Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Christianity Today, Everyday, Forever, And Politics

My view of following Christ is that it is such a higher calling than politics that our passion for it is best set a decent bit down our priority list. Christ's kingdom is not of this world, and he had nearly nothing to say of a tyrannical and often oppressive Roman government.

The  desired priority list of a Christian as defined in the Bible seems something like:

  1. Christ ... God, the Church, The Apostles Creed, ... 
  2. Community -- Family (as defined in the Bible), Friends, Neighbors, etc 
  3. "The Poor" -- when possible, PERSONALLY helping them, and then "as personally as possible", in stewardship of what organizations we support. Not attempting to outsource the responsibility to the government by "voting correctly", etc
... and of course we could go on, and I won't.

Priorities require some sort of "order", which requires some definition of right/wrong, better/worse,  ... things like written and followed Constitutions, which if they are to continue to exist in a democracy, require a defined population (eg bounded/bordered) that understand at a basic level what things like "order", "law", etc mean. `

Since there are no even remotely perfect politicians, are always required to vote for a FAR less than perfect candidate -- and different types of failings will affect people differently. Praeger makes a decent case for many of the reasons that anyone of conservative mindset will support Trump over any known Democrat alternative ... support for life, appointment of judges that seek to defend a written Constitution, policies that produce decent political results (like definfined and enforced borders, voter ID), good economy, religious freedom, etc

What Dennis does not make clear in my mind is the maybe (to him) too obvious point that the present criteria would make all previous presidents with the possible exception of Harrison and Madison as being needful of impeachment.

"Laws" that are only enforced when "your side" wins, are political policy weapons, not "laws" -- best defended as political vs moral issues.

The two supposed "criteria" of the current "impeachment" are 1). Seeking help from a foreign government to investigate potential crimes by the son of a potential future candidate to oppose his re-election 2). Obstructing congress

As stated in the NY Times ... article:
Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.
Actually, he asked a foreign leader to look into fairly well known case of the SON of a former US VP and POTENTIAL nominee for US president in 2020. To the extent Americans accept this standard as legitimately "impeachable", Obama certainly ought to have been impeached, since we now know that his administration investigated and encouraged foreign governments to investigate Trump before and during the time he was the opposition party candidate for president -- when in fact the Mueller Report and subsequent investigations have shown there was no legitimate reason to begin such an investigation. (The FISA court was lied to).

Article 2 fails to recognize that we have three branches of government explicitly opposed (see Federalist 10) ... the President is SUPPOSED to often obstruct Congress! It is a MAJOR part (separation of powers) of the Constitution that he (and they!) swear that they will defend! (Although, without at least some form of transcendent authority (religion) what does "swear" actually mean? )

The President is the head of the Justice Department, so initiating and participating in criminal investigations ... domestic and foreign, is is part of what he does. If someone running for president (and now apparently their family) is immune from being investigated, we we have established a radically new standard. Is this a new standard we want?

In jeopardy of being investigated for criminal activity? Run for president! You have immunity!

How "Christianity Today" would even begin to attempt to establish support for Trump as in any way "immoral" (and from the POV of CT, it appears that they mainly define "morality" as what they said in '98) is difficult to comprehend.

To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?
To the extent we are Christians, it is never about OUR behavior -- for we (and I'd assume CC) daily admit we are filthy sinners, totally undeserving of God's Grace and in desperate need of constant humble repentance and forgiveness. It isn't WE who ultimately defend life, it is GOD! (Jer 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart ...")

None of "we" humans have "moral standing" to judge anyone / anything from a "Christian" POV. We certain can, and are commanded to DISCERN (with Christ's Grace) what is Biblically moral!

To the extent we try to set our (or our leaders, or anyone else but Christ's) behavior up as the moral standard, we are just giving more evidence to the  fact of how far WE ... including our nation, churches, etc have fallen! Nobody will come to Christ based on our imagined "goodness/righteousness" -- we can HOPE AND PRAY that we do far better, but we daily confess it isn't going to be enough!  (I'd argue that Billy Graham did far better though!)

Certainly Clinton broke the law ... he lied under oath, he had sex with an employee at the office, something that any of us would be legitimately fired for, and then lied about it. Only by a new standard under which all but 2 former presidents would have been impeached, and if justice was served, removed from office, could Trump be validly impeached OTOH.

We are called to be the best citizens we can be, so I see it as our duty to know as much as each of us are able about our laws, things like attempted coups, etc, and present that case as nonjudgmentally (very difficult!) as we can! In general, conservatives are quiet people -- a major part of the reason that Trump is hard for them to support -- his personality (and behavior) is not what they approve of.

It appears that CT may have made it's own case against their opposition ...

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.
In CT's view, one wonders what constitutes "morality", and their right to pass judgement on the "dumbing down" of such. In John 1:8 after the interaction with woman caught in the act of adultery, We see:

 "Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

My imperfect understanding of the NT is that it is heavily weighted to the condemnation of earthly religious authorities who presume they, as opposed to God, are to judge. Even Christ says "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."

While Satan certainly wants the world to believe that the imperfection of Christian morality is a valid cause for harsh judgement and accusation, does CT really see it the same way and want to admonish others to follow them? Does Christ tell us to argue constantly about who has the bigger "log" in their eye?

I believe that one of of Satan's chief weapons is seeking to equate the Christian defense of BIBLICAL morality with "hate and judgement", and worldly lack of consideration of Biblical morality with "love". Having any type of standard means having  DISCERNMENT ... one has to know what the standards are to follow them. And a base fact of life is that we all DO have standards of some sort -- often accidentally, often poorly followed, author definitely included!

The sad part of "Christianity Today" (both as a magazine and in reality) is that many Christians hold their acceptance by the world to be more important than their adherence and support for the standards of God. James 4:4 is not one of their favorite verses ... "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."
And in the end, I believe Satan's "chief weapons" will look like these ... this post was getting pedantic.

It is HARD to avoid judgement of a person that disagrees with us on very tough issues like life, sexual morality, God having defined marriage as only between the two observable sexes, and personalities that we find "offensive" ... etc

It is so hard we have no hope of it without God's Grace given in Christ ... pray to accept and stay in that Grace!

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

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