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Friday, December 02, 2005

Democrats are Christians, Too! (No, Seriously)

Determined not to be out "valued" by Republicans, Democratic leaders in the State House recently unveiled a proposal for an elective "Bible Literacy" class to be offered in public schools. A book called "The Bible and Its Influence" would serve as the text for the class.

This is the second recent religious appeal made by State House Democrats. Steve Hurst has called for "God Bless America" to be placed on Alabama license plates.

Democrats were probably delighted when separation of church and state activist Barry Lynn criticized their "Bible Literacy" course.
"I just don't like the idea of taking one religion and singling it out for special treatment, even as an elective course, and, in addition, this book has problems, not as many as some, but it has problems nevertheless," [Lynn] said.
Republican House leader Mike Hubbard called the Dems proposals cynical politics.
"I don't think there's any doubt that the Democrats are going to try to be moving to the right as far as they can and shake the liberal label they have," said Hubbard. "As we head into the election year, I think you'll see the Democrats doing anything they can to move toward the right."
Hubbard is right of course. The combination of Bush's value drenched Southern success and the specter of Roy Moore has spooked the Democrats into crafting a legislative agenda to blunt the inevitable Republican cries of "liberal, ACLU loving Democrats".

Smart politics by the Democrats, but it's doubtful that a handful of legislative proposals will completely erase the Republicans "values" edge that has developed over the last generation. But these proposals can give Democrats a little cover heading into what looks to be a religiously charged election year.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Republicans don't have a values edge, as you suggest. What they have is a PERCEIVED values edge. They talk about Jesus and God and the Bible a lot, but they don't promote public policies in the mold of Christ.

Jesus taught that we are to care for the poor and be good stewards of the earth. These are core Democratic principles. I don't see the Republicans lining up to support this kind of stuff (or if they do, they are few and far between).

I generally like your site, but your analysis is WAY, WAY off here.

2:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment above really illustrates the divide between the historic Christian faith and the "baptized socialism" of the social Gospel.

Yes, Jesus did say to take care of widows and orphans, but to whom did he direct the command? The state? Wrong.

The Bible teaches that civil government shall not pervert the justice of widows and orphans (traditionally the poorest in society). Meaning, you don't deny them justice in favor of a big corporation that wants to bulldoze their land for "the common good."

However, the role of charity is an individual, family and church function.

Jesus never commanded Peter to rob Paul to pay for John's prescription drugs.

3:15:00 PM  
Blogger PoliSciZac said...

To the first poster, I think you misinterpreted my intent. I am not trying to say that the policies the GOP advocates are or aren't authentically Christian.

Republicans do have a "values edge" in Alabama politics but whether or not that extends into policy is a separate issue (one in which I prefer not to delve).

I am just pointing out that over the last generation, many white Southern Christians have moved from the Democrats to Republicans. I don't get into the business of policy analysis, but the politics of the issue are pretty clear.

With this proposal the House Democrats are trying to push back against the stereotype that has developed.

Hope I made myself more clear. I think we are in general agreement that the GOP has a "perceived values edge" and that was all I was trying to say.

3:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster who suggests that charity is a private matter rather than a public (i.e. government) concern: you must recall that when Jesus was spreading the word, the "government" was led by a buncha pagan Romans and their local lackeys. Here in 21st century America, where the politicians are apparently falling all over themselves proclaiming how Christian they are, we should hold our government to a different standard. If you are Christian, you heed Christ's calling, both in the public arena and in private.

4:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what if the Roman government was Pagan? God judged Sodom and Babylon for not obeying his law.

I agree we should hold government today to a higher standard-- God's standard found in His Word. And no where do we find the civil government (Roman or otherwise) permitted or commanded in God's word to rob Peter to pay for Paul's prescription drug plan, or college tuition, or heating bill.

But we find many examples of private individuals and churches (especially in the New Testiment) giving till it hurts.

If you read your Bible closely, you will see that charitable work in the Bible is covered under the tithe -- which is voluntary. "The lord loves a cheerful giver."

Justice, on the otherhand, is mandated and money to finance the courts was compelled then as it is today.

Sorry to preach, but if you follow your logic to its end, you could justify any manner of totalitarianism as long as it's done for the "good of society" however that's defined.

4:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're totally wrong on your last point. Those who love Christ and follow his word could never abide by the totalitarianism you fear.

Government is not some abstract, distinct thing. It is made up of people. What if the people who serve us as our representatives claim to be Christian?

Either you believe in the importantance of helping the poor and the homeless, the sick and the destitute, or you don't. Jesus obviously thought it was pretty important since he stressed this message again and again.

And the burden cannot be left to private charity. Private charity cannot handle it alone. If it could, there would be no need for the government programs that help so many people out today. Why do we have Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid? Because some level of government assistance is needed.

This "robbing Peter to pay Paul" idea is off point, moreover. No one is robbing anyone. Taxation is something we have agreed to put up with, so we can pay for our armed forces, our police and fire protection, our social security, our roads, etc.

Where I think that we do agree is that in taxing us, our government has a solemn obligation to be faithful stewards of our money, and it often fails in that regard. I get just as angry as you probably do when reading about instances of public waste or corruption. My anger comes from the fact that when our money is diverted for such pernicious reasons, it cannot help those for whose benefit it was intended.

5:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Democratic Party adopted the last poster's ideas, it would be a lot better off than it is now. Way to go, dude!

6:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, government is not an abstract thing. It is an institution ordained by God (see Rom 13). But it is ordained for a specific purpose: protecting the righteous and punishing the evil doer. That's why we have police, military and court systems.

The family and the church are also institutions ordained by God. They, too, have specific job functions. The family is primarily charged with raising children and taking care of the elderly and destitute in the community. Where the family fails, the church takes up the slack. Read I Timothy 5:3-5

When one of these governments goes outside the jurisdiction God has given it, that's the very definition of tyranny. For instance, when the Church decides to execute heretics in its congregation, or the state decides to raise children, or a dad kills a man who commits adultery with his wife, these are all examples of tyranny.

So why do we have government programs doing what should be done by the church and families? Well, the answer is certainly not because charitable institutions can't do the job. In fact, they are doing a heck of a lot right now. Americans are the most generous people on earth-- in spite of our bloated welfare state. We'd do more if the welfare state returned to us the $billions it wastes for the "public good."

Government welfare is a self-perpetuating institution. It does nothing but create more of the problem it tries to fix. The same way a Church that kills heretics always ends up making a lot more (remember the Reformation?).

Government welfare is man's solution to the problem of poverty, not God's. That's why it never has worked and never will. The only question is how much more of our money will Christian socialists flush down this hole before they acknowledge this fact?

9:49:00 PM  
Anonymous beattitude said...

Wow... this is the most intellectual and logical discussion of this issue I think I've ever seen on a website like this. Good to know that there are intelligent (and faithful) people on both sides of this issue in Alabama. Too bad our politics (by that I mean our "campaigns") can't have this argument instead of the "babykiller/ten commandments/who's more religious" fight that embarasses our state and benefits no one.

I think zac's point is a good one, however... Over the past twenty years (or more) the Democratic Party's support among white Southerners has steadily eroded. Some of this has been due to religious issues, but I think those issues are better characterized as "culture" issues - because the reality is a lot of them simply have no basis in religion.

In fact, the start of the entire "white flight" to the Republican Party in the South started with the Voting Rights Act and desegregation cases of the 60's. From there, Republicans successfully implemented the Southern Strategy (now officially admitted by the RNC) which capitalized on this racial divide, and when that became political untenable, the wedge shifted somewhat (again, masterfully from a pure political standpoint) into "cultural" issues - liberalism vs. conservatism.

Unfortunately, many of the same people who were against the Voting Rights Act and desegregation are demographically the same people who are leading the current conservative "culture war" -i.e., Southern, white evangelicals. This group was, by and large (with some notable and brave exceptions) strongly opposed to the civil rights movement. In fact, many of the same large churches who opposed the advances in equality of the 60s are now the leaders of the current "values war" in today's politics.

So, the truth is, politics and religion, when they mix, can be a very powerful - and dangerous - combination. It is good to see obviously well-meaning and passionate people on both sides debating this issue in a civil and high-minded way.

Nice article, good discussion, Zac - thanks.

8:07:00 AM  
Anonymous SouthernLawyer said...

A previous poster stated: "Either you believe in the importantance of helping the poor and the homeless, the sick and the destitute, or you don't. Jesus obviously thought it was pretty important since he stressed this message again and again."

Actually, the two categories of people the Bible treats as most vulnerable and most worthy of special consideration are the fatherless and widows. What these two have in common is the loss of leadership in the family government ordained by God as the primary vehicle for the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health, education, etc.

When family government fails fundamentally -- e.g. where the father or husband has died without an adult son or other adult male relative to take over the responsibility of leadership and provision for the fatherless or the widow -- the government God has called to stand in the gap is not that of the state, but that of the church.

In fact, in God's economy, the work of caring for widows and the fatherless is so important for the church that the Bible treats such work as the essence of true religion: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (James 1:27).

Notice how even as James is calling on the church to supply the needs of widows and orphans in the congregation when the family fails he still reminds us that such a role is fundamentally part of the jurisdiction and government of the family by identifying God as "the Father."

Notice, too, how there is no call for any kind of state help for the widow or the orphan. That is because, biblically, the role of the state is much more limited than most Christians have come to accept today.

According to Romans 13:4, the civil government ruler is a "servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." The basic purpose of civil government is to act as God's servant (lit. "deacon") to restrain evil by punishing criminals.

If the Bible is so clear on this subject, as I believe it is, why do so many Christians hold contradictory views? I think the main reason is that we like to pick and choose which commands of the Bible we want to follow instead of acknowledging God's total authority and submitting to all of his law for all of our lives.

Because Christians refuse to to submit to God's government in all things, we have lost the blessings that come from limiting human government as he ordained.

Instead of acknowledging that God has divided government authority among the individual, the family, the church, and the state -- each jurisdiction of which possesses limited, enumerated powers -- we imagine that we can improve on His design by giving the state authority and power properly reserved to the family or the church.

In so doing, we have elevated the state to the level of a minor deity, who will provide for and protect us when invoked by the proper "democratic" rituals and propitiated with sufficiently large sacrifices. This is idol-worship, and Christians should be ashamed that we have permitted it in the blessed land that God has granted to us here in Alabama.

8:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christianity is not a determining "value" of a Republican or a Democrat. It is a principle by which those who love christ live by. I have NOT seen it portrayed by a majority in the Republican party. It is not Which ticket or Religion, or Party you choose to be associated with, but rather Christianity is subtle, dynamic and definitely a Christlike attitude shown on a daily basis, and not just portrayed during ELECTION SEASON!

2:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrats and Republicans should not be classified as sects that are either moral or immoral. There are good people in all parties, and it's not fair that the Democratic party should suffer from someone's "idealism" of what is reality and what isn't. You might notice, if you do enough research, that it's not the party that makes the person, but rather the individual as a whole.

7:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anony said...

Civil government is just to inefficient to be trusted with helping the poor. The administrative costs of government are high, and state employees, who are rewarded by politicians with tax dollars for their vote, are too expensive.

"This "robbing Peter to pay Paul" idea is off point, moreover. No one is robbing anyone."

Maybe "robbing" is the wrong word, but one thing is sure: if you don't pay taxes, the government will kill you.

10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Not So Fast said...

Anon 10:28 -

Actually, if you look at the balance sheets, most government programs like Medicare and Medicaid spend a FAR HIGHER percentage of their revenue on actual services rendered, (i.e., taking care of elderly or poor people's health needs) than their private sector or non-profit counterparts.

Compared to the free-market HMO's and insurance companies who have overhead costs that are multiples higher than those for Medicaid and Medicare, I'd say gov't does a pretty decent job of serving those in need.

A few years ago it was reported that Elizabeth Dole, as head of the Red Cross, made more than $500K per year - far more than the highest paid bureaucrat in DC or Montgomery.

The efficiency argument doesn't really hold up. So, if you want to dislike government because your taxes go to help pay for "those people," fair enough... but as Christians we are called to help the less fortunate - and not just the widows and orphans (also the sick, the infirm, the hungry, those in prison, etc). I don't recall the Bible saying that government can't be used to implement that calling.

So, pick your poison - government programs that may have occassional unintended consequences but reach more people, or private efforts that are full of their own wasteful spending and a smaller reach.

What Would Jesus Do?

3:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! It's obvious that Jesus would use the power of the sword to force people to spend their money the way He wanted them! I mean, just hear these Scriptures:

"The Lord loves a compelled giver."

"Render unto Ceaser whatever he wants."

"Bring the whole tithe in, or else I send the government after you."

"If a man will not provide for his own, he is worse than an infidel, so the government will have to do it for him."

"Government is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer, and to provide bread and healthcare to the needy."

1:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm always surprised by those who have no problem with our tax dollars going to finance this unholy war in Iraq (not to mention paying for the gestapo tactics used to enforce the so-called Patriot Act) yet who are outraged when money goes to help the poor and needy. What would Christ think of that?

1:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the last post. That's why I'm personally consistent. I oppose the war, the Patriot Act, and government welfare.

That post about Medicare and Medicaid being more financially accountable than private alternatives is baloney. I can't believe people actually believe this nonsense! It's far cheaper for me to pay someone's hospital bill, than to send my money to Washington to have it filtered back down to the hospital. This is just common sense.

Bottom line, government "charity" is an oxymoron. It's not love, but force.

One poster said that taxes for welfare is not theft because we all agree to put up with it. Let me get this straight, if most of us agree that theft is okay, then it is?
Then, why don't we just cut out the middle-man and allow poor people to simply take what they want from the rich any time they like? I mean, if we all agree to this arrangement, what's the problem?

As a Christian, I try to define theft the way God does in His Word. Majority rule does not change the definition of theft.

1:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the last poster's argument is that it seems to go too far. Taken to its logical end, all government is bad, and we shouldn't pay any taxes. If the suggestion is anything less than that extreme, then where is the line to be drawn? What taxes are OK, and which aren't? What government expenditures are OK, and which aren't?

1:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above poster missed my point. All taxes are not bad. The question is in the definition of "bad" and "good." As a Christian, the Bible should provide our definitions. Romans 13 gives a good summary of what taxes are for. We also find many principles in the Old Testament about what a just tax and tax rate is. For instance, Samuel told the people of Israel that they should not want a king because he may take up to 10 percent of their wealth in taxes!

Kind of makes our rates today look down right wicked, eh?

I'm not making a libertarian argument here. I am simply postulating that the Bible should provide us with our definitions on what a just tax is. So, with that premise, I'd like someone to show me in the Bible where a 40% tax rate can be justified-- no matter how many "widows" it goes to help.

4:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a specious argument. The Bible doesn't focus on what is a just or unjust rate, especially not the New Testament. Jesus was more concerned about His Father's Kingdom than this one. therefore, "render unto Caesar's that which is Caesar's."

Also, your post doesn't address what we do with the revenues recieved under any tax rate. Part of my problem is that we --who proclaim ourselves to be a Christian nation -- divert our resources away from the goals that Christ laid out before us, focusing instead on ignoble if not sinful efforts like this nutty war.

Let me ask a hypothetical quesiton. IF you could be assured that your tax dollars would go toward helping the less fortunate (with no fraud, waste or corruption), would you as a Christian be willing to pay such a tax?

6:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest you take my advice in the previous post and read Romans 13.

It says in part: "For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil...for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil...For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing."

There you have a good summary of the job of government: minister of justice. Terror to the evil-doer, protector of the righteous. Civil government is to give justice to the widow, not a welfare check.

You are quite mistaken about the Bible being silent on tax rates. But this brings up a good theological difference between us. You obviously don't believe the Bible speaks to all issues (specifically or principally).

And this gets to the heart of the matter: Christians substituing what they think God wants with what God actually commands. King Saul did the same thing. Read I Samuel 15. God told Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, but he saved the king and the best sheep and oxen. His excuse was that he was going to use the animals as burnt sacrifices to God. Surely God would like that, right? I mean, God told them to make sacrifices.

Samuel then confronts Saul and says:

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice..."

So your hypothetical question makes no sense to me. It would not matter if you assured me that every penny of the money you forced from me would be given to the poor. If God does not give you the authority to take it and to spend it, you are a thief and it doesn't matter if you wear a badge. The ends don't justify the means. God is concerned about both-- and He speaks to both. If you deny this, then you're left with your own arbitrary standard.

What you advocate is doing God's will, man's way.

7:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm quite familiar with Romans 13 -- it was referenced quite a bit during Roy Moore's nutty efforts to disobey a federal court order.

Romans 13 begins by saying that "(e)veryone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." It goes on to provide that "(t)his is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

What Romans 13 does NOT do is to puport to establish an exclusive laundry list of proper governmental functions.

You argue that "(i)f God does not give you the authority to take it and to spend it, you are a thief and it doesn't matter if you wear a badge. The ends don't justify the means." Well OK, but we are not talking about thieves. Our government -- local, state, and federal -- IS authorized, by us, to tax ourselves. We are not the victims of crime -- we are complying with laws that our chosen representatives enacted to pay for certain governmental functions that we (again through our representatives) have identified. At this point,remember Romans 13 again. Having established a system of government through our U.S. and state constitutions, we must now obey and abide by that system.

Now sometimes the system doesn't work real well, like when our knucklehead president decides to start a war when no pressing national security interest are at stake, and when such situations arise, we can seek to effect change but only by means provided by our system of government, such as by voting the rascals out.

In attempting to argue otherwise, you may be guilty of doing what you describe my efforts as doing, namely (as you put it) "Christians substituting what they think God wants with what God actually commands." On that point about what God actually commands -- well, what does God actually command? Keep in mind that I'm a New Testament guy, and I focus on the words in the red type. His copmmands are pretty simple: love God with all your heart, your mind and your soul, and love your neighbor as you would yourself.

Jesus focused much of his efforts while on earth on explaining the nuances of the latter commandment. He repeatedly told us to help the less fortunate. the most powerful example of this is Matthew 25, when Jesus tells of how all mankind will be separated like a shepard would the sheep and goats. Remember what separates the blessed chosen from those damned to hell? Beggining on verse 34:

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

WOW! That's pretty powerful stuff. Our own salvation depends mightily on how we help the least among us.

When Jesus spoke, his followers held no governmental authority, of course. Now, the most powerful country in the history of the world is guided and run by those who proclaim (often loudly) to be his followers. Well, doesn't His commandment still hold true? Shouldn't President Knucklehead's efforts as president be guided by his faith? And if so, shouldn't he use his faith to help him decide what governmental progams and intiatives are important and which aren't?

And if so, and if he is a real Christian, shouldn't he focus his efforts on helping the least among us instead of helping the wealthy beneficiaries of humongous tax cuts?

Bottom line: Jesus cared not a whit about what our tax rate was. I challenge anyone to find any passage in the New Testament that provides otherwise. What Christ did care about what we do with what we got, and how we take care of everyone regardless of their station in life.

6:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you forget that the "New Testament Christians" did not have the "red-type" Bible passages.

Remember that Jesus and the Apostles appealed to the "Old Testament" to justify their teachings. When the Bereans were praised for "searching the Scripture" what Scripture do you think they were reading? There was no New Testament yet.

So, if you insist on this New Testament only nonsense, then I'll just insist on the Old Testament and we'll be at a styme in this discussion. But I won't do that because I'm a whole-Bible Christian.

You can't pick and choose what part of God's Word you want to believe. If so, get your own religion. You were born a little too late to change the Christian Faith. Both the Old and New Testament conveys God's plan, His character, and His law. Take out one, and you have a different religion. The "Old" and "New" is a man-made division. The Lord our God is ONE-- not two.

Mormons do the same thing to the New Testament that you do with the Old. That's why they're Mormons-- not Christians.

But I think you are totally missing my point. This whole issue is about jurisdiction. For instance, the Bible says "husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church." Okay, so what if a guy is not loving his wife the way he ought? Can I step in and do it for him? Nope. It's not my place.

The Bible says to "train up a child in the way he should go..." But what if I think the parents are not doing a good enough job. Can I use the power of the state to take the child away? It's done in many nations-- including our own sometimes. But again, it's not my place.

The point is, God created several institutions to take care of children, elderly, rich, poor, business, spiritual growth, etc.

All I'm suggesting is that government welfare is a situation of a God-ordained institution stepping outside its jurisdiction. Your only basis for saying government should get involved in welfare is because it has the power of force.

You asked for New Testament passages on tax rates. Okay here you go:

Matt 22:21. "Then he said to them, 'give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.'"

This is a famous passage, but we don't always realize what Jesus is saying. First, at the very least, He's saying that Caesar may not tax more than 90 percent, because anything more than that would be cutting into God's tithe, which is still very much in effect, even amoung "New Testament" Christians.

But, more importantly, Jesus declared that there are certain things that do not belong to Caesar. Imagine what that meant during the time Jesus lived!

But anyway, there you have it, a "New Testament" mandate for a "limited government."

Because here's the secret: God gets to decide what belongs to Caesar and what doesn't. Taxes are not exempt from God's sovereignty.

Poster, what you don't see is that when you tell God He has nothing to say about a subject (such as tax rates) you willingly fill the void with your own ideas. But if you feel the state can compel an unlimited amount of money from people, as long as a majority agree, then why don't we use the power of the state to force pagans to convert?

The reason is because matters involving conversion are not the domain of the state, but the church. The state has no business telling someone which church to attend, in the same way it has no right to take whatever it wants from my bank account and give it to another.

Being a Christian in government doesn't mean you get to legislate

I find it amazing that Christians complain about Roy Moore "forcing his religion" on everyone, when that's exactly what you are doing with "baptized socialism."

6:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sense that you're getting a little irritated with me, which may be understandable. Debating points of religion does have a way of getting emotions flowing!

Yeah, I do think that things changed once the New Covenant between God and Man was sealed with the blood of His only begotten son. That why God doesn't punish us like he once did -- while we do not deserve it, we sinners now enjoy His grace and love. (On a tangent: thats why I disagreed with Sen. Hank Erwin's comments about how the sinners in New Orleans had it coming. I don't think God works that way, at least not any more).

That things changed once Christ began his mission is exemplified by his disregard for some of the laws that had come from Moses. He healed on the Sabbath, much to the consternation of the Jewish leaders. As for Kosher laws, he proclaimed that what goes into one's mouth is not important; its what comes out that is (I'm paraphrasing).

That we do not observe many of the Jewish laws that God gave to Moses shows that those laws are not a integral part of our Christian identity.

Indeed, the problem that I have with many Christians in this State is that they seem to focus on the Old Testament, ignoring or downplaying what God's only son actually said.

I'm sorry but I cannot accept your characterization of Matthew 22:21. That says nothing about a limited government, not in the context that we are discussing. While we live on this world, and submit ourselves to lawful governmental authority, we must abide by the dictates of that authority. However, we render our love and souls to God, whose kingdom is much greater.

I'm struggling with where your argument goes. Are you saying that ALL taxes are ungodly? I get that when reading your statement that "(t)he state has no business telling someone which church to attend, in the same way it has no right to take whatever it wants from my bank account and give it to another." Are we are entitled to disregard our laws on taxation, even though those laws were enacted by our own representatives? If that's not your contention, then what would you contend is a permissible rate, and why?

Maybe the crux of your point is this portion of your argument:
"All I'm suggesting is that government welfare is a situation of a God-ordained institution stepping outside its jurisdiction. Your only basis for saying government should get involved in welfare is because it has the power of force."

Again, I'm struggling with your point. I find it hard to believe that a God-ordained institution steps outside its jurisdiciton (which I assume means its powers given by God) by helping those in need, which was in accordance with the central tenet of Christ's teachings. Is it OK from a Christian perspective for the government of a Christian nation to take our tax dollars to make bullets and bombs for wars in which we should not be, yet its not OK to use our money to feed and clothe the needy? We may just have to agree to disagree on this point.

I am not saying that government SHOULD do anything simply because it has the power of force. In our society, our government's powers are limited to what we agree, either through our constitutions or through laws enacted by our representatives. Is that force or is it a result of mutual acceptance and agreement? I guess you can call it force if you don't agree with the will of the majority or the principles of our Constitution with enable such laws, but it's a far stretch to then say that any such actions contravene God's word.

8:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just want to know if poison goes bad does that mean its good for you and would jesus wear a rolex on his call in radio show?

10:37:00 AM  
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