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The coming "religious" battle
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, May 21, 2005

You can almost smell it brewing, especially after the 2004 election. Religion has become a hot button item for both the left and right. But instead of the secularists of the left vs. the “religious right”, the left has again discovered its religion and is learning how to use it in the political arena. It will emerge in the ’06 elections and be huge in the ’08 presidential elections. The warming up has begun.

An example of the sort of warfare we can expect to see was highlighted by a column that James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior, has in the Washington Post today, entitled, rather bluntly, “The Religious Left Lies”. Watt contends that the “religious left” has chosen the environmental issue with which to go after the “religious right”. In his piece he describes two incidents where he was misquoted or taken completely out of context in order to make a point that that the “religious right” (or to be more precise, those who believe in the “rapture”) see no reason to be good stewards of the earth and its resources (the thinking being they’re going to heaven soon anyway, so who cares what the earth looks like).

The first incident, which is fairly well known, involves Bill Moyers. Moyers provides a preview of the tactics and techniques some on the left are trying out in their opposition to the religious right.
About three paragraphs into the speech, after attacking the Bush administration, Moyers said: "James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, 'After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.' Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the Bible is literally true—one-third of the American electorate if a recent Gallup poll is accurate."
Of course, as is now known, Watt never said that. In fact, he never even intimated that. Moyers later personally apologized to Watt for the statement. But the idea was out there, the damage done. Watt then points to another example of this sort of political/religious warfare:
A liberal theologian and active participant in the National Council of Churches, Barbara R. Rossing of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, published a book titled "The Rapture Exposed." In it she attacks a large segment of the Christian community after attributing to me erroneous motives and beliefs on the basis of a fragment of a sentence taken out of context. Rossing contends that Christians who believe in the Rapture presume that there is no need for stewardship of natural resources because of the expected return of the Lord. She writes: "Watt told U.S. senators that we are living at the brink of the end-times and implied that this justifies clear-cutting the nation's forest and other unsustainable environmental policies. When he was asked about preserving the environment for future generations, Watt told his Senate confirmation hearing, 'I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns.' Watt's 'use it or lose it' view of the world's resources is a perspective shared by the Rapture proponents."
The full quote, by Watts, is a follows:
"I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."
Now whatever your religious belief or lack thereof, most fair-minded people would agree there is no excuse for this type of blatant misquoting. Obviously in any poltical battle there are going to strong and passionate exchanges. But these two examples demonstrate a lack of principle in which they erected strawmen based on purposeful misquotes in order to destroy them. Both are dishonest attempts to brand the religious right with something its not.

James Wallis,
a left leaning evangelical Christian pastor, is one of those out there helping the left get its religious house in order. His strategy can be seen in the following excerpt:
It is encapsulated in one story he likes to tell. When he was in seminary, he said that he and a group of friends decided to methodically mark every Bible verse that protested against poverty. They discovered that defending the poor was the second most dominant theme in the Old Testament after idolatry. It surfaced in one of every 16 verses in the New Testament.

To seal their experiment, Wallis and his friends cut out every Scripture that talked about the poor. They ended up with a Bible full of holes.

Wallis says that the religious right is preaching a Christianity of holes. They have eviscerated Jesus' passion for justice and replaced it with a Gospel that has reduced Christianity to membership in the Republican Party, he said.
"How did the faith of Jesus come to be known as pro-rich, pro-war and only pro-American?" he asks in the beginning of his book.
Wallis perceives an advantage in painting the religious right as pro-rich, pro-war and pro-American. In other words, the message Wallis wants the left to use is, in effect, “the religious right has hijacked Jesus” and to then sell the thought that Jesus is really more like the left.

Go to any of the numerous anti-Bush sites which proliferate the internet (like cafepress.com) and you’ll find t-shirts and bumper stickers beginning to proclaim the emergence, again, of the religious left. “Jesus was a liberal”, “Proud Christian Democrat” and “Church Going Liberal” and “Matthew 25” give you the flavor of the coming battle. Darwin is conspicuously absent. The left is convinced the right was successful in the last election mostly because it appealed to people of faith, and it is further convinced that to win, it too must be seen as a viable alternative, based on faith, to the right.

James Watt, of course, doesn’t disabuse them of their belief when he says:
Four out of five evangelical Christians supported President Bush in 2004—a third of all ballots cast for him, according to the Pew Research Center. Factor in Catholics and members of other conservative religious communities and it's clear that the religious right is the largest voting bloc in today's Republican Party.
As he mentions, the left took note. However, is the statistic true because the evangelicals voted because of faith, or is it because they shared the President’s world view? It seems a bit simplistic to believe that all of those people voted for Bush based only on their faith.

Remember what Wallis said: “pro-rich, pro-war, pro-American”. No matter how ludicrous that seems, that’s how he sees and describes the religious right. If his description is accurate, it doesn't necessarily reflect voting from faith. It may, instead be that 75% of all evangelicals also happened to agree with the Bush stance on the war, taxes, jobs, government's role as well as his faith.

To be fair to Wallis, he’s a Matthew 25 evangelical, who believes the most important focus of the church, religion and government should be to fight poverty. So his broad generalization of what the religious right is works well toward his concluding they’re headed in the wrong direction. However, that being said, he does throw some kudos in the direction of the religious right in terms of his passion - fighting poverty:
"The conservatives are right when they say that cultural and moral issues of family breakdown, personal responsibility, sexual promiscuity and substance abuse are prime reasons for entrenched poverty," he writes in "God's Politics." "The liberals are right when they point to the critical need for adequate nutrition, health care, education, housing and good-paying jobs as keys to overcoming endemic poverty."
They both may indeed be right, but here’s the rub. None of those problems are problems for government in the strictest sense (that is if you believe in the "night watchman" form of government as do most true conservatives and libertarians). They’re community and cultural problems. Both sides are calling for government to do what churches and communities should do. However, that's not the political reality today and it won’t stop the political battle over how best to fight poverty through government among the left and right, this time with religious overtones.

Serious players on the left have understood this problem for quite sometime and are gearing up to meet the challenge of at least appearing religious:
Some evangelicals, though, don't see Wallis as one of their own. They're suspicious because he's advised politicians such as Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate minority leader.
Whether or not the left is serious about combating religion with religion, it is serious about appearing to do so, and people like Wallis will be in the forefront of shaping that perception for the left.

Wallis, of course, rejects the notion that he’s become a spokesman for the religious left:
"When you say you care about the poor, or want to protect the environment, or challenge a nation's decision to go to war, they say you're left-wing, even if those convictions come right out of the Bible," he told one interviewer. "I care about poverty because the Bible requires an evangelical Christian like me to care about poverty."

He said blending calls for social justice and personal holiness may seem odd now, but that wasn't always the case.
"In the 19th century, evangelical Christians helped lead the fight against slavery. They were abolitionists and they fought for women's suffrage and child labor laws," he said.
To conclude, look for the left to step up religious sounding rhetoric, especially among its leaders like Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid. Look for the issues to be the environment and poverty (and to be reminded of the left's "human rights religious heritage" in the abolitionist, woman's sufferage, and child labor movement). Look for the theme to be “the religious right is pro-rich and pro-war (it’s going to hard to sell “pro-American” as a bad thing). And look for continued assaults such as those James Watt endured in order to paint the religious right in very unflattering terms on these issues.

Also look for various elements of the religious right to cooperate fully in making themselves seem to be exactly what the left paints them as. You can almost bank on the fact that at some point someone on the religious right who isn’t taken out of context or misquoted will manage to help the left in its attempt to demonize them ala Falwell’s 9/11 quote (for which he later apologized, but the damage had been done):
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
That sort of shot in the foot (something for which James Watt was once famous) will underline precisely the point James Wallis hopes to exploit for the left:
"A lot of people have looked at the way religion was used and abused during the election, the way it's been involved in the White House and they say, 'That's not my faith’. "
It should be an interesting battle.
 
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Matthew 25 can only be "liberal" if you take a few verses out of context.

There are 3 sections in Matthew 23

The parable of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins.

The parable of the talents. (Talent on loan from God perhaps?)

And, the part the liberals love, a discourse on the Last Judgment.

Oh, those on the left (hand) will talk about how the supported government programs.
 
Written By: Bill
URL: http://journals.aol.com/billhabr/EclecticBill/
Yes, Mr. Wallis, Jesus does indeed command Christians to help the poor. But I defy him to find a single verse in which Jesus advocates forcing others to help the poor at the point of a gun, whether they want to or not. And that’s exactly what government anti-poverty programs do.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
And that’s precisely why its a community and church problem, not a government problem (if you approach it strictly from a Christian viewpoint). Its about giving ... not having it taken by force and given by another entity.

If you want to give, do so. But stay out of your neighbor’s pocket.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Yes, Mr. Wallis, Jesus does indeed command Christians to help the poor. But I defy him to find a single verse in which Jesus advocates forcing others to help the poor at the point of a gun, whether they want to or not. And that’s exactly what government anti-poverty programs do.

And that’s precisely why its a community and church problem, not a government problem (if you approach it strictly from a Christian viewpoint). Its about giving ... not having it taken by force and given by another entity.

If you want to give, do so. But stay out of your neighbor’s pocket.


I agree. However, the Democrat Christians I’ve talked to (some more liberal than others) have a totally different take on what the government actually is. They see it as a simple extension of the community; I (and I would imagine many who read and post here) don’t.
 
Written By: TnTexas
URL: http://
"How did the faith of Jesus come to be known as pro-rich, pro-war and only pro-American?"

If you think taxes should be kept low and equitable in this land of equality, then I guess I’m pro-rich. This pro-war and only pro-American thing is a little amusing. If they are ’only pro-American’ why would they support freeing Iraq? And I don’t know anybody who wants war.


The Democrat Christians I’ve talked to (some more liberal than others) have a totally different take on what the government actually is. They see it as a simple extension of the community.

But wouldn’t this be problem with their separation of church and state mantra that they use against the religious right. Seems like the are boxing themselves in, again.

 
Written By: Wilky
URL: http://
Yes, Mr. Wallis, Jesus does indeed command Christians to help the poor. But I defy him to find a single verse in which Jesus advocates forcing others to help the poor at the point of a gun, whether they want to or not. And that’s exactly what government anti-poverty programs do.
I defy him to find a single verse in which Jesus said gay marriage was wrong. I defy him to find a single verse in which Jesus said the government should have the power to ban abortion, or to inject prayer in the schools. So what’s your point?

My point - and that of most on the left - is that the actual words Jesus spoke, on the whole, are much more liberal than conservative. He made many liberal commands. Most conservatives don’t tend to follow them, of course.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
He made many liberal commands.

Such as?

Most conservatives don’t tend to follow them, of course.

Proof?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Mkulta, Do you really think any of the words that Jesus spoke would in any way say that abortion is OK. As an example of how He was much more liberal than conservative, delusional.
 
Written By: Wilky
URL: http://
Do you really think any of the words that Jesus spoke would in any way say that abortion is OK.

Well there’s more of a fallacy to MK’s thinking than that. Not speaking out against something does not necessarily mean a person is for it. The fact that the subjects of abortion and gay marriage are completely absent from the Bible does not mean that the Bible or Jesus support or are "for" either. To pretend otherwise is just that ... pretending.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Well, Matthew 25:31-46 is a start. McQ.

Mark 10:21 is another.

Matthew 6:12 is still another.

I could go on.

No matter how much you spin them, these are not conservative commands. At bottom, conservativism is about individuality and greed, while liberalism is about the collective good. At bottom, conservatism starts from the premise that man is inherently evil and needs to be tempered, while liberalism starts from the premise that man is inherently good. These commands - and the examples Jesus set in associating with the downtrodden and the outcasts of his day - are proof Jesus was a liberal.

A long-haired man walks around in sandals from town to town espousing a philosophy that is anathema to the dominant reiligious authorities. ALong the way, he asks for food and shelter. Who is more likely to take him in, a liberal or a conservative?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Well there’s more of a fallacy to MK’s thinking than that. Not speaking out against something does not necessarily mean a person is for it. The fact that the subjects of abortion and gay marriage are completely absent from the Bible does not mean that the Bible or Jesus support or are "for" either. To pretend otherwise is just that ... pretending.
Classic conservative doublespeak. Not speaking out against something does not mean that one is necessarily against it, either. And somewhere in the middle there is tolerance (a word which many Christians have excised from their vocabulary). There were gays in Jesus’ day, just as there were abortions. Jesus said not a word about each. But to religious conservatives, Jesus’ silence on these subjects must mean he was against them.

That’s conservative logic at work for ya - Jesus was against gays and abortion because he didn’t say a damm thing about them. Ridiculous.


 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Well, Matthew 25:31-46 is a start. McQ.

Mat 25:31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne.
Mat 25:32 The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats.
Mat 25:33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Mat 25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, "My father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created.
Mat 25:35 When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me,
Mat 25:36 and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me."
Mat 25:37 Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink?
Mat 25:38 When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear
Mat 25:39 or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
Mat 25:40 The king will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me."
Mat 25:41 Then the king will say to those on his left, "Get away from me! You are under God’s curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels!
Mat 25:42 I was hungry, but you did not give me anything to eat, and I was thirsty, but you did not give me anything to drink.
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, but you did not welcome me, and I was naked, but you did not give me any clothes to wear. I was sick and in jail, but you did not take care of me."
Mat 25:44 Then the people will ask, "Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail?"
Mat 25:45 The king will say to them, "Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me."
Mat 25:46 Then Jesus said, "Those people will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life."


Not a single "command" and not a single thing a conservative doesn’t now do.

Mark 10:21 is another.

Mar 10:21 Jesus looked closely at the man. He liked him and said, "There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me."

Please enlighten us as to the "liberals" that have done this? I can point to some on the "religious right" who have. They’re missionaries in the Church I go to.

Matthew 6:12 is still another

Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others.

Again, certainly not anything one could point to as exclusively liberal. Especially considering the rhetoric of the left as it pertains to the Bush administration.

I could go on.

Please do ... you haven’t even gotten close with those three.

No matter how much you spin them, these are not conservative commands.

In what way? Why are they not conservative commands or suggestions? What makes them "liberal" and liberal only?

At bottom, conservatism starts from the premise that man is inherently evil and needs to be tempered, while liberalism starts from the premise that man is inherently good.

Even if true, what would that have to do with the three verses you cited?

These commands - and the examples Jesus set in associating with the downtrodden and the outcasts of his day - are proof Jesus was a liberal.

No, it only shows he was interested in helping the downtrodden, which you have yet to show is an exclusively "liberal" trait.

A long-haired man walks around in sandals from town to town espousing a philosophy that is anathema to the dominant reiligious authorities. ALong the way, he asks for food and shelter. Who is more likely to take him in, a liberal or a conservative?

Most likely someone who believes as he does, which could be either. You don’t seem to understand that, just as most of the left doesn’t. That’s precisely why you’ll bungle this attempt at suddenly growing religious.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Not speaking out against something does not mean that one is necessarily against it, either.

Never said it did ... you however, inferred it did mean that Jesus was probably for it.

Thanks for making my point.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
At bottom, conservatism starts from the premise that man is inherently evil and needs to be tempered, while liberalism starts from the premise that man is inherently good.

Personally, I see it completely opposite. Seems to me that conservatism starts with the premise that man is inherently good (or at least decent) and will pretty much take care of his fellow man without being forced to do so by the government while liberalism starts from the premise that man is inherently evil and won’t care for anyone but himself unless he’s forced to. Believing that the government (especially the federal government) is not the best way to help your fellow man is not the same as believing you don’t have a responsibility to take help him out.
 
Written By: TnTexas
URL: http://
MK quotes the Gospel of Matthew, but seems to have overlooked Matthew 5:17-19...
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
The existing law in the time of Jesus most certainly forbade homosexual sex.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
McQ:

We live in different worlds, I guess. Given your description of your profession, I suspect you interact little in any professional capacity directly with the downtrodden and their families and loved ones. (That is not to criticize you, of course - but simply to make a factual observation about that which currently informs your perspective.) If you did, you would see that the vast bulk of people who do "work" in this field - even the strongly religious ones - are liberal at bottom. From social workers in government agencies, teachers in public schools, public health nurses, to employees in private funded homeless shelters, disability assistsnce centers, and drug treatment agencies, these people tend to have a liberal perspective on issues: They are by and large for a more progressive tax system, more tax credits and deductions for the working poor and middle class. They advocate for the rights of the disabled in employment and public accomadations. They advocate for increases in affordable public housing. (When was the last time you heard James Dobson argue that the government or the private sector should work to build more affordable housing?) The advocate for laws against obscence consumer credit interest rates that tend to harm the poor and middle class the most, but they the lobby credit lenders themselves on moral grounds to reduce the rates. They are against laws that make it harder to declare bankruptcy because of medical bills. In other words, unlike conservatives, they see both "public" and "private" solutions as the best way to help the poor. They also see the lie behind the notion that liberals believe only government can solve the problems of the poor and downtrodden.

They see the big picture and how laws and market forces directly affect the poor and downtrodden. The are bewildered by conservatives, who advocate for "tough love" approaches in all the areas listed above, but who are out of touch with the details regarding how laws and market forces directly affect the downtrodden, because most do not work with the downtrodden, beyond the stray missionary. They see only other liberals such as themselves at work and at seminars and drug court graduations and parenting class graduations and they wonder how those who do not interact regularly with the poor and downtrodden and who do not regularly spend time actually listenting to them and the problems they are having can have any clue about the problems of the poor and downtrodden and, of course, how to solve them.

Finally, because Jesus made a "profession" of dealing with the poor and downtrodden, they assume that they are, like he was, better informed on the issue and more likely to be in tune with what Jesus would want to happen in the 21st century. Of course they may be wrong and the conservatives may be right. But they don’t think so. They would like to believe, but unlike conservatives they are humble enough to believe that they do not know, that Jesus would agree with them.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
We live in different worlds, I guess.

True. Mine’s the real world and yours is a narcissic delusion.

I suspect you interact little in any professional capacity directly with the downtrodden and their families and loved ones. (That is not to criticize you, of course - but simply to make a factual observation about that which currently informs your perspective.)


I guess thats why conservatives give more charity than leftists. You has no basis no such suspicions so such statement only prove your irrational prejudice against those who disagree with you.

If you did, you would see that the vast bulk of people who do "work" in this field - even the strongly religious ones - are liberal at bottom.

Do these people work for the Government or Private Charity? If you are talking about private charirty you are wrong.

From social workers in government agencies, teachers in public schools, public health nurses, to employees in private funded homeless shelters, disability assistsnce centers, and drug treatment agencies, these people tend to have a liberal perspective on issues:


Social workers and teachers made up the bulk of the Nazi party so what does that prove? Teaching and Social work are just government jobs so you expect people to protect their interest in big government. As for private charity you are simply wrong. Look at the numbers. These groups are religious and most of them are certainly not on the left.

They are by and large for a more progressive tax system, more tax credits and deductions for the working poor and middle class. They advocate for the rights of the disabled in employment and public accomadations.


1. Progressive Tax systems are in realty regressive you stupid idiot. The rich don’t have large earned incomes so a progressive tax is meanless to them.
2. Conservatives are for tax credits and deduction for everyone because the government doesn’t need to be larger but smaller. This a conservative issue not a leftist issue. Leftist increase taxes on the middle class and working poor. Stop projecting.
3. Since when do conservative oppose rights for the disabled? It was you progressives who wanted to breed them out of society in the early twentieth century. Projection with a strawman...nice.

They advocate for increases in affordable public housing. (When was the last time you heard James Dobson argue that the government or the private sector should work to build more affordable housing?) The advocate for laws against obscence consumer credit interest rates that tend to harm the poor and middle class the most, but they the lobby credit lenders themselves on moral grounds to reduce the rates. They are against laws that make it harder to declare bankruptcy because of medical bills.

1. Affordable public housing increases the cost living for everyone especially the poor. Its been shown on this site many times. It doesn’t work. All this means is that James Dobson has a understand basic economics and history that you lack.
2.Who decides what is obsence credit interest? You? The Government? Or the lender who you agree to do business with?
3. Are you now are saying the Bankruptcy bill targeted the poor? Unbelieviable.

In other words, unlike conservatives, they see both "public" and "private" solutions as the best way to help the poor. They also see the lie behind the notion that liberals believe only government can solve the problems of the poor and downtrodden.

In otherwords, this imagined group people now found in any polls or known demographic see the government stealing wealth as a big part of helping the poor. They also don’t know anything about the history of socialism.

Finally, because Jesus made a "profession" of dealing with the poor and downtrodden, they assume that they are, like he was, better informed on the issue and more likely to be in tune with what Jesus would want to happen in the 21st century. Of course they may be wrong and the conservatives may be right. But they don’t think so. They would like to believe, but unlike conservatives they are humble enough to believe that they do not know, that Jesus would agree with them.

NO JESUS DID NOT MAKE IT A "PROFESSION." He was a somewhat wealthy carpenter who for the last three years of his life fulfilled his Father’s work which was to make possible a way of redemption for mankind NOT hand out loaves and fishes. On giving to the poor, Jesus: "But when you give to the poor do not let you left hand know what you right hand is doing so that you giving will be done in secret" That doesn’t sound like a public works program to me. Jesus is against public welfare programs.

Do not try to debate the Bible with the EVILReligiousRightwingTheocraticNazis(tm)for they know it far better than you ever will because we actually respect and believe it. When people like you use people like Jim Wallis we are simply insulted. We see the hate you write about
us when issues like abortion and homosexuality come up. Yes we too can read Kos and Democratic Underground. We want no part of you or your movement.


Please come over to nicedoggie.net for correct theology about Government and Charity. They are a bit rough around the edges but since most of them are ex military give some slack.
 
Written By: Septeus7
URL: http://
We live in different worlds, I guess. Given your description of your profession, I suspect you interact little in any professional capacity directly with the downtrodden and their families and loved ones. (That is not to criticize you, of course - but simply to make a factual observation about that which currently informs your perspective.) If you did, you would see that the vast bulk of people who do "work" in this field - even the strongly religious ones - are liberal at bottom.

Actually I’m a volunteer in a local coop that dispenses food (we go through 20,000 cans a month), money for utilities and money for perscription medicine to those who really need help. I help interview those in need it and get them help. I also collect food and work in the pantry. I am hardly liberal nor are any of my coworkers, but the coop is run and supported by a group of churches in the reddest county in red state Georgia. IOW, its a private charity perfectly in line with my and conservative ideology. Its also perfectly in line with fulfilling Matthew 25, isn’t it?

So much for preconceived notions, huh MK? And that is what this is all about. You, though you have no basis in fact, have gotten out the old broad brush in order to make a specious political point. Its absurd on its face and only at all believable if you make more absurd assumptions ... something, by the way, you are quite good at.

From social workers in government agencies, teachers in public schools, public health nurses, to employees in private funded homeless shelters, disability assistsnce centers, and drug treatment agencies, these people tend to have a liberal perspective on issues:

Well interestingly we must live in different worlds, because that’s not been my experience. The leadership of teachers unions and the leaders of governement workers unions certainly do, but the majority of the so-called rank and file seem to share my ideology or a conservative ideology based on those I’ve talked too.

They advocate for increases in affordable public housing. (When was the last time you heard James Dobson argue that the government or the private sector should work to build more affordable housing?)

Hopefully I’ll never hear him do so ... that’s not the job of government.

In other words, unlike conservatives, they see both "public" and "private" solutions as the best way to help the poor.

And that’s the crux of the disagreement.

Tell you what ... show me where Jesus said the "government" should be the institution helping the poor, will you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
AAt bottom, conservativism is about individuality and greed, while liberalism is about the collective good.
I suspect MKUltra really does believe this, and that’s part of his problem. He simply doesn’t understand the political philosphies—conservatism and libertarianism—that he’s against. It’s no wonder that he opposes the giant strawmen that he’s erected.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
MKUltra,

Matthew 25:31-46 Is talking about indiviuals not governments so, your comment is useless in this case.

Mark 10:21-25, it helps to use the whole context ya know, says,

Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Mar 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had2, great possessions.
Mar 10:23 And2 Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, Ho hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Mar 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Mar 10:25 It is easier for a came to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

AS you can see, by actually using the whole context, these verses are talking about putting your faith and trust in God, not just going and selling everything you own.

Matthew 6:12 says,

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Please tell me you don’t think this means that people shouldn’t have to pay what they owe. This verse is talking about forgiving people who have done us wrong.

If you actually read the WHOLE Bible and not just selected passages, that you think prop up your argument, you will find it supports more conservative principals than liberal ones. In the Bible you will find that it also says, if you don’t work, you don’t eat. So, there blows Welfare.

Want me to go on? I can. Your choice.

 
Written By: Jamie
URL: http://
NO JESUS DID NOT MAKE IT A "PROFESSION." He was a somewhat wealthy carpenter who for the last three years of his life fulfilled his Father’s work which was to make possible a way of redemption for mankind NOT hand out loaves and fishes.
"Somewhat wealthy"? I think He was flat out rich Bruce. Think about where He lived and whose rule He lived under. He grew up in an ara that the Romans were building in constantly. He was a carpenter by trade. Carpenters at that time were also masons. This man made a LOT of money. Also, think back to the gifts the wisemen gave. The were the three most precious commodities known to man at he time. The wisemen were kings, going to see another king, they did not just bring little bottles, the brought kegs of the stuff. I doubt that Joseph and Jesus really HAD to work, they did it because they were supposed to.
 
Written By: Jamie
URL: http://
MCQ:

I see this nonsense about how Republcians arguing against the Welfare state are anti-christian... The left cites all kinds of Bible passages. I will submit the Devil himself can quote scipture, but never understand it.

At no point in the Bible is government mentioned in the process of providing for the poor. Indeed, the issue with providing for the poor was cast in the words and actions of Christ as a personal involvement with them, not merely tossing confiscated money at them and hoping it all turns out all right.

Indeed, Government is cast in the words of Christ, as not being part of the process at all.."Pay unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s and unto God that which is God’s."

To point to a practical application of this thinking, I will point out that during the Reagan years, as taxes went down, charitable donations went up on an order of scale, and more people left the welfare roles and went into job than at any peacetime point in American history. I call that, and not government money, fighting poverty.

Sadly, the MKUltras of the world will never understand such a process, because it doesn’t have government at the center of it.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
As a Libertarian and a first time visitor to this site, it seems to me that the general consensus of your contributors is that the Left sucks and the Right is good.

What?
What kind of Neoliber…whatever are you trying to label yourself as? I read your first issue and I found myself agreeing with it a lot. A big tent Libertarian Party is a good idea, but let us not invite the Vandals to our Toga Party.

The biggest issue to me about the Religious Right is not the fact that they are NOT helping the poor, or that they are SUPPOSED to help the downtrodden,… I mean who gives a rat’s ***. If the Religious Right wants to help people, that is, as it should be, their own business. The biggest issue is that the Religious Right wants to suppress my individual freedoms.
Hey you,… Neolibertarian…, Remember the old Libertarian standby of “behavior that harms no one but oneself”???
Coming to the defense of the Religious Right??? For Shame!!!
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Coming to the defense of the Religious Right??? For Shame!!!

Ah .. the old "let’s throw the baby out with the bathwater" philosophy?

Sounds, um, like a pretty narrow and small tent you have there, PogueMahone. Might want to read that first issue again.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I suspect MKUltra really does believe this, and that’s part of his problem. He simply doesn’t understand the political philosphies—conservatism and libertarianism—that he’s against. It’s no wonder that he opposes the giant strawmen that he’s erected.
That’s the best summation of the situation that I have seen.

The best that I could come up with was:

"It is easy for him to believe this because MKUltra’s entire political philosophy is based on a cartoon charicature of conservatives."
 
Written By: Terry Shipman
URL: http://
Sounds, um, like a pretty narrow and small tent you have there, PogueMahone.

If that means not inviting the narrow and small minded Religious Right to my party, then so be it.

Time and time again, I read or hear about so-called Libertarians that are solely focused on their own pocketbooks rather than individual Liberties that should be the vanguard.
I understand your concern though, because if you are anything like me (and odds are that you are), a happily married, drug free, heterosexual… then the individual liberties that are under constant attack from the Right, especially the Religious Right, have little meaning on your day to day lives.
But a principled Libertarian absolutely CANNOT accept the oppressive ways of the Right. If you do, then perhaps you should do yourself a favor and put on your favorite Red jersey and root for your team as a moderate Republican. You’ll feel better about yourself as you join in with the popular routine Liberal bashing diatribe.
You can join in with the likes of John Stossel and make a lot of money attacking the Left from their flank, barking from a “moderate” molehill while claiming to be a non-partisan Libertarian.
Yea, right.

With all due respect, I believe your contributions to be heavy on the Right. That being said, I enjoy reading this site.
So, keep up the good work.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
But a principled Libertarian absolutely CANNOT accept the oppressive ways of the Right.

No one here is advocating that we do so either. What we’re interested in is helping promote those things on either the right or the left which promote and increase liberty.

You’ve obviously not read the site fully or you’d have found plenty of posts taking the right to task on a number of things, especially larger government and more spending.

Our posts may indeed seem heavy on the right because ideologically the right traditionally comes down on the side of less taxes and a smaller and less intrusive government. Or, incrementally more liberty. The left, in certain instances, is also working toward more liberty when it stresses rights.

One of the foundational differences with the Neolibs and the libs is an aggressive foreign policy. That would naturally put us on the side of the right in this particular fracus. In ’98, had Clinton put action where his mouth was, it would have seen us agreeing with the left.

So while I appreciate your thoughts, I certainly don’t at all agree with your take. I think its a bit thin on facts, and a good review of the archives would most likely disabuse you of the "Red jersey" comment.

If that means not inviting the narrow and small minded Religious Right to my party, then so be it.

How do you characterize the ’religious right’, Pogue? What’s that mean? Is it everyone that is on the right who also happens to be religous? Is it the Jerry Fallwell/Pat Robertson wing? If its the former, I’ll give you the same critiqe I gave MK Ultra ... you’re brush is way too broad and your tent way too small. If its the small group headed by the latter, I’m fine with that and if you’ll note the post I go after Falwell in the post as indicative of those no one wants in their tent.

But to pretend religion isn’t going to be a big factor on both the left and the right in the comining elections is to simply ignore the obvious (whether you like it or not). And that was the point of the post.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
McQ: Here we agree.
If we take it as a given that one’s religious beliefs are reflected in one’s personal values, it could hardly be otherwise, given that politics are merely a reflection of one’s personal values.


I would submit this point and let it roll around for later use... in this way, we’re not talking about church and state speration.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Perhaps you’re right, perhaps I’ve not read the site fully enough to make a fair judgment? But forgive me, I don’t have all day to read websites. But I did read enough to give me the impression that you guys are typical Libertarians, or Neolibertarians if you like. That is that you are so concerned with your pocketbook, it gives you little time to be concerned with other, and in my opinion, more pressing violations on our collective and individual Liberties. (although you guys post an impressive amount of ideas for your typical blog – kudos.)
But take to heart that an oppressive stance on personal liberties is ALSO an oppressive stance on business.

Our posts may indeed seem heavy on the right because ideologically the right traditionally comes down on the side of less taxes and a smaller and less intrusive government. Or, incrementally more liberty.

I couldn’t disagree more. Maybe at one time, a more traditional view on conservatism is one of less government and consequently more liberty. But that is not the current political reality. On the contrary…
Take Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens(R) and his proposed bill to bring cable and satellite television under the watchful (i.e. BIG GOVERNMENT) eye of the FCC. This is no doubt an attack on personal liberty. But this is ALSO an attack on economic liberty; Preventing one to manufacture a product (art) and sell it to a consumer public (TV watchers) something they want. Apparently, Sen. Stevens (R) doesn’t think that the American public has the capacity to CHOOSE a product that they want to bring into their homes. I’m sure you will agree.
I could bring you more examples of the Conservative, Religious, Republican Right that wants to bring big government into our homes and businesses.

How do you characterize the ’religious right’, Pogue? What’s that mean? Is it everyone that is on the right who also happens to be religous? Is it the Jerry Fallwell/Pat Robertson wing?

Those who take their religious views and impose them upon people who have no wish to be imposed upon. You know them… Yes, Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, Ted Stevens, Ernest Istook, Bill Frist, Tom DeLay,…come on…, the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.
And if you think that these persons of the so-called Religious Right will keep THEIR moral values to themselves, think again.
Remember the recent decision by ABC affiliates that abstained from airing one of the greatest patriotic movies of all time, Saving Private Ryan? They did so for fear of fines by the Religious Right Big Government. No doubt.

But to pretend religion isn’t going to be a big factor on both the left and the right in the comining elections is to simply ignore the obvious (whether you like it or not). And that was the point of the post.

I agree and couldn’t care less. As long as they keep their religion where it belongs, in their Churches, Temples, Synagogues, or whatever. Keep it out of public policy. But that is not the policy of the Republicans, you cannot deny that.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Perhaps you’re right, perhaps I’ve not read the site fully enough to make a fair judgment? But forgive me, I don’t have all day to read websites. But I did read enough to give me the impression that you guys are typical Libertarians, or Neolibertarians if you like. That is that you are so concerned with your pocketbook, it gives you little time to be concerned with other, and in my opinion, more pressing violations on our collective and individual Liberties. (although you guys post an impressive amount of ideas for your typical blog – kudos.)

But take to heart that an oppressive stance on personal liberties is ALSO an oppressive stance on business.


Gee, thanks for the tip ... I probably wouldn’t have figured that out without it.

Look, you have your own preconceived notions of what it means to be a libertarian, just like most doctriaire libertairians.

You seem to think you have it all figured out. A quick read and you know us, what we’re all about and what’s going on in our heads.

How precious.
I couldn’t disagree more.

[...]

I agree and couldn’t care less.
Great. No reason then to bother trying to have a discussion, is there? I’ve been to this dove shoot before. No matter what is said, "blam" it won’t matter.

Play your game somewhere else where the rest of the pure but ineffective libertarians roam and enjoy this sort of banter. I’ve been through it 1,000 times, have the video and the t-shirt, and I have no desire to waste my time on the 1,001st.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
That is that you are so concerned with your pocketbook, it gives you little time to be concerned with other, and in my opinion, more pressing violations on our collective and individual Liberties.
Granted. My position is that our economic liberties are in more danger than our social liberties. I detailed the argument for that here.

We do defend the religious right from unfair attacks now and then, just as we sometimes defend other groups with whom we may not share ideological beds when they are mischaracterized. We also—as McQ does here—analyze the lay of the political landscape. Describing the battle for the religious voters is a part of that. Doing that, however, does not imply acceptance of the more objectionable political positions of, for example, the moral majority.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
But religion isn’t GOING ot be kept out of public policy, period.

As I have said... If we understand (as I have argued for years) that the purpose of government is to codify and enforce the values of the culture that gave it life, and also to hopefully extend the influence of that culture within the world... then the influence of religious values in our government will be a product of the degree to which religion is a part of the culture itself.

This is not mandating religion; it is simply reacting to, and holding respect for the culture, as government should; this is the proper relationship.

Consider the words of John McCandlish Phillips, a former reporter at the NYT:
The fact is that our founders did not give us a nation frightened by the apparition of the Deity lurking about in our most central places. On Sept. 25, 1789, the text of what was later adopted as the First Amendment was passed by both houses of Congress, and subsequently sent to the states for ratification. On that same day , the gentlemen in the House who had acted to give us that invaluable text took another action: They passed a resolution asking President George Washington to declare a national day of thanksgiving to no less a perceived eminence than almighty God.

That’s president , that’s national, that’s official and, alas, my doubting hearties, it’s God... all wrapped up in a federal action by those who knew what they meant by the non-establishment clause and saw their request as standing at not the slightest variance from it.
The left standing up franticly, and hollering ’seperation’ every time the culture’s values and the values of the religion that inspired and continue to inspire that culture coincide, won’t help their cause, because the American voter will (rightly) see their cause as running exactly counter to the cause of real, established American values.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Gee, thanks for the tip ... I probably wouldn’t have figured that out without it.

Well, judging by your numerous posts that I’ve read, and the lack of any notion that a Republican could POSSIBLY impose on my economic freedom then I thought that I might enlighten you.

Look, you have your own preconceived notions of what it means to be a libertarian, just like most doctriaire libertairians.

My preconceived notion of what it means to be a Libertarian is the very definition of Libertarian. If you choose to be something other than that, then by all means… make up your own word and have fun with it.

You seem to think you have it all figured out. A quick read and you know us, what we’re all about and what’s going on in our heads.
How precious….Great. No reason then to bother trying to have a discussion, is there? I’ve been to this dove shoot before. No matter what is said, "blam" it won’t matter.


Sounds as though you’ve lost this argument before? You know that I was referring to two different subjects. And why is it that you make no mention of the Sen. Ted Stevens (Republican) comment. Where is your condemnation of the Republicans there, where is your condemnation of any Republican suppressing my ECONOMIC Liberties???
You just seem so preoccupied with the Left that you miss the threat from the Right. Hey, prove me wrong… Site me your blog of where you attacked the Republicans on Economic Oppression. Where is that? Prove me wrong and I will take everything back.

Play your game somewhere else where the rest of the pure but ineffective libertarians roam and enjoy this sort of banter. I’ve been through it 1,000 times, have the video and the t-shirt, and I have no desire to waste my time on the 1,001st.

What game? Talk about a few quick reads…?
If you indeed have been through this a thousand times, then maybe your ideas of Libertarianism is in the Minority?
If you have no desire to defend your “neolibertarianism”, you simply suggest that you have more fun Liberal bashing…………

Just like any other Right-Wing, Kool-aid drinking, Red Jersey wearing ruminate.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Granted. My position is that our economic liberties are in more danger than our social liberties.

I read your site, and I respectively disagree. I understand your points however.
My point is simply this; the suppression of free minds (i.e. social liberties) is congruent with the suppression of free markets.
Case in point…

Here in Texas, I am NOT allowed to buy a bottle of whiskey on Sunday. This is clearly a morally and religiously based law that has no other reason to be there other than the OPPRESSIVE wishes from the religious Right. You cannot deny that.
So, I am not allowed to TRADE with my liquor store owning friend Jimbo on Sunday. And my friend Jimbo is NOT ALLOWED to TRADE with ANY OTHER PERSON WISHING TO DO BUSINESS.

Hey, a little help here. Stop being so concerned with liberal bashing. You seem to be just a shrimp in a sea of sharks. Your better off attracting REASONABLE people with a Tried and True Libertarian philosophy of “live and let live”.

It is my contention that you’ll have better success siphoning from the Left; for it is a lot easier convincing someone to let their wallet alone, rather than convincing some Bible thumpin’ redneck that I should be allowed to have a wee dram on the Sabbath
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Here in Texas, I am NOT allowed to buy a bottle of whiskey on Sunday. This is clearly a morally and religiously based law that has no other reason to be there other than the OPPRESSIVE wishes from the religious Right. You cannot deny that.
Blue Laws are a holdover from decades ago, and (in general) they are gradually dissappearing. Compared to the rising tide of the welfare state, European style economics and various forms of collectivism—much of it, I grant, helped along by Republicans—I’m not terribly concerned about such piddling social issues. We’re making forward progress on those issues, but we’re going backward economically.
Hey, a little help here. Stop being so concerned with liberal bashing.
I write about what interests me, and I believe my co-bloggers do the same. Thanks for the tip, but I will continue to blog about the topics on my own radar.
Your better off attracting REASONABLE people with a Tried and True Libertarian philosophy of “live and let live”.
Well, among other things, I don’t find that paleolibertarians are really that successful in the blogosphere. But that’s not my objection. I find the moral premises of libertarianism fairly ridiculous—a faith based preference being touted as gospell little more than religion. I’m a libertarian for more personal, evolutionary, and economic reasons.

 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’m not terribly concerned about such piddling social issues.
That’s unfortunate.
To my friend Jimbo, losing thousands of dollars in sales every year thanks to superstitious subjection, the issue is not so "piddling". And everyday, he can thank the "small government, pro liberty, business friendly" Right-Wing Republicans.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
That’s a shame, but Blue Laws are entirely local laws. I don’t mean to minimize their impact on selected individuals. They are problematic—especially among the few who are directly affected—but they are "piddling" when compared to more universal, national issues.

In any event, one main goal of Neolibertarianism is to provide a counter-weight in the Republican Party to the Social Conservatives of which you speak. If liberty-friendly people abandon the major parties, they will be left to the devices of our nemeses.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Here in Texas, I am NOT allowed to buy a bottle of whiskey on Sunday. This is clearly a morally and religiously based law that has no other reason to be there other than the OPPRESSIVE wishes from the religious Right.
Sorry, no.
That choice, and that law, was made at the cultural level.

You apparently are making the mistake leftists usually do when confronted with situations where secular laws and practices, happen to parallel religious teachings... "It must be the religion".




 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
In any event, one main goal of Neolibertarianism is to provide a counter-weight in the Republican Party to the Social Conservatives of which you speak. If liberty-friendly people abandon the major parties, they will be left to the devices of our nemeses.
Alright then,
Happy Hunting!!!
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
You apparently are making the mistake leftists usually do when confronted with situations where secular laws and practices, happen to parallel religious teachings... "It must be the religion".
Sorry, no.
Any clear thinking individual would make the obvious connection that not being allowed to purchase whiskey on Sundays would be a law unmistakably influenced by religion.
Here in Texas, in addition to not being allowed to buy or sell whiskey on Sundays, you are also not allowed to purchase beer until high noon. What does that tell you?
Any other day of the week, you are allowed to buy beer as early as seven in the morning. But by “pure coincidence” I’m sure, on Sundays no one is allowed to buy or sell beer until high noon. And you’re going to convince us that this is a secular decision that just happens to parallel religious teachings?
Good luck.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t religious services end around noon on Sundays???
That choice, and that law, was made at the cultural level.
Firstly, if it is a law, then it removes any “choice” in the matter. And secondly, I don’t see the separation between a law influenced by religion and a law influenced by “culture” when the culture is heavily influenced by religion.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Any clear thinking individual would make the obvious connection
Bandwagon arguments? Come, you can do better.
that not being allowed to purchase whiskey on Sundays would be a law unmistakably influenced by religion.
But so too, is much, if not most of any culture you’d care to name... and this is particularly true for the advanced ones.

Yet this does not mean that the law exists because of a direct power over the government by the religion. Rather, it means that the law is reflective of the will of the people, the vast majority of which happen to be religious.

Are you suggesting that the values of the majority should not be reflected in that majority’s government?

Funny thing; You seem to have negated our ability to vote.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I should have added;

I define the level of seperation the founders were talking about as a lack of "Control of our government by the church" whereas you seem to seek to remove all *influence*.

That’s another matter altogether... and certainly, removng all influence runs counter to the action of the founders I pointed to earlier, and thereby, I suppose, their intent.

Further, given the nature of western culture, removal of all influence of religion from government is both impossible and undesirable, from a cultural standpoint.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
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