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Old 06-16-2007, 09:49 PM   #136
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Originally posted by maycocksean

Furthermore, Jesus made a habit of ministering to, standing up for, and defending those who were downtrodden. He seemed to be partial to the poor, to those that the rest of society didn't care for? Granted he wasn't advocating government as the "nanny" to care for these people, but neither did he take careless and flippant attitude towards the so-called minority.
Very well said
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Old 06-16-2007, 10:40 PM   #137
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Originally posted by maycocksean
Furthermore, Jesus made a habit of ministering to, standing up for, and defending those who were downtrodden. He seemed to be partial to the poor, to those that the rest of society didn't care for? Granted he wasn't advocating government as the "nanny" to care for these people, but neither did he take careless and flippant attitude towards the so-called minority.

Well said.
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:58 AM   #138
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Excellent post, Sean. (is there an echo in here? )
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Old 06-17-2007, 01:15 AM   #139
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That Jesus guy, divine or not, he was pretty bad-ass.
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Old 06-17-2007, 04:14 AM   #140
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Originally posted by 2861U2


I never said they don't count. But if you choose to be a member of a different religion and you choose to live in the US (a mostly Christian nation), I'm sorry, but you might have to put up with "God" being in the Pledge. If people want to have "God" refer to Allah or Buddha or whoever, fine by me.
Might doesn't make right in a liberal democracy; citizens rights are protected from such things by the constitution and having to pay lip service to God seems to goes both free speech, freedom of association and the secular state.
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:33 AM   #141
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I think that the government restrictions on speech are the only ones where as citizens we should be able to demand freedom, implicit restrictions are social - in some cases I think that resisting the social pressures is commendable (e.g. Mohammed cartoons) since at it's core free speech is dangerous to the status quo.

I agree with you that we can only demand freedom of speech regarding governmental restrictions. And the sanctions on free speech are generally societal (and on occasion, officially coerced)
But the Mohammed cartoons (and I agree we should have the freedom to show them and I understand the reason for showing them) will have a minimal impact on most of us, as they don't look much different from the mildest political cartoons we see every day. We take it for granted. So I don't think the courage it took for the Danes to print them would resonate with most of us.

I've been grateful for the freedoms our newspapers have had and our best newspapers have utilized to provide us with information. However, our media self censors itself daily--for a variety of reasons. And we don't benefit from the freedoms as much as we should be able to. This isn't the fault of the protections. Oftentimes it is the fault of the protected. But the government does involve itself in restrictions. At which point, you fight or you don't. And if you do fight, you can expect to be tied up in court for years at huge expense. And you will likely win. But it takes phenomenal resources not often available to the average citizen. So you pick and choose your free speech fights.
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Old 06-17-2007, 10:16 PM   #142
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Originally posted by maycocksean
You do know "under God" was added to the pledge just over 50 years ago right?

You also know that when Paul spoke in Romans of the leaders being put in place by God he was referring to the rulers of pagan Rome right? Hardly Judeo-Christian values there. . .

And you also know that the OT texts refer to the establishment of a theocracy, a nation ruled directly by God (God was not a big fan of the Israel having a ruler at all. . .He gave the people of Israel a king because they insisted on it).
......................................................
Furthermore, Jesus made a habit of ministering to, standing up for, and defending those who were downtrodden. He seemed to be partial to the poor, to those that the rest of society didn't care for? Granted he wasn't advocating government as the "nanny" to care for these people, but neither did he take careless and flippant attitude towards the so-called minority.
To be fair though, this ambiguity as to what can plausibly be derived about politics from the Bible cuts both ways, doesn't it? If one can't decisively prove that 'obviously' Jesus would've supported mandatory daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (complete with "under God") or what have you, then I'd imagine the same applies to claiming that he 'obviously' would've supported an extensive, tax-supported welfare state. As you pointed out, he simply wasn't addressing himself to a world in which sovereign, democratic republics based on equality of all citizens before the established laws of a particular nation existed (although, realistically, on the whole the Romans came as close to that as pretty much anyone else in their time; and many of our own concepts of polity and law remain deeply indebted to theirs). And "Render unto Caesar..." hardly seems to clarify much; you could read that as a broad general guideline meant to always and everywhere apply to the distinction between divine and temporal authority, or a one-shot defensive rhetorical maneuver meant to pointedly avoid answering an equally pointed 'Gotcha!'-type question, or a sly insinuation that if you've gotten yourself too beholden to 'Caesar' than perhaps you'd best do something about that now hadn't you, or any one of various things in between.

At any rate, from a Jewish POV it seems very strange to attempt to derive universal principles about 'The' proper relationship between "church and state" from the Torah, then turn around and apply them to a wholly different nation and culture thousands of years and miles removed from it; it's never been our understanding that that particular vision of "the state" was divinely mandated to spread across the globe, as if God deems only one kind of polity 'acceptable'. Augustine and Aquinas would have found it strange as well. But I take it that was part of your point--that if you're religious than inevitably your religious sensibilities will affect your political views, but that those in turn are just as inevitably informed by all kinds of contingencies about which believers can and will disagree in good faith as to whether they're unambiguously addressed in scripture. A_W and Ormus also make a good point that many of the most widely cherished political ideas of modern Western culture actually developed through rejection of the power of the self-appointed arbiters of 'God in the public square'--though of course there was much more to Renaissance and Enlightenment political thought than just that.

Probably we're all guilty to some extent of basing our political views, and voting behavior, on things we'd like to see ourselves as 'standing for' because it flatters our egos for what are at best only half-conscious reasons, rather than on concrete achievements which we've witnessed, observed inarguable benefits from, and trust will be built upon wisely by the politicians we support. There's a strange paradox to democracy where the more 'traditional' notions of what constitutes political legitimacy erode and diversify (essential to the establishment of democracy in the first place), the more time politicians must spend (waste?) establishing, and challenging each other on, what makes their powers and actions legitimate.
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:03 PM   #143
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

To be fair though, this ambiguity as to what can plausibly be derived about politics from the Bible cuts both ways, doesn't it? If one can't decisively prove that 'obviously' Jesus would've supported mandatory daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (complete with "under God") or what have you, then I'd imagine the same applies to claiming that he 'obviously' would've supported an extensive, tax-supported welfare state.
I agree. I think it would be a bit overreaching to insist Jesus held views that mirror any one particular political platform. I don't think it would be too much of a stretch though to conclude that Jesus was uninterested in using government as a means of achieving His goals. I can think of many texts where he seemed to make it clear he wasn't seeking political power. I can't think of any texts that would imply the opposite.

I think that principle of not using government to achieve religious goals is a valuable one.

Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

At any rate, from a Jewish POV it seems very strange to attempt to derive universal principles about 'The' proper relationship between "church and state" from the Torah, then turn around and apply them to a wholly different nation and culture thousands of years and miles removed from it; it's never been our understanding that that particular vision of "the state" was divinely mandated to spread across the globe, as if God deems only one kind of polity 'acceptable'. Augustine and Aquinas would have found it strange as well.
Agree here as well. As a missionary, I've always found it rather distressing to walk into your average American bookstore and find American flags everywhere and a lifesize cutout of George W. Bush. I find myself wonderign what would the Chinese Christian make of this display? What significance would it have for his or her spiritual journey? I'd imagine, not much.

Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
But I take it that was part of your point--that if you're religious than inevitably your religious sensibilities will affect your political views, but that those in turn are just as inevitably informed by all kinds of contingencies about which believers can and will disagree in good faith as to whether they're unambiguously addressed in scripture. A_W and Ormus also make a good point that many of the most widely cherished political ideas of modern Western culture actually developed through rejection of the power of the self-appointed arbiters of 'God in the public square'--though of course there was much more to Renaissance and Enlightenment political thought than just that.
I really wish a Conservative Christian with this view to get God back into America "again" could outline a justification for pursuing such a goal. It just seems so at odds with everything I read in the Bible. I realize for many here in FYM a Biblical justification wouldn't mean anything one way or the other, but obviously for me, being a conservative Christian myself, it would. I tend to agree with A_W and Ormus about the roots of modern Western culture and with Irvine about the importance of keeping government secular, for the sake of religion.
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Old 06-18-2007, 01:02 AM   #144
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I really wish a Conservative Christian with this view to get God back into America "again" could outline a justification for pursuing such a goal. It just seems so at odds with everything I read in the Bible.
I do as well, haven't found one yet. I think it basically comes down to status quo with many of them... and status quo should NEVER be an answer.
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Old 06-18-2007, 03:35 AM   #145
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Originally posted by maycocksean


I really wish a Conservative Christian with this view to get God back into America "again" could outline a justification for pursuing such a goal. It just seems so at odds with everything I read in the Bible. I realize for many here in FYM a Biblical justification wouldn't mean anything one way or the other, but obviously for me, being a conservative Christian myself, it would. I tend to agree with A_W and Ormus about the roots of modern Western culture and with Irvine about the importance of keeping government secular, for the sake of religion.
For justification I read the words of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Rush, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan...for starters.

Now where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3:17).
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:23 AM   #146
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Well that may count as a personal justification, but it doesn't work as a governmental one...
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:10 AM   #147
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For justification I read the words of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Rush, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan...for starters.

Now where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3:17).


and i think you're misreading and looking to validate a personal belief, rather than understanding what these men were talking about.

you'll notice they don't talk much about Jesus, just talk of a common Creator, and since we all come from the same source, worldly distinctions -- class, wealth, status, etc. -- are meaningless in the eyes of the Creator. hence, we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights. it's emminently logical and dripping with reason, not religiosity. it couldn't be further from today's politically conservative christian carping about how God loves some of us -- Americans, heterosexuals, Republcians -- quite a bit more than others -- non-Americans, homosexuals, Democrats.
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:37 PM   #148
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you'll notice they don't talk much about Jesus, just talk of a common Creator, and since we all come from the same source, worldly distinctions -- class, wealth, status, etc. -- are meaningless in the eyes of the Creator. hence, we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights. it's emminently logical and dripping with reason, not religiosity.


The founders and subsequent presidents who were Christian would have been referring to the God of the Bible, the Deists to Nature's God. But all devoted to moral virtue , inclusion and the believe that God's grace is universal. Our rights and liberty God-given. So you are wrong, our country's ideals -- and in fact very premise -- are spiritual, not the secular.
The 1st amendment wall separates church and state. Not religion and prayer from politics or public discourse. Jefferson, Franklin, Adams may not have wished to promote a sectarian government but they surely believed in a power above the state.

Which is why George Washington at his first inaugural (after taking the presidential oath) added "So help me God."
Quote:
it couldn't be further from today's politically conservative christian carping about how God loves some of us -- Americans, heterosexuals, Republcians -- quite a bit more than others -- non-Americans, homosexuals, Democrats.
As reported in the New York Times.
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:42 PM   #149
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"So help me God."


It's a very common phrase, often even used by athiests. My boss just said the other day, "so help me god if you don't find those forms your ass is mine" to a co worker of mine, and he is not a believer of any sort.

You still haven't shown a biblical justification.
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:58 PM   #150
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The founders and subsequent presidents who were Christian would have been referring to the God of the Bible, the Deists to Nature's God. But all devoted to moral virtue , inclusion and the believe that God's grace is universal. Our rights and liberty God-given. So you are wrong, our country's ideals -- and in fact very premise -- are spiritual, not the secular.
The 1st amendment wall separates church and state. Not religion and prayer from politics or public discourse. Jefferson, Franklin, Adams may not have wished to promote a sectarian government but they surely believed in a power above the state.

Which is why George Washington at his first inaugural (after taking the presidential oath) added "So help me God."



sorry, still no Jesus to be found. nor Bible citing/thumping. and no mention of Grace, Heaven, the afterlife, etc. you're taking what is strictly a God of reason -- and he's not even really called God; he's called the Creator, a word that i as a secular humanist in the 21th century find entirely appropriate to use when talking about the common origin of human beings, that the shephard is as worthy as the pharoh in the eyes of their Creator -- and applying your own Christian biases and prejudices. were the Founding Fathers unaware that there were Jews in the 18th century? that there were Muslims? they most certainly knew that not every person on earth worshipped the Christian God, yet they knew that this new country had a place for them as well. and they knew that it is the secular that allows the spiritual to thrive when it is unemcumbered -- either through discrimination or promotion -- by the government. they knew about the Catholic theocracies in 16th century Spain. and they knew about the religious wars that had torn Europe asunder throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. and they wanted nothing to do with that.

you've, again, proved my point exactly -- the government has plenty of space for religious people, but it has no space for any particular religion.







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