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"People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

Jamie Raskin, a professor of Constitutional Law at American University  and candidate running in the Democratic primary for Maryland State Senate


28 February 2008

"My friends" : the support you HAVE , not the support you'd like to have.

My friends, when you're a Republican Presidential Nominee you have to use the endorsement of the support you HAVE , not the support you'd like to have.

February 27, 2008, 6:22 pm NY Times: Mega-Church Pastor in Texas Backs McCain By Elisabeth Bumiller

... the pastor of a San Antonio mega-church, Rev. John C. Hagee, endorsed Mr. McCain for president.
Mr. Hagee, who argues that the United States must join Israel in a preemptive, biblically prophesized military strike against Iran that will lead to the second coming of Christ, praised Mr. McCain for his pro-Israel views.
... Mr. McCain, who has been on a steady search for support among conservative and evangelical leaders who have long distrusted him, said he was “very honored'’ by Mr. Hagee’s endorsement.
Asked about Mr. Hagee’s extensive writings on Armageddon and about what one questioner said was Mr. Hagee’s belief that the anti-Christ will be the head of the European Union, Mr. McCain responded that “all I can tell you is that I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee’s support.'’

Evangelist John C. Hagee, televangelist of the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio has these profound views of what's best for the United States of America:

“We are the generation that will probably see the rapture of the church. In Christian theology, the first thing that happens when Christ returns to Earth is the judgment of nations. It will have one criterion: How did you treat the Jewish people?

Anyone who understands that will want to be on the right side of that question. Those who are anti-Semitic will go to eternal damnation.”

“Twenty-five years ago, I called a meeting of evangelists to discuss such an effort, and the conversation didn’t last an hour. This time, I called and they all came and stayed. And when the meeting was over, they all agreed to speak up for Israel.”

“I’ll never forget that night [May 15, 1948 when Israel formally became a nation]. I was 8 years old at the time and in the kitchen with my father listening to the news about Israel’s rebirth on the radio. He said, ‘Son, this is the most important day in the 20th century.’ “

"Well Islam in general -- those who live by the Koran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews."

On the ferocious Old Testament God who'd rather kill than forgive.  

"All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that.

The newspaper carried the story in our local area, that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it would was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other gay pride parades.

So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the Day of Judgment, and I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans."

On Harry Potter

"As millions of people anticipate the release of the latest Harry Potter book and film, we're reminded once again of Satan's ongoing attempt to deceive and destroy. The whole purpose of the Potter books is to desensitize readers and introduce them to the occult."

Hagee has those who "endorse" him: “

Like Joe LIeberman

"I begin by thanking your founder, Pastor John Hagee. I would describe Pastor Hagee with the words the Torah uses to describe Moses, he is an "Eesh Elo Kim," a man of God because those words fit him; and, like Moses he has become the leader of a mighty multitude in pursuit of and defense of Israel."

Well ... maybe not. - Orthodox Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, vice president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York: 

"I truly believe John Hagee is at once a daring, beautiful person and quite dangerous. I sincerely recognize him as a hero for bringing planeloads of people to Israel at a time when people there were getting blown up by the busloads.

But he also believes that the only path to the father is through Jesus. That leaves me out.”

Kindergarten Religion's Buffoon endorses a War Monger

To all practicing Christians in Willapa Country,

if this man is held high in your regard I want you to realize that you hold God in no higher regard that Reverend Hagee. You'll be hard-pressed to deny that Hagee's God is your God.

That is unless you recongize Hagee as a kindergarten pretender with no real grasp of scripture.

John Hagee portrays God as so repugnant, judgmental and punitive - he preaches a God who in reality is nothing more Hagee's own portrait of himself.

The idea that God has to carry out what Hagee's imagination interprets from the myth writing of the Old Testament is Kindergarten silliness at its ultimate.

Lord, let's make a deal ...

If I stipulate that the End Timers are right about who will be leaving and those who'll be left behind.

If I stipulate that according the ET'ers, I deserve to be left behind, you, God, will forego all the death and destruction pyrotechnics, leave me behind

... and get these self-righteous literalist children the hell out of here!!!

Take them!  Take them NOW already!!!

Friday, 7 March 2008
An open letter to a Rhodes Scholar on God & Politics

Now Playing: Sherif Grgis at National Review
Topic: God and Politics

Sherif Girgis of Dover, Del., is a senior philosophy major at Princeton University and a 2008 Rhodes Scholar. The following is an excerpt from his open letter to Barack Obama which appeared in National Review OnLine 3/4/08:
     As a prerequisite for any other right, the right to life is the great civil-rights issue of our time. It is what slavery and segregation were to generations past. Our response to this issue is the measure of our fidelity to a defining American principle: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life.”

    You have asked me to vote for you. In turn, may I ask you three simple questions? They are straightforward questions of fact about abortion. They are at the heart of the debate. In fairness, I believe that you owe the people you would lead a good-faith answer to each:

    1. The heart whose beating is stilled in every abortion — is it a human heart?

    2. The tiny limbs torn by the abortionist’s scalpel — are they human limbs?

    3. The blood that flows from the fetus’s veins — is it human blood?

    If the stopped heart is a human heart, if the torn limbs are human limbs, if the spilled blood is human blood, can there be any denying that what is killed in an abortion is a human being? In your vision for America, the license to kill that human being is a right. You have worked to protect that “right” at every turn. But can there be a right to deny some human beings life or the equal protection of the law?

    Can we become a society that does not sacrifice some people to help others? Or is that hope too audacious? You have said that abortion is necessary to protect women’s equality. But surely we can do better. Surely we can build an America where the equality of some is not purchased with the blood of others. Or would that mean too much change from politics as usual?

    Can we provide every member of the human family equal protection under the law? Your record as a legislator gives a resounding answer: No, we can’t. That is the answer the Confederacy gave the Union, the answer segregationists gave young children, the answer a complacent bus driver once gave a defiant Rosa Parks. But a different answer brought your father from Kenya so many years ago; a different answer brought my family from Egypt some years later. Now is your chance, Senator Obama, to make good on the spontaneous slogan of your campaign, to adopt the more American and more humane answer to the question of whether we can secure liberty and justice for all: Yes, we can.


I suppose that among those discriminating moralists who elevate abortion above any other consideration, this is a pretty speech Sherif being young and a Rhodes Scholar and all.

Don't know if this Senior Philosophy Major Rhodes Scholar has a religious affiliation, but I'm assuming so. Either way, if one is to throw the Book at Obama or anyone else as a scriptural critique, one should be willing to address one's own moral worthiness as well.

So I'll write an open letter to Sherif Grgis, Senior at Princeton,

2008 Rhodes Scholar,

and apprentice rhetoretician.

Sherif,

Do you believe the all-encompassing aspect of the Sermon on the Mount - that it encompasses and includes every human being on the earth? Do you believe that also?

If you do, as much as your advocacy for the unborn is laudable, so long as you leave out any advocacy for all other human beings at risk and in harm's way on this planet, could we not say that your letter to Mr. Obama is nothing more than preening; a grandstand performance with an eye single to who is impressed rather than whether or not Mr. Obama is convinced by your literary flourish?

If as you say, the right to life is the great civil rights issue of our time, how say you regarding those who have been murdered in Darfur, Iraq and other scenes of ugliness more obscene than a detached surgeon wielding a D&C weapon?

Do you have on your conscience a vote or two for a President who has killed more people in Iraq than he upon whom he places blame for the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq?

If you take a pious and compassionate posture, Sherif, ought you not take a pious and compassionate posture regarding ALL human atrocity and not just the most politically publicized?

Do you not risk diminished credibility if you are willing to risk your reputation for some but not all of those who suffer?

As for your 3 simple questions, I'm not asking for permission to ask of you 4 similar questions. I'm asking them regardless of whether you approve or not.

1. The heart whose beating is stilled in every act of war — is it a human heart?

2. All  limbs torn by the warrior's bombs — are they human limbs?

3. The blood that flows from the Iraqi child's veins — is it human blood?

4.  Is there any difference between the abortion opposed by self-righteous believers and the killing of a pregnant mother in Iraq or Darfur - a genuinely more horrendous abortion in the eyes of genuine compassionate Christians?

Your own words need to be expanded in light of my 4 questions? How would you answer your own questions below?

    Can we become a society that does not sacrifice some people to help others? Or is that hope too audacious? You have said that abortion is necessary to protect women’s equality. But surely we can do better. Surely we can build an America where the equality of some is not purchased with the blood of others. Or would that mean too much change from politics as usual?


    Can we provide every member of the human family equal protection under the law?


I seriously doubt that the Master will be impressed by collegiate credentials that constitute a limited definition of what it means to be a genuine religious humanitarian.

Now is your chance Sherif.

If you can hit it out of the park with a scholarly and philosophical reply that keeps your cherry-picking personal morality elevated above that of Mr. Obama,  human being who has genuinely moved your generation, show me your stuff.

Sincerely

Arthur Ruger
BA International Relations,
University of Houston, 1976
BA International Relations, Russian Studies

American Veteran, Opinionated

one conservative viewpoint we as Americans must sustain

08/01/2007 

In combination with the theology around Atonement and Redemption, Jesus offered a practical means for letter-of-the-law human beings to transition into a compassionate and forgiving society. He pressed for a society liberated - at least spiritually- from the either/or governance of God as managed by Jewish leadership and either/or civil obedience as managed by Roman authority.

There IS one conservative viewpoint we as Americans must sustain - spiced however with more activism. It's our Christian traditional way of looking at the teachings and role of Jesus as perhaps the most compassionate human being who ever lived.

In truth, such is the ultimate fundamentalism and evangelical literalism that must be the sole basis for a call to traditional values.

When Jesus asks that we take his gospel to all nations we take a message that has to do with our relationship to God and not God's compulsion by extortion as a tactic rather than a theology.

The current religious political agitation will not result in the resolution of who is right over who is wrong. It could, however, result in a victory based on politcal scheming by one side over another... certainly not the way of the Master. Such would be a false victory in that both sides would lose, America would lose and would continue down the path toward curse and byword for the rest of the world at large.

The success of the historical Protestant Reformation might be best described as a win/win circumstance in that God did not repudiate one point of view at the expense of the other. Both Catholics and Protestants survived. Both remain powerfully connected to Christian tradition and beliefs today.

However, the weakness of that victory displays itself among Catholics and Protestants who remain steadfast in their insistence that the other does not have total truth or authority. The Pope's recent declaration of Protestant invalidity by not being the original true church while narrow-visioned Protestants with their merchant-like (must have it in writing) obsession with authority who ignore Catholic wisdom as coming from a false or un-authorized source.

Protestant literalists seem to forget that all Luther did was yank the Bible out of the hands of his Catholic superiors while keeping for the most part the same theological assumptions that drove Catholicism with it's insecurity about its own power and led to the Dark Ages.

The ultimate consequence from such absolutist thinking is of course the assumption that God is a nit-picker with note-taking angels from whom he will arbitrarily and without mercy or compassion declare who is good and worthy and who is sinful and deserving of punishment.

Right.

At issue is not whether the United States was founded with intent that America ultimately becomes a Christian nation. At issue is that we have more than 225 years of experience living under a Constitution that, in its own way, is one of the most successful historical documents ever.

In our history we have seen the evolution of a multi-faceted society based not only on religion and philosophy, but on cultural diversity without which our positive American mythology of a melting pot could not be such a uniting part of our national psyche.

Under our Constitution we have seen the growth of a habitual way of looking at things - an automatic stance if you will - that allows for diversity of opinion and the freedom to express opinion. It is hard to make the case that deterioration of those aspects of society that each of us have deemed "deteriorating" - according to our own sense of common good and the idea of public decency - is the fault of the Constitution and can be remedied by taking its proven formula of success and modifying it into something that codifies a specific viewpoint.

We absolutely have no need of religious reins-taking of our political process as a path to America's personal and global salvation.

New theologies - whether they be about “Prosperity“, “Dominionism“, “Spiritual Warfare” or the “End Times” - ought not be the basis for seeking government power at the expense of society as a whole. If we are to reform moral and ethical practices in this country, we need to define Jesus’ Good Samaritan, Prodigal Son and Sermon on the Mount in relationship to our power as a diverse society,

to our prosperity as a tool of reform,

to our lost influential position on a global scale as an instrument of advocating peace,

to our lost spiritual and cultural values as a means toward compassion toward one another.

There is a need for resurrection.

We all know what kind of restorative process I'm talking about.

 

12/06
 
Political liberals and religious liberals ... two peas in a pod.
 
 

Christian scriptures teach two things.

  • God's thoughts are higher than humans think.
  • Believe in God and love each other.

Everthing else you are taught from the Bible is 6000 years of private interpretations.

John Danforth, in a NY Times Op-Ed 6/17/05 wrote:

It would be an oversimplification to say that America's culture wars are now between people of faith and nonbelievers.

A year and a half later, a more accurate rendering of Danforth's thought might be that the culture war is more than ever between liberal and rigid fundamentalist Christians in the same way as political liberals and conservatives differ.

In both regards, the growing contrast is moralistic  because republican political hypocrisy  has on every occasion been a betrayal of those believing Christians who had earlier entered into the political arena more fully and voted Republican.

Despite what O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity and the rest of the Keystone Reflublicans tell us, the real elitists are political conservatives and literalist religious fundamentalists.

6000 years of private interpretations of the Bible are all we can make of what is written. To construct theological formulas out of a collection of historical narratives relating how earlier human beings perceived and related to God in order to get a reservation to God's "country club in the sky" is not religion practiced but a religion theorized or even something created out of pure guesswork.

That as well defines political conservatism which is perrenially revealed as some sort of ideal never reachable because human nature tends toward selfishness, greed and a general lack of altruism which leaves little if any generous trickling down of wealth, prosperity and spiritual greatness.

The following commentary about differing Christian philosophical approaches also, IMO, reflects in many ways differing political approaches as well.

With the religious right we have seen no peacemaking efforts, no efforts to bless the poor or poor-in-spirit, no Good Samaritan Activities, no refraining from judgment, no real hungering after righteousness through activism.

Rather than act like persecuted victims straining to right imagined wrongs and imagined dangers in venues elevated above the highest commandment of loving neighbors, the most influential Christian celebrities ought to be involved in Jesus' most powerful declaration:

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you. and affirmed by Paul: For God is not the author of confusion but of peace as in all churches of the saints.

Christians find themselves in a situation of having to respond to conflicting spiritual views that reflect disagreement as to what their religion stands for, what values are most important and what methods should be used to work for the common good.

If part and parcel of Christian activism today includes an aggressive evangelical effort then I see liberal Christians empowered to counter the evangelizing of questionable theology and priorities of the Christian Right with their own evangelical effort that builds rather than destroys,

  • that seeks peace rather than attempts to justify war,

  • that encourages awareness of every sparrow that falls - now that's godliness,

  • leaving no child, no adult, no family, no culture, no nation or race and no society behind or left out of God's "neighbor" venue.

Liberal Christians must, as Danforth writes, bring their values to bear if they are going to participate in politics. They must insist that any responsibility to live a Christian life is a private matter between God and man and not something to be "codified by legislators." (Danforth)

Liberal Christians must publish and proclaim that Christianity does not possess a monopoly on the truth of God;

  • That most Americans are not in favor of and are resisting a societal shift into something resembling a Christian Taliban.

  • that most Americans are opposed to government interference in personal lives.

  • that most Americans and Liberal Christians are not opposed to scientific advances, scientific knowledge and an understanding of the real world, its environment and how things work.

  • that scientific advances for human good are not to be limited by blind and willful faith in an inerrant Bible and relgious dogma.

  • that Liberal Christians are opposed to establishing a constitutional law that denigrates minorities or creates a definition of human relationships that is exclusive in nature and limited to definitions established by a misguided legislative activism in a country dominated by one religious point of view.

America's so called "core values" are not something recently created or recently modified by the outcome of elections.

Those core values, many of which are spiritual in nature, include an understanding the there is always much to be learned in a free America. Liberty allows all to learn and the direction of learning is not restricted to a specific religious belief system.

American core values have included a psychology that religion is a private matter between a person and God and that everyone is at liberty to believe and belong to any spiritual system.

American core values do not include the notion that the Christian God is supreme and legitimate while all "other Gods" are false or evil.

American core values emphasize humility and the idea that anyone who gets "too big for their britches" or who has proven inept at the job will be put in their deserved place by the wiser electoral majority.

The biggest sharks are not at liberty in this country to pick on the tiniest minnows regardless of their wealth or political majority.

American core values emphasize that church is a place for spiritual nourishment and not political manipulation or excommunication for political disagreement.

American core values include patriotism with an understanding that dissent and participation is patriotic.

Although it rears its ugly head from time to time, jingoism is not the American way of supporting troops and letting presidents get away with the slaughter of innocents by bringing God into the equation.

Liberal Christians must reach out and extend their hands of fellowship to any and all neighbors. They must proclaim peace, actively work for peace, oppose injustice to any neighbor, and work for relief to all who are oppressed and suffering.

Liberal Christians do not encounter victims on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and pass by on the other side.

Nor do they stop and point out that a victim was in some way acted upon by God as a punishment.

Nor do they consider any victim as unworthy, undeserving or sinful in not meeting certain standards.

Rather, liberal Christians are ready to not pass by, but to stop and have compassion, bind wounds and escort the victim to shelter for tender care.

Liberal Christians can evangelize the Gospel of Christ to any and all without the objective of conversion or bringing non-Christian souls to Christ. Christ is not a bean-counter nor the head of an exclusive club.

The objective of God is love of one's neighbor and compassion for all and not the herding of humanity into a pearly-gated corral by born-again whip-wielding sheep herders.

God & Politics Archives

Mitt and Me: Mormon children of the 1960's (08/08/07)

Patriarchy's dangerous path for Christian families (08/01/07)

Churches shooting field mice with elephant guns 07/01/2007

Politics, Patriotism, Capitalists, God-Talkers & Reality (05/14/07)

God and Civic Involvement (03/10/07)

Jesus Camp: Impressionable youngsters take upon themselves their parents' fear (02/28/07)

Would You Elect A Mormon President? (02/27/07)

Moral courage: non-evangelical traditional churches have it too. (01/07/07)

Jesus: Activist for Social Justice (2006)

This time ... talking points against the exploitation of the genuine Christian silent majority ... (10/18/2006)

The Master's Path: No Christian evangelical monopolising! (07/08/06)

WWJD? (06/2006)

Are America's culture wars are between people of faith & non--believers? (06/01/06)

Reformation (05/2006)

Jesus does not tell the faithful how to vote nor to sign Mr. Eyman's hate initiative. (04/26/06)

Like our elected Democrats, Christians who keep quiet reveal cowardice (03/15/06)

When religious rhetoric is used to garner electoral support we all lose. (03/05/06)

What's Wrong with the Da Vinci Code? (02/16/06)

Eyman: Assuming blind Christian prejudice for Profit (02/06/06)

What does It Mean to be Christian in America Today? (01/18/06)

Christmas 2005 (12/25/05)

I've never Met Him 12/2005

Ours or Theirs? Reformation is on the Table 2005

On the Scandal of Evangelical Conscience (10/2005)

What does it mean to be Christian in America post-Katrina? (09/05/05)

A God That Justifies the Horror (06/2005)

Jesus is a Problem for the Christian Right (12/28/04)

On religion and politics and a separation of church and state (12/2004)

The Poor (12/15/04)

On Moral Values (11/10/04)

Christ Consciousness in our Political Context (10/10/04)

Render Unto Caesar (08/2004)

Hypocritical Sanctimony meets Sanctimonious Hypocrisy (03/12/04)

Arthur & Lietta Ruger 2002-2008. The American Choice is a  political internet journal based in Bay Center, Washington. The views expressed not authored by Arthur or Lietta Ruger are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of The American Choice or SwanDeer Productions. Permission of author required for reprinting original material, and only requests for reprinting a specific item are considered.

mailto:arthur@swandeer.com