Socialist Evangelicals

In the United States, evangelicals who get politically involved tend to be on the right. In Latin America, evangelicals who get politically involved tend to be on the left. That’s because evangelicals in Latin America are often poor, and left wing politicians present themselves as the champion of the poor. This is also the case in Venezuela, where the neo-Marxist president Hugo Chavez is consolidating his power, nationalizing the property, suppressing opposition, and setting himself up as dictator for life.

Some Venezuelan evangelicals there, to their credit, are having second thoughts, according to the article. But it raises some interesting questions: How much of American evangelical politics reflects OUR class interests? If evangelicalism, as we sometimes hear, can go with a range of politics, is this because a highly internalized, subjective take on religion is not being honestly applied to the external world? Are evangelicals an easy prey for demogogues from either end of the spectrum? Do you see any lessons in what is happening in Venezuela and the part Christians are taking?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Left and Right can have various definitions. Do the S. American leftists promote, for instance, abortion and homosexual marriage? I can see an argument for being on the Left in a political environment where the Right is all about authoritarianism and the preservation of class differences.

    In Norway, for instance, historically the Venstre (Left) party was begun by pietist Christians whose focus was on elevating the lower classes through hard work and moral education. In time the party was hijacked by anti-Christians with a socialist agenda.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Left and Right can have various definitions. Do the S. American leftists promote, for instance, abortion and homosexual marriage? I can see an argument for being on the Left in a political environment where the Right is all about authoritarianism and the preservation of class differences.

    In Norway, for instance, historically the Venstre (Left) party was begun by pietist Christians whose focus was on elevating the lower classes through hard work and moral education. In time the party was hijacked by anti-Christians with a socialist agenda.

  • WebMonk

    Right on for Lars – the “right” and “left” of American politics has little relation to the politics of other countries.

    As far as politics within our country, even within the right or left, there is a wide variety of political positions, so Christians can find particular people to support on either side (though it seems predominately on the “right”). It becomes even further confused when political machinations are involved; Rudy is a perfect example of (some) Christians supporting someone who is very much against most of their held beliefs, just so that someone who is worse won’t become the leader.

    Blindness and demagoguery may contribute to some of the spaghetti-plate of politics, but most of it is explained by other reasons.

  • WebMonk

    Right on for Lars – the “right” and “left” of American politics has little relation to the politics of other countries.

    As far as politics within our country, even within the right or left, there is a wide variety of political positions, so Christians can find particular people to support on either side (though it seems predominately on the “right”). It becomes even further confused when political machinations are involved; Rudy is a perfect example of (some) Christians supporting someone who is very much against most of their held beliefs, just so that someone who is worse won’t become the leader.

    Blindness and demagoguery may contribute to some of the spaghetti-plate of politics, but most of it is explained by other reasons.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Lars and Webmonk have hit the nail squarely on the head. Our terms are products of our culture and are not entirely true to reality. In a sense, one could be small government and be rightly called liberal, because at its core liberal means a change from the status quo where as conservative means maintaining the status quo. Pro-lifers for that very reason could also be considered liberal and pro-choicers can be considered conservative.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Lars and Webmonk have hit the nail squarely on the head. Our terms are products of our culture and are not entirely true to reality. In a sense, one could be small government and be rightly called liberal, because at its core liberal means a change from the status quo where as conservative means maintaining the status quo. Pro-lifers for that very reason could also be considered liberal and pro-choicers can be considered conservative.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Rudy is a perfect example of (some) Christians supporting someone who is very much against most of their held beliefs, just so that someone who is worse won’t become the leader.”

    The excuse of choosing “the lesser of two evils” is still choosing evil. There is no Scriptural basis for that. If one of two evil candidates from major parties for an office is elected by evil (and/or foolish) voters, the ethical choice for Christian voters would be to have voted for a third party candidate, a write-in, or no one at all.

    Lutherans who did vote for a pro-murder-by-abortion candidate should repent (e.g., through private confession and absolution from their pastor).

  • Carl Vehse

    “Rudy is a perfect example of (some) Christians supporting someone who is very much against most of their held beliefs, just so that someone who is worse won’t become the leader.”

    The excuse of choosing “the lesser of two evils” is still choosing evil. There is no Scriptural basis for that. If one of two evil candidates from major parties for an office is elected by evil (and/or foolish) voters, the ethical choice for Christian voters would be to have voted for a third party candidate, a write-in, or no one at all.

    Lutherans who did vote for a pro-murder-by-abortion candidate should repent (e.g., through private confession and absolution from their pastor).

  • fwsonnek

    Mixture of religion and politics are bad. Trust not in powers that cannot save.

    Being a religious conservative I will focus on our own sins. Someone who identifies as liberal here can do the same for their group.

    First:

    I notice confusion manifested by using the terms conservative and liberal and applying them to religious factions. These are political terms that are meaningful only in a post-modernist sense as religious terms (ie emotional content and context without substantive meaning). Being conservative should only be defined by what you are trying to conserve. “Liberals” intent on preserving the FDR welfare state are therefore here actually conservatives….

    Often labels are for those who chose not to think.

    Secondly:

    I notice the false choices presented. If you disagree with “us” you are then “condoning” “fill-in-the-blank”. Condoning being a moral term indicating moral complicity, and used in the political realm as an argument for or against “fill-in-the-blank”.

    Usually this is where the goal is shared but means are not agreed upon or any compromise would appear soft on “fill-in-the-blank”…(war on drugs, mandatory sentencing, welfare programs, etc etc).

    The biggest false choice: We have NEVER had a TRUE anti-abortion candidate elected for president or congress. NEVER. EVER.

    So the take home message here is that we can compromise there, lying to ourselves that we are UNcompromising, but cannot compromise in other ways. All of this for the sake of pretending that we uphold moral absolutism in a political realm that must, by it´s very nature, deal with disposition of a half-loaf.

    Thirdly (and only important part really because this is the Jesus part…):

    Most of this all is due to a confusion of ideas on vocation. God works EQUALLY through christians and non christians to provide 1st article gifts to the world.

    God uses non-christians in exactly the same way He used the crowds who asked “Let His blood be on us and on our children!”.

    We only need look for that to see it. It is a beautiful thing.

    The difference between christian voters and politicians should be that the christian ones do not see the world ever ever having the final say. This is exclusively because of how they view the death of Christ.

    They trust this even if goodness appears utterly defeated. It is a firm article of faith in the face of ALL evidence being to the contrary. They will not therefore fall on their sword therefore.

    They believe that, in the end, God will dispose of ALL things, sweetly, by Grace, in Christ.

    They will not reach for whatever-means-necessary PRECISELY because means are the sacred and sacramental (=manifest here) ways God deals with mankind always.

    They will look for common ground and not leap on radical-sounding-sound-bites as wedges but will look to unite. Blessed are the peace makers. They will often look moderate and wishy washy.

    They will pray sincerely for the wellbeing and wisdom for the “opposition”and not just that they come around to our way of thinking. They will never, even in private, make personal attacks on public figures, and will regard it as sin if they do so. They will not gloat over the personal sins of others. They will pray for healing.

    What this means is that the christians who think in terms of death and resurrection even accept defeat and the death of what they seek to conserve with resolution and ultimate joy. This is because they know that there can be no resurrection without a death. (cf Paul Gerhard´s hymns and google their historical context)

    The LUTHERAN christians will recognize that ALL things are ALREADY reconciled to God in Christ. Our pleasure is to passively, in a gospel way, see this all through the eyes of faith and so receive and rightly use ALL things with thanksgiving.

    The CALVINIST will see that christians redeem the things of the world through their right use of them. They see worker bee mentality, and purpose drivenness not merely as virtue, but in fact as redemptive necessity.

    This is a subtle, yet crucial distinction that explains why evangelicals need to christianize everthing and elect only christian officials and look endlessly for christian examples of musicians and cultural figures and hold them up to us christians as post-modernist plaster saints….

    Lutherans are content to allow “christianize” to equal and be narrowly defined as joining all to the life, death and resurrection of the Light of the world that the darkness COULD not over come.

    Indeed, our dying world´s passion and death throes are already joined to His own even without yet knowing.

    All of this appears only to the world and worldly minded, as a passive exercise.

    It is leaven in the dough. It is salt.

    The kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen our Lord has told us.

  • fwsonnek

    Mixture of religion and politics are bad. Trust not in powers that cannot save.

    Being a religious conservative I will focus on our own sins. Someone who identifies as liberal here can do the same for their group.

    First:

    I notice confusion manifested by using the terms conservative and liberal and applying them to religious factions. These are political terms that are meaningful only in a post-modernist sense as religious terms (ie emotional content and context without substantive meaning). Being conservative should only be defined by what you are trying to conserve. “Liberals” intent on preserving the FDR welfare state are therefore here actually conservatives….

    Often labels are for those who chose not to think.

    Secondly:

    I notice the false choices presented. If you disagree with “us” you are then “condoning” “fill-in-the-blank”. Condoning being a moral term indicating moral complicity, and used in the political realm as an argument for or against “fill-in-the-blank”.

    Usually this is where the goal is shared but means are not agreed upon or any compromise would appear soft on “fill-in-the-blank”…(war on drugs, mandatory sentencing, welfare programs, etc etc).

    The biggest false choice: We have NEVER had a TRUE anti-abortion candidate elected for president or congress. NEVER. EVER.

    So the take home message here is that we can compromise there, lying to ourselves that we are UNcompromising, but cannot compromise in other ways. All of this for the sake of pretending that we uphold moral absolutism in a political realm that must, by it´s very nature, deal with disposition of a half-loaf.

    Thirdly (and only important part really because this is the Jesus part…):

    Most of this all is due to a confusion of ideas on vocation. God works EQUALLY through christians and non christians to provide 1st article gifts to the world.

    God uses non-christians in exactly the same way He used the crowds who asked “Let His blood be on us and on our children!”.

    We only need look for that to see it. It is a beautiful thing.

    The difference between christian voters and politicians should be that the christian ones do not see the world ever ever having the final say. This is exclusively because of how they view the death of Christ.

    They trust this even if goodness appears utterly defeated. It is a firm article of faith in the face of ALL evidence being to the contrary. They will not therefore fall on their sword therefore.

    They believe that, in the end, God will dispose of ALL things, sweetly, by Grace, in Christ.

    They will not reach for whatever-means-necessary PRECISELY because means are the sacred and sacramental (=manifest here) ways God deals with mankind always.

    They will look for common ground and not leap on radical-sounding-sound-bites as wedges but will look to unite. Blessed are the peace makers. They will often look moderate and wishy washy.

    They will pray sincerely for the wellbeing and wisdom for the “opposition”and not just that they come around to our way of thinking. They will never, even in private, make personal attacks on public figures, and will regard it as sin if they do so. They will not gloat over the personal sins of others. They will pray for healing.

    What this means is that the christians who think in terms of death and resurrection even accept defeat and the death of what they seek to conserve with resolution and ultimate joy. This is because they know that there can be no resurrection without a death. (cf Paul Gerhard´s hymns and google their historical context)

    The LUTHERAN christians will recognize that ALL things are ALREADY reconciled to God in Christ. Our pleasure is to passively, in a gospel way, see this all through the eyes of faith and so receive and rightly use ALL things with thanksgiving.

    The CALVINIST will see that christians redeem the things of the world through their right use of them. They see worker bee mentality, and purpose drivenness not merely as virtue, but in fact as redemptive necessity.

    This is a subtle, yet crucial distinction that explains why evangelicals need to christianize everthing and elect only christian officials and look endlessly for christian examples of musicians and cultural figures and hold them up to us christians as post-modernist plaster saints….

    Lutherans are content to allow “christianize” to equal and be narrowly defined as joining all to the life, death and resurrection of the Light of the world that the darkness COULD not over come.

    Indeed, our dying world´s passion and death throes are already joined to His own even without yet knowing.

    All of this appears only to the world and worldly minded, as a passive exercise.

    It is leaven in the dough. It is salt.

    The kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen our Lord has told us.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I should note that in my observations I was making generalizatons. Venezuela’s Chavez, for instance, is, as far as I can tell, a demagogue who employs Christian language in a postmodernist fashion in order to deceive his followers. He wants to elevate his own power and destroy his enemies, not promote the real welfare of the people of his country.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I should note that in my observations I was making generalizatons. Venezuela’s Chavez, for instance, is, as far as I can tell, a demagogue who employs Christian language in a postmodernist fashion in order to deceive his followers. He wants to elevate his own power and destroy his enemies, not promote the real welfare of the people of his country.

  • fwsonnek

    dr Luther:

    agreed, but it is a bit more complicated in that Liberal has usually really not meant change so much as “Laisse Faire” (sp?) .

    Therefore change is not the root idea of Liberal as much as the idea of liberty (false or real) is. Our founding fathers were true liberals, being so with the intent of conserving a set of social goods. The french and bolshevik revolutions in contrast were radically conservative. liberalism was the greatest crime for them.

    Change is not really more likely to happen I don´t think in either a “conservative” or “liberal” environment. The most very radical societal changes happened in the last century during the 30s, 40s, and 50s. These decades were conscientiously “conservative”

    The 60s and 70s can be seen as the mere revelation of what was wrought in the previous 3 “conservative” decades.

  • fwsonnek

    dr Luther:

    agreed, but it is a bit more complicated in that Liberal has usually really not meant change so much as “Laisse Faire” (sp?) .

    Therefore change is not the root idea of Liberal as much as the idea of liberty (false or real) is. Our founding fathers were true liberals, being so with the intent of conserving a set of social goods. The french and bolshevik revolutions in contrast were radically conservative. liberalism was the greatest crime for them.

    Change is not really more likely to happen I don´t think in either a “conservative” or “liberal” environment. The most very radical societal changes happened in the last century during the 30s, 40s, and 50s. These decades were conscientiously “conservative”

    The 60s and 70s can be seen as the mere revelation of what was wrought in the previous 3 “conservative” decades.

  • Norman Teigen

    Sonnek’s post is the clearest exposition on this topic that I have read. I wish that I had the ability to write so clearly. I would hope that this post would be broadcast widely as a means of clearing up much confusion.

    Norman Teigen
    ELS layman

  • Norman Teigen

    Sonnek’s post is the clearest exposition on this topic that I have read. I wish that I had the ability to write so clearly. I would hope that this post would be broadcast widely as a means of clearing up much confusion.

    Norman Teigen
    ELS layman

  • Norman Teigen

    Please delete the word ‘made’ in my post. I failed to proofread carefully because of carelessness.

  • Norman Teigen

    Please delete the word ‘made’ in my post. I failed to proofread carefully because of carelessness.

  • fwsonnek

    Norman Tiegen:

    Blush.

    I have followed your writings all over the place for some time having been in an ELS cong for a long time, and now in an LC-MS affiliated cong.

    Your family has such an amazing tradition of putting Jesus into everything. So what a humbling and nice comment.

    Actually, I have (probably) never had an original idea in my entire life. I sythesized (on the liberal vs conservative post) from the sainted Dr Francis Schaefer´s interesting “How shall we then live” film and book series. It is still a worthy read and look.

    I am not sure where I got the idea of Lutheran vs Calvinist/Evangelical vocational outlook. I DO think though that it explains a profound difference in a way that seems to have integrity.

    I would be interested here in others challenging this last idea to test it´s merits and validity.

  • fwsonnek

    Norman Tiegen:

    Blush.

    I have followed your writings all over the place for some time having been in an ELS cong for a long time, and now in an LC-MS affiliated cong.

    Your family has such an amazing tradition of putting Jesus into everything. So what a humbling and nice comment.

    Actually, I have (probably) never had an original idea in my entire life. I sythesized (on the liberal vs conservative post) from the sainted Dr Francis Schaefer´s interesting “How shall we then live” film and book series. It is still a worthy read and look.

    I am not sure where I got the idea of Lutheran vs Calvinist/Evangelical vocational outlook. I DO think though that it explains a profound difference in a way that seems to have integrity.

    I would be interested here in others challenging this last idea to test it´s merits and validity.

  • Carl Vehse

    fwsonnek wrote: “I notice the false choices presented. If you disagree with “us” you are then “condoning” “fill-in-the-blank”… Usually this is where the goal is shared but means are not agreed upon or any compromise would appear soft on “fill-in-the-blank”…(war on drugs, mandatory sentencing, welfare programs, etc etc).”

    This fallacious argument is its own example of a false choice, because it replaces a person’s ethical choice (euphemized as a shared “goal”) with the choice of “disagreeing with us” or not. (A person driving the getaway car is still a bankrobber.) The fallacious argument also brings red herrings (e.g., “war on drugs, mandatory sentencing, welfare programs, etc etc.”).

    Yes, there are gray issues, where the ethical choice may not be obvious, or even known. And there are sometimes several ways to act based on an ethical choice.

    But there are certain issues where ethical choices and ethical paths are clear: murder-by-abortion is one (euthanasia, homosexuality, and treason are others).

    In such a case, voting for a political candidate who promises to (or historically does) support abortion, legislate for abortion, fund abortion, or who professes elective abortion as an amoral choice, similar to the choice of appropriate socks to match one’s clothes, or as a morally just right of a woman, is the same as the voter supporting or performing an abortion himself.

    A voter who tries to separate his personal position for abortion from his voting for a politician he knows will directly support abortion is, in effect, asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” That excuse didn’t fly the first time.

  • Carl Vehse

    fwsonnek wrote: “I notice the false choices presented. If you disagree with “us” you are then “condoning” “fill-in-the-blank”… Usually this is where the goal is shared but means are not agreed upon or any compromise would appear soft on “fill-in-the-blank”…(war on drugs, mandatory sentencing, welfare programs, etc etc).”

    This fallacious argument is its own example of a false choice, because it replaces a person’s ethical choice (euphemized as a shared “goal”) with the choice of “disagreeing with us” or not. (A person driving the getaway car is still a bankrobber.) The fallacious argument also brings red herrings (e.g., “war on drugs, mandatory sentencing, welfare programs, etc etc.”).

    Yes, there are gray issues, where the ethical choice may not be obvious, or even known. And there are sometimes several ways to act based on an ethical choice.

    But there are certain issues where ethical choices and ethical paths are clear: murder-by-abortion is one (euthanasia, homosexuality, and treason are others).

    In such a case, voting for a political candidate who promises to (or historically does) support abortion, legislate for abortion, fund abortion, or who professes elective abortion as an amoral choice, similar to the choice of appropriate socks to match one’s clothes, or as a morally just right of a woman, is the same as the voter supporting or performing an abortion himself.

    A voter who tries to separate his personal position for abortion from his voting for a politician he knows will directly support abortion is, in effect, asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” That excuse didn’t fly the first time.

  • fwsonnek

    Carl Vehse:

    “goal” = “ideal” in what I wrote Carl. Not intended as euphemism. How often are ideals realized? Even though the answer is never, they still represent something to be strived for. Real ideals are not relative.

    I don´t think that drug addiction, law-breaking, or welfare-enablement are in any way grayer than murder, euthanasia, abortion, sexual immorality, or treason. Nor do you I hope.

    For each of these, there are several legislative and policy options that could be pursued, and honest and moral men could argue and debate. Including murder, murder by abortion or euthanasia, homosexuality (not that you demonstrate knowledge of what that word means) and treason, among others.

    Three strikes, war on drugs, and other policies can be argued as useful means to the end of those things by good and honorable men. You stated my feelings on this exactly in fact in your own post. You made the same point I was trying to make.

    Here I do not believe that you and I really would disagree if we talked about this in a friendly way over a beer dear brother.

    OK Carl Vehse. I bite:

    Who have you ever helped elect who is TRULY anti-abortion in that they would criminalize abortions also in cases of rape and incest, AND would CRIMINALIZE all rapes as the premeditated murders they are and sentence the mothers and their doctors and nurses to the death sentence and the gas chamber or electric chair?

    Or do have you voted for candidates like Bush who are in FAVOR of legalized abortion/murder in cases of rapes and incest? and who have gone on record to decline to pursue these cases as premeditated murder and a capital crime.

    When have you ever had this clear ethical choice or path in the voting booth?

    Explain your position please on this for me.

  • fwsonnek

    Carl Vehse:

    “goal” = “ideal” in what I wrote Carl. Not intended as euphemism. How often are ideals realized? Even though the answer is never, they still represent something to be strived for. Real ideals are not relative.

    I don´t think that drug addiction, law-breaking, or welfare-enablement are in any way grayer than murder, euthanasia, abortion, sexual immorality, or treason. Nor do you I hope.

    For each of these, there are several legislative and policy options that could be pursued, and honest and moral men could argue and debate. Including murder, murder by abortion or euthanasia, homosexuality (not that you demonstrate knowledge of what that word means) and treason, among others.

    Three strikes, war on drugs, and other policies can be argued as useful means to the end of those things by good and honorable men. You stated my feelings on this exactly in fact in your own post. You made the same point I was trying to make.

    Here I do not believe that you and I really would disagree if we talked about this in a friendly way over a beer dear brother.

    OK Carl Vehse. I bite:

    Who have you ever helped elect who is TRULY anti-abortion in that they would criminalize abortions also in cases of rape and incest, AND would CRIMINALIZE all rapes as the premeditated murders they are and sentence the mothers and their doctors and nurses to the death sentence and the gas chamber or electric chair?

    Or do have you voted for candidates like Bush who are in FAVOR of legalized abortion/murder in cases of rapes and incest? and who have gone on record to decline to pursue these cases as premeditated murder and a capital crime.

    When have you ever had this clear ethical choice or path in the voting booth?

    Explain your position please on this for me.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Pro-lifers for that very reason could also be considered liberal and pro-choicers can be considered conservative.”

    In that sense, one simply is replacing “conservative” and “liberal”, with “pro-incumbent” and “anti-incumbent”, respectively.

    Surely there must exist a basis, other than whoever won the last election, on which to define what a political conservative or liberal is (at least for a given country).

    The same goes for a definitional basis of “conservative” and “liberal” in Christianity, or more specifically, in Lutheran Christianity (which is a redundant phrase to a Lutheran).

  • Carl Vehse

    “Pro-lifers for that very reason could also be considered liberal and pro-choicers can be considered conservative.”

    In that sense, one simply is replacing “conservative” and “liberal”, with “pro-incumbent” and “anti-incumbent”, respectively.

    Surely there must exist a basis, other than whoever won the last election, on which to define what a political conservative or liberal is (at least for a given country).

    The same goes for a definitional basis of “conservative” and “liberal” in Christianity, or more specifically, in Lutheran Christianity (which is a redundant phrase to a Lutheran).

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Comes down, as others have said, to how we define right & left. Far too often, “right” means “plunder tax revenues for the rich and powerful” and “left” means “plunder tax revenues for the government and claim you’re giving it to the poor.”

    Neither exactly squares with “Thou Shalt not Steal.”

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Comes down, as others have said, to how we define right & left. Far too often, “right” means “plunder tax revenues for the rich and powerful” and “left” means “plunder tax revenues for the government and claim you’re giving it to the poor.”

    Neither exactly squares with “Thou Shalt not Steal.”

  • fwsonnek

    Carl Vehse:

    Do you maybe suppose that the labels are themselves rather useless out of context and change over time and that often they are a catchall or used for emotional impact without connection to a real and sure definitional meaning?

    When I hear conservative I think ” great , all christians are by nature conservative (in that we pass on only what we have received as a treasure)”, but then I need to ask: “WHAT exactly are we talking about conserving? Page 5 and 15? A 1950´s vision of family values?”

    And in the Gospel according to the Holy Apostle Saint Luke, what we conserve is this….

    hating father and mother, selling all, taking up the cross, in the context of conserving that one thing that we would conserve at all costs.

    We are told that we must identify and be in solidarity with with the last, the lost , the least, and those unloved and rejected by society (I am thinking that samaritans might be the equivalent of undocumented immigrants, people with aids, the unwashed homeless, drug addicts, persons of middle eastern descent, etc…) Jesus made these feel welcome in a giddy way (!) without accepting their bad behaviors. How would we do likewise? It seems we are called to puzzle through this.

    We are taught by example to wine and dine (ie be intimate with) those politically corrupt and on the take (tax collectors) and manifestly impenitent and the sexually immoral(prostitutes) and woo them with our love and grieve with them over their broken lives and invite them to be concerned with our own lives.

    We are taught to obey and give honor to moral whitewashed sepulchers who are our religious leaders, because they speak with God´s authority and are placed over us by God. Indeed, at times we are called to make our private confessions to them, trusting not them but God…..

    We are taught to pay our taxes with the SAME fervor with which we render God´s due to Him. ( I hate this one too alot….)

    We are taught to obey, pray and give thanks for our political leaders as being gifts of God, regardless of whether they be Nero, Saddam Hussein, Bill Clinton, Hitler, or George Bush. Here they all get included, oddly, in the same sentence.

    We do justice personally (justice and righteousness come from the same hebrew word I am told…) and are ready to die passively if society finds that unwelcome, and teach our children to be prepared to follow our example.

    We defend the reputations of, and speak well of ALL ( I personally hate this one….).

    We gladly subsume our own rights to the rights of others.

    And we do all of this only in view of the life death and resurrection of our Lord.

    (Aside: Has anyone here noticed that the Brittish hymns in our hymnals have a military triumphalism that the German hymns lack? Has this affected our thinking as to our proper attitude?)

    How else could we see all of these things as joyful things to do?

    We who were dead are now alive in Him Who fills all things and is the life of the world. Only in faith can we see this as so. Amen!

  • fwsonnek

    Carl Vehse:

    Do you maybe suppose that the labels are themselves rather useless out of context and change over time and that often they are a catchall or used for emotional impact without connection to a real and sure definitional meaning?

    When I hear conservative I think ” great , all christians are by nature conservative (in that we pass on only what we have received as a treasure)”, but then I need to ask: “WHAT exactly are we talking about conserving? Page 5 and 15? A 1950´s vision of family values?”

    And in the Gospel according to the Holy Apostle Saint Luke, what we conserve is this….

    hating father and mother, selling all, taking up the cross, in the context of conserving that one thing that we would conserve at all costs.

    We are told that we must identify and be in solidarity with with the last, the lost , the least, and those unloved and rejected by society (I am thinking that samaritans might be the equivalent of undocumented immigrants, people with aids, the unwashed homeless, drug addicts, persons of middle eastern descent, etc…) Jesus made these feel welcome in a giddy way (!) without accepting their bad behaviors. How would we do likewise? It seems we are called to puzzle through this.

    We are taught by example to wine and dine (ie be intimate with) those politically corrupt and on the take (tax collectors) and manifestly impenitent and the sexually immoral(prostitutes) and woo them with our love and grieve with them over their broken lives and invite them to be concerned with our own lives.

    We are taught to obey and give honor to moral whitewashed sepulchers who are our religious leaders, because they speak with God´s authority and are placed over us by God. Indeed, at times we are called to make our private confessions to them, trusting not them but God…..

    We are taught to pay our taxes with the SAME fervor with which we render God´s due to Him. ( I hate this one too alot….)

    We are taught to obey, pray and give thanks for our political leaders as being gifts of God, regardless of whether they be Nero, Saddam Hussein, Bill Clinton, Hitler, or George Bush. Here they all get included, oddly, in the same sentence.

    We do justice personally (justice and righteousness come from the same hebrew word I am told…) and are ready to die passively if society finds that unwelcome, and teach our children to be prepared to follow our example.

    We defend the reputations of, and speak well of ALL ( I personally hate this one….).

    We gladly subsume our own rights to the rights of others.

    And we do all of this only in view of the life death and resurrection of our Lord.

    (Aside: Has anyone here noticed that the Brittish hymns in our hymnals have a military triumphalism that the German hymns lack? Has this affected our thinking as to our proper attitude?)

    How else could we see all of these things as joyful things to do?

    We who were dead are now alive in Him Who fills all things and is the life of the world. Only in faith can we see this as so. Amen!

  • fwsonnek

    Here in Brasil, the evangelicals have formed a political party as well. It seems socialistic. and moralistic. and wordly. It seems rather graceless to see a “christian” party using identical methods to gain votes as every other party.

    Abortion is illegal , and homosexuality is also not a social hotbutton. corruption and lack of universal education are huge problems and i dont see the evangelicals rushing to address those problems.

    Poverty is a huge problem as well, and the evangelical party panders to that issue about the same as all other parties. they promise alot and deliver nothing once they get power.

    In short I dont see alot of lessons americans can learn here.

  • fwsonnek

    Here in Brasil, the evangelicals have formed a political party as well. It seems socialistic. and moralistic. and wordly. It seems rather graceless to see a “christian” party using identical methods to gain votes as every other party.

    Abortion is illegal , and homosexuality is also not a social hotbutton. corruption and lack of universal education are huge problems and i dont see the evangelicals rushing to address those problems.

    Poverty is a huge problem as well, and the evangelical party panders to that issue about the same as all other parties. they promise alot and deliver nothing once they get power.

    In short I dont see alot of lessons americans can learn here.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Who have you ever helped elect who is TRULY anti-abortion in that they would criminalize abortions also in cases of rape and incest, AND would CRIMINALIZE all rapes as the premeditated murders they are and sentence the mothers and their doctors and nurses to the death sentence and the gas chamber or electric chair?”

    I have, amid my votes for the Lone Ranger, Mickey Mouse, and Teddy Roosevelt, voted a few times for politicians in state (including presidential elector) elections who have not used their political power to propose and enact laws to indict all abortionists and seek their conviction and execution in the gas chamber or electric chair. While a pro-life position does not require the execution for all abortionists, a pro-life politician or judge should do what he authorized to do to reduce and ultimately eliminate murder-by-abortion.

    As some in pro-life organizations have noted previously, I have come to realize that it is not right to vote for even one promoted as “98 percent pro-life” (if my math is right, that’s 2 percent pro-abortion). Yes, I would rather have a President who is 98 percent pro-life than 60 percent or 10 percent. But that does not mean such a candidate deserves my vote, just as I would not vote for a judge who said he would knowingly convict and sentence to death no more than 2 percent of those he knew were innocent.

    Some believe that the lesser of two abortion evils is the way to vote so that we can at least get some benefit for the U.S. But someone recently noted: “[Christians] believe that, in the end, God will dispose of ALL things, sweetly, by Grace, in Christ.

    “They will not reach for whatever-means-necessary PRECISELY because means are the sacred and sacramental (=manifest here) ways God deals with mankind always.”

    So even if we do not vote for a 98-percent prolifer, and a 100-percent pro-abortion is elected, we should still trust that God will work His will in all things, even despite the evil desires of men, even without our weighing how we should vote for the lesser of two evils.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Who have you ever helped elect who is TRULY anti-abortion in that they would criminalize abortions also in cases of rape and incest, AND would CRIMINALIZE all rapes as the premeditated murders they are and sentence the mothers and their doctors and nurses to the death sentence and the gas chamber or electric chair?”

    I have, amid my votes for the Lone Ranger, Mickey Mouse, and Teddy Roosevelt, voted a few times for politicians in state (including presidential elector) elections who have not used their political power to propose and enact laws to indict all abortionists and seek their conviction and execution in the gas chamber or electric chair. While a pro-life position does not require the execution for all abortionists, a pro-life politician or judge should do what he authorized to do to reduce and ultimately eliminate murder-by-abortion.

    As some in pro-life organizations have noted previously, I have come to realize that it is not right to vote for even one promoted as “98 percent pro-life” (if my math is right, that’s 2 percent pro-abortion). Yes, I would rather have a President who is 98 percent pro-life than 60 percent or 10 percent. But that does not mean such a candidate deserves my vote, just as I would not vote for a judge who said he would knowingly convict and sentence to death no more than 2 percent of those he knew were innocent.

    Some believe that the lesser of two abortion evils is the way to vote so that we can at least get some benefit for the U.S. But someone recently noted: “[Christians] believe that, in the end, God will dispose of ALL things, sweetly, by Grace, in Christ.

    “They will not reach for whatever-means-necessary PRECISELY because means are the sacred and sacramental (=manifest here) ways God deals with mankind always.”

    So even if we do not vote for a 98-percent prolifer, and a 100-percent pro-abortion is elected, we should still trust that God will work His will in all things, even despite the evil desires of men, even without our weighing how we should vote for the lesser of two evils.

  • fwsonnek

    carl vehse:

    well spoken.

    Thanks for taking the time and care for a well reasoned and gentle response dear brother.

    You stated your position well. I could also respect those who decide to vote for the less-than-100%. I would be one of those.

    Interestingly I vote as I do for EXACTLY the same reasons you state for your stand.

    Very interesting to me. I hope it is to you too.

    “[Christians] believe that, in the end, God will dispose of ALL things, sweetly, by Grace, in Christ.”

    It seems we can follow the example of the parable in Luke 19:12 trusting that whenever we “do business” using what Jesus has given us, it will multiply and be a blessing.

    Therefore: God bless you and those who do other than you for exactly the same reasons.

    We can still all stand as brothers, gathered around His Body and Blood and proclaiming His life-giving death until His return. Maranatha! Come quickly Lord!

  • fwsonnek

    carl vehse:

    well spoken.

    Thanks for taking the time and care for a well reasoned and gentle response dear brother.

    You stated your position well. I could also respect those who decide to vote for the less-than-100%. I would be one of those.

    Interestingly I vote as I do for EXACTLY the same reasons you state for your stand.

    Very interesting to me. I hope it is to you too.

    “[Christians] believe that, in the end, God will dispose of ALL things, sweetly, by Grace, in Christ.”

    It seems we can follow the example of the parable in Luke 19:12 trusting that whenever we “do business” using what Jesus has given us, it will multiply and be a blessing.

    Therefore: God bless you and those who do other than you for exactly the same reasons.

    We can still all stand as brothers, gathered around His Body and Blood and proclaiming His life-giving death until His return. Maranatha! Come quickly Lord!

  • Carl Vehse

    While there are certainly many political issues for which different Christians may favor different approaches (of which not all may be correct or effective), the LCMS has made the following statement in its document, Render unto Caesar… and unto God (1995, pp.86-7):

    “One of the few social issues concerning which the Synod has been willing to take a (more or less) “activist” role is abortion. While presumably recognizing the risks and dangers of such an approach, the Synod has nevertheless concluded that the question of abortion is addressed so clearly by Scripture, that it is such an extraordinary social problem, and that this problem is so fundamentally tied up with what Scripture says about the God-given duty of the state,159 that failure to speak and under certain circumstances to act would be tantamount to the failure of the German church under Hitler….

    “Also, the Synod has clearly, publicly, and repeatedly stated its position on abortion, declaring it to be “not a moral option, except as a tragically unavoidable byproduct of medical procedures necessary to prevent the death of another human being, viz., the mother” and expressly encouraging Christians “to speak and act as responsible citizens on behalf of the living but unborn in the civic and political arena to secure for these defenseless persons due protection under the law.” In short, abortion is an issue on which the Synod has laid a strong foundation for direct action.”

  • Carl Vehse

    While there are certainly many political issues for which different Christians may favor different approaches (of which not all may be correct or effective), the LCMS has made the following statement in its document, Render unto Caesar… and unto God (1995, pp.86-7):

    “One of the few social issues concerning which the Synod has been willing to take a (more or less) “activist” role is abortion. While presumably recognizing the risks and dangers of such an approach, the Synod has nevertheless concluded that the question of abortion is addressed so clearly by Scripture, that it is such an extraordinary social problem, and that this problem is so fundamentally tied up with what Scripture says about the God-given duty of the state,159 that failure to speak and under certain circumstances to act would be tantamount to the failure of the German church under Hitler….

    “Also, the Synod has clearly, publicly, and repeatedly stated its position on abortion, declaring it to be “not a moral option, except as a tragically unavoidable byproduct of medical procedures necessary to prevent the death of another human being, viz., the mother” and expressly encouraging Christians “to speak and act as responsible citizens on behalf of the living but unborn in the civic and political arena to secure for these defenseless persons due protection under the law.” In short, abortion is an issue on which the Synod has laid a strong foundation for direct action.”


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