Levellers

Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Born Again American?

Born Again American is a new project by Norman Lear that has debuted just in time for the inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th President of the USA.  Yes, that Norman Lear: liberal TV mogul of the ’60s and ’70s (responsible for such socially conscious comedies as All in the Family; Maude; The Jeffersons; & Sanford and Son among others) who decided to fight the influence of the Religious Right by forming People for the American Way.

In this latest project, Lear has teamed up with singer/songwriter Keith Carradine and Director Mark Johnson to create a song, video, and website that promotes a “liberal patriotism” that encourages people to put the common good before narrow self intest, to become involved in community and national service, and to hold government officials responsible for working for the common good.  The song (see the lyrics here) espouses economic populism (chastising both big business and government for the destruction of the working class and middle class) and a spirit of unity across religious and racial lines.  The website connects people with opportunities to serve and to get involved in holding government officials accountable. 

The song and concept are patriotic in the best senses of that term:  not militaristic jingoism that puts down other nations or divides the country into “real” and “fake” America, but eliciting pride in the country’s ideals AT THEIR BEST.  UPDATE:  I want to make it clear that I am not against patriotism per se.  It is natural for people everywhere to want to love their country, celebrate its ideals, and push it to live up to those ideals, purging it of its faults and historical sins.  As this article shows, the Right is in for a surprise since Obama’s election has led to an increase of non-jingoistic patriotism, despite all their efforts to portray him as a friend of terrorists and those of us who voted for him as haters of America.  The right kind of patriotism can help us get through hard times as we tackle enormous difficulties–just as militaristic, world hating, America-0nly forms of patriotism divided and destroyed us for 7 years following 9/11/01.  So, I welcome the right kind of patriotic renewal and want to share in it.

But there is also much civil religion in “Born Again American,”  and this makes me nervous.  Civil religion easily devolves into national idolatry. It seems strange that Lear, who has been such a relentless critic of the  civil religion of the Right, should now espouse a liberal version of the same.

I am uncomfortable with lyrics that quickly link “my Bible and the Bill of Rights” (a lyric that seems at odds with the religious diversity shown in the video–a Muslim cleric singing next to a female Jewish cantor, several choirs, Christian clergy from different traditions)–even though I have long contended that the deeper roots of the human rights tradition are biblical rather than just springing up full-blown from the Enlightenment.  And, while  I am a major proponent of interfaith dialogue (necessary for any peacemaking in today’s world), I don’t want the basis of such dialogue to be a common loyalty to the nation-state that transcends individual faith loyalties. That would make the nation-state our real god (an idol by any other name).

But I may be jumping at shadows.  Most of the prophetic forms of social change in this nation had SOME civil religious dimensions to them, from the Abolitionists to the first wave (19th C) of feminists to the civil rights movement.  It IS possible to promote a rebirth of the right kind of patriotism, with spiritual dimensions, without losing the possibility of prophetic critique of the nation, right?  And that is the point of this project.

The song, video, and website are hopeful–in place of a national despair or cynicism.  Further, it specifically recognizes that the changes needed in this nation at this moment of crisis will not be made solely by the new presidennt, nor even soley by government. It is a ringing call to personal and communal responsibility–of the kind that most people expected after 9/11 when our government, instead, told us to fight terrorism simply by going along with whatever illegal and disastrous foreign military adventures it planned and, at home,  to “go shopping.” I signed up to do my part.

But this born-again liberal Christian remains uncomfortable with being a “born again American.”  Is this just Lee Greenwood’s horrid “God Bless the USA” in liberal form–or am I being too cynical?  Check out the website, etc. and then give me your feedback on these tricky questions.

January 19, 2009 - Posted by | Christianity, church-state separation, citizenship

38 Comments

  1. If I was American I think I’d be embarrassed. As a non-American it makes me cringe. In the words of a NZ artist Ralph Hotere, God Bless Amerikaaghhh!!! (1979)

    Comment by steph | January 19, 2009

  2. What is a liberal Christian?? Anyway,I was usure of the message at first and who the target audience was. Was it to those who are “Born Again” according to the Biblical passage John 3:3? Was it taking the term and morphing it into some form of Patriotism? (thereby watering it down and making it more “common” and meaningless) I am still unsure of how or why the term “Born Again American” was chosen. It actually seems quite “hokey”. In the end, it was an affirmation of my previous resolve to be more proactive in governmental actions and decisions. So, I signed.

    Comment by Dean | January 22, 2009

  3. Dean, what is so difficult to comprehend about Liberal Christian? It is not an oxymoron like Compassionate Conservative. In reality to be Born Again in the true Biblical meaning is to associate with and to emulate Jesus. The same liberal Jesus that espoused social justice and went to the cross for us all. It was the smug Pharisees who were the conservatives of the day.Thus, all true Christians should be liberals.

    By some mechanism, unknown to me, Fundamentalists interjected their cultural conservatism into the contemporary Christian movements thereby contaminating it. Perhaps it was the pulpits assumed by their false prophets with their large audiences and congregations. Conservative Christian is the oxymoron.

    I don’t have a problem with Norman Lear’s Born Again American project even though I don’t believe in co mingling politics and religion. In this case it is simply saying that it is OK to be an Born Again American Christian and care for all Americans regardless of their religious affiliations or social status or skin pigmentation. Amen!

    Comment by Lou Hancherick | January 23, 2009

  4. Hey Lou. You may want to elaborate more on what your concept of liberal is. Liberal for me has always been equated with gross immorality and selfishness. Hence, the two most debated subjects between conservatives and liberals being special rights for homosexuals and the womans right to choose wether to murder her offspring or not. These are the two issues in Amercan culture that are most important right now. There is an attack on the basic building block of society, the family. It’s pretty obvious to anyone with any spiritual insight. It has been my experience that churches that feed the poor and care for the ill and disadvantaged would not call themselves liberal, on the contrary. And also, Born Again means being born of the Spirit, if you look at the biblical passage. It is not following some man’s self-righteous puffed-up philosophy.

    Comment by Dean | January 23, 2009

  5. Obama is the Messiah of the Liberal Church of America. He will send the poor to Hell with clothes on their backs and a full stomach. All Praise be to Obama! Oh, wait a minute. Government doesn’t save. Obama can’t save. Only Jesus saves. Stop trying to get the Government to do what the Body of Christ was commissioned to do. Make disciples of Christ not Uncle Sam.

    Comment by Dean | January 27, 2009

  6. If that was addressed to me, Dean, you are mistaken. I have no messianic view of either government or Obama. I resist “presidentialism” as a political movement. I do expect government, including the president, to do GOVERNMENT’s job: “to form a more perfect union, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Republicans distort this by making “common defense” everything and interpreting liberty to mean only “free markets.” By contrast, most of the Obama agenda is to redress this imbalance by working on promoting the general welfare (healthcare, good schools and education for everyone, strengthened unions, infrastructure, etc.).

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | January 27, 2009

  7. A couple of things I find disturbing. First, the logo. It seems eerily like the work of the same graphic artist who did the Obama logo. Second, the words of the song—

    ‘I went up to a congressman and said to him “you know
    Our government is letting people down”
    He said he’d need a lot of help to buck the status-quo
    I said there was a bunch of us around.’

    This smacks of a preview of the upcoming USSA.

    Third, but not finally (this needs more of my thought) the concept is a little too nice. Of course people are going to fall for this in droves. And those who don’t will be villified for their selfishness.

    Watch out, I think, this is very frightening.

    Comment by Chery | January 28, 2009

  8. […] countenance anything contrary to their narrow view of the world. Those interactions gave me a deep distrust of anything called born […]

    Pingback by Bring It On! » Blog Archive » Born Again Americans | January 29, 2009

  9. […] From Michael Westmoreland-White over at Levellers: […]

    Pingback by I’m a Born Again American « Willpen’s World | January 29, 2009

  10. […] of the Day Born Again American? Norman Lear’s Patriotism: Born Again American Bill Moyers Journal: Born Again American […]

    Pingback by Two Sides to Every Story | February 2, 2009

  11. Dean, I fully know spiritual meaning of Born Again, but it does not stop with obtaining ones fire insurance. We are to be imitators of Christ.(Ephesians 5:1) It would be hard for me to visualize Jesus throwing stones at gays or forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy. These are not the two most important cultural issues facing our Country nor do I see how our family structure is threatened. I would consider the 18,000 Americans who die each year because they didn’t have Health Care and poverty more important.

    Sounds like you have been sipping the Conservative Kool-Aid as your comments follow along with right wing talkers. Once Communism was defeated, Conservatives, who always need a “boogy man” to rile against, demonized Liberals as the substitute. Actually Liberals are the loving compassionate Christians in our society.

    The Right, in order to build a political coalition, perpetrated the myth that an embryo produced at conception is a human. The Bible says it is not a human until God breaths life into it. Abortion was more common in Biblical times as it is today – in fact God sent an Angel to Mary to prevent her from aborting. God by his very nature is a loving gentle God and would not force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or force us to do anything. Why would we want to hand that power over to a Government?

    Dean, it is your choice by God’s free will to look beyond the confines of your perceptions of Liberal.

    Comment by Lou Hancherick | February 2, 2009

  12. Lou, who is throwing stones at gays? The only violent ones of late are the gays when Proposition 8 was voted against, democratically. Do you include yourself with this crowd? Should a small percentage of society (homosexuals)force their views on the rest of us (heterosexuals)? Should our children have homosexuality and the transgender lifestyle forced on them in gradeschool?
    As far as abortion. It is being used as a form of birth control after the fact. Because people don’t want to excercise self-control, they want the right to have population control. They think they can kill it and bury it and make it all go away. And you think God is cool with it? It’s funny, if you murder a pregnant woman it’s a double murder of two human lives. If the woman does it herself it’s just a blob of tissue. Romans 1:32 …who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

    Comment by Dean | February 2, 2009

  13. P.S. Fire insurance? Please read John Chapter 3, prayerfully. If you can’t see that there is an attack on the family structure…well, I can’t help you. America has been the most prosperous nation on the Earth. Our poor here are rich compared to the poor in other countries. As far as Healthcare, our system definitely needs change and improvement. But, socialized healthcare presents many more problems than it answers. So, the two most important issues in American Culture would be…right. It’s not a political conspiracy, but a spiritual reality. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and (then) the uttermost parts of the Earth. Blessings!

    Comment by Dean | February 2, 2009

  14. “The only violent ones of late are the gays when Proposition 8 was voted against, democratically.”

    Apart from the ones who sent packets of white powder to 12 gay-owned businesses. And the gang that pack-raped a lesbian woman for being lesbian. And the people who shot 30% of all transgendered women in Memphis Tennessee in the last 6 months. Not forgetting the two Memphis policemen who were caught on video attacking one of the victims in a police station.

    Dean, if the papers reported every single time someone was raped, stones, shot, or even crucified for being gay or transgender, they’d never have any room for real news. So I don’t blame you for not knowing this stuff. It’s only the Man Bites Dog incidents that get reported.

    Comment by Zoe Brain | February 3, 2009

  15. “Liberal for me has always been equated with gross immorality and selfishness”

    I could say conservativism has always been associated with hipocrisy, or that capitalism has always been associated with theft. Not being a liberal myself (I’m a mix of anarchist and pesimist, so political parties really don’t have my simpaties)

    “Our poor here are rich compared to the poor in other countries”

    And ask yourself why. ‘cos richness doesn’t fall from the sky.

    “Obama is the Messiah of the Liberal Church of America”

    And what about the militar who said that G.W. Bush was not elected by people, but appointed by God? It seems to me that you conservatives are more heretics than we could ever imagine. But after all you’re not so wrong. Obamania looks certainly like a religion. (Off course, I prefer him than warmonger genocide G.W. Bush).

    “Should a small percentage of society (homosexuals)force their views on the rest of us (heterosexuals)?”

    I hope you know the diference between democracy and crowd behavoiur. Remember those southern racists were the majority who opposed any reform that could favor black minority.

    So, your conservative evangelism (“Northamerican reformed presby-lutheranism” in the words of ned Flanders) is just another religious metanarrative, not the only one, not the best and certainly not the most christian.

    BTW, I’m southamerican, so your (possible) patriotic northamerican discourse doesn’t really interest me (in fact, it makes me anger).

    Comment by mountainguy | February 3, 2009

  16. I received this video via email from a family member and before even viewing it I felt very cynical. Then I softened a little, it’s kind of sweet, you know, basically a good message. But I still felt confused, so I googled it. I found this commentary on Levellers and I totally agree with it.

    Yet, I am still confused, leaning towards contiuned cynicism. The portrayal of “diversity” seems token. The main players are white males (I don’t care how much you lament, you are still at an advantage). The music is country which is too often synonymous with Christian Conservatism, and those in the video who aren’t good ol’ boys do not represent “the others” strongly enough. It makes them seem to be tossed in to the mix in order to validate that this is inclusion of all.

    I just don’t buy it.

    Norman Lear has done so much ground-breaking work; I find this to be a sappy disappointment. It is a pleasant and potentially moving song if you take away the visual accompaniment, very much in line with the past work of the writer Keith Carridine – whose work brings to me much nostalgia and sentiment.

    “My bible and the bill of rights and my creed of liberty”

    So it comes down to the referrence to the bible. And to the term “Born Again”.

    I dunno, Lear is jumping on the “I can be liberal and believe in God; conservatives aren’t the only Christians” bandwagon?

    And what about those of us who aren’t Christians and are very much Americans?

    I think us cynics can remain so just by going back to the title of the video: Born Again Americans

    It clearly aligns with Born Again Christians.

    I don’t know about you, but I was born American the first time around with all my rights to the freedoms it allows to me as a female hetrosexual caucasian. I don’t need to do it again.

    Thanks for providing a forum for me to talk it out to myself. It has cleared up a lot of confusion for me.

    Comment by Roxanne | February 4, 2009

  17. Those are NOT the original lyrics….

    Here is an excerpt from a letter I sent to the friend who sent me the link to the “Born-again American” video:

    I want to encourage you to do some critical thinking about it. Really take a look at the entire website. For instance, on the “About Us” page, there’s this from Keith Carradine:

    “When Norman asked me to write “Born Again American” he did so with the suggestion that the song address several timely and timeless social and political issues. He was quite specific about reinforcing what our founders envisioned when they wrote our Constitution and Bill Of Rights; (ergo ” my bible is The Bill Of Rights “). The secular ideals of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine are what we need to remind ourselves of at this critical time in our Nation’s history.”

    So the original lyrics are “My bible IS the Bill of Rights” — but the website changed it to “my Bible AND the Bill of Rights.” Big difference: the “secular ideals” of Jefferson and Paine have now been co-opted to Christian religion in the song. That is not what Norman Lear and Keith Carradine worked together to achieve.

    Think about it:
    As a born-again American, if my bible is the Bill of Rights, and my creed is equality, then I’m leaving religion out of the political picture. I’m keeping my religion as my own private expression, where it belongs — out of the political arena.

    I’m a member of the Interfaith Alliance, an organization headed by a minister and composed of people from many (and no) belief systems, dedicated to preserving the First Amendment in that Bill of Rights: http://www.interfaithalliance.org/ There has been far too much emphasis on religion in politics of late, and much too much mixing of the two. This concept of “born-again American” is a great idea, but I see it’s already been affected by well-meaning people who insist on infusing their own religious beliefs into it. Standing on the outside of that, I can readily see how many non-Christians will not be interested in this video, and some might well be offended by it. They won’t listen far enough into it to see the Jewish cantor singing alongside the Muslim (who undoubtedly were not given a copy of the lyrics which read “my Bible and the Bill of Rights”). And that is a shame, because it has an important message.

    *****************

    I truly DO want to hear from the participants in this video: how many of them read the current lyrics before performing in it? And how many of them read what I believe are Carradine’s original lyrics which have a completely different and specifically non-religious intent?

    Comment by Marky | February 4, 2009

  18. The first time I saw and heard “Born Again American” i was moved by the power and patriotism it conveyed. But then it made me wonder, why “Born Again” but overtly non religious? Well, reading the lyrics and then discovering who produced the video and it all became clear.
    This is non-believers using a Christian term to promote a new age of freedom from Christ. The so-called progressives feel born again now that the Bushes and their faith are out of the way. I guess President Obama’s confession to believe in Jesus doesn’t bother Mr. Lear. BTW, I am a born again American by birth and new birth. Maranatha!

    Comment by Steve | February 4, 2009

  19. Just a question: What would expect we (non-USA people) from those secular born-again americans? Are they anti-imperialist, like let’s say… Chomosky? Or pro war like let´s say… Hitchens and Sam Harris? I respect, and even share some of the northamerican secularist feelings, but, from my southamerican prespective I don’t expect much from them.

    Comment by mountainguy | February 5, 2009

  20. Hey “guys”. Last post. It seems I got drawn into an arguement that I don’t wish to continue. Zoe, I appreciate your input making us aware of these crimes. My statement was mainly a response to Lou implying that conservative Christians were going around stoning gays. As if most crimes were committed on Sunday afternoons after worship service got out or gangs were started by the Wednesday night Bible group. Any person who truly knows Christ would not commit such crimes. The reality is that Chrisitians wether Liberal or Conservative are on the same team. We believers are all expressions of Christ and part of the same family. In my view, I don’t think either label truly captures what Christ has in mind for His Body. I don’t think it’s beneficial to go public with division and separation. If we want to bring something new to the table we should be there to add and not to subtract. Calling oneself Liberal or Conservative with all the different perceptions is very limiting, confusing, and inaccurate. Both groups have noble ideals and some that should be rejected. If we want to prove our love for Christ we can start by loving our brothers and sisters. John 13: 35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

    Comment by Dean | February 5, 2009

  21. Thankfull in America we can still follow our faith, or no faith, if we choose. There are plenty of places in the world where that is not true.
    Still it is the unusual, almost spiritual, atmosphere that surrounds the election of Barak Obama to be president that is interresting to me. Why do his supporters feel “born again”? And why use that particular New Testament term?
    Mountain Guy, there is a long sad history of what radical politics and misguided religion do to poeple, isn’t there.
    God help us, and you, live in liberty with justice for all.

    Comment by Steve | February 6, 2009

  22. If you listen to the lyrics sung by Keith Carradine in the
    “Keith’s Version” at YouTube, he sings “my Bible is the Bill of Rights”, not “Bible and the Bill of Rights”. That may explain why people of other religions didn’t find that line a big deal. No idea of when that change of lyrics was made, though.

    Comment by Bob Higdon | February 9, 2009

  23. While the line, “My Bible IS the Bill of Rights” may make this more acceptable to some, it makes it less acceptable to me, a Christian. I believe in the Bill of Rights, but not as a substitute for the Bible. And I am not sure why this would be acceptable to Jews or Muslims, etc., either. I can’t imagine a faithful Jew thinking that the Bill of Rights should substitute even for the Talmud, much less for the Torah. I can’t imagine any Muslim thinking that the Bill of Rights should be a substitute for the Qu’ran. This is more than Civil Religion. It is the worship of the state itself–as in fascism.

    I like the spirit that the song tries to evoke; the spirit behind the project Lear is launching. But if I am uneasy with the song as it now exists, then the original wording is even more troubling. I could NOT sing, “My Bible is the Bill of Rights; My creed’s equality.” The Bill of Rights is an excellent, but HUMAN document which I am fine with modifying. (In fact, I would eliminate the 2nd Amendment, with it’s “right to bear arms” if I could. I HATE guns!) And while equality forms a PART of my beliefs, it is hardly the totality of a personal creed.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 9, 2009

  24. The bedrock of the American republic are the three founding documents that establish us as an independent nation. The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. We have thrived as a nation for over 200 years by adhering to these (I think) Divinely inspired documents, and only adding to the Bill of Rights sparingly and thoughtfully. They are not religous documents. They are the contract we all agree to whether native born or naturalized citizens. Under the rule of law guaranteed by these documents we can freely live, work, and worship. When we disregard or alter these documents, we cease to be the United States of America. But never should these documents be considered the sacred text of state or ruler worship. Mr. Obama was elected President, not messiah. God bless America, land that I love…

    Comment by Steve | February 10, 2009

  25. “It would be hard for me to visualize Jesus throwing stones at gays or forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy.”

    Really Lou? What WOULD Jesus do? tell them to practice “safe sex” and go on their merry way? or would he tell them that their lifestyle choices are an abomination to the Father and we know that Jesus ALWAYS does what he sees the Father doing!
    God does not, nor will he ever give us (humans) the right to decide what is “right” or “wrong” in our own eyes (making ourselves gods) which leads to humanism (which is a form of liberalism).

    “The Bible says it is not a human until God breaths life into it.”
    Really Lou? Can you give me a scriptural reference for that idea? or did you just come up with that one on your own? Or are we, once again, making up our own “theology” to fit our lifestyle choices? (humanism & existentialism)

    “in fact God sent an Angel to Mary to prevent her from aborting. God by his very nature is a loving gentle God and would not force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or force us to do anything.”
    Really? exactly which bible are you reading Lou? God sent an Angel to Mary to announce the “good news” and to comfort her. He sent an Angel to Joseph also for the same reason! As far as “forcing” us to do “anything”…God gave us free will to “CHOOSE”! Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”. Notice it doesn’t say “me and my country, or me and my liberal friends (or conservative if you wish).
    So, please, if you want to distort and blaspheme the Word of God, you have the freedom to do so to your own peril! The philosophy of humanism was cast out of Heaven with Lucifer and his angels and was brought to earth to be sold to Adam and all those who followed! Thus the “choice” we are all faced with…whom will you choose?

    Comment by Larry Burgher | February 10, 2009

  26. Dean, your statement “As far as Healthcare, our system definitely needs change and improvement. But, socialized healthcare presents many more problems than it answers.” only points how out of touch you are with the reality of our Health Care crisis. None of the the current proposals, including the most workable one, H.R. 676, is Socialized Medicine. We currently have Socialized Medicine by way of the Veterans Hospitals where the Fed Government owns the hospitals, hires the Physicians and support staff. It works very well! Other examples of socialized programs are the fire departments, police departments, libraries and public schools. Which of those do you want to rile against? H.R. 676, The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Bill provides for one Single Payer, Medicare, to the private doctors, hospitals, and clinics that currently exist. It is not Socialized Medicine.
    The current system of 6000 different plans and payers is costly and drains off 30% of all health care dollars in administration and profits. Insurance companies work to not pay your claims and interfere in the Doctor / Patient relationship. They are in business to make money, not cure you. Additionally they do not cover everyone and under insure most. H.R. 676, will have a low administrative cost of 2 to 3% and cover all medically necessary care including vision, dental, chiropractic, mental, long term care, medical equipment, and prescription drugs without deductibles and co-pays. The cost to you? 3.3% of your gross income. This is a no -brainer! How better to promote the general welfare of our Citizens than to provide health care for all. How better to love one another?

    Comment by Lou Hancherick | February 10, 2009

  27. Silencing Christians

    http://www.nmatv.com/video/1180/Silencing-Christians-One-Hour-Special

    Comment by Dean | February 15, 2009

  28. It is interresting to me how any discusion about Christian faith seems to devolve into an argument on the moral ethics of abortion and sodomy. Why is that? Are believers insecure in their faith and feel the need to “lash out” at those involved in destructive practices? Or are non Christians living under a sense of dread and guilt that causes their particular “sins” to always come to the surface?
    Faith is not blind or ignorant or illogical. But it does have a foundation of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Thus we must believe that God values human life but he destroys those who violate His standard of morality. And it goes deeper. Jesus said if you ogle a woman you’re guilty of adultry. If you hate someone you’re guilty of murder. God destroyed Sodom because of their gross immorality. But sodomites are being delivered today by the blood of Christ. It’s really not that hard to understand except to the unregenerate mind darkened by sin. Jesus is alive. He can save you!

    Comment by Steve | February 16, 2009

  29. I signed the pledge but still find this concept of ‘liberal’ Christians hard to fathom. It runs against God’s word to shed innocent blood (abortion), to corrupt marriage (gay marriage), to steal (spreading the wealth may sound like what Jesus preached to the uninformed but not only did God say thou shalt not steal or covet but in Proverbs 13:11 He makes clear the ramifications of such theft … that those who engage in it shall diminish) and so on. God condemns a great deal that is in vogue today be it fornication, sexual perversion or idolatry (those who look to government and not God for deliverance should chew on this last). God will not be mocked and knows who His sheep are. Do all the sheep here know the voice of their shepherd?

    Comment by Harry Charles | February 17, 2009

  30. As a Christian who supports same-sex marriage and who does NOT see progressive taxation as theft, I object to you Mr. Charles.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 17, 2009

  31. Hey Charles, I don’t object to you. And I don’t object to your beliefs either. It reminds me of the scripture:

    “Conservative is the way that leads to life.. and few are they that find it. Liberal is the way of destruction, and many are they that go thereby.”

    Comment by Dean | February 17, 2009

  32. Let’s let the Bible, Old and New Testaments, speak to us by the Holy Spirit of truth. Sodomy, adultry, etc. are condemned clearly, wholly, and forcefully by the Bible. Why? Evidently because they are destructive and deadly practices. Abortion is not so clearly defined, but it can become a distraction to greater needs. Politics and resulting civil issues are not clearly supported in Scripture. The case for a command economy could be made by Joseph’s actions during the 7 year famine in Egypt.
    Michael, you seem to be an intelligent person. Don’t let the spirit of this present evil world lead you away from Jesus. No matter what your politics are. Or where you live.

    Comment by Steve | February 17, 2009

  33. Dean, “conservative” and “liberal” in the sense you imply are not in the Bible. It’s a narrow, difficult road to life and a broad, easy way to destruction. Without Jesus and the Holy Spirit we all will go down the wrong road.

    Comment by Steve | February 17, 2009

  34. Hm, uh, yeah Steve. That’s in my translation. Selah

    Comment by Dean | February 17, 2009

  35. Michael please don’t be silly rewording scripture. There are a number of things that ‘conservatives’ have done that don’t meet the standards of God’s word to us. The Christian should adhere to God’s word (and if you have read the book, you would know that God’s Holy Spirit comes to indwell within those who have truly come to Jesus and transforms their stony heart into a heart of flesh upon which God’s commandments are written). My point is that there are a whole host of people who call themselves Christian who are Christian in name only, embracing the things that God hates, who will be cast into hell. There is no reason for anyone professing Christ to be deceived so the pro-abortion, pro-theft, pro-if it feels good do it crowd should not be surprised when Jesus tells them ‘I never knew you’.

    Comment by Harry Charles | February 17, 2009

  36. Oh sorry, I was responding to Dean’s post but put Michael’s name by mistake (but my point remains the same). And Michael, what you object to is what God tells us in the Bible … I’m just a messenger.

    Comment by Harry Charles | February 18, 2009

  37. Oh come on. You guys take all the ‘fun’ out of ‘fundamental’. The letter kills but the Spirit gives life. 🙂

    Comment by Dean | February 18, 2009

  38. “The Bible says it is not a human until God breaths life into it.”
    Really Lou? Can you give me a scriptural reference for that idea? or did you just come up with that one on your own? Or are we, once again, making up our own “theology” to fit our lifestyle choices? (humanism & existentialism)

    Dear Larry, Nothing sinister here – just the word of God. I excerpted a piece of a larger article from answersingenesis.org that says it pretty succinctly.
    “The breath of life
    God’s gift to all creatures”
    First published:
    Creation 27(1):42–45
    December 2004
    by David Demick
    One of the best-known verses in the Bible is Genesis 2:7, ‘And the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.’ This verse sets a pattern for the rest of the Bible, where breath is often equated with life itself. In fact, references to breath or breathing are frequent in the Bible, with many allusions to God as the giver of breath (and life) to man and animals.

    Also for reference read this sermon:
    http://toddlevintoday.com/Teaching_publication/Breathe%20in%20me%20O%27%20God.pdf

    Larry, I have one for you: Give me the the verses that says that life begins at conception.

    Blessings

    Comment by Lou Hancherick | February 18, 2009


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