PRAISE AND EVEN WORSHIP
Re: David N. Bass’s The Obama Snooker:
If evangelicals vote for Barack Obama it won’t be because they support his stance on abortion, but rather because they feel betrayed by George Bush and the Republican party. Obama doesn’t promise to embrace the conservative social agenda, but he does promise to do a better job running the country and leading the free world. To the extent that he can make a compelling case that he will deliver on that promise, many evangelicals will have legitimate reason to vote for him this fall. I plan to.
— Michael Sherer
Every dozen years or so a new teacher appears on the Protestant playground and captures the attention of thousands if not millions. Books are bought. Seminars are arranged and attended. Thousands seek to commit themselves to “real Christianity”: “How the Church must do ‘X’ to win souls.” “How to be holy and spiritual as Christ would have us.” “How to be one after the heart of God.” And such. Rick Warren is but another “teacher” whose fifteen minutes of evangelical “fame” is running out. It could be Warren’s enthusiasm for “poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights” is the equivalent to television’s “Jumping the Shark” — that point where a bad plot or the private behavior of the actors ruins the enjoyment of the show irreparably? Protestants of whatever denomination have nothing resembling the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and so at times it seems to be “every man for himself.” Still, as we must remind ourselves, our Lord is “Liberals ye will always have thee.” (Or something like that.) What passes for the left and the right in the “Protestant Church” will always try to argue each other down. What all the disagreements really point to is a basic conflict in how Scripture is read and explained.
Truth be known: there are actually very few “literalists” within whatever variety of Church you look into. Almost all Protestants are open to one school of Biblical scholarship or another. Instead, it is more useful to speak of a continuum of “high” to “low” views of Scripture. Those of the “high” view tend to be respectful of academic Biblical scholarship — even the historical/critical school — but ultimately believe that Scripture is inspired. Those of the “low” view tend to view Scripture as human-made and not divinely inspired — or inspired only in the loosest sense. Naturally, there are degrees along each side of the continuum; but the description holds up pretty well.
The ramifications come out in the question of how seriously to take the actual written text of Scripture and what weight to give individual experience in discovering the “truth.” Those of the “low” view tend to speak of discovering what Scripture has to say in light of the “modern context.” More to the point, what was true at the time a particular passage was written may not be true today. Instead, the focus should not be on the particulars within the passage, but with the underlying theme as we understand it today. Such a theme may in fact overrule the apparent lesson of the passage. Those of a more radical bent will hold that there is no objective truth in Scripture except that which is discovered to be “true for me.”
Those of a “high” view accept the human origins of Scripture; but also believe that Scripture came about by the intentionality of God. Thus the written text is taken seriously. Not every piece of Scripture is of equal value and this is where the proper division of Law and Gospel is helpful. In this view, scholarship is respected when it helps explain the meaning of Scripture. Scholarship which destroys meaning and is hostile to the devotional use of Scripture is viewed with critical suspicion. As opposed to those of the radical “low” view, “high” view folk hold the God’s truth is true whether it is experienced or not.
While there is rarely a Protestant who is a “pure” high or low, there is actually very little middle ground between the two sides. What is at stake is not just how to interpret any particular passage of Scripture; it is a conflict on what meanings will be assigned to the world around us. Taken on a national scale, it is easy to see why Protestants find it so difficult to achieve real consensus on any particular issue.
The left will always object to the Church entering the political ring on church and state grounds until they can use the Church as a platform for their issues. Surveying what actually happens, left leaning Churches soon start to lose membership. If Rick Warren continues on his self-defeating path, his will be another sad story of fame and decline.
— Mike Dooley
Thankfully, as we’re seeing in America now — and, interestingly, through this election cycle — the Lord God continues to shake his Church on this earth to see who falls on His side, will stand for Him and won’t be ashamed of the Gospel.
As for these evangelicals who’re falling for Obama, they need to reexamine whether they really have a genuine relationship with Jesus the Christ. Maybe they, like Obama, are not what they say they are?
For them to even entertain supporting him, they have to turn their backs on Jesus. That means, among other things, joining Obama’s lies to then support things such as infanticide, homosexual marriage and, generally, his character flaw of lying as he does.
As for Rick Warren’s actions?
Someday he’ll have to answer to the Highest Power as to why, given the visibility and influence he has been granted, he will have given his apparent imprimatur to one of such character as Obama — and, thus, influenced others to do the same.
Also, he’ll have to answer for how, whether intentional or not, he has given Obama and his devotees reasons to condemn and ridicule Christians who have the discernment, courage and love of Christ Jesus and what He represents to see the falsity of what Obama and Warren are doing — and to say so.
For Warren and Obama, I pray that they realize, sooner than later, that there are consequences far graver and eternally life-changing than losing an election or having your face on television and in the news.
I pray that they — and those Christians, Catholic or Protestant, who now allow themselves to be deceived by Obama — come to their senses and realign their lives with the real Messiah in whom they all profess to believe.
— C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
Obama is getting a complete pass on social issues, and it just might make the difference between a win or a loss for him, as it is clear the “Obamedia” will mention nothing about Obama’s extreme left-liberalism on such issues.
It was really disturbing to read in the article that Rev Rick Warren is setting up this forum in a way designed to maximize the confusion about where Obama stands on social issues by emphasizing instead: “poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate, and human rights.”
My reaction: What a disappointing list of topics that will do little or nothing to tell us who is best to lead. So I sent the rickwarrennews.com contacts a letter expressing my disappointment and calling on Rev Warren to put these four issues into the forum:
1. Marriage: Redefining marriage to include homosexual couples will be the law in California if voters don’t protect traditional marriage in its state constitution in the election this November; New York State is about to accept marriage licenses from California including gay marriage licenses, and so it means gay marriage will spread across several states unless California voters stop it.
McCain is for the California amendment protecting marriage. Obama has spoken against it to GLBT groups, and is therefore now in the pro-gay-marriage camp. They should be asked to defend their positions and explain the future they envision for marriage in America.
2. Abortion/life: Obama is a pro-abortion legislator, who has a 100% NARAL record and 0% right-to-life record. Obama is so extreme on this he even voted against a bill that would protect infants born alive after ‘botched’ abortions. McCain’s pro-life record is almost the opposite; strong pro-life record, although he’s in favor of embryonic stem cell research. Both men need to be asked about their positions on life and abortion and asked to defend them.
3. Judges: McCain voted for Roberts and Alito, Obama voted against both. Obama has expressed a desire to pick liberal activist judges who advance liberal ideals from the bench. Given the tawdry history of activist Judges who have ruled in ways that undermines America’s heritage, our moral values, rule of law, etc., Obama’s views are multi-pronged threat. The candidates need to be asked to defend their approach to selecting and approving judges.
4. Education: Obama’s opposition to abstinence education should be brought up. McCain and Obama differ on school choice. The vital issue of education should be discussed, especially the areas of sex ed, educating moral values and citizenship, and school choice.
Abortion, marriage, education, judges — these are fundamental issues that must be discussed!
Two hours devoted to the questions Rev Warren mentions instead of the above will be a huge missed opportunity to discuss the real social issues that we face. It will instead be a Kumbaya Social Justice confab that informs nobody and bamboozles many. Somehow, somewhere, some one needs to call out Barack Obama on his extreme left views on marriage, abortion, judges, and education. It will discredit Rev Warren immensely if he allows himself to be party to a bamboozling by ignoring these issues.
— Patrick McGuinness
KIND OF A BIG DEAL
Re: John Tabin’s Barack Hubris Obama:
All one needs to know about the real Barack Obama and his “World Tour” is this: when he couldn’t turn visiting our wounded troops in Germany into a campaign promo, he took a pass.
What hides behind the Messianic facade? A very small man.
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Reading John Tabin today on-line reminded me that everyone is being far too pessimistic — or optimistic, depending on whose side you’re on — about Obama’s chances of being elected. If you go back all the way to the beginning of the last century, you will see that only one democratic candidate since FDR received more than 50.1% of the popular vote (LBJ.) Carter came close, but not quite.
The worst performer was of course McGovern. Barack Obama makes old George look like Scoop Jackson in terms of ideology and associations, and, while America is on a slow suicide mission, it is not yet ready to kick the stool out from under itself.
These facts — past as prologue and the radical leftist agenda of Obama — are compounded by the inconvenient fact of alternative media voices today. McGovern was aided and abetted by a monolithic press. Obama doesn’t have that, to put it mildly. I think people are falling into the trap of believing that those who make the most noise have the greatest heft. This is almost always false, and it is certainly false in this case.
So here’s a prediction for you that will be totally forgotten as soon as you read it, but here goes anyway.
Obama will carry DC and Hawaii (arguably the two areas least associated with the United States.)
He will likely carry Minnesota, Maryland and perhaps Vermont, although even these are not certain (remember Mondale.) He will lose every other state, including Florida, New York and California, and his home state of Illinois, where he has been defeated once (for the House) and where his election to the senate was a fluke, enabled by a candidate withdrawal.
Remember where you heard it first. Or not. But please, let’s not get overwhelmed by the noisy bleating going on around us. People understand. They just keep it to themselves.
— Stacey James Lippman
West Palm Beach
I think BHO knows that unless McCain can come up with a campaign of some sort (can anyone repeat McCain’s theme? We all know BHO’s), BHO will be President Obama. An Independent friend of mine asked me if McCain had dropped out of the race. He said that it appeared as though BHO was running unopposed. I answered by saying that my friend had it half right: McCain was still the Republican Candidate but that BHO was running unopposed.
The only difference between McCain and his predecessor Bob Dole is that McCain will probably be the spokesman for Depends rather than Viagra after he has lost the election.
— Paul Melody
I was somewhat disconcerted to see Mr. Tabin describe Alan Keyes as “buffoonish.” I would expect something of that nature from Keith Olbermann, perhaps; not an American Spectator contributor.
— Scott Allen
LEAVE US ALONE
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Little Tyrants Everywhere:
I am “Mean Martin Manning.” A divorcee of 8 yrs, I know of no one who enjoys the solitude of home more than I do. Having raised 3 boys and been married for 23 yrs, to now live autonomously within the sanctuaried walls of my home is near heaven. I eat, sleep, shower, laze around, jump up and down, dance, sing, flatulate, go naked (please forgive my sharing), come and go as I please, CONTROL THE REMOTE, read, cyber surf, stay in my pajama bottoms, slippers and bathrobe all day, scream, laugh and generally be any kind of fool I like. I still work for a living. But for that one interruption my world is pretty much my own. Eight years and I am still not tired of it nor do I EVER get lonely. Too much to do to even think about being lonely. Hell, I can sneeze and feel a great sense of accomplishment. I mean, I did survive. I do get out to the golf course at least twice a week and I keep my house and yard clean and cut, so I am not completely worthless. Yet, I do these things mostly at my leisure.
Barrack Obama is a Ms. Pitney. i.e. We “should” all learn a foreign language so as not to continue being an embarrassment to the rest of the world. America may just become a “life improvement zone” if Big O should have his way. After all he knows what is good for America and Americans.
I’ve met a few Alice Pitney’s in my day and know one or two even today. Do they ever make my skin crawl! They insist you be happy, they insist you be clean, they insist you be healthy, enlightened and lean. They insist you have manners, they insist you be good, they insist you be civil like nobody could. They insist you eat smartly and never drink gin, they insist but I tell you I’ll never give in.
— Jim Jackson
“Little tyrants” is an apt phrase for describing the “enlightened thinkers” who believe it is their sacred duty to protect us from ourselves. That individual freedom gets tossed overboard as a result? A small price to pay for progress.
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
FRONT ROW PASS
Re: Emma Elliot’s Barack in Berlin:
Ms Elliott mentions that a German commented on the failure of Barack to speak even a little German at Tiergarten, in the style of Kennedy. This is noteworthy inasmuch as Barack has harangued Americans for their embarrassing failure to learn other languages. Barack has visited humiliation upon us all in failing to even use a single German phrase or word in his speech. This brings to mind an idea for political healing in the Democratic Party. Barack could offer to Hillary a brand new position within his administration: Language Czar. Inasmuch as Clinton has claimed to be multi-lingual, this would be a great post from which to further harangue Americans about their unilingual limitations (never mind that Hillary isn’t really multi-lingual — she’s close enough to fool Democrats). Exposing those limitations, we were slow to realize that Kennedy had claimed to be a jelly-filled pastry. Now Barack claims to be a “Weltburger.” It’s enough to give one visions of a couple of entirely new fast food franchises. I anticipate seeing “Weltburger” outlets springing up all over the country and the world, to challenge the pre-eminence of MacDonald’s. And perhaps Eintunken Berliners outlets to compete with Dunkin Donuts? And then we can all become Weltburgers by patronizing these new institutions, eating our Weltburgers with French Fries, not just jingoistic American fast food junkies exporting our vices to a beleaguered world (which reminds one that the reason Mickey Mouse did so well in France is because the French–although not the Americans–understood that Disney, no matter how much he disguised his name, was French!)
— Kent Lyon
College Station, Texas
Emma Elliott’s excellent article reads like a proposal for a TV sitcom or a “B” movie. Well done, Ms. Elliott!
Here are some more deservedly irreverent thoughts on Obama’s Wundertur:
The Threefold Path to Insincerity.
1. Schedule visit to U.S. military hospital.
2. Learn that hospital rules prohibit media circuses.
3. Cancel visit to U.S. military hospital.
Obama tells Berliners this about Afghanistan, “We have too much at stake to turn back now,” but fails to see that it applies also to Iraq, where there is even more at stake, and even more of our investment in money and lives to throw away under his cut-and-run proposal.
Did anyone hear Monsieur Obama say a single word in French while he was there? Other than merci beaucoup? If that?
Any other language? No? Danke.
He did say that Sarkozy “…seems to have a good nose for how things play out.” [Freudian slip ignored (or missed) by the Adorabamamedia.]
When you read all of the exaggeratedly glowing things Sarkozy said about Obama, surely you must remember Mark Twain’s blessed line about the French language — “It is impossible to tell the truth in French.”
Once again, Obama showed his exemption from the facts of history when he said that Sarkozy “…’reminded Americans of the long tradition of friendship’ between the two countries that dates back to French support for American revolutionaries in the 18th century.” Huh? [double-take] HUH?
I have a book for him to read on that subject — Our Oldest Enemy, A History of America’s Disastrous Relationship with France, by John J. Miller and Mark Molesky. Doubleday 2004.
On the other hand, I guess not. It’s probably not on his iPod.
— A. C. Santore
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
Re: Jonathon M. Seidl’s A Second Act in Jersey City:
Bret Schundler was — and still is — a breath of political fresh air in a New Jersey, certainly one of the most corrupt states in the union.
During his tenure as mayor in the 1990s, Schundler did revitalize Jersey City and plant the seeds for its continued development. This was minor miracle, something on a smaller scale to what Rudy did in New York City.
And if an honest assessment was made of the Mayor’s positions vs. the notorious Jim McGreevey in their 2001 race for the governorship, the “rightwing” Schundler would be fully vindicated — even by Joisey perverse standards.
— Peter Skurkiss
JUST ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Obama’s Campaign Hits the Wall:
Rather than universalizing and turning into a metaphor the specific call by Reagan to tear down the evil Berlin Wall, Obama could have reversed the metaphor. After all, fences make good neighbors, as Robert Frost, who misrecited one of his own poems at the JFK inauguration, taught us.
Obama could have said:
Syria, build up the wall between yourselves and Lebanon and give up trying to reverse the Cedar Revolution.
Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, build up the wall that should make your borders barriers to imported weapons for Hezbollah and Hamas and Iraqi terrorists.
Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, build up the wall of your borders to starve the guerrillas, kidnappers, and drug smugglers in nearby Colombia.
Robert Mugabe, build up a wall between yourself and your generals so they can’t force you to try to stay in power in Zimbabwe.
Sudan, build up a prison wall to hold your genocidal outlaws, soldiers, and politicians.
Mexico, build up a wall to prevent illegal immigrants, drug lords, and terrorists from afflicting your beloved northern good neighbor.
Cuba, wall off the home of Fidel Castro as solitary confinement.
Europe, build up the wall of your borders to keep out honor-killing Asians and terrorists.
Democratic Party, build up a wall that keeps the leftist fringe from dominating the party.
Russia, build up a wall that shows you respect both former Soviet satellites and Western Europe rather than reverting to intimidation by energy cut-off threats that violate sovereignty.
NBC, build up the wall that is supposed to separate you from the juvenile and ideological MSNBC.
China, built up the wall that will restore Tibet to nationhood. (You have lots of experience with walls.)
North Korea, wall in the President’s palace and make him watch North Korean movies all day long.
Pakistan, built up the wall between yourselves and Afghanistan to shut off the terrorists.
Afghanistan, wall off your corrupt politicians from power and wall off any exports of opium.
— Richard L.A. Schaefer
THE ENEMY WITHIN
Re: David Govett’s letter (under “Gutless Wonders”) in Reader Mail’s Republican Surge:
Thanks, David Govett, for letting us on the north Peninsula south of SF, know that Republicans are no more vocal in Davis than we suffer here. I tried to call Republican Headquarters in San Mateo County and they aren’t even listed in the telephone directory. I persisted in my search, finally got it. Called three times in three weeks, speaking only to an answer machine. When I finally got a return call. I mentioned that they were pretty slow in response. The lame explanation was “Well, we are all volunteers…” Not very enthusiastic ones, would be my guess.
Perhaps they aren’t really needed, as no one is clamoring for bumper stickers, yard signs and the like. The streets of Pacifica on south to Stanford are awash with Obama bumper strips. Republicans think more of the finish on their car than they do of their party. When I sported Bush/Cheney strips in 2000 on my two year old car and in 2004 on a 3 month old one, when I decided I needed a 4-door I offered spares to friends, who recoiled in horror at the thought of having their car “keyed” by an angry liberal.
From the number of Conservatives (who have probably never donated to the party) who say “this year I am not sending them a dime” to the malcontents who remind us daily that John Mc Cain is not their choice but they will grudgingly vote…to the cowards who will not show their support of the party on their precious car bumpers, I’d say we are a party that deserves to lose to the insane zealots who support Obama.
It didn’t take long for the deceased Tom Lantos’ seat to be filled with another Democrat. I called RNC to ask why they never put any money into fielding a decent candidate for our district. The answer was they considered the money better spent in a district they had a chance of winning. I then asked them what district my donation was supporting, as it was not my own. No answer.
Pogo had it right. We have met the enemy he is us.
— Diane Smith