Tag Archives: Political

Are Christians too involved in politics?

Here’s a thought-provoking post I missed at the Life Training Institute blog, about the new Wayne Grudem book on politics and the Bible.

Intro:

I’m thoroughly enjoying Wayne Grudem’s Politics According to the Bible. Finally, here’s a Christian theologian who connects the dots: Christian belief is not just about John 3: 16, but transformed living which includeds the transformation of government. True, political success can’t save souls eternally (only the gospel does that), but it can promote a more just society for the weak and oppressed. To that end, Christians should exert significant influence on government.

Grudem begins by challenging five wrong views regarding Christians and government: 1) Government should compel religion. 2) Government should exclude religion. 3) All government is evil and demonic. 4) Do evangelism, not politics. 5) Do politics, not evangelism.

[…]Most helpful to the pro-life cause is Grudem’s refutation of #4—namely, the faulty view that Christians should do evangelism not politics. Sadly, well-intentioned leaders like John MacArthur and Cal Thomas have discouraged pro-life Christians from engaging the culture through politics.

I am not a big fan of John MacArthur and Cal Thomas for the reasons stated, and I don’t think that either is really much of an evangelist in any case, since I never see them referenced as authorities on apologetics, which is really the means by which evangelism occurs in the real world.

In his book, Grudem refutes MacArthur and Thomas:

I agree that one significant way that God restrains evil in the world is through changing people’s hearts when they trust in Christ as their Savior (see 2 Cor. 5:17). But we should not turn this one way into the only way that God restrains evil in this age. God also uses civil government to restrain evil, and there is much evil that can only be restrained by the power of civil government, for there will always be many who do not trust in Christ as their Savior and many who do not fully obey him.

Klusendorf also referenced this post by evangelical Joe Carter.

Excerpt:

Consider that for more than two decades the number one issue on the agenda of the evangelical wing of the religious right has been abortion.

The bitter irony is that this is perceived as the “number one” political issue for evangelicals when it really isn’t one of our top priorities. If evangelicals–and Christians in general–truly cared about this issue, abortion on demand would not be the law of the land.

Imagine if every Christian in America vowed not to cast a vote for any candidate of any party for any office if they supported or condoned the killing of the unborn. Imagine if every pastor in America had the courage to stand in the pulpit and deliver the Gospel-centric message that God abhors this slaughtering of the innocent and that for the church to tolerate this sin is a fecal-colored stain on the garment of Christ’s bride.

But it will never happen because the evangelical church isn’t committed as the church to rectifying this grave injustice. We never have been.

I was having a talk with someone recently who was telling me that sometimes the religious left pushes policies that are inconsistent with the Bible, like wealth redistribution or encouraging Christians to condone sexual immorality instead of setting up boundaries on sexuality by making clear statements of what the Bible says and explaining why what the Bible says is true using real objective evidence. Yes, I support policies that are consistent with what the Bible says – but I don’t look to politics to push non-Biblical policies.

Grudem’s book is must reading for Christians looking for a comprehensive Biblical view of politics, including social AND economic issues.

Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Christian leaders sign Manhattan Declaration

Story here from LifeSiteNews.

Excerpt:

A group of prominent Christian leaders and scholars unveiled a manifesto Friday declaring firm opposition to current and future laws infringing upon the sanctity of life, marriage, faith, and liberty.

The 4,700-word  “Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience” was drafted by Dr. Robert George, Dr. Timothy George and Chuck Colson and signed by more than 125 Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders, including Focus on the Family Dr. James Dobson and National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson.  15 Roman Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., were among the signatories.

[…]The document lays out the groups’ arguments against anti-life, anti-family, and anti-religious public policy as contravening “foundational principles of justice and the common good,” in defense of which the group says they are “compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act.”

In asserting Christians’ right to conscientious objection to such policy, the declaration says it is “ironic” that those who advance as “rights” various immoral practices “are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage.”

“Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family,” it concludes.

Chuck Colson one of the evangelicals, and he writes: (H/T Muddling Towards Maturity)

Having reminded readers about why and how Christians have spoken out in the past, the Declaration then turns to what especially troubles us today—the threats to the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage, and religious freedom.

[…]The response to this kind of assault on the sanctity of human life requires what the Manhattan Declaration calls the “gospel of costly grace.” This starts with the willingness to put aside our comfort and serve those whom the broader culture would deem outside the scope of its concern and legal protection.

The cost may be higher. Christians may have to choose between the demands of what St. Augustine called the “City of Man” and the “City of God”—which, for the Christian, is really no choice at all.

This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

Looks like we are waking upon social issues.

But there is still nothing in the statement about fiscal conservatism or getting serious about defending the faith using reason and evidence. As long as we have Christians continuing to vote for big government and neglecting the life of the mind, we aren’t going to change the culture one iota.

The response to this kind of assault on the sanctity of human life requires what the Manhattan Declaration calls the “gospel of costly grace.” This starts with the willingness to put aside our comfort and serve those whom the broader culture would deem outside the scope of its concern and legal protection.

The cost may be higher. Christians may have to choose between the demands of what St. Augustine called the “City of Man” and the “City of God”—which, for the Christian, is really no choice at all.

This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

How objective are scientists about their research, given their political views?

Hot Air linked to this Pew Research poll about the beliefs and attitudes of researchers in the scientific fields.

Excerpt:

More than half of the scientists surveyed (55%) say they are Democrats, compared with 35% of the public. Fully 52% of the scientists call themselves liberals; among the public, just 20% describe themselves as liberals. Many of the scientists surveyed mentioned in their open-ended comments that they were optimistic about the Obama administration’s likely impact on science.

For its part, the public does not perceive scientists as a particularly liberal group. When asked whether they think of scientists as liberal, conservative or neither in particular, nearly two-thirds (64%) choose the latter option. Just 20% say they think of scientists as politically liberal. However, a majority of scientists (56%) do see members of their profession as liberal.

Most scientists had heard at least a little about claims that government scientists were not allowed to report research findings that conflicted with the Bush administration’s point of view. And the vast majority (77%) says that these claims are true. By contrast, these claims barely registered with the public – more than half heard nothing at all about this issue. Only about a quarter of the public (28%) said they thought the claims were true.

Both scientists and the public overwhelmingly say it is appropriate for scientists to become active in political debates about such issues as nuclear power or stem cell research. Virtually all scientists (97%) endorse their participation in debates about these issues, while 76% of the public agrees.

I think it helps to make the point I was making earlier about the fraudulent science used to support global warming and Darwinian evolution. Many scientists have an agenda. They get paid by the government. The bigger government is, the better they get paid. Therefore, many are Democrats. Scientists tend to be biased in favor of material entities and explanations. Morality is non-material. Scientists therefore tend to resent the idea that moral claims are knowledge. They prefer to have autonomy from non-material moral rules. Therefore, many are atheists.

There are some dissenters of course. But these are rare.

Obama’s federal aid overwhelmingly given to Democrat-supporting counties

USA Today reports. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

Excerpt:

Billions of dollars in federal aid delivered directly to the local level to help revive the economy have gone overwhelmingly to places that supported President Obama in last year’s presidential election.

That aid — about $17 billion — is the first piece of the administration’s massive stimulus package that can be tracked locally. Much of it has followed a well-worn path to places that regularly collect a bigger share of federal grants and contracts, guided by formulas that have been in place for decades and leave little room for manipulation.

“There’s no politics at work when it comes to spending for the recovery,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says.

Counties that supported Obama last year have reaped twice as much money per person from the administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus package as those that voted for his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, a USA TODAY analysis of government disclosure and accounting records shows. That money includes aid to repair military bases, improve public housing and help students pay for college.

The reports show the 872 counties that supported Obama received about $69 per person, on average. The 2,234 that supported McCain received about $34.

This reminds of Obama’s doings in Chicago.

$18 Million Dollar Contract goes to Democrat-supporting IT firm

David Freddoso broke a story today about an $18 million dollar IT contract awarded to a firm that donates exclusively to Democrat House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. (H/T Hot Air)

Here is an excerpt from the Washington Examiner story:

ABC reports this morning that the Maryland firm Smartronix has won what seems like an enormous $18 million contract to re-design the Recovery.gov website. Approximately $9.5 million would be spent by January in order to make “Recovery 2.0” out of the site that is supposed to track the spending of federal stimulus funds in detail.

Smartronix, a medium-sized Maryland-based firm (over 500 employees) founded in 1995, boasts a large number of government clients, mostly military. The company appears to have just one important political connection: according to FEC records, Smartronix president, Mohammed Javaid, vice president Alan Parris, and partner John Parris have together given $19,000 to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D) since 1999. There is no record of a Smartronix employee contributing to any other federal politician.

UPDATE: Smartronix got $260 million in other federal contracts

Smartronix has received more than $260 million in federal contracts since the year 2000, with the top awarding agencies being the U.S. Navy, Federal Technology Service, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Minerals Management Service, and the Office of Policy, Management and Budget (not clear which department or agency issued this contract), according to USASpending.gov.

Nearly $180 million of the contracts awarded to Smartronix during the period 2000-2009 were awarded on less-than-competitive basis, including $21 million for non-competitive awards. Another $33 million was awarded in competitive processes in which Smartronix was the sole bidder.

And one of my co-workers noticed that this even got posted on SlashDot with 341 comments so far!

The Republican response

House Republicans released this new ad about the staggering 9.5% unemployment rate.

H/T Gateway Pundit.

Has the university become intolerant and close-minded?

This article by prestigious McGill University ethicist Margaret Somerville is worth reading. (H/T Commenter ECM) She is one of the leading defenders of traditional marriage in Canada. She is a moderate social conservative. Here is a brief summary of her case against same-sex marriage. Her short article in the journal Academic Matters is about the intolerance of the leftist university elites against their opponents.

Here is the abstract:

In this edited excerpt from her Research and Society Lecture to the 2008 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, ethicist Margaret Somerville argues that universities are becoming forums of intolerance. Keeping the university as an intellectually open and respectful place is critical, she says, to finding the “shared ethics” essential to maintaining healthy, pluralistic democracies.

And here is an excerpt in which she discusses the impact of moral relativism on moral disagreements:

That is where political correctness enters the picture. It excludes politically incorrect values from the “all values are equal” stable. The intense moral relativists will tolerate all values except those they deem to be politically incorrect—which just happen to be the ones that conflict with their values.

Political correctness operates by shutting down non-politically correct people’s freedom of speech. Anyone who challenges the politically correct stance is, thereby, automatically labeled as intolerant, a bigot, or hatemonger. The substance of their arguments against a politically correct stance is not addressed; rather people labeled as politically incorrect are, themselves, attacked as being intolerant and hateful simply for making those arguments. This derogatorily -label-the-person-and-dismiss-them-on-the-basis-of-that-label approach is intentionally used as a strategy to suppress strong arguments against any politically correct stance and, also, to avoid dealing with the substance of these arguments.

It is important to understand the strategy employed: speaking against same-sex marriage, for example, is not characterized as speech; rather, it is characterized as a discriminatory act against homosexuals and, therefore, a breach of human rights or even a hate crime. Consequently, it is argued that protections of freedom of speech do not apply.

She illustrates with some examples:

We need to look at what “pure” moral relativism and intense tolerance, as modified by political correctness, mean in practice. So let ‘s look at the suppression of pro-life groups and pro-life speech on Canadian university campuses. Whatever one’s views on abortion, we should all be worried about such developments. Pro-choice students are trying to stop pro-life students from participating in the collective conversation on abortion that should take place. In fact, they don’t want any conversation, alleging that to question whether we should have any law on abortion is, in itself, unacceptable.

In some instances some people are going even further: they want to force physicians to act against their conscience under threat of being in breach of human rights or subject to professional disciplinary procedures for refusing to do so. The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently advised the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to this effect.

Political correctness is being used to try to impose certain views and even actions that breach rights to freedom of conscience; to shut down free speech; and to contravene academic freedom. I do not need to emphasize the dangers of this in universities. The most fundamental precept on which a university is founded is openness to ideas and knowledge from all sources.

She spends the rest of the paper arguing for a system of “shared ethics” that grounds open, respectful debate between disagreeing parties. I hope this catches on before secular-left moves from censorship to outright violence, against those who would dare to disagree with them.

A short bio of Margaret Somerville

Margaret Somerville is Samuel Gale Professor in the Faculty of Law and a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and is the founding director of the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law. In 2004, she received the UNESCO Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science and in 2006 delivered the prestigious Massey Lectures.