woman whose parts were blurred out, but he still knew she was nude! So, no, America is no longer a Christian nation. Who's fault is it? Yes, my blood is boiling, but not over Barack's comment.

Jan said...

While a nation can be founded on Christian principles, a nation cannot - technically - be Christian. It is obvious that less and less people in the US are believers in Jesus Christ. We don't live in the world our parents did. There are many reasons, one of which is that we have many people from other religions living here, something my mother never encountered in the 1950s. So that statement does not upset me for the reason it might others, it seems a chance to say we need to definitely get outside the church walls and be missionaries in our own country.

Jan said...

I should clarify - a country cannot be Christian because countries are not "Saved" and people are. Does that make sense? It can be made up predominantly of Christians. I was just pointing out!

Anonymous said...

I must agree with you on this post, Dean. It's almost an offense to Christ, to Christians, to call this nation a Christian nation. 4 million babies a year die from abortions (ball park figure, but I've heard it cited countless number of times), same sex marriage is becoming more and more normal, and immorality is rampant throughout our nation. It would be very unwise to get upset and say, "Oh yes we are still a Christian nation". There is plenty blood boiling but it's not over Barrack's comment either. Everything has become so iff-y. The "What may be wrong to you may not be wrong to me,"-mentality has become so accepted and it's literally infiltrating all things in America. This comment probably makes very little sense but I have to agree, we are hardly a Christian nation.

Anonymous said...

I may be off the wall with my comment here but I will share it anyway. I have agree with what everyone has said so far but my thinking is a little different, LOL. I just returned from the Alabama State Board of Missions conference on Literacy Missions(ESL is just a part). I found out that God is bringing the mission field right here to our State (119 different languages spoken in North AL alone)and Country. Act 1:8 "But your will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to ther remotest part of the earth". Maybe, just maybe, God has brought the remotest part of the earth right here to us in our neighborhood so we will have no excuse for not being His witnesses. So I guess I agree with Jan that we need to get outside the church walls (our comfort zone) and be missionaries in our own backyard.

Deanna

Anonymous said...

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” Ps 33:12

The United States was sought as a place to worship God – in Christian/Biblical patterns. South America was explored for its gold. Whose is richer now? “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Then, all these things will be added.” Matt 6:33.

It is only by God’s hand that we are the way we are – freedoms, riches, prosperity. Yes, our country is committing more sins, as already mentioned, and there is a down-turn in morality. No more prayer in school, no more respect for authority – it’s all scary. What can we do? Our first mission field is our own home. Continue to pray, seek God, teach our children. There is a remnant of Christ-followers!!

Ps 34:14 tells us to turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it. [We are responsible for ourselves.] v15 and continuing -The eyes and ears of the Lord are on the righteous.


Ps – hmmm…my spell check comes up on Obama and offers “Osama”. Is this the “Obamanation that causes desolation”?!

-tiffany

Preston N said...

It is my opinion that much of the reason the nation is no longer a "Christian Nation" and that we as the church are failing miserably is that our churches are full of people who have a weak understanding of the gospel truth. Years of easy-believism and "Seeker Friendly" and yes the ever popular "Purpose Driven" churches have weakened us spiritually and allowed our churches to become weak on sin and even weaker on repentance.

Case in point. Mega "Purpose Driven" church Grainger Community Church recently polled their members and here are the alarming results (BTW - Grainger is considered the 6th most influential church in the NATION):

47% of those attending Granger DO NOT believe in salvation by grace.

57% of those attending Granger DO NOT believe in the authority of the Bible.

56% of those attending Granger DO NOT believe Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

The thing is Granger is like many of the churches in the US today (Barna's data supports this). How is it we have allowed our churches to become so corrupted with theology whereby overwhelming members don't even believe Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to eternal life?? The real issue here is not necessarily going out reaching the world, but more importantly what are going out reaching the world with!? Sure we can go out and tell our neighbors and friends God loves them (a message everyone loves to hear), but are we telling them to repent and turn from themselves and love God (a message sinners will hate you for)? By what the statistics seem to be saying it doesn't seem so.

Mindy said...

I believe we are more of a "Christian Nation" than we are given credit for. However, I don't believe that is anyone's fault but our own. We keep our opinions to ourselves because we are too worried about how we might offend someone else. Children are no longer allowed to pray in school, say the Pledge of Allegence using the words "Under God," and they even want to take "In God we Trust" off our money. Why, because a few select groups are offended! What about me? I'm offended because my child can't pray in school, or before a football game, or say the CORRECT Pledge of Allegence. It's time we Christians stand together and let everyone know we are offended. This country was based on freedom of religion meaning I am free to express my religious beliefs. Then let me practice my religious beliefs by doing the things I've discribed about. We need to stop letting the select few dictate how a large percentage (I would say 40%of American's is a large percentage)live our lives. I understand we have a lot more freedom than any other country out there when it comes to religion, but each day I hear about how one more of our rights are in jeopardy (sp?) Sorry, got on my soap box there. All I'm saying is that it's time to stop being the silent party.

Josh said...

The US is not a Christian nation. That much is stated in the Constitution (1st Amendment, and I quote "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...) and reaffirmed in the 1797 treaty with Tripoli (again, directly quoted, article 11 "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion"). It is sad that the US has become so oblivious to its own founding principles that such a myth can exist so widely.

Dean Lusk said...

Thanks for all the comments thus far! I'd like to address every one of them, but most speak for themselves. A couple of notes...

The section of the Treaty with Tripoli that Josh mentions was establishing the fact that the U.S. is not a theocracy and would not go to war based upon religious principles. While he is correct in his quotes (and he did not misuse them, as Christians often accuse people of doing -- he never uses the phrase "separation of church and state"), it's difficult to realistically imply that our government was not structured around the values of the Christian faith: http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=8755

Moving on, I'm curious about what is wrapped up in the idea of taking offense. Just thinking... Doesn't that imply entitlement? Taking one issue -- prayer -- I believe that most Christians would agree that speaking to the living God has never been a right, but it is a remarkable privilege.

If we do agree with the Scriptures and also the U.S. Constitution, would we want a law to be made that mandates prayer in schools? And even if the Constitution didn't say what it did and we looked only at the Scriptures, then would we want it mandated? To be fair, the argument is generally that it should not be prohibited. But is it prohibited? Our children can pray as much as they want at school, even as it stands right now. As an aside, my son attends a Christian school, but I don't rely on the school to shape his understanding of the Scriptures or the privilege of prayer.

"Christianity" as a lifestyle, a religion, or a relationship, cannot be legislated into existence, nor can it be legislated out of existence, though both have been attempted throughout history.

One of the most important issues to me is this: what sentiment does it communicate to the outside world when Christian groups band together and express outrage over a given issue? Do we read about Jesus, the apostles, or the early Church doing this?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

Josh said...

Dean makes a great point. Even the more devout of the founding fathers, such as James Madison, felt that religious ideas had no place in civil matters. They felt placing religious connotations in legislation would inevitably lead to the assumption that the legislature could then regulate those religious matters. The "separation of church and state" is as much a myth as the idea that we are a "Christian nation". It is based off comments Madison and Thomas Jefferson made later. As a matter of fact, I believe the idea can be traced directly back to to a letter Jefferson wrote to the leaders of the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 - "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

Jonathan said...

I completely agree with everyone from the moral standpoint that we are not a christian nation. I think thats a good thing seeing as that would contradict our original purpose: freedom of religion. It proves we have somewaht accomplished our purpose through our, to achieeve that freedom. Christians don't have to agree with everyone's morals but should be happy that we have freedom to chose. But our political and social laws are still very much influenced by Chiristianity, so from that standpoint we could be labeled a christian nation. Especially in the south I see a culture guided by Christianity. Dare I bring up seperation of church and state? Once again we are not supposed to be a Christian nation. Simply a free nation. Does that mean Christians shouldnt have some sort of impact? Absolutely not, but a belief should not have control of a country.

Jonathan said...

Ok, Ive had more time to think about this blog and would like to write another reply. I will be addressing many issues in this reply. I would like to ask everyone to reply to this thought as a whole and not take off against one specific example I bring up, because I believe having an opinion on each will create the whole opinion, rather than just one aspect thereof.

No, America is not a Christian nation. Everyone's examples in all of the replies are great. However, I would like to bring up some from the realm of politics. I think part of what decides whether we are a Christian or not must be the way one's country is governed. Especially in one that's government has such a large influence like America. This is why I will be voting for Barack Obama in November.

First I must point out one item I disagree heavily with Obama on and thnk this threatens the Christian integrity of our nation. Abortion. Need I say more? That's a big one. He thinks it should be legal. I think it should be illegal, because its murder. I must say I dont questions Obama's integrity on the issue because he does believe abortion is wrong. He believes it should be legal, but aobrtion is wrong. I think thats a very skewed persepctive to have, biut there is a difference between legality and morality. I hope we all agree on that. I still think he is wrong, and that is a problem for me. There isnt much president can do about abortion, but they can make small strides. But far too often I believe other issues as critical as abortion are ignored or viewed incorrectly by much of Christian America, and the change Obama speaks of, lines up more with Christ than his competition.

First I will address the war. It is a very complicated issue, one that deserves a lot of thought but I will not really be addressing the war in Iraq, but mostly the war on terror. The surge has succeeded from a military standpoint in Iraq, and whether a Republican or Democrat take office at this point our goal there is accomplised and even Bush says we will be out between 2010 and 2011. So now the mjaority of America's concern is with our futre miltary plans. Pakistan, Iran, North Kporea, nad a mulititude of terror networks. We have major thereats. McCain is a man of experience with a deep love for our country which leads for a desire to protect us from those threats. I deeply respect this. I believe Obama has this some love and desire. He has the story of the American dream. Going from nothing to running for President. He saw what America can do for those who try. They both have their stories, and their reasons to love America. I just truly respect that Obama wants to spare from killing at all expenses. He says he will take military action if neccesary, but only as a last resort. Republicans claim that ideal too, and I think they even follow it to a degree. Thats where the parties differ, what degree. However, as Christians we are called to love everyone, even our enemies. So I feel that we must hold out, and beg and plead to our enemies to not test our patience, because we love this world and want no one to sufer the punishment of death. The republican party shows no sense of urgency in their negotiations. They show no passion or love, or and especially regret. Just a simple statement. You are eihter for us or against us. There should be a sense of urgency to steer clear of war at all cost....to turn the other cheek. I do not see that sense in the republican party.

The other and last issue I want to address is taxes and the economy. The economy is hurting. Whether thats Bush's fault or nos is up for debate. But now its McCain against Obama for the economy's future. We are in 4 trillion dollars of debt. This is in large part due to the fact that we are in a war. So the government needs money for that alone. We continue to spend 5-10 billion dollars a month in Iraq, which we hope to go down now that the surge has succeeded. Not to mention all the other things the government needs money for. Conservatives believe that the government shouldn't get a lot of money and that much of the things they "need" money for should be dropped. I agree. However Republicans and Democrats don't. From Carter to Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Bush each administration has spent billions and tirllions of dollars. So we really have gotta vote for who is gonna give us the best tax ploicy, not a good one. Because we are going to be overtaxed unlesss we elect an independent. McCain claims to blieve like bush. An equal tax cut to all Americans. This works if its a good enough tax cut for middle class and lower class americans. It will definately be ok for the rich, because well they're rich. For me personally, and most of the folks I know...suffered under Bush. Some were relievced compared to the effects of Clinton's tax plan, but it sure wasn't very much relief. I wasnt working in the day of clinton, but I know plenty who were and Ive been assured it stunk. Ive been around for bush and the news for is the same, it stinks. McCain wants to practice more Bush ideas, so Im not a huge fan of that but at least its better than clinton. Here's Obama's idea. First he labels the wealthy as anybody who make $150,000 or more a year. For people who are wealthy (5% of America) they will be taxed at about 39% (About 10% more than under bush) Than the remianin g 95% percent will recieve some kind of tax cut. Sounds good for me! But is it fair? Depends on your perspective. From Christ's its the way it should be. Above all Jesus told Christians to love. He told them to do this by taking care of the poor, giving to those who have less, giving to the widows. Obama even said in an interview with O'reilly is that its the 5% percent being neighborly. Yes theyre being forced, but we're all being forced to pay taxes. They should have no problem with being neighborly. Its definately not class war when an overwhelming 95% percent will be getting the tax break. It is also more responsible for us to have a tax plan that meets with the president's goals. Republicans have a tendency to put us in debt because they provide these tax cuts but go and spend money just like the democrats. That is not very christ like and is niot being a good steward. Obama plans to spend less than bush so he can afford these tax cuts he speaks of. His tax plan matches up with his plan. McCain plans much more war but getting less money that the current administration is, it does not sound like a good idea.

De3mocrats have freaked me out before, and Ive been a republican for a long time. However, I try to be of an open mind and Obama has looked different than your average candidate. He and McCain are most likely both lying, (I tend to believe all politicians are liars) but this year I may be too naive to both of them. I actually trust both 's motives this time around. They have both flip and flopped dozens of times, but Im hoping and praying as President, they will rise to the moral challenge. I truly hope we have two candidates that truly care for America. I plan on voting for Obama in November. However once again, I do truly try to keep an open mind and would really love to here replies from all view points, because this is an electtion of great importance.

Jonathan

Preston N said...

Jonathan

First, I am a little confused by your statement here. In one breathe you say you support Obama on his position on the war - as he is supposedly more "loving" as the republicans, but yet in the same breathe you support that same man who is so "loving" that he is unwilling to veto any abortion legislation that might come before him while he is office? So let me get this straight - when it comes to a war whereby we are defeating tyranny and bringing justice against the wicked and freedom to the oppressed you have an issues with this, but yet you can vote for that same man who is so "loving" he is willing to sign into law legislation defending the right murder an innocent baby?? (BTW - its a sin to sit by and let the innocent to be murdered and slaughtered by the unjust and the wicked - whether it be the unborn or the born).

It seems your sending a conflicted message here or am I missing your point?? How much more does the US need to "turn the other cheek"? Are we to sit idle while innocent people are murdered, tortured and put into bondage? How many of those who are unable to defend themselves in Irag and Afghanistan are to "turn the other cheek"? Funny Jonathan how I see King David on many occasions in the OT was commanded by God to defend his nation against opressors and the "wicked". Has God somehow changed? Is the God of the OT different of that from the expressed image of Jesus? I would argue No. God is a Moral Governor of his Kingdom and yes indeed Jesus is the expressed image of God's character and personality, but let's not also forget God is also a King and Judge and he has shown throughout the Old Testament that he rightfully uses and condones warfare to bring about justice against tyranny and the wicked - what I suggest you do Jonathan is harmonize the God of the OT with the image Jesus Christ.

(Let me say this - I am against war and I am all for loving my enemies, but as Christians let's not have an attitude of being "Nicer than God" whereby we turn an eye from wickedness and have a "do nothing" attitude. War is aweful and horrific - but which is worse war that free's or opression and tyranny that goes unchecked?)

As for the issue of the economy, I tend to vote with my morals first and my wallet last. If I had to choose, I would rather live in a nation where we are poor, but yet we are nation of high moral standards.

Preston N said...

Let me add one other comment. After reading Jonathan's comment I had another thought here.

Jonathan said: "Than the remianin g 95% percent will recieve some kind of tax cut. Sounds good for me! But is it fair? Depends on your perspective. From Christ's its the way it should be.

Really??

Since when would Jesus create a "law" that mandates forced charity or benevolence? I thought Jesus came to change men's hearts rather by external means? Forced philantropy or charity is no charity at all. I beleive Jesus would never force a tax so that we could appear to be more "loving" as love can not be forced, but love must always be freely chosen. I agree with what Dean said and that is "Christianity" as a lifestyle, a religion, or a relationship, cannot be legislated into existence, nor can it be legislated out of existence.

I find it interesting that you agree that this tax would be "forced" but you use a strawman by saying "we all are forced to pay taxes anyway" - indeed we are all required to pay taxes, but I wonder how you would feel if the shoe was on the other foot here and see how well you would liked being force to pay an additional 10% tax? Does this only sound "good to you" as your not the one who is going to be impacted??? What you seem to be promoting here is a form of socialistic "charity".

Dean Lusk said...

Sweet! Love the long comments. Will read them and reply as soon as I can.

Jonathan said...

Preston,

It will take me some time to get around to all of the points you brought up but I will start with some. First of all you only addressed one issue in your inital response that I actually wrote. about. I specifically tried to veer away from the war in Iraq as even Republicans realize it is coming to a close. I tried to make it clear I was talking about the futurwe war oon terror, but apperntly not well enough. I will not go into detail on what I think on the war in Iraq because it is irrelevant to what I was writing about but I would like to point out one problem with your argument. You insist that we are protecting the innocent from a tyrant, which is true. However, you paint it as such that this was the Repyublican's orignial intention. It was not. Originally the White House thought that Iraq had WMDs that they would sell to Al Quaeda, therefore a THREAT TO AMERICA, NOT IRAQ. WE went to war to protect America, not because we had deep love and care for those suffering in Iraq. The war may have become about that, but that was not the reaspon we invaded so it cannot be an example of how this war is a demonstration of love, it simply doesnt make sense. It was a matter of national security, no more. Also, the US has killed thousands of innocents (indirectly but the yave been killed) which may be "the cost of freedom" but only if the Iraqi's expressed a willingness to die for that freedom, which there has never been evidence to support. Im not saying whether I agree with the war or not, just that it was not a Christian act of love. Also I spoke specifically about loving our enemies in a time of war, is loving the innocent Iraqis loving our enemies? No, our enemies are those who threaten us.

As far as abortion goes, I dont think its fair to accuse me of having a double standard on the war seeing as the two do not relate. That would be like me saying, Bush lied about his environmental plans (he did) so therefore hes a sinner and must wrong on the war. Do you see how that type of logic works? It doesnt. Abortion is a tough political issue, and I know its morally wrong and Ive wrestled strongly with the democrats on this one. But I cant't help but understand that its a tougher subject th an assumed, anbd since that is not what my reply was aobut I will not make this a discussion about abortion. Its wrong , we all agree on that, and whether you like it or not will not change under Obama or any other president for that matter. Due to Roe Vs. Wade, abortion is virtually a non-issue uncontrolled by the president now. As for Obama standing by and watching babies murdered, that is a very dramatic accusation against the man. Well let me put it to you this way, McCAin was all about Roe vs. Wade too, so if you dont like obama on that one you wont like McCain either, so we're sorta stuck. Obama is very interested in reducing the amount of abortions though, a subject that McCain doesn't really talk about because of his flip flopping on the issue. I dont like abortion either and think its tragic that we have two candidates that suppert it legally, but that is the cards we've been dealt. Sorry.

As for the economy you state "As for the issue of the economy, I tend to vote with my morals first and my wallet last. If I had to choose, I would rather live in a nation where we are poor, but yet we are nation of high moral standards." This statement to me doesnt make much sense. How is being in 4 trillion dollars worth of debt that is sending the economy reeling and creating more and more poor folk everyday something that will allow us to be a nation of "high moral standards" The Bible says to be in debt to no man and to be good stewards of our money. Thats what McCAin offers us. Tax cuts (supposedly)that will supposedly make us more comfortable but continue to let the debt pile up for futre generations. Responsibilty with our finances is a Christian principle, oft forgot but is one none the less. I will address the other comment on the economy later.

Jonathan said...

Also to compare America to Israel (the king david statement)doesnt work either, because God spoke directly to david in times of war. Does Bush have that benefit? I dont think so, so maybe we should be a little more careful about war when we dont have God telling us directly how to handle it.

Dean Lusk said...

I need to point out that the comments are straying far afield from what I posted about. It might be a good time to understand that agreement will not be reached on the subjects being talked about in the comments.

I think that both John McCain and Barack Obama (possibly --gasp!-- Sarah Palin, and of course Joe Biden) will, to a great extent, say what they believe the larger percentage of the U.S. population wants to hear, so as to result in their side receiving the larger number of electoral votes. I believe both men, frankly, are at least a little disingenuous. Call me cynical. I think they'll each spin their side of the story to cover over their own potential negatives and make themselves more palatable across the board.

I mean, hey, isn't that what a Christian is supposed to do? Or something like that, right?

The older I get, the more I think, "Hey, didn't they do this same stuff in the last presidential campaign? And the one before that?"

I may be slightly crazy, but I have begun to have a sneaking suspicion that neither Democrats nor Republicans want to destroy the United States of America. Whether or not one of them will do it is, I suppose, the source of all the debate, eh?

One thing about a comment: Jonathan referred to the U.S. indirectly killing thousands of innocent people in Iraq. I trust, Jonathan, that you're talking about civilians who've been killed primarily in suicide/murder bombings that have arguably resulted from the U.S. presence in Iraq?

GENTLE REMINDER: the post is/was to suggest that it wasn't totally off-base for Barack Obama to say that "we are no longer a Christian nation."

Jonathan said...

Yeah sorry Dean....I am for sure at fault for taking this one in a complete different direction than your orignal intent. I tried to kind of stay with the general idea but probably failed. I must point out that I tried hard in my original reply to veer away from discussing the war in Iraq, (and abortion because that was not part of my support but rather an acknowledgement of error by the democrats.) but my replier insisted. :)

And yes I was mostly referring to the suicide bombings that have gone up since our occupation of Iraq. It is estimated that 87,062 to 94,990 Iraqi civilians have died from the war's violence. Particularly from car bombs. Car bombings have been going on a while, but went up DRASTICALLY after we invaded. There were also innocents killed in our initial bombing of Iraq, I believe. I won't state that as face but Iam almost sure I remember reading about large numbers of deaths to those bombings.

Jonathan said...

Preston,

On taxes. First of all, I dont agree with Obama or McCAin on taxes, but would settle for Obama's plan way before Id settle for McCains. My personal view on taxes is taht they should be basically non-existent and this country should be given back to the people and no longer be controlled by socialistic parties such as the democrats or republicans. We should privatize america is what I believe in, I think. However, that idea is not realistic during this point of time, so I like many, will be voting for who I believe to be the lesser of two evils.
Now to what you were saying. First of all, Obama's tax plan is bad. But McCain's is worse. McCain wants to basically implement more George Bush policy (though his record shows he voted against Bush's tax plans like Obama...more flip flopping) and cut taxes. The rate at which I paid under bush was unfaior to my income and even more unfair to those made less and probably many with families that made more. Yeah they believe in a "fair" falt tax cut, but it only works if the middle class and poor can afford the tax rate at which we continue to be charged. The amount of SMALL businesses that closed during bush's time exemplifies how his tax policy destroyed small business America. Where as large and rich companies ESPECIALLY oil companies that Bush and Cheaney are tied to, got MUCH better tax breaks. Ironic ehh? No I dont think its fair for the rich to be forced to pay 10% higher than me, I said that repeatedly above. However, it would be greedy of the rich to say "well the poor are out of luck, they can't afford this tax rate but I can and its cheaper than a democratic tax rate" That is a veryselfish and greedy way to be. Though both plans stink, I will always take the side that benefits those who NEED tax breaks, not those who want them at the expense of hurting the small business man's wallet. When republican's say they are for the small business man in America, I cant help but laugh at the irony of the statement that doesn't match with their greedy tax policy. It is not fair and it is wrong, but McCain's is way worse and the rich people should quit being greedy and see that. No I don't think the moral of the rich giving to the poor should be forced out of anyone, but it beats the heck out of forcing the poor to be robbed by our government.

Preston N said...

Jonathan - not to dig up an old post here, but I was thinking about this post today and recalled your comments regarding taxes and Obama. What struck me was how similar your comments were to that of the now famous "Joe the Plumber" incident with Obama. What I recall was the similarities of your idea of a "fair" tax plan was really was nothing more than "Redistribution of Wealth" or what I would label as socialism (actually I would even go so far as to say its Marxism for that matter).

Your previous comments are strikingly similar to Obama's redistribute the wealth plan. As a matter of fact you said:

Sounds good for me! But is it fair? Depends on your perspective. From Christ's its the way it should be.

Really? I disagree whole heartedly and would even go so far to say your being unbiblical in your supoort of such a notion and here is why.

In todays post by Dean "Reliving the 80's", a very valid point is discussed by myself and Tiny M and that we as Christians are to live not solely by external laws or regulations, but rather we are to live according to the Spirit of Love, also known as the "Spirit of the Law". This IS the very heart of the Gospel. That is we are to live according to our conscience that has been regenerate as a result of repentance and faith. This of course occurs through the willful surrender of the heart to Christ Jesus. As I asked myself if Obama's tax plan is truly biblical or would Jesus really approve of such tactics, I came to the following conclusion. Jesus Christ did not come to save the poor nor to improve peoples living conditions, nor did he come to constitute a form of social justice or social economics. For these things are temporal. Granted Christians should help the poor for this is a product of love, but Jesus came to change men's hearts as a result of his sacrifice on the cross - he came to change that which is eternal - our souls!. This process of change was not to occur by might or by force, nor through forced redistribution of "love", but through Jesus dying on a cross. I don't beleive Christ would support a plan of wealth redistribution for it is based upon the false premise of "works" and not on the premise of genuine faith.

As a matter of fact I beleive this a type of false or "counterfeit benevolence" will actually do more harm than good because its not real change, but rather coerced or forced. Men who are forced to do that which is against their own will, will eventually rebel or revolt even further.

Think of it this way - God is the King of His Kingdom. Since God is just and holy do we ever see Him forcing his subjects to love Him or others??? Do we ever see God placing laws upon his people that would require "forced benevolence"? If God were ever do such a thing it would cause men to rebel even further against their King. Just a thought....

Jonathan said...

I dont have much more to say on this but I would encourage you to read my reply after the one you quoted again.
I think Obama's plan is bad, but not as bad as McCains. Obamas does work out better for me, but thats not why I support it. I believe Obama steals from the rich and McCain obviously supports stealing from small businesses all across america. He does this by taxing people such as myself at higher rates and not offering us the same loop holes offered to multi million and billion dollar companies. He virtually makes it impossible for certain small business owners to ever achieve wealth and in many cases republican policies have forced businesses to shut down. This does not encourage the ingenuity and freedom we are supposed to have as individuals in America.
As far as my view being unbiblical, of course it is if neither of the candidates have a biblical view. Good luck finding anything Christian in the McCain campaign which has been completely run on hatred, bad mouthing, and lying. Very anti-Christian ideas. (Obama has these problems as well, minus the blatant hatred for Obama presented by McCain)
I also must say, I tried to stay in the context of this site and argue from a "Christian" world view, but I need to be honest and tell you Im not that is my world view and therefore will not completely factor into my vote.
The truth is the more Ive thought about this election, the more Ive realized that politicians do nothing to promote so-called "change" in this country so I dont expect anything more than that. I may just sit at home again...or write a name in on principal.

Jonathan said...

Sorry, I know I said I didnt have much to say. I just dont wont to reply to attacks against Obama by bashing McCain especially when you havent said you support him either. I just am pointing out why I think Obama is the lesser evil.
-In my opinion, Obama has very misguided and somewhat socialistic ideas for this country and this is a major problem.
-However, McCain is a very hate filled man. He has been on record singing songs about bombing other countries, and his running mate has tried to associate Obama with being a terrorist.
-Obama seems to be more in touch with the idea that we dont just hate people and sing about bombing their countries. We make every effort to love the poor, weak, and our enemies. Very Christian principles. Hes just more in touch with the idea that we are all humans, who deserve the same shot at a comfortable, safe, and happy life. McCain promises stealing from the poor, and at least another 4 years of war with the middle east without any attempt at diplomatic solution. Hed obviously rather just destroy all our threats like an animal rather than use his intelligence to find a better way (if possible) than killing.

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