Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama a Muslim? Not a Chance



One of the most frequent emails I have had sent to me since the primaries were over by worried Christians is the one which claims that Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, based on the fact that he had a Muslim father, and, it is claimed, he attended a Muslim school when young in Indonesia. This is rather like claiming that my wife is a closet Roman Catholic because she attended a Catholic school whilst young, because she had a devout Roman Catholic mother. A person's faith should be assessed on their adult commitments, behavior and professions of faith, not on the basis of what their parents had them do when they were not making choices for themselves. Should we also conclude that Barack Obama is a closet Roman Catholic because his parents enrolled him in a Catholic school in Indonesia? Of course not.

It is hard for me to say what bothers me most about these fear and smear tactics by some Christians-- whether its simply the untruth of the claim, or the fact that some Christians are prepared to use all sorts of unChristian tactics to prevent Obama from becoming President of the United States.

If one will bother to read Obama's biography, or pay attention to various of his interviews and speeches when he has been asked about this subject, the truth of the matter is not hard to assess. One may not like the fact that Obama is a social action Christian much like Dr. King and others, but a Christian he is, and he is proud to say so.

So let's be clear for a moment-- whether one agrees with Obama's politics or not, those views should be judged on their own merits, not on the basis of the false claim that Obama is a closet Muslim.

As for those who keep sending this email around--- my grandmother has a word for you--- SHAME ON YOU, GO WASH OUT YOUR MOUTH (and your emails) WITH SOAP. I would just add that you need to heed the words of Jesus, that if you have something against your brother then you go and ask him, or consult sources where he has spoken on the matter. You then should extend him the courtesy you would want to have extended to you--- to take him at his word, unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise. This sort of email nonsense is an example of Christians behaving badly. Go read the sermon of James on the taming of the tongue.

68 comments:

Ontario Emperor said...

I guess it was around 1984 or 1985. I was at a church small group meeting at someone's house when one of the participants said, "I heard that the head of Proctor & Gamble appeared on Donahue and admitted that their symbol is a Satanic symbol." To this day I regret that I didn't ask the question, "Did you see it yourself? Would you stake your childrens' lives on the truth of that story?"

So far I've only heard one fellow worshipper claim that Obama is Muslim, but I don't think I could change his mind even after I tried.

One would think that the whole Jeremiah Wright episode would have put these issues to rest, but I guess it hasn't.

Eddie G said...

Amen. Thank you for saying that.

ed said...

I also am weary of hearing these smear tactics from supposedly devout Christians. We must take Barak Obama at his word just as we must take each other at their word when they claim they are Christian. No one doubts their word based on their family history do they?zfksmsq

Jill said...

oh man, i loved this post. my grandparents are always sending me these emails and i have asked them MANY times to stop. they think its ok because its a voting year and "we need to know what we are up against". i think its really sad, disappointing, and unchristian and i have told them that many times. i, of course, still love them very much, but i do try to show them that those emails are dumb tactics and that they need to actually research the candidate themselves.

wnpaul said...

While I tend to agree with you I understand why some conservative Christians give credence to these stories and are not prepared to take Sen. Obama at his word.

1. Sen Obama's claims that he sat for years under Rev. Wright's preaching but never was aware of the extreme rhetoric and ideas expressed in his preaching is patently unbelievable. Since he's lying about that, what else is he lying about?

2. Despite the fact that he must have heard these views expressed in his church, he stayed in it for many years, and only left when it became politically inexpedient to stay. This signals a significant level of agreement with and support for views (especially about America) which are not only offensive in one who seeks the highest office in the land, but also seem to be more consistent with the views of the (Islamist) 9/11 bombers than with anything conceivable as a Christian world view.

3. For many Christians today, a Christian is one who understands Jesus and the Scriptures largely the way they do. Most other people merely claim to be Christians; in reality, they are liberals or revisionists who are trying to subvert the church and destroy the Christian foundations of the country. When these pseudo-Christians then hold positions which seem utterly incompatible with how we understand Scripture, as for example Sen. Obama's consistent support for the mass slaughter of the innocent (abortion) and gross immorality (gay mainstreaming)(without which he would not have had a chance at the Democratic nomination) this just clinches the matter. One can believe almost anything bad about a person like that, although, as one of my friends quipped, calling Sen Obama a Muslim slanders not him, but the international Islamic community.

As a European who is not happy with much of the policy of the current administration but who is not called upon to elect one of the candidates come November I nevertheless have a lot of sympathy with my American friends who are deeply troubled by the success of Sen Obama's campaign and who in their angst give credence to these rumours.

Ben Witherington said...

WN Paul:

Why in the world would you assume that Obama is lying about Wright? In the first place, he has been in Washington for the last umpteen years, and the rhetoric of Wright now is not identical to the preaching he heard when he was active in that church. Preachers change, especially as they get older. But secondly, and more importantly, all of us have given our preachers the benefit of the doubt when once in a while they said something stupid, inappropriate, or something with which we personally disagreed, especially when it comes to politics.

BW3

Tim A. Troutman said...

The things Wright said were not slips of the tongue or anomalies thats absurd. Wright is a black liberation theologian as he has made quite clear in various interviews.

Besides all that, who cares? Obama is pro-infanticide, pro-abortion, pro- homosexual marriage... Even if everything you said here is true, Obama is still as liberal as they come. Your defense of him is thoroughly unconvincing.

If Obama were a devout Muslim, I'd be more likely to vote for him than I am now because a devout Muslim would have the basic moral sense to oppose the evils of abortion, infanticide etc...

How much less a liberal Christian who denies nearly all of the basic morality of his supposed religion?

Mr. Witherington, I have lost a tremendous amount of respect for you today after seeing this nonsense.

Michael said...

wnpaul

I heartily concur with #3. Please come to America my friend. If not, please pray for us.

Craig Moore said...

To bad his support for abortion and gay rights do not upset you as much. Is accusing him of being a Muslim a worse sin than his support for these two things? No, he is not a Muslim, a left wing liberal, probably. A socialist, probably.

zefiriel said...

"3. For many Christians today, a Christian is one who understands Jesus and the Scriptures largely the way they do. Most other people merely claim to be Christians; in reality, they are liberals or revisionists who are trying to subvert the church and destroy the Christian foundations of the country. When these pseudo-Christians then hold positions which seem utterly incompatible with how we understand Scripture, as for example Sen. Obama's consistent support for the mass slaughter of the innocent (abortion) and gross immorality (gay mainstreaming)(without which he would not have had a chance at the Democratic nomination) this just clinches the matter. One can believe almost anything bad about a person like that, although, as one of my friends quipped, calling Sen Obama a Muslim slanders not him, but the international Islamic community."

Then just don't support him because of his stands, not whether he is a Christian or not!

To vote for someone just because he's a Christian sounds almost like racism to me.

ChrisB said...

I wouldn't care if he was Muslim; I'm far more concerned that he's the most pro-abortion senator and the most liberal person who's run for president in living memory.

Samuel Sutter said...

WN Paul:
"One can believe almost anything bad about a person like that..."

I think that's the sentiment we're trying to avoid. I think that arguing for the spiritual piety or Biblical consistency of any candidate is a tenuous task. But I think it's unjust to have a "any bad rumor is true" policy just because their government policy is not supported by the Bible at points.

Ben Witherington said...

Tim you need to watch your own rhetoric, and do a rethink.

First of all, Obama is neither pro-abortion nor pro-gay agendas. That is simply false.

What he is for is a woman's right to choose what happens to her body, which is not the same thing as saying abortion is a wonderful thing, and we should do it whenever we can.

I don't happen to agree with his views on what the abortion laws should allow, but I don't judge someone on the basis of one issue, and this is an issue on which equally sincere Christians can and do disagree, since the Bible says next to nothing directly about the issue of abortion.

As for the gay issue, my understanding is that Obama takes the same stand as John Edwards which is that he is not for changing marriage laws, but he would not oppose civil unions for gays. In other words, he opposes the redefining of what the term marriage means.

BW3

wnpaul said...

I am somewhat surprised how many people jump to conclusions.

Just because I express a degree of understanding for how certain people think and express their thought patterns doesn't mean that I agree with all that. I can sympathize to some extent with a lot of things I don't agree with, simply by understanding where people come from.

And just because Dr Witherington defends Sen Obama against the unfounded charge of being a Muslim claiming to be a Christian for political reasons does not mean that he (Dr Witherington) approves or defends Sen. Obama's positions on all sorts of other issues.

wnpaul said...

Here is a comment I had started to write and then was distracted before I could post it:

I didn't say that I believe Obama is lying, I just outlined how many conservative Christians I meet think.

Personally, despite the fact that Obama has been in DC for years, and despite the fact that preachers change, I can't help but think that he was aware of this rhetoric -- in fact, one of the comments Obama made, about Wright being like a beloved uncle for whom one makes allowances, hints at him knowing but as you said, giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Now, I can accept that; I am much more bothered by his stand on abortion rights; but for many of my conservative American friends the combination of UCC (a "liberal" denomination which they would scarcely credit with being Christian) and the radical rhetoric convinces them that if he really were a Christian (as they understand that word) he would have left a long time.

Again, personally I wouldn't say he was lying; I would say that like most politicians he phrases what he says in the way that he thinks will make him look best. Not an outright lie, perhaps, but just as much of the uncomfortable or politically unacceptable truth as one absolutely has to tell.

Luke said...

I think it's a shame that we listen more to Fox News, ridiculous emails, and Republican campaign commercials than we do to Obama himself. I have been deeply disturbed by the way Evangelical Christians have treated Obama on the blogosphere and in public, and I have been extremely impressed with the way he has handled all the controversies. McCain keeps performing the same ol political ad crap that's been going on for decades, but Obama will not give in to it.

I have been so impressed with him, that he has certainly got my vote in November. Better healthcare, a man driven by peace, and good international relations are far more important to me than what a man says he believes about one or two issues and nothing will happen when he gets into office about those one or two issues (what have happened in the last 8 years?). I am a conservative evangelical Christian, and I am voting for Barack Obama.

GT said...

“A person's faith should be assessed on their adult commitments, behavior and professions of faith, not on the basis of what their parents had them do when they were not making choices for themselves.”

I thought this was a very poignant sentence. I’m a very, very new reader to this blog (this is my first ever comment), and have yet to catch up on the archives, but I’d be interested in knowing your answer to this question: what if a person’s adult commitments, behavior, and professions of faith are the results of what their parents had them do when they weren’t making choices for themselves? Other than true converts, my extremely amateur opinion is that people’s religious convictions are a result of those convictions being taught "at" them (not “to” them) when they’re young, unsophisticated, impressionable children. I also think it’s an amazing coincidence (no sarcasm intended) when adults say/claim that they truly do believe in a religion, when that religion just so happens to be the one they were raised in by their parents – particularly when the religious education they received didn’t discuss the merits of any other religions. In other words, if you’re only taught one thing, isn’t it only logical/natural to think that that one thing is true/right/correct? Furthermore, if you’re not taught alternatives, then how true/right/correct is/was the education?

-GT

Ben Witherington said...

WNPaul thanks for these further comments. I in fact do not agree with Obama of a whole battery of issues, not least because I am totally pro-life-- I oppose war, capital punishment, and abortion. I believe in a consistent life ethical approach to all the issues of violence and killing. I have no doubt Obama would see me as radical compared to him on some of this. My issue in this post was simply calling conservative Christians to account for their slander and unChristian rhetoric. The fact that this blog post has produced more of it, SIMPLY MAKES MY POINT POIGNANTLY FOR ME.

BW3

Alex said...

Ontario,

I heard the same rumor when I was a kid about P&G! Quite a strange one. I also agree that anyone who really still believes he is a Muslim cannot be convinced. They have put on blinders because for them, the ends justify the means. In other words, for them, the details don't matter: Obama must be stopped.

Call him a socialist, call him a communist, call him what you will. Heck, don't vote for him. But Ben, you're right to bring the focus back to the issues.

Alex said...

Ben, echoing your comment which clarified the meaning of the "pro-" prefix before a word, I think that we usually get things completely backwards. America is accustomed to saying that Barack Obama is pro-abortion while John McCain is certainly not pro-war. To be pro-anything is to advocate that position as an inherently good thing. Inasmuch as McCain certainly sees war as a tool to reshape what he considers "rogue" states and enforce freedom upon them, he is categorically pro-war. Obama is simply taking the classicly conservative route on the abortion issue by saying to the government, "stay out of it!" In fact, he can be said to be taking the classicly conservative position, in Iraq, by also saying before the war began, "stay out of it!"

Now, the problem I have with Obama is I happen to disagree with his views on abortion and know that he doesn't want to keep the government out of multiple other things. But both the right and the left want to grow government and control other countries, our money, people's bodies, people's morality, etc. They are both statists, McCain and Obama, just of a different flavor. Neither of them understands conservatism, but neither of them has a monopoly on it either.

doodlebugmom said...

I am tired of the endless Obama bashing emails. Thanks for your wonderful post.

wnpaul said...

Alex,

that is why I don't say that Obama (or whoever) is "pro-abortion", but "pro-abortion rights". Of course he and others like him would prefer "pro-choice," but I consider that just a euphemism for pro-abortion rights. The point (for them) is a woman's right to abort her baby if she so chooses; nobody disputes her right to carry the baby to term and give birth to him/her normally.

Kruselines said...

Dr. Witherington:
You have said so well what I have been thinking for a long time. You have certainly grown in my estimation. Thank you for being a voice of reason and a voice for Biblical attitudes towards others.

James Gibson said...

"In the first place, he has been in Washington for the last umpteen years, and the rhetoric of Wright now is not identical to the preaching he heard when he was active in that church."

Obama has been in Washington for a grand total of 43 months, and that's being generous. He was elected to the Senate in November 2004, began his term in January 2005, announced is candidacy for president in February 2007, and has spent most of his time since then traversing the country and the globe, proclaiming himself "the symbol of American renewal."

Personally, I tend to think he spent about as much time in "Reverend" Wright's church before he came to Washington as he has since. No doubt, his work as a community organizer required him to work on many a Sunday morning. The problem is not his politics or his religion. The problem is his naivete and lack of experience. An experienced candidate would have anticipated the political fallout that would have come from an association with a highly controversial cleric (regardless of how often he actually heard him preach) and would have addressed the matter forthrightly from the outset. Obama allowed the situation to get out of hand and, thus, came across as disingenous in his handling of the matter. This is a reflection of his lack of experience, and that is what ought to be our chief concern.

Ben Witherington said...

James: Thanks for this comment, which hits the nail on the head. Obama is indeed inexperienced, and shows his naivete from time to time. Some will see this as endearing, some as dangerous.

The question is whether his inexperience disqualifies him for our highest office. I could point to lots of Presidents in our history who had no Washington experience, including our current President.

It is clear enough from closely examining Bush and Carter's Presidencies that being a governor of a state doesn't exactly train you to deal with either the highest office and being commander in chief, nor does it give you experience to deal with Congress, foreign countries etc.

This is precisely why we need to have meaningful discussion about McCain and Obama as November approaches--- for starters, the discussion could begin with this sort of framed question--- Does the experience of McCain serve as a hinderance or a help to his preparedness for being President any more than the inexperience of Obama does? Sometimes experience so jaundices and prejudices one's judgments that it becomes impossible to forge new alliances, try new ventures, make new starts etc. Sometimes inexperience precludes one from being able to properly assess situations whether critical judgment in a crisis is crucial?

Such a discussion would need to keep in mind that a President will not be alone, and must rely repeatedly on his cabinet and VP for wisdom and help. It must also remember that Presidents are not legislators. About the only thing they can do basically unilaterally is act as Commander in Chief, and and even then, Congress can way in heavily and in a preventive way.

Blessings,

BW3

James Gibson said...

I'm not particularly enthusiastic about either candidate, so I will have a hard time getting into a "meaningful discussion" about McCain and/or Obama (see my commentary on this year's lackluster field, written before Hillary dropped out, here). Each candidate's strength is the other's weakness. Obama has too little experience; McCain has too much. Both are senators, and senators make lousy candidates and even lousier presidents.

sam andress said...

As Stanley Hauerwas recently said, the United States elections have turned into the Roman Circus. They are meant and designed by the powers to distracts us from the real issues. And when the real issues are broached we call that person who tells the truth a communist or neo-marxist or whatever.

The real issues facing us are corpratism (a code word for facism), the military industrial complex (which Eisenhower predicted would be big problem), and authoritarianism (the idea that official should remove liberties to secure liberty!). All of these are a threat on democracy. And our media in all of its smears and covering the most banal buzz clips perpetuates and turns this all into a Circus.

What scares me most is how backwards so many Christians in America are. They are more beholden to emperor worship than they are slaughtered lamb worship. Revelation has a few things to say about this...

Skybalon said...

The way the experience question is framed is always an interesting one to me as every human comes to the present with some modicum of experience. The type of experience is, I'm well aware, what you count as important. In this case, political, I'm sure, but even that has deeper layers of meaning and reference as State governance is of a different type than Federal, "street" activism is a type of political experience, rising in academia is of its own kind of political experience (seriously, President of the Harvard Law Review is no small "political" feat), and on.

Regardless, for good and ill (probably more ill), we most often make our choices with deep rooted intuitive and emotive factors well in place and then allow various cues (true or not- Pro-Abortion Secret Muslim, indeed) that pass as objective bases to affirm our already firmly held positions/decisions.

The screed some have thrown at you here is of a fine type- "You said something I disagree with! You have no grasp of the facts and are the worst there is! (as garments are rent in disgust)" But then, "I agree with that, you are a great and thoughtful human," is little better as an affirmation.

It certainly matters (as who knows how many hundreds of thousands no longer living Iraqis might remind us), but it is not as much a matter of certainty as many seem to pretend.

James W Lung said...

Ben: The linguistic and moral gymnastics that you engage in in order to support liberal democrats like Edwards and Obama amazes me.

Take the issue of abortion: The church of Jesus Christ has always and everywhere believed, taught, and confessed based upon the word of God that abortion is a sin. Only the willingness of the liberal church to embrace the sexual revolution provides some kind of cover for pro-choice christians. If a Christian is pro-choice, he or she is in reality a schismatic.

With respect to Obama and abortion, Obama supports unlimited third-trimester abortions. He was more than another Illinois politician responsible for the fact that Illinois refused to outlaw partial-birth abortion, and has refused to make killing of a baby in the womb a homicidal offence.

Shame on you.

Ben Witherington said...

Hi James.

Tell me how you really feel about it! But in fact I agree with you that abortion is a sin and I personally have argued to outlaw third trimester and partial birth abortions. We however live in a democracy, and this is not the view of the majority of Americans in most states. The way we change such things is by discourse, voting, etc.

As for church history, there is very little record of what the church has believed or said about the matter of abortion, and nothing in the NT about it at all, unless the Greek word pharmakeia is taken to refer to drugs which produce abortions, which is uncertain. So, the arguments against abortion, are of a general Christian ethical sort, (all human life is of sacred worth), and guess what-- those same sort of arguments apply to terminating life outside the womb as well.

Blessings,

BW3

Dan Miller said...

On the issue of abortion, I heard an interview with Donald Miller, and he brought up a great point: how many less abortions are there now that we have a supposed "pro-life" president in office than when we had a "pro-choice" in office before him? While I believe that abortion is morally wrong, to be honest, there haven't been major changes in the number of abortions since Bush took office. Voting on that single issue doesn't seem to make sense.

I also think it is clear that homosexuality is wrong according to the bible. However, that doesn't necessarily mean we should fight against gay marriage. That's a completely separate issue. After all, the bible says materialism is wrong. Should we fight for laws against owning too much? Or should we require rich people to give away a portion of their earnings to charity? The bible says that arrogance is morally wrong - should we fight for laws that fine or jail people for displays of arrogance?

We can agree that certain behaviors are wrong, yet disagree on the role that the government should play in policing those behaviors.

Ben Witherington said...

Excellent points Dan. And I would add that asking a secular government to enforce ethics the majority in our country disagrees with does not work--- look at Prohibition in the 20s. Instead, you have to actually persuade people they are wrong about abortion etc.

BW3

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ben:

Thanks for the good post. I have to confess that I am not a big fan if either presidential candidate, but then again, I find that is the case every four years.

Having said that, the nonsense of perpetrating a myth just to win votes for your candidate is reprehensible. I have a friend who I have lunch with every four to six weeks or so, who is exptremely informed in reference to politics. I was stunned that only a couple of weeks ago as we were eating lunch, he was telling me that Obama was a closet Muslim. It is amazing how certain myths just get ingrained and the passed around.

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Alan: Unfortunately there is another side to these smear tactics as well--- not so subtle racism.

BW3

Rhology said...

Dr BW3 said:

Such a discussion would need to keep in mind that a President will not be alone, and must rely repeatedly on his cabinet and VP for wisdom and help.

I heard the same argument about President Dubya (remember Cheney and "gravitas"?) but I don't know if Dubya has gotten the same slack as perhaps Dr W is requesting here for B Hussein Obama.

I am astonished, however, Dr W, that you use the term "brother" of Mr. Hussein Obama. Do you really believe that a man who willingly sits under the teaching of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years and is a member of a United Church of Christ where black liberation "theology" is the order of the day is really born again?
For my money, it is far more reasonable to call them man a liberal than a Christian. The former is not a modifier of the latter.

Jeff said...

It's interesting how dogmatic and certain some folks are about opposing a candidate who is not anti-abortion, supposedly based on Christian history and biblical evidence of the absolute certainty that abortion is sinful.

This is especially interesting when considering that there's a lot more biblical and historical evidence that Christian's should oppose violence, war, injustice toward the poor, and state-sponsored murder and we have a candidate who has a clear and unambiguous record supporting or propagating systems that enact all of the above.

Abortion is a classic wedge issue that the Republican party has long used as a tool to lock in fundamentalist voters who never seem to ask, "what have you actually done to reduce abortions?" This is especially unfortunate when you consider that it is under Democratic presidents that abortions rates reach their lowest points (consistently since 1970). It seems folks are more interested in playing political games (or, more accurately, being pawns in others' political games) than in saving lives.

teleologist said...

Dr. Witherington,

You said that Obama is a Christian, "but a Christian he is, and he is proud to say so."

Do you agree with his definition of what being a Christian is? And do you think that someone who holds to his definition is truly a Christian?


Obama's definition of Christianity?

(GG is God Girl aka Cathleen Falsani)

GG: Who’s Jesus to you?
OBAMA: Right. Jesus is a historical figure for me, and he’s also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he’s also a wonderful teacher. I think it’s important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.

GG: The conversation stopper, when you say you’re a Christian and leave it at that.

OBAMA: Where do you move forward with that? This is something that I’m sure I’d have serious debates with my fellow Christians about. I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and prostelytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they're going to hell.
GG: You don’t believe that?

OBAMA: I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That’s just not part of my religious makeup.

Part of the reason I think it’s always difficult for public figures to talk about this is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you. Oftentimes that’s by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest commong denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.

GG: Do you believe in heaven?

OBAMA: Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings?

GG: A place spiritually you go to after you die?

OBAMA: What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.

When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.

GG: Do you believe in sin?

OBAMA: Yes.

GG: What is sin?

OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.

GG: What happens if you have sin in your life?

OBAMA: I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment.

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/386118.aspx#

James Gibson said...

Donald Miller is a good writer, but he is often a slave to conventional wisdom. The fact is that the number of abortions per year began dropping during the Clinton years and has continued during the Bush years. Public opinion has also shifted considerably. Abortion advocates use twenty-year-old statistics to perpetuate the myth that unrestricted abortion enjoys widespread public support. Actual statistics show, presently, a pretty even split.

But before we bow at the altar of public opinion and democracy, let's not forget that legal abortion was imposed upon us by unelected judges at a time when the overwhelming majority of the public would have considered it an odious and barbarous practice. Opinions like that tend to soften once the stigma of illegality is removed.

The current shift toward a more moderate view of abortion is largely due to the arrogance of abortion advocates. Once they thought they had the public on their side, they kept pushing the envelope of moral sensitivity until they got to partial birth abortion, which gave a lot of people pause. The problem is, once you get to a line you cannot cross, you start to re-examine the lines you've already crossed. If you find it morally repugnant to rip a baby out of the womb thirty minutes before birth, why should you not find it equally morally repugnant to do so thirty days after conception?

Like slavery, abortion will eventually become too much of a burden on the moral conscience of the nation. That day may be coming sooner rather than later.

teleologist said...

Dr. Witherington said, “Unfortunately there is another side to these smear tactics as well--- not so subtle racism.”

This sounds like personal bias and ignore reality. Isn’t it just possible, that given the climate we have been in the last 7 years, Americans are fearful of anyone who might have ties to the radical Muslims who is still bent on destroying us? Isn’t that a more likely objection to Obama dressing in Muslim clothing than the color of his skin? Must we look at everything through racism lenses?

AG said...

Hi all,
Ben, thank you for pointing out the subtle (or not so) sin's that have pervaded many of our lives. It hides it self in 'concervativism' and looks to morality as the driving force of our relationship and duty as christians. I am from Australia and am heavily interested in what is happening in the USA candidates. My personal opinion is that the US has lost its sense of dreaming and vision and passion for its people. I think obama is trying to ignite that loss through his inspirational speech's of which I believe he solidly believes and are not just words.
My point is that so many posters keep jumping on the moral issues, or what they percieve to be the issues christians should be "standing firm" in. My question is what about the social justice issues? What about the concern about the thousands if not millions of homeless people in your country that go unoticed? which of you posters are asking which candidate will do the most for the least of these? See in my opinion it is easy to jump on abortion and homosexuality because the majority of us have not come into contact with either in a very real and personal way, where if we jump up and down about social justice issues, then it is something that Jesus has called us all to personally be apart of the solution to and means we need to look deep in our own hearts, which is uncomfortable.
I am so tired of the disgusting views of many posters here, views that seek to divide and tear down people, not to build up, heal, and reconcile to Jesus. I think if each of us looked to have more compassion, Mercy, Love, Grace, firgiveness, i think we will see change in our world, and maybe even in the USA. I realise many posters here will simply right my views off as 'liberal' and 'socialistic' simply reinforcing what i have just said. However, let me ask each this question: Is God more concerned about us preserving 'morals' or is he more concerned about our character and inner realities of the heart? If its morals than things have changed alot over the years and we are totally immoral Christians today in comparison to only 1 century ago.
Ben thankyou for your guts and honesty in calling each of us to look at out plank and not the specs in others. As a brother in Christ, forgive me for me part in slanderous behaviour.
Anyway i have gone on enough...all the best people.

Ben Witherington said...

First of all most Muslims are not at all interested in or involved in terrorism. To have links with Muslims means nothing of the sort Telologist. I have links with Muslims in various countries, and that has nothing to do with a proper evaluation of me, especially if the links were hereditary or due to parents, as in the case of Obama.

Secondly, the climate we have been in in this country in the last seven years is the climate of fear which has been as much inculcated by our own President as by 9-11. The goal of terrorism is of course to make a big country like ours dramatically over-react, since terroists can't win a conventional war. Our reaction to 9-11 has been a big win for the terrorists from their point of view. We've alienated our friends, we've antagonized our foes, and we have wasted billions of dollars and messed up our economy. Its time for a change.

Enough said,

Bw3

José Solano said...

I’m a lifelong liberal democrat. I’m a pacifist and a Christian. I’m voting for McCain because of what he says and does in comparison with Obama. Obama says he is pro-choice and does whatever he can to allow a woman to kill her baby. He believes in an imaginary woman’s “right” to kill her unborn child. There is no right to murder. McCain opposes abortion wherever he can.

Obama says he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman yet opposes the California marriage amendment that would reaffirm what Californian’s already overwhelmingly affirmed through Proposition 22. McCain supports the amendment and recognizes the supreme court judges in their 4-3 decision usurped the power of the people to define the ancient institution of marriage. The people determine what marriage is, not the courts or the government at all.

McCain voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama is determined to repeal it.

On the issue of war there is no substantial difference between the two for the simple reason that such decisions are ultimately made by the greater power of the military industrial complex and the multinational corporations. Obama waffles back and forth on this one and merely wants to take troops out of Iran and send them to Afghanistan.

Of course the idea that Obama is a closet Muslim is silly nonsense. Faithful Muslims hate the abominations that Obama defends. He certainly says that he’s a Christian but I haven’t heard him make any distinguishing Christian statements. It all sounds rather wishy-washy and humanistic. His strong allowances for infanticide and sinful sexual behaviors make him at best a very confused Christian with varied thoroughly heretical views. He is a gifted and rousing speaker because he actually believes in most of what he has to say.

Enormously significant in determining who the president should be is the question of whom they would nominate for the US Supreme Court. If you want nominees from the radical left vote for Obama. You can count on McCain nominating judges to the Supreme Court and elsewhere that would help hold back indefinitely the considerable advances of the culture of death and depravity.

One further thought. McCain is not Bush. It is time for a change and McCain will bring it about without capitulating to the forces of moral decadence. Nevertheless, keep your faith in Christ and not in politicians.

teleologist said...

I never said all Muslims are interested in terrorism. I explicitly said “radical Muslims”. Nor did I say Obama had ties with “radical Muslims”. I merely suggested that people are more leery of anyone who might have ties to “radical Muslims”. Therefore if someone is going to be our President, I think it is only prudent to take a second look at the type of Muslims that he has ties with.

Most importantly, you’ve completely avoided the main issue of my comment. What I suggested was a more plausible reason than your suggestion of racism for what you considered as smear tactics. You seem to have pulled out the race card much too quickly. For more of what some might consider as smear tactics, maybe you can check out Jerome Corsi’s new book “The Obama Nation”.

As to your comment about this President inculcating fear, did he inculcate the anthrax attacks, the shoe bomber, Padilla, Sami Al-Arian or the plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge? To imply the terror thread for the past 7 years and continues to date, is a mere fabrication of this President is naïve and dangerous.

With regards to alienating our friends, I am not sure to whom are you referring to. Are those the same friends who broke U.N. sanction and traded with Saddam Hussein. Our foes don’t need much from us to be antagonized. Finally those billions of dollars we’ve wasted, I am sure my socially left leaning brothers who profess their intense desire to help the poor and oppressed, would prefer to spend it on domestic pork-barrel programs than for the destruction of Saddam’s rape chambers. Its time for a change.

tfjern said...

Jose can you see ...

You claim you are a liberal, a Democrat, a pacifist, and a Christian? And yet you claim you support McCain? The world has truly turned upside down, and words have lost all meaning.

Just two quick questions.

McCain is pro-marriage?

Divorce -- didn't Jesus condemn it in no uncertain terms? Are you well aware of McCain's sordid treatment of his first wife? Undoubtedly he will start getting advice on Christian morality from thrice-divorced Rush Limbaugh, now that he is supporting McCain against that black guy.

McCain is pro-life? Has he even apologized to the Vietnamese people for dropping bombs on their country during the utterly immoral Vietnam war? And McCain has consistently supported the utterly immoral Iraq invasion. You call yourself a pacifist and a Christian? Do you know what these words mean?

Prof. Witherington, has American Christianity gone completely off the deep end? Could you please suspend momentarily your socio-rhetorical commentary project and write a book along the lines of, say, "Christianity 101," or perhaps, "Christianity for Dummies"?

José Solano said...

Pelosi will support Obama in the repeal of DOMA if he becomes president. (http://angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=263003#263003)

The DOMA, which was supported by Clinton passed the House by a margin of 342 to 67 and the Senate by a margin of 85 to 14. Repeal of this Act forces all states to accept homosexual "marriages" under the “Full Faith and Credit Clause” of the Constitution because the courts have already imposed homosexual "marriage" in two states. The numerous state marriage amendments will become meaningless.

Obama’s gobbledygook double talk on the issues of abortion and marriage leads to nothing but the intensified slaughter of the innocents and the deconstruction of marriage producing more homes with fatherless or motherless children. This cannot be dismissed as a focus on only one or two issues as the ramifications of these two issues devastatingly impact the moral fabric of family and society and enhance the callous disregard for human life.

It is by their fruits that they will be known and we can clearly see what seeds Obama is sowing.

José Solano said...

My dear tfjern, you betray a very simple and erroneous understanding of Christian pacifism. You also need to reread what I wrote as your reading comprehension is quite flawed. Probably I should just ignore your comments but I’ll use them as a springboard for some hopefully helpful information.

You delude yourself if you think that Obama is opposed to bombing Iraq or Afghanistan. Because, as I mentioned, going to war is ultimately determined by higher military and economic forces, what happens in military ventures is beyond the power of either candidate. This is why Obama is ratcheting up the tough military talk and learning what these higher materialistic forces would have him do in the military arena. There might be some differences on whether to bomb here or bomb there but bomb they will when told.

Neither candidate is really committed to the teaching of the truly highest force, Jesus Christ. If they were they would be following the Sermon on the Mount. So the war issue is essentially a wash because the candidates just try to sound as if they might have a significant difference when in reality they are under the same tutelage.

Before you say anything about marriage you must understand the meaning of marriage. One can obtain a divorce under certain circumstances and remarry. Some divorces are not acceptable to particular Christian denominations. But, and this is very important to understand, a marriage between people of the same sex is simply an impossibility and an absurdity. It is a mockery of marriage.

The Amish have a model Christian pacifist community and they voted overwhelmingly for Bush against Kerry precisely because of the issues of abortion and homosexual “marriage.” They normally do not even vote but they came out to support Bush and I would say they will do the same again to vote for McCain. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5613947/)

You also deceive yourself if you imagine that a liberal Democrat must go along with all of the perverse practices today endorsed by Hollywood and too many Democrats, forcing liberals and moderates to vote for Republicans while they work to bring the Democratic Party to its senses. We represent the liberal branch that supported the workers against the big companies and monopolies, opposed the robber barons, opposed the warmongers, those who exploited third world nations and created banana republics, those who struggled for the rights of minorities but not to promote deviant sexual behaviors and infanticide. We are Catholics and Mennonites, Baptists, Jews, blacks and Hispanics, etc., and even atheists and agnostics who have some sense of decency, of which there are a great many. We will vote for McCain by the millions.

Pacifist, liberal Christian Democrats such as myself certainly represent a smaller number but we will do our part.

Peace.

tfjern said...

Jose, I enjoyed reading all of your anti-homosexual / pro-family posts at

http://opine-editorials.blogspot.com/
Interesting.

In one of them you wrote:

José Solano said...

There you have it Renee. Massachusetts is at the cutting edge of debauchery and moral turpitude. Perhaps outdoing San Francisco. Way to go “Catholics” Kerry and Kennedy!

4/19/2007 01:33:00 PM

As a lifelong liberal Democrat pacifist you must be in agony, having no choice but to vote for lifelong conservative Republican warmongers every single election.

José Solano said...

Hi tfjern. It does pain me deeply to have to vote for conservative Republican warmongers but I haven’t always done that. I had earlier voted for Carter, Clinton and even Ralph Nader. Indeed, Bush is the first Republican presidential candidate I’ve voted for.

But you see, you still don’t understand what I’m saying. There is NO ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCE between the warmongering of Democrats and Republicans!! There are more powerful forces determining the issues of war! The choices we really have are about the “non-money issues” as Noam Chomsky has referred to them, that is, you can vote for the supporters of infanticide, promotion of moral turpitude and the general debauchery promulgated by Hollywood and the like, or you vote for those who oppose such corrosive ideology.

The Catholic Church should have excommunicated Kerry and Kennedy who also voted “no” on DOMA. It talked about not offering Communion to such politicians but I don’t know that they ever did anything concrete.

What ultimately convinced me to vote for Bush was the danger of having Kerry appoint US Supreme Court justices. I remember his talking to some homosexuals and impressing upon them the importance of his being able to appoint judges. They and I knew perfectly well what he meant by that. He also voted for the war in Iraq and walked into the Democratic Convention in full military regalia showing off a military salute. Obama is singing the same tune now.

I felt simply great when Bush appointed Alito and Roberts to the Supreme Court. My pain over voting for him was thoroughly alleviated. I felt completely vindicated in having rejected Kerry. It didn’t matter to me then if Bush were even impeached except we’d get Cheney who could be worse. Bush’s time is coming to an end but the justices will be in the court for many years to come.

It’s the same in this election only McCain is significantly smarter than Bush. We need to get at least one more judge in the Supreme Court to help slow down the depravity march, possibly even overturn Roe vs. Wade and give some time for the people to wake up to the key factors damaging family and society today. We cannot allow DOMA to be overturned.

In politics it’s always a question of the lesser evil and so John McCain is the clear choice. I sure do wish today’s Democrats would stop identifying themselves with sexual depravity and infanticide. I would quickly start voting for them again. But they are for now obsessed with defending these debauch practices. If they lose a few more big elections maybe they’ll get the picture.

I’m glad you enjoyed reading my writings tfjern. I’m looking for the time to do some more.

Peace.

Enoch said...

The "proof is in the pudding", I believe Obama voting record in both State and Federal Senate in relation to social issues (which I believe should be very important to Christians) makes me cringe.

For instance:

In 1999 he was the only Illinois State Senator to vote against a bill barring early release for (criminal) sex offenders.

He voted against filtering pornography on school and library computers and he voted for sex education for kindergarten children through the 5th grade.

In 2001, he voted “present” on a bill to notify parents when their minor children seek an abortion.

In 1997, Obama twice voted “present” on an Illinois partial-birth abortion ban.

Just to name a few!!!!

BTW- voting "present"......well you might have just as well voted for the bill!!!

Does he have a totally supportive stance for the nation of Israel???

Matt

Enoch said...

JUST SOME THOUGHTS!!!

"We must take Barak Obama at his word just as we must take each other at their word when they claim they are Christian"......do you apply the same to president Bush?

"....he would not oppose civil unions for gays"......how do you think Jesus would approach civil unions for gays? just an honest question!

"I think it's a shame that we listen more to Fox News, ridiculous emails, and Republican campaign commercials than we do to Obama himself.......maybe so; however, why did you not include the big three, CNN, or MSNBC, do they accurately portray Obama or just give a one side story?

"McCain keeps performing the same ol political ad crap that's been going on for decades..."......and Obama doesn't, time to take off the blinders!!!

"Better healthcare......".....how do you figure that?

"both the right and the left want to grow government and control other countries....".....totally agree with "grow governments" and somewhat agree with "control countries".

"Neither of them understands conservatism..."....100% agree!!!

"This is precisely why we need to have meaningful discussion about McCain and Obama as November approaches"....again, 100% agree!!!

"With respect to Obama and abortion, Obama supports unlimited third-trimester abortions"....his voting record certainly bears this fact!

"....matter of abortion, and nothing in the NT about it at all"....I am sure this would be a good argument at the bema seat of Jesus! Come-on!

"Abortion is a classic wedge issue that the Republican party has long used as a tool to lock in fundamentalist voters..."....possibly, but it is still morally wrong and "I" believe this act breaks God's heart!

"I oppose war, capital punishment..."....I oppose war if can be avoided, if not, I will protect my family and country, even if it means going abroad. As far as capital punishment, I am unsettled, some of these crimes from a natural standpoint deserve it.

"The question is whether his inexperience disqualifies him for our highest office"....no it does not, but it disqualifies him for MY vote!

JUST SOME THOUGHTS!!!

Matt

Brett R said...

Hello Dr Witherington,

I have been reading your blog with interest for the last couple of months. I really enjoy the fact that while you are a traditional confessional Christian, you have very novel political beliefs. I'm not saying that I agree, but these things always interest me.

Anyway, I agree with you about Obama not being a Muslim, but do have a question for you about his denomination. I do not mean this question as to question the validity of Obama's faith for wherever the Gospel is proclaimed, there is hope in Christ. However, being that the UCC even promotes the fact that they are a compromise between neo-Orthodoxy and liberalism, why does a confessional Christian such as yourself consider them to be a de-facto Christian Church? Certainly we have much to learn from some of our neo-Orthodox brothers such as Barth and Bonhoeffer., but considering where the movement has gone (liberation, process theology, etc), whey do you seem to including them in the orthodox body?

I can get past some of the political beliefs, and even applaud some others, but when the liberals such as Barry Lynn outright deny basic Christian doctrine as the resurrection, and the neo-Orthodox redefine it, I think heresy.

Am I way off base here or am I misunderstanding your position?

Brett R said...

BTW, I didn't want to leave my comment about liberalism and neo-orthodoxy unsubstantiated, so here itgoes:


http://www.ucc.org/about-us/short-course/the-united-church-of-christ.html


The United Church of Christ

On Tuesday, June 25,1957, at Cleveland, Ohio, the Evangelical and Reformed Church, 23 years old, passionate in its impulse to unity, committed to "liberty of conscience inherent in the Gospel," and the Congregational Christian Churches, 26 years old, a fellowship of biblical people under a mutual covenant for responsible freedom in Christ, joined together as the United Church of Christ. The new church embodied the essence of both parents, a complement of freedom with order, of the English and European Reformations with the American Awakenings, of separatism with 20th-century ecumenism, of presbyterian with congregational polities, of neoorthodox with liberal theologies. Two million members joined hands.

Brett R said...

Dr,

I have a quibble with what you said here:

**********************************
Tell me how you really feel about it! But in fact I agree with you that abortion is a sin and I personally have argued to outlaw third trimester and partial birth abortions. We however live in a democracy, and this is not the view of the majority of Americans in most states. The way we change such things is by discourse, voting, etc.
**************************

I strongly disagree in that our forefathers did not put a system into place where the electorate could vote on who gets to live and who doesn't. We are a nation of laws, not of men. We are a republic, not a democracy.

Clearly, the pro-choicers don't cede the point that a fetus is a human person, but I hope we aren't to the point where a person's rights aren't up to a vote.

While I almost never agree with Patrick Buchanan, he had a really good idea in that the congress should hold televised public hearings on abortion.

Rhology said...

"We must take Barak Obama at his word just as we must take each other at their word when they claim they are Christian"

Which is impossible if we're all about taking the man at his word.
He also denies the sufficiency and exclusivity of Christ. He goes to a UCC church (please!). He sat under 100% heretical black liberation theology for 20 yrs.
But he "says" he's a Christian. Sorry, actions speak louder than lame words.

Ben Witherington said...

You know there's been an awful lot of slamming the UCC church in these responses. I have to say I am amazed and appalled at this. The UCC is a Congregational Church in polity. This means it is about as united as the Baptists. Each church does what is right in its own eyes pretty much. And there are as many conservative UCC churches as liberals ones, as many who disagree with some of the more radical ethical positions of the denomination as agree with them. You could say that the UCC has churches that are on the left end of the mainline church spectrum, but it would be unfair to characterize or caricature most of the churches that way.

Ya'll need to repent and rethink.
You also need to know your ecclesiology better.

BW3

Rhology said...

Dr W,

Every single one of the UCC churches in the OK area that I know of are so beyond liberal that the word hardly applies to them. They're... alien.

But if you have some examples of not-liberal UCC churches, I'd be happy to accept them.

Of course, this changes nothing with respect to B Hussein Obama's church, but this is a side note of interest to me.

Brett R said...

Hi Dr,

You said we need to repent and rethink...

Well, you might be right on this, but I'm still leaning toward the fact that most UCCs lend neo-Orthodox to liberal. I realize there are some conservative ones (I have a friend that used to attend an old country UCC in Ohio that was somewhat conservative), but it seems that the prevailing theology there is liberal. I don't think their ecclesiology gets them off the hook, especially since the context of this is Obama's church, which would fit the neo-orthodox, specifically black liberation theology, label. Besides, my only assertion was that I am not so sure that a UCC church is be default an orthodox Christian one.

Luken said...

Once again Mr. Witherington your political sympathies seem to be informing your theology. To imply that simply self-applying the label "Christian" is adequate evidence that the person in question is indeed a true follower of Christ is rather shallow thinking, especially considering that in this day and age the title of “Christian” is a rather nebulous term within the secular realm. THAT method of identifying a Christian IS the logical conclusion to the modern idea that Christianity, like other religions, is an entirely personal enterprise where the verbally declared adherent defines the terms. Rather, we should be allowing the governing framework to define the terms. The former is a convenient way to avoid the biblical function of the Church body and the regula fidei. Yet you stand back and arrogantly assert that: "You also need to know your ecclesiology better."

I will admonish you yet again to take a step back and examine yourself.

Luken

P.S. Please don’t insult me by assuming what my political ideologies are as you have done in the past. I am not asserting within this post one way or the other what my voting preference will be this November.

Ben Witherington said...

Luken, I am talking about basic respect. You don't start with a hermeneutic of suspicion if you are a Christian. You start with respect, honoring what a person says is true about himself. You may well come to other conclusions in time due to contrary evidence, but you don't start there. That's the point I am making. And as for my political views affecting my theology, its just the opposite frankly. I even believe in loving my enemies and praying for those who persecute me, turning the other cheek, and not returning violence for violence-- I wonder where I got those ideas from?

Hmmmm,

BW3

José Solano said...

There may be some non-heretical UCC congregations. There may be some non-heretical members within an otherwise very heretical congregation. They may be working to bring about some change in the congregation. They may be long time members shocked at the turn that the UCC has taken.. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8463741/)

Last summer I sent my kids to three different summer camps. One was quite “conservative” mixing nationalism and Scripture. Another was a UCC “peace camp.” The third was a Quaker camp. The first was almost ongoing Jesus talk with lots of flying American flags and an urge to baptize any kids that were not baptized. The Quaker camp had lovely campfire songs and many beautiful hymns varied worship activities.

Now the UCC “peace camp” was something else. They brought in a couple of American Indian chanters and drummers talking about varied myths. They brought in a Muslim who talked to the kids about Islam and they brought in a Jew to talk about Judaism, among other speakers. But the one person that was conspicuously absent every day from all of their activities was . . . . You guessed it, the Prince of Peace Himself. Never at any time throughout the week was the name of Jesus mentioned, and I would ask my kids each day. On the last day when families were invited for the farewell gathering and handing out of awards the minister gave a long talk about how wonderful the camp experience was and he never once mentioned Jesus Christ. Never a Christian prayer at any time during the week long camp. And for their final parting song what “hymn” do you imagine they sang? John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Now these are really hip people but they ain’t seeing my kids again.

Now I’m not making any generalizations.

This year one of my kids went to a Seventh Day Adventist camp and the other to a B’nai B’rith camp. The B’nai B’rith camp was straight-forward secular. The first month of summer we spent traveling through England, Wales and Ireland visiting my wife’s family.

Let us pray for the United Church of Christ and for Barack Obama but pray and vote for John McCain.

Thanks Dr. Witherington for opening up this discussion that may help good Christians come to terms.

Doug said...

Reading through the comments to Dr. Ben’s post has been a largely excruciating experience. Is this what it sounds like when a group of believer’s come together? It isn’t the disagreements; it’s the vitriol that gets me.

I must wonder about the focus being so forcefully on Obama and his status as a Christian. I think Dr. Ben put the focus where we should have it most when he calls fellow believers out for their actions. But the point seems to have largely been missed. But since we are focused on Obama’s faith and the fruits he reaps I must wonder why his opponent or our current president are not undergoing the same sorts of criticisms. Certainly a pro-choice position isn’t the only one that is abhorrent to believers. Show me the candidate who is anti-war, anti-abortion, anti-capital punishment, pro-welfare, pro-healthcare, anti-torture, and so on, and then perhaps we have a candidate who extols my Christian beliefs.

Which one values life: The one who supports the choice to have abortions or the one who wants to wage larger wars, exact capital punishment, and torture people? Which one values marriage: the one who purportedly supports the “homosexual agenda” or the one who’s tried it multiple times? (Normally, I think that picking on someone for their personal foibles in this manner should be off limits, but we seem to be engaged in that risky business of judging the character on one we truly do not know.) If you are attacking Obama on the basis that you find his views to be incompatible with Christian beliefs, please acknowledge you do not have a candidate. Neither of these candidates, nor the sitting president, nor even the many before him enact a set of policies designed to further the establishment of the kingdom. Though, I think it dubious to suggest such a thing could be done from such a position.

I suppose that is why I find it strange that our pacifist poster must vote for McCain. It is my pacifist views that lead me to abstain from participation in the public square, including voting. While the politics expressed here seem to lean to the right, and some may go to the left, the politics of Christ are on a different plane all together and we must go vertical to find them.

By the way, rhology, can you explain to me why you insist on referring to Barack as B Hussein Obama? And, are you proud of it?

AG said...

well said Doug, well said...i certainly agree with what you have said, we are kidding ourselves if we think slamming Obama or McCain for views on abortion/homesexual marriage is the way to get people to vote for one or the other. I think Jesus has a bigger picture in mind for humanity, one where we do what we are called to do and not waste time arguing on a blog about who is left, right or taking someone at there word.
Dr Ben thankyou for pointing out that really our theology should shape our politics not the other way round as many have allowed on this site. Thankyou once again Dr and doug well said mate. Peace to all and all the best.

José Solano said...

Hi Doug,

Have you been keeping count of the number of people that are tortured and murdered through abortions? Can you imagine slaughtering in this manner one and two year old children? It’s exactly the same thing!! Only one has been made legal and the other has not. This cannot be mindlessly brushed aside as merely a single issue. This is the vilest MURDER, it’s infanticide and when people come to their senses the world will need Nuremberg-like trials for abortionists (“Family Planning,” etc.) to expiate this heinous crime against humanity. This is not the only abhorrent practice that is being condoned by some politicians but all others pale in comparison. You may not be hearing the cry from the womb and from heaven but millions around the world are.

You talk about pro-choice as if killing your baby is a right anyone can bestow upon you. And the baby has no rights at all, no choice, no protection at all not even from his/her own mother. Where he/she should be safest and most protected she is pursued and slaughtered. Isn’t this thoroughly diabolical? Are you hearing the smothered cry of the snuffed out child Doug? Listen very carefully. Obama is certainly not hearing it.

Here are some basic facts you may know about: http://www.lifesitenews.com/abortiontypes/

Now you may believe that you may sit back and pray to God for some change to occur but I hear God telling me to go out and do something, and I believe the single most important thing we can do at this point is defeat Obama. And remember who needs to be appointed to the Supreme Court. One more might do it.

My pacifism is one of activity, pro-activity, determination and resoluteness. We must stop the slaughter of the innocents. But certainly keep on praying to stop the slaughter at the very least. I am closely aligned with the Amish and Mennonite pacifist perspective but as I cited earlier, even non-voting Amish felt the urgency to come out and vote to help defeat Kerry precisely because of this issue and the relentless marriage deconstruction effort.

Peace.

Rhology said...

Doug,

Obama insults my intelligence in so many of his speeches and attempts to deceive me as to his spiritual character...the least I can do is refer to him by his full name.

Brett R said...

Doug,

You said:
*******************************
Certainly a pro-choice position isn’t the only one that is abhorrent to believers. Show me the candidate who is anti-war, anti-abortion, anti-capital punishment, pro-welfare, pro-healthcare, anti-torture, and so on, and then perhaps we have a candidate who extols my Christian beliefs.
*******************************

Since when did pacifism and socialism become the only tenable Christian position?

I was trying to find in my Bible where it says that Christians should have their secular government tax people for things such as welfare and health care to the exclusion of the Churches doing these things. I couldn't find that. Maybe you are calling for theocracy? :-)

Shane Vander Hart said...

I'm not an Obama supporter, not that I'm a fan of McCain's either, but this e-mail bothers me too.

Christians should be sharing truth, not fabrications. I have plenty of concerns about Barack Obama which are based in his public record, and I'm sure those who support him have like concerns about McCain.

We need to use some discernment. The best thing to do when you get e-mails like these is to hit delete and not forward it on.

Doug said...

Brett R,

In the sentence you quote I make no assertion that these are pacifist views, nor do I submit them as the only viable Christian positions. In fact, as you quote, I refer to them as my Christian beliefs. Though I would happily engage in a discussion about them, perhaps this is not the venue.

The only thing I attributed to a Christian pacifist position was the belief that I should abstain from voting. On that note, it hardly makes sense to accuse me of wanting Christians to have their government tax them for the purposes of health care and welfare to the exclusion of churches doing these things. I believe this statement is merely a straw man on your part.

However, in the interest of consistency, did you also look for the passages that tell believers to vote pro-birth?

Shalom,
Doug

Brett R said...

Doug,

Actually, my assertion was that life isn't something that is up for vote. I blame the court for not being a just judge.

When the government spends taxes on social programs, it usurps both the ability and the responsibility of the Church to do this. Not only that, it becomes an entitlement rather than charity.