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The nature of Bush's religion

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HLGStrider

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Barli, it really doesn't make sense that you in the first post of this thread attack Bush for being a Religious Fanatic and then later on say he is putting on his religion for political reasons. You can't believe both and be sane so I think you should tell us which one of the two views you truly hold and get it over with.

I hope it is the religious fanatic one because you once told me you would never second-guess another persons faith when I said I knew someone who was Jewish by culture more than religion (even though I knew this from the man's words rather than from guessing about him as you seem to be willing to do with Bush.).

heartless and cruel. I also believe that if an ultrasound shows that she will give birth to a monster (this is the technical term for a grossly physically/mentally deformed fetus)
Heartless and cruel more aptly describes a technical term that calls a human a monster.


I truthfully am more afraid about liberals than I will ever be about Bush. It seems that the party is losing their minds. I'm in an art class with a bunch of people who in their spare time talk politics. They talk about Conservatives in public in a way I would never talk about Liberals in private or with a group at GOP Headquarters.

For instance, my art teacher was talking about how the Bush campaign had a chance because of the low IQ of the general American population. I don't know. Maybe I am extremely sensitive but it seems to suggest to me that he thinks those who vote for Bush (which I have already done. Oregon has a mail in ballot system and I mailed mine off yesterday) are stupid. He didn't say this to me. It was in a conversation with one of his pals across the room, but I was immediately struck by the presumptiveness of the comment, even in private.

Also, sane people, or at least people who appear sane, are sitting there making comparisions to Bush and Hitler. Maybe I missed the Holocost. They could be hiding the death camps somewhere in Utah near Area 51. Maybe I am naive, but I think this sort of rhetoric qualifies as "over the top."

I don't like Kerry's views and think he'd take the country in the wrong direction. If I didn't think that I wouldn't be voting for Bush, but I don't think he is the devil, and I think when someone reaches that point of fanatacism they are disqualified from rational conversation. I wouldn't talk about politics with that group for money.

I think Bush is a sincere Christian. I think Kerry is a believing Catholic who has strayed from the Catholic doctrine in many key points, the abortion one being the most key.

I will always vote for the Pro-Life canidate. My brother was suggesting a possible Guiliani ticket for '08 and we got into a debate because I said, "I'll vote Constitutional Party then." He said since the Constitutional party was a no-chance and the Democrat would win if enough Republicans did that, I should vote for Guilani as the "lesser of two evils." and I said "No. Couldn't do that in good conscience. I'll go Constitutional and send the party a message."

Which I will do if it comes down to a pro-abortion Republican in '08 though my ever predicting brother says it is more likely to be McCain and since he isn't my senator I have never taken the time to look up his pro-life record, so I'd have to if that came up.

Bush and Cheney both have perfect pro-life records and Kerry has a horrendous one. I don't know about Edwards. I don't really care because the Co-Pilot seat is lack luster. It was obvious from the begining for me who to vote for.
 

Valandil

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Nice post elgee. Total agreement on what we call people with deformities (anyone wish to ask real live adult humans with deformities if they'd rather have been aborted? Or what they think of being called 'monsters'?) and on your other comments regarding abortion and party platforms... I was seriously concerned in 1996 that we'd see a pro-choice Republican nominee - and was relieved that we did not.

HLGStrider said:
...For instance, my art teacher was talking about how the Bush campaign had a chance because of the low IQ of the general American population...
Yes - I love this about the Liberal / Democratic viewpoint. For the 'party of the common people' they're awfully condescending of them. :p

Also agree with your comments on the degree of strong feelings those of the left have toward administrations which are more toward the right. As we see from a few other threads in this forum (which I think I will stop even addressing), some seem to subscribe to the notion:

"I am against Bush, therefore any bad thing I hear rumored about him MUST be true!!!"

which is really quite unreasonable... and puts a halt to any chance at serious dialog.
 

Valandil

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joxy said:
Thank you and my sincere apologies for taking the wrong figure.
Oh - no apology needed. Perhaps I was unclear.

That statistic has to be by far the most horrific that has ever been calculated and reported in the history of humanity.
It shames the very word "humanity".
After that - and while it continues - we deserve Armageddon!
Agreed on all counts. As to the last - yes we do, and always have. But God is gracious and kind. To date He has long refrained from treating us as our sins deserve. :)

Perhaps though, some of those who read this thread could see why I, who believe each of those killed by abortion every day is actually a full-fledged human being - feel I can do no other than vote for Bush. The Supreme Court is perhaps our best chance to stem the current tide of abortions in America. There has not been a new appointment to it in many years (none for either Clinton or Bush Jr). Kerry has clearly stated that he would not consider any justice who opposed the landmark case, Roe v Wade... with President Bush, they have a chance.
 
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HLGStrider

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I thought, to be fair, I better add that there are "Kerry is the Devil" totally insane Republicans out there. However, we are hearing very little from them this season. I am sure I could find their websites if I wanted to, but I don't want to, so I am not going to.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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HLGStrider said:
Barli, it really doesn't make sense that you in the first post of this thread attack Bush for being a Religious Fanatic and then later on say he is putting on his religion for political reasons. You can't believe both and be sane so I think you should tell us which one of the two views you truly hold and get it over with.
Are you SURE I actually said that he's a "religious fanatic?" At this moment, I would say that he has some degree of religious belief, AND he uses Christianity for political gains whenever it suits him, which as far as I'm concerned, is all the time. Now you can call me "insane" or even a flip-flopper :p of which I am neither, just because I hold views you don't agree with. You really should be careful about whom you easily call insane, because others could easily make the same case for your views. Let's keep it civil here, shall we?

...guessing about him as you seem to be willing to do with Bush.
If seeing the same takes on his behavior in article after article after article in news media both national and international is guessing, then I'm guessing.

Heartless and cruel more aptly describes a technical term that calls a human a monster.
Now here is where we indeed have a true difference of opinion: where life starts. I am against what I would call "abortions of convenience," as are you. But if a woman has been made pregnant through rape, or if the pregnancy endangers her life, I believe she should have that option.

If the child is so severely deformed or greatly brain-damaged that it cannot under any circumstances lead a fruitful life, that it needs constant special equipment and hospital care, I think that abortion is a viable — and humane — option. Why should a child be forced to live a life under such circumstances if it means a life of hardship, pain, misery and bitterness for both child and parents? I think that in this case abortion should be available as an option, even if not chosen. Which is better, a life of misery, or death? I believe there are worse things than death, one of them being an agonized and tortured life.

Should they have wanted the child alive and loved it enough, and had the spiritual grit and financial wherewithal to raise it with love, that's something else again. But what would happen to such a child — needing 24-hour care — when the parents were too old or weak or financially unable to provide the care, or when they died? Then what? I am not talking in theory here: such cases are real-world, not that rare, and need to be addressed, no matter what the family religion may be.

I truthfully am more afraid about liberals than I will ever be about Bush. It seems that the party is losing their minds. I'm in an art class with a bunch of people who in their spare time talk politics. They talk about Conservatives in public in a way I would never talk about Liberals in private or with a group at GOP Headquarters.
That doesn't mean that all liberals are that way; you can't form that generalization just from that experience. Not all liberals are horrible people, any more than are all conservatives. As far as I'm concerned, the Republican party has been taken over by extremists, leaving the genuine conservatives in a position of powerlessness, they need to take back their party and re-establish genuine moral and fiscal responsibility. It may be starting to happen, I just hope not too late.

For instance, my art teacher was talking about how the Bush campaign had a chance because of the low IQ of the general American population.
Judging by the general content of television entertainment programming and movies these days; by the spread of comic books as serious literature for adults; by the general ignorance of history and science of the average person; by the number of "shout shows" on TV that pass for "political discussion;" by the phenomenon of road rage; by the general crudeness and rudeness endemic in today's American society, I'd say he has an excellent point!

I don't know. Maybe I am extremely sensitive but it seems to suggest to me that he thinks those who vote for Bush ... are stupid.
He may indeed believe that, but that's him, not all liberals. You simply can't make that kind of a generalization. For me, those who vote for Bush either have something to gain from it (being rich and benefiting from the tax laws, for example) or they truly believe the picture that the Republican party paints him as being. In other words, I believe there are a lot of good honest intelligent Americans who have been bamboozled by the party line, mainly because they want to believe that it's true. For those who believe Bush is an extremist, extreme opinions are generated. But even at that, they should be made in a responsible manner.

Also, sane people, or at least people who appear sane, are sitting there making comparisions to Bush and Hitler.
I have never personally heard or read that anywhere. Those who would say that are indeed gone off the rails.

I don't like Kerry's views and think he'd take the country in the wrong direction. If I didn't think that I wouldn't be voting for Bush, but I don't think he is the devil, and I think when someone reaches that point of fanatacism they are disqualified from rational conversation. I wouldn't talk about politics with that group for money.
I have never heard of anyone saying that Bush is the devil, although it could certainly be in very extreme cases. No thinking liberal would say such a thing.

I think Bush is a sincere Christian. I think Kerry is a believing Catholic who has strayed from the Catholic doctrine in many key points, the abortion one being the most key.
For me, no sincere Christian would take a country into a war with no plans for its end (the chaos, destruction of infrustructure and cultural treasures and loss of life in Baghdad and other places in Iraq is the direct result of ignoring the advice of the military, and adhering to that damnable neocon insanity), too few troops, too little equipment, and draining financial resources from it by giving a tax cut to the rich during wartime. No sincere Christian would start a war and deliberately set up the Halliburton crony situation. No sincere Christian would leave hard-working families twisting in the wind by outsourcing their jobs and calling high unemployment a myth. No sincere Christian would create the biggest deficit in American history and call it Republican fiscal responsiblity. No sincere Christian would rack up the prices of prescription drugs so the drug companies profit at the expense of our seniors. This man does NOT have our good at heart. As for Kerry, he represents for me a way out of the mess Bush has gotten us into.

I will always vote for the Pro-Life canidate.
I understand that. That's your main issue, as well as for other people posting here. My main issue is getting rid of Bush because I believe he is the most dangerous-to the-country/to-the-world president ever to hold the office. He is for the rich at the expense of everyone else. He attempts to jigger the laws and stack the courts with right-wingers who want the Christian extreme right and/or the well-heeled to eventually hold dominion over the country by forcing their religous doctrines and the consequences of their financial greed onto everyone. That's why I say that when it comes to Christianity, he's a fraud. Everything he's done, I say, is against all true Christian morals and ethics, and the morals and ethics of anyone else's ethical belief system.

My brother ... said since the Constitutional party was a no-chance and the Democrat would win if enough Republicans did that, I should vote for Guilani as the "lesser of two evils." and I said "No. Couldn't do that in good conscience. I'll go Constitutional and send the party a message."
Your brother is absolutely right. Many times we must vote for the lesser of two evils, taking things one step at a time, building toward something better, if that's the only way to do it.

There is NEVER an excuse for not voting! Not to vote stacks it in favor of the other side, which is EXACTLY what the conservatives want: one of their favorite political ploys is demoralizing the citizenry into not voting, because it gives them more votes on their side. (And I will but mention all the Republican efforts presently in place at actually sabotaging the voting process.)

Bush and Cheney both have perfect pro-life records and Kerry has a horrendous one. I don't know about Edwards. I don't really care because the Co-Pilot seat is lack luster. It was obvious from the beginning for me who to vote for.
Excuse me: the pro-life issue alone is NOT enough to elect a president on. A U.S. president is responsible for much more than that. Reality trumps ideology, and those who are so invested in ideology that they are blind to reality are making a disastrous error for themselves and everyone else.

And no president nor politician has the right to attempt to legislate his religion into everyone else's law.

Barley
 
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joxy

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Barliman Butterbur said:
<Elgee: I will always vote for the Pro-Life candidate>
I understand that.

<to Elgee> ....the pro-life issue alone is NOT enough to elect a president on.
Your understanding didn't last long BB!
Given the horrendous figure that Valandil gave us I'd rate the issue the only one that mattered - but I haven't a vote.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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joxy said:
Your understanding didn't last long BB!
Given the horrendous figure that Valandil gave us I'd rate the issue the only one that mattered - but I haven't a vote.
Human life is paramount, joxy. However quality of life is also paramount.

I took a lot of time and care laying out my beliefs in hopes that I would at least be understood if not agreed with. I'm sorry you didn't take the rest of what I said into consideration.

Barley
 

joxy

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I think you know me well enough to understand that I did read and consider all you wrote. It deserves and will receive thought
and reflection, though I am not sure whether this is the right place to discuss a subject that calls for individual consideration.
That is why I then made only the briefest of comments, on that one small point.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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joxy said:
I think you know me well enough to understand that I did read and consider all you wrote. It deserves and will receive thought
and reflection, though I am not sure whether this is the right place to discuss a subject that calls for individual consideration.
That is why I then made only the briefest of comments, on that one small point.
Ah, thank you! I look forward to your PM!

Barley
 

HLGStrider

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Are you SURE I actually said that he's a "religious fanatic?"
No. In fact, I am pretty sure you didn't. I am saying you posted links to sites that say he is and I personally wouldn't post links to sites that said things I disagreed with without a "disclaimer" saying that I disagree with them if I was using them to make a discussion, so I assumed you agreed with them.

You really should be careful about whom you easily call insane, because others could easily make the same case for your views. Let's keep it civil here, shall we?
I didn't call you insane. I said you can't believe George W. Bush is a Religious Fanatic and a Religious Faker at the same time and be sane because the views are contradictory, and it seemed, due to the content of your first post and the content of later posts, that you were holding both views. Actually, I was just trying to incite some clarification, which I got, but it still doesn't explain why you posted links you don't agree with in the first place. I guess maybe to see if others agreed with them, but if so you could've been clearer about it.

If seeing the same takes on his behavior in article after article after article in news media both national and international is guessing, then I'm guessing.
But you also posted new articles/sites that said the opposite, that he is firmly devoted to his beliefs, even fanatically so, so you do have to personally decide which articles to believe, and if so I think, by your own standard, you should fall back on his word because I wouldn't want to be in the position of judging what is in a man's heart. It's tricky to do so.

Why should a child be forced to live a life under such circumstances if it means a life of hardship, pain, misery and bitterness for both child and parents?
You can't force someone to live. You can force someone to die.

Humans will never know whether a hard life is worse than no life and we weren't given the responsibility to decide, thank God. Taking it into our own hands is therefore the ultimate of un-wisdom. We never know what might have been, what we did destroy. There is always some doubt that the death we thought we just "sped" was actually avoidable.

Judging by the general content of television entertainment programming and movies these days; by the spread of comic books as serious literature for adults; by the general ignorance of history and science of the average person; by the number of "shout shows" on TV that pass for "political discussion;" by the phenomenon of road rage; by the general crudeness and rudeness endemic in today's American society, I'd say he has an excellent point!
A lot of Americans share your/his view on that. . .but how do we know that we are among the number of Americans that are above and not below. How do we know that we are smart and not the ones being deceived by political rhetoric? How do we know that we are really the intellectual elite?

Oh we can guess, and say 'Because we read this and this and talk about this and this and do this and this." But really it is just guessing and we are only trying to cover our rear-ends with snobbery. Second guessing the American public is dangerous. . .especially if you are only doing it because you think they disagree with you, which is what he was doing.

He may indeed believe that, but that's him, not all liberals. You simply can't make that kind of a generalization.
I wasn't because I know plenty of sane ones as well, though perhaps I should have specified that. My point was that in this race the "HITLER-BUSH" variety is increasing and they seem to be the most obvious. If you haven't heard Hitler Bush comparisons, you really aren't listening.

For me, no sincere Christian would take a country into a war with no plans for its end
The Christian religion actually says very little about war and a lot of what you say is second guessing motives, so I don't think you can make all those statements. I would say to myself often "How can a true Christian support something as horrible as abortion?" but there are abortion-Christians, and I have to learn to realize this. I think they are misguided and if they studied their faith they would change their views, but I don't reasonably doubt their Christianity.

I think "If Bush truly understood-examined his Christianity he would not have gone into Iraq" is a perfectly reasonable stance. "Bush can't be a Christian because he went into Iraq" isn't particularly and leads one to guess what is in a man's heart.

Excuse me: the pro-life issue alone is NOT enough to elect a president on. A U.S. president is responsible for much more than that.

Reality trumps ideology, and those who are so invested in ideology that they are blind to reality are making a disastrous error for themselves and everyone else
Two issues in this.


Prolife issue: the number of babies aborted every year is much larger than the amount of people killed in the war, in terrorist attacks, in crime, in car crashes, because of faulty health care. For me it is the ultimate issue because it is HUGE.

Thankfully, I also agree with the GOP on most other issues, so I probably won't have to make this choice often, but I would not give my vote to a president who would turn his back on the unborn.

It isn't the only issue, but it carries the most weight.

Second:
Reality trumps ideology? Aborted babies are very, very, very real. Ideology is present in EVERY issue. If you don't believe something about an issue, you don't really have a reason to make a decision about it. Reality is that abortion exists and that it is deadly. Reality is that one president will stop partial Birth abortion if he can and the other will let it run with no hidrance whatsoever. That is very much reality.

In many ways it is more real than the War in Iraq because we don't know how that will turn out. Abortion, on the other hand, has one pretty concrete result when that baby is pulled part way out of the womb, stuck with a sharp object in the skull, and murdered. It never turns out good for the baby.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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LG: Cutting to the chase:

Thanks to many on this board, including you, I have had some education on the number of abortions going on in America. I wasn't aware of its extent, I am now, and I share your horror. I agree, something must absolutely be done (and not blowing up abortion clinics and the people in them). But the job of president is extremely complex and many-faceted, all issues demanding their fair share of attention. A president cannot make abortion the number one issue and still do a good job.

In another thread (http://www.thetolkienforum.com/showthread.php?t=16457&page=2&pp=15, starting with Post #29), I brought up an article from the New York Times by Ron Suskind, outlining the scary possibility that Bush has subsituted prayer for reality. One of his aides said in effect, "We're an empire now [!!!], and we create reality. We have it over you people who merely comprise 'the reality-based community.' The world doesn't run on reality anymore." (Check the full article.) If this is true, Bush's clear-eyed confidence is coming from what he gets from his prayers, not from dealing with the disastrous realities that he has set in motion both abroad and domestically.

Abraham Lincoln was a very religious man. He once said, "Many times I am driven to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go." And, he did not neglect to deal with the realities of the Civil War! He kept his eye on reality!

But never mind that it happens to be Bush in the White House this time; I am frightened to death of the prospect of any man or woman who's running the show, depending for answers to crucial problems and situations strictly on what is coming from inside his or her head, and who discounts the necessity for consulting reality. Anyone who dismisses reality is no one to be in charge of anything, let alone a country.

HLGStrider said:
I think "If Bush truly understood-examined his Christianity he would not have gone into Iraq" is a perfectly reasonable stance.
I absolutely agree with you. I do believe the man does not understand his Christianity.

Barley
 
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Valandil

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Barliman Butterbur said:
Abraham Lincoln was a very religious man. He once said, "Many times I am driven to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go." And, he did not neglect to deal with the realities of the Civil War! He kept his eye on reality!

But never mind that it happens to be Bush in the White House this time; I am frightened to death of the prospect of any man or woman who's running the show, depending for answers to crucial problems and situations strictly on what is coming from inside his or her head, and who discounts the necessity for consulting reality. Anyone who dismisses reality is no one to be in charge of anything, let alone a country.
Not sure what you mean... do you say you have as much objection to President Bush's prayers regarding the war in Iraq as you would have had for President Lincoln's prayers regarding the Civil War in the US?

I absolutely agree with you. I do believe the man does not understand his Christianity.
C'mon Barly - you know what she means... she's saying that it's a reasonable argument for a person to make, if they can back it up. The opposite argument can also be made though. Please don't take her quote out of context - she made many very good points in her post, and does not deserve that kind of treatment.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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Valandil said:
Not sure what you mean... do you say you have as much objection to President Bush's prayers regarding the war in Iraq as you would have had for President Lincoln's prayers regarding the Civil War in the US?
I have no objection to prayer per se in either case. I say however, that prayer alone, without dealing with the realities that prompt it, is not enough. Jim Wallis, a very sincere evangelical Christian who used to be close to Bush, pleaded with him to consider the reality of the situation, and not simply rely on prayer, dismissing reality.

C'mon Barly - you know what she means... she's saying that it's a reasonable argument for a person to make, if they can back it up. The opposite argument can also be made though. Please don't take her quote out of context - she made many very good points in her post, and does not deserve that kind of treatment.
She made a statement that I agree with as I understood it. Leaving her statement out of this, so that there's no problem with what she said, take my statement alone: I do not believe that Bush understands true Christianity. If he did, according to my understanding of Christian decency, he would have listened to his advisors when they told him that the way he went to war was inviting prolonged disaster, and not those damned neocon war mongers. He would not have caused unemployment to skyrocket and call it a myth. He would not have underfunded the No Child Left Behind program. He would not promote outsourcing of jobs. He would not have cut off overtime pay for a whole class of Americans. He would not attempt privatizing of Social Security. He would not have set up a situation where seniors have to pay sky-high prices for drugs and make it illegal to get them from Canada, or to allow price negotiation. Etc., etc., etc. *sigh*

Barley
 

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I don't think Barli seriously thought I meant that statement as I listed it as a "reasonable alternative" to a statement I thought was "unreasonable." I believe something can be reasonable and still wrong. Logic and reason are finite, after all, so there can be a reasonable stance that is incorrect.

And I do disagree with that statement, which I think was pretty obvious. I'd say it is much more likely, from your posts, that you misunderstand Christianity than Bush does.

Then in your last paragraph you bring up so many issues at once that we can't really discuss them clearly. Each of them deserves their own thread. . .and all of them can be seriously disagreed with. If reasonable people can disagree with them, and I know from experience that they can, and if we had room to discuss each one in turn orderly, I probably could as well, then there is no reason to belittle Bush for disagreeing with them.

That's what I don't care for in this presidential race.

We have been given two canidates. One is clearly on one side of the ideological ring and the other clearly on the other. Both of them do have moderate points and points where I am not sure of their status, but in generally, I know where it stands, and the difference between each of them is ideological.

And yet this year no one is capable of having a decent 'Are Tax Cuts Like Bush's Good or Bad for the Economy?" discussion. Instead they begin ranting about "Tax cuts for the rich" on the left or 'Kerry wants to raise your taxes" on the right. Now, I love the tax cuts. My mom is a logical tax payer and has informed me that through increased child-credit, our family has been advanced by them. I am a minimum wage earner who basically payed no taxes last year and doesn't have a family to support so they didn't touch me personally, but my parents are about on the 50,000 income level, by no means rich, and I think it can be reasonably argued that the tax cuts are good. I also think there is some reasonable, but incorrect, arguement on the left that they have done some harm. But instead of getting that debate, we get rants.

Also, almost everything you listed has no clear cut answer, and in many cases no answer at all, in Christianity, because Christianity is not a political philosophy. It is a religious philosophy which can guide political decisions, but only in the vaguest way.

Outsourcing of jobs, for instance? I'd like to see you back that up Biblically.
No Child Left Behind? The only sort of education you are going to find much about in the Bible is homeschooling, to tell you the truth, as it assumes that teaching is being done by the parents (train up a child in the way he should go.) because there wasn't much of a public school system back then in Jeruselum.

There is no clear cut stance on War in the Christian community. If you go back in Christian history you will find the pacifists (Menosimon) and the militant (Zwingli). You will find the religious generals and religious pacifists and all manner of in between. If you are expecting Christianty to answer political problems, then you really don't understand it.

However, individually, it can help a person make decisions. There is very little Biblical that can be done for my current decision whether to stay at my current job or try to get a higher paying one. However, I can pray to seek guidance so I make the right decision. I'm guessing Bush's seeking for guidance is more like that, in many cases.

All of what you listed can be argued about logically. There is no need to bring about questioning a politicians religious heart into the debate. It is unfair and arbitrary.
 

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I do not believe that Bush understands true Christianity. If he did, according to my understanding of Christian decency, he would have listened to his advisors when they told him that the way he went to war was inviting prolonged disaster, and not those damned neocon war mongers. He would not have caused unemployment to skyrocket and call it a myth.
Bari, you are playing into the hands of your political enemies on this topic. Christianity is in essence, a politically neutral religion. Jesus wasn't, and isn't, a Republican. He had another purpose entirely.

What Christianity requires of its followers is morality. We are to take care of the poor for instance. Whether we do that by the Republican ideas (and traditional charity concepts, such as those discussed in the book The Tragedy of American Compassion such as helping the poor help themselves) or the Democrat ideas of socialism and government handouts (I do not attempt to hide my bias) has nothing to do with morality, only political opinion. In a certain sense, I don't really care if a Christian is on the left or the right.

However, thought we can reconcile our differences in some areas, others are totally not acceptable for the believer. The Democratic Party has been hijacked in the later half of the 20th century by the self proclaimed religion of secular humanism, and there are few "old liberals" left. This belief system has areas that blatantly violate the moral law, and Christian beliefs. Abortion is the primary example. No Christian can rightfully support this type of murder any more than they can (and tragically many did) support Hitler. Though things like just war theory and economics are debatable; being Pro-Abortion stands in clear violation of 200 years of constitutional practice, and the moral law. Additionally, it is interesting to note that while atrocities have been committed ILLOGICALLY in the name of Christianity; more blood has been spilled in the 20th Century by Atheistic/Secular Humanistic beliefs than the last 2,000 years of Christianity COMBINED. Though much of the disparity can be attributed to more efficient killing machines, disregard for atrocity remain the LOGICAL outworking of a belief system that does away with any higher moral guide. Who is really more dangerous?

In short, though you may disagree with Bush, you have little argument that can be used to attack his morality (unless he purposefully lied, and so forth). However, your candidate has not stayed so neutral on moral issues. I with democrats like Truman and FDR were running against Bush so we could have real political debate, but unfortunately, the "new morality" of secular humanism that drives the democratic party right now makes the choice very clear for many Christians.

I do not presume to know the heart of President Bush, but as a Student of Theology and Biblical studies I do not see any blatant areas where he is in violation of Biblical precepts. There are areas I disagree with him on, but they are areas of politics, not faith. I do not vote for Christians BECAUSE they are Christians either, Christians can be as incompetent and foolish as the rest of humanity. I will vote for Bush because I agree with his Public Policy more than Kerry. I also believe President Bush has superior morals to Kerry. Enough said?
 
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Barliman Butterbur

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HLGStrider said:
...I believe something can be reasonable and still wrong. Logic and reason are finite, after all, so there can be a reasonable stance that is incorrect.
On this, we are in complete agreement.

...I'd say it is much more likely, from your posts, that you misunderstand Christianity [more] than Bush does.
What I understand is this: that a president who is believing Christian (OR Buddhist OR Jew OR Muslim OR Hindu OR secular humanist) must employ serious thought about the reality of things as well as what he gets from prayer, and listen to others when they have things he needs to know. Bush and his ideologues are living in an ideological bubble that dismisses the reality of the consequences of their actions. A direct quote from one of his aides, and this reflects the view of the entire administration: "We're an empire now, and we create our own reality." Is that terrifying in its hubris or what???

I believe that such a man — a believing Christian (OR Buddhist OR Jew OR Muslim OR Hindu OR secular humanist) — would not trash the economy and take the military into harm's way without listening to his counselors. Does not Christianity promote doing good and not harm?

in your last paragraph you bring up so many issues at once that we can't really discuss them clearly. Each of them deserves their own thread.
It's what they have in common: they involve destruction in their aftermaths that could have been avoided had the president truly had the health and welfare of people in mind.

We have been given two candidates. One is clearly on one side of the ideological ring and the other clearly on the other...the difference between each of them is ideological.
What do you mean by ideological? To me (and I believe the definition is correct), an ideologue is one who follows a specific philosophy without regard to reality, and/or who spins reality to match the ideology. By that definition, Bush and his bunch are ideologues and Kerry is a realist.

And yet this year no one is capable of having a decent 'Are Tax Cuts Like Bush's Good or Bad for the Economy?" discussion.
Having philosophical discussions about Iraq, or oursourced jobs or rising drug prices is inappropriate. It accomplishes nothing. What you call a "rant," I call a real concern.

...Christianity is not a political philosophy. It is a religious philosophy which can guide political decisions, but only in the vaguest way.
I take you at your word. In that case then, it appears that Bush needs much more guidance than Christianity can give him, but he has not taken any. Even Jim Wallis (for instance) pleaded with him to listen to his military and financial advisors about the consequences of his actions, and for his troubles, he is now persona non grata in the White House. And Wallis is a highly responsible highly reputable evangelical Christian.

Outsourcing of jobs, for instance? I'd like to see you back that up Biblically.
How about "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? I am not being facetious: Bush is ignoring basic morality and decency, the kind that appears in all religions and ethical philosophies.

There is no clear cut stance on War in the Christian community. If you go back in Christian history you will find the pacifists (Menosimon) and the militant (Zwingli). You will find the religious generals and religious pacifists and all manner of in between. If you are expecting Christianty to answer political problems, then you really don't understand it.
I expect Christianity to provide moral guidance that leads to moral actions. I expect Bush, that if he's a moral Christian (and once again: OR Buddhist OR Jew OR Muslim OR Hindu OR secular humanist), to not be engaged in actions which have caused needless suffering and death. He claims to be guided by Christianity, but I don't see anything in his behavior that shows it. Indeed, what I see in his foreign and domestic policies are actions that have brought death and destruction abroad and financial hardship at home.

...I can pray to seek guidance so I make the right decision. I'm guessing Bush's seeking for guidance is more like that, in many cases.
That may very well be, but it's not enough. He must pay attention to his advisors, and he must pay attention to the consqences of his actions. He must deal with the details of the hard questions, and not depend on Condoleeza Rice to hand him predigested notes on them, as he has done since the beginning.

...There is no need to bring about questioning a politicians religious heart into the debate. It is unfair and arbitrary.
Elgee — with respect — anyone running America is legitimately open to inspection from every angle imaginable. The fate of the country and the world depend on it.

Barley
 

Barliman Butterbur

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Dr. Ransom said:
Bari, you are playing into the hands of your political enemies on this topic.
Wow! That's a pretty strong description, isn't it? I really don't believe I have any "enemies" on this board.

Christianity is in essence, a politically neutral religion. Jesus wasn't, and isn't, a Republican. He had another purpose entirely.

What Christianity requires of its followers is morality. We are to take care of the poor for instance. Whether we do that by the Republican ideas (and traditional charity concepts, such as those discussed in the book The Tragedy of American Compassion such as helping the poor help themselves) or the Democrat ideas of socialism and government handouts (I do not attempt to hide my bias) has nothing to do with morality, only political opinion. In a certain sense, I don't really care if a Christian is on the left or the right.

However, thought we can reconcile our differences in some areas, others are totally not acceptable for the believer. The Democratic Party has been hijacked in the later half of the 20th century by the self proclaimed religion of secular humanism, and there are few "old liberals" left.
I agree that there are few "old liberals" around these days, as there are few "old conservatives." We have become so polarized and extreme that it is frightening to me. It is very hard to dial back from an extreme position.

This belief system has areas that blatantly violate the moral law, and Christian beliefs. Abortion is the primary example. No Christian can rightfully support this type of murder any more than they can (and tragically many did) support Hitler.
I am not going to engage you on the abortion issue. I've made my position clear in other posts. I am a liberal, and you have no right to curse me over this issue. Liberals are much more than those Liberals who are pro-abortion (you don't seem to accept that many are not). And now you are into an historical diatribe on which I shall also not engage you.

I would also like to say this: Not all Christians are evangelical, nor do I believe that the evangelicals represent mainline Christianity. There are many Christians who hold much more liberal views. It seems to me — subject to your correction — that the evangelicals do not hold such Christians in particularly high regard. What is your view of these non-evangelical Christians? I have the feeling that you consider them in somewhat the same light as ultra-orthodox Jews have of non-ultra-orthodox Jews.

...though you may disagree with Bush, you have little argument that can be used to attack his morality (unless he purposefully lied, and so forth).
I am not so much interested in what he allegedly says and thinks as I am in the consequences of his actions, the disastrous nature of which cannot be denied. I deduce his morality from his actions and their consequences.

However, your candidate has not stayed so neutral on moral issues. I wish democrats like Truman and FDR were running against Bush so we could have real political debate, but unfortunately, the "new morality" of secular humanism that drives the democratic party right now makes the choice very clear for many Christians.
On the first part, I totally agree with you! I fervently wish that our political system had not polarized (degenerated!) to such extremes that we can have no debate on the issues, but spend their energy on attack ads. On the second part — what you allege to be the "secular humanism" of the current Democratic party, I disagree. This is your take, based on your values and your interpretation. (By the way — I'm not sure what you would call secular humanism or how you define it. I call it being a good person without necessarily believing in God, no matter of what religion. By your lights, you would probably slap me with that label, because of my beliefs. Perhaps you will understand my outlook more when I say that were I to become a Christian, I would become a Unitarian.)

I do not presume to know the heart of President Bush, but as a Student of Theology and Biblical studies I do not see any blatant areas where he is in violation of Biblical precepts. There are areas I disagree with him on, but they are areas of politics, not faith. I do not vote for Christians BECAUSE they are Christians either, Christians can be as incompetent and foolish as the rest of humanity. I will vote for Bush because I agree with his Public Policy more than Kerry. I also believe President Bush has superior morals to Kerry. Enough said?
And I will vote for Kerry because I believe he has the welfare of the American citizen and our allies in mind, not the enrichment of the already-rich, and of those in power. As for "enough said," I doubt that there will ever be an end to differences of opinion. I am not here to convince you of the superiority of my beliefs. I believe they are at least as legitimate as you believe yours are. I set them out here, as you set yours out. At least we understand each other. We will both act from our beliefs despite the beliefs of others, that's axiomatic.

If you would like to continue a discussion via PM, "out of the public eye" as it were, perhaps we can come to a further understanding and appreciation of the others' positions, and why we hold them.

Barley
 
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Valandil

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Barliman Butterbur said:
I am not going to engage you on the abortion issue. I've made my position clear in other posts. I am a liberal, and you have no right to curse me over this issue. Liberals are much more than those Liberals who are pro-abortion (you don't seem to accept that many are not)...
But those liberals who ARE anti-abortion are kept out of the Democratic Party's National Convention.

You HAVE made your position on abortion known, but why then is it so inconsistent with the way you vote? Probably 90-95% - more likely 98% or more of the 1,400,000 abortions performed in America every year are of the elective variety. If this so disturbs you, why would you vote time and again for the party which would do nothing to stand against that? Which would work to allow any abortion, at any stage in the pregnancy?

Because of its sheer magnitude, abortion is perhaps THE moral issue in our country in this age - just as slavery was the defining moral issue in the mid 1800's. To say the equivalent of 'well - I don't believe in it, but I support those who would allow it' would be tantamount to those of the slave-era to say, 'well - I don't believe in having a slave mySELF, but I don't think I have the right to prevent someone else from having one'. The parallel is clear and plain. If ANY are powerless in our society today, it is clearly the unborn.

Perhaps you ought to switch sides.
 

Barliman Butterbur

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Valandil said:
But those liberals who ARE anti-abortion are kept out of the Democratic Party's National Convention.
I don't know this. Please provide a source, this allegation is something new to me.

You HAVE made your position on abortion known, but why then is it so inconsistent with the way you vote? Probably 90-95% - more likely 98% or more of the 1,400,000 abortions performed in America every year are of the elective variety. If this so disturbs you, why would you vote time and again for the party which would do nothing to stand against that? Which would work to allow any abortion, at any stage in the pregnancy?

Because of its sheer magnitude, abortion is perhaps THE moral issue in our country in this age...Perhaps you ought to switch sides.
I vehently disagree that my side is for abortion willy-nilly, it is not. And Valandil, I do absolutely respect your position and the passion with which you present it, and I understand it. I cannot and will not however, give my entire allegiance and energies to one issue, as horrific as it is. If you wish to continue an abortion discussion via PM, wonderful. But I will not get into it with you in public.

I will only say this: I have no idea how the abortion issue is to be solved. I don't think either law or religion can do it. I think it will be up to a society-wide moral regeneration. And how that would be accomplished I have no idea either, especially since our society seems to be in a moral downward spiral. And please don't blame this or that party or group for that, that's just too easy.

But you asked me to consider switching sides. There are many issues which demand attention, and if this country is going to solve the abortion issue — or any other pressing issue — it will need to be intact and functioning. As far as I'm concerned, George W. is leading the country into disaster and needs to be replaced by a man who has the welfare of all its citizens and all of their other issues — taxes, drugs, health, jobs, the infrastructure, getting on well with our allies, and certainly abortion — in mind. The only choice I have here is John Kerry, whom I think is well up to the task.

I will make a prediction: one of these days, who knows when — but one of these days, the truth will come out about George Bush — just as it did about Nixon. And all the good honest trusting spiritual people who had faith in him will feel betrayed and be outraged at having been so shamelessly used.

Barley
 
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