Category Archives: Religion and Politics

The #Bible and the #Constitution

Convert!!!
Convert or die! Then learn this peaceful method of persuasion.

I love the argument that Christians have to obey the Word of God above the Constitution of the USA. Although I revere the U.S. Constitution, the Bible and The U.S. Constitution are not one and the same. However I’ve been thinking on it again and I realized that this is the same argument that ISIS makes about their Holy Book and Muslims in general use to defend Sharia Law! How then is it fair for Christians to condemn Muslims for believing that religious rules supersede the standing laws of a country? Is Christian absolutism, even prejudicial, the answer? Is “freedom from religion the answer?” Any thoughts?

Texas in God’s Eschatological Vision

In the late 1990’s, I had the chance to travel to Texas a lot. Rather, I took every chance I got to skip across the Sabine. I would leave noon on Friday after my last high school class and spend the weekend between Houston and Galveston. I loved Texas. I’ve driven across it at least twice, both ways. I’ve been to the border towns. To Austin. To the real Twin Cities. To the panhandle. I’ve been everywhere, man. I’m not saying I know the Texas people, but I am saying I spent a lot of time listening to Texans and to AM radio in Texas.

English: Seal of Texas
English: Seal of Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would listen to AM radio all across Texas. Numerous times, I would hear this prophecy about Texas. This or that radio preacher would state plainly that Texas would be the last holdout against the One World Government of the AntiChrist (patent pending). There was this movement, the Republic of Texas, that promised to make Texas an independent and Christian nation to withstand the forces of evil.

In the last few days, it has become apparent that the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, is a moron — a loon. He has bought in to a bunch of conspiracy nuts who believe that the current President is going to invade Texas and imprison the patriots in closed Wal-Mart stores in a completely secret operation, Jade Helm 15. This is clearly a racist response to the current President.

But, it is not. Abbott is maintaining an almost official Christianity of Texas official dogma. I maintain Abbott and the “conspiracy nuts” are not acting in response to President Obama but out of a system of religious belief wherein in Texas is the Holy Land at the End of Time (copyright, 70CE). What they see is the End of Days (also a movie) wherein Texas is going to be the last holdout — therefore most things are seen as a move against Fortress Texas.

No, I’m not kidding you. There are “prophecies” about this. Although there are some that see these militia movements as part of the One World Government of the AntiChrist (patent pending). Even Mormons are in on it. There seems to been a red heifer born in Texas, validating all the claims of a New Jerusalem (er, Houston?). There are those who take seriously those signs in Texas and others who have to write to say that it just isn’t time yet. And there are some who see Texas being punished for being an American state. “Global warming is real and it is the punishment you get for being an American!”

And let’s not forget about Rick Perry’s Call for Prayer.

The pastors told Perry of God’s grand plan for Texas. A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was “The Prophet State,” anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas speaking at the R...
Prophet or Governor? Rick Perry of Texas speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Please attribute to Gage Skidmore if used elsewhere. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And some “apostle” has declared very recently that Texas is, again, to be the center of the stand against the Antichrist (R).

For the past several years, a spiritual war has been raging over Texas and intercessors, five-fold ministers led by the apostles and prophets have joined forces to fight…Much of the spiritual warfare can be accredited to the statewide effort of My warriors who kept the battle front raging and who fought tirelessly to overcome the biggest and the worst principalities of this state. As a result, there will be numerous shifts coming to Texas; there will be well-known global corporations that will move their headquarters to this state. Businesses and professionals from Hollywood will relocate to Texas, as well as those who produce and star in the movies…I also heard the Lord say one of the ruling principalities over Texas is disunity.

It is not that Greg Abbott is crazy or locked into supporting wingnuts. Rather, these people see everything happening in and to Texas in an eschatological light.  They (liberals, Democrats, some Republicans, Hollyweird, reporters, the United Nations, public school teachers, taxpayers, Target shoppers, and non-sovereign citizens — and maybe fans of Star Wars) are coming for them in a last desperate/first strike attempt to institute the One World Government of the AntiChrist (patent pending). They aren’t conspiracy nuts. They are religious zealots.

And just for fun…

On Tax Day…where your dollar goes

  

Hillary Clinton V. Jeb and Alan v. Henry

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First, Allan Bevere’s post. Then Henry’s:

Allan Bevere on the Left-Right Continuum — Threads from Henry’s Web.

Right now we have several people declared and several more on their way to declare their intentions to run for President of the United States of America.

I am less publicly political than I was 8 years ago. Somewhat because my positions have changed in some regards, and in someway because I am more cynical of the American political process than I was 8 years ago. After all, after Citizen’s United, among other issues, I have to wonder if candidates are not simply puppets.

During the coming months, we will hear once again that one person of this party cannot be a Christian. We will, again, see Christianity and American’ity combined so that it is suggested Jesus died for us and our voting rights. Real issues will be ignored.

Right now, the two media frontrunners are Hillary and Jeb. Unlike John Quincy Adams (and generation removed from his father), Benjamin Harrison (the grandson of a president), and Franklin Roosevelt (a cousin of a president), we have two candidates of the exact same generation as a former president – a former president still alive. This dynastic tendency worries me.

I could comment on individual candidates, but I won’t. I will simply try to remember that those Christians — and those Americans — with whom I disagree are no less Christian or American than I. And we have to stop it from seeping into our local congregations.

I hope you do the same.

Response: Is it better to be faithful or to love?

I do not believe in censoring and I believe differences of opinion are essential to growing as people. Yesterday, my friend and co-blogger Scott wrote a post that my other friend, Bob Chapman, took issue with. I invited Bob write a response. Below is that response. 


 

debate

So, how should a person of devout belief who owns a store act when a customer wishes to make a purchase for something that you feel goes against your beliefs?

Scott Fritzsche gave one answer to this question. Is his answer the only answer from the point of view of faith?

My initial answer to Mr. Fritzsche on the blog post was an answer looking at the question from a legal standpoint. However, I am going to answer this time from the standpoint of faith. Let’s use the law as Paul said to use it, as our nanny preparing us for grace, and move on to looking at this from the point of view of Scripture.

So, how did Jesus teach those outside his community of faith? There are multiple examples of Jesus being engaging and welcoming of those who were outside the community.

In one case, Jesus engaged with a Samaritan woman. Which is more surprising for a Jewish male when Jesus lived: talking to a woman or talking to a Samaritan? Yet, Jesus actually identified himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman at the well. This was a shamed person living with a man outside of marriage. Who else did Jesus directly self-identify as the Messiah?

In another case, Jesus called a Canaanite woman a dog (or maybe a bitch who was pestering him?). Yet, Jesus granted her request by healing her daughter.

Does this sound like not engaging with someone outside your tradition because that person isn’t living the way you would like? Is that what Jesus did?

I wonder how Barronelle Stutzman would react if, for an important life event, a person of a progressive position with whom she had done business with for around a decade decide to stop doing business with her support of her support of something on an election ballot. Washington State has had a few things besides marijuana that has separated the liberals and the conservatives in the state:

  • Support for Clint Didier. I don’t know if Stutzman supported Didier, but he is a religious conservative living in a nearby county.
  • Saying that she voted against Referendum 74 (Benton County rejected gay marriage with 63% of the voters).
  • Having an Ellen Craswell for Governor sign in her front yard back in the 1990s?

My guess is that Stutzman would not care to listen to anything the progressive had to say to her again. Maybe that is one of the reasons for Summary of the Law?

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

If we are to be leaven to change the world, we have to be living with people in the world. We have to be taking part in what is going on in the world. We have to treat others with the same respect with which we want to be treated. Only then will our point of view be given a hearing.

As a whole, the people of Washington State are among the least religious in the country. Can Christians, whether progressive or conservative, afford to alienate those who aren’t Christians in such a climate?

There is also another reason to treat others with the same respect with which we would want to be treated. We just might be wrong. Being wrong from a position of faith is still being wrong.

Has Stutzman considered the implications of what it might mean for “…the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18.1)?

(As some of you are having a knee-jerk reaction right now, I’ll remind you that the definition of homosexuality does not require a person to have sexual relations with another person of the same sex, only to love a person of the same sex. And David’s statement in 2 Samuel 1 about Jonathan should give you even more pause when you know the actual definition of homosexuality.)

Maybe, in the end, Stutzman needs to consider what Paul said. “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13.2).

Actually, that is good advice for all of us. It isn’t enough to be right or mean well. Do we love? My guess is that all of us come up short in that department. God isn’t finished with any of us yet, I’m afraid.

(All scripture quoted from the New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Edition.)

Robert Chapman is an active Episcopalian living in Everett, Washington—about 30 miles north of Seattle. He has been a technical communicator for 25 years, mostly working for IT and aerospace firms during that time. When he can’t do it, he dreams about riding his Honda VTX 1800 motorcycle through the second best scenery in the United States (only second to West Virginia).