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Old 10-12-2002, 05:53 PM   #1
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Politics in American Religion

"Get the few liberals out. If you don't do it, it ain't gonna be done. You will be doing the Lord's work, and he will richly bless you for it." -- Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, addressing the 2002 Christian Coalition convention.

The infiltration of politics in religion (rather on focusing on religion in politics) is a trend that one cannot, in any ideological mindset, be denied. The question to be asked, however, is if such a concept is moral in itself, or, rather, a corruption of morality in a less-than-obvious manner.

The influence of the Christian Coalition, as well, cannot be ignored. In the 2000 election alone, 70 million voter guides and 1 million "get-out-the-vote" calls were pushing an agenda that can throughly be called "conservative" at the least: anti-abortion activism, low taxes, limited government and judges who don't legislate. Sounds interesting enough, but "fear" is often a motivation as well.

From CNN.com:

The notion of separating church and state with such policies as disallowing prayer in public schools "is a deception from Satan," said Joyce Meyer, a convention sponsor.

"If God is in fact separated from the government, then we can never possibly have a godly government," Meyer said to a standing ovation. "There's no way for America to be good if she's not godly."

Meyer, head of Joyce Meyer Ministries of Fenton, Missouri, said activists probably will find more spiritual awareness in the aftermath of the "wake-up call" of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. God did not cause the attacks, she said, but they should teach the country a lesson.

"If we don't obey God, God's protection is lifted," Meyer said.


It is certainly a complex issue; one that, however, is foreign to me, having always fused rationalism and intellectualism in my religious beliefs. Admittedly, this all seems highly hysterical and irrational, to say the least. However, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Melon
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Old 10-12-2002, 07:10 PM   #2
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scary. that is all i will venture to say at the moment.
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Old 10-12-2002, 07:37 PM   #3
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OK...lemme see if I can get this straight...
(I'm dense today sorry)
Are you asking if it is moral for a religion to push it's agenda in politics?
I'm tripping up over:
Quote:
The infiltration of politics in religion (rather on focusing on religion in politics)
because you say 'politics in religion' but then your examples seem to reflect religion in politics...
But I think you are trying to get at, whether or not religions should be concerned with politics at all....
And if there is some contridiction in that action.
Or something.


I don't want to respond to something, then it turns out I was completely off on what you were asking
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Old 10-12-2002, 07:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparkysgrrrl
because you say 'politics in religion' but then your examples seem to reflect religion in politics...
My question is about "religion," not the "politics"--the difference being not as much the conservative agenda they are expousing, but the fusion of politics into the religion as much to say that if you don't believe and vote in a certain manner, you are clearly not a good Christian.

For instance, a debate in this vein would not question the influence of the Christian Coalition on the Republican Party, as has often been questioned; but, rather, the influence of the Republican Party on the Christian Coalition, which, I think, has not been questioned enough.

Hope this clarifies things...

Melon
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Old 10-12-2002, 08:30 PM   #5
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I suspect it depends on the context of what the senator actually meant. In a narrow political context one would probably assume liberal politicians in OK. As for your premise of the inverse being possible, methinks that Inhoffe might be more successful in leading the CC in a campfire hunt for "snipes". After all wouldn't liberals in the CC be a prime example of an oxymoron?

On another note if one were to extrapolate...


"If we don't obey God, God's protection is lifted," Meyer said.


Does this quote mean tithing is protection $?

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Old 10-12-2002, 09:40 PM   #6
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Re: Politics in American Religion

Quote:
Originally posted by melon
[I

The notion of separating church and state with such policies as disallowing prayer in public schools "is a deception from Satan," said Joyce Meyer, a convention sponsor.

"If God is in fact separated from the government, then we can never possibly have a godly government," Meyer said to a standing ovation. "There's no way for America to be good if she's not godly."

Meyer, head of Joyce Meyer Ministries of Fenton, Missouri, said activists probably will find more spiritual awareness in the aftermath of the "wake-up call" of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. God did not cause the attacks, she said, but they should teach the country a lesson.

"If we don't obey God, God's protection is lifted," Meyer said.


Melon
To me, this is the scariest kind of Christian. Prayer is allowed in public schools. I see students praying everytime I give a test.

Seriously, if you study Puritain Massachusetts Bay Company in your history books, the last line could have been spoken by Cotten Mather. The Puritains believed that they had a "special" covenant with God and that if anyone in their community was "ungodly" that God would break the covenant with them. When I hear people talk like this, it takes be back to the 1600's.

As for the infiltration of Republican Agenda into religion, I would say it is a two way street. Moderate republicans are not welcome to state their opinions because the party is dominated by the religious right.

Examples from recent history: William Weld, Republican Governor of Massachusetts was not allowed to speak during Prime Time hours in the 1996 Republican Convention. Weld was a Moderate Republican who believed in a womans right to choose.

After Bush was getting his behind kicked by John McCain, where did he run to when he reached South Carolina. Religious Right. Up until then, he portrayed himself as a moderate Republican. When he was losing and needed help, he changed his tune.

Even though Bush continued to proclaim himself a moderate, his party platform was anything but moderate. But, who votes based on the platform anyways right?

Peace to all.
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Old 10-14-2002, 11:34 AM   #7
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Well there are a lot of issues inside this question. But I'll only speak on two and I will only speak of the Christian belief in politics, because 1. this is the belief I'm most educated on, and 2. this makes up the major belief system in the US.

1. The Christian Coalition is based more on conservative judgements and extreme right views than it is based on Christianity.

2. I don't believe that politics and "religion" can mix. Jesus would have never been able to be a politician. You can't run a nation like the U.S. using the teachings of Jesus Christ.

a. When it came to the budget, we'd sell our jewlery and give it to the poor.

b. When it came to war, we'd turn the other cheek.

c. Death penalty, there would be none.

And so on and so on.
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Old 10-14-2002, 12:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
My question is about "religion," not the "politics"--the difference being not as much the conservative agenda they are expousing, but the fusion of politics into the religion as much to say that if you don't believe and vote in a certain manner, you are clearly not a good Christian.

Melon
Melon, you raise an excellent point. From my understanding of Scripture, believers are given different gifts and abilities and receive different callings from God. One may have the gift of compassion, and be called to minister to the terminally ill. Others have the gift of teaching, and are called to teach the Bible.

Nowhere do I find the gift of politics or biblical examples of those called to enter the political arena. Rather, believers are directed to live responsibly within the existing political structure. Jesus did not exhort the overthrow of the Roman occupation – His focus was on changing self and helping others.

The statements made by the Moral Majority, Christian Coalition and others always trouble me. The kernels of truth found in their statements are overshadowed by the finger-waving attitude of their message. For example, the statement that “if we do not obey God, God’s protection is lifted” is supported throughout Scripture. Unfortunately, that truth is used to drive a political statement, which impairs its effectiveness.
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Old 10-14-2002, 01:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

The statements made by the Moral Majority, Christian Coalition and others always trouble me. The kernels of truth found in their statements are overshadowed by the finger-waving attitude of their message. For example, the statement that “if we do not obey God, God’s protection is lifted” is supported throughout Scripture. Unfortunately, that truth is used to drive a political statement, which impairs its effectiveness.
Puritanism from the 1600's.
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Old 10-14-2002, 02:15 PM   #10
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Interestingly enough, I thought of Puritan-era Massechussetts too. The "chosen ones" doesn't that speak to Diamonds thread? interesting.



Religion does not belong in politics. At all. Our Constitution is based on Christian beliefs. This is for two reasons.

1. That was the beleif at the time of the elite who were writing the Constitution. And while they made the Constitution non-secular, it is still clearly based on the teachings of God.


2. The most basic teachings of God are equality, love, tolerance. These are things that are pretty nice to build a country on.



But as far as bringing it into the country as badly as the CC wants it.....no. Just plain no.
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Old 10-14-2002, 02:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lilly
Interestingly enough, I thought of Puritan-era Massechussetts too. The "chosen ones" doesn't that speak to Diamonds thread? interesting.
OMG I do not know what to say...other than I need to re-think my position.....

We agree on something?????
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Old 10-14-2002, 02:58 PM   #12
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OMG THEY ARE PRAYING IN THEWHITE HOUSE

Page 2A


White House staffers gather for Bible study Voluntary meetings embrace president's emphasis on faith
By Judy Keen
USA TODAY


WASHINGTON -- President Bush talks openly and proudly about his active spiritual faith. In another, less well known sign of the religious devotion that permeates the administration, some White House staffers have been meeting weekly at hour-long prayer and Bible study sessions.

Bush aides organized the sessions before his inauguration. One group meets during the lunch hour on Tuesdays, another on Thursdays. Attendance is voluntary and, although the lessons are Christian in nature, non-Christians are welcome.

Typically, 25 to 50 of the 1,700 people who work in the White House complex -- department heads, secretaries and mail clerks --attend each session. They meet in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, an ornate building next to the White House that houses the offices of Vice President Cheney and other administration officials.

Federal workplace guidelines issued in 1997 permit religious activities but warn supervisors to ensure that employees do not feel coerced to participate in them.

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says courts have not ruled that religious study in public buildings is inherently unconstitutional.

''If there's equal treatment among people who don't attend and there's no pressure, then, frankly, it doesn't violate the First Amendment,'' he says. ''We have not gotten a single complaint from anyone at the White House.''

Controversy erupted last year when The Washington Post reported that Attorney General John Ashcroft holds daily Bible studies at the Justice Department. Some staffers said they felt uncomfortable about those sessions because their boss led them and they felt pressure to attend.

The president doesn't attend the Bible study meetings. Nor does White House chief of staff Andy Card, whose wife, Kathleene, is a minister at a United Methodist church near Washington.

There have been similar Bible study classes in previous administrations, White House spokeswoman Anne Womack says. During his presidency, Jimmy Carter, a Baptist, sometimes taught adult Sunday school at Washington's First Baptist Church. Richard Nixon, a Quaker, invited evangelists to the White House to speak to staffers.

Last Thursday, author Bruce Wilkinson was the guest speaker at a White House Bible study. Wilkinson wrote The Prayer of Jabez, a best-selling book based on a character in the Bible.

Wilkinson spoke admiringly of Bush's faith at a breakfast at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, before his White House visit.

As the president copes with the war on terrorism, Wilkinson said, ''The Lord is in front of him.''

Bush starts every day on his knees in prayer. He reads the Bible each morning and studies a Bible lesson daily.

Religion has been central to his life since 1985, when a conversation with the Rev. Billy Graham prompted him to renew his faith. Bush has said that his religious beliefs helped him quit drinking when he turned 40.

He was raised an Episcopalian but became a Methodist when he got married and joined the church of his wife, Laura.

Religion infuses Bush's policies and speeches. The president has proposed allowing religious groups to compete for federal money to operate programs for the needy. That legislation has stalled in Congress.

Bush often thanks his audiences for praying for him and argues that there is a role for religious faith in government.

''Our governments must not fear faith,'' he said this month at Republican Party fundraiser in Baltimore. ''We must welcome faith in our society.''
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Old 10-19-2002, 06:02 PM   #13
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Re: Politics in American Religion

In germany the conservative party is the CDU "Christ Democratic Union" - Before the last election i was verry (positively) surprised that the Catholic church said: "Christs don't have to vote for parties, just because they have a "C" in their name.

Okay that was slightly offtopic because you want to talk about US politics and Religion.

The problem is, most politicians are religious and most religious leaders are interested in politics. Because of that it might be impossible to stop the influence of politics in American Religion 100% (and vice versa).
But it's the job of the citizens to show politicial and religious leaders that they have learned from history (Middle Ages) and don't like to get this mix again.
Politicians who don't get elected or religious "leaders" without folowers won't have any influence in our society.

Klaus
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