Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Finds

Chuck Baldwin preaches to the choir again and though this piece is tainted with patriotic theology, it nonetheless expresses what many Americans are seeing or refusing to see.
The Worst Tragedy of the Bush Presidency

It is no hyperbole to say that George W. Bush has done more to demean and mitigate the positive influence of genuine Christianity than any single person in American history. And I do not say that lightly.

Because George W. Bush successfully portrayed himself as the ultimate Christian president, his life and policies are indelibly linked to the very definition of what it means to be a Christian in public office. The Religious Right also share in this perception, as they almost universally and totally gave their allegiance to Bush. Hence, as far as most Americans are concerned, George W. Bush is a Christian, and, therefore, his philosophies and ideas are assumed to be Christian as well. THIS IS A TRAGEDY OF UTMOST PROPORTIONS!
Plus, I came across Senator Barack Obama's testimony of receiving Christ.

"He introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ," said Obama. "I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.

"It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle ... and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church, like folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. ... But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truths and carrying out His works."

The juxtaposition of these two stories ought to be plain; President Bush, who has potentially done irreparable harm to Christianity in America and a presidential hopeful, who claims to also know Jesus personally, is unafraid to talk about faith despite the current administration's wholesale claim on it. Perhaps Obama seeks to capitalize upon Bush's tragic outworking and mishandling of faith or maybe he is sincere. Perhaps the President has not squelched sincere dialogue about faith and its practical outworkings in policy decisions. Perhaps.

Remarking on Obama's testimony, CBN commentator David Brody said, "That, ladies and gentlemen, is called a conversion experience." Conversion experience or not, Obama was preaching to the liberal choir, and has made no qualms about being a member of one of the most excruciatingly liberal Protestant denominations, the UCC. Granted, this will not harbor even any condolences from the right, and my curiosity has been piqued if his statements regarding the right's hijacking of the faith will stir any Democratic sympathizing.

Obama clearly seems to be more fluent on religious issues than other Democratic candidates. How will this benefit him? Only time will tell but this much is certain; he will not reach a broad religious base, only those on the left.


Streak said...

I think you are correct, Tony, but doesn't that suggest that the religious right is more "right" than "religious?"

Tony said...

Not dodging--when you say "that", what are you referring to? Just want to be sure I respond adequately.

Streak said...

Yeah, I was not very clear. I was responding to your sense that Obama could speak the language of faith with authenticity (which I was told about Bush in 2000 and 04) but would not appeal to conservative Christian voters. To me that suggests that the discussion of Bush's faith was actually far less important than their belief that he was conservative.

That clarify?

Tony said...

Yes--I understand now. The discussion of Bush's faith was-and remains-far less important than his conservatism. His conservatism has authenticated his faith in the eyes of conservatives.

Obama does seem sincere-which is what I like about him. I would disagree with him on several issues, though admittedly they are all ethically based (abortion, gay marriage, etc.). But I do like him.

Streak said...

And that is where I really don't understand (not about you) about conservative Christianity and their approach to politics. If ultimately, a sincere and devout Christian is rejected for his liberal beliefs, then the faith issue is fake. Why do we even talk about it?

Tony said...

I have often asked myself that same question because whenever it seems progress may indeed be made for the common good, there is always a wingnut to dismantle it.

I don't know; conservative theology and politics don't mesh well. That is why I find myself leaning more moderate in politics though remaining conservative in theology, if that makes any sense.

I do appreciate the conversations you and I have and am glad we can talk amiably. You have helped me to understand a lot of things.

Streak said...

Likewise, my friend.