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Steevo

"Faith-based voters might find good reasons to back Rudy Giuliani, but Pat Robertson’s endorsement will not be one of them."

I don't know. Robertson founded the Christian Coalition, a highly motivated "faith-based" organization of 1.5 million in the 90s. And for sure, they voted.

I'm like Glenn Reynolds, writers at Fox news and a load of others really. Unless the MSM makes this bad, I think it will help.

But a good article by Mr. Loconte. He knows his stuff. His final 2 paragraphs say a lot.

Tony Makara

Many on the religious right in America are locked into the rapture-culture. They would prefer to see the men in power that would hasten armageddon. This is fact. They live for the rise of the anti-christ and dream of being the rapture generation. The return of the Jews to Israel after the genocide in Europe was for these preachers the fulfilment of prophesy. It is a worry that end-timers may now be seeking a self-fulfilling prophesy.

traps

http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/traps/2007/11/10/pat-robertsons-endorsement-of-giuliani-is-a-big-deal/

rightwingprof

"Anyone who thinks that Mr. Robertson is a weather vane for religious voters simply hasn’t been paying attention."

Certainly, although to be fair, if you are separated from the US by an ocean and get your perspective from the media rather than living here, one can easily see how misperceptions arise. Religious conservatives are not a monolith, but that isn't even apparent to Americans who know none but only get their information from the media, much less our British cousins.

I'm not arguing, by the way, merely making a point.

Maduka

The role of religion in politics is a key difference between Britain and America. How significant this difference is, I don't know. What impact it would have on the conservative movements in both countries, we can only guess.

There is a danger (both to the political party and the religious organization) of being tied so closely together. In Europe, Islam is likely to seek a more active political voice and this might be dangerous.

To what extent can we criticise Islamic oriented political groups in Europe when the Republican party seems to be heavily influenced by Christian groups?

In Turkey, we have a moderate Islamic party in power. This has people all over Europe and America concerned. But the Turkish will counter that they are not doing anything radically different from what Americans are doing.

History teaches us that nothing corrupts organised religion as much as political power. Infact, one the major reasons for the decline of Christianity in Europe was its attachement to the center of power (e.g. Church of England and the Crown).

We have to be careful, some of the demands of well meaning religious folks contradict the secular principles upon which the Nation was founded.

We need to carefully strike a balance.

Steevo

"There is a danger (both to the political party and the religious organization) of being tied so closely together."

No there isn't. And what influence there is of religious organizations could well be less than previous elections. Abortion is a concern of course but you don't have to be religious to at least believe at a point in the womb, killing amount's to murder of an innocent human. Still it may not be the primary motivation for Christians at large that it once was. Many indicators have reached that conclusion. And it is a total fallacy, really just nuts, to claim foreign policy will be or ever has been motivated by the Evangelical conviction to spread the gospel. That was said in a previous post of yours and at best... paranoia motivated.

"To what extent can we criticise Islamic oriented political groups in Europe when the Republican party seems to be heavily influenced by Christian groups?"

There you go again Maduka. "Fatwah" Christians. Your relativist attempt is absurd. And the "Turkish" have point Americans need to know?

In your determinations to apply your take on history to present day Americans who actually believe in God, I think you're bigoted, irrational, alarmist... and flat out wrong.

atheling

"To what extent can we criticise Islamic oriented political groups in Europe when the Republican party seems to be heavily influenced by Christian groups?"

Once again, we see the liberal mind incapable of discrimination (evil word!), which belongs to the faculty of reason.

There are major differences between Islam and Christianity. For instance:

1. Christianity does not issue "fatwas" on apostates. Christian apostates don't live in fear of their lives like Muslim apostates do, i.e. Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

2. Islam suppresses the rights of women. In Sharia Law, a woman's testimoney is worth half of that of a man. A male Muslim relative may "honor" kill his daughter or wife or niece if they believe she has shamed the family - and that includes her rape! Islam also encourages forced marriages, polygamy, easy divorce (on the man's part), and female genital mutilation. I don't see that happening much with Christians, do you?

3. Islam is intolerant of any other religion, as we see the persecution and draconian restrictions placed on non Muslims in Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia. Do we see Christians in the US burning down mosques?

4. Islamic justice requires the barbaric practice of stoning adulterers, hanging homosexuals, and cutting off the limbs of thieves. When's the last time you saw Christians doing that?

"We have to be careful, some of the demands of well meaning religious folks contradict the secular principles upon which the Nation was founded."

First of all, what makes you think our Nation was founded on "secular" principles? Doesn't the Declaration of Independence say that GOD created all men equal? That principle is hardly secular, is it? Secondly, please give examples where "well meaning" religious folks who "contradict" those principles.

What is it with liberals? They spout all sorts of platitudes and assertions without any substantiation. I'm beginning to think that being a liberal means having a lobotomy when it comes to politics and religion.

Maduka

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State - Thomas Jefferson.

I am not a liberal, I also a christian.

There is an important distinction.

The early settlers to America were Christians. The United States of America was not founded as a Christian Nation. Secular is not same same as 'atheistic'. A secular constitution can acknowledge the existence of God.

Maduka

Atheling,

Remember prohibition.

atheling

maduka:

I also am a Christian who believes in separation of church and state. However, the law prohibits the government from making laws which ESTABLISH a state religion, not from banning religion from public life, which is what many so called "secularists" are attempting to do. It also states that the government cannot PROHIBIT the exercise of religion, which is also under attack from said secularists. We see in public schools that children are prohibited from wearing crucifixes or clothing which express their religious beliefs, however those very same schools permit Muslims to have "prayer rooms", which clearly violates the separation of church and state.

Your weak example - prohibition - which was almost a century ago, is hardly grounds for the alarmist concerns you expressed. Again, tell me, what are those "demands" of "well meaning religious folks" which "contradict the secular principles upon which the Nation was founded"?

Secondly, your claim that you are not a liberal is patently false. Almost every comment you have made at this site supports liberalism and criticizes conservatism. When I challenged you to read a book written by conservatives, you have not responded, which leads me to assume that you couldn't be bothered to dig a little deeper into conservative philosophy. Instead, you continue to post comments which simply spout liberal platitudes and sound bytes.

I'm sorry, maduka, but your credibility is seriously questionable.

mamapajamas

Tony Makara, re: "Many on the religious right in America are locked into the rapture-culture. They would prefer to see the men in power that would hasten armageddon."

SOME on the religious right are locked into the rapture culture. MOST are not. I wouldn't worry about this. Those flakes are in an extreme minority. The very fact that a major religious right icon like Pat Robertson has endorsed Giulianni is proof in and of itself that there is no "there" there.

Solange Miller

The demographic winter is here.

Aging workforce in the US.
geocities(dot)com/demographic_crash

Website with good information on the subject.
Welcome.

Have a nice day.

Sincerely,
Solange Miller

Jonathan Powell

Doesn't the Declaration of Independence say that GOD created all men equal?

No, actually it says:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,"

and goes on to say that:

"they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

One could interpret "Creator" as the Christian "God", but it's hardly self-evident.

The only reference to "God" refers to Nature's God, which again is open to interpretation.

When you think about it, it's striking how economical the Founders were with the term "God" (I believe the word does not appear anywhere in the Constitution) or theological terms in general. Can you imagine if these documents were written by folks like Pat Robertson? Every other line would include "God" or "Jesus".

Also, you have to remember that when America was founded the whole world was much more religious. Compared to Britain in 1776 America was strikingly secular.

atheling

Jonathan Powell: You're quibbling:

"One could interpret "Creator" as the Christian "God", but it's hardly self-evident."

Indeed? Who do you think the "God" of the Founding Fathers was? Krishna? Give me a break! Here are a few clues:

"Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the Author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance." --Thomas Jefferson: Legal Argument, 1770. FE 1:376

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?" --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XVIII, 1782. ME 2:227

"The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them." --Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. ME 1:211, Papers 1:135

"Our Saviour... has taught us to judge the tree by its fruit, and to leave motives to Him who can alone see into them." --Thomas Jefferson to Martin Van Buren, 1824. ME 16:55

"The Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind." --Thomas Jefferson to Moses Robinson, 1801. ME 10:237

I will admit that Jefferson was (rightfully) careful to refrain from excluding the religious freedoms of the Hindu, Muslim, atheist, etc... however you're misled if you think that the Founding Fathers were NOT Christian! That's a lie which is championed by the secularist/atheists of this day.

And your point that Britain was more "religious" than America is strange, since the earliest Americans - the Puritans - left Britain because of its increasing "godlessness" and they wanted to practice their religion without interference.

atheling

Furthermore:

"The evidence of [the] natural right [of expatriation], like that of our right to life, liberty, the use of our faculties, the pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble and sophistical investigations of reason, but is impressed on the sense of every man. We do not claim these under the charters of kings or legislators, but under the King of Kings." --Thomas Jefferson to John Manners, 1817. ME 15:124

Hmmm, who is this "King of Kings" he refers to?

"I sincerely pray that all the members of the human family may, in the time prescribed by the Father of us all, find themselves securely established in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and happiness." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Ellicot Thomas, et al., 1807. ME 16:290

Jonathan Powell

Atheling:

I wasn't suggesting that the Founders were not Christian (although I doubt men such as Jefferson or Franklin would have been a home amongst the closed minded fundamentalists of the religious right) but merely that they were careful NOT to use Christian theology in the founding documents of America. This is all the more striking given that they were religious men living in a religious age, and shows that America was founded on secular principles.

Now, you could argue that those secular principles were derived from Christian thinking, but that's a whole other story (I mean, you could equally argue that Marxism was derived from Christian thinking). The point is that America has always been a secular country.

Regarding my point about Britain being more religious, I meant in terms of the State. In Britain, not only did most people take religion seriously (as in America) but the Monarch was the head of the Church, and public life was explicitly religious, whereas America was ahead of it's time in relegating religion to the private sphere. However, you're quite right about the Puritans: they were religious fanatics.

atheling

"Now, you could argue that those secular principles were derived from Christian thinking, but that's a whole other story (I mean, you could equally argue that Marxism was derived from Christian thinking)."

Those are NOT secular principles. Indeed, the concept that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is a fundamental human right derives from Christianity! No non-Christian society has developed those doctrines. Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam... NONE of them have developed the tenets which stress fundamental human rights and dignity as described in the Declaration and as protected by the Constitution. Your absurd statement that Marxism also derives from Christianity is truly laughable. Marxism is what you get when you remove Christian principles from society and government.

Jonathan Powell

Atheling,

First off America was founded on the idea that there should be a wall of separation between Church and State: that represents the epitome of secularism. Furthermore, this principle was reflected in the sparsity of theology in the founding documents, as we have discussed.

Now, the concept that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is a fundamental human right need not be secular, but it is fully consistent with America's secularity, else it would not have been included in the Declaration of Independence. It is true that the Founding Fathers derived their views from Christianity, but Christianity is neither necessary nor sufficient. It's not necessary because non-Christians have come to the same conclusion (e.g. Objectivists) and it's clearly not sufficient because of things like the Spanish Inquisition, and the tyranny of Christian England over the Americans which led to the Revolutionary war, to give just 2 examples.

As I said, the same logic (that Christianity inevitably leads to human rights) could be used to argue that Christianity inevitably leads to Marxism. To use your own words: No non-Christian society has developed the doctrine of Marxism--it is the product of Christian Europe. In particular, the idea that all people have equal rights and that one should help the poor are distinctively Christian. I'm not necessarily saying that such an argument would hold water, just that it's analogous to the argument that America's values are based on Christianity. Both America and Marxism were born out of a Christian world, but the concepts they represent transcend Christianity.

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