Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Religion and politics

There seems to still be plenty of discussion over the ramifications of Barack Obama being elected President of the USA and the stance Christians are taking.

I ordered a book yesterday from Youth Specialties - 'Barack Obama: An American Story' - mostly because they gave me a really good deal, but partly hoping I could pass it along to some people to help ease their fears about Obama's faith. I am thinking of getting his book 'The Audacity of Hope' as well. There is quite the discussion going on HERE about YS doing this though. Man...

There is also a good article at Christian History - "The Wall of Seperation" - pointing out that the issue is nothing new this year. In fact, they say the election of 1800 was even worse. People were calling Thomas Jefferson an atheist, and said things like, "a vote for Jefferson must be construed into no less than rebellion against God." You should read the article if you care about such things.

I am really growing tired of it all though. I think we all need to take us a chill pill and get some faith in God for crying out loud.


Jim said...


Bob said...

great blog - thanks for so much thinking out loud

We are planning to launch a companion website in the next 10 days. The goal of the site is NOT to advocate for Obama, but rather to resource students & YMs as they reflect on what just happened, where our country may be headed and how the faith of our political leaders may or may not inspire us.

Would you possibly consider sharing a reflection of how the faith & politics intersects for you ? The idea behind this is to share a spectrum of politicians & activists, reflecting the broad spectrum of faithful citizens in our country.

dan h. said...

Not sure who the "we" is that you're talking about. I can't commit to anything at the moment, but if you like, shoot me an email with some more details. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Not sure that I want to write too much here but what about Obama's faith inspires you? I have faith that the toilet will hold me when I sit on it but that faith has nothing to do with God. Just because a person says they have faith in God should not lead us to believe that theyarea believer. What do his actions say? What does his own life say? Don't play the "war" card either. War is throughout the Bible and many times was ordained by God. Not saying that all war is ordained by God but don't just play that card for the sack of playing. email me jampastor1@yahoo.com. Wally

Isaac Horwedel said...


What is it about his actions that lead you to believe he's NOT a "believe?" If he says he is, why do you choose not to believe him? It seems unfair of you to ask someone to tell you why they DON'T believe someone as opposed to saying they do. I also think you can read a lot of the other posts on here that imply why someone would be inspired by Obama's faith. And please don't play the "abortion card." (Also realize that I am using this language to acknowledge how saying that the argument is a "war card" trivializes the severity of the issue. Surely I do not think abortion is just "an abortion card")

Also, your war argument is rather elementary. Anyone calling themselves a Christian has much more work to do in trying to reconcile Christ's teachings to support war in light of the fact that Christ clearly advocates love for our enemies even if it brings about our own death and suffering. To read the Hebrew Scriptures and arrive at the conclusion that war was simply "ordained by God" is an absolute misreading of the text. If you don't know why then I suggest reading ANY Biblical commentary.

Jim said...

I was going to compliment Dan on staying above THAT particular fray/provocation, but I am glad Isaac jumped in to fight a battle some of us are just too old to step back up to the battlements on again. To conflate Old Testament wars with something like the lie that got us into modern day Iraq seems, well, blasphemous in the extreme to me.

Young man, you speak truth. Keep it up!

MR said...

You mean the "lie" that liberated millions from a dictator and gave their lives value and their voices significance?

(sigh) maybe one more time... Saddam Hussein presented himself as having biochemical weapons so he would be feared, and ALL the intelligence networks reflected that--even really hip, super cool EUROPEAN intelligence that can't be wrong...because it's... EUROPEAN and therefore inherently good somehow. What Bush said, essentially, was: this is the information we've got and "I would rather err on the side of caution rather than believe a dictator that he all of a sudden DOESN'T have WMDs." This after we saw him use them on the Kurds after the first Gulf War (mustard gas administered by Chemical Ali).

I love the way the United Nations creates these "mandates" but when it comes time to enforce them, they all shrivel up like "what? words affecting reality...what a concept!" The same way the Dems voted to go into Iraq on the same intelligence Geo. Bush looked at, then criticized it as "Bush's War". Funny, last time I looked THIS wasn't a dictatorship, I thought we had checks and balances and two parties.

Saying they were "lied to" is just a way of shirking their responsibility. What a shock!

Isaac Horwedel said...

WIth all due respect, make sure you're reading your history. Which country was it that put this dictator into power?? (It was the United States). We put Saddam into power because we thought he would do what we wanted him to. We didn't care what he did to his people as long as he was representing the U.S. interest in the Middle East. It wasn't until he went against our wishes and invaded Kuwait that the U.S. started calling Saddam a ruthless dictator. If he had weapons of mass destruction (even though he didn't) they would have been there because we put him there.

Also, what I'm talking about (and I'm guessing what Jim is talking about also) really has nothing to do with Republicans, Democrats, or the UN but everything to do with the LIE that is war and violence. Bush did more to blur the lines between God and country than just about any President in the past and it was to the detriment of Christianity. As I mentioned before, no respected Biblical scholar would say that one could use a Biblical precedent to support the Iraq war, even IF it was a war of liberation, which it wasn't. I'm not saying the war was entirely fueled (no pun intended) by oil, but I would say it was the most prominent reason we went (Watch Crude Awakening, it's a good bi-partisan look at the oil crisis in the world).

MR said...

Sorry, are you saying that Saddam was already a ruthless dictator when the CIA played a quote "substancial role" in his rise to power to push out a pro-Soviet leader during the cold war? Are you also saying that, if that was the case, we should not re-evaluate our policy given his atrocities? Are you saying once we make a policy...no matter how many presidents get elected and parties shift power, should we have ever said "wups! he's nuts, get him out of there." That's an interesting philosophy. But I wasn't asking where the BLAME went, I was saying we made the world better by liberating those people. You know, the ones God made. In simple terms, if they disappeared or were snatched from their wedding, raped, killed, buried in the desert by Saddam or his sons, no biggie. Today, someone disappears, it warrants an investigation.

The past has no bearing on how right it was to liberate those people... it's just you wanting to blame someone.

Are ya SURE that's what Jim was talking about when he said "lie?" Really? Because it's a Democratic talking point to refer to the start of that war as a lie. So, I guess we could ask Jim what he meant, but I'd say that's the only way to be sure, I'm kind of doubting your interpretation, but maybe only Jim will know.

As for the war being about oil at any level, certainly that part of the world is most significant because we've based our entire economy and welfare on fossil fuels. So certainly at some level it's about oil/money/political leverage. Just in that we wouldn't care if their chief export was, say... cotton.

The liberation of these people may have been a side-affect of eliminating an enemy of the United States, but a good result nonetheless (yes, I just said the ends justify the means in this case).

While you're nit-picking who's to blame and why it happened you left out: "you know, it's a GOOD thing those people are free. Who'd have thought it would turn out to be such a GOOD THING?"

dan h. said...

I think we have us a case here of two people coming from entirely different angles.

I thought Isaac's response to Wally summed up nicely what I would have said. Thanks.