The Republican captivity of the church

“I just hate what the Republican Party has done to Christianity.” So said tODD, who had stopped posting for awhile, fed up with the harsh tone of our political discussions. I’m glad he’s back. (And despite his defense of democrats and what some of you have accused him of, he is NOT an Obama supporter after all. He wrote in an early vote for Ron Paul, who is both anti-war and pro-life!)

Isn’t it true that the secular public is confusing conservative Christianity with conservative politics, just as many conservative Christians are doing?

Has the Christian alliance with the Republican party helped the cause of Christianity? Or prevented people from taking it seriously?

Has the Christian alliance with the Republican party helped the cause of political conservatism? Or prevented people from taking it seriously?

I predict that in the likely Republican defeat that seems imminent that Republicans will blame the conservative Christians in their midst.

I further predict that many Christians will retreat into the neo-monastic stance of not wanting to contaminate themselves with the world since politics is dirty, which would also be wrong.

What should Christians learn from all of this, and how should they respond?

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  • Terry Culler

    I’ve long thought that the attachment some Christians have had to the Republican party was a bad idea. Essentially it has meant that Christian views have no impact in the Democrat party and the Republican party has seen fit to give us merely the crumbs off the table. All of it seems to be a mistake. Rather than having Christian politics we should have politicians whose views are informed by their Christian faith. This is true not only of politicians but of all of us. Most works of “Chrisitian fiction” that I’ve seen, for example, are poorly written drivel. How much better to read someone like Flannery O’Connor whose work is full of a true Christian worldview but not flogging us with it as if we’re too dumb to pick it up. The job of the Church is to preach the Gospel and prepare the saints for the work of ministry. For some that may be in public life. But let’s stop confusing public life and Christianity. If Obama wins, he wins. I don’t necessarily like it, but God is bigger than Barack Obama and all of his cohorts. Look in the back of the Book–God wins.

  • TK

    I agree except that I specifically blame Right Wing Evangelicals for latching on to Republicanism and tarnishing it. I think that traditional Christians have stood back while the Evangelicals trashed the party with their ideas that America was God’s country or that they could somehow bring about Christ’s return here on earth through the politics of America. I bought into the belief for several years, so I’m as guilty as anyone. What began to turn me away was the way, eight years ago, Bush supporters and GOP campaign workers justified their abandonment of Christian morals for the sake of getting their man elected. I would get GOP emails that would shock me with slander and malice. It did start me on the road to Wittenburg, so for that I’m thankful…but I’m not thankful that my children don’t have a Republican Party they can be proud of.

    I don’t predict Christians will leave the party…I predict (and pray) the hard Right Wing Evangelicals will leave the party and I’ll hold the door open for them.

  • Carl Vehse

    I just hate what the Republican Party has done to Christianity.” So said tODD, who had stopped posting for awhile, fed up with the harsh tone of our political discussions. [Emphasis added]

    Yeah, that “harsh tone” of “hate” is almost as bad as the pompous tone of hypocrisy.

  • Joe

    Welcome back tODD! I always enjoy your comments, even though we often disagree.

  • Ruthie

    Ron Paul is NOT pro-life. He thinks the decision should be up to the states…this is pro-choice. This is the same position that the south wanted for slavery.

  • Rich Shipe

    Dr Veith, I think your two predictions are good ones. I also think that many times so-called leaders in the Christian community are unfairly attacked and accused of being the source of all political problems.

    Generally liberal non-Christians despise Bible believing Christians and therefore they go out of their way to tell us every time Fallwell or Robertson would say something dumb. Sometimes they did but many times if you looked at it closer you realized it actually was taken out of context or misquoted. If that same treatment was given to leaders on the left we’d look at things differently.

    Many times we think that if only conservative Christian views could be presented in a better package than we would do better. There might be some truth to that but we shouldn’t kid ourselves. Christians are aliens in a foreign land and we will be hated because of Christ.

    What makes me worry is simply compromising the Gospel. Are we undermining the Good News by our actions? Obviously everyone has an opinion there but we’ve got to be honestly asking ourselves that question regularly. On that note I would add that just because there is a very vocal opposition to Christian involvement doesn’t mean that Christian involvement is undermining the Gospel. Christ himself was opposed. (and, of course, just because we are opposed doesn’t mean we are doing the right thing.) 🙂

  • #4
    Clearly tODD’s ire was aimed at the Republican Party and not anyone here (unless the GOP itself has been commenting here). Whereas reflexively pulling the trigger on hypocrisy seems unduly personal.

  • WebMonk

    Ron Paul is pro-life Ruthie, but he also thinks it’s a question that is NOT to be determined at the federal level. He has opposed legislation that most in the pro-life movement support, not because he is against pro-life principles, but because the way those principles are trying to be implemented is wrong.

    Good article by Ron Paul on this exact topic is

    His last paragraph summarizes it beautifully:

    For the pro-life cause to truly succeed without undermining the very freedoms that protect life, it must return to principle and uphold our Founder’s vision of federalism as an essential component of the American system. Undermining federalism ultimately can only undermine the very mechanism that protects the right to life.

  • “I further predict that many Christians will retreat into the neo-monastic stance of not wanting to contaminate themselves with the world since politics is dirty, which would also be wrong.”
    But given that so many of them can’t see the separation of Church and State, and how it is beneficial to both the Church and the State, I think it is preferable to the alternative.
    Funny, I sometimes thing many so-called Christians don’t even believe in God, not the God of the Bible any way. I say this because it seems they put their trust in laws, governments, parties and other princes. Salvation seems to be a this worldly victory over the other party. They see God as a hypothesis that is useful only for controlling the behavior of other people, and think that that is what the Bible is about. This thinking has been around for awhile. Voltaire once wrote “If God did not exist it would be necessary to create him.” Thinking without belief in God everything would descend into chaos. Concerning the god of Voltaire, I go with Bakunin “If God did exist it would be necessary to destroy him.” I don’t believe in that god. I don’t believe in the philosophical hypothesis that exists to limit human behavior. I believe in God. I believe God does punish sin, temporally and eternally. I believe God does govern even the left hand kingdom, even where people do not believe in Him. I believe he limits human behavior with or with out belief in Him. But I Believe he revealed himself in the Bible for a greater purpose than limiting human behavior, and giving us laws, or really bad blue prints for governance. He revealed himself in the Bible to reveal his love for us, and the forgiveness of sins His son won for us on the Cross. And he reveals this to us so that we might believe, trust, his his son’s death, and escape the eternal punishment for our sin in Hell.
    So can we please stop using the Bible for political purposes? and start using it to proclaim the Gospel, which should not be confused with a republican takeover of Congress and the White House?

  • WebMonk

    Wow, Vehse, you’re a genius.

    While managing to hypocritically talk about others’ hypocrisy, you simultaneously demonstrated the hatred of which Veith and tODD spoke.

    My hat is off to you. I can see you must have spent many hours honing your skills to be that good.

  • The Jones

    I have been saying this for a long time: when you combine religion and politics, you don’t bring politics up to the level of religion. You bring religion down to the level of politics. Two kingdoms, people, two kingdoms.

    And also Ruthie, @6 I have to echo WebMonk. Ron Paul is pro-life. You’ve got the right desire, but the wrong methods in mind. Please resist the inclination to hit the “magic button” of federal legislation to solve problems. I know we may see a pro-life constitutional amendment (and also a marriage amendment) as something like the One Ring being thrown into Mt. Doom or the Death Star blowing up, but that’s not how it is. Think of how the federal government has constrained the “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And based on that phenomenal performance, we’re going to hand over life and marriage issues to them!?

    The states have ALWAYS been conducive to the pro-life cause. All the federal court cases that have brought the issue to the federal level are cases in which STATE laws have been killed by FEDERAL courts. While we may say “Ah ha! Precisely why we need an amendment!” But to kill something in the courts, you should do it in the courts (with the nomination of judges), unless you want to risk spreading the cancer of abortion legislation to the ENTIRE federal government.

    The federal government doesn’t make laws against abortion (except in special cases like army bases, traveling across state lines, etc.), but neither do they make laws against murder and rape. That’s always been the job of the states, and the states do a good job. The states are and have always been our friends on abortion. Turning it back to the states is synonymous with “outlawing.”

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Lessons to be learned by Christians?

    First we must learn what it means that Christ serves the world through the church by the Gospel and that God rules the world through the state by the Law. Christians (and especially Christian politicians) really need to get that one straight if they are to be effective leaders and be taken seriously by the faithful and the faithless alike.

    What this would look like, would be a return to Christ-centered, Law / Gospel, Bible preaching in American Evangelical churches. And in the civil sphere a return to policy-based government with more open debates which are about government policy rather than the spectacle of network television talking point “debates”.

    But let me say this, as one who has a realistic respect for the fallenness of human nature, I don’t think a large segment of the population will want to learn these lessons and work to fix our broken churches or our broken local and federal governments. For the few who do, Sunday School starts at 9 a.m. next Sunday (check for local times). And don’t worry, our overinflated government never sleeps.

  • Nemo


    That doctrine doesn’t explain Rep. Paul’s vote against the bill that would have prohibited taking women across state lines to avoid parental notification laws (as well as his vote for every hostile amendment to this bill). Such a bill would reinforce the state authority, but wasn’t good enough for him.
    (NRTL gave him a 55% rating for 06-07,;
    although it has since been taken off their website, NARAL gave him a 65% rating for this same period.)

    I’ll agree that he’s probably personally opposed to abortion. He’s just not willing to do anything about it. As Ruthie said, how does that differ from Stephen Douglass’ argument on slavery?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Isn’t it funny how many Christians are so dogmatic about who you just have to vote for when you’re a Christian. But when it comes to worship, they say, “do whatever you want / whatever gets ’em in the door”. Yep, God knows their unbelieving hearts and how easy Big Brother has become their true God. And with a little discernment even we can see their faithlessness. Thanks for comment #10, Bror.

  • Nemo

    “I further predict that many Christians will retreat into the neo-monastic stance of not wanting to contaminate themselves with the world since politics is dirty, which would also be wrong.”

    But given that so many of them can’t see the separation of Church and State, and how it is beneficial to both the Church and the State, I think it is preferable to the alternative.

    Already tried that, we got Roe v. Wade.

    But then again, the Lutherans are for the Lutherans. I’m glad to know that you won’t be taken in.

  • CRB

    #3 TK
    Thanks much for expressing what I’ve been thinking about the Evangelicals involvement in politics! As I once heard a quip years ago defining, “politics”:
    “Poly” = many and “tic” = a pesky little bug!

  • Nemo,
    Not quite sure at all what you are getting at. I wasn’t around in the seventies, so I am not sure what kind of neo-monasticism was preventing the Evangelicals from political action back then. But as I recall the appointed, not elected, judges on the Supreme court bench made that decision. And I don’t think you need God to argue against it.

  • Bror is right. Many Christians do not believe in the God of the Bible. Most Christians believe in the ‘now it’s up to us God’ “God helps those who help themselves”. Right? Wrong. The rain falls on the good and bad alike.

    Ron Paul? What the hell are we (you) talking about Ron Paul for?

    His horse is no longer in this race. “Who cares…let’s bet on him anyway…I don’t need this two bucks.”

  • CRB

    “Many Christians do not believe in the God of the Bible. Most Christians believe in the ‘now it’s up to us God’ “God helps those who help themselves”. ”

    Would this not mean, then, that they are not Christians?!

  • The Jones

    Actually, Steve, his horse actually IS in the race. I was very surprised to see his name on the ballot as a third party when I went into early vote.

  • Jim

    [1] I haven’t heard much recriminations against Christians for the dire straights of the GOP this election cycle. Most fingers I’ve seen point to the breath-takingly unprincipled GOP Congress, repudiated in the last election cycle, and to President Bush and the war.

    I suspect that the GOP cave-in on the bailout sealed its fate for at least another election cycle.

    [2] The mixing of the left-hand with the right-hand among many evangelicals has hurt the church, because it’s a form of religious syncretism, where nationalist symbols are imported and are venues for religious affections. Plus, many evangelical leaders seemed to motivate their followers through anger. A jowly, red-faced scold from (the late) Jerry Falwell is not a winning poster-child for Christian involvement in politics.

    But we can also turn the question: has the secular-Democratic alliance helped or hurt that party? Until this election cycle, almost everyone agreed that it has. Indeed, Democrats have been on a tear that last few election cycles to make sure that they pay proper lip service to Christian sensibilities. And the only two Democratic presidents in the last forty years — Carter and Clinton — were able to win by peeling off enough evangelical support to eke out victories. (Carter getting just barely over 50 percent of the popular vote; Clinton never won a majority of of the populr vote.)

  • Bryan Lindemood
  • I can’t go with tODD here. God is God of everything (see Psalm 24:1), and are we to hide salt and light under a bushel because politics isn’t pristine?

    Yes, there are some embarassments in the GOP, but as long as the Constitution Party veers into theonomy and the Democrats favor prenatal infanticide with few/no restrictions, that’s going to be the closest fit for me.

  • CRB, # 20
    Bingo, which is why when I made the statement I qualified it with so-called. But then I also hold our hope that Pieper was right with his “Felicitous Inconsistency” thing. I really don’t want to say that someone who calls himself a Christian, is not a christian, because they lose sight of Christ around election time. I do want to focus them back on Christ though.

  • Bike (@24), where did you get that I favor “hid[ing] salt and light under a bushel because politics isn’t pristine”?

  • CRB

    Indeed! I totally agree!

  • WebMonk

    Nemo, I realize that it’s very possible to get so focused on a single issue that we overlook all the other issues. RonPaul on HR 748 must be something like that for you since you say he’s never done anything about his opposition to abortion. Ridiculous.

    I’m glad RP opposed HR 748, even though the effect of it might marginally reduce abortions. The obvious part of the bill is indeed a relatively straight (for these days) interstate commerce issue over which the federal govt has jurisdiction (again, these days). But, if you start going into the rest of the bill there are quite a number of places where the bill grants authority to the federal government that it really should not have.

    That’s RP’s point, and also a big part of what Veith mentions above – Christians are so focused on accomplishing political solutions to Fill_In_The_Blank, that basic principles are are getting shoved aside. Christians are considered to be equal to Republicans, because we have tossed out a lot of principles in supporting Republicans who are ostensibly our allies while the Republicans are guilty of massive violations of basic principles we oppose. Thus, when Republicans do something stupid/bad/horrible, Christians get lumped right in along with them because we’ve so tightly tied ourselves to them in the past.

    (Note: going Democrat isn’t the solution either since Democrats tend to violate principles even more, and don’t even have the excuse of accomplishing Christian goals.)

    On HR 748, RP refused to violate the Constitutional restrictions that are supposed to bind the government, even though it was an issue which he very much supports.

    I seem to remember some conversations here about pragmatism vs. principle. The ultimate test of one’s principles doesn’t come when we oppose something we DON’T like on principle, but when we continue to oppose something we DO like because of principles.

    In the same way, Christians really shouldn’t be violating principles to get what we want. Having a federal law that banned abortions would have the wonderful effect of drastically cutting the number of abortions, but it would be an extremely dangerous law because it would open up to federal control all sorts of other areas which aren’t good.

    I tend to have a pretty strong streak of pragmatism, and so I might support a federal ban on abortion if it were phrased and implemented just right, but the bill would have to walk a very, very fine line.

  • I’m with tODD here – but not only in the US context but everywhere: In the South Africa of yon, where I grew up, the old National Party fulfilled the same role. If you were Christian, you voted NP. The “one issue” there was not abortion (it was the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s), but “Communism”. Anything else, with the exception of some voices to the right of the NP, was seen as surrender to Moscow. And it hurt the church, especially the Reformed Church, which was the most influential, tremendously. Because while the government was anti-communist, all sorts of other ungodly things went on.

    But I’m not saying the GOP is evil. What I am saying is that nobody is inherently good.

    But I would go one step further than Veith, as I said in a comment under a previous post: As Christians, we should also jetonise our (absolute) allegiance to nebulous concepts such as conservatism or liberalism or whatever. Those terms can mean lots of things. And while we may agree with x number of tenets of these concepts/ideologies, they should never become synonomus with Christian/orthodox/traditional or whatever, or lithumus tests for “Christianness”.

  • Bruce

    BRian @#13:
    ‘What this would look like, would be a return to Christ-centered, Law / Gospel, Bible preaching in American Evangelical churches.”

    Did American evangelical churches ever have this to begin with, as something to “return” to? The right dividing of Law and Gospel, I’ve understood, is a Lutheran teaching and understanding.

    BTW, welcome back Kotter, I mean tODD! When this election is over we can get back to good ole culture bashing. Really, if we could the whole Cranach Commenters gang ought to kick back together and have a few pitchers of Spotted Cow. It could be our Jubilee.

  • the jones,

    I will bet anyone on this blog that Ron Paul will not win one electoral vote…not one.

    Technically he may be in the race. But since he has zero chance of winning, I wouldn’t waste my time, or my vote.

  • WebMonk

    steve, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your vote whether or not a vote is a waste.

    The biggest reason IMO, and also from others I know who are going to or have voted for him, is to show that he has a solid base of supporters for the next election. Trying to develop a better environment for the next Republican presidential candidate selection is certainly a worthy goal. Imagine that he gets a million votes even though he’s not running for president. That would certainly set up his chances for next election cycle to be much better.

  • WebMonk

    Another perfectly good use of a vote is to maintain a clean conscience, and there are quite a few I know who can’t vote for McCain or Obama with a clear personal conscience.

  • If maintaining a clear conscience is more important than the welfare of your family or your neighbor, then I say, “go for it”.

  • tODD, what I’m saying is that when we chastise Christians for hanging out with the GOP, we ignore the fact that if they want to be politically involved, and take seriously the fact that the murder of the unborn is homage to Molech, there really isn’t much of a choice but to go Republican.

    I don’t always like it. I’m repulsed by Larry Craig, just as I am by Barney Frank. I’m repulsed by corporate welfare, just as I am by subsidies for poverty.

    That noted, there is a Biblical imperative to shut down modern Megeles like George Tiller. Evangelicals working with the GOP may not always look pretty, but I’m afraid it’s the best option for most of us.

  • Carl Vehse

    tODD, in his non-harsh tone, stated: “I just hate what the Republican Party has done to Christianity.”

    Yet the subsequent questions by Gene Veith deal with the effect on the secular public by conservative Christians, and the effects of their alleged alliance with the GOP on Christianity and on political conservatism.

    So what has the Republican Party done to Christianity, and what is this alleged alliance (other than political support for conservative GOP candidates) Christians have made?

    “I predict that in the likely Republican defeat that seems imminent that Republicans will blame the conservative Christians in their midst.”

    The only possible blame that can be made against conservative Christians is that, despite Sarah Palin on the ticket, McCain was too much of a RINO, and they voted for someone other than McCain or 0bama. And you call that an alliance?!?

  • Don S

    I think this blog is better when tODD is posting, so I am glad he has returned. tODD hinted that he was not going to vote for Obama, so I am not surprised that he ultimately voted for Ron Paul. A very principled vote, particularly given tODD’s strong opposition to the war and to some of the post-9/11 security measures imposed by the Administration.

    Dr. Veith, I will continue to argue that it is premature to label the outcome of next Tuesday’s election a “likely Republican defeat”. Yes, it is likely that Republicans will lose a substantial number of Senate seats. They will probably lose some House seats, although they look to pick up at least 5 Democratic seats at this point. The presidential election has closed considerably, and is within the margin of error in most reputable polls. Moreover, there are two other factors to consider. One, most of the national polls are weighted this year for a 6-15% Democratic advantage in turnout. In 2004, the turnout was even, and in 2006, a bad year for Republicans, turnout was 3% Democratic advantage. Many pollsters are beginning to doubt that Republicans are as depressed as they had anticipated, or that youth voters are going to turn out like they had thought. Their turnout models may be way off. Two, most polls are showing 10-12 % remaining undecided. There is an argument that, given the huge advantage Obama has had in paid media (because of his financial advantage), and in free media for that matter, any remaining undecided obviously really don’t want to vote for Obama and this vote will ultimately break decidedly for McCain. Also, McCain, in the past week or so, is finally matching Obama in paid media, and Obama’s negatives are going up as a result.

    This isn’t a blog devoted to poll study, so I don’t want to get too far into the weeds with this, but since you have now on several occasions indicated that you have given up on the election, I thought this needed to be said. Bottom line — if you care about the outcome of this election, keep working hard until Tuesday and make sure you vote for the candidates and issues you care about.

  • For me, voting the lesser of the evils (since one or the other will be implemented) is to have a clear conscience.

    If the whole thing were merely an academic exercise pitting ideas against each other for comparison’s sake, I would be willing to only think of myself, my conscience, the idea.

    But this is the real world and people will be affected by what I do or don’t do. To do nothing, and therby open the door for the worst ideas to go into effect, my conscience would be assailed.

  • Speaking about the “lesser of 2 evils”, did anyone see the following: ?
    How does it pertain to the question Veith raises?

  • Don S

    Now, a post more to the point.

    My view is that evangelical Christians’ identification with the Republican party was (and is) a reaction to the changes in the Democratic party subsequent to the ’60’s and the Vietnam War. With the influx of anti-war, anti-establishment radicals into the party, the Democratic party became much more opposed to Biblical values. It supported the Warren Court’s radical interpretations of the Constitution (extreme separation of church and state, including prohibition on prayer in public schools — 1962 began this move). It became a party devoted to special interests (gay rights, minority rights, education union, labor in general, environmental issues, etc.), rather than to the family and America as a whole. It became a party of “what’s in it for me? How can I get my share?”. Judges appointed by Democratic presidents struck down absolute legal standards of right and wrong in favor of relativistic tests, using “facts and circumstances” evaluation. Judges made laws from the bench which were in contradiction to the will of the people. Most signficant was the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. During this period of time, the evangelical Christians in the deep South, who had historically identified with the Democratic Party, moved to the Republican party and changed its composition and nature, from a “country club” rich-oriented Northeastern and Midwestern party to one that is more blue-collar and socially conservative. The Moral Majority arose to fight the changes Democrats were imposing which were opposed to historic Christian values of right and wrong, and aligned with the Republican party because they had a common interest, to which the Democratic leaders of the day were opposed.

    Fast forwarding to today, I identify with the Republican party more than the Democratic party because it still at least tolerates my values, and at least some office holders and candidates support them. Very few Democratic leaders will stand for absolute right and wrong standards, because they do not want to offend contituents, and they villify me as a “hater” for declaring a sin a sin. They want to grow government to help the poor, but at the same time push any expression of faith from any area of society into which government expands. They use faith to justify the growth of government for this purpose, but deny any individual responsibility to respond to the claims and commandments of Christ, and deny the concept of sin. I am human. If one group of people stands opposed to everything I believe in, and the other group does not, I will stand with that latter group.

    Should the Church specifically align with the Republican party? By no means. Can Democrats be Christians? Of course. Will any human government ever achieve heaven on earth or a perfect society? We know the answer to that one. We should never let political involvement distract from our primary purposes of sanctification and evangelism here on Earth. But I don’t think there is a problem with promoting the election of public officials which are more likely to support a governmental environment which will not oppose us in those missions.

  • J

    Cheers to Terry, Scylding and tODD.
    Very good title: Republican captivity of the (US) church.
    Recall that God sent the Israelites into Babylonian captivity to correct them from (and to punish them for) worshipping idols. I suggest that many American Christians will not emerge from their captivity to the GOP until they give up similar idolotry.
    Evidence of that idolotry can be seen in Veith’s premise that political conservatism is the only acceptable political view for American Christians.
    I’ve seen it suggested here before that we ought to recognize that Christians may espouse any political or social view we please, provided that it does not impede our obligation to love and serve our neighbor. Further, we ought also to recognize that one can be a Republican or Democrat and yet disagree with part the party platform. Perfectly OK. Again, perfectly OK.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bike Bubba @ 36,

    “I’m repulsed by Larry Craig, just as I am by Barney Frank. I’m repulsed by corporate welfare, just as I am by subsidies for poverty.”

    What scandal has Barney Frank been involved in? Or is it just that he’s gay? If he’s been involved in something like what happened to Larry Craig, I’m unaware.

    Why are you not for subsidies for poverty? Do you think all poor people are poor because of their own choices? You don’t think some of them are oppressed by this system which is obviously – especially in light of the current crisis – set up to benefit only a small number?

    I’ve read opinions like this a number of times here, and it’s appalling. Have any of you who hold this opinion never known anyone who had to take public assistance? My father did, back when I was first born, and once again for a bit when we moved to California. Once he got his plumbing business going, he worked seven days a week. No one can tell me he took public assistance because he was lazy. I watched him literally break his back for us. He took it because, as a highly-qualified and extremely gifted plumber (he graduated first in his class, which he took AT NIGHT for five years WHILE he was working), he was still having trouble finding regular work and needed to provide for his family. And my father, in this area, had no shame. There was no job he felt was beneath him when it came to providing for his family. There were no jobs available. So, while he built up a reputation, taking what work he could find, no matter how slight its connection to plumbing, he had to make ends meet SOMEHOW.

    Heaven forbid any of you find yourself in need. Oh, but you wouldn’t, because you’re all very responsible. And responsibility is the ONLY thing one needs to stay out of poverty. Yeah, that’s the ticket! We’re not part of a system which is finite! There’s enough for EVERYONE to be rich, if they’re willing to WORK for it!

  • Michael the little Boot,

    I think at the time of the hearings to decide whether or not to tighten the lending policies of Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank’s boyfriend was heading up one of the two entities (I can’t remember which one).

    That Barney Frank was involved romantically with someone who had a vested interest in the decisions that Barney Frank made, is well…highly unethical.

    The Republicans were called racists and the Barney Franks and Maxine Waters and Democrats prevailed “for the little people…the poor” that they could get home loans they had no business getting.

    By the way, I live out of my car for a couple of years and was then a Republican, as I am now.

    My Granfather was a lower class working man who could barely make ends meet. Economic factors are not everything to a conservative, as they are for so many liberals.

    Freedom, to some, is far more important than material comfort.

  • J

    Again, a typo @42. First sentence in last paragraph should have “God” between “love” and “and.” Thanks.

  • J

    Michael the little boot,
    You seem to be a smart guy, but I still wanted to warn you, since you’re not a Christian, that the political views you read here are no more binding on any Christian than would be one’s favorite color. A Christian may, in good conscience, hold views that can be called socialist, libertarian, or whatever. We can all debate the merits of various means to solve a particular end at a particular time in history in a particular country and yet remain Christians.
    You seem to be wading well through the right wingy-ness of this blog, but I encourage you to never confuse our ephemeral political views, no matter how dogmatically they may be stated, with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Michael the little boot

    J @ 46,

    “We can all debate the merits of various means to solve a particular end at a particular time in history in a particular country and yet remain Christians.” Indeed. I agree.

    I remember growing up in the Clinton era, when my parents literally thought he was the antichrist. They were freaked out when he won. They’re going to be freaked out again if Obama wins. That’s their way. I imagine the world will still be here in four years. Or eight years. If it’s not, I doubt it will be ALL the fault of Mr. Obama.

    Of course, I do have some friends who say they will move to Canada if McCain wins. So there are extremes on both sides. Not that there aren’t enough reasons to move to Canada, regardless of who becomes president in the US!

    Thanks for your kind words.

  • Greg DeVore

    The social (life and marriage) issues are what drive this political identification. As long as the Republican party is percieved as more friendly to pro-life and more friendly toward preserving traditonal definitions of marriage and family it will recieve more traditionally religious votes. Not just Christian votes either since Orthodox Jews and even muslims would oppose abortion and gay marriage. Again as long as this perception continues the GOP will have more votes of Evangelicals, confessional protestants, traditonal Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. It will even recieve the votes of most LCMS Lutherans. My own politics are old right so I view the GOP as the lessor of two socialists but they still get my vote over the third parties that I would be more ideologically comfortable with because of these social issues. The interesting question is what happens if the Christians are blamed for the defeat of the GOP and the GOP elites swing toward a pro-choice policy. My predictions is that some (like myself) will flee to thrid parties. The rest will vote there pocketbook. I do not know if that will benefit the GOP or the DEMS.

  • Michael the little boot

    Steve @ 44,

    “That Barney Frank was involved romantically with someone who had a vested interest in the decisions that Barney Frank made, is well…highly unethical.” Yes, agreed. I suspect that not why Bike Bubba mentioned him in the same sentence as Larry Craig, though. I would never excuse Mr. Frank’s actions, because they were corrupt; however, can we agree it’s not all that surprising to find a corrupt politician in Washington? 🙂

    “My Granfather was a lower class working man who could barely make ends meet. Economic factors are not everything to a conservative, as they are for so many liberals…Freedom, to some, is far more important than material comfort.” True. Which would explain why people living out of their cars support people who ENJOY the thought of poor people doing just that. Economic factors are not everything to liberals either. Or radicals, for that matter.

  • Greg DeVore

    One more point. I do think the concept of a Republican Captivity of the Church to be an odd one. The mainline churches and the NCC and the WCC have been solidly in the pocket of the left and the democratic party. The reason that the Church is being viewd as Republican is the leftist media is trying to stir up hatred against Christians and use that to defeat their political adversaries in the Republican party.

  • TK

    Michael, are you so sure you’ve got us all figured out?

  • Greg: By Church, I don’t think the liberal mainlines are being invoked at all, but more the evangelicals and the more tradtional, orthodox mainlines – ie those who maintain the unqueness of the Church and Christianity (ie anything from OCA, RCC, PCA, OPC, LCMS, UMC to SBC and other Baptist-types and some pentecostals/charismatics etc).

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Veith.

  • J

    Greg @50, your point that not all Christians are captive of the GOP is well taken. My view, however, is not so much that the media sees the church as being Republican as that Republican Christians insist the church should be Republican. I’ve been dismayed to read comments here that explicitly say that it would be a sin even to vote for a Democrat. With that mindset shared many vocal evangelicals and Lutherans, you can’t blame people for linking Christianity with right-wing views.

  • Anon

    I think that is very mistaken, Dr. Veith. I think that the MSM -want- people to think that. But excpet for a few people that simply isn’t true, and I would challenge you to provide specific examples of how the GOP is holding the church captive, or how Christianity is twisted by the GOP. Prove your assertions, for I think you have been deceived.

    “I have set before you life and death” says the LORD. “Choose life.” There simply is no alternative at this time that will result in fewer deaths or more religious liberties than to vote for the McCain Palin ticket. We might wish for a better world, but we live in the one which exists. A vote for a third party is in effect a vote for the culture of death and the loss of our religious and political freedoms.

    This has happened before, and the Lutheran population wasn’t exactly heroic.

    A witness to those events bears witness:

    At presnet, on the State and national levels, the GOP is the only party which can win elections which can be effectively moved towards a culture of life and freedom. On the local level perhaps the Libertarians and Constitutionalists have a chance, and that could build those parties into genuine contenders. But we MUST consider the ends of our actions, not merely the means.

    As to tODD, he sure talks like a duck, and if he’s pretending that he wasn’t harsh and those who disagree with him were, he is saying untruths.

  • “…True. Which would explain why people living out of their cars support people who ENJOY the thought of poor people doing just that.”

    What an assinine statement.

  • I think that the best answer is to form pure political parties and movements, at least as pure as possible (around themes such as protecting our neighbor’s lives -abortion, and protecting our neighbor’s liberties -opposing envy-based politics such as redistribution of wealth, protecting property rights, etc). Then, when the time comes to vote, leverage your movement in for influence with the major party you most agree with in a co-belligerence. In other words, reform, not revolt.

    When the party becomes too evil (which many of you say it has) then you should revolt. But I am more interested in reform for now.

    For now that party is the GOP, as much as it stinks, it’s the best option to resist titanic evil (like the mass genocide of small children) and resist fascism (national socialism).

    I am not a member of the GOP, but an independent, but I am joining a coalition I can stomach (barely) to vote for McCain and effectively help defend against genocide and further fascism.

    That’s my take, for what it’s worth.

  • Nemo

    Ok, so I’ll toss this into the fray:

    What does it mean to be in captivity to a political party? Voting for their candidates because you agree with their positions? Voting for a candidate because you disagree with their position, but disagree with everyone else’s more? Voting for a candidate because you agree with their party platform (even if they don’t, getting them in office increases the power of the party to implement the platform)?

    If one is in captivity, how does one get out? If I am in “captivity” to the Republican party, does that mean to escape I have to vote Democratic to prove my independence? Can I escape captivity and still vote the same way?

    Or, to show we are being taken in by no one, should we sit on the sidelines and lob our arrows at each side whenever we see a flaw?

  • Anon

    Terry, the Roman Catholics have remained mostly Democrat and have tried to influence that party away from the culture of death and tyranny to no avail. One must be sensible and realistic.

    TK, theologically, evangelical Christians *are* the traditional Christians, along with those Roman Catholics who are actually faithful to the pope and the Roman magisterium.

    Ruthie, I think Ron Paul is personally pro-life, but thinks that remanding it to the several States is the right way to deal with the situation. Ron Paul has a number of specific policy positions that I think are unwise or uninformed, but his driving principle of having the federal government obey the Constitution is essential.

    Bror, and can you find anyone, let alone of the majority of the group of Christians whom you charge, who actually believe what you charge them with?

    Do I understand you correctly, Bror, that you believe that God gave a “really bad blueprint for governance”? That sounds blasphemous to my ears, if that is really what you meant. Those are your words.

    Law and Salvation are not in opposition, they are manifestations of God’s Justice and His Mercy. You cannot reject or despise either of them.

    Stop using the Bible for political purposes? No, I will not commit reason against my Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit.

    NO ONE is suggesting that the Gospel is a GOP election to a majority in the House and the executive. NO ONE. So, why the false charge?

    Webmonk, I think you will find that Carl and I are well familiar with the tactics of the Left such as you display from time to time, and they do not move us. We see through them.

    Bror, re: 18, ok, a little history lesson for you: In America in the 1920s and 30s the Liberals (as defined by Machen, not as defined in Revolutionary French politics) seized control of the denominational aparatus of most Protestant denominations, including the seminaries. The Protestants who believed the Bible and/or the confessions of their denomination were forced out and formed new denominations later referred to as fundamentalists or evangelicals. They withdrew from culture and society. They refused to participate in politics because it was ‘dirty’ In many cases they opposed having an educated clergy because of their experience of their young future pastors going to seminary and coming back no longer believing. To this day many of them still refer to seminaries as ‘cemeteries’. After WWII, Carl Henry, Francis Schaeffer and Howard Brown argued that evangelicals -should- live out their vocations in society, in the arts, and in politics. It wasn’t until the late 1970s and in the 1980s that evangelicals got involved in their vocations as citizens again. It was that pietistic withdrawal that allowed the left and the secularists to move this country away from its Christian basis. You are too young to remember that. I remember saying the Lord’s Prayer in public school along with the Pledge of Allegiance – some years after it was decreed illegal by the Nine – and I remember our old, falling-apart textbooks that had been written in the 50s and early 60s that still told truth about America as a Christian nation. (which doesn’t mean saved nation, but a nation founded upon Christian political thought and where the overwhelming majority of the population thought that the Apostle’s Creed was true).

    I know that the anti-Christian Democrats are claiming that the Christians are ruining the GOP. But consider who would benefit from their advice?

    Bruce, one of the largest evangelical churches is the Evangelical Free, which are an off-shoot of the Lutheran synods from Sweden, Norway and Denmark, as are the Evangelical Covenant and the Lutheran Brethren. The E. Free used to maintain a clear distinction between Law and Gospel (and had confirmation) although it referred to that doctrine as “the Cross”. Baptists, I’m not sure sure about, or as knowledgeable about.

    Lew Rockwell, last I knew, was atheist, anti-Christian, and pro-abortion, albeit a Libertarian and possibly a Randroid. Has any of that changed? Do I misremember?

  • Anon

    s.d. smith, re #56, here in America we do not have a parliamentary system, we have a winner-takes-all system. As a result your proposal would not work, but strengthen those who dedicate books to Lucifer calling him the first rebel, approvingly. In America, the thing to do would to be to form caucuses in whichever of the main two parties would allow them to actively participate, and from that base work on raising up godly candidates and affecting the party platform.

    Nemo, captivity would mean that either the organizational apparatus of the GOP ruled the churches organizationally, or else that the party platform of the GOP had become the template to which the confessions of the several denominations and synod were made to conform.

  • TK


    We have completely different mindsets on who the American Evangelicals are and what they believe. Have you ever read DG Hart’s Deconstructing Evangelicalism? I highly recommend it!

    I guess you should lump me in with Bror the (anti) Blasphemer. I am referring to those Christians who use the Bible for political purposes. I’m referring to those who equated a Republican takeover of Congress and the White House with some kind of victory for Jesus. I couldn’t single out denominations, I suppose, at least not on this forum.

  • Anon – the article on Rockwell was written by a pro-life, Catholic clinical psychologist named Dilsaver.

    Another observation: In general terms, it seems that the Christians that are most responsible for the apparent Babylonian Captivity, be that a fair assessment or not, are of the Robertson/Falwell/Dobson type – although these differ quite widely amongst themselves. These people have had enormous influence – even outside the US. Robertson & Falwell(noe deceased) are Baptist (SBC), Dobson Nazarene.

    When looking at a religious map of the US, such as this one – – it seems apparent that the states that are most solidly Republican, are dominated by the SBC, with some exceptions. This is what the “liberal” media sees, and Dobson/Falwell/Roberston is what they hear, so you can hardly blame them. Lutherans are hardly on the radar in the big picture…. (sorry, it’s true!).

  • Nemo

    Point to remember:

    Robertson/Falwell/Dobson type  Christian movement in politics (“Babylonian Captivity”)  Patrick Henry College

  • Nemo – point?

    One addendum to the denominational map. It also seems that our friends in the LDS also tend to vote for one party….

  • Nemo

    The boxes are supposed to be arrows.

  • Ahhh

  • Anon

    Who is DK Hart? What is his background? My knowledge of American Evangelicalism comes from having been one (and arguably still am, being Missouri Synod, though we are different than the Baptist mainstream) I also have studied church history on the undergraduate and graduate level, and have met and even known personally some of the key figures, though some have passed away since.

    A GOP takeover would at the least slow the decay into government-enforced evil, and at best result in saving tens of millions of lives. That -is- a victory for Jesus, our rightful King of the left hand.

    Scylding, I think you are extremely mistaken about James Dobson and quite mistaken about Robertson and Falwell.

  • J

    Will anyone join me in suggesting that perhaps Christians should avoid “Christian” colleges? Let’s be salt and light everwhere, rather than only in insulated institutions where, because we hear only our own echoes, we have no clue what others really think.
    It was no accident that, for example, Falwell and Robertson facilitated the baneful “Christian right,” by founding colleges in which to inculcate young people.

  • Michael the little boot

    TK @ 51,

    “Michael, are you so sure you’ve got us all figured out?” Not at all. That’s why I specifically said I was only talking to the people who hold the opinion I was speaking against. It wasn’t the very first thing I said, but it’s in there. I can definitely see why you missed it, though. It was an aside. I didn’t put it in blinking lights. 🙂

  • Anon – in what sense am I mistaken?

  • J

    Scylding @63 – your observation about LDS is well taken.

    I realized afresh a while back the sad degree to which we tend to believe that Christ holds to our own political views when I heard my Lutheran pastor refer to a “godly” candidate. Nothing wrong with that, per se, except that he was defining the candidate’s “godliness” by the political opinions the candidate held, rather than by the candidate’s opinion of Christ. I realize the pastor may well have been talking a bit of the cuff, but it made me wonder if we’ve gone too far in casually attributing “godliness” to certain political views. Is a Mormon godly if he holds to view A while a Christian is ungodly by opposing A? Can a political view be “godly”? I hesitate to say yes, but I think it can be in only a very wide sense. And the means to achieve even a “godly” goal can be disparate and honorably debated.

  • Nemo


    Can a political view be ungodly?

  • J

    Good question.
    I would say yes, a political view can be ungodly. But let’s not make the mistake of saying that all political views must be either godly or ungodly. A political view can well be neither.

  • Michael the little boot

    steve @ 55,

    Perhaps, but no less true.

  • Michael the little boot

    J @ 67,

    “Will anyone join me in suggesting that perhaps Christians should avoid ‘Christian’ colleges?” I’m personally very happy I attended a Christian college. I might still be a Christian if I hadn’t! 😉

    Of course, that probably proves your point…

  • Obviously, I reject any argument (e.g. @32) that tells me I have to vote for one of the two big parties because such a vote is “wasted” or won’t matter.

    It’s foolish to only vote for those candidates who are likely to win, as this necessarily only results in the status quo. If you, like many here at least say a lot, feel that there are problems with both the Republicans and Democrats, then always voting for one of the two isn’t likely to threaten their hold on power, nor change their behavior. Especially if the only political influence activity you take part in is voting.

    This can be made obvious if you consider the state where I live (I certainly did!). Right now, Oregon is polling +14% for Obama. That’s way outside of the margin of error. Obama is going to win here. By the above argument, I should only vote for Obama — a vote for McCain is wasted, since he’s not going to win.

    Now, I doubt any partisan Republican is actually going to make or believe that argument. But hopefully the people who are making it for third-party candidates can see why they might, in Oregon today, still vote for McCain anyhow.

    In my case, I wanted to vote for a candidate who most lined up with the issues I thought important. I agree with a sentiment I once read from a Lutheran pastor that we should vote in the same way we (hopefully) do everything else: so as to help our neighbor. I picked my issues along those lines (abortion, war, intrusive government power, etc.).

    But then, I have the somewhat-luxury of living in a state where I really don’t think my vote will be decisive, so I don’t have to worry about what would have happened if I’d voted for the would-be least-worst of the major candidates. I understand that not everyone else will use the same calculus as I.

    But it’s not just about voting to keep a clear conscience. Steve (@35) implies that a vote for a third party is a vote against one’s neighbor and family. And yet fails to note that continuing to support the Republicans because of one (?) issue, while otherwise ignoring* everything else they do that is not good, is not helping neighbors and family, either.

    *And let’s be honest here: making concessions in comments on the Web that a major party has real problems, yet still voting for them and otherwise not being politically involved, counts as ignoring that party’s problems.

  • J

    tODD, your vote for Paul was not at all wasted. But isn’t this always the case in America every 4 years? I voted 3d party once, years ago, when both major party candidates were unacceptable. And if I were to be really true to my beliefs, I’d vote this year for Nadar. Yeah, he’s maybe not tempermentally suited to be president, but I do like what he has done and generally stands for. Having said that, I’m sure that my Nadar vote would do nothing to prevent McCain from winning. And the real danger now to this country, in my humble view, is McCain/Palin. An unstable warmonger harnessed to a witless (but well dressed) bigot. So my Obama vote becomes the means to help stop McCain. I think Obama offers a sliver of hope that some things might improve – or not go as badly were McCain in charge. Yet I know well that Obama will not do as much as I would like him to, e.g., rein in America’s empire abroad. Yet were Obama totally unpalatable, I would have voted again 3d party.
    Third parties to me are like “outs” when the major candidates are both terrible. But let’s face it, unless we do the hard work between presidential elections to give these 3d parties more of a presence (by electing members to state and county offices, for example), a 3d-party vote every 4 years is little more than symbolic. But then what’s wrong with a little symbolism?

  • TK


    Google him and many resources pop up. Amazon carries the book. Confessional Lutherans are not American Evangelicals. They are, however, evangelical Christians…just not Evangelical Christians. Not too clear, I’m afraid.

  • Bike (@36), I’m not “chastis[ing] Christians for hanging out with the GOP”, I’m chastising, if you will, those who can’t tell the difference between those two groups anymore.

    You wouldn’t know from many comments here (and this is a fairly moderate place, all told) that Christians might not agree with the GOP at every turn. Sure, the tide has finally turned against Bush such that many here no longer defend him — he’s officially under the bus — but it wasn’t that way when I first started commenting. And one suspects the only reason McCain isn’t more strenuously defended is because Republicans suspect he was never really one of them, anyhow — a RINO, you know.

    And while you’ll occasionally hear mumblings about both parties being bad, it’s still hard to believe that people really mean it — I mean, try defending a Democratic position some time in a group of evangelical Christians. I’m not talking abortion, either. I’ve been told I was sinning for thinking we were wrong to go to war in Iraq. I’ve been told that taxes are sinful. And I’ve been told — repeatedly — that it’s a sin to vote for a Democrat. Any of them. No matter why I vote.

    That is what I was referring to. Those are the sort of ideas that will harm American Christianity, by tying it, sink or swim, to a party made of sinful people, instead of to Christ alone. (All other ground is sinking sand, but at least the Republican Party’s sinking sand is much finer than the Democratic Party’s, I guess?)

    In my ideal world, we Christians would not be divided along party lines. We would stand together as Christians, agreeing on our beliefs, and then on Election Day go off to apply those beliefs, if not necessarily agreeing on how best to do so. But to read the comments here, that’s often not what you see.

    Look, I understand why many Christians will vote for a Republican candidate. What I get worried about is when those Christians forget they’re not Republicans first, but Christians. Their partisanship should serve their faith (if that’s possible), not the other way around.

    And yet some here feel rather free to condemn a Christian brother, to question his salvation, or cause him to doubt it, over a question of applying our beliefs in voting. I can’t even imagine what is in such a person’s heart.

  • Joe

    Michael – “What scandal has Barney Frank been involved in?” A friend of Franks ran a prostitution ring out of Franks apartment. He House voted to reprimand him, which has obviously not hampered his career. Historical fun fact – the congressman who lead the fight for a tougher sanctions against Frank was Larry Craig.

    As for tODD’s third party vote – good for you! Depending on the polls I may be voting third party as well. Heck, it could be that tODD and I end up voting for the same candidate.

  • Don S

    J @ 76 — “An unstable warmonger harnessed to a witless (but well dressed) bigot”. Way to keep it classy.

  • Michael the little boot


    Thanks. Now I am in on two reasons Barney Frank is another of our corrupt (or, at the very least, corrupted) politicians! 🙂

    Why is it so many gay politicians refuse to come out, even to themselves? The whole world would be better if they did. Larry Craig – if he is gay – wouldn’t have to go on so many witch hunts to prove to himself he is straight.

  • One of the main problems with people becoming so identified with one party is that they lose their discernment, and that is a real problem for a Christian. You see it all the time here (and I certainly am guilty of it, even though my ballot this year was not at all a single-party ticket). Someone will point out something wrong with one party or candidate, and the immediate response is to point out something wrong with an opposing party or candidate.

    Now, this isn’t necessarily bad, if the intent is to say, “Trust not in [any] princes.” But too often, it’s not so much an admission that all politics is full of sinful men, but rather a game of “Oh Yeah? You Too!” — a favorite game of the guilty or their defenders. Pastors must surely know this technique well. Tell a man his pornography is sinful, and he’ll tell you that not only does everyone do it, but this one guy looks at even worse stuff! As if that got him off the hook.

    You see the same stuff here. Christians lose the ability to call wrong wrong, because they don’t want to sully their team, in which they’ve invested so much mental energy. They’ve got the t-shirt, the pennant, the coffee mug … and you want them to admit their team has faults? When the other team is even worse?! And so Christians implicitly defend the level of wrongness that their team has.

    Playboy ends up not being an acceptable publication as long as Hustler is around. And Christians will defend Playboy until Hustler stops getting published. At which point, presumably, Christians will switch to defending Maxim and start criticizing Playboy.

    Oh, I know it’s an imperfect metaphor. (Any Adam Again fans out there? “I’ll grab a metaphor out of the air.”)

  • J

    Glad you agree, Don @76. Sometimes the abbreviated, unvarished description is best. Of course, I could have lengthened it to something like “an old man with a rather erratic temperment who believes that military force should always be America’s first option in resolving differences harnessed to a woman who shows practically no knowledge of foreign and domestic policies, who uses her official position to settle personal scores and to bag extra per diem, and who ceaselessly engages in guilt-by-association arguments, particularly against people who’ve met Muslims.” But that would take too long.

  • Michael the little boot


    “Any Adam Again fans out there?”

    I KNEW there was a reason I liked you! 🙂 Gene Eugene. There’s one who went too soon.

  • Anon

    If Christianity is true, then it speaks to all of life. It it is true, there is much to be learned. Schools opposed to Christianity are not going to teach Christianity correctly, if at all. Our students will be ‘brainwashed’ and led astray, being misled into thinking that Christianity isn’t true. You don’t send people just inducted into the army into battle before they’ve even had Basic!

    What precisely is baneful about the “Christian right” a name which they did not pick for themselves?

    Scylding, because it simply isn’t the case that Dobson or Falwell or Robertson adjusted the teachings of the Church to fit the GOP platform, nor did they submit the Church to the organizational apparatus of the GOP nor the reverse.

    We can indeed transform our minds through renewing them through feeding on every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Father. This will affect our views on ‘how we may all best live together’ also known as politics. There is quite a Christian tradition of thought in this area, though you won’t learn that in a State college. To think that there is no such tradition is ignorant. To think that God is not God of all, or that the Bible isn’t true in everything it treats as true, is of course, heresy. “godly” may be an inappropriate descriptor, but there is greater and lesser conformity to the Truth.

    tODD, OF COURSE there are differences between the GOP and the Church. I have criticized the GOP and so has everyone else here, I think. The standard is God, revealed through His Word. He is the uncreated absolute and compared to Him, everything has to be relativized in our loyalties and thinking. He is the measure of all things.

    Iraq is a prudential matter, not a matter of sin and righteousness, likewise taxes. The sin is in supporting and promoting the murder of tens of millions of babies which is at this point in history, what voting Democrat on the federal level, amounts to. It wasn’t always so, perhaps it will not always be so, but that is where things stand now.

    If I recall correctly Larry Craig has never been proven to have done anything wrong. He was just hounded by Democrats using the “politics of personal destruction” that they use so often.

    J, McCain certainly doesn’t believe what you attribute to him! You libel Governor Palin. Big time. She has lots of knowledge of foreign affairs – and has done more negotiating with foreign governments than any of the other three. She has a lot of knowledge of domestic policies and as a result enjoys an 80% approval rating in Alaska from both Republicans and Democrats. The Democrat Congress is if I recall correctly somewhere around a 9% approval rating. She did not use her office to settle personal scores. Her erstwhile brother-in-law was an abuser, including tasering his own 12 year old son. He was corrupt, other people in that department were corrupt, and the State official refused to address the corruption, so she fired him, just like she did a whole host of other corrupt officials in the Alaskan government. Get your facts straight – and not straight from the Daily Kos. You also err in claiming that there are guilt-by-association arguments. Obama is a red diaper baby. He was raised, mentored, trained, supported and launched by Marxists and terrorists. Those are simple facts. That isn’t association, that is being part of.

    Martin Luther said: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere fight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

    I continue to be dismayed at the lack of knowledge of the Bible among self-professed Lutherans. There is much work to be done!

  • Greg DeVore

    I am curious concerning you who are voting for Paul. What party is he running under? Ron Paul has endorsed Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party. What party is running Ron Paul as a candidate?

  • Greg DeVore

    I am curious concerning you who are voting for Paul. What party is he running under? Ron Paul has endorsed Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party. What party is running Ron Paul as a candidate?

  • Greg DeVore

    Nemo I am surprised concerning what you report concerning your Pastor. I might vent politically on website like this, but I would never discuss such things in front of my congregation. It must have been really, really off the cuff.

  • LAJ

    #67 I believe that Christian young people would be better prepared to take up their vocations in the secular world at a Christian college like Bethany or Patrick Henry. They then can be salt and light in their vocations with a Christian worldview. Impossible to get a Christian worldview at a secular university.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Michael, you said:
    ” True. Which would explain why people living out of their cars support people who ENJOY the thought of poor people doing just that. ”

    Dude… What are you talking about? Really? You really believe this?

    Those who vote for Ron Paul–I understand. If I didn’t think Obama was so bad I would be voting for him too. But , I’ll guarantee you all this one thing- after this election the Republicans will never get another vote out of me again.

  • I don’t support federal funding for abortion like the Democratic Party does.

    That’s a moral line I can’t cross. I suspect if the Democratic Party wasn’t so pro-abortion that more Christians could stand voting for it.

  • Anon @ 85: Nowhere did I suggest that. It is a matter of identity and close association: How else do you think could we have a situation where Dobson could virtually threaten the GOP with withholding support. He reversed his decision once McCain chose Palin. And anybody following politics in the US since the 80’s would recognise the close association between Robertson, his club of 700 or whatever its called, and the GOP. And don’t forget Ralph Reed. But again, this GOP involvement have large come from the SBC and other less traditional/orthodox branches of the church, as is well reflected in the map I earlier referenced. That map does make an excellent case though – just overlay it with say CNN’n map of poll results, and the correlation is remarkable.

    Some other remarks: “and has done more negotiating with foreign governments than any of the other three”

    Prove it. I think McCain himself has had a more involved history in foreign affairs. And Sarah’s ignorance at McCain’s economic policy, her misunderstanding of the role of the VP has all been well documented.

    The brother-in-law story: Do you dispute the commision’s findings? True, she wasn’t directly at fault, but the story is much more complex than what you suggest.

    You insult and malign Obama’s grandmother, who mostly raised him – she is hardly a socialist, being the vp of a local bank.

    Note: I’m not a supporter of Obama, and I differ strongly from him on many issues. But mindless mud throwing is not on. Just like you maligned Mandela 2 weeks or so ago, on this blog, saying that he personally mowed people down during the Shell House shootings. You can’t prove it. And then you went on to attack the Xhosa tribe, calling them thugs.

    Pot and kettle proverbs come to mind.

    As a matter of fact, it is exactly this kind of posturing and mindless diatribing which really gets me. You can differ from somebody – fine. You can state why you beleive you cannot in good conscience vote for this party or the other. You can show somebody why you deem them mistaken, or plainly wrong.

    But twisting facts, stirring hatred, and throwing mud IS NOT OK!!!

  • Anon

    Scylding, you blamed Dobson, Falwell and Robertson for the “Babylonian captivity” of the Church to the GOP. I described what that would actually mean, and that they weren’t guilty of such a thing.

    Dobson talking about withholding support is talking about living out his vocation from God as a citizen of this independent republic. He has the right to not support a particular party, does he not? I am not aware that Christians have a duty to support a particular party, (although there can be circumstances were obeying God may require certain actions at a certain time, but that is not even remotely the same thing as identity confusion or submission to a party).

    Correlation does not prove causation.

    In a situatoin where there are two parties with any hope of electing anyone, and one of those parties is anti-Christian and pro-evil, Christians have to vote for the candidates of the other party, in fulfiling their vocation as citizens. That is NOT a “Babylonian captivity” that is an obedience to God in matters which God has spoken about, in the vocation of citizen. I realize that you, as a foreign subject, might not understand our system very well. Most recent high school and college graduates in this country don’t, either. But this is not a matter of party fealty. This is a matter of right and wrong, life and death, obedience or rebellion w/regards to our relationship with God.

    Governor Palin has negotiated with the governments of the Russian Federation, Canada, Iceland and Denmark as the chief executive of her State. Biden has not done this. McCain has not done this. Obama has not done this. Only McCain besides Palin has any executive experience, and that was within the military, not as a civil executive.

    She did not misunderstand the role of VP, and that has been very well documented. Just not at the Daily Kos. And do -you- know what McCain’s economic policy is? Is it even legal for the executive to *have* an economic policy?

    The comission was headed by a Democrat who promised an ‘October Surprise’, and found that she was innocent of any wrong-doing. Get your facts straight. He still condemned her of ‘abuse of power’ but that was a political partisan statement, not a legal finding.

    Do you read news anywhere but at the Daily Kos or some other progapanda arm of the Obama campaign?

    Obama’s grandmother was a member of the CPUSA and a communist, for crying out loud. That has never prevented communists from using capitalists and capitalist systems. Goodness, what do they teach in Canadian schools?!

    I was reporting what I was told by my friend who grew up on a mission station in Kwazulu-Natal. Who is and was anti-apartheid. You tell a different story, but wish to condemn me, him, and his wife as liars or mudslingers. I’m sorry, but you are out of line in that, I think.

    I’m not twisting facts, I’m untwisting them, I’m not stirring hatred or throwing mud. Your accusations of that are just typical Leftist (not saying you are one) means of “jamming” to shut down those they disagree with. It is not logical, rational argumentation, but the attempt to stop it. I hope that you can do better than that in the future.

  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon, if I were to write a sarcastic post, demonstrating mockingly the point I’ve been making in this thread in an over-the-top manner, it might read much like your comment (@85).

    I mean, seriously. You still seem to maintain that voting for a Democrat is a sin. You defend Larry Craig as having done nothing wrong and being “hounded by Democrats”, yet maintain that Palin “did not use her office to settle personal scores”, in apparent contradiction of the panel’s finding. You maintain, without proof, that Palin has “done more negotiating with foreign governments than any of the other three” candidates, but Obama “was raised, mentored, trained, supported and launched by Marxists and terrorists”. Do you still believe Obama’s not an American citizen, too? Or was that Carl?

    What can I say? I think you’re blinded by your partisan views. And if you think you’re confessing Christ with comments like that … wow.

  • Greg (@87), Ron Paul isn’t running as a candidate as such. But you can write him in if you wish — there’s a blank on the ballot.

    LAJ (@89), “Impossible to get a Christian worldview at a secular university”? Nonsense. If surrounding yourself with Christians was all it took, then everyone in our churches would have a Christian worldview (trust me, they don’t). Besides, your argument fails to explain what’s so magical about college — after all, why not also claim that it’s impossible to get a Christian worldview at a secular first job? Or in a secular apartment complex? When, exactly, can one guarantee that the Christian bubble is no longer necessary? Apparently, you think it isn’t at age 18 — 22’s the magic number, I guess. But really, shouldn’t we make it a nice, round 30 years before Christians come into contact with the real world?

    Patrick (@90), you said, “after this election the Republicans will never get another vote out of me again.” Forgive me, but yeah, sure. You can quit anytime, right? Just … one more vote. And then you’ll quit. For good, this time!

    Doug (@91), it really isn’t news here or anywhere else that many (evangelical) Christians feel they cannot vote for Democrats because of problems they observe in the party. What would be news is if evangelical Christians, as a group, started to seriously point out the problems they observe in the Republicans and do something about it.

  • Anon (@93), you’re … awesome.

    “I am not aware that Christians have a duty to support a particular party”, and yet “Christians have to vote for the candidates of the other party”, the one that isn’t “anti-Christian and pro-evil”. Right. Well argued.

    “I realize that you, as a foreign subject, might not understand our system very well.” Well, you know how stupid everyone else can be, especially when they’re foreigners. Scylding, DO YOU UNDERSTAND? YOU? EL UNDERSTAND-O? SPEAKA ENGLISH?

    And I love how you mock some purely hypothetical person who only gets his news at Daily Kos (I don’t even read Daily Kos!). And yet you seem to only get your information from right-biased blogs, based on your links and some of your statements.

    Statements like, “Governor Palin has negotiated with the governments of the Russian Federation, Canada, Iceland and Denmark as the chief executive of her State.” Yeah, care to offer proof of that? Oh, I’m sorry, that’s my old Alinskyite tendency to ask for facts when people appear to be making things up. Old habits die hard, eh komrad? Er, I mean, Anon?

    My internet’s being rather slow tonight, so my research abilities are quite limited, but I found one article [1] claiming that Palin:

    has not met with Russian leaders or delegations, negotiated any Russian issues or visited the country, according to an Associated Press review of records from the governor’s office. The review showed that the Republican vice presidential candidate has negotiated with only one country, Canada, and until last week had met with the leader of only one other, tiny Iceland.

    Emphasis mine. I can’t believe you said, “Get your facts straight” to Scylding with such a non-factual claim like that in the same comment.

    I’m not going to even bother trying to fact-check the rest of your comment, since I have a pretty good guess as to how much you’ll listen to a “troll” like me.

    [1] “By the numbers: Sarah Palin’s foreign policy experience broken down”, AP, 10/1/08,

  • Ruthie

    In all fairness, how about a blog entry about the democratic/liberal captivity of the African-american church. I live 2 blocks from an African American church and most of the parishioners have Obama signs in their yard. It’s not just bc Obama is African American; they did not support Alan Keyes at all a few years back.

    George Bush has had two key positions held by African Americans–Rice and Powell and gets no credit for it (from the community). Clinton is the first black President. Go figure.

    Also, you could do an entry about the marriage of liberal churches and the democratic party. The Pastor from the local Methodist church is blogging about how great Obama is. It’s not just the Republicans.

  • TK

    Can I be #100?

  • TK


  • Anon

    so, the political discussions here are harsh, which is why tODD left. Hmm.

  • Nemo

    tODD @ 82,

    Thank you very much. My question is, can a Christian not loose his discernment and still vote Republican? Is there a way out without voting Democratic or 3rd party?

    Greg @ 88,

    I’m not sure what you’re referencing; I’ve never mentioned my pastor here. Perhaps you’ve confused my post with that of J @ 70?

    For all: may I recommend God’s Name in Vain by Stephen Carter for a relatively balanced view on the topic.

  • TK

    LAJ wrote at #67

    “I believe that Christian young people would be better prepared to take up their vocations in the secular world at a Christian college like Bethany or Patrick Henry. They then can be salt and light in their vocations with a Christian worldview. Impossible to get a Christian worldview at a secular university.”

    I don’t know that its impossible, but I agree its much less likely. I do agree with you that WHERE a student attends college is critical and that’s why we strongly encouraged our daughter to go to Bethany. More importantly, I knew it was the right fit for our daughter, her abilities, personality and our family’s faith. I know other kids…strong Christian kids from strong families…who are off to the U of M. I have no doubt they, too, will emerge strong in the faith.

    I have been surprised, though, at how Christian students are often tempted to REJECT a Christian worldview during their educational years at fine Christian institutions, both by their peers and by certain instructors. I’ve dealt with this first hand with my daughter, both in high school and in college. Tempted, but not fallen. And she’ll be stronger for the temptations. I’d like to think its because she had/has a foundation laid at home and not just at her schools. I’m sure we both know parents who sent their kids to good Christian schools, but expected the school to do the work for them. I continue to be amazed at how parenting demands INCREASE rather than decrease as my kids get older; it just turns into more of a mental job than physical.

    Michael’s comment on how he believes that going to a Christian college caused him to lose him faith in Christ as His Savior has kept me thinking since last night. Compelling story, for sure, but he needs to take responsibility for that. Someone or thing can’t take your faith from you unless you cooperate; you are sealed in faith in the waters of baptism forever. Scripture promises we won’t be tempted beyond what our faith can handle.

  • LAJ

    Todd #87. Who said it was about surrounding yourself with other Christians. It’s about the professors being able to teach creationism in science classes. It’s about attending chapel services every day, which doesn’t happen in real life. It’s about learning art, music, and literature from professors who believe in a loving Savior. It’s about not having professors who challenge everything you have been taught at home and at church.

  • One last response to Anon:

    If you had managed to read out previous postings, you wou;d have seen that I was born in Africa, and lived there till I was over 30, just like my ancestors for more than 300 years. That said: You find it ok to accuse a revered old leader of being a bloodthirsty murderer, on second-hand stories, with no thread of any evidence. And then you refuse to even consider the words of a man who lived through it all. Maybe because I’m a foreigner?????

    Secondly, I learnt anti-Communism from a very early age. English was not my first language, but the very first adult English book I read, at age 10 /11, was the story of an ex-KGB escapee from Communist Russia. Your presumptions are nonsense.

    Thirdly: tODD asked you for evidence. Please provide. You keep on saying wild things, maligning all sorts of people, and then refuse to back them up.

    Fourthly: I have seen Obama’s webpage maybe once, briefly. I get most of my news info from: BBC, CNN, CBC, Times of London, Global, CTV and News24. I do not read partisan politcal pages for information, I’m well aware of their inherent bias, depending on which party is represented. I also watch the Daily Show & Colbert, for laughs that is.

    Unfortunately Anon, it seems like trying to debate with you is a vain exercise.

    I apologise to other readers for this. I will attempt in future to avoid interactions like this.

  • WebMonk

    Welcome back tODD! Aren’t you so glad to be again able to heard people make stuff up like Anon? Ain’t it wonderful!

    Yeah, I know, I’m not helping the “niceness” factor here.

    On an alternate note, does anyone expect a coherent conversation to be able to be carried on when referring to comments made 20 posts ago?

  • Ruthie (@99), sure, there’s “captivity” on the other side, as it were. But that gets to what I was saying (@82) before. Moreover, none of us here (that I know of) belong to such churches. Most of us do belong to the churches so often in thrall to the Republicans. So it seems more relevant, no?

    TK (@100!), just remember all us little people who made your victory possible — if loudmouths like me hadn’t broken up our screeds into parcels, you’d only be, like, @95 or so. 🙂

    Anon (@102), that’s a weak response. (I didn’t actually complain about the “harsh tone”, by the way.) You make your ridiculous claim(s) here, and then when you get called on it, you whimper something about how I’m a mean hypocrite, I guess. Back up your claim or admit you were wrong.

    Nemo (@103), you asked, “Can a Christian not lose his discernment and still vote Republican? Is there a way out without voting Democratic or 3rd party?” Of course Christians can vote Republican. Voting is a rather blunt process, forcing you to make a simple choice based on incredible amounts of data and nuance. I’m less worried about a Christian who “holds his nose” and votes Republican than I am one who, day-in, day-out defends that party as the only “non-evil” one and can’t see the evil in it.

    LAJ (@105), you asked, “Who said it was about surrounding yourself with other Christians,” but then the rest of your comment deals with … surrounding one’s self with other Christians. Um. At some point, Christians are going to have to deal with the real world. If they can do it at 22 (after college), might they also be able to do it at 18 (after high school)?

    WebMonk (@107), “Does anyone expect a coherent conversation to be able to be carried on when referring to comments made 20 posts ago?” Um … maybe? Sort of? Or maybe I just have a compulsion? 🙂

  • kerner

    I’m soyry that I keep coming in at the ends of these really intense conversations. My vocation has just kept me too busy.

    As to Michael’s suggestion that attending a Christian college or university can be counterproductive to faith, I think it depends alot on the individual school and individual student.

    My own educational experience was almost entirely secular, yet here I am. My siblings had more religious education than I, yet some of them are (or were) more secular in outlook than I. My own children all had a Christian education through the eighth grade, but their degree of current spiritual commitment seems to be unrelated to the degree of religion in their environments since then (some of them have not, or have not yet, gone beyond high school). Also, Christian young people can find plenty of trouble to get into, and other kinds of tests to their faith, in a Christian school. I have five kids, and I know this first hand. But I am also aware of the problems that the other students at the various Christian schools had, so I have some second hand information as well.

    As for the original issues raised by Dr. Veith, I really think the problem is that the Democratic Party has become the party of American left-wing politics. And part of the roots of 20th century left wing politics has been anti-religious. You know, the old Godless Communism thing. But while terms like “Godless Communism” may seem trite today, they have their roots in reality. A lot of left wing politics is intertwined in kind of an atheistic/humanistic phiulosophy that taints it (at least for me).

    This is why there has been such an alliance between Christians and the political right: they have had a common enemy. They have other things in common as well, I think, but there is nothing like a common enemy to bring diverse people together.

  • kerner

    tODD (welcome back indeed), and Ruthie:

    There was a time when the clergy were the only community leaders tha African American community had, as jim crow laws and racist attitudes mostly kept them out of politics. The Democratic party embraced the civil rights movement and the African American clergy embraced the Democratic party right back. Once again, a common enemy.

  • Anon

    Scylding, my presumption was to repeat what I heard from my friends who grew up in South Africa, and for whom Afrikaans was her first language, and Afrikaans, Dutch and English were equally his first language. I don’t see how you have more authority than they, let alone such that allows you to say such things about me.

    BBC, CNN, CBC, Times are all very politically partisan and ‘in the tank’ for Obama. The positions of Global, CTV and News24 are not as familiar to me.

    You don’t debate, you slam. That is a problem.

    WebMonk, please retract your lie that I make stuff up as I post many citations.

    tODD apparently you complained about harsh tone to Dr. Veith as your reason for being gone for a few days. Then you come back and engage in mockery – which I have not done.

  • Anon (@111), I believe I am more familiar than you are with the content of my email to Veith. Telling me what I “apparently” wrote is a foolish endeavor — I can just look in my sent-items folder, thank you.

    And while you might not have engaged in mockery, you have engaged in spreading untruths. Which you have yet to provide any evidence for, thus my asserting they are false. Defend your claims, or admit you’re wrong.

  • Here I go again: Anon – There has never been any evidence posted in SA that Mandela was part of the Shell House murder. I’m sorry, but your friend is wrong. I’m speaking as somebody whose mother tongue is also Afrikaans, and who follwed SA politcs closely, including the incredible rumour machines to the left and to the right (making the American rumour machines look amateurish..). What I said about you can be documented from the threads: You said Mandela manned a firearm against Inkatha (comment 30, “State Power reforming the Church, 29 Sept), you described the Xhosa NATION as killers (comment 29, same post). I responded in detail. You kept on throwing the mud. QED

    And btw: The Times of London is a British Conservative newspaper, publishing both pro- and anti-Obama. It is NOT the same as the TIMES as published in the US. And Fox is neutral??

    “You don’t debat, you slam”. Maybe I’m vigorous, but you can hardly escape the same criticism. You have yet to provide back-up for your assertions.

    I’m getting tired of this. But Anon is keeping on throwing out mud, and in the case of Mandela referenced above, acquisations of mass murder against a true statesman. Sure, I don’t agree with everything he did, and he had some questionable allies. But your villification has just gone on too far. And before you say I make allegations etc. I have given “chapter & verse with cross references”.

    Unfortunately, this has become nasty. Maybe Anon, can we agree to disagree? But I do stand firm on the acquisation against Mandela – that is not a matter of opinion (like Palin – ready or not, or Obama, extremist or not). It was a direct acquisation of mass murder against a respectable man. Please respond. Or at least acknowledge that no evidence has come forth, that nothing was found in any court of law, and that it is mere speculation. I know enough things about Mandela, good or bad, to be able to defend / accuse him. But you have overstepped the line. Same as with you accusing a whole tribe of being constant murderers.

    What will you do if your new neighbour turns out to be a Xhosa immigrant (it happens), and he reads what you wrote? How will you witness the Gospel to him then?

  • Michael the little boot

    Patrick Kyle @ 90,

    “Dude… What are you talking about? Really? You really believe this?” Yes, I really believe many of our politicians enjoy the thought of people voting for policies along party lines from which the voter will not benefit. Why else would conservative politicians promise to do things about abortion, then not deliver? Why would liberal politicians promise to give us universal health care over and over again without actually doing anything about it? Both sides continue to court their base with the same talking points. The base of each party continues to say “their” people will do the things they want done. But NOTHING EVER HAPPENS. Campaigning is just strategy now. I don’t think we can truly believe ANYTHING they say during the campaign. If you can point out ONE MAJOR campaign promise – a BIG policy change or the like – in the last thirty years, I might be tempted to change my mind. But the platforms these politicians run on are just lies. It’s a magic trick, smoke and mirrors, to get us to be on their side, to get us to think they will do something for us. But they don’t, or at least haven’t, so I tend to think they will continue to serve themselves and leave us in the cold.

  • Michael the little boot

    TK @ 104,

    “Michael’s comment on how he believes that going to a Christian college caused him to lose him faith in Christ as His Savior has kept me thinking since last night. Compelling story, for sure, but he needs to take responsibility for that. Someone or thing can’t take your faith from you unless you cooperate; you are sealed in faith in the waters of baptism forever. Scripture promises we won’t be tempted beyond what our faith can handle.”

    First of all, why not just address that to me? You buried it in a post I might not have read. I do tend to skip some on really long threads.

    Where did I not take responsibility for anything in my statement? All I said was: “I’m personally very happy I attended a Christian college. I might still be a Christian if I hadn’t!” I made a statement that had nothing to do with naming a responsible party.

    So, to be clear: the reason I think I would still be a Christian if I had not attended a Christian school is that I am timid, reserved, weak, etc. as a person. (Okay, so not in the anonymous-friendly blogosphere, but in “real” life I am that way.) I would have, more than likely, retreated into what I knew already and insulated myself from the “secular” world. At the Christian college I attended, I felt free to explore. The reason I eventually rejected Christianity, as I’ve said before, was that I finally trusted God wasn’t a big, bad wolf in the sky, that God actually WANTED me to explore the larger world of faith, rather than limit myself to one narrow way of seeing and experiencing the world. That was my decision, inasmuch as we have any freedom to make decisions. Not to say I wasn’t influenced; and not to say there weren’t others who were partly responsible for their roles in my life at the time; but I take responsibility for my decision.

    Now, as far as being “sealed in faith in the waters of baptism forever,” I have a problem. Isn’t this a theological point of debate? And how does this fit in with the Lutheran idea of faith coming through hearing? You can say what you will about when “life” begins, but it is a FACT that babies do not understand ANY words right away. Also, some churches reject water-baptism as being essential, meaning a person would not be secure in the way you describe. I’m not sure I have a point here, except that I am astounded at the absolute certainty people have in ideas which are not even theoretical.

    TK, are you Theresa? If so, I thought we were cool enough for you to address these kinds of things directly to me. Hope I haven’t done anything to wreck that.

  • FW

    #115 michael little boot!

    hey buddy. take a look at my reformation posts on baptism. I would be most curious to see how those strike you in your impressions of Lutheran christianity.