Political Priorities

Last week, the Washington Post had a story titled “GOP Loyalty Not a Given For Young Evangelicals.” In it, the leader of the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative has a statement about political priorities.

“When you look at the political party that has traditionally championed poverty, social justice and care for the least of these, it’s not been the Republican Party,” said Merritt, who now considers himself an “independent conservative” and is unsure whom he will vote for in November. “We are to honor the least of these above even ourselves. It’s very difficult to reconcile totally.”

He is part of a growing group of young born-again Christians standing on one of the many generational breaks surfacing in this election cycle. Merritt still shares his parents’ conservative convictions on abortion, a core issue that forged Falwell’s Moral Majority and brought evangelicals firmly into the Republican camp, but he says they are no longer enough for him to claim the Republican Party.

I have no problem with Christians who do not want to be beholden to a political party. That is my own conviction as well. It would take me about a nanosecond to drop my support for any Republican or Democrat candidate who takes a pro-choice position. In this sense, every Christian should have principles that trump partisanship.

I do have a problem, however, with the idea that a pro-life person could even conceive of voting for Senator Barack Obama. How can a pro-life person still be “unsure whom he will vote for in November” if he truly sees the protection of the unborn as a transcendent moral value?

Barack Obama believes that the regime of Roe v. Wade should continue and that it should be legal to kill an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy (0-9 months). As a senator in the Illinois legislature, he opposed efforts to protect the lives of infants who survived abortions. Casting a vote for Barack Obama is not an option for anyone who truly holds the defense of the unborn as a transcendent moral value.

Once again, the next President of the United States will likely appoint two to three Supreme Court Justices. Those Justices will either maintain the status quo in favor of Roe v. Wade, or they will tip the court against Roe v. Wade. That is why this election is so pivotal for the pro-life cause. If Barack Obama is elected, he will appoint judges that will extend Roe v. Wade for the foreseeable future. At the recent Saddleback Presidential Forum, Obama reiterated this commitment.

It would seem obvious that pro-lifers should be opposing Obama’s candidacy, but apparently it is not so obvious to some people. One thing is for certain. Those “pro-lifers” who continue to imply that a vote for Obama is a legitimate option are not helping the pro-life cause but hindering it.

133 Responses to Political Priorities

  1. Darius August 19, 2008 at 9:51 am #

    Denny, I agree with your comments regarding abortion. But I wouldn’t stop there; don’t let this kid get off that easily with his statement that the Republican Party has not been the one that “has traditionally championed poverty, social justice and care for the least of these.” This is where conservative Christians have failed miserably in the last few decades: we get all riled up when people devalue the importance of abortion in politics, but we ignore it when they devalue human life by pushing socialistic agendas. We don’t explain that Christian conservatism has the moral high ground on those other issues too. Marx was NOT right; in fact, he was evil.

    What would happen if tomorrow the Democratic Party suddenly dropped their anti-life platform and became pro-life (as well as pro-marriage)? How would the majority of Christians vote? Unfortunately, I am willing to bet that they would vote for more socialism (which is the opposite of caring for the poor and needy and is extremely anti-human) and more environmentally extreme policies.

  2. Darius August 19, 2008 at 9:51 am #

    Denny, could you un-spam my comment? Thanks.

  3. Tyler August 19, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    You asked, “How can a pro-life person still be “unsure whom he will vote for in November”?”

    In short, 1) health care; 2) foreign policy; 3) immigration; 4) energy; 5) social justice; 6) the environment, etc, etc.

    Senator McCain has always been a political opportunist, albeit an very intelligent and well-meaning one. As much as I admired his courage for praising Justices Alito and Roberts, I am still doubtful that McCain can be trusted to nominate justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

    Furthermore, as has been said by countless people before me, the legal front is not, and never has been, the most important one in stopping abortion. There are no shortcuts to raising men and women of virtue who would rarely find themselves in a position to seek an abortion.

    Like it or not, the rich, Western world has cast its lot with sexual freedom and violence against women and the unborn. I hardly think that one dubious candidate, or even three hypothetical justices can be the silver bulletss.

    Then there’s all those other moral outrages and tragedies in the world… Obama may not be consistently virtuous in his political positioning, but he’s a man who’s willing to take his country to task for the sake of those that the global economy has steamrolled. For that reason alone, I think he’s a candidate worth considering.

  4. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    “for the sake of those that the global economy has steamrolled.”

    Now THAT’S a great soundbite, gotta love when Marx rears his ugly head time and again.

  5. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    I suppose we’ve learned nothing from Lenin and Stalin.

  6. Scott August 19, 2008 at 10:06 am #

    No, but we’ve learned a great deal from the last eight years.

  7. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:14 am #

    This country is in big trouble with “Christians” begin spouting Marxist rhetoric. The evil that it is wrought is obscured by the evil of abortion, but it is still evil.

  8. volfan007 August 19, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Liberation Theology raises it’s ugly head from time to time. We ignore history when we began to think that there’s some good in it. There’s not. All you have to do is look at the way it’s killed Churches and hurt Christianity in the countries where Liberation Theology(Religious Marxism) has been tried.

    Give me freedom anyday.

    David

  9. Scott August 19, 2008 at 10:22 am #

    Liberation theology has indeed shown its ugly side. However, to jettison all social justice concerns because of a heightened paranoia of liberation ideology is unjustified. The human trafficking problem is staggering. Global poverty needs addressing. And, we still have the AIDS epidemic all over the world. As believers we have to address the issues. Salvation is not just an end-goal. We have to be in the business of redeeming the whole of humanity, not just individually but corporately as well. Anything else is far too myopic.

  10. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    And you believe that the liberal method is the correct way to address those issues? Bush, more than any other president, has addressed the AIDS epidemic. Human trafficking isn’t a political issue. And global poverty has been exacerbated by liberal policies, not helped. Throwing money at Africa has made things much worse, not better. Pushing for socialistic policies at home and abroad has enslaved the poor to their own poverty.

  11. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    Ugh, another one to the spam filter.

  12. Scott August 19, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    Darius,

    Get a grip and grow up.

  13. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    What? I was talking about my comment getting caught by the spam filter.

  14. Scott August 19, 2008 at 10:44 am #

    Or at least learn to intelligently engage an issue. To accuse anyone of Marxism simply because they aren’t in the pocket of your blessed Republican party is absurd and backward. Of course, history has also taught us that fundamentalists are always on the attack. When there’s no one else to attack, they’ll cannibalize their own. So have it! Attack your brothers and sisters. Enjoy the feast.

  15. volfan007 August 19, 2008 at 10:45 am #

    Scott,

    I agree that human trafficking should be stopped. Aids could be stopped, though, if people would stop committing sexual sins. And, please dont start telling me that I dont know about people getting it from transfusions, etc. I know that there are innocent people getting Aids. But, aids would end in a few years, if we’d get back to what the Bible teaches…one man for one woman for life.

    Also, Jesus is the One Who said that we’d always have the poor with us. It’s just the way this fallen world is. Now, having said that, I’d be all for doing the wise things that it takes to help the poor…the truly needy of our world. I’m not for the hand out system that our Govt. has done for the last 40 years. Boy, has that worked! Not!

    Having said that, I will say again, Scott, I will not be voting for anyone who wants to raise my taxes. I pay too many now. And, I’m tired of my taxes going to some woman that has five babies from three or four different men with no Dad in the home. I’m tired of my taxes being handed out to physically able men who play basketball all day, or who shoot pool and drink beer all day. I’m tired of my hard earned tax money being handed out to farmers by the millions, and to foreign country loans…loans that never get repaid. So, I vote against anyone who talks about raising my taxes.

    I also vote against anyone who is for murdering babies. This is a plague on our society. It will drag us down as we devalue human life more and more with each passing year.

    I will also vote against anyone who goes along with the gay agenda. The sin of sodomy being acceptable and prevelant has brought many a nation down…look at Sodom and Gomorah.

    David

  16. Scott August 19, 2008 at 10:48 am #

    Sorry! My apologies. I thought the post was a negative reply to my post on # 10. Please accept my belated apologies. I tried to erase comments 11 and 13, but can’t. Denny, if you can delete those I would truly appreciate it.

    Last night was not a good one in the family. I probably came to the board with some issues. Sorry guys. And I’m particularly sorry Darius. Please forgive some rather mean-spirited posts.

  17. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    Scott, do you even know what Marxism is? Apparently not, since you don’t want to be called one even though you spout the exact rhetoric of Karl Marx. You might want to inform yourself of the history of your beliefs PRIOR to putting such steadfast faith in them.

    “Attack your brothers and sisters. Enjoy the feast.”

    If my so-called brothers or sisters are pushing evil worldviews, I will attack those views. I know in this postmodern world, that is not PC. But that’s what true Christians are called to do.

  18. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:52 am #

    Ah, ok, no problem. I should have been more clear about what my spam filter comment was referring to, I can see how that could have been taken the wrong way.

  19. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:54 am #

    Speaking of which, Scott, I have a comment that once it is released from spam purgatory addresses your comment about AIDS, poverty, and human trafficking.

  20. Darius August 19, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    Scott, I do want to (calmly) address one other portion of comment #13. “…the pocket of your blessed Republican party…”

    Honestly, Scott, like Denny said himself, I couldn’t care less for which party I vote. I’ve voted for Democrats in local elections, and would not think twice about voting for a Dem if he had an iota of morality in his platform. The Republican PARTY has plenty of problems. The conservative WORLDVIEW has none (at least the Christian version of it). I care about worldviews and ideas, parties mean nothing to me except that they serve as a means to an end.

  21. Mark Gibson August 19, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    David,

    Great post.

    I am always amazed at the ignorance of people like Jonathan Merritt. This guy should love George W. Bush and Republicans for knocking three million taxpayers off of the tax rolls. Some of the poor people even received refunds. Here is a Wall Street Journal (for Paul 🙂 ) article backing up my claims. http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110002938

  22. Kris August 19, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    Great post Denny!

    I do have one thing. Why are you using the words “Pro Choice”? Why not use the words “Pro Abortion”, that is what this is about isn’t it.

    If I say I am against murder, I am anti-murder. If I say I am against abortion, I am anti-abortion. We don’t call someone who is for murder pro choice do we? We don’t call ourselves who are against abortion anti-choice do we?

    Just something to think about.

    I appreciate you.

    Kris

  23. Darius August 19, 2008 at 11:08 am #

    I agree with you Kris, if the pro-abortion crowd calls us anti-choice, then we should be free to ACCURATELY call them pro-abortion (or even more accurately, anti-life or pro-death). As one person once said, the opposite of life is not choice, it’s death.

  24. Ferg August 19, 2008 at 11:27 am #

    “I’m tired of my taxes going to some woman that has five babies from three or four different men with no Dad in the home”

    I do hope then that you maybe have talked to women like this to understand what has gone on in their life to bring them to such a state.
    Or that you have helped them out or told them that they are worth Jesus dying for and that you as a representative of Him would love to tell them about how much he loves them and wants to help them get out of the situation they are in.

    Your comment genuinely disturbed me at it’s lack of understanding and empathy.

  25. Ferg August 19, 2008 at 11:30 am #

    As one person once said, the opposite of life is not choice, it’s death.

    Darius, I couldn’t agree more.

  26. Mark Gibson August 19, 2008 at 11:42 am #

    Ferg,

    David was talking about the government bailing out people that make mistakes. I think you nailed it on the head with “Or that you have helped them out or told them that they are worth Jesus dying for and that you as a representative of Him would love to tell them about how much he loves them and wants to help them get out of the situation they are in.” It is our job, not the government.

  27. Michael August 19, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    Dr. Burk,

    I’m with you 100% on Obama.

    But I think you are much too generous to McCain. If he is flirting with picking a pro-choice VP, what makes you think he wouldn’t do the same with a Supreme Court appointment? And while he may be anti-abortion, his position on stem cell research disqualifies him from the label “pro-life.”

    There simply is no pro-life candidate among the major parties – a consistent pro-life ethic will keep me from voting for either presumptive nominee.

  28. Darius August 19, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    Ferg, I would strongly recommend that you read Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dalrymple. He’s a British doctor who served many years in the slums and prisons of Britain and has addressed the very issues you just brought up; namely, that the government should take care of women who have children by 5 different men or similar issues. His most recent piece in the City Journal is quite good (http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_3_otbie-british_children.html), but please look up that book, it will change your perspective on a lot of things, it definitely did change my own outlook.

  29. Prime Time Money August 19, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    “When you look at the political party that has traditionally championed poverty, social justice and care for the least of these, it’s not been the Republican Party,”

    What a joke of a quote. This kid is so confused. Obviously there’s a difference between championing efforts to help the poor, and championing government sponsored efforts to help the poor.

    Thanks for getting me all riled up, Denny.

  30. John August 19, 2008 at 12:48 pm #

    Denny said,

    “Barack Obama believes that the regime of Roe v. Wade should continue and that it should be legal to kill an unborn child at any stage of pregnancy (0-9 months).”

    Denny, this is misleading and dishonest (not uncommon with this blog, I’m afraid). Obama even said the other night at the debate that the only time it is okay for a mother to get an abortion in the late stages of pregnancy is when her life is in danger.

    In any case, please drop your “pro-life” rhetoric, because “pro-life” extends beyond the abortion issue. It also includes war and the environment, which doesn’t make you nor senator McCain very pro-life.

    The truth hurts

  31. Geoff Baggett August 19, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    John,

    “Obama even said the other night …” Now that’s a hoot! In between his uhhs, aahhs, and dodges. He dodges questions better than Neo dodges bullets.

    It doesn’t matter what he “said the other night.” He will say anything. Look at the record. Look at the infanticide legislation that he supported in Illinois … failing to protect babies that survived abortion procedures. It’s a matter of public record.

    Denny is spot on.

  32. D.J. Williams August 19, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    John,

    Obama may have said that, but he also strongly supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which would effectively remove any restrictions on abortion, late-term or otherwise. I’m more concerned with his actions than his sentiments.

  33. Nathan August 19, 2008 at 1:40 pm #

    This is not about GOP loyalty as much as it is about DNC party policy. Last time I checked there was not a legitimate third party. The DNC party line is that they will not nominate for president anyone who is against abortion.

    So, this is not about allegiance to the GOP. It comes down to whether you will vote for Obama, either by pulling the lever for him, or by not voting at all, which is a vote for him.

    McCain may not be the greatest but he is the only choice if abortion ranks at the top of your list and is a non-negotiable item.

    As an aside, remember that this country was founded on independence, freedom of choice, and a government that is not an oligarchy, but a representative democracy, where people, not courts and politicians make the law. Obama is directly opposed to all those.

    I was born (in 1960) in a country that still prized individual liberty, but have seen the socialist agenda so entrenched that my children (and perhaps many of you) don’t even realize how much liberty you have sacrificed in the name of “safety” or “national security”.

    Obama believes that the government is the answer to everything, and history has proven that the first to be squashed are the poor and the innocent (the old and the unborn).

    Lastly, it was the churches and other private organizations that championed the cause of the poor, not the government or political parties. Why do you think all the hospitals are named, “Baptist…”, “Methodist..”, “St….”,”Jewish…”

    It was not government, but churches and individueals that took care of the poor, the orphaned, and the helpless.

    Government brought us Welfare, children out of wedlock, and entitlements…

  34. Scott August 19, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    Darius,

    I know Marxism very well. I’m well versed on Marxist theories in reference to the study of Christian origins. My comments have nothing to do with Marxism. The AIDS epidemic, poverty, and human trafficking are legitimate real world concerns. We CAN and SHOULD address them apart from any connection to liberation theology. I fail to see how my original comment demonstrates any sort of Marxist tendency or leanings.

  35. Darius August 19, 2008 at 2:04 pm #

    Not so much your comment as Tyler’s… how would you like to fight poverty via government involvement, Scott?

  36. Darius August 19, 2008 at 2:06 pm #

    Tyler said that we have to fight “for the sake of those that the global economy has steamrolled.” That is classic Marxist rhetoric, implying that capitalism is the bad guy and that people are mere cogs in a machine.

  37. Scott August 19, 2008 at 2:14 pm #

    I don’t think he was saying that capitalism itself is the bad guy. I think, or trust, he was addressing the fallacies in the system and not lobbying for the far more broken alternatives. I think, and I would agree, that he was calling for more social action and reform within capitalism. We can’t forget that we are part of the world. We are part of the global church before we are American citizens. Of course I would love to discuss this.

  38. Paul August 19, 2008 at 2:19 pm #

    Scott,

    according to THIS crowd, any attempt to use government resources in order to do any social good is Marxism and a devaluation of human life.

    However, greed (them darn governments take too much of my money even though I live in a country with one of the lowest tax rates in the first world!) is holy.

    And to address volfan’s ridiculous comments about AIDS and welfare mothers, all I can say is “wow!” Talk about someone who doesn’t get it.

    If everyone lived by Biblical values, there wouldn’t be a need for an end times. However, they don’t, at which point we, as Christians, have two choices:

    1) say to hell with the non Christian world. A position which many fundamentalists and volfan seemingly subscribe to. Hand people a Chick tract, and if that doesn’t save ’em, then nothing will. God forbid that you’d get your hands dirty actually helping those people out, or, if you’re not able to, being glad that some of your tax dollars are being used to help where you can’t.

    2) Understand that the free market isn’t willing to reach into some corners of “the market” and be willing to let the government work where the free market won’t.

    There’s no liberation theology at work there. There’s only compassion for those who can’t help themselves, realizing that the free market, as much of a panacea as it’s supposed to be, isn’t willing to go into every nook and cranny of America to give everybody a job.

    Just because Marx was a bad guy doesn’t mean that every idea he ever had was a bad one. Even Hitler thought up the Volkswagen, after all…

  39. Scott August 19, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    Good and interesting post. Now duck for cover!

  40. Darius August 19, 2008 at 2:38 pm #

    Both of you should read some economics by brilliant economists like Thomas Sowell (probably an Uncle Tom to Paul). Free-market Capitalism is the solution to ALL economic problems that can be solved. There is such a thing as bad fortune or bad decisions and I don’t see how it is right or moral to FORCIBLY push those bad decisions onto the rest of humanity.

    It’s a false notion that government money actually helps the poor and needy. Any real understanding of economics and welfare would tell you that. Welfare enslaves the poor to an impoverished future, whereas free markets allow people who are willing to advance and improve their lot in life.

  41. Scott August 19, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    Darius,

    I hope I don’t need to remind you how offensive the term “Uncle Tom” is to many African-Americans.

    I didn’t say free-market capitalism is bad. I said it has holes.

    “There is such a thing as bad fortune or bad decisions and I don’t see how it is right or moral to FORCIBLY push those bad decisions onto the rest of humanity.”

    So what’s your view of original sin?

    “whereas free markets allow people who are willing to advance and improve their lot in life.”

    There are so many problems with this statement. What do you tell the 5 year old kid born into a home with 20 other kids? Should he pay for his mother’s mistake?

  42. Paul August 19, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    Darius,

    Sowell’s economics aren’t so bad. It’s when he opens his mouth about practically anything else that he shows how annoying he is.

    As for welfare being SOLELY a bad thing, I’d say you’ve got some research to do, sir. I’ve seen plenty of people that have been helped by plenty of programs. I’ve seen newly divorced mothers sign on for sec. 8 housing, and then get out of there once they could finish a degree or get back on their feet. I’ve seen people lose their jobs, get on to food stamps and then get off of them again. My biggest problem with the welfare system as we know it is that much of the time, it doesn’t include job training.

    This isn’t to say that our welfare system isn’t without its flaws. I still contend that for families on monthly cash support that the cash support should be tied directly to children’s gpa’s in school. And in the one time that you’ll ever see me agree with David Duke, I thought his plan to offer $5K to any welfare recipient that wants to get sterilized was just this side of brilliant (even if it was inherently racist).

    As for the question that you never seem able to answer Darius, I’ll ask again: if the free market is the panacea of all of our economic woes, where is the free market in South Central L.A., Harlem or Chicago’s South Side?

    That’s right, it’s nowhere to be found. Until that changes, you have no argument.

  43. Brian (Another) August 19, 2008 at 3:07 pm #

    So, for those who are dying to answer a question or two, is abortion simply 1 out of 100 (or however many) categories when considering the pres.? Or is there a hidden decision matrix weighting diagram in your head? Is there any such thing as a “transcendent moral value”?

    Does anyone else see a minor concern in saying:

    “It’s probably going to be a decision I won’t make until I walk into the booth that day,”

    ? That was a quote in the story. I think it shows more impetuousness than it does careful study and/or observation and making an informed decision. I understand the implication (that it’s not an easy decision), but from my experience, that is really how some (if not many) vote. I’ll walk to the voting booth and choose right there. But I digress. A great quote that does come out of the article is:

    Truly, if you are an evangelical Christian, no political party should be able to fully represent you because you are doing something counter-cultural.

    I agree with everything except the “should”. Perhaps none do, but there is a .00001 chance all will align. But his point is well taken.

  44. Darius August 19, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Scott, here goes:

    “I hope I don’t need to remind you how offensive the term “Uncle Tom” is to many African-Americans.”

    Paul has used that term before, that’s why I said that I figured that Thomas Sowell would be considered as such by Paul. I don’t use it, though liberals usually do in regard to any blacks who don’t toe the liberal line.

    “So what’s your view of original sin?”

    I’m not sure I follow. Original sin as I understand it is defined as the proclivity of all people to sinful behavior. I’m not sure how that ties into this discussion, please explain further.

    “There are so many problems with this statement. What do you tell the 5 year old kid born into a home with 20 other kids? Should he pay for his mother’s mistake?”

    Yes, until he becomes an adult and chooses his own path. This doesn’t mean that a church or Christian shouldn’t come along side of that child and provide a father figure for him and, if necessary, financial aid. But a government ALWAYS screws it up. Instead of helping the kid, the boy gets the mistaken idea that government will bail him out of any stupid mistakes or sins he makes and that the rest of society owes him. Again, like I suggested to Ferg, if you are as open-minded as you claim to be, read Theodore Dalrymple for more on this subject.

  45. Darius August 19, 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    “As for the question that you never seem able to answer Darius, I’ll ask again: if the free market is the panacea of all of our economic woes, where is the free market in South Central L.A., Harlem or Chicago’s South Side?”

    Ironically enough, Paul, it’s because it is not a real free market that Harlem is struggling. The government interference and programs you apparently love so much are what have caused those problems. If the government had stayed out of it for the last 40 years, we would likely see a very different South Side of Chicago.

  46. Paul August 19, 2008 at 3:21 pm #

    Darius,

    that’s bunk and you know it. Do you know what kinds of incentives would be thrown at a business in Chicago that would open up a factory at 103rd and Cottage Grove? The City Council would likely turn the entire area (so a four block radius) into a TIF zone, essentially letting said factory operate tax free for a pretty generous amount of time. Instead, we see Ford closing down its plants in Ford Heights and scaling back in Chicago Heights. Instead, we see companies bought out and relocated to Mexico or China. Yeah, the free market is doing those areas a TON of good!

  47. Mark Gibson August 19, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    Aren’t Democrats in control of the governments in South Central L.A., Harlem, and Chicago?

  48. Darius August 19, 2008 at 3:34 pm #

    Exactly my point, Mark.

    Paul, the free market isn’t being allowed to operate without government interference. The underclass are all enslaved to welfare, which helps liberals keep the minorities down, and the businesses are all over-regulated so that it is not in their interest to pursue business opportunities.

  49. Mark Gibson August 19, 2008 at 4:09 pm #

    Another problem with all of the wealth redistribution programs is the loss of overall wealth. I read in an article that federal, state, and local governments spent a combined $620 billion on welfare programs in 2005. In that same year the poverty count was 37 million. So that comes out to $16,800 per person. Overall, it costs us 2.5% of GDP. Considering our GDP is 14 trillion, that is quite a huge number. The article is here townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2008/08/06/a_nation_of_thieves

    Don’t forget, I mentionted earlier that George W. Bush and Republicans knocked three million taxpayers off of the tax rolls. Where is all of the praise for Bush?

  50. Darius August 19, 2008 at 4:22 pm #

    Mark, that just goes to show that it is purely ideological for liberals. They honestly don’t care if their policies don’t work (or conservative ones do). They choose a path and stick with it even though it fails time and again.

  51. John August 19, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    I’m getting a kick out of these remarks…

  52. Matt Svoboda August 19, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    What is interesting to me is that we spend a lot of time debating politics and yet the New Testament does not mandate any type of political involvement, except submission…. Why is the church so side-tracked? Why do ‘Red-Letter Christians’ and the ‘Religious Right’ feel the necessity to put so much time, effort, and resources into American politics? Are we not sojourners? Why do we care about the economy and how rich America is? Why do we care how great America is and how people view America? I wish we stood up for the Bride of Christ like we stand up for our political positions… My plea is that we will stop caring about that which Scripture does not care about!!!

    That does not mean to abandon fighting for saving unborns. It does mean to stop fighting for them in a worldly, secular way. Yes, it would be great to overturn Roe vs. Wade and save the lives of innocent unborns, but we, functioning as the body of Christ, can save some lives without it being overturned! It has gone down tremendously in the last 8 years and yet it hasn’t been overturned! This should encourage us. We do not need ANY government to fulfill the purposes of God.

  53. Mark Gibson August 19, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    John,

    Then why don’t you debate them with numbers? If our remarks are so stupid, then you won’t have a problem finding numbers to prove us wrong. Add something of substance to the conversations for once instead of comments like “I’m getting a kick out of these remarks…”

  54. Darius August 19, 2008 at 4:58 pm #

    Matt,

    Isn’t that a false dichotomy? Can’t we “save some lives without [Roe v. Wade] being overturned” AND fight to overturn it? I mean, that’s what many Christians are already doing. We vote and rally against pro-abortion legislation, AND support our local crisis pregnancy centers and provide help to mothers in need.

    Mark,

    Ignore the troll, he merely exists to spew his hate at the rational and logical among us. Even Paul has agreed that the troll adds nothing to most conversations.

  55. John August 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    Alas, Darius stooping to name-calling like a 5-year old. I am glad that my remarks bring out your true colors.

  56. Darius August 19, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    Again, we’ve gone over this before. Nearly everyone agreed (including some of your liberal brethren) that you fit the definition of a troll. It’s not name-calling, just assigning the proper description to your commenting activities.

  57. John August 19, 2008 at 5:14 pm #

    just like people of your maturity level: justifying your name-calling by acting like your “just assigning the proper description” to my commenting.

    Thanks for making these things clear.

  58. Mark Gibson August 19, 2008 at 5:27 pm #

    John,

    Make an intelligent response to our arguments. I believe that Paul, Scott, and Ferg are wrong, but at least they have something intelligent to add.

  59. Greg Anderson August 19, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    Paul # 34,

    Actually, it was Ferdinand Porsche who did the design work for the Volkswagen at the Fuhrer’s behest in 1933. But that’s just an oversight, no biggie. What I’m struck with is your belief that unrestrained laissez-faire capitalism may not be in the best interests of a nation and its people over the long haul.
    Smatter’ witchoo’ dude? I thought all evangelicals are sposeta’ be neo-cons, and that guns, guts, George dubya & Wall Street are the way to go.

  60. Ferg August 19, 2008 at 6:25 pm #

    Mark,
    I thought you agreed with me on #23. Oh well!!
    Although it’s not my intention, I guess I’ll always get tarred with the opposite brush than the majority here :o)

    Darius, I just ordered that book. I’ll give it a read. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I do find it slightly ironic though that the very people who believe that God puts governments in place, also believe that the government can do nothing to help the poor in the long run.
    I also find it strange that for all the shouting that is being done against Obama because he is pro-abortion, it could end up that God over rides you all and puts him in place to facilitate more abortions than ever because it fits in to his grand scheme. I don’t say that in a facetious manner, I generally find it baffling that you guys are on the one hand rightly standing up for innocent unborns, and then on the otherhand will have to accept it if Obama is put in as president as the will of God.

  61. Paul August 19, 2008 at 6:50 pm #

    Greg in #55,

    if you spend some time around here, you’ll realize something pretty quickly:

    assumptions are just as Felix called them in the Odd Couple.

    We as Christians are a big ‘ol bunch. There are many different denominations, many different takes on politics and many different takes on the egalitarian/complimentarian debate around these parts, but we are all here for one reason:

    We love God, and are thankful for his son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins.

    Beyond that, there’s plenty of disagreement. I disagree with the notion that any of them are cool, because none of them have bought my CD. 😀

  62. Denny Burk August 19, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    Michael (in #26),

    Reread my post and previous posts carefully. I have no illusions about McCain.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  63. Denny Burk August 19, 2008 at 7:26 pm #

    John (in #30),

    You need to reread the transcript of the Saddleback Event. Obama did not say that “that the only time it is okay for a mother to get an abortion in the late stages of pregnancy is when her life is in danger.” He didn’t say “life”; he said “health.” “Health” is a technical legal term (see Doe v. Bolton).

    Thanks,
    Denny

  64. Tyler August 19, 2008 at 7:28 pm #

    Darius,

    Since I do live in China, I guess I should take the charge of being a Marxist with some seriousness. That said, libertarian platitudes with no links or statistics to back them up do nothing to convince anyone to vote for McCain (or more likely, against Obama), and they do nothing to prove that anyone a closet Communist.

    I said that Sen. Obama is willing to take a stand for the victims of globalization. Do you not realize that many people, in the US and abroad, have lost their jobs due to increased competition? Do you not know at least one person who has been lied to and maniuplated by a creditor or a bank, leaving them in financial ruin. I certanly do. That is not an argument against capitalism, Darius. That’s simply a reminder that people are more valuable than corporations in strengthening society–something that libertarians such as yourself sometimes seem to forget.

    Here where I live, the world’s greatest example of free-market capitalism, there are tens of millions of peoople whose lives are expendable in the onward push towards unbelieveable wealth. They sleep behind curtains and under bridges only to get up early the next morning to be trucked to a job site with no safetly regulations. Is that what you want for America?

    It’s one thing to sit in a comfy dorm room and wax on about the beauty of the free-market. It’s another thing when other people’s greed makes your life a living hell. I suggest you get out more.

  65. John August 19, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    Okay there, Denny. Sorry I didn’t do a direct quote of Obama (I’m sure you’ve never paraphrased). Although I said “life” and Obama said “health,” I still think people got my gist and my point was made. Health is not a “technical legal term,” you’re reading your presuppositions into what you want Obama to believe based upon your own biases. Whatever “Doe v. Bolton” is, it still doesn’t mean that Obama was using the term in this way. It really amazes me what you bring up to justify your previous dishonesty.

    You just dance around what he said and try to make it out like he sugarcoated late-term abortion convictions. That wasn’t what he said at all. I haven’t distorted anything McCain said, so I would appreciate it if you would be the same way about Obama.

    The bottom line is that you were still dishonest, regardless of whether he said “health” or “life”, because by him saying “health” he implies that there should still be harsh restrictions. I would hope that you could see this. Though, if I had an agenda to be as right-wing as I can and demonize the other candidate as much as possible so others might not vote for him, I suppose I would have said something similar. I just couldn’t see myself doing this as a New Testament scholar.

  66. Matt Svoboda August 19, 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    John,

    Do you feel that it is appropriate and Christ-like to get on another persons blog and attack their character and credentials? I must say that I couldn’t see myself doing THAT ‘as a New Testament scholar!’

    Matt

  67. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 19, 2008 at 8:10 pm #

    John in #65: “It really amazes me what you bring up to justify your previous dishonesty.

    The bottom line is that you were still dishonest, regardless of whether he said “health” or “life”, because by him saying “health” he implies that there should still be harsh restrictions. I would hope that you could see this. Though, if I had an agenda to be as right-wing as I can and demonize the other candidate as much as possible so others might not vote for him, I suppose I would have said something similar. I just couldn’t see myself doing this as a New Testament scholar.”

    John, that is way, Way, WAY over the top. Not just your rhetoric, offensive as it is, but your reasoning is off too.

    Denny says Obama is dishonest in this matter. You say Denny is dishonest in his representation of Obama on this issue. And there will be more than a few people who will say that YOU are dishonest in your representation of Denny’s arguments on this issue.

    John, be thankful that Denny will probably not give you a biblical rebuke, a biblical admonishment, a biblical correction, or a biblical reproof.

  68. Paul August 19, 2008 at 8:10 pm #

    John,

    when I have to be the one to defend Denny, it’s time that you take a good long hard look at yourself.

    Health is a definable, vague legal term that can mean everything from “I feel bad today” to “oh my gosh! that dude’s about to die!”

    I totally get the social conservative angst when “health” gets thrown around. It’s basically a loophole word, like when Republicans use the word “ethics”.

    Don’t go calling someone dishonest in a case where they’re most certainly not.

    And, again, in Denny’s defense, someone that worked to table a bill that would save the life of a baby born alive during a botched abortion IS disgustingly pro-choice, and it’s not dancing around the issue to claim it so.

    John, I’m glad that there’s another liberal here making the case that not all Christians are red state republicans that hate everyone that isn’t just like them. But, dude, if you could please state your case eloquently, and in a manner in accord with, well, intelligent thought, it’d make reading this stuff A LOT easier for everyone involved.

    Thanks.

    now go buy my record.

  69. Darius August 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    Ferg, let me know what you think of the book. You seem like someone who is at least open-minded about other viewpoints.

    Denny, great rebuttal of John’s snide remark. Of course, no luck in silencing him, but you made your point. “Health” is indeed a technical term that the pro-abortion crowd uses to its advantage, making it encompass pretty much whatever they like, including mental health. Thus, like the Doe v. Bolton decision showed (John, I would suggest you look this up so you can count yourself more informed on this subject), Obama can say that he supports only late-term abortion when it is necessary for the health of the mother while also not supporting any restrictions of late-term abortion. That way, he can have his cake and eat it too. The pro-abortion crowd is placated with a wink wink, and the morally confused “moderates” actually believe that Obama is not radical.

  70. Darius August 19, 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    A quick note: now that the spam folder has been emptied, some comments from several different people have appeared which may help (or hinder, who knows) the clarity of this discussion.

    Tyler in #64:

    I am not a libertarian, just a conservative.

    I don’t live in a dorm, not sure where you got that idea. I suppose it was a back-handed way to insult me, but you shot wide of the bow, my friend.

    “Do you not realize that many people, in the US and abroad, have lost their jobs due to increased competition?”

    Let’s think this statement through a little bit more. So people around the world have lost their jobs from increased competition? Where does this competition come from? Other people GETTING jobs. Yes, some people in the USA have lost jobs, but for the most part, they have found new ones. That’s the great thing about America and capitalism, if you lose your job it’s not impossible to find a new one relatively quickly.

    “Do you not know at least one person who has been lied to and maniuplated by a creditor or a bank, leaving them in financial ruin? I certainly do.”

    First of all, I thought you lived in China. Are you talking about people over there or here in America? Assuming you still are talking about the latter, to answer your question, no, I don’t personally know anyone who was manipulated by a creditor or a bank. I HAVE heard numerous stories of people making foolish decisions to buy homes they couldn’t afford for the lifetime of the mortgage (read: ARMs) or of people who purposely misled the lending institution by lying about their incomes. Yes, plenty of banks and creditors paid little attention to the deceit happening under their noses, but they too have paid a big price. Such people and companies deserved what they got. It’s sad for those unwittingly caught up in it all, but a majority of foreclosures were due primarily to BUYER foolishness or deception. When my wife and I bought our home two years ago, we did this thing called research which indicated to us that an ARM loan would only be useful as long as we got out of our house in 5 years or less.

    “Here where I live, the world’s greatest example of free-market capitalism…”

    I thought you lived in China. You do know that communism is not the same as capitalism, right? Yes, free market capitalism is making inroads into China, but to call it the greatest example… ha.

    “Is that what you want for America?”

    Why would that ever come to America? I mean, unless our government becomes the socialist state that you apparently want it to be, we are in no danger of having a permanent serf class like they have in China or other parts of the world. Yes, we have plenty of illegal immigrants who currently occupy such a role, but as has been the case with all other immigrant populations, they move up and prosper within a generation. That they are illegally here makes it harder to do so, but that isn’t the government’s problem that they are breaking the law.

  71. Darius August 19, 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    Ugh, my response to Tyler has been spammed.

  72. jigawatt August 19, 2008 at 9:50 pm #

    How can a pro-life person still be “unsure whom he will vote for in November” if he truly sees the protection of the unborn as a transcendent moral value?

    You talk as though McCain were the only pro-life candidate in the race. There are others.

  73. Darius August 19, 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    Ah yes, a libertarian speaks up. Of course you can drop your vote in the box for yourself or Ron Paul (both being equally irrelevant). But for those who actually want to be taken seriously and POSITIVELY affect this race, the choice is McCain. To vote for a third party candidate would IN EFFECT be voting for Obama. As long as your conscience is fine with that, I’m fine with it. Just don’t delude yourself into thinking you’re doing something good for the country.

  74. Matt Svoboda August 19, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    Darius,

    Harsh, but very true. Good word.

    Matt

  75. Paul August 19, 2008 at 11:21 pm #

    Actually, Matt, it’s not entirely true.

    The only way that any of the third parties will ever gain any traction is if people vote their conscience instead of voting for the lesser of two evils.

    It was funny that in the last Illinois gubernatorial election, there were enough people that realized this that the green party candidate actually got 12% of the vote, and now, in the next election cycle, they actually get state funding to run with, and they have to allow the green party candidate in the next set of debates.

    Will that next green party candidate have a chance? Not really, but they’ll have more of a chance than they had before. A few choice victories like that here and there, and all of the sudden, you’ve got a viable candidate.

    So, Darius, man up to the fact that the real conservative candidate this time out is Bob Barr, and vote accordingly.

    Or you can vote for a flip flopping hypocrite whose word is good for nothing (apply that to Obama OR McCain — both are appropriate).

  76. John August 20, 2008 at 12:17 am #

    Paul, I’m surprised that you’ve let what you read on here distort your view about Obama. You said,

    “And, again, in Denny’s defense, someone that worked to table a bill that would save the life of a baby born alive during a botched abortion IS disgustingly pro-choice, and it’s not dancing around the issue to claim it so.”

    Obama has claimed that he does indeed support babies being born alive during a botched abortion (he has many, many times). He believed that the bill which you speak of was designed to undermine Roe v. Wade, which he believes as constitutional, and that is why he voted the way he did. It was a matter of authorial intent, not a matter of him rejoicing in or denying rights to botched aborted babies.

    You all speak like the word “health” can be used for anything, and I have a very, very hard time believing there is no criteria for the word. Obama said, “I AM IN FAVOR, FOR EXAMPLE, OF LIMITS ON LATE TERM ABORTIONS IF THERE IS AN EXCEPTION FOR THE MOTHER’S HEALTH.” The key words are “Limits” and “exception.” He obviously doesn’t believe that abortion should be legal for everybody throughout all nine months, for in the mother’s late term there should be limits and for her to get one should be an exception. I find it dishonest for others to claim that he believes abortion should be legal for everybody throughout all nine months, for he clearly does not…sorry. To claim that “health” can be used of anything, such as somebody having a bad day, seems to be just a cop-out to back up your previous presuppositions of his beliefs about abortion.

    TUAD, I find it ironic that YOU, of all people, tell me I’m over the line, when you flirt with or cross that line nearly every single day…both here and on the other 100 blogs you post on.

    My apologies to Denny for being mean-spirited. I would just like to point out that he treats Obama the same way, and I’m just sick and tired of coming on here to see one more hyperbolic post about Obama and abortion or gay marriage (Obama seeks to be constitutional, moral majority people seek a theocracy). The hyperbole makes it dishonest, and this is not right. I figured that Dan Wallace taught him to go where the evidence leads him and not to come to the table in order to back up his presuppositions. But when day after day I see hyperbolic posts about Obama and abortion/gay marriage, then I have to believe otherwise. If I were treating McCain the same way, then I would expect and appreciate a rebuke from the other side. Our job (as student and teachers) should be to be as fair and honest as possible and to accurately present all sides, no matter how much we disagree with them. Of all people, I would expect an educated biblical scholar to accurately fulfill this, but I have been proved otherwise time and time again.

  77. Mark Gibson August 20, 2008 at 12:23 am #

    Ferg,

    I was meaning to say that we usually disagree. I did agree with you on the statement that it is the church’s job to help the poor.

    Tyler,

    What is wrong with global competition? There have been over 25 million jobs created in the United States since NAFTA’s inception. Also, how may jobs have been lost because of machines?

    “That’s simply a reminder that people are more valuable than corporations in strengthening society–something that libertarians such as yourself sometimes seem to forget.”

    People make up these corporations so your argument doesn’t make sense.

    Weren’t almost all of the Chinese already living like that before they traded Marxism for capitalism?

  78. Darius August 20, 2008 at 12:28 am #

    “To claim that “health” can be used of anything, such as somebody having a bad day, seems to be just a cop-out to back up your previous presuppositions of his beliefs about abortion.”

    First of all, John, thanks for addressing the issues at hand. I honestly appreciate it. However, you really do need to look up Doe v. Bolton and read up on the legal side of the abortion issue, because the term “health” really is as ambiguous as we’re saying it is. Obama says he supports limits with an exception. The tricky part here is that exception means there are NO limits. The courts have said as much on numerous occasions.

    “He believed that the bill which you speak of was designed to undermine Roe v. Wade, which he believes as constitutional, and that is why he voted the way he did.”

    Unless he is a dunce, which I doubt anyone actually believes, he could NOT have honestly believed that the bill was undermining Roe v. Wade. Do you know why? Because pro-abortion lobby groups like NARAL supported the bill. They had made it clear that the bill did not infringe on the woman’s right to choose. So there was no honest reason for Obama to fight this bill (again, he did NOT just vote against it, he vocally railed against it). So either he is an ignoramus who doesn’t pay attention to IMPORTANT issues (not a good quality in a president) or he is a radical anti-life lunatic. I am not sure which is a better option.

  79. Darius August 20, 2008 at 12:31 am #

    “People make up these corporations so your argument doesn’t make sense.”

    Good point, Mark. People seem to believe that corporations and businesses are these artificially-intelligent evil entities that control the lives of the poor while giving nothing back. In truth, without corporations and businesses, almost no one would have a job. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

  80. Tyler August 20, 2008 at 12:40 am #

    For the record, I am not against open markets and free trade. I think they have been crucial in lifting millions of people out of abject poverty. Neither am I against corporations in the abstract. However, some corporations are more beneficial for the common good than others. To use my earlier example, credit card companies have a lot to answer for, the same way sub-prime mortgage lenders do. To say that an unregulated market can stop blatant usury and injustice, not to mention abominable treatment of workers and the environment (mostly in the developing world) is a dangerous misconception.

    Government exists to restrain and punish sinful impulses in human beings–holding the raw will to power in check. Some governments do this better and more justly than others. Political parties differ on how and when government should act in this way. I tend to value the role of government more than most conservatives, but less than most liberals. Which brings me back to my original point that both Sens. McCain and Obama are worth considering in Novemeber.

  81. D.J. Williams August 20, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    Paul in #74,

    Absolutely true, true, true. What happens when we vote for the “lesser of two evils” is we perpetuate a system that will continue to produce those kinds of choices. Why don’t people vote for third parties? Because they have no chance of winning. Why don’t they have a chance of winning? Because nobody votes for them. ??????????

    Paul is exactly right – voting for a third party candidate creates traction for that group for the future. Basketball fans can think of it as the ‘Gonzaga Effect.’ Gonzaga’s first cinderella run didn’t win them anything and didn’t get them into the Final Four. But it did give them more recognition and more recruiting clout, and they made a better run the next year, and the next year, etc. Now, they’re considered an A-list college program, no longer a cinderella. The road to recognition for a thrid party would have to come in similar fashion.

  82. Darius August 20, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    Here’s an idea… change the parties that have a chance of winning by voting in the primaries. If you don’t like McCain, then why did he win the Republican nomination? Because people weren’t standing up for Fred Thompson (or for those on the libertarian side, Ron Paul).

  83. Darius August 20, 2008 at 9:10 am #

    Tyler, I have a comment back around #70 that was spammed. Once it gets unspammed, it addresses some of the illogic of your comment #64.

  84. D.J. Williams August 20, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    Darius,

    Of course, the primary system is broken. As a Kentucky resident, the Republican race was already long decided before I could have cast my vote for Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. However, I distinctly remember the exact same criticisms being leveled at those who supported Paul in the primaries – he has no chance of winning, so your vote for him is a waste and a vote for Guliani. The same things were said about Huckabee in the early going, but suddenly when he started showing up in a few polls Christians started feeling convicted to support a quality underdog rather than accepting that Romney was as good as they could hope for.

    All “lesser of two evils” voting does is demonstrate to the establishment that you’ll vote for anybody they trot out as long as he’s not as repulsive as the other guy. You’re ensuring poor options for cycles to come.

  85. Brian (Another) August 20, 2008 at 9:35 am #

    Paul: “like when Republicans use the word ‘ethics’”

    Funny.

    IMHO, government does need to step into a free market society in the absence of other oversight (see sewing sweat shops, coal mines, etc. of late 19th cen). But there is a limit (I think even the most staunch Christian who is a liberal (politically) would agree). Mandating good will seems to back fire. I seem to recall several articles in NYTimes (a slightly left leaning paper 😉 discussing how much less people give and the reasons were linked to social programs operated by the government. Not that it is a good reason (we should still care for the poor, in non-monetary ways, too!). Just an observation.

    To take the rabbit trail (sorry for not staying on topic) regarding being dishonest. I believe that Obama’s words were that the Illinois bill didn’t match the federal bill. Mr. Obama said that he would have voted for (presented) the Illinois bill if it had matched the fed. Bill verbiage. And that he supports the fed bill. That’s all well and good to say, but the Illinois records show that the amendment to the bill caused the state and the fed bill to match word for word (with the exception of an “its” and the state being the enforcement). Additionally, even prior to the amendment, I don’t see how the bill conflicted with RvW. Then again, I’m not a legal analyst. But both of those don’t change the fact that the amended ill state bill matched the fed bill and Obama specifically said he would have voted but it didn’t match the fed bill. I understand that is how things have happened, anyway. Anyone feel free to correct.

  86. Darius August 20, 2008 at 9:42 am #

    DJ, I said that only because I don’t agree with Ron Paul’s policies (at least, some of them). Yes, he’s pro-life, but so was Thompson. But at least Thompson wasn’t insane in regards to foreign policy.

  87. Darius August 20, 2008 at 9:46 am #

    Brian (another),

    Why does government have to involve itself at ALL in coal mines, sweat shops, etc? I mean, those workers are CHOOSING to work there. It’s very different from slavery, where there is no choice. Here, the choice is to work in a tough environment and make a little money or not work and make no money and starve. Government steps in, and those jobs disappear and those people starve. This is similar to the minimum wage debate… a minimum wage guarantees that less people will be employed. A minimum wage is inhuman, because it forces businesses to cut employees who aren’t worth the minimum wage. Let the free markets work unhindered by government interference, and they will work wonderfully.

  88. D.J. Williams August 20, 2008 at 10:44 am #

    If you opposed Paul on policy grounds, then more power to you. But you know full well that many didn’t back him purely because he wasn’t “viable,” and many had the same view of Huckabee until his big surge.

    The point remains the same – if you won’t vote for a superior candidate because you don’t think they have a chance at winning, you’re feeding the very machine that will prevent them from ever having a chance at winning.

  89. Ferg August 20, 2008 at 10:45 am #

    Let the free markets work unhindered by government interference, and they will work wonderfully

    Does this mean that you believe sweat shops are wonderful? I presume you don’t, however I do find it disturbing that you can just flippantly say that people CHOOSE to work in them so let them at it. There is little empathy coming with a statement like that.

  90. Mark Gibson August 20, 2008 at 12:12 pm #

    Sweat shops may not be a wonderful place to work, but in some parts of the world it is a good paying job.

  91. Paul August 20, 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    Mark,

    you forgot to add the obligatory phrase to the end of that…”and the world needs ditch diggers, too!”

    Seriously, it’s things like what you just wrote that make it hard to take you seriously in political discussions!

    Sure, it’s a job, but it wouldn’t be a sweat shop in the first place if they were paying a decent, fair market wage and only having people work 8 hour days.

    The thing is, America has the ability to demand that its foreign goods come from places that treat their workers humanely.

    Oh! But then we’d have to pay more for our sweat socks from Wal-Mart!

    There’s greed taking over compassion once again.

    And we call ourselves a Christian nation. Please…

  92. Scott August 20, 2008 at 12:29 pm #

    I’m still shocked that Darius said a 5-yr old should be held accountable and responsible for his mother’s mistakes until he reaches 20! By that logic, an unborn fetus should be held responsible for his/her mother’s decision on abortion, right? Certainly not! But, see where this logic can go.

    The bottom line for me, and of course others are free to disagree, I think government assistance is necessary because, as Paul just alluded to, many believers refuse to reach in their pocket to help anyone other than themselves. The poor need our help. Is the system broken? Absolutely.

    There is no place, room, or excuse to justify sweatshops. Anyone familiar with the atrocities knows they are not “jobs”by any stretch of the imagination.

  93. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    John: “TUAD, I find it ironic that YOU, of all people, tell me I’m over the line, when you flirt with or cross that line nearly every single day…both here and on the other 100 blogs you post on.”

    Denny Burk is my example and model for restraint when falsely accused and misrepresented.

    “My apologies to Denny for being mean-spirited. I would just like to point out that he treats Obama the same way, and I’m just sick and tired of coming on here to see one more hyperbolic post about Obama and abortion or gay marriage (Obama seeks to be constitutional, moral majority people seek a theocracy). The hyperbole makes it dishonest, and this is not right. I figured that Dan Wallace taught him to go where the evidence leads him and not to come to the table in order to back up his presuppositions. But when day after day I see hyperbolic posts about Obama and abortion/gay marriage, then I have to believe otherwise. If I were treating McCain the same way, then I would expect and appreciate a rebuke from the other side. Our job (as student and teachers) should be to be as fair and honest as possible and to accurately present all sides, no matter how much we disagree with them. Of all people, I would expect an educated biblical scholar to accurately fulfill this, but I have been proved otherwise time and time again.”

    John, if you’re married or have a girlfriend, or even have close friends and family, I doubt that any of them would accept a non-apology apology from you like the one you gave Denny.

  94. Paul August 20, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    and yet, TUAD, I’ve seen you misrepresent people on here on numerous occasions.

    Pot, meet kettle.

  95. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    I don’t think so, but I’m not perfect. Show me and let’s take another look at it.

  96. Paul August 20, 2008 at 2:41 pm #

    You’ve misrepresented me before.

    Your characterizations of egalitarians is nothing short of dispicable, and more than likely a misrepresentation about 98% of the time.

  97. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    Looks like we’re not going to get anywhere because I maintain that you’ve misrepresented me before too.

    And I think my posts about egalitarian arguments are not even close to being despicable, much less being a misrepresentation of them 98% of the time.

  98. Darius August 20, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    Paul:

    “Sure, it’s a job, but it wouldn’t be a sweat shop in the first place if they were paying a decent, fair market wage and only having people work 8 hour days.

    The thing is, America has the ability to demand that its foreign goods come from places that treat their workers humanely.

    Oh! But then we’d have to pay more for our sweat socks from Wal-Mart!”

    I’ve had this discussion with a friend recently who was unsure how she felt about Wal-Mart-related “sweat shops,” but I will try to explain it again. If Wal-Mart, Target, etc. truly demanded that its foreign goods came from “humane” companies, millions of people would lose their jobs. It’s the way the market works. Furthermore, who defines work at 8 hour days? What’s wrong with 10 hour days? I know I personally prefer 3 hour days :), but I wouldn’t force any company to run by my preferences. This is baloney to tell another company how to run their business. The labor is not forced, it is freely accepted by the workers. If they choose, they can quit the job anytime. Of course, that would mean quitting the only opportunity to put food on the table. And what would be low wages to us is quite high to many of those workers. It’s a typical liberal intelligentsia community that feels it best to ruin the lives of the poor and destitute by fiddling with their hard-earned jobs. I have nothing but disdain for such thinking. Live your own flippin’ lives and leave the rest of the world to live theirs as they see fit. I can’t stand intolerance, especially in the Western elite.

  99. Darius August 20, 2008 at 3:02 pm #

    Scott,

    A couple things…

    Okay, I grant you that many Christians do absolutely nothing for the poor in other countries (the “poor” in this country are rich by comparison). But do you honestly believe some bureaucrat can fix that? Again, read the book I recommended to Ferg and tell me what you think after having done so. The government handing out free money infantilizes the populace, so that they never rise out of their circumstances.

    Secondly, I never said that the 5 year old should be held accountable for his mother’s actions. Just that, unfortunate as it may be, he has to live with them until he becomes an adult (and probably even longer). Churches and Christians can help him out, but only as long as they teach him personal responsibility. The government teaches quite the opposite.

  100. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 3:05 pm #

    Scott: “I’m still shocked that Darius said a 5-yr old should be held accountable and responsible for his mother’s mistakes until he reaches 20!”

    Scott, can you please show me the blog comment where Darius said that?

  101. Paul August 20, 2008 at 3:17 pm #

    Darius,

    This has just become a REALLY interesting conversation.

    See, you’re parading around all high and mighty talking about how free market capitalism has absolutely no victims, and these peasants should be happy that they have jobs at all. And you think you’re better than me, the liberal, because you think that way.

    I, on the other hand, am going to think that I’m better than you, the conservative, because I have the sense and the willpower to buy fairly traded goods wherever possible. If I can’t do that, then I buy from First World sources wherever possible, because it’s much easier to assume that they’re making a living wage in Italy, Canada or New Zealand than they would be in Angola or Pakistan.

    The problem is that at the end of the day, we’re both right.

    Yes, these lowly peasants DO have jobs because you want dirt cheap sweatsocks.

    And yes, there’s some lucky coffee bean farmer in Kenya that’s making a few bucks more than normal because my wife shops at Ten Thousand Villages.

    The question is, at the end of the day, which one of us has the moral high ground? Ask 100 different people, and you’ll likely get 100 different answers.

  102. Scott August 20, 2008 at 3:20 pm #

    TUAD,

    Please see post #44. He states that the child should pay for the mistakes.

    Paul,

    Another good post.

  103. Paul August 20, 2008 at 3:21 pm #

    “Churches and Christians can help him out, but only as long as they teach him personal responsibility. The government teaches quite the opposite.”

    depends on what the government is teaching.

    In the few places where the government can provide job training for welfare recipients, it is teaching people that they have to go get it for themselves.

    In plenty of areas around the country, the welfare department will subsidize day care in order to make sure that someone can go to work instead of sitting around collecting a check from the gubment all the time.

    Yep. Both scenarios are terrible. (eye roll)

    I absolutely love the mentality that ALL GOVERNMENT IS BAD GOVERNMENT. Especially when it comes from people that want the government to ban everything that they don’t agree with.

  104. Scott August 20, 2008 at 3:24 pm #

    Darius,

    Not all people on welfare lack personal responsibility. You’re looking at the worst scenarios. Living in Dallas, I can show you a whole bunch of wealthy folks who lack any sort of responsibility whatsoever. Its fun to live off grandad’s money. Let’s say we tax them at a higher rate until they get jobs. The “pull yourself up by your own boot straps” mentality is very American. I’m not sure how Christian it is.

  105. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    Scott: “TUAD,

    Please see post #44. He states that the child should pay for the mistakes.”

    Darius: “I never said that the 5 year old should be held accountable for his mother’s actions. Just that, unfortunate as it may be, he has to live with them until he becomes an adult (and probably even longer).”

    Scott, I believe the disconnect you and Darius are experiencing lies in the differing usages or understanding of the word “pay”. What Darius is saying is that the 5 year-old has to unfortunately live with his mother’s mistakes in her life choices. NOT that he is accountable or responsible for them.

  106. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 3:53 pm #

    Pot, meet kettle.

    Paul, meet John.

    🙂

  107. joe August 20, 2008 at 4:04 pm #

    Read Colossians 3:22-24
    the “pull yourself up by your own boot straps” mentality is a Christian word view

  108. Paul August 20, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    TUAD,

    please do not address me or my posts any further.

    I will do likewise.

    Thank you.

  109. John August 20, 2008 at 4:22 pm #

    TUAD said,

    “Denny Burk is my example and model for restraint when falsely accused and misrepresented.”

    Of course, Denny just posts some one-sided dogmatic slanderous post and just lets it be, so he should be all of our examples I suppose.

    And TUAD, I actually do have a wife and many close friends, but I wonder if you do b/c seemingly you spend about 22 hours a day typing on blogs.

    TUAD, meet Charlie Brown

    🙂

  110. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 4:23 pm #

    John,

    Not even a fellow die-hard lib like Paul wants to be associated with you. Hmmmmmmm,….

  111. Darius August 20, 2008 at 4:25 pm #

    First of all, Paul, I don’t think I’m any better than you. I’m a fallen sinner. You very well may live a more moral life than I. My political beliefs, on the other hand, are significantly better than your own. That’s my honest opinion, which I’m sure you also hold about your own views. What I also believe is that liberals tend to believe that their opinions are the bomb and they know better than the third world poor how the third world poor should live their lives.

  112. Darius August 20, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    Paul in #100:

    “…which one of us has the moral high ground? Ask 100 different people, and you’ll likely get 100 different answers.”

    So because we get 100 different answers, there is NO moral high ground? Careful, you’re sounding a bit like a postmodern there, not to mention that is an ad populum argument.

    While I think you may have been missing a word in one of your sentences, if I understand you correctly, you would rather buy stuff made by the relatively rich Europeans as long as they are making some arbitrary “minimum wage” than buy stuff that will help the truly impoverished third world workers survive just because they make an income that offends your liberal sensibilities? Do you really mean that? I think it’s pretty clear where the moral high ground is.

  113. Darius August 20, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    Thanks to Joe for the Bible verse. Scott, earning one’s own keep is one of the most Biblical concepts known to man. I have little problem with government programs that teach personal responsibility (though I still maintain that private groups or institutions would do it MUCH more efficiently and wouldn’t be forcing anyone to contribute beyond their own free will). I have a friend who works in just that area.

    Government’s role should NOT be to protect people from themselves or force one person to be another’s keeper. God wants both of those things, but of our own volition, not from state pressure. You for one person to take care of another, you create resentment in the former and a sense of entitlement in the latter. Neither of those are good for society.

  114. Denny Burk August 20, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    Paul,

    Your first line in #68 is a scream! I think I laughed out loud.

    For what it’s worth, you have become a tradition at dennyburk.com. I’m grateful to have you as a reader.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  115. Brian (Another) August 20, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    John:

    While Denny may post things from one side of his argument, what in his post is false? To be slander, it must be false. Specifically, since you levee the accusation here, what about McCain or Obama or Merritt? Denny’s language may be harsh and you may object to that, but it is not false.

    And, I’ll link a couple of your posts to perhaps shortcut at least one issue.

    Obama has stated that he “would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported”, but that he did not support the state bill since “that was not the bill that was presented at the state level.”

    The state bill and the federal bill are not identical (as one speaks on behalf of state and one on behalf of feds). But the bill’s purpose, structure and nearly all language (previous notes excepted) etc. is (are?) identical. It is the same bill. Obama could have had a legitimate reason to oppose the bill, but it wasn’t because it “was not the bill that was presented at the state level” compared to the fed. bill.

  116. Paul August 20, 2008 at 5:08 pm #

    Darius in #110:

    insofar as liberals thinking that we know more about the third world than third worlders do, I wouldn’t for a second pretend that that’s the case.

    However, my wife the world traveler, missionary at one point, and person who has lived or worked in more third world countries than I’ll ever see tries to buy fair trade at every turn. She’s been there, seen it and lived with it. I’ll follow her lead in such regards.

    #111:

    a) I wasn’t mentioning the 100 people/100 answers thing to be post modern or ad populum. What I was getting at was the fact that there are most certainly two ways to view this argument, and both have merit. Not everything is an either/or argument.

    b) If you read more carefully, Darius, you’ll see that I’d RATHER buy fair trade before I’d buy anything else. However, at this point, you can’t buy everything fair trade. At which point, yes, I’d rather buy from places where I know that the workers are making a living wage. If I know that workers are making a real living wage making shoes in India, I’ll buy ’em, and I have.

    c) the REAL moral high ground on the sweatshops would be to let the companies that buy from them know that you’d be more than happy to buy their product at a higher price if you knew that it meant workers getting treated more fairly and making a wage where they could climb out of poverty instead of simply being lucky to eat today. In other words, a little bit of wealth voluntary wealth redistribution. If you think THAT would be a bad thing, sir, I don’t know what to tell you.

  117. Brian (Another) August 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    In a truly unhindered system, monopolistic tendencies always win out. Eventually it devolves to a slave-type system if not titled as such. Greed in men will always push towards this type of an end in an unadulterated, purely personal oversight system. A lack of any accountability always results in absolute power (=absolutely corrupt). Taking the approach of let every person live free and do whatever without rules (but with the bare necessity of humane rules) is extremely dangerous. It may work in a true Christian society, but, again, without any oversight or anything beyond our own selfish desires, you have a brutal cycle.

    That said, I suppose I see a difference in handout programs (see welfare systems) and oversight (see wages and hours). Handouts, falls into the same trap as the system above. Humans will mess it up.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this discussion. With minimal exceptions, the topics are charged but remain reasonable in their comments.

  118. John August 20, 2008 at 6:05 pm #

    TUAD,

    NOBODY, I repeat, NOBODY wants to be associated with you. You even type of conservative reformed blogs and still get rebukes!

    I actually respect some of the things Darius, Brian, or even Denny say, but your words are nothing more than a clanging symbol, both to me and others. It makes me embarrassed to even address you.

    Hmmmmmmm…

  119. Paul August 20, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    (psst, John, that’s cymbal…take it from the professional musician on the board…now go buy my CD)

  120. Paul August 20, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    And Denny in post #113,

    Thank you very much.

    As much as I’ve argued, I’ve learned even more, so I’m glad that I stumbled onto this blog, and am grateful for your knowledge and your willingness to pass it on.

  121. Darius August 20, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    Trying hard not to make a joke about cymbals vs. symbols… resisting, resisting… 🙂

    Brian (another), you misunderstand free market capitalism. I’m not an expert on the subject, nor a very eloquent person either, so I would recommend that you read more on the subject (a good author escapes me presently). In short, yes, greed drives capitalism. But that’s what makes it great, greed is driving it yet it still is humane. Like John Stossel likes to say, every transaction involves a double thank you. The person selling you a burger says “thank you” for your money and you in return say “thank you” for the burger. What he is selling is more valuable to you than your money, and your money is more valuable to him than his product.

    A fully free market economy polices itself. Yes, there are abuses (there are in all systems), but if greed is truly the driving factor, then abuses can not win out, because people go elsewhere. Enron failed. Yes, some people got scammed out of their life savings, but people also learned a lesson. In the free market, corruption can only last so long.

  122. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    Paul:

    “TUAD,

    you’re comparing me to that guy?

    please.”

  123. John August 20, 2008 at 6:46 pm #

    Good for you TUAD, you can copy and paste. I’m very proud of you. It would require an all-night experience for me to visit the 100 blogs you post on and copy and paste the negative responses you get from others. You probably have time for that, but I don’t. Sorry. I wonder what kind of social life you have anyways?

    (I knew something didn’t look right about “symbol”!)

  124. Paul August 20, 2008 at 6:59 pm #

    “Enron failed. Yes, some people got scammed out of their life savings, but people also learned a lesson. In the free market, corruption can only last so long.”

    wow.

  125. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 20, 2008 at 7:19 pm #

    Denny,

    You owe me. Big-time.

    I have rescued you from John’s foaming-at-the-mouth militant moonbat liberal anger, sarcasm, wild exaggerations, distortions, and falsehoods. Because they are now being redirected it towards me.

  126. John August 20, 2008 at 7:45 pm #

    Nothing short of what you lash out on people day in and day out. How does it feel, Deception and Falsehood Divides? Haven’t you learned by now that nobody likes you, Deception and Falsehood Divides?

  127. Brian (Another) August 20, 2008 at 9:16 pm #

    Fellas, as someone said here once before, retract the claws (although I still would like John to answer my question…..not that he has to, mind you).

    I have personally enjoyed the discussion here when it happens. I think discourse is definitely a great thing, especially when involving something as weighty as the presidency. With that in mind, Piper had an article that was good and right along these lines. A quote (that is actually a quote from another article):

    “The churches’ desperate hunger to mean more in politics and economics had the perverse effect of making them less effective opponents of the political and economic pressures on the nation. They mattered more when they wanted to matter less”

    I know. We all know that God is in charge, not Obama, McCain, Bush or Magbe. Also, this discussion has been good (as others, too). Just a good reminder from the good pastor.

    Darius:

    I understand theoretical capitalism (economics and finance). I would say that corruption does not have a limit, or, rather, it is generations. Enron ended because what little oversight there was finally came to fruition. I do find it a bit disturbing to call Enron a learning experience, but I suppose we disagree here.

  128. Darius August 20, 2008 at 10:08 pm #

    Paul, when I said “people learned a lesson,” I meant those who would be tempted to cheat the system. They learned once again that financial crime usually doesn’t pay. Free markets are the least corrupt of any economic system, or at least the least repressive.

  129. Nathan August 21, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    This has been an interesting back and forth to one who does not typically participate.

  130. Adam Omelianchuk August 21, 2008 at 11:15 am #

    Nathan, it was interesting maybing a hundred comments ago. Will it ever end?

    🙂

  131. Adam Omelianchuk August 21, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    Maybing?

    Yikes….

    “maybe”.

  132. micah the pilot August 22, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    Ugh, so much that could be rationally discussed regarding these topics but so little useful things have been written here. Read this to understand a little more about the benefits of giving to the poor. I don’t think it takes a genius or a marxist to understand that it benefits everyone to help the poor (apparently some famous dude said something about giving being better than receiving…) yet too often we think life is a zero-sum game.

    And that’s seems to be what has happened here. It may be that one issue will decide the election for you, but we are all fools if we think any election is only about one issue.

  133. micah the pilot August 22, 2008 at 5:14 pm #

    I’m sorry I should have written “so few useful things”

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