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BS: The Religious Left

Jerry Rasmussen 27 Jan 05 - 03:51 PM
Little Hawk 27 Jan 05 - 04:01 PM
Jim Tailor 27 Jan 05 - 04:02 PM
Little Hawk 27 Jan 05 - 04:03 PM
robomatic 27 Jan 05 - 04:05 PM
Amos 27 Jan 05 - 04:09 PM
Les in Chorlton 27 Jan 05 - 04:10 PM
Little Hawk 27 Jan 05 - 04:15 PM
PoppaGator 27 Jan 05 - 04:21 PM
Jim Tailor 27 Jan 05 - 04:27 PM
CarolC 27 Jan 05 - 04:28 PM
Little Hawk 27 Jan 05 - 04:28 PM
Little Hawk 27 Jan 05 - 04:36 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Jan 05 - 04:43 PM
Once Famous 27 Jan 05 - 04:44 PM
Jim Tailor 27 Jan 05 - 04:45 PM
PoppaGator 27 Jan 05 - 05:05 PM
CarolC 27 Jan 05 - 05:15 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Jan 05 - 05:24 PM
Jim Tailor 27 Jan 05 - 05:32 PM
Jim Tailor 27 Jan 05 - 05:34 PM
CarolC 27 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM
Little Hawk 27 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM
Georgiansilver 27 Jan 05 - 05:49 PM
Jim Tailor 27 Jan 05 - 05:58 PM
Bobert 27 Jan 05 - 06:01 PM
PoppaGator 27 Jan 05 - 06:59 PM
Amos 27 Jan 05 - 07:00 PM
GUEST 27 Jan 05 - 07:01 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Jan 05 - 07:13 PM
The Fooles Troupe 27 Jan 05 - 07:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jan 05 - 07:33 PM
frogprince 27 Jan 05 - 08:08 PM
Pogo 27 Jan 05 - 08:26 PM
akenaton 27 Jan 05 - 08:33 PM
freda underhill 27 Jan 05 - 08:49 PM
Amos 27 Jan 05 - 08:55 PM
akenaton 27 Jan 05 - 08:58 PM
akenaton 27 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM
frogprince 27 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM
akenaton 27 Jan 05 - 09:08 PM
beardedbruce 27 Jan 05 - 09:14 PM
freda underhill 27 Jan 05 - 09:14 PM
Amos 27 Jan 05 - 09:20 PM
freda underhill 27 Jan 05 - 09:22 PM
freda underhill 27 Jan 05 - 09:26 PM
Rapparee 27 Jan 05 - 09:29 PM
akenaton 27 Jan 05 - 09:39 PM
mack/misophist 27 Jan 05 - 10:01 PM
akenaton 27 Jan 05 - 10:10 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 12:18 AM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 05 - 02:24 AM
Boab 28 Jan 05 - 03:40 AM
Hrothgar 28 Jan 05 - 03:41 AM
Piers 28 Jan 05 - 04:30 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 06:47 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 08:19 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jan 05 - 08:30 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 08:40 AM
Amos 28 Jan 05 - 09:00 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jan 05 - 09:28 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 09:35 AM
Greg F. 28 Jan 05 - 09:44 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 09:50 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jan 05 - 09:59 AM
Peace 28 Jan 05 - 10:01 AM
Greg F. 28 Jan 05 - 10:03 AM
Rapparee 28 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 10:10 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 10:13 AM
Peace 28 Jan 05 - 10:24 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Larry K 28 Jan 05 - 10:51 AM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 10:55 AM
Piers 28 Jan 05 - 11:03 AM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 11:04 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jan 05 - 11:15 AM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 11:21 AM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 11:25 AM
Amos 28 Jan 05 - 11:31 AM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 11:32 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jan 05 - 11:33 AM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 11:35 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 05 - 11:38 AM
Piers 28 Jan 05 - 12:06 PM
Amos 28 Jan 05 - 12:44 PM
Once Famous 28 Jan 05 - 12:53 PM
Greg F. 28 Jan 05 - 01:46 PM
Peace 28 Jan 05 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Sleepless Dad 28 Jan 05 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Voice crying in the wilderness 28 Jan 05 - 02:02 PM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 02:20 PM
Once Famous 28 Jan 05 - 02:22 PM
Peace 28 Jan 05 - 02:32 PM
Once Famous 28 Jan 05 - 02:37 PM
Peace 28 Jan 05 - 02:51 PM
dianavan 28 Jan 05 - 03:03 PM
GUEST 28 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM
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GUEST 28 Jan 05 - 03:17 PM
Greg F. 28 Jan 05 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Com Seangan 28 Jan 05 - 04:13 PM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 04:15 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 04:20 PM
Jim Tailor 28 Jan 05 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Frank 28 Jan 05 - 05:03 PM
Once Famous 28 Jan 05 - 05:36 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 05:39 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jan 05 - 05:47 PM
Once Famous 28 Jan 05 - 05:48 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 05:49 PM
Rapparee 28 Jan 05 - 06:00 PM
PoppaGator 28 Jan 05 - 06:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 05 - 06:16 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 28 Jan 05 - 06:20 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 06:36 PM
frogprince 28 Jan 05 - 07:37 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 07:52 PM
Burke 28 Jan 05 - 08:47 PM
frogprince 28 Jan 05 - 09:28 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 05 - 10:37 PM
robomatic 29 Jan 05 - 06:48 AM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 07:23 AM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 11:41 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 12:01 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 12:12 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 12:32 PM
Bill D 29 Jan 05 - 12:48 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 12:53 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 01:25 PM
Bill D 29 Jan 05 - 02:00 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 02:05 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 05 - 02:14 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 02:26 PM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 02:33 PM
akenaton 29 Jan 05 - 03:37 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 03:43 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 04:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 04:28 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 04:30 PM
Greg F. 29 Jan 05 - 05:25 PM
akenaton 29 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 05:44 PM
Bill D 29 Jan 05 - 06:09 PM
Amos 29 Jan 05 - 06:15 PM
Bill D 29 Jan 05 - 06:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jan 05 - 06:28 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 05 - 06:38 PM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 06:42 PM
Greg F. 29 Jan 05 - 06:44 PM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 06:46 PM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 06:48 PM
DougR 29 Jan 05 - 07:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jan 05 - 07:22 PM
Bill D 29 Jan 05 - 07:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jan 05 - 07:57 PM
Peace 29 Jan 05 - 08:08 PM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Jan 05 - 08:16 PM
robomatic 29 Jan 05 - 08:26 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 08:59 PM
Jim Tailor 29 Jan 05 - 09:10 PM
Greg F. 29 Jan 05 - 09:29 PM
Little Hawk 29 Jan 05 - 09:32 PM
robomatic 29 Jan 05 - 10:43 PM
Joe Offer 29 Jan 05 - 11:32 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jan 05 - 06:36 AM
Jim Tailor 30 Jan 05 - 06:41 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jan 05 - 07:00 AM
catlova 30 Jan 05 - 08:00 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Jan 05 - 10:03 AM
robomatic 30 Jan 05 - 10:25 AM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 05 - 07:04 PM
Rapparee 30 Jan 05 - 08:58 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Jan 05 - 09:29 PM
khandu 30 Jan 05 - 09:44 PM
dianavan 30 Jan 05 - 11:11 PM
Peace 30 Jan 05 - 11:49 PM
Little Hawk 31 Jan 05 - 12:32 AM
EagleWing 31 Jan 05 - 05:03 PM
Peace 31 Jan 05 - 05:27 PM
Little Hawk 31 Jan 05 - 05:45 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 31 Jan 05 - 05:54 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 31 Jan 05 - 05:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jan 05 - 06:21 PM
Little Hawk 31 Jan 05 - 06:25 PM
Jim Tailor 31 Jan 05 - 06:32 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 31 Jan 05 - 07:39 PM
PoppaGator 31 Jan 05 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,sambo_88 23 Feb 05 - 12:05 AM
Little Hawk 23 Feb 05 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,jim tailor 23 Feb 05 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,jim tailor 23 Feb 05 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,PoppaGator 23 Feb 05 - 02:12 PM
Don Firth 23 Feb 05 - 07:17 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Feb 05 - 07:53 PM
Jim Tailor 23 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 05 - 08:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 05 - 08:12 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Feb 05 - 08:30 PM
Jim Tailor 24 Feb 05 - 06:54 AM
Don Firth 24 Feb 05 - 01:55 PM
Jim Tailor 24 Feb 05 - 02:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Feb 05 - 04:27 PM
John Hardly 24 Feb 05 - 04:46 PM
PoppaGator 24 Feb 05 - 05:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Feb 05 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Frank 24 Feb 05 - 05:35 PM
Jim Tailor 24 Feb 05 - 05:39 PM
Jim Tailor 24 Feb 05 - 05:53 PM
Don Firth 24 Feb 05 - 06:31 PM
Bobert 24 Feb 05 - 06:57 PM
Jim Tailor 24 Feb 05 - 07:40 PM
Jim Tailor 24 Feb 05 - 07:41 PM
Don Firth 24 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 24 Feb 05 - 08:08 PM
Jim Tailor 24 Feb 05 - 08:20 PM
Amos 24 Feb 05 - 08:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Feb 05 - 08:53 PM
Jim Tailor 25 Feb 05 - 06:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 05 - 09:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 05 - 09:23 AM
Jim Tailor 25 Feb 05 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,jim tailor 25 Feb 05 - 10:06 AM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 05 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,jim tailor 25 Feb 05 - 01:57 PM
Jim Tailor 25 Feb 05 - 02:13 PM
PoppaGator 25 Feb 05 - 03:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 05 - 04:20 PM
Jim Tailor 25 Feb 05 - 05:04 PM
Don Firth 25 Feb 05 - 05:11 PM
Jim Tailor 25 Feb 05 - 06:25 PM
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Jim Tailor 25 Feb 05 - 07:31 PM
EagleWing 26 Feb 05 - 05:28 AM
EagleWing 26 Feb 05 - 05:46 AM
EagleWing 26 Feb 05 - 05:55 AM
EagleWing 26 Feb 05 - 06:12 AM
EagleWing 26 Feb 05 - 06:39 AM
Jim Tailor 26 Feb 05 - 07:15 AM
Bill D 26 Feb 05 - 11:25 AM
Don Firth 26 Feb 05 - 03:32 PM
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Subject: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 03:51 PM

This week, my gospel quartet did two special programs on Brown vs. The Board of Education, and Martin Luther King. It was a good reminder of how many social advances in this country were either strongly influenced or directly driven by Christianity. These days, Christianity (at least as far as politics and the news media) rarely even acknowledges that many Christians are as opposed to the Religious Right as anyone. I certainly am. Remember Daniel Berrigan and other priests and clergy who put their faith on the line fighting for equality? Many died on the battlefield. Today we sang Woke Up this Morning With My Mind Standing on Jesus, and then after three or four verses changed it to "standing on freedom," as it was sung in Civil Rights marches. And of course, we ended with We Shall Overcome, which is an old folk hymn and refers specifically to the Lord in one rarely sung verse.

The thing that distinguished Martin Luther King and many other Christian leaders of the past (and present) is the desire for equality and freedom for all. Hearing 16 year old boys doing a dramatic reading of the I Have A Dream speach, I was struck By Martin Luther King speaking out on the equality of all, including Atheists.
King's message was Christ's message.. one of love and inclusiveness. A brotherhood of man. All men. Just as the Democrats seem to have conceded the liberal message and any acknowledgment of patriotism or love for this country to the Republicans, Christians seem to have silently left Christ's message to those who seek to judge, divide and conquer others. And, all of this strategy seems to work in Mudcat. Those of us who are deeply concerned about the direction this country is going are divided into Christian and non-Christian with very little coming together for common cause. There was a time when those who fought for freedom marched hand in hand, whatever their religious beliefs. All were welcomed in a common cause of freedom.

How have we allowed this to happen? Why have we descended into name-calling and judging each other... even here in dear old Mudcat? I don't have any answers, I'm afraid. But I am a committed Christian who finds the Religious Right judgemental and betraying Christ's teaching. If you think that Christ is a myth.. get in line with me anyway. But, for anyone who claims to be a Christian and does not love his neighbor as himself, is denying one of the most basic teachings of Christ. For too long, blacks have been set against whites, Christians against Jews against Muslims, the rich against the poor (not all wars are religious wars, you know... Iraq clearly isn't)Gays against straights and Atheists against believers of all sizes and flavors.

Today was a strong reminder that people of good will can make dramatic changes if they join together in common cause.

Jerry.. of the Religious Left


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:01 PM

Yes, the religious Left has always been a vital and potent force for social progress. The Right in the USA has been pretending to have a monopoly on religious faith for some time now, and it's a ridiculously false claim, believed only by people who have not bothered to look into the facts of the matter.

The religious Right is fundamentally opposed to everything Christ stood for, in my opinion. They think the way the scribes and pharisees did who had Jesus crucified.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:02 PM

sigh.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:03 PM

*groan*

Please post your emotional responses below... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: robomatic
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:05 PM

Very perceptive starting post, I've mentioned to my right wing Alaska friends that the left wing politics of Massachusetts (where I'm from) is religiously rooted, long time. I'm still learning about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:09 PM

Well, spoke, Jerry.

Grrrrrrrr, Jim.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:10 PM

As a faily militant atheist I recognise the contribution that people of various faiths have made to the general cause of justice, not least the Christians and the Jews of the Civil rights movement and a wide collection of faiths in India, other parts of Asia, and Africa.

The problem I have with religion is its basic unilateralism. People within faith groups seem to choose what to believe and what not without the need for a basis in generally accepted knowledge.

This makes it difficult for them to relate to other faiths and us of no faith. Clearly we can work together in specific causes but dig a bit deeper and we will be at least confused.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:15 PM

The fact is, religious people are equally capable of being to the Left or the Right. And so are non-religious people. But the Right attracts one variety of religious people, in general, and the Left attracts another. It's a different psychological framework.

I would say that the Old Testament, in general, espouses a pretty Rightwing kind of attitude, while the New Testament tends in the other direction. To put it another way, religious fundamentalists and literal thinkers tend to the Right, religious liberals and metaphorical thinkers tend to the Left.

The first focuses primarily on the themes of authority, judgement, power, sin, and punishment. The second focuses on themes of unity, not judging others, forgiveness, redemption, and love.

It can also be seen fairly easily that the first (the Right) is based on the archetype of the strong Father, while the second (the Left) is based on the archetype of the protective Mother.

And that's why the Right is so enamoured of male figures like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenneger, or any other big tough guy with a gun in one hand and a flag in the other....they believe that "Father Knows Best". I don't. My father did not inspire that sort of confidence in me in the least...

Society, however, is healthiest when it achieves a harmonious balance of the 2 archetypes, bringing forth the best in each. That is a notion lost on the competitive party $ySStem ruling at present...which would rather exacerbate divisions than heal them.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:21 PM

Jesus Christ did not try to appropriate the power of the state to impose His views on everyone (as do today's right-wingers who profess to be His followers). Authoritarianism of any kind was never part of His message.

When the Prince of Peace said "Come follow me," He was inviting us all to follow His example. He wasn't asking for "worship" (i.e., lip service), and He certainly wasn't asking His followers to slaughter unbelievers in His name.

Sadly, I can't think of a single Christian sect or denomination where this point of view is acknowledged. Almost every church has a *minority* of members who understand the message of Christ the way I do, but none of the church leaders seem to have their primary focus on much of anything beyond the assertion of their own authority.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:27 PM

wow Poppagator. You a theologian? Priest? Pastor? You're certainly at least as dogmatic as any of those I've ever met.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: CarolC
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:28 PM

Jesus was a commie.

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:28 PM

The only denominations I've seen that seem to live up pretty consistently to the nonviolent and compassionate teachings of Jesus are the Bahais and the Quakers...I think...and the Bahai's are not technically Christians! But they do honour Jesus as an avatar.

One can find inspired individuals, however, in all denominations, as you said, PoppaGator.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:36 PM

Jim, you are a sad, sad case. I bet you will reach enlightenment anytime in, say, oh...the next 100,000 years or so. :-)

What PG said about Jesus should be so dead obvious to anyone who has actually bothered to read the New Testament that I would have to assume you never have. One does not find enlightenment through religions, Jim. One finds it through opening the heart and surrendering the ego. That requires membership in no religion whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:43 PM

I've never tried marching with a church. They're too big and bulky. I've never even marched with religion. But, I have marched many times with other people who shared my belief in the possibility of this country as invisioned by its founders. And I never once asked the people I marched with what their personal beliefs were. They were all brothers and sisters to me.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Once Famous
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:44 PM

The Christian left and the Christian right will be meeting in the fall to have the Christian world series.

The group that turns the other cheek the most is the loser and will be laying there all bruised.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 04:45 PM

Little Hawk,

Poppagator purports to know the "sects and denominations" of Christianity -- their beliefs and practices -- well enough to make a huge, blanket charaterization of them. My question, in that light, is quite fair.

Every time I see the Christian right drawn here it is as a very black caricature -- not their system of beliefs as I understand them. I may have my differences with the Christian right, but it is my informed opinion that both poppagator and Jerry Rassmussen are informed in a rather prejudicial manner -- and really don't understand the worldview, nor theology of the Christian right.

Sorry my manner of communicating and enlightenment doesn't measure up to your standard, Little Hawk.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:05 PM

OK, Jim, I haven't studied all the nuances of right-wing Christian theology. Wouldn't want to. But it's more than obvious to me that their triumphalist concept of Christ is not at all like mine. Did I assert more than that?

I *have* a pretty extensive education in theology and church history, as taught in a couple of highly regarded Roman Catholic institutions. As my own personal beliefs developed, I found a small number of fellow-believers within the Catholic Church (such as the aforementioned Berrigan brothers), but couldn't help but notice that most of the people with whom I shared the most basic values were Quakers, Unitarians, Black Protestants of various denominations, beatnik Buddhists, and ~ mostly ~ agnostics/atheists/freethinkers/Deists.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: CarolC
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:15 PM

Here's an intersting site for Christians who believe in personal ethics and social justice...

http://www.sojo.net/


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:24 PM

Jim:

I do not know in any detailed way what the Religous Right is, any more than I know who "they" are or "anonymous sources." What I do believe is that religion is not to be legislated. For those who follow Christ, he made that very clear. Talk about a separation of church and State! Ironically, Christ was very outspoken against that, and yet there are Christians who want to seize enough power to legislate their beliefs. If beliefs are true, they do not need to be legislated. Just lived. Only human rights need to be protected, and they are not the property of any one religion.

Religion can not be imposed.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:32 PM

Yeah, poppagator,

'swhattI'm sayin' y'know? I have an education that parallels yours, though in a "Bible-thumpin'" Bible College and Seminary.

As to sojourner, Wallis seems intellectual and appealing in that NPR/PBS kinda way, but his analysis comes from a VERY arrogant place. His complaint is that the "Religious Right" is focused on only certain moral issues (in his rhetoric -- abortion and homosexuality), while he, in his more enlightened way, focuses on the moral issues of war and poverty.

Trouble is, that's just not so. Just because the religious right doesn't see eye to eye with the left on HOW poverty is to be dealt with, or whether or not a war may be justifiable, they do, nonetheless care VERY profoundly about those moral issues in addition to what they see as moral issues of abortion and homosexuality.

Good, timely non-sequitor for the left to lap up though.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:34 PM

Jerry,

You obviously DO believe that the morals that are informed by your religion are to be legislated or you never would have marched for civil rights.

Have a nice day!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: CarolC
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM

And, in your opinion Jim Tailor, what does the "religious right" have to say about the "religious left"? Seems to me I've heard some pretty arogant and highly inaccurate stuff coming from them on that subject as well.

Anyway, it's still an interesting site, and I'm not even a Christian.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM

There are probably as many different kinds of Christians, Jim, as there are individuals who call themselves "Christian". I know that.

As for legislated morals...all our present day morals came down through old religious traditions of one type or another. It is, in fact, impossible to separate religious philosophy from the state, because our whole civilization and its prevailing assumptions were built by religions, most of which are at least 2,000 or more years old. This is true whether or not it is officially recognized, even in the case of Communism, which purports to be non-religious, when in fact it IS a religion. You can have a religion even without an official God (a supreme being). Quite easily, in fact.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:49 PM

As a student of many so called religions..I came to a conclusion... some may think it incredulous, some may think it wonderful but at least I reached it with my eyes wide open. I became a Christian in 1991 and my life has taken off.....my act has been on the rise since!
You all have a choice...go for what you KNOW is right!.....not what you might think is good.... or just good for you.....go for the truth.....seek the truth! You also have to remember that sometimes you may need to make sacrifices to achieve lifes goals.....There is really no left or right...just the PATH you choose.
The truth is something we all have to find for ourselves.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 05:58 PM

Oh Carol, those on the Christian right who might parallel the run-of-the-mill "Christian Leftist" as represented here would most definitely think the left wrong...

so the right thinks its right but the left thinks it's right too and two rights....well, I thought I could go somewhere with that -- it sounds like a punchline. I'll have to work on a joke.

...and yes, they would appear at least equally arrogant -- especially to those who post here. But they didn't start this thread. *wink*

Have a good'n!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Bobert
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 06:01 PM

Good point, Jerry...

The problem I think is that at the moment the Christian Right has the microphone. PLus they are louder and they are less tolerant. Makes it tough for the majority of Christian who don't where thewir religion on their sleeve to compete but why compete anyway because to compete would mean that we would have to politicize our Faith. Once you have done that, you've lost...

But it's looking as if the Christian Left is going to have to at least stand up and be counted, just as we were during the civil rights movement and anti-war movement. I have been giving this a lot of thought recently and am not too sure how we can do this without being confrontational. There are so many folks on thre other side who are running on the ragged edge of becoming violent. Lots of anger. This is what I don't underestand. People who turn it over to the Lord ain't 'sposed to be so danged angry and intolerant...

One thing I do know is that the Christian Left has to spend a lot more time in the New Testament and read the wods of Jesus, who IMO, wouldn't be too happy with many of thre folks on the other side. Those folks don't seem to ever talk about Jesus's words? Hmmmmmm?

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 06:59 PM

Seems to me that *most* issues for which the Left (Christian and otherwise) has espoused are essentially "conservative" insofar as they oppose the imposition of governmental authority: don't draft us, don't kill us, don't make us ride in the back of the bus, don't lock us out of public schools, don't legislate what we can do in our bedrooms.

The fundamentalist movement, on the other hand, seems to be strongly focused upon imposing their values and standards of behavior upon everyone, including those ~ especially those ~ who do not share their beliefs.

Of course, both "sides" think they're right ~ duh! Each of us believes what we believe, and cannot easily be persuaded otherwise. But I think that there is a basic difference between the two sides in terms of the tolerance they exercise.

Sadly, those who truly believe that "blessed are the meek" tend to lose out to the bullies, at least in the short run. Martin Gibson had a point when he described the coming "world series" between rightist and leftist Christians as a conflict where those who turn the other cheek the most emerge as the losers.

It takes true faith to believe that might won't always make right. Keep your eyes on the prize!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 07:00 PM

A Christian marching in civil rights parades is not demonstrating to make his moral beliefs law, but to make the Constitutional equality of men law. That stands without any reinforcement by the religion he chooses. If he al;so has moral beliefs about treating people with equality, respect and tolerance, that just doubles his pleasure.

No sense being thick about it.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 07:01 PM

Okay,it's a generalisation but;
Right wing Xians....old testament
Left wing Xians....new testament


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 07:13 PM

You said it right, Amos. Civil rights are guaranteed by our constitution. I marched in support of civil rights because I support out constitution. As I said above.. "only human rights need to be protected. And they are not the property of any one religion." I was not trying to impose my religious beliefs on anyone. I was trying to uphold our constitution.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 07:20 PM

Now wait a cotton-pickin' minute!

Atheists Do have Faith - that the Official Organised Religions are wrong....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 07:33 PM

Where I live, the assumption tends to be that, on most issues, practising Christians, and Christian churches, can be expected to be broadly left of centre, and that Christianity in general should have "a bias to the poor", very suspicious of any military operations, and, for example, firmly lined up against the concept of a death penalty.

The impression that comes over from across the Atlantic is politically the other way round - of a version of Christianity that is well to the right of centre.

I wonder sometimes whether that is in fact accurate, or whether there is a kind of unspoken alliance between those Christians who are well to the right, and those on the left who are hostile to religion to try to persuade people that, at any rate in the USA, Christianity and right-wing politics are inseperable; I wonder whether the kind of views represented by Jerry here may in fact be a lot more prevalant than is sometimes recognised.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: frogprince
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:08 PM

I'm a little surprised, but pleasantly so, to hear you say that about the churches there, McGrath. Wish I could say the same for our churches, but, (with a pretty broad background in religion and U.S. Church life), I'm afraid I can't. During the '60's there was even a substantial avowed "evangelical left" who proudly identified themselves as such; I don't know if Jerry or Bobert have used those exact words for themselves, but they sure sound like that kind of people. We still have 'em here; I think we still have quite a few of 'em here. But, aside for the "cat", I sure wish we were hearing more from them these days.
       Dean


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Pogo
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:26 PM

the religious left?

Where did they go? O_O


(sorry...I felt silly {O) but honestly...religion and politics ought not to mix...in my opinion of course)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:33 PM

Why should a belief in "life after death" have any bearing on how we attempt to make this world a better place to live in.

Can we not simply band together as humans to fight injustice and expose tyrany of all types.
I have always believed that religious beliefs like "everlasting life"
"rising from the dead", the idea of God as a "supreme being" ect were very personal foibles, with no relation to how we conduct our public duties.

With the exception of Bobert the religious left on Mudcat seem more interested in advancing the ideas of orthadox religion than those of socialism...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: freda underhill
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:49 PM

trade unions in the UK emergede out of early methodism, see

The Romance of Primitive Methodism, chapter 16 by Joseph Ritson, 1909


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:55 PM

Akneton:

It makes an important difference because some religions incline you to believe the sooner you escape this plane the better; others put your attention on the nature of your inheritasnce of what you sow. Extremists Christians of narrow vision, hurrying to meet the Rapture, are less likely to care about humanity and the environment than someone who believes he will be around a bit longer than that.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 08:58 PM

Hmm...I think that would be more a case of early socialists using organised religion as a vehicle to advance their beliefs.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM

Sorry Amos your point escapes me, although I think I should be in agreement.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: frogprince
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM

The "evangelical left" people with whom I had the most personal experience tended A. to be in religious training, or religious vocations, because of their faith, and B. to find that they perceived the goals and actions of the "left" to be more in accord with Christian principles than those of the "right". I personally didn't see any of them "politicing" their faith, or seeking to gain power for their religious organizations; they were more apt to be marching with whatever Jew, atheist, or Zaroastrian that happened to be protesting against the Viet Nam war or active for civil rights.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:08 PM

Why should the principles of Jesus Christ carry any more weight than the writings or thoughts of any other left wing philosopher....
If you leave aside the "smoke and mirrors" bit...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: beardedbruce
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:14 PM

Ake,

Why should the principles, writings, or thoughts of ANY left wing philosoher carry more weight than those of a right wing one?

The answer to that will be the answer to your own question, IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: freda underhill
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:14 PM

A group of tutors and students meeting at Oxford University in the late 1720s became known as the Oxford Methodists. The group included John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. In 1735 these three men became evangelical missionaries in America.

After three years with the English settlers in Georgia, John Wesley and George Whitefield returned to England and in 1739 built their first Methodist Chapel in Bristol. Wesley and Whitefield also gave sermons in the open-air. They travelled the country where they mainly visited poor neighbourhoods. Wesley, who had emerged as the leader of the Methodists, told the people who attended his meetings that if they loved God in return, they would "be saved from sin and made holy". Wesley also had a lot to say about personal morality. In his sermons he encouraged people to work hard and to save for the future. Wesley also warned against the dangers of gambling and drinking.

Although there were Methodist ministers, John Wesley encouraged people who had full-time jobs to become lay preachers. This gave working people valuable experience of speaking in public. Later, some of these went on to become leaders of trade unions and reform groups.

By the time John Wesley died in 1791, the Methodist movement had over 76,000 members. After Wesley's death the Methodists formally separated from the Anglican Church. Membership continued to grow and by 1801 reached 87,000. The movement was weakened in 1808 when followers of Hugh Bourne were expelled. Bourne's followers became known as Primitive Methodists whereas those who remained were called Wesleyan Methodists.

Methodists were active in the campaign for religious emancipation. Victories included the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828, the voluntarization of the church rate in 1853 and the 1871 the Universities Tests Act opened Oxford and Cambridge to non-Anglicans. In these struggles the Methodists became closely associated with the Liberal Party. Throughout the 19th century, none of the many Wesleyan Methodists elected to Parliament were members of the Conservative Party.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:20 PM

It's not Christian, or non-Christian, ake. It has to do with how the lesson of responsibility in life is rendered. Some folks imply that your only real responsibility will be to get the hell off this mortal coil, join Papa-In-Sky, be upgraded to a non-material golden Being, and make music ad infinitum. This is a very shortened version, but you can see how it woul be easy to rationalize harmful acts against lesser beings or races or species if all you were going to do was escape to the hereafter. The downtrodden slaves of the South made up lots of songs about escaping to the hereafter, for their reasons, as well. But they can be condoned on the basis that they were in an insufferable amount of oppression. Using the same rationale as an expiation of your own harmful acts against others is not so easily understood.

On the other hand some folks teach that you will find yourself riding the wheel of Life until you learn it so well you can transcend or graduate. If you thought that, naturally, you'd be more considerate about sowing pain or environmental mayhem, because you'd know you would be living with the after-effects of your own actions one way or another,.

These two models of the life-cycle of the soul engender very different models of what ethical thought should be.

Capisce?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: freda underhill
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:22 PM

I note that Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote The Manifesto between December 1847 and January 1848.

The first Union was formed by George Loveless, founder of the Tolpuddle union in December 1833.

this song, written as a poem by one of the original martyrs when sent to exile in Australia and put to music by Mick Ryan and Graham Moore, demonstrates that the Tolpuddle martyrs, the world's first unionists, were Christians.

Albion's Shore. Mick Ryan and Graham Moore.

The distant shore of England fades from sight.
Now all seems dark that once was pure and bright,
And now a convict serves me for a time,
To suffer hardship in a foreign clime.

My faith and union's stronger than these chains,
In pastures green he leads me once again,
Through death's dark valley, safely and secure,
return once more to stand on Albion's shore.

How wretched is an exile's state of mind,
By grief worn down, in servile chains confined,
While not one gleam of hope on Earth remains,
And not one friend to soothe his heartfelt pains

My faith and union...

Too true I know that man was made to mourn,
With anguish full my aching heart is torn
The heavy portion falls unto my lot,
Far from my friends, by all the world forgot.

My faith and union...

Farewell my mother, aged father dear,
for you I shed a sympathetic tear,
I pray before our lives have ceased to run,
You'll be united with your long lost son.

My faith and union..


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: freda underhill
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:26 PM

and while i am not a christian, i beleive this information demonstrates why unions worked in democratic societies and not in communist societies. because a union can only exist in a democratic society, as it needs the protection of law and separation of powers in which to operate properly.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Rapparee
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:29 PM

Thomas 14:5 and Mark 7:15.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 09:39 PM

OK Frida,but socialist ideas were being espoused long before Jesus was around,and I dont really think that the motivations of the Martyrs have a great effect on how people view our political or religious systems in todays world.
In my view organised religion has always been at best a distraction, and often an impediment to social justice

Amos I think I understand what your getting at,but man its hard work.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: mack/misophist
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 10:01 PM

At the risk of stating the obvious, any group that believes it has the only recipe for salvation will eventually try to impose it's values on every one else. For their own good. For example, it's possible to argue that the Inquisition was the greatest act of Christian charity in history. Make a few bad assumptions, follow them to their conclusion, and that's the sort of thing that can happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Jan 05 - 10:10 PM

Oh I get it now Amos.

You mean that religious belief is based on selfish motives, and is at odds with the teachings of the philosopher, Christ.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 12:18 AM

I think Jesus' general attitude and teachings were pretty close to socialism. He rendered public service, not for profit but for the public good. He didn't charge a fee. He sought results, not profits. He encouraged equal treatment of all and equal sharing of resources. Sounds a lot like socialism to me.

He threw the moneylenders out of the temple, because it was holy and they didn't belong there. Sounds like socialism to me.

He advocated forgiveness, not judging others, and practicing non-violence. Now THAT's revolutionary! It goes way beyond either capitialism or socialism, and it is exactly what Gandhi and other great spiritual people in modern times have taught. That takes far greater courage and compassion than the average person is seemingly capable of.

The churches and religious orders which rose in Jesus' name after his death mostly betrayed and subverted his teachings...particularly after the 4rth centurh. Mostly. They sought money, political power, and domination, and they were anything but nonviolent, anything but forgiving of those who stood in their way. Their hands were red with the blood of the innocent.

Jesus was NOT a Christian! He was an inspired teacher. Such teachers are completely beyond ANY denominational identity, because they teach what transcends all denominations. Those who followed after Jesus invented Christianity, so don't blame him for its excesses and stupidities. He did not recommend or commit those excesses or stupidities. His misguided followers did, in his name...and they did it because they were mostly incapable of rising to the level which he communicated in his teachings.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:24 AM

Jerry started this thread out with an inspiring message, but there are a lot of things said here that make me feel very uneasy. I think it's unfair to condemn a group for having dirty laundry in its past - far better to look at what people are doing here and now, rather than pigeonholing them for what their forebears did, or for what some of their coreligionists do in another continent.

I'm a Catholic, and I generally believe what Catholics believe. I don't claim an exclusive corner on the truth, but what I believe works for me and for many others. In my area (Sacramento), we have an extraordinary network of social programs, mostly springing from Catholic organizations (and mostly independent of the Catholic Church bureaucracy). I've worked with Catholic groups in the peace and civil rights movements, and in all sorts of other programs that promote peace and justice. I think I have a right to take pride in that, and I have to say it hurts to be condemned over and over by "enlightened" bigots who lump me with the inquisitioners. Some Catholics do good stuff, and some don't. Nobody's perfect, and no group is perfect.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Boab
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 03:40 AM

Jesus Christ was more than an"inspired teacher", Little Hawk, though indeed he was AT LEAST that. He seems to have had the not-too-uncommon power to guide and influence the minds of his fellow-humans [oh, yes---he was human!],but to an extraordinary extent. His "miracles [ feeding the five thousand, walking on the water] can only have been just that---being able to convince people that something unreal WAS real. One of the most telling quotes from Him is "Your faith has made you whole!". Something which has actually happened many thousands of times. Something made John the Baptist see Him for what He was---the personification of the true God.He was, and still is,God in one person, named by the baptist as Love. My mind was concentrated on this one episode by a personal experience, in the midst of human tragedy, many years ago. I accepted my God then, and have known Him/Her ever since. It's not a matter of "believing", any more than knowing there's a roof on my house is "believing". My God is undeniable. My God can be seen in the selfless efforts of those who toil in their thousands to help the suffering tsunami victims. My God was evident in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. My God can be recognised after every mine disaster, and in every Hospital. My God is Love, a God whose existence CANNOT be denied. So I have no "religion" as the world seems to understand it; only the acceptance of that simple statement "God is Love". I don't think anything else matters at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Hrothgar
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 03:41 AM

I am always intrigued by the way "conservative Christians" seem to espouse the teachings of the Old Testament instead of the New - Leviticus instead of the Sermon on the Mount, if you like.

Does this mean that they aren't really Christians after all?

I don't want to have to tell them so ......


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Piers
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 04:30 AM

The whole intellectual advance, which most of the left has since lost interest in, of which Marx and Engels were early protagonists, was that of removing the ethical, moral and vague ideas about justice from the socialist movement. This was not because they dour and uncompassionate but because they recognised that religious and personal ethics are informed by material existence. They observed contradiction in morality between members of different classes and between different societies and historical eras. They recognised the hopelessness of trying make people 'good' whilst the relationships of people to each other are antagonistic (i.e. the labour versus capital).

Their point was that we don't need a left and right - the antagonism, we could have social ownership of the means of life and democratic control or production directly to fulfil the needs of people rather
than production for profit and allocation on the basis of ability to pay. They also showed that this could only happen where the means of life were capable of producing an abundance, that is prior to the industrial revolution socialism was not a possibility - thus Jesus could not have been a socialist, in fact he famously said 'Sell that thou hast and give to the poor' which sounds a pretty stupid idea to me, not a step toward to socialist society, but social suicide. 'Take no thought for the morrow' Jesus said, which is entirely anti-social advice. In fact, Jesus' teaching was to despise worldly things for the sake of a reward in heaven. Socialism, is the appreciation
of the things of this world and the endeavour to make a better world here.

In my humble opinion

Piers


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 06:47 AM

"Civil rights are guaranteed by our constitution. I marched in support of civil rights because I support out constitution. As I said above.. "only human rights need to be protected. And they are not the property of any one religion." I was not trying to impose my religious beliefs on anyone. I was trying to uphold our constitution.

Jerry"


Every Pro-life Christian I know could say the same thing.

And if your "religion" does not inform your moral code, then is grace the sole component of your religion?

And to others,
No, the right does not focus on the Old Testament while the left focuses on the New. But I will grant you that the left seems to dismiss the Old to a far greater extent than does the Right (because few, if any on the left believe that the Old Testament contains objective truth, while those on the right believe that it does even if that truth needs contextual understanding).

And the Left and Right have pragmatic differences due to theological ones -- for instance, the Right teaches tolerance to a much greater degree than does the Left for the simple reason that the Left need not teach it -- their theology in "inclusive" -- it need not tolerate anything because it teaches that all religions are equally acceptable (in other words, what's to "tolerate"?).

The above are my educated, informed generalizations to which I understand there are finer points and possible exceptions.

That you can find intolerant Right wing Christians is not a surprise -- nor a surprise that you can find bigotted left-wing Christians, or obese Catholics, or cross-eyed Jews, or flatulent atheists. There is an individuality that makes each believer a non-representative of their group. There's a word for those who see the world otherwise...

"bigot".

Ask yourself if you believe what you do about Christians (right and otherwise) because you really know what they believe, or because it fits your presupositional world-view and thereby leaves you comfortable.

Have a good morning.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 08:19 AM

btw, Jerry, so you believe in marching to uphold the Constitution, but the Constitution is not law? That's a very tricky distinction.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 08:30 AM

Jim:

It is your "educated, informed generalization" that all religions are equally acceptable to the religious left? Where in the world did you get your education? And what do you mean by acceptable? Equally true? Now, my take on faith is very simple. It is summed up in three words. God is love. If something isn't love, it ain't from God. That was Martin Luther King's strength, Mother Theresa's and Ghandi's too. If an action is done out of duty and not out of love, there's no sense in being righteous about it.

And hey, Amos my friend. You live in the wrong neighborhood, Man. I don't think that I've ever met a Christian who was anxious to get out of this life and into the next unless they were suffering with no hope of ever being cured. And even then, I've seen far more who want to live, even under the most limiting conditions. We visit a woman who has MS and has been an invalid most of her adult life. She is at the point now where she can just lie on her back in bed with her head propped up, watching television. She can no longer use her hands, so she has to watch whatever channel is on until her sister (who just went in for her second operation on cancer in her body) changes it for her. They're in no hurry to go anywhere. When you ask our friend Lena how she is doing, she answers with a radiant smile that would put all of us to shame, "Oh, I'm fine!" Christianity isn't about what happens after you die. It's about how you live.

And it's all about how YOU live, and not at ALL about how anyone else lives. I have my hands full trying to live a decent life without worrying about what others are doing.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 08:40 AM

Yes, equally right -- "finding their own way", "believing their own mythology" "there are many ways to find God" -- as opposed to a more literal take on the words of Jesus -- "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me".

And I also believe God is love. And just. Love without justice is sentimentality. Justice without love is cruel judgementalism.

Cheers!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:00 AM

Piers:

The left lost interest because of the large-scale failures of socialism, ignoring its successes in quiet places like Copehagen and Oslo.

I think there is a triangle of forces at work in a social matrix -- vectors that absolutely require private ownership and individualism; vectors that require intelligent socialization of interest; and vectors that require balancing by majority voice. Democratic process, corporate process, and social process are not antagonists when they are done intelligently.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:28 AM

Hey, Jim:

You know, you and I should get to know each other. And I believe we would respect each other, rather than see each other at opposite pole. Part of the problem in this country is when you, Amos and others talk about about what Christians are like, they don't sound even faintly like the people I know. I suspect that when I talk about the Religious Right they don't sound anything like the people you know. Life becomes simpler when we can confine people to little boxes with labels. But, that isn't the way that life works. I know loving, moral, highly admirable Atheists who do far more good in life than some so-called "religious" people do. I know gay couples who in many ways live a more moral life than many straight couples.

As for Jesus being the "way, the truth and the light," I think that belief is not a "Right" or Left" belief. If you are characterizing those on the "Left" as not beliving that, you are completely misunderstanding your fellow Christians. Perhaps the difference is that while I belief that statement to be true, I accept that as the foundation of my life, not something I can try to impose on others.
And definite, not to legislate.

But, I don't think that Mudcat is a proper forum to get into any lengthy discussion of religious beliefs. I have too much love and respect for friends in here who don't share my beliefs. Whatever anyone believes, or is trying to do to live a moral, productive life,
I applaud them for it. In the long run, it is how we "walk the walk," not "talk the talk" that we are measured by.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:35 AM

"You know, you and I should get to know each other. And I believe we would respect each other, rather than see each other at opposite pole. Part of the problem in this country is when you, Amos and others talk about about what Christians are like, they don't sound even faintly like the people I know. I suspect that when I talk about the Religious Right they don't sound anything like the people you know. Life becomes simpler when we can confine people to little boxes with labels. But, that isn't the way that life works. I know loving, moral, highly admirable Atheists who do far more good in life than some so-called "religious" people do. I know gay couples who in many ways live a more moral life than many straight couples.

As for Jesus being the "way, the truth and the light," I think that belief is not a "Right" or Left" belief. If you are characterizing those on the "Left" as not beliving that, you are completely misunderstanding your fellow Christians. Perhaps the difference is that while I belief that statement to be true, I accept that as the foundation of my life, not something I can try to impose on others.
And definite, not to legislate."


I don't disagree with a word of what you said here. Not a single word.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:44 AM

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me".

Yup, T.H.E. "One True Religion"

Countless millions have been slaughtered in the name of that proposition.

There's true "christian love" for ya.

Jalapeño, Sister.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:50 AM

And countless millions have been fed, comforted, cared for, and educated in the name of that proposition.

I guess it's all in which part of history you wish to dwell, and the interpretation of which of the two parts of that long history (the atrocities you cite or the beneveolence I site) more closely represents that proposition.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:59 AM

Thanks, Jim:

Religion doesn't kill people. People kill people. People who use the excuse of religion for their own gain. I take no responsibility for what others have done in the name of religion, any more than an Atheist is responsible for the crimes of other Atheists. It's a specious argument. My neighbor's cat digs up our flower beds to use as a kitty litter box. The cat down the street who never goes out can not be held accountable.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Peace
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:01 AM

Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:03 AM

I think you'd find, were you to stack 'em up side by side, Jim, the dead would make a much higher pile.

Besides which, the atrocities put the lie to the presumed "benevolence", don't they?

Its real easy to be benevolent to "your own kind".


Habanero, Brother.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM

I think that you are all forgetting a couple of things. (And I'm going to address here those who profess to "Christianity" -- not others. I'm also not going to address the historicity of the Christian church, but the doctrines upon which it claims to have begun.)

First, not all of the New Testament was that which was taught by Yeshua of Nazareth. Perhaps more than half of what it is there was inserted later, by the leaders of the Christian church during the first centuries of the Church's existence. As just one example, study the person who was considered to be the "Apostle to the Apostles" -- Mary of Magdala. The early Church was full of dissent and came close to withering to death.

Secondly, Yeshua was most definitely not a "Christian" or a follower of "Christianity". He was a Jew -- circumsized and Temple-taught. He never claimed to be the "Messiah"; such statements appear to have been added after his death, as do the ones regarding "the fulfillment of the Scriptures."

Thirdly, if we assume that Yeshua did make such statements as "I will destroy the Temple and in three days rebuild it", "I have come to bring you a new covenant," and so on it should be clear that rather than fulfilling the Old Testament he was repudiating its teachings. Thus, to be a "Christian" you would have to drop the teachings of the OT as being no longer relevant to your religious beliefs and follow the teachings of the NT.

Fourthly, "Christ" comes from the Greek "Kristos" and means "The Anointed One." The man under discussion never used that word as a surname and most likely didn't know Greek (although that is under discussion). Yeshua's last name would most likely have been something like "bar Yoshef" (or, assuming a divine parentage, "bar El" or "bar Yehovah").


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:10 AM

It would seem obvious from a quick perusal of your 1200+ posts here, Greg, that some Christian, or Christian organization, has hurt you deeply at some point. I won't compound the pain by continuing to discuss what you've already decided upon.

Have a nice day!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:13 AM

Very dogmatically stated, Rapaire. Well mixed, skillfully separated, artfully leading.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Peace
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:24 AM

"It would seem obvious from a quick perusal of your 1200+ posts here, Greg, that some Christian, or Christian organization, has hurt you deeply at some point."

The man has an opinion that differs from yours, Jim. No call for you to say this kinda thing to him. Greg's a darned good guy, IMO. I disagree with some of his posts, but so what? Should I try putting him down instead of his comments? Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:49 AM

That's not meant as a put-down, brucie.

GregF may be a lot of things -- bright, witty, quick-thinking, or an angry man, but one thing is pretty certain from his 1200+ posts ...... he doesn't need to be rescued by you, as well-meaning as you may be.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,Larry K
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:51 AM

This thread is predicated on the theory of what has derailed the religiious right.    I would contend that the religious right represents that views of the majority of the red states and that the term religious left is an oxymoron.

Clearly, for the past 10 years, the vast majority of people who attended church regulaly voted republican and the vast majority of pepole who don't believe in religion voted democrats.   People like Jerry may be the exception, but are in the very small minority.

How does a practicing catholic support abortion?    It is contrary to all their teachings.   

I state this position as a non religious Jew is is not part of the religious right in any way shape or form.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:55 AM

Well Larry,

I guess you pretty much flushed all my points with but one well-timed flick of the lever!

I guess it's back to the drawing board for me! LOL!!

Have a good'n!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Piers
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:03 AM

Oh Amos, I wish socialism had been tried. Show me social ownership, production for use and democratic control of the means of production please. I have comrade in Denmark, he's still fighting for socialism, perhaps no one told him he owned the means of production and he can take his part in controlling them.

My boss, is a very intelligent man, but he won't give me any more money, shops are run by intelligent people, but you can't have what they've got if you can't pay, intelligent landlords evict tenants and prosecute trespassers - they do what they do intelligently. You can put whatever spin on it you want about vectors and matrices, crude metaphors if ever there were, the empirical experience of living says that social processes and corporate are antagonistic, as are the corporate and the democratic. The very fact that you identify corporate processes as distinct from social processes proves the point. Are not the means of food, housing, entertainment, research etc. production on which we all labour in and depend upon corporate processes? It is time to shake off irrationalities of corpse worshipping, patriotism, racism and guff about the inflexibility of human nature.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:04 AM

I am pretty much in agreement with your comments there, Boab. We have a slightly different interpretation in some respects, but substantially are on the same ground. Yes, Jesus, was MORE than just a great teacher. Agreed.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:15 AM

Now wait a minute... you mean that the red states prove that there are more Christians slanted toward the right? Would that life was so simple. Then, as someone who was horrified that Bush was re-elected, it would give me a convenient group of people to be angry with. I think there are a lot of reasons why Democrats lost the election. Maybe as a Democrat, that would be a good thread to start.

But, I don't think you can equate red states to the religious right.
WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too simplistic.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:21 AM

Peirs - You said (that Jesus said): "'Sell that thou hast and give to the poor' which sounds a pretty stupid idea to me, not a step toward to socialist society, but social suicide. 'Take no thought for the morrow' Jesus said, which is entirely anti-social advice. In fact, Jesus' teaching was to despise worldly things for the sake of a reward in heaven. Socialism, is the appreciation
of the things of this world and the endeavour to make a better world here."

I think you are misinterpeting the words, or looking at them out of context, that's all. His statement "sell what thou hast and give to the poor" was not a blanket statement directed toward ALL people in society, it was a statement specifically directed to those who had decided to become spiritual apprentices to him and follow him around and learn what he was teaching at the highest level. He was advising them that they would have to part with their worldly riches and concerns, put them aside, and concentrate entirely on the spiritual discipline. That was a very specific and small number of aspirants he was addressing, and it was entirely appropriate advice in their case, but certainly not appropriate advice for everybody in a whole functioning society. It sounds like exactly the advice any advanced spiritual teacher would give to an aspirant entering a monastic life of spiritual discipline, then or now. Such people comprise way less than a tenth of a per cent of any given population, so it will not result in social suicide! :-)

"Take no thought for the morrow" means...do not subject yourself to needless worry and anxiety, because it doesn't get you anywhere. That's good advice for anyone. It certainly does not mean "do not prepare for anything"! Jesus gave thought to the morrow when he instructed his disciples and told them in advance that he would be arrested, tried, condemned, and executed, and he was preparing them in advance for dealing with those terrible events in the best way they could. That is "thinking for the morrow".

"Take no thought for the morrow" also means, "have confidence in yourself and in life, because you are essentially good and so is life...therefore be optimistic". Excellent advice.

"Despise worldly things"? No. Just see beyond them, that's all. There is more to life than worldly things. There is love, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, generosity, kindness, illumination, and every other great nonmaterial thing a person can experience...those things are the things of spirit, and they are far more crucial in a person's consciousness than worldly possessions, which come and go. You can do a lot of good with worldly things if you become adept in those other things, and a lot of harm if you don't. Therefore, see beyond worldly things.

"Heaven" is (or can be) your own inner state of consciousness, not some place out there beyond the troposphere. The same goes for "hell". They are inner states of consciousness, available to whomever gravitates naturally toward them...and THAT is a matter of choice. Entirely up to you.

I am essentially a socialist, Piers, although I do not object in any way to combining socialism and capitalism in an even mix...which is probably the best way to go. I do NOT despise worldly things. Neither did Jesus. He honored worldly things, but he saw their limitations clearly. Man does NOT live by bread alone.

And that's my opinion... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:25 AM

Jerry, and Jim - Well said. "God is Love" That is the Truth. It is Love that builds a healthy society or life, lack of Love that destroys it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:31 AM

Christianity isn't about what happens after you die. It's about how you live.


Jerry:

I know this is true for some Christians, probably most of them. The Real Deal, as Praise likes to call it, is very much part of life, nothing else.

But there have been those who dramatized the other end of things.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:32 AM

Your comments regarding "Yeshua" (Jesus) are right on the mark, Rapaire. Good stuff. I agree, he repudiated the Old Testament (or much of it). The Old Testament is full of extremely negative stuff that I in no way identify with (with the exception of Genesis, the Psalms, and the Proverbs, which are fine with me).

I regard the Old Testament mostly as just the opinions of a primitive, brutal, ancient tribal people who were capable of virtually any atrocity in the name of their patriarchal horror of a "god", Jehovah...a god that no one with any sense of mercy would follow nowadays. (I will say, in their defence, however, that the Children of Isreal were probably not much different from most of the other primitive, brutal, ancient tribal people whom they massacred when they entered "the promised land"...brutality was the normal mode at the time, I figure.) I regard the very idea that one race of people are set apart as "God's chosen" to be detestable. It sounds like Naziism to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:33 AM

Beautifully stated back two posts, Little Hawk. Jesus would be proud a ya. Jesus basically told us not to be materialistic... not that there is anything inherently evil in material things.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:35 AM

And THAT is all I have time for right now! You can tell I'm having fun, eh? I love this kind of subject... :-) Gotta work now, alas!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:38 AM

maybe not jerry, but a study published recently showed that the blue states had a higher state IQ than all but two or three of the red states. make of that what you will.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Piers
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 12:06 PM

Thanks for your response Little Hawk. You are right about the context of 'sell that thou hast . . . ', but it does beg the question 'how did they live'? Manna from heaven perhaps!

Without what to get into a debate about the meaning of 'Take no thought for the morrow' - you have provided two alternate meanings. I am sure there are hundreds of other interpretations. The second of your interpretations highlights 'opium of the people' effect of religion, believing that 'God will see you through' or in 'being optimistic' may cause less anxiety than resigning yourself to pessimism, but you still have to get through that long shift or pay that bill. And that's what socialists want to change.

I absolutely agree with you about 'seeing beyond worldly things' and for me being a socialist is about creating the material security and comfort so I/we can go onto enjoy those without the disfiguring effects of capitalism.

Piers


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 12:44 PM

You mean that religious belief is based on selfish motives, and is at odds with the teachings of the philosopher, Christ.


Ake:

Not at all what I said, and certainly not what I meant!!

Why was it okay for the Hashishims to take on assignments to commit murder or mayhem?Because they would wake up (if they succeeded in dying int he attempt) in Paradise surrounded by honeyed virgins or grapes or whatever.

Why was it okay for the Crusaders to sharpen their steel and go barging off to murder the Arabs from here to the Holy Land?

Because they would be elevated in the afterlife for having died gloriously, under the authority and sanction of a very anthropomorphical deity.

Why was it okay for Vikings to go berserk and slaughter and pillage?

Because if they died like a "warrior" they would go to Valhalla and get to sit around and drink and sing, a good fate in my book, too!!:)

The point is that many belief systems use the afterlife as a token for manipulating behavior in this lifetime. The moral of that observation , is be careful what beliefs you choose, so that you don't end up doing things you would otherwise abhor.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Once Famous
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 12:53 PM

Little hawk, you comments about the Old Testament are the a good reason why we deny Jesus Christ was certainly not the son of God and why his teachings mean nothing to us. They are about as believable as immaculate conception.

The New testament is completely worthless to us. The Old testament/Torah is all we will ever need.

You can't improve on the original, no matter what kind of mythology you want to create. No matter how much you portray as much as possible that Jesus did not look like the Jew he was.

Nazism? I believe the Nazis followed Jesus as their religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 01:46 PM

It would seem obvious ... that some Christian, or Christian organization, has hurt you deeply at some point...

Jeez- ya took the time to read all of 'em?

May be "obvious" to you, Jim, but unfortunately for the patronizing point you were attempting to make, completely untrue.

Assumptions- and adherence to dogma- can both be problematical.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Peace
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 01:51 PM

"he doesn't need to be rescued by you, as well-meaning as you may be."

I am aware of that. But, this is an open thread, and what is said in a public forum is fair game for all. You appear to 'talk down' to people, and I don't care for that. Very nice and all, but nevertheless, there you have it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,Sleepless Dad
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 01:55 PM

Martin - Which of Christs teachings mean nothing to you ? The Love your neighbor as yourself kinda stuff perhaps ?

And refresh my memory about the Torah. Is posting on the Mudcat on your sabbath day allowed ? I notice you've done that quite a few times. How about eating shellfish and wearing clothes made from two different types of cloth ?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,Voice crying in the wilderness
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:02 PM

"Nazism? I believe the Nazis followed Jesus as their religion."

Yet another foray into blind ignorance.

The "religion" of the Nazis was a distortion of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. They particularly fastened on Nietzsche's concept of the "übermensch," or "superman." This, plus anti-intellectualism; follow the aggressive urgings of "the blood and bowels." Their idea of purity of race involved the elimination of everyone they deemed "imperfect."

The idea that the Nazis gave any credence to Christianity or anything that Jesus said is ludicrous. Typical of the Christian response to Nazism was that of Pastor Martin Niemöller.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:20 PM

"You appear to 'talk down' to people"

I'm tall. Very tall.

Seriously, I'll take note and watch my tone.

I think I understand what you're saying -- from my point of view, I feel that the reason why I'm posting as I am is not because of a sense of superiority -- rather, I think it stems from the inherent obstacle of addressing a large group of people who have developed a VERY strong, somewhat complex, interconnected and overwhelmingly majority "liberal-like" belief system (just like any other closed community might develop)-- one that has grown its own legs and is actually even a bit different from the run-of-the-mill liberal POV observable in today's politics (outside the mudcat).

Because I happen to be the newest (though I've lurked for years) to come and actually call into question that dogma, complete with its set of now unquestionable assertions that has been allowed to develop without restraint over the years, and have gained unwarranted credence based upon mere repetition, I appear to be arrogant -- what else but arrogance would dare challenge the orthodoxy here?

But, yeah, I'll watch my tone. Maybe it wouldn't then be too much to ask that you re-analyze what you think I'm saying, and ask yourself if it couldn't just be the color of your glasses -- not the color of my skin (metaphorically speaking).

Have a nice afternoon!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Once Famous
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:22 PM

Guest, sleepless Dad. I am not an Orthodox Jew. I am though a non-observant religious Reform Jew, which if you know anything at all is much more progressive regarding a modern lifestyle along with a devout love of God and torah. So, please don't patronize me with your ignorance.

As far as Jesus saying Love Thy Neighbor, that is hardly anything original that Jesus invented or taught.

Little Hawk, I love ya pal, but am disappointed that your post on the Old Testament absolutely reeks of the worst possible type of anti-semitism. Your Sunday school teacher might have been thinking about your crotch when he taught it to you.

Mudcat continues to be a haven for strong and ignorant anti-semitism. It's a truly amazing phenomenon and one that eventually might have to be brought to the attention of the Anti-defamation League, if they aren't already aware of it. Please do not tell me your definition of anti-semitism. I know full well what it is and what it isn't.

Too bad what liberal folk singers have become in the 21st century.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Peace
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:32 PM

Jim,

You are a gentleman and a scholar. Thank you. Very classy.

"I think I understand what you're saying -- from my point of view, I feel that the reason why I'm posting as I am is not because of a sense of superiority -- rather, I think it stems from the inherent obstacle of addressing a large group of people who have developed a VERY strong, somewhat complex, interconnected and overwhelmingly majority "liberal-like" belief system (just like any other closed community might develop)-- one that has grown its own legs and is actually even a bit different from the run-of-the-mill liberal POV observable in today's politics (outside the mudcat)."

This place is--let me explain it this way. I started a thread one day. It was entitled "!". That's it. No explanation, no NOTHin'. Within a few days it had wandered through humour, angst, philosophy, slaggin', shaggin' and politics. There is NO way to get a handle on the folks here and the group dynamics change weekly. The two subjects that can become nasty and sometimes do are politics and religion. The people here will debate ANYthing. You tell on a thread here that people fart more after picked eggs and lager, withing ten minutes, tops, someone will elaborately support that or come crashing in with the documented proof that yer fulla what causes the fart in the first place. Sometimes ya jus' gotta sit back. I think you're a pretty cool arguer, so if I have ticked you off at all, sorry. I know how to be a pain at times. Just so you know, so do you. LOL

Later.

Bruce M


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Once Famous
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:37 PM

Jim Tailor, I started out believe it or not kind of watching my tone.

For about 2 days.

Then I realized that some strong language got my points across much better when you realize how much ignorance one can deal with here, how much intolerance lurks under the guise of liberal tolerance, and how much fun it ended up being making the politically correct here show how hypocritical they are.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Peace
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 02:51 PM

"what else but arrogance would dare challenge the orthodoxy here?"

Jim, I really don't know what orthodoxy you are speaking of. At various times I am right of center and at other times, left.

There are a number of posters with whom I agree more often than not, but there is no single individual with whom I agree all the time about shades and interpretations of the 'big' issues. Lots like life in that regard. No one agrees with me all the time, either.Sometimes too, we push the wrong button on the llevator and wish we hadn't. Some things are emotional for people, and other things get addressed very calmly and cooly. IMO, this place has more people left of center than right of center. That's the nature of the people who come here and post I guess. But to ascribe that to an established orthodoxy? No, I don't think so.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: dianavan
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 03:03 PM

Isn't this a double negative?

"...why we deny Jesus Christ was certainly not the son of God..."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM

98


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 03:16 PM

99


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 03:17 PM

yippee 100


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Greg F.
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 04:02 PM

" overwhelmingly majority...belief system (just like any other closed community might develop)--"


Hmmm....... majority belief system......closed community.........

You mean like certain strains of 'Christians' or possibly right-wing Republicans?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,Com Seangan
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 04:13 PM

"Jesus Christ did not try to appropriate the power of the state to impose His views on everyone (as do today's right-wingers who profess to be His followers). Authoritarianism of any kind was never part of His message".

Well said Popogator. I hadn't heard it put that way before. Hard to contradict.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 04:15 PM

"You mean like certain strains of 'Christians' or possibly right-wing Republicans?"

I think I covered that ground, GregF, when I said...

"just like any other closed community might develop"

But if it makes you feel better to bring it up yet again, have at it m'man!

Have a nice evening!

Brucie,

Of course I know I was overstating the case to make the point. Thankfully, you've been gracious enough to show that you know exactly what I meant, even if overstated.

Of course I see the disagreements among those on the left here. I also see 1. lots of unchallenged, cliche'ed rhetoric -- accepted because of the make-up of this community, however incidental or accidental, allows for it, and 2. a very high degree of that familial kind of protectionism (for want of a better word), not unlike two brothers who fight like cats'n'dogs -- until an interloper happens to challenge -- then blood is thicker than water....or in this case, "mud is thicker than water".

Okay....even I'm groaning at that one.

Have a very pleasant eveining, sir!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 04:20 PM

Yes, Martin, the Nazis DID claim to follow Jesus, Hitler claimed to follow Jesus, but that is not Jesus' fault. :-) Everyone in European civilization has been claiming to follow Jesus no matter what horrific things they did, ever since the Roman Emperor Constantine. Everyone except the Communists and the Jews, that is. Perhaps that is why Hitler linked Communists and Jews as the principle "enemies" of mankind. If so, it is certainly the height of irony, wouldn't you say?

I love you too, Martin. You're okay with me. I'm not anti-semitic, I'm anti-Zionist. And I am against genocide, no matter who practices it. The Nazis practiced it. The Israelites practiced it, when they entered what they called "the promised land" and wiped out Jericho and all those other places, and beat out the brains of the children even. That's genocide. I don't approve of it. I do not suggest that all Jews today are guilty of it or that it is an intrinsically Jewish trait. It's not. I am simply saying that it happened. It's in your holy books. It happened.

What is the qualitative difference between asserting that your own nation is "God's Chosen" and asserting that your own nation is the "Master Race"? The Jews used the first term in their holy books, the Nazis used the second in their propaganda.

I don't see how you can feel comfortable with a God that is as vengeful, demanding, and punitive as Jehovah. I would not dream of worshipping or believing in such a God, and that is why I only went to Sunday school ONCE, and never went back. I became a confirmed atheist when I was a child and an adolescent, precisely because of the grotesque stuff I encountered in the Old Testament. I could not believe it or stomach it. It was sick and horrible.

I later came to find spiritual meaning in life that goes beyond organized religions or cultural boundaries, and it includes all people, with no Master Race set apart from the rest.

I don't have any problem with Jesus having been a Jew, or "looking like a Jew", whatever that means...? Fine with me. Bob Dylan is a Jew, and I love Bob Dylan, so why not Jesus?

You know, you have the choice to interpret my opinion as anti-semitism if you want to, but you may be mistaken about that. Is it possible to criticize wrongful behaviour by some Jews at some points in history and not be anti-semitic? I certainly hope so! Otherwise, we are living under some kind of Orwellian thought control, under which Jews are given a special status and are beyond criticism no matter WHAT they do. I suspect that the real business of the so-called anti-defamation league is...defamation. They are enforcing thought control and silence by means of fear. What better way to destroy the career of any public figure than to label him as an "anti-semite"? It's the same dirty tactic Joe McCarthy used when he labelled people as Communists or fellow-travelers...just because he wanted to destroy them. It's dishonest, it's self-serving, it's paranoid, and it's wrong.

I am not going to live in fear and silence because some particular bunch of people have decided that they, and only they, are beyond criticism...no matter what.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 04:21 PM

"Jesus Christ did not try to appropriate the power of the state to impose His views on everyone (as do today's right-wingers who profess to be His followers). Authoritarianism of any kind was never part of His message".

Those on the Christian Right with whom I am familiar do not disagree with this statement. (Except, obviously that parentetical part *grin*).


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 05:03 PM

Jerry,

I believe in the Separation of Church and State. I believe with Jefferson when he says,
" I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." He went on to say,"The blasphemy and absurdity of the five points of Calvin, and the impossiblity of defending them, render their advocates impatient of reasoning, irritable and prone to denunciation."

Jefferson was persecuted by the Theocratic Fascists of his day and denounced as an "anti-Christ", "French infidel", "a howling atheist".
Does this remind anyone of today?

It's interesting that Bill Clinton's middle name was Jefferson and he also was hounded by the Christo-fascists.

I believe in Jefferson's ideal, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion"…………

As much as I like Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo,
I am concerned about a Religious Left because is leaves non-believers out of the dialogue.

Washington has this to say about Christianity.
In the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796 (article 11)
"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion…….."and he goes on to state that the U.S. has never entered into a war or emnity toward Mohammedanism (Muslims).

I believe that the Left must be open to all persuasions, believer and non-believer and not co-opted by religious Christian fanatics that are found today among the so-called Right.

Dr. King found that many African-Americans were turned off by a Christian orientation in the Civil Rights Movement.

Ghandi was a Hindu (though some Christians thought him more Christian than most Christians) and Jesus was a Palestinian Jew.

Therefore, Left or Right, religion should be separated from politics as stated in the Constitution. That doesn't mean that politically aware people need to give up their religion but it must not be overarching as to diminish other forms some of which may be secular.

Sydney Carter wrote a song about George Fox, founder of the Quakers. A line reads:
"'Will you swear on the Bible, I will not', said he. For the Truth is as holy as the Book to me."

Why should the truth be restricted to any particular persuasion, religious or not?

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Once Famous
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 05:36 PM

Sorry, Little Hawk. zionism and Judiasm go hand in hand.

personally, we know that we are the chosen people.

We said it first. You can be as jealous as you want. As usual, we are dispised because we have the highest education and income of any group per capita. We run Hollywood, the media, business, and finance.
We got to where we are because we worked hard and had some brains.

You can knock our God if you want, but I always thought that the God of the Jews was the same God as the Christians had. We just didn't need Jesus to help us understand him. I think Jesus was a good MAN, but nothing more than that. His mother got knocked up the same way any woman does. Jesus is pretty close to being out of business, I think.

you can be an atheist all you want, Little hawk. Plenty like you found religion on their deathbed.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 05:39 PM

I want to qualify what I mean by "anti-Zionist" before anyone jumps on that and claims that it means I favour the destruction of Israel...

I do not favour the destruction of Israel, and I am in support of the continued existence of Israel as a self-governing nation, within the boundaries established in 1948.

I am not in favour of Israel's attacks and incursions on its immediate neighbours, I am not in favour of continued expansion of Israel's territory by war or settlement, I am not in favour of Israel's occupation of the Left Bank or Gaza or the Golan Heights or any part of Lebanon. I am not in favour of Israel's penchant for launching military reprisals against civilian populations. I am not in favour of Ariel Sharon's aggressive political policies. I am not in favour of what amounts to an apartheid policy within the state of Israel.

I am in favour of establishing a Palestinian homeland, and compensating Palestinians to some extent for the past 50+ years of land theft by Zionists.

I am in favour of cessation of all terrorist attacks by anyone upon Israel...or anyone else.

I am in favour of guaranteeing Israel's right to exist as a sovereign state within the 1948 borders.

I am in favour of any Israeli citizen (and there are many) who opposes the punitive policies of the Sharon government and seeks a peaceful settlement with Arabs and Palestinians rather than seeking further vengeance and retaliation.

I likewise am in favour of any Arabs and Palestinians who oppose the punitive policies of terrorist factions, and who seek peaceful coexistence with Israel rather than seeking further vengeance and retaliation.

I am in favour of those on both sides who would live and let live.

I do not regard that as being unreasonably idealistic, I regard it as being sane.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 05:47 PM

Hey, Frank:

If you read my posts you'll see that I am in 100% agreement with your last post. I believe strongly in the separation of church and state, I believe as Jefferson did that there should be no laws passed establishing a religion, and I believe that the Christian Left (which doesn't actually even exist as some form of formal group) is just one part of a larger group of people of all faiths, as well as Atheists and Agnostics who take our constitution seriously and are dedicated to trying to live by it.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Once Famous
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 05:48 PM

somebody I heard equated the size of Israel to the rest of the middle east to a matchbook on a football field.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 05:49 PM

I'm not an atheist NOW, Martin. :-) Just when I was a kid. I pray to God every day...I just don't pray to the pet God of some organized religion. I pray to the God that existed long before there WERE any organized religions...that God has no denomination.

And you are NOT the Chosen People. No one is. But, if you want to think you are, that's up to you. The Jews are most certainly not the first who have thought so! I think the Egyptians also thought so, and the Japanese, and the Chinese, and probably the Babylonians and Persians and the Romans and the Greeks and the Vikings and just about everybody else too. LOL! It was actually a VERY common presumption in the ancient World, probably THE original boastful assumption of all time.

EVERY primitive tribe imagines itself to be God's "special" people, his Chosen. You weren't the first, Martin. I can guaran-dam-tee it! But I sure hope that you are the last.

And, yes, of course the Christian God and the Jewish God are the same God...but I am suggesting that the picture the Old Testament paints regarding the nature of God is faulty.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 06:00 PM

And because I do respect others, those who do not accept what is called "Christianity", I tried very hard to reflect in my statement that was not addressed to them.

Yeshua and his teachings mean little to an animist, or a Shintoist, or a Wiccan. And yet...and yet...my readings in these and other religions show an interesting overlap with the teachings of Yeshua and, yes, the "Old Testament."

Don't kill without necessity. Don't steal. Treat others as you'd like to be treated. Respect your neighbor.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: PoppaGator
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 06:09 PM

GUEST,Frank mentioned Jim Wallis in passing a few posts earlier; I'm not sure, but I don't think this author had been mentioned here previously.

I don't know much about this person, but saw him briefly on TV a couple of days ago. (I tuned in when the interview was almost over.) All I know about him is the title of his new book, which makes LOTS of sense to me:

"God's Politics:
Why the Right Gets It Wrong and
the Left Doesn't Get It"

I suspect that many of us on both sides of this little debate would find much to agree with in this book, which is prominently displayed and discussed (for the time being) at the Sojourners web site to which CarolC provided a link on 27 Jan 05 - 05:15 PM (above).


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 06:16 PM

of course the Christian God and the Jewish God are the same God And that goes for the Muslims as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 06:20 PM

So true, Kevin: That's why when we have a family gathering and say Grace, our Muslim sons are comfortable giving thanks to Allah. They know it is the same God. Probably why I can sing gospel at a Jewish Home For The Aged (although most of the people there are Christian)
God is inclusive.. not exclusive.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 06:36 PM

Yes, it certainly does, Kevin. Also goes for the Hindus, the Bahais, the Buddhists (although their understanding of it is less anthropomorphic), the Janes, the Sikhs, the Native American Shamans, the Wiccans, the Druids, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, the Zoroastrians, and whoever else is out there.

They all have their own way of talking about it, of course. And THAT's what they tend to argue about!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: frogprince
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 07:37 PM

"the Christian Left... doesn't actually even exist as some form of formal group" (Jerry R.)
And, so far as I ever saw, never tried to; unlike the right, with numerous groups blatantly trying to re-create the United States in their own image.
Martin, you put us in an impossible position; unless we say you are superior to us, by God's own decree, we are ant-semetic hatemongers. A few years ago I heard a despicable "Christian" clergyman stand up and say "Jews don't love their children the way Christians do" (Because they don't have the spirit of God working in them in the same way). I had considered joining that church, but I knew at that moment I never would. Numerous people here have said in effect that we believe Jews are as good and valuable in God's sight as any other people on earth. How can you construe that as anti-semetism?
    Dean.(My name, not just something I come here under to play around.)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 07:52 PM

Exactly. I consider Jews to be of the same value as any other people. I believe in equality and brotherhood, not a Master Race or a Chosen People. I don't care what it says in some ancient book that was written by God knows who in some little tribe 3 or 4 thousand years ago, I care about what's happening right now. We need equality, not a Master Race. I do not envy Jews who have accomplished great things in entertainment, media, commerce, or whatever. What's to envy? I admire them for it, like I admire anyone who is good at doing something worthwhile.

Joan Baez said in her book that when she sees great talent she does not feel envious, she gets excited and inspired by it. That's how I feel. The only people I remember envying were guys who got to go out with girls I liked when I was a youngster! :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Burke
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 08:47 PM

I hesitate to enter here, but I want to correct the idea that the Religious Left ignores the Hebrew scriptures.

Writings available from organizations such as Sojourners & The Other Side are in fact steeped in the language of the Hebrew Prophets such as Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: frogprince
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 09:28 PM

Thanks for throwing that in, Burke. Years ago someone from the "R.L." side asked Billy Graham why he preached little or nothing from the prophets, with their calls for justice and social compassion. Graham said (approximate but accurate) "I'm a New Testament evangelist, not an Old Testament prophet". It's hard not to slip into simplification of a complex picture. L.H., if you take another look at the prophets, you might see why a lot of us don't want to toss out the Old Testament lock stock and barrel; there are things there that "Yeshua" (however we anglocize his name) repudiated, and there are things that he embraced , reinforced, and passed on.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 10:37 PM

Agreed, Frogprince and Burke. Good point made! I do not deny the entire Old Testament by any means, I just object to the more negative parts of it. There are some magnificent and inspired sections in the Old Testament. It's the portrayal of a wrathful, angry, vengeful God that I am not in sympathy with. Such a God makes no sense to me. Such a God would merely be a mirror image of the very worst in human nature, and the worst in human nature is rooted in fear. I hardly think that God is fearful or jealous or anything like that...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: robomatic
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:48 AM

Paraphrasing Will Rogers I'll say that I don't belong to an organized religion. I'm Jewish.

As for the old Testament new Testament debate, I'll remind y'all of the obvious. Jews don't have either. We have 'The'.

By the same selective quotations and analysis that is represented here, one can try to use the OT or NT, and probably the Koran, the Bhavagad-kita to argue for harsh punishment, lenient punishment, pro and anti-Darwinism, pro and anti socialism, pretty much anything you have set your mind to. If you look you will find Jews all over the political spectrum, even in this thread perhaps.

What has always impressed me about the 'OT' is what I regard its frankness. It starts right out with narrative that does not stint from acknowledging incest, wife stealing, murder. It lays before you fraternal strife and reconciliation, notions of tribal organization, and the harshness and forgiveness inherent in God.

I do not find the OT to be 'defacto' conservative. I find it to be honest.

I do not find the NT (which I have read on a superficial level) to be half so engaging, because I see it as a brochure. It's trying to sell me on Christ's teachings by way of his 'closer than thou' relation to the deity. I don't think it captures human nature in the raw half so well as the OT. Most of what Jesus has to say is perceptive but not brilliant, and he doesn't say all that needs to be said. From my point of view, naturally, he doesn't fulfill prophecy. Those arguments invariably try to define the prophecy to prove the deity rather than the other way around, which is like shooting the arrow and then drawing the target around it.

I depart from most Jews, and Christians and Muslims in that I don't expect our problems to be taken in hand from the outside. the concept of Messiah as a separate being is I think a real problem for the world.

I think WE are the Messiah. If not now, hopefully soon. We need to see the messiah in ourselves and others, not some imposed outside being.

I didn't invent any of this. A lot of people from all backgrounds are coming to similar conclusions. I value my religion and respect that of others, for we all have more in common with the above concepts regardless of what they call themselves. It's the narrow minded folk with the very tiny heavens I disagree with.

I have arrived at using the language of science as a standard while trying not to forget that one can make a false god out of anything. ANYTHING.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:23 AM

Very interesting post, robomatic.

So much of it I like -- your New/Old contrast and analysis is interesting. And even as a Christian I find this statement, "Most of what Jesus has to say is perceptive but not brilliant, and he doesn't say all that needs to be said." , to be curiously accurate. Though I might give Jesus more credit than you do for his insight and wisdom, my take on Jesus' "ministry" would very much coincide with your perception...

....because, to the Christian (as I understand it), Jesus mission was to sacrifice himself. He was a propitiation. He was the providence of grace.

But that contrast parallels nicely with modern day characterization of those who would call themselves "Christian".

For some, "Christian" is a noun. For others, "Christian" is an adjective. If one refers to themselves as "Christian", meaning the former, it is likely that they, like me, are somewhat uncomfortable with the appellation because, though they are grateful as can be for the grace that "nouns" them a Christian, they are painfully aware that their behavior so rarely "adjectives" them as "Christian" -- and they (I) know that there is no excuse for the gap -- other than still being human.

Others who call themselves "Christian" reject the noun aspect altogether -- there is no grace because none is necessary -- there is nothing from which to be "graced". But they like what they believe are the teachings of Jesus -- and in that vaguely intellectualized way, choose to follow that concept philosophically -- like following the golden rule as best they can.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 11:41 AM

I pretty much agree with you, robomatic. Very good post. We ARE the Messiah, in that we must save ourselves. The responsibility is entirely upon us to make of our lives the best that we can. That which will save us is the best that lies latent within us...not some miracle that is going to descend out of the sky and to it for us.

And as you say, people can make a false god out of ANYTHING. They do it all the time. Money, sex, riches, power, prestige, popularity, fame, patriotism, weapons, titles, military supremacy, political theory, technology, professional status...the list is endless.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 12:01 PM

Seein's as how I started this thread, I'll just toss in that I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that he died on the cross for me, and that without him I don't have a chance in Hell. Or, let me restate that. I have an excellent chance in Hell. :-)

Just my faith... No way to prove it, and if you can prove something, it isn't faith.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 12:12 PM

Then for you, Jerry, Jesus Christ is that highest potential within you that will save you. He lives within you and guides you.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 12:32 PM

Thanks, Little Hawk. You are a kindred spirit, and my brother. For all the battles that rage about faith in here, it seems like the ultimate oxymoron to talk about proving faith. The best each of us can do is to follow our faith and respect that of others.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 12:48 PM

"... and that without him I don't have a chance in Hell. Or, let me restate that. I have an excellent chance in Hell. :-)"


doesn't bode well for the likes of me, does it Jerry? no matter how much you like me or respect my way of living. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 12:53 PM

As Jesus instructed people not to judge others, Bill, I don't think Jerry would be inclined to cast judgement on you. He is attending to his own spiritual development, not yours.

Why feel threatened by his faith? What you are really saying is that his way isn't reasonable, and he should see it your way. Or I think that's what you seem to be implying, anyway. Thus, are you not doing what you think he's doing, and prosyletizing?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 01:25 PM

No, Bill: I'm not talking about you, or anyone who doesn't believe in God. The God I love is infinitely merciful and IS love. I think that you are a good man, and I have a great respect for you. In the long run, we are only responsible for ourselves. I am not in the judgment business. I am not equipped for it, and it isn't my responsibility.

In here, no matter how much of a patina of intellect and reason we all apply to our posts, we all end up talking about (and revealing) ourselves.

Far as I know Bill, I'll see you in Heaven. And won't that be a surprise when you get there? We'll have a big laugh about it. I have a son who doesn't believe in God either. I expect to see him too.

And, the concept or reality of heaven or Hell doesn't motivate me. Fear doesn't either. Or ignorance or a lack of intellectual capacity.

It's love what does it.

Love knows no season, and it is unconditional.

And universal.

Love you, Bill..

You're my brother, too.. sure as you're born.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 02:00 PM

I sent LH a private reply to his post...

and Jerry, I agree with most of what you say about 'revealing ourselves' in here. I happen to think we should often reveal a bit less than we do...but *shrug*...we all have different public personas.

I am eternally curious about how I might get to Heaven without the requisite faith(maybe there are Left Wing branches for reprobates like me?)...but it IS important to me that I not be viewed as a lesser person for NOT believing....

kinda complicated, ain't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 02:05 PM

Can't give you any help there, Bill. But then, for those who don't believe in an afterlife, what's to worry? Kinda hard to figure out how to get into a place that doesn't exist? Talk about convoluted thinking :-)

You are certainly not a lesser person in my eyes, Bill.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 02:14 PM

Larry K asks:
    How does a practicing Catholic support abortion?    It is contrary to all their teachings.
I think Larry's right. You find very few Catholics who believe abortion is a good thing, although many of us don't buy the right-wing hysteria about it being genocide or the like. Many Catholics believe that it is not up to us to make the choice for or against abortion - that choice must be made by the woman who is most directly involved. This is not a choice that can or should be controlled by law or other means of coersion.
Still, if we believe abortion is wrong, then we must do what we can to help women find alternatives to abortion (like birth control and adoption, for example....).
The current doctrine of the U.S. Democratic party seems to demand that the legitimacy of abortion be accepted without question. That makes some of us Catholic Democrats very uncomfortable. We sure as hell don't want to join the Republicans, though.

-Joe Offer, pro-choice pro-life anti-abortion Catholic-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 02:26 PM

Hey, Joe:

Having been a Catholic for many years, and respecting those of that faith, I'd have to say that many devoted Catholics I've known believe that the Pope isn't infallible (another topic and one I don't really think needs exploring in here.) I kid them that if they don't think the Pope is infallible, but just right on matters of doctrine a Heck of a lot of the time (but not on birth control) then they're just Prostestants in Catholic tunics.

My point is, if some (perhaps a great many) Catholics believe that birth control is not a sin, while the Pope has declared that it is, then that opens the door to disagreements with other church doctrines as well.

Again, I don't want to open a discussion on whether abortion or birth control are sins or not.. or gay marriage or all the other issues that divide us. In the long run, to some extent we're all on our own around here, whatever faith we profess (or deny.)

(I think it's kosher to say God Bless to you, Joe)

Or is that a mixed greeting? :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 02:33 PM

"many of us don't buy the right-wing hysteria about it being genocide or the like"

Certainly not "genocide" in a purely etymological sense of the word. It's not the planned extermination of a race, though it certainly has had those elements interjected by people very active in the inception of the "Pro-choice" movement (like Margaret Sanger).

But it has certainly resulted in a greater shedding of life than any genocide in history. So, though one may take great comfort in the etymological distinction, the reality of dimunition of life, its value and meaning, has certainly been broader than any genocide.

I heard one commentator state that he thought it was John Kerry's "Joe Offer-like" comment (he didn't actually say "Joe Offer-like" -- I just threw that in for mudcat clarification *grin*) ---that, though he believed that life began at conception, he would never do anything to stop abortion -- was a turning point in the election. That one really had the moderates shaking their heads.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: akenaton
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:37 PM

I agree with Bill D, and for once take iussue with Little Hawk, (hope Im not struck down by a thunderbolt for that).

People like Jerry worry me.
Its always the same,"its not "God","god is love, god is understanding, god is within us all" they always try to rationalise the irrational.
And then they spoil it all by saying "see ya in heaven",revealing the selfish, egocentric stance that is religious faith.....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:43 PM

Lighten up, akeneton: I was not being selfish or egocentric with Bill. Bill was having fun and so was I. I doubt that he took any offense, as we are friends.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:03 PM

Oh, I understand Bill's reaction, akenaton, but it just kind of tickled my funny bone in a way... Like all people, Bill is an advocate for his particular version of "reality". We just can't seem to help being so. :-)

I think of both heaven and hell as what could be termed divergent states of mind. Thus, I think there are many heavens and many hells...all analogous to their own level of consciousness. A person who feels most at home in one of the "hells" does, merely because it makes sense to his level of consciousness...so to him it might not even seem like hell. Or it might. Hard to say.

Suppose you have a person whose basic philosophy is: "Life is cruel. No one can be trusted. You have to fight constantly to survive, and steal and lie in order to live." Now that person is living in hell, simply because he sees it that way. He's already in hell. I've witnessed people like that, and it's a sad thing to see.

I don't view "hell" as a punishment. I don't believe that God or the Infinite or whatever you would call it would ever punish anyone. People punish themselves through their own negative thinking...and they sure as hell punish others too! People are the punishers in this Universe. God is Love. Love does not create hells and does not cast sinners into them to suffer. Love allows people to find their own level of reality according to their own free will and awareness.

You can be in heaven or hell right here and now while you are still in the body. It's your state of mind that determines that, mainly...though people will also point to outer conditions. (Certainly, there are some outer conditions that no one but a saint could find much joy in! Most people would interpret those as hellish.)

I think that there are very likely a great many non-physical realities or dimesions, all built by conscious awareness, and that people naturally gavitate (as bodiless spirits) to the one that best suits their present level of awareness. They do that sometimes when they're dreaming, and they do it when they "die".

If their awareness is peaceful and loving, they go to a level that fits that awareness. If their awareness is fearful and hateful, they go to a leve that fits that. It's entirely up to them.

The function of a saviour or a great spiritual teacher, in my opinion, is simply this: to set the example of higher spiritual awareness through his/her own behaviour, and to guide anyone who is willing to listen and learn and work toward that higher awareness.

It's up to them. They will not be judged or punished, but they will certainly be in charge of finging their own "heaven" or "hell". As they sow, so shall they reap.

I think the only real difference, Bill, between you and me...and maybe me and Akenaton also...is this: I believe I have a non-physical spirit that is just temporarily using this physical body like a vehicle...like we use a car, for example. And you think that it all ends when the physical body dies. You guys think you ARE the body (and mind). I think that I'm an immortal consciousness that has built and is temporarily using this body/mind known as "George", and I will soon discard them both, process what I learned using them, and move on to further expanded spirit life without the body/mind. My Spirit is far wiser than my mind, but it has to work down through the mortal mind and the mortal body in order to communicate with you here and now in the English language on Mudcat and type these friggin' computer keys!

(talk about an inefficient way to communicate!)

It's primiteve down here, guys! And slow! But it's very interesting and challenging, so that's all right.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:28 PM

A wise friend of mine once said "You get the life you perceive." You know what I mean, Little Hawk. And to some extent, I think that we all live in prisons of our own design.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 04:30 PM

Yup. I am allowing myself to be imprisoned by my addiction to a danged Internet forum. :-)

Time to go downtown and get something real done around here...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 05:25 PM

But [abortion] has certainly resulted in a greater shedding of life than any genocide in history.

Nonsense. Did someone say hysteria?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: akenaton
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM

I can understand your stance Little Hawk, but most "religious" people dont think like you.   As in other topics you strike me as an individualist.
Although Im an atheist, that doesn't mean that I cant be "spiritual".
I feel inspired by the beauty of nature or the intricacy of the insect world, or music, or even someone like yourself writing on an internet forum.
But to me the thing that drives the "orthodox religious" is not love, but the promise of eternal life (in heaven).
To wish to live forever is in my opinion both selfish and egocentric.
I know you love Burns , and "Holy Wullie" is a typical example of what I mean,and dont think Im out of touch , because here in Scotland the "Holy Wullies" are still alive and well.
I was fortunate enough to be brought up from childhood by an old batchelor uncle who taught me all I know of nature and kindness to my fellow creatures. He also taught me compassion and how to stick up for my self when the need arose. We were quite inseparable, we slept together , worked together and even enjoyed our sport of greyhound racing together for twenty years ,until the day I got married.

I gave old Jock many a worry in my youth, experimenting with the booze and keeping late hours, but as I matured I began to realise that I had something that not many people on this earth have.
Someone who loved me with a real unselfish love.
In fact I know for certain that if it had been necessary, Jock would have given his life to save mine without a second thought.

Jock wasn't the "son of god", just a good kind old man, but although he had no "religion", he had more spirituality in his little finger than the whole sanctimonious gang rolled into one ...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 05:44 PM

Here are the "hysterical" numbers as given by Planned Parenthood (AGI)

       (AGI)            (CDC)
1973       744,600       615,831
1974       898,600       763,476
1975    1,034,200       854,853
1976    1,179,300       988,267
1977    1,316,700    1,079,430
1978    1,409,600    1,157,776
1979    1,497,700    1,251,921
1980    1,553,900    1,297,606
1981    1,577,300    1,300,760
1982    1,573,900    1,303,980
1983    1,575,000    1,268,987
1984    1,577,200    1,333,521
1985    1,588,600    1,328,570
1986    1,574,000    1,328,112
1987    1,559,100    1,353,671
1988    1,590,800    1,371,285
1989    1,566,900    1,396,658
1990    1,608,600    1,429,577
1991    1,556,500    1,388,937
1992    1,528,900    1.359,145
1993    1,500,000    1,330,414
1994    1,431,000    1,267,415
1995    1,363,690    1,210,883
1996    1,365,730    1,221,585
1997    1,365,730      
1998    1,365,730      
1999    1,365,730      
40 MILLION ABORTIONS SINCE 1973
4,000 each day


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:09 PM

you know..I was just thinking how very bloody hard it is to straddle the fence and try to see all sides of an issue! I KNOW Jerry, and I KNOW he is not pressuring me to "get right with the Lord"....but so many other have, and certain phrases set off 'tilt' lights in my head, like when you hit a pinball machine just a bit too hard.

There are infinite gradations of proselytizing...both pro and anti Christian, and everyone has their personal threshold of 'irritation'. There are people I have known for years without having any idea what their metaphysical beliefs are, though we can argue endlessly over other stuff....and in a lot of ways, that's kinda neat. Others, I know basically what church they go to, but the subject never arises except as an aside when some event causes a schedule conflict...etc. And then there are a few (not many these days)where the religious pros and cons color every aspect of our relationship, because they can't speak two sentences without some reference to 'blessings' or 'the Lord's will'...and yeah, I have known atheists who were just as bad--acting as though they had a divine mission ...ummmm...'personal goal' to DISprove every religious comment they hear.

Me...I just like clear, reasonable thinking...and in spite of what I often write in here, I have known some very religious people whose explanation of, and way of living their faith were no problem for me at all! The one thing I cannot argue with is when a person says "well, I just can't imagine a universe without a first cause, and it comforts me to put a loving intelligence behind the idea."

I can explain that I don't need to imagine a 'cause', and that I get my comfort other ways...but I can't dispute the urge to resolve the wonder with a decision.

I can poke at Little Hawk and his rhetorical flights of metaphysical fancy about "universal spirit" and such with my own references to "Occam's Razor" and "The Law of Parsimony"...but I'm not gonna sway him, I'd guess... I suppose I just like to see both sides of the argument presented in case any 'fence sitters' are reading...*grin*


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:15 PM

An abortion is not a murder. It is an interruption of a process that has not yet produced an individual.

To compare abortions with mass-murders is disingenuous, misleading and a distortion. I understand the sentimental impulse on which it is based, but I think they are orders of magnitude apart and not fit to be held up side by side in terms of cruelty and offense against one's own. I realize this is, in the final analysis, just an opinion.   It would be nice if those who are so adamant on the other side of the divide would recognize the same.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:27 PM

there WILL be abortions as long as there are unwanted pregnancies...the only issue is whether they will be done safely and freely, or whether they will be outlawed by those who seek to impose a personal view on those who do not share their beliefs.

Abortion is not a nice thing, and it would be good if we could drastically reduce the need for them with the modern resources we have...but this is NOT one of those issues that should be subject to the back & forth vagaries of Liberal and Conservative Supreme Courts. The only opinions worthy of notice are the parents...and often, only the woman.(or, if the woman is a minor, her parents).

Statistics are interesting, but if there were only one case in 20 years, the rule should be the same.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:28 PM

Just an opinion Amos, but one you think is right. And precisely the same is true of people "on the other side of the divide".

It just strikes me that if people could set aside those opinions for a time, and just get on with trying to cooperate in doing what they can to make sure that no pregnant woman ever feels that she has no choice but to have an abortion, that would be a significant step forwards.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:38 PM

Well, Jerry, I didn't mean to drag the discussion over to the issue of abortion. My point is that on such issues, those of the ideological right AND of the ideological left see only two answers to any question - their answer, and the wrong answer. Jim Tailor gave proof to that, I think. He spat out all the standard responses that the demogogues have fed to him.

I think abortion is wrong - but I also think it is wrong to try to control it by legislating it away. That answer makes me a pariah among both liberals and conservatives.

Why is it that we have to be so exclusionary, that we have to pigeonhole everyone and demonized people who don't think exactly like we do?

How can we ever accomplish anything together, if we can't tolerate anybody but our own clones?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:42 PM

Amos,

I think the discussion is (at least partially) to determine who is representing the more moderate view. It was, after all, Joe Offer who raised the "hysterical" rhetoric.

By your own terms you claim "An abortion is not a murder. It is an interruption of a process that has not yet produced an individual". The implication being that, were the process far enough along, your opinion might change.

But the pro-choice side is the one most adamant that that kind of line NOT be drawn -- that no distinction made to distinguish the millions of those farther along (by your own allowance as how there is a process) in the process, so as to allow the killing of those whom you would put on the "not produced individual(s)" side of the arguement. The pro-choice side, not the pro-life side is better characterized as hysterical. The pro-choice side is at least as immoderate as the pro-life.


I now know 4 perfectly healthy children who only went to a 23 week term. Three are "normal". One is downs syndrome. If you were to tell the pro-choice, ultra-liberal Democrat that gave birth to that lovely downs syndrome child that she should have aborted that imperfection, I doubt that, pacifict that she may be, she wouldn't haul off and deck you.

As Americans become increasingly aware of the viability of so many VERY short term births that are resulting in perfectly healthy children, they are also becoming increasingly horrified at the entrenched insistance from the Pro-choice left that no change be made in our public policy. It is becoming increasingly evident how immoderate "abortion on demand" is, or has become.

g'day!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:44 PM

The stats aren't hysterical, Jim (tho I'm surprised someone of your predispositions would believe ANYTHING put out by the Anti-Christ, Planned Parenthood ! ) its the idiosyncratic, narrow, unscienticfic, religion-driven definition of "life" that borders on emotional excess or neurosis.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:46 PM

I think abortion is wrong

Hey Joe,

Why?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 06:48 PM

I answered your accusation of "nonsense" GregF, and the best you can do is change the subject?

Keep it groovy, man!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: DougR
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:16 PM

Right! Let's hang all the Baptists!

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:22 PM

Just because you think something is better not made illegal doesn't mean you have to think it's right. And just because you think something is wrong doesn't mean you necessarily think the right way to deal with it is make a law against it.

It sees to me that by making this a matter of constitutional rights, rather than a matter of law, you in the States have made things a lot more complicated than you needed to.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:23 PM

?? that one got me, Doug.... I'm a bit slow on the uptake, I guess


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:57 PM

"I even went so far as to become a Southern Baptist for a while, until I realized that they didn't hold 'em under long enough." - Kinky Friedman.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Peace
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 08:08 PM

"I think abortion is wrong - but I also think it is wrong to try to control it by legislating it away. That answer makes me a pariah among both liberals and conservatives."

That makes me a pariah, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM

"I think abortion is wrong"

Why?

(now two people can answer)

Hey Kooky, have a ginchy night!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 08:16 PM

My, my! What hath thou wrought, Brother Joseph. And criticizing clones, yet! I'm not even going to offer my views on this subject.
No one is going to move an inch. Everyone will say what they believe, and confuse it with the ultimate truth. I find it comforting to believe that I don't know everything. It's a great relief, actually.

But I'm with you, Joe. Let sleeping Baptists lie. Sleeping Atheists, too.

Go at it fellers!

I'm going to sit this one out. I think this thread has lived it's full life anyway.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: robomatic
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 08:26 PM

Jim, thank you for your even tempered and well written response to my post above. I could have gone on for pages and it's a fine thing I didn't. It's a matter I've gone over and over again on my own and with my relatives. And life certainly goes better with faith (said the physicist).

Re: Abortion: I think it is equally ludicrous to insist that a group of cells a day after fertilization is a baby as to insist that a group of cells a day before delivery is anything less. There is a song reference here, it is Monty Python's "Every sperm is sacred".

I think the US Supreme Court worked hard and rendered a good decision in Roe V. Wade. When you consider how long that decision has held through emotion laden contension and rapid technological advances, it is quite remarkable.

Those dreadful third trimester abortions exist for one reason only: where the mother's life is endangered. There was a story about just such a case written by a woman in just that situation in the Boston Sunday Globe about six months ago. I defy anyone to read it and not be outraged by the blanket prohibition that almost got through Congress last year. It would put a conscienscious doctor in an impossible situation. (Having not read the bill, I'm trusting to what I heard, that the bill did not make allowance for the health of the mother).

I don't know where the Biblical foundation of the anti-abortion movement lies, (and of course, there are probably people who don't like abortions who don't need a Biblical foundation. I don't like abortions). I am curious as to where the concept of 'cell division' = 'baby' comes from.

And of course, to put it bluntly, God performs most abortions. I had a friend spontaneously abort after a few months. She and her husband were devastated.

Whatever the numbers of surgical abortions may be, each of them is the result of an individual decision, predicament, call it what you will. I'd rather have individuals in charge of their own lives. Someone might be willing to deal with a hydrocephalic young 'un. Someone else might not.

My pet peeve is with those who say they are "anti-abortion, except in cases of rape or incest." They have just said they are PRO abortion, provided its on their terms.

The term 'abortion on demand' is misleading to the extent it makes it seem like a stop at the hairdresser. It's an embarassing invasive procedure that has significant repercussions to the life of at least one family. If a woman is that intent on terminating her own pregnancy, and she can do so safely, I say her decision trumps government.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 08:59 PM

Akenaton, you are probably right in what you say about most religious people...or at least a lot of them. That's what bothers me about organized religion, just as it bothers you and Bill D.

You said, "Although I'm an atheist, that doesn't mean that I can't be "spiritual".

I agree. An atheist can be spiritual. You clearly have quite a good spiritual awareness, in my opinion. Spirituality does not require any religion, it simply requires a keen awareness of the tremendous value of life and the tremendous value of others and of self. It requires an open heart and an open mind. It requires respect for self and for others. It can be united harmoniously with religion or it can function fine without it.

That's why I like the lines in the John Lennon song, "Imagine"...

"Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too..."


Geez, Doug, you made me laugh so hard with that line about "hanging the baptists that I spilled my drink!" :-) Naw...I say just give 'em enough rope to hang themselves instead. That usually works better, I think, and it's nonviolent...

My apologies to the Baptists among you! Just couldn't resist...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 09:10 PM

"Having not read the bill, I'm trusting to what I heard, that the bill did not make allowance for the health of the mother

You can find out for yourself here


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Greg F.
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 09:29 PM

I answered your accusation of "nonsense",

Actually, Jim, no, you didn't- you dodged it & not too skilfully, at that.

and the best you can do is change the subject?

Sorry again, but its the same subject: the way you personally choose to define "abortion", "genocide", and "life" is the point at issue.

Just 'cause you happen to believe something, or believe IN something, don't make it so.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 09:32 PM

I wouldn't highly recommend abortion, as a practice, but I would not presume to tell other people whether they can or cannot do it. That is entirely up to them, as far as I'm concerned, and it depends on many, many factors. Each situation has to be dealt with on its own merits.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: robomatic
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 10:43 PM

Thanks, Jim.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 11:32 PM

Gee, Jerry, I'm sorry. You know where I think a lot of the trouble is - legalism. Everybody has to have proof, to see things in black and white, right and wrong, truth and lies. The atheists and the liberal and conservative religious people are all the same - they're all tied to their doctrines, all so sure they know the truth that they're afraid to ponder the questions. I think the truth lies somewhere in the ever-changing flow of things. I suppose we have to have rules and definitions and doctrines and all that, to give us a hint of understanding of the flow - but then we get mired down when we hold onto those doctrines and rules and deify them.

Yes, Jim, I do think that abortion is wrong and that the world would be a better place if we could significantly reduce the number of abortions - but I refuse to see right and wrong in legalistic terms, and I find myself boxed into corners when I try to explain my position in terms that are not my own. So, no, if you cannot accept my statement that I believe abortion is wrong, then I cannot explain it to you in terms you can understand. If you see legal coercion as the one and only way to reduce the number of abortions, then you and I cannot communicate. Too bad - we could be on the same side, if you could be a bit more open to differences in opinion and alternative means to a common end. That's why I cannot be either a Republican or a Democrat - because I cannot buy their line hook, line and sinker, and both sides demand unquestioning loyalty. There is no room for moderates any more, and certainly no foom for free thinkers who do not tie ourselves to any ideology.

-Joe Offer-


...but now I suppose I have to lapse into legalism to explain something to Jerry. The pope isn't infallible - but some of the doctrines he promulgates can be infallible if they meet a raft of restrictions and qualifications. One major restriction is that almost everybody and his brother must already agree with the doctrine for centuries beforehand. Infallibility was declared in the 1870's, and has been invoked only twice - to bestow some noncontroversial titles on Mary, the mother of Jesus. Some say the pope had more credibility before the declaration of the much-misunderstood doctine of infallibility.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 06:36 AM

Thanks, Joe:

I was a Catholic during the years when the Pope passed a ruling on birth control. Perhaps I missunderstood it, but I thought there was a term that differentiated between picking the Yankees to win the last Championship playoff over the Red Sox, and making an official pronouncement. I keep vaguely recalling the term ex-cathedra. At the time of the ruling, the Catholics I knew took his ruling to be an official church doctrine and there was a lot of controversy over it.

But, on a broader term, I'm with you, Joe. I think for most people, it's difficult to carry on a conversation because rigor mortis of the mind set in years ago. I find it easy to talk with Bill and Little Hawk and Amos, although we don't agree on much, because they will carry on a conversation. Some people consider an argument the ultimate parlor game. I don't. I really want to understand how people think, and have communion with them. (Funny how terms take on rigid meanings... like communion... isn't that when you eat the body and blood of Christ?.. no, communion is drawing close to someone or something, and feeling connected and communi-cating.) That's what I seek. Not everyone is interested in doing that.

For many years, I shared a wonderful communion with three friends of mine. Art Thieme was a thousand miles away and did not believe in God. Dennis was the Lutheran Pastor of the church I was going to at that time, and the third person was a woman I worked with who, if she believed in God, rarely acknowledged it. She was a very cynical, worst-case scenario person. We were an odd lot.. I don't think that you could find a more unlikely group of people, and there was never a time when we were all together. Art and I exchanged letters constantly, I shared portions of our letters with Dennis and my co-worker, and my letters to Dennis with Art and her. At work, I'd start most days over a cup of coffee with my co-worker and we'd talk about things I was discussing in letters, and Dennis and I would have breakfast together and commune. He'd bring in letters with sections highlighted, that he wanted to talk about. It was an exciting time in my life. Art still doesn't believe in God, Dennis has retired and moved away and doesn't communicate and the woman is probably as cynical as ever. I haven't seen her in years. And yet we were all changed. We never reached agreement on much of anything, but we loved and respected each other, and came to understand each other on a level that is far too uncommon in life. It was so beautiful because no one tried to "win" an argument, and people listened with as much sincerity as they spoke.

Once in awhile, people can rise above their ideologies. Funny thing is, I believe if I lived closer to Bill D, Amos and Little Hawk (and you) we could have that wonderful interchange, respecting each other, and coming to know each other without judgment. And we probably would never agree on much of anything.

Good men come in all flavors.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 06:41 AM

Sorry Joe,

I only asked you why you think it is wrong -- not what you'd do about it. Just, why do you think it is "wrong".

You have no idea how close we might be -- I've never said anything about how I might wish to "solve" it -- I've just contended that the left, pro-abortion-on-demand is the extreme position.

Good morning!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 07:00 AM

Oh yeah, and you could add freda underhill and brucie and C-flat and numerous others to a group who could get together over a cup of coffee, tea or a bottle of beer and communicate. I could never list all the friends I have in here with whom I'd enjoy that level of communion.

Art, definitely.

And Bert...

and padre, and...

You get the idea.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: catlova
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 08:00 AM

Back to an earlier part of this thread, about who thinks what and why.. My father was a lapsed Catholic, (Oz-Irish background) & reacted very strongly against the Church. My mother was a former Oz-Scottish Presbyterian sunday school teacher, who left the church and all things religious in her late twenties. They had four kids and brought us up agnostic. The oldest child took on the heavy athiesm of my father, the next two were mildly agnostic, and i became Buddhist.

We all inherited leftist views.

Looking back on it all, I realised that while my father became strongly anti Catholic, a lot of the ideals he instilled in us (fairness, social conscience, service, helping, whatever) he learnt from the church. My mother also spent years helping voluntarily in various community organisations, that prasctise of service she also learnt in her church. I have also noticed Christians who move into Eastern based religions who go in, become "converted", "initiated" whatever, and take in a whole lot of views and attitudes about religion that they learnt in their original church/culture.

It is very hard to examine our own attitudes and work out what came from where - so much of how we interact is based on what we learnt in the family home. But for people who are religious, all their actions, positive and negative, will ultimately be viewed by others in terms of their professed religious ideals. That's the way the world is.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 10:03 AM

It always seems strange, the way people use that expression "a bunch of cells", as if that isn't a perfectly accurate definition of all of us at every stage of our lives.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: robomatic
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 10:25 AM

Jerry:
I have experienced some of what you have through living in an international house at college, and later with a group of coworkers, all engineers, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Mormon. It would be exaggerating for me to call it 'communion', but the flavor of the interaction is much the same. Getting together over lunch and solving the problems of the world with a bunch of guys with all that variety is one of the things that makes America great.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 07:04 PM

Well, I didn't want to turn this into an abortion thread, so please don't follow me on this. But since Jim asked, I'll answer - I think abortion is wrong because it takes away either life or the potential for life. I think we instinctively know that even if we make the choice to have an abortion, we grieve the loss of something. Abortion is never a reason for celebration - but perhaps in certain desperate situations, it may be the only choice.

The women I know who had abortions were in impossible relationships with men, relationships where it would be dangerous to bear or rear a child - and they did not seem to be able to find a way to get out of the relationship. So, although I think their abortions were wrong and I mourn the loss of their children, I think it may have been the correct decision for them, given the circumstances.

And it you want to discussion further, please start another thread.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 08:58 PM

Dogmatism of any sort bothers me. To say to me "you CANNOT" riles me up and makes me want to do it. So does "you MUST".

You must go to church every Sunday or you'll go spinning down to Hell.
You cannot eat meat on Friday -- except this was pretty much revoked.


You must be "born again" of water and the spirit. Well, I was baptized when I was about 10 days old. I'm told that I baptized the priest right back.

You must accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Well, JC didn't say that -- he said "No one comes to the Father except through me." It's different.

That is, of course, IF everything in the NT that is attributed to Jesus of Nazareth is actually what JoN actually said or did....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 09:29 PM

Hey, Rap:

Dogmatism is kinda like astigmatism. They both limit your vision.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: khandu
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 09:44 PM

"Let each man work out his own salvation with fear & trembling."

k


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: dianavan
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 11:11 PM

Well, I have stayed out of this (except to correct a grammatical error) but now I have to say that I know I am left but I also know that I am not religious.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was not in a secure situation. I had a three year old son and had just separated from dad with no hope of financial support. Many, many people suggested that I have an abortion. I never even considered it.

She had been conceived in love. I was already a mother so my life wasn't going to be radically altered by another baby. I didn't want my son to grow up as an only child. I had already bonded with the baby within. I made the right choice for me. It wasn't based on law, religious conviction or financial situation.

Every woman should have this choice. Doesn't matter if you are right or left. Some will choose to abort and some will choose to give birth - it all depends on your circumstances in life. Nobody has the right to tell a woman what she should do in such a situation. She has the right to decide and she is the one that has to live with the decision.

BTW - Yes, me and my little family struggled through poverty but we had a warm home and plenty to eat. Eventually I went to university and launched a career. My son is a successful businessman. My daughter is studying to become an architecht (I can't even spell it).

So you see, it doesn't matter what other people think is best for you. You have to do what is best for yourself. My mind boggles when I hear people debating something that is highly personal. How would anyone know what is right for another?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Peace
Date: 30 Jan 05 - 11:49 PM

I think one obvious answer to decreasing the number of abortions that occur is to be more careful when engaging in sex. And before some individual jumps all over this, I mean BOTH parties.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 12:32 AM

Definitely. Lack of care in that department is pretty foolish.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: EagleWing
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 05:03 PM

A GUEST on 27/1/05 said "Okay,it's a generalisation but;
Right wing Xians....old testament
Left wing Xians....new testament"

I disagree. Read the prophets such as Amos. Plenty of left wing stuff there. The prophets are continually calling for justice. But then even some of that difficult stuff in Leviticus is about justice. The above is definitely a generalisation and an innacurate one at that.

I notice that most of this thread is from citizens of the US. Just thought I'd put in a UK 2 pennyworth.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 05:27 PM

I believe in God. Period. I justify that belief to nobody under any circumstance. Period. I have read the Bible entire, in three versions over the course of the years. Nothing I read there has changed my mind about God: God exists and has worked some wonders for me personally. In my perception, God brought many very kind and caring people into my life from all over the world. That I know to be fact--for me. Who else does or doesn't believe me? Than matters nowt, IMO.

I do not mean to sound abrasive--it's straight talk, that's all. I do not support 'abortion on demand'. I do not support the death penalty as a general rule. I have never voted right of center in my life, although I have sometimes not voted left of center by marring my ballot. I am not religious in the 'go to church' sense, but I pray each and every night. I agree that women need more protection under the laws of all countries. I do not agree that they should be in a combat zone. I give my seat to older people on the bus (although older people are getting more difficult to find these days, and I hold doors for women even if they don't like it.

I don't know where that would place me on the spectrum of left/right. If you figger it out, let me know. I have always wondered.

BM


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 05:45 PM

Well, it doesn't matter, Bruce. "Left and Right" are just labels someone made up in order to divide people against each other. Division is what drives the engine of politics...just as it drives a professional game like hockey.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 05:54 PM

I think you are High, brucie.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 05:55 PM

..not in a drug content, but meaning Elevated. Risen Up.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 06:21 PM

Just because you think someone has the right to choose in some situation where does not imply you think that whatever they choose will be right. Just that it's their choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 06:25 PM

Right, McGrath.

I read a great quote today... "Political correctness, no matter how well it is intended, always ends up as an attack on freedom of speech." (or freedom of choice)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 06:32 PM

D-Con

...it's just a label.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 07:39 PM

I thought that D-Con was a rat poison that Muhhamed Ali used to hawk on tv commercials.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: PoppaGator
Date: 31 Jan 05 - 08:27 PM

It's been a couple of days since Com Seangan posted this:

"Jesus Christ did not try to appropriate the power of the state to impose His views on everyone (as do today's right-wingers who profess to be His followers). Authoritarianism of any kind was never part of His message".

Well said Popogator. I hadn't heard it put that way before. Hard to contradict.


I really should own up to the fact that I didn't come up with that nice concise statement ~ I was paraphrasing (believe it or not) the Reverend Al Sharpton. Several weeks ago, he appeared on one of the Sunday morning poitical talk shows (Meet the Press? Face the Nation?) along with two right-wing ministers, Jerry Falwell and another gentleman, one of whom questioned whether Rev Al was "truly saved," whether he "truly knew Jesus." Al ~ not someone for whom I had had much regard previously ~ indignantly responded that he was saved, that he did know Jesus, but that the Jesus he knew...(see above quote).

I was absolutely floored. What a great statement ~ absolutely righteous and undeniable. The two rightwingers had nothing to say, and the network awkwardly went to a commercial.

Now, I realize that this does not counter every aspect of evangelical fundamentalism, some of which (I imagine) might not bother me at all. But it certainly speaks to the most obnoxious and intrusive traits of those who are so actively trying to beat the rest of us into submission to their beliefs.

By the way, I would be glad to get in on that lovefest with Jerry and Jim and all the rest, but I always tend to drop out of these religious discussions after jumping in early, because I become reluctant to go into detail about my own peculiar mixture of belief and disbelief, and also because someone else (e.g., Little Hawk) usually articulates a similar-enough position more enthusiastically than I ever would. But really, I want to get along with everyone of good will; don't misinterpret my in-and-out presence as a lack of interest!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,sambo_88
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 12:05 AM

i think that what your saying has been be spoken in your point of view alot of people may disagree with what your saying or may not agree entirely but that's just my point of view some parts i believe you with but others i belive what the others have to say after all we are all different yet all equal


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 12:34 AM

Yeah, Poppa Gator. In one sense, I've reached the point where I don't give a dang whether people think I'm crazy or not, so I just say it the way I see it.

The only reason I hang back and don't bother sometimes is...I figure, oh, why not just let them be the way they choose...cos it's okay for them to be the way they are, and if I said something now it would just make them uncomfortable and accomplish nothing useful.

But if the subject really interests me, then I'll usually speak up.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,jim tailor
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 01:00 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,jim tailor
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 01:15 PM

Poppagator,

Funny how we hear what we want to hear (note I said "we")...

The Sunday morning talking heads show that you describe was Meet The Press, with Tim Russert. The panel was Al Sharpton and Jim Wallis representing the "religious left", and Jerry Falwell and Richard Land representing the "religious right".

As much as I resented (as I always do) the quick pick of Falwell and Land to suppose to represent my POV, I also supposed that the left probably felt the same about the choice of Sharpton.

I didn't perceive the exchange that you describe as a "gotcha moment" at all. It was as cliche'd as anything I'd ever heard from Sharpton in the past. And, quite the opposite, it was a moment when he "walked right into one" -- as Land was able to point out that his efforts in the civil rights movement would have never happened had Sharpton truly believed in a Jesus that taught him that he shouldn't be active in affecting governmental change.

The gotcha moment was when, as planned for the whole week -- with Wallis and Sharpton on Meet the Press, and Tony Campolo on This Week (with Stephanoplous) -- Wallis came out swinging with the planned -- "The religious right doesn't believe in the moral imperative to care for the poor" -- phrase...

...to which Land and Falwell easily pointed out that, to the contrary, both of their churches give millions in aid to the poor, fund low income housing in their communities, pay for health care for the poor, etc. And then Falwell asked Wallis and Sharpton, "so what do you two do for the poor?"...

....The deafeningly silent response was spared them only by a commercial break.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,PoppaGator
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 02:12 PM

Touche, Jim.

I had not been watching the whole show, and never saw Rev. Wallis. (Perhaps he left early?) I was wondering why there were two ministers representing one "side" and only one on the other.

And you're right, I probably did exaggerate the reaction ~ what I wrote was probably a better description of my reaction.

That whole question is pretty complicated ~ when and whether it is appropriate for religious leaders and religious people to press their values in a political context. For those who believe that preemptive bombing, for example, or legal abortion, is out-and-out murder, opposition to public policy is not even an opiton, it's a duty.

(I continue to wonder why opponents of abortion so readily accept capital punishment and warfare-for-any-reason while the pacifist camp is OK with abortion, and why so many of us have allowed ourselves to be herded into one camp or the other.)

For what it's worth, I would have been disappointed with the choice of Rev. Al as representative of "my" side, but I was pleasantly surprised at his demeanor and performance.

Finally, in defense of Rev. Sharpton's interjection and my endorsement of it, I would strongtly argue that there is a world of difference between non-violent resistence and civil disobedience on the one hand (i.e., the political tactics of such "religious leftists" as Ghandi, Dr. King, the Berrigan brothers, etc.) and the more manipulative and surruptitious party-politics activities of Jerry Falwell and his ilk on the other. (Just my opinion, of course.) I certainly understand why a person of good faith would be disappointed at being "represented" by some of the most visible "Christian Right" personalities.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 07:17 PM

"Jesus Christ did not try to appropriate the power of the state to impose His views on everyone (as do today's right-wingers who profess to be His followers). Authoritarianism of any kind was never part of His message".

Well, PoppaGator (and others), whether Al Sharpton actually said that, or you thought he said that, or you were simply hallucinating, the fact remains that whoever came up with them, the words are true.

Let us not lose sight of that, as we quibble over who said what to whom.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 07:53 PM

Amen


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM

Well, we don't really mind when the "religious right" (or the "religious left", for that matter) use the power of the State to impose their views that people should not kill, rape, steal from, swindle, assault&pepper folks.

It's a democracy folks. We all get to have our say in it. That's kinda where I see the concept of "common sense" comes into play. It's the sense that we have, as humans, in common.

So, Bill D, and Don Firth, and Amos arrive at the conclusion, sans religious conviction, that we should not kill each other either, and in common, we vote -- not against one another, but with one another.

But people faction. They always have and they always will. If a group holds to an ideal that is too far from the mainstream of that "common sense", it is highly unlikely, as an ideal, to succeed in our system.

That's what the notion of "Liberal Arts" used to teach us. NOT that some factions should be disenfranchised by another -- but that all ideas, should they attempt to shape our public policy, had to pass muster with the general populace -- had to appeal to that "Common sense".


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 08:01 PM

.The deafeningly silent response I think the problem Jim Wallis anyway might have run into over that wouldn't have been the one you imply, Jim. Answering in the way that was invited wouldn't have been difficult - he cold have come out with a whole list of the good works he's given his whole life to - but answering that way would have been right out of line with how the Gospels tells Christians to act, when it comes to boasting about good works.

"I thank thee God that I am not like the rest of men...I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all I possess"...To which Jesus comments "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled."

I've somehow never been able to find the passage where Jesus ever says "Blessed are the rich." It must be there somewhere, I suppose...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 08:12 PM

"Common sense" at various times and various places has held that slavery is an excellent institution, that women are the possession of their husbands or fathers, that human sacrifice is an admirable thing, that torture by the authorities is acceptable, that it is right and neccessary to suppress heresy and kill heretics...

Or, for that matter, that there are no moral problems in widespread abortion.

And people who have opposed these things have been seen as holding to "an ideal that is too far from the mainstream".


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 08:30 PM

Saw a billboard once that said "Nothing Is As Rare As Common Sense."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 06:54 AM

MofH,

I actually thought about that trap of not speaking of good works -- in that context it cut both ways. Wallis had already accused Falwell and Land of not caring for the poor. Had they not defended themselves, Wallis would have won the arguement. Having defended themselves, they lost the joy of their giving in private.

Besides, it might be argued -- Land and Falwell were speaking for Christians -- those of their church -- being exemplary. Therefore they were not bragging on their goodness as individuals.

When turned back around on Wallis, I really don't think he could have answered in the same manner as Falwell and Land -- whose church's charitable works has become awfully well known, whereas, Wallis' whole point is that it should be government -- not church -- not individuals -- who cares for the poor. I mean, that was the whole point of his argument. That was the implied measure of a Christian's morality by Wallis' very thesis...

....which, again, is Wallis, using government to impose his moral views on everyone else -- the very thing that his "debate partner" Sharpton claimed illegitimate.

RE: common sense...

....most of those awful things you cited were residual practices of former, non-democratic systems of goverment, and the common sense has, over time, made each of them the uncommon -- not the rule.

Holy Cow!! we are having one BEAUTIFUL sunrise today!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 01:55 PM

Jim, it's fairly obvious that you are not familiar with Jim Wallis. I've been reading his stuff for years.

Editor of Sojourners Magazine, and has written many, many articles and editorials on separation of church and state, and recently, his book, God's Politics. If you were familiar with his writings, you would see clearly that he is definitely not one to try to use government power to impose his moral values.

He does, however, insist that the government abide by the First Amendment.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 02:30 PM

Actually, Don, I'm quite familiar with Wallis. I've read many of his articles. I can try to make myself more clear but I doubt that it will work. I'll try to use as few words as possible, as my wordiness always works against me...

Wallis thesis -- the reason he was on Meet The Press that week -- was because he had written article(s) chiding the religious right. The premise behind his chiding was that the religious right (by his reckoning), by virtue of pursuing legal restriction on abortion or homosexual rights, but seemingly not so vigorously desiring governmental action toward "the poor" or "the war", had exposed itself as narrow in their definition of morality.

What Falwell expressed was his resentment at being accused of not caring for the poor. He replied that, in very real, very material terms, he is VERY active in the care of the poor. And he asked, upon being thus accused, how materially active Wallis was, Wallis, not Falwell, having just stated that activity as the measure of a Christian's morality (a standard to which Wallis claimed that Falwell did not measure up).

It was a fair reaction -- Wallis said that Falwell represented those with a narrow view of morality -- only concerned with the moral issue of abortion or homosexuality -- based on what the religious right deemed was government's roll in addressing the moral issue.

Doing the math, it is the "religious left" not the "religious right" who has the narrower view of morality. Wallis said that the right expresses their outrage at abortion and homosexuality, whereas the left expresses their outrage at war and poverty.

In actual fact, the right expresses their sense of morality in matters of war (they may just not share Wallis' intellectualization of it), matters of poverty (they participate in both public {their taxes} and private enterprise {Salvation Army, innercity missions out the wazzoo, church-based social programs} to address it), in trying to get a more reasonable social view regarding abortion-on-demand, and, yes, homosexuality (an issue at which they are failing as a canoeist might paddle up Niagara falls).

The "religious left", as expressed by social policy and activism is involved in the moral issue of the war, and, if wishing for more governmental programs with which to address it counts -- poverty. They are not active in pursuing a more enlightened view of abortion -- they are, in fact, fighting tooth-and-nail to keep the issue obscured by myth.

So much for few words.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 04:27 PM

"See how these Christians love one another..." (Tertullian (c. 160–c. 230)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: John Hardly
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 04:46 PM

What, M? Must love agree?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: PoppaGator
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 05:02 PM

Without getting into all the many issues being addressed here, let me step back and reconsider something Jim wrote a couple of days ago, when recapping that "Meet the Press" episode:

And then Falwell asked Wallis and Sharpton, "so what do you two do for the poor?"...

....The deafeningly silent response was spared them only by a commercial break.


I know very little about Rev. Wallis (although I've known of Sojourner magazine for years), but in defense of Rev. Sharpton: Is it even conceivable that any African-American congregation is not dealing with problems of poverty? Of course, Rev. Al may not be using methods that everyone approves, but he certainly could have mentioned something if he had thought it appropriate.

Finally, "Amen" to Don Firth's post of 7:10 last night. Whoever said it, or paraphrased it, that one little sentence which triggered all this debate IS undeniably true.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 05:11 PM

Disagreement is one thing - but I get a sense of something a lot darker than that.

Of course, when Tertullian write that, it's pretty clear he wasn't being ironic.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 05:35 PM

Joe,

If you want to reduce abortions, legalize 'em. Under Clinton, where they were legal, there were fewer of 'em then under Bush.
(Don't tell me any woman loves to have an abortion.)

Legalize drugs, legalize booze, but not cigs because they affect others through side-stream smoke. But if people choose to smoke and others don't have to inhale it, then legalize that too.
But if the use of any of these substances hurts or kills others,
then the person who uses them must accept full responsibility such as driving while stoned or DUIs or giving others cancer. Then it becomes a criminal act.

Legalize sexual preference as long as it doesn't interfere with the rights of others and is not predatory. (Gay marriages don't hurt marriage or any other person.)

Legalize any religion that doesn't do others harm. (The religious left, right or moderate). Legalize the right to worship green men on the moon. Now evangelism may hurt others. It interferes with civil rights whether left or right or moderate. It condemns others and this is an act of agression.

Legalize Free Will and Choice because this is a true Christian and American value.

Legalize aethism, agnosticism, free-thinking, any thinking as long as no one gets hurt. (Don't blame violence on Dr. King or Ghandi since they didn't hurt anyone. It's the people who tried to suppress 'em...hurt 'em.)

Legalize seditious thought and dissent because this is the American Way.

Respect the Separation of Church and State because this is in our Constitution and was put there by enlightened Founding Fathers.

Legalize the right to dissent through peaceful demonstrations.
(Not violent ones such as used at abortion clinics).

But Jerry,

there are those of us on the Left who do not want to see religion being used as a political tool. This may be where Doctor King went wrong and lost his base as much as I admire what he did. Why can't non-Christians be non-violent and offer dissent?

If there is any "Left" that makes sense, it will have to be a coalition of all kinds of systems of beliefs or non-beliefs.
A moral imperative shouldn't have to be affixed to a religious point of view.

The term "Left" has to be suspect these days.
It used to be that "Liberals" were not necessarilly "Left" as in socialists or communists. IE: FDR was not a socialist or communist but was definitely a Liberal president.

The premise of a Relligious Left is a possible land mine because it doesn't define a specific political or religious point-of-view and excludes those who might agree with some of the principles of a Wallis or Campolo but not eat the whole enchilada.

It would be great if we could drop the labels and just talk about issues that are important to us and impart our point-of-view without recriminations. Then maybe we could start to have a true democracy.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 05:39 PM

"Jesus Christ did not try to appropriate the power of the state to impose His views on everyone (as do today's right-wingers who profess to be His followers). Authoritarianism of any kind was never part of His message".

...followed by...

Finally, "Amen" to Don Firth's post of 7:10 last night. Whoever said it, or paraphrased it, that one little sentence which triggered all this debate IS undeniably true.

The above is true. I said it way-the-heck back in this thread -- that not even a conservative Christian would argue with that statement (the one that begins with JC...).

The reason we are still left with an issue however, is because the world into which Jesus was born and lived and taught was not a world that allowed for the self-determination brought on by democracy.

In Jesus' day you could obey or not. That was, essentially, your two options. And Jesus taught, essentially, the former. Curiously, several of his closest followers believed the latter -- and that only put further emphasis on just how strongly Jesus was teaching the former.

But that doesn't mean that Jesus would, in today's world, require that the faithful not vote -- not participate in the political process.

Surely there is a HUGE range of posibility left between "authoritarianism", on the one hand, and the expression of what one believes to be the proper (moral) course of government for civilized, well-meaning, thoughtful people to vote toward in a democracy.

When you vote for a pro-choice candidate are you being "authoritarian"? When you vote for an anti-war candidate are you being "authoritarian"? When you vote for a candidate who promises to expand programs for the poor are you being "authoritarian"?

Why then, when one chooses to vote the other way, is it suddenly "authoritarainism"?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 05:53 PM

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Just so we're clear -- no "separation of church and state" clause. That was an opinion expressed in a supreme court decision -- not a constitutional amendment.

And just so we're clear (as far as I can see), so far nobody has wished to alter the free exercise of religion until Frank posted a few minutes ago.

All any kind of music is good for anyway is to make you and me know each other a little better" - Woody Guthrie


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 06:31 PM

Jim, it seems to me that you are construing Jim Wallis's position in particular and the position of liberal Christians in general as being far narrower than they really they are, as if you were describing a panoramic scene by peering at it through a keyhole. Wallis is a good spokesman for the more liberal Christian view, and I would invite those unfamiliar with him to read his writings, starting by checking the Sojourners magazine website HERE, and/or reading his book, and let him speak for himself. Below is a good run-down on where Wallis is coming from in his own words. My apologies for cutting and pasting instead of posting a link, but I received this in an e-mail newsletter and there is no way I can post a link to it.

Don Firth

------------------------

An open letter to Chuck Colson
by Jim Wallis

On Monday, Feb. 21, Charles Colson, in his daily radio commentary, criticized what he perceived as my message. I'm sending my response in this "open letter."

Dear Chuck,

In your commentary, "Moral Equivalency: The Religious Left Gets It Wrong," you critiqued me as a "leader of the religious left," quoting The New York Times. And you particularly focus on abortion, saying that I consider "all moral issues to be equivalent," and that since I say the Bible talks much more about poverty than abortion, I believe "the religious left is more in tune with the Bible than are conservatives."

As you may know, I'm currently traveling around the country speaking about my new book, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. And in all my speaking and media appearances, I say no such thing. What I do say is that there is, in the words of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, a "seamless garment of life" in which all issues that infringe on human life are important.

I challenge Democrats on abortion, and I challenge Republicans on war and poverty. In a recent interview with Christianity Today, I said: "It's important for the Democrats to change the way they talk about a moral issue like abortion, to respect pro-life Democrats, to welcome them in the party, and to talk first about how they are going to be committed to really dramatically reducing unwanted pregnancies - not just retaining the legal option of abortion, which Democrats are going to do, because that's part of their plank." But I also said, "My hope is that Republicans can broaden their conversation about moral values beyond just abortion and gay marriage to poverty and the environment and the ethics of war."

I believe deeply that Christians must seriously be concerned about everything that threatens the lives of people created in the image of God. Abortion is important; war and economic justice are also important.

You also ask your listeners, "Why help the poor if we don't believe all lives are equal in God's sight? If you support ending the life of a child because it will be born into poverty, how can you logically call yourself an advocate for the poor?" The reverse is also true. If you support protecting an unborn life but don't provide the necessary support to the mother and child in poverty after birth, how can you logically call yourself pro-life?

As I told Christianity Today: "Christians can't say, 'All we care about is someone's stance on abortion. I don't care what they do to the economy, to the poor, I don't care what wars they fight, I don't care what they do on human rights.' It's almost like we care about children until they're born and then after that, they're on their own. We're cutting child health care, cutting child care for moms moving out of welfare. No, you can't just care about a child until they're born."

My message to both parties - to both liberals and conservatives - is that protecting life is indeed a seamless garment. Protecting unborn life is important. Opposing unjust wars that take human life is important. And supporting anti-poverty programs that provide adequate support for mothers and children in poverty is important. Neither party gets it right; each has perhaps half of the answer. My message and my challenge are to bring them together.

What I'm saying around the country is that there is a new option for American politics that follows from the prophetic religious tradition. It is "traditional" or "conservative" on issues of family values, sexual integrity, and personal responsibility while being very "progressive," "populist," or even "radical" on issues such as poverty and racial justice. It affirms good stewardship of the earth and its resources, supports gender equality, and is more internationally minded than nationalist - looking first to peacemaking and conflict-resolution when it comes to foreign policy questions. The people it appeals to (many religious, but others not) are very strong on issues such as marriage, raising kids, and individual ethics, but without being "right-wing," reactionary, or mean-spirited, or using any group of people - such as gays and lesbians - as scapegoats. It can be pro-life, pro-family, and pro-feminist all at the same time. It thinks issues of "moral character" are very important, both in a politician's personal life, and in his or her policy choices. Yet it is decidedly pro-poor, pro-racial reconciliation, pro-environment, and critical of purely military solutions.

That's the message that is resonating around the country, Chuck. Not that all issues are "morally equivalent" but that, indeed, as you say, the "first one, the right to life, is non-negotiable." Perhaps the difference between us is that I believe that non-negotiable right continues after birth.

Blessings,
Jim


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 06:57 PM

People!?!?...

In reducing your scope to an academic execise of debating points there is one thing I see very much missing from the discussion: Jesus and His teachings...

That's not good.

I think if more folks on both sides of political divide who consider themselves as persons of Faith would spend more time reading the New Testament, praying and listening to God then the divide would not be so great...

Yes, I have noted many times that I am suspect of the Faith level of many folks of the Cristian Right but that is a problem between each of them and the Big Guy.

Now back to the "How many angels can dance on the end of a pin" debate...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 07:40 PM

Don,

The article that you posted makes my point.

What I keep trying to point out is that Wallis' accusation that the "religious right" does not believe in caring for the poor is false from the very beginning...

1. It is based on his perception of the "right's" lack of support for governmental programs -- assuming, a priori, that...

A)that is the only means by which one would express their care for the poor, and accepting, a priori, that...

B)that governmental means is the best means, and...

C)assuming no possibility that one could be, in good faith, percieving good in both public and private aid -- but determining a different balance of the two as more effective.

2. It is proven false by the very fact that Falwell, Land, and Colson ( the four "reps" for the "religious right" ) are ACTIVELY involved in very large programs that are specifically aimed at caring for the poor.

Wallis even goes so far as to say that the "religious right" doesn't offer support of pregnant women so as to give another option. That's just patently false. I can give you the names of any number of organizations that will give full support to women who cannot support themselves through the pregnacy, and will, further, provide adoption services.

Wallis' appeal is the appearance of even-handedness. A cool head in a hot situation. But his premises are false. And he is JUKING his condemnation of the left (he doesn't expect them to change -- that's obvious by his own acceptance of their ideology), while ACTUALLY condemning the right.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 07:41 PM

damn code.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM

I guess it depends on how you read it.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 08:08 PM

And in this corner, wearing the white trunks and weighing in at 189 pounds...

Man, them Christians sure know how to go at it.

I'm with Bobert. What happened to Christ?

I think he left the building.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 08:20 PM

Jerry,

Peacemaking is not necessary in the absence of war. There's no need to control what is not out of hand. I don't sense anger in the preceding posts -- I certainly mean none. Nobody is stopping you from expressing an opinion. You might offer the same consideration.

A gentleman is a man that can play the banjo and doesn't. -Mark Twain


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 08:41 PM

A pox on both your houses.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 08:53 PM

"1. It is based on his perception of the "right's" lack of support for governmental programs -- assuming, a priori, that...

A)that is the only means by which one would express their care for the poor, and accepting, a priori, that...

B)that governmental means is the best means, and...

C)assuming no possibility that one could be, in good faith, perceiving good in both public and private aid -- but determining a different balance of the two as more effective."


None of that seems to me to reflect what Jim Wallis says in that piece, or what I understand to be the standpoint of the Sojourners. Or indeed many, probably most, people I know personally who are on the left, religious or non-religious, who typically are very active indeed in those kind of ways. You find them in the voluntary organisations, the charity shops, the soup runs, alongside people with different political views.

It seems to me, our Jim, that you are setting up an Aunt Sally here, and misreading the nature of the people you are critiicising. No doubt that is a trap people "on both sides" are liable to fall into. (Yes, and there are people who are mean and selfish and irresponsible on both sides as well. I think that more of us should perhaps concentrate more of our attention on challenging such people and such attitudes when they are held by people who are on our own side of the political divide.)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 06:19 AM

ok, MofH, Then on what basis is Wallis making his accusation that the "religious right" does not care for the poor?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 09:19 AM

I took it that he was saying that, when they move into the political arena, people on "the religious right" tend act in a way that treats issues of wealth and poverty as relatively marginal, and to support policies that operate against the wellbeing of poor people.

In other words, on your point C - "perceiving good in both public and private aid - but determining a different balance of the two as more effective" the suggestion is thatbthey put the balance in the wrong place. And I get the impression that, for some people anyway, there may be a resistance to actually "perceiving good in both public aid" at all", but a tendency to see public aid as a necessary evil at best.

But your suggestion, Jim, that people on the left typically put all their trust in state solutions, and fail to get involved in more direct and personal types of help towards people and groups who need it, well that is diametrically opposed to my experience over many years. Perhaps it's a different picture in the States, but it doesn't square with what I have known throughout my life.

Of course there are always people who will use whatever excuse comes to hand, to walk by on the other side, but you also find them sometimes amongst the most outwardly religious members of society, just as was true 2,000 years ago on the Jericho road.

Sydney Carter, whose politics were much the same as Jim Wallis expressed it well when he wrote When I needed a neighbour...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 09:23 AM

I took it that he was saying that, when they move into the political arena, people on "the religious right" tend act in a way that treats issues of wealth and poverty as relatively marginal, and to support policies that operate against the wellbeing of poor people.

In other words, on your point C - "perceiving good in both public and private aid - but determining a different balance of the two as more effective" the suggestion is that they put the balance in the wrong place. And I get the impression that, for some people anyway, there may be a resistance to actually "perceiving good in ... public aid" at all, but instead a tendency to see public aid as, at best, a necessary evil.

But your suggestion, Jim, that people on the left typically put all their trust in state solutions, and fail to get involved in more direct and personal types of help towards people and groups who need it, well that is diametrically opposed to my experience over many years. Perhaps it's a different picture in the States, but it doesn't square with what I have known throughout my life.

Of course there are always people who will use whatever excuse comes to hand, to walk by on the other side, but you also find them sometimes amongst the most outwardly religious members of society, just as was true 2,000 years ago on the Jericho road.

Sydney Carter, whose politics were much the same as Jim Wallis expressed it well when he wrote When I needed a neighbour...


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 09:27 AM

"But your suggestion, Jim, that people on the left typically put all their trust in state solutions, and fail to get involved in more direct and personal types of help towards people and groups who need it, well that is diametrically opposed to my experience over many years. Perhaps it's a different picture in the States, but it doesn't square with what I have known throughout my life."

But I did not make that suggestion. I merely made the suggestion, quite in evidence in Wallis' open letter to Colson, that Wallis' is claiming the opposite (as are you) -- and, again, that is not true.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,jim tailor
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 10:06 AM

I should restate that.

I did not make that assertion -- that the left does not give privately. I never said or implied that.

What I am saying is that, as is clearly evidenced by Wallis' open letter to Colson, he is claiming that the religious right does neither. He isn't saying that their balance of public to private giving is wrong -- he is saying that they do not care for the poor.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 01:20 PM

But he doesn't say that. Nowhere does he say that.

What he does do is stress the importance of ensuring "the necessary support to the mother and child in poverty after birth". His point is, surely, that while voluntary and private charity is enormously important, for all kinds of reasons - it does not in fact ensure that this necessary support is available wherever it is needed, and at the level needed.

If I misunderstood Jim T to be suggesting that people on the left do not actively get involved in helping people who need help, that was because of that comment about "the deafeningly silent response", to the question about personal direct helping, together with his remark about how people on the left believe that government programmes are "the only means by which one would express their care for the poor".

The important thing is that people should be able to have the support and help they need in order to be full members of society. There is disagreement between those on the one hand who might think that main help should be as of right from benefits of one sort or another, with private charity filling the gap, and those on the other hand who see it as the other way round, with official benefits filling the gap - but that is not such an enormous difference, and in practice it can be bridged. There are plenty of examples where public resources have been channeled through voluntary organisations, and where volunteers have layed a vital part in public aid programmes.

The real gap is between those who agree with that first sentence in that last paragraph, and those who do not, and who are content to leave the gap I mentioned unfilled, for ideological reasons. And unless we keep a close eye out, that kind of thinking can get in the way of making sure that we care for our neighbours. And that can happen both on the left and on the right.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: GUEST,jim tailor
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 01:57 PM

I agree with you, MofH. I don't think Wallis does. His whole point would be void if he thought the right was merely addressing poverty differently. His point is that the right does not care -- has made the wrong moral choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 02:13 PM

For what it's worth, I just emailed Sojourner and invited them to enter into, and clear up this disagreement.

I did mention that Magrath of Harlow is a dick-head. I hope that doesn't prejudice their participation. :^)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: PoppaGator
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 03:22 PM

One very obvious way in which the Right (religious and otherwise) fails to care for the poor is the systematic campaign against progressive taxation.

For the last quarter century, since the rise of Ronald Reagan, the rich in America have been getting richer, the poor have been getting poorer, and things have been getting tighter and tighter for the shrinking middle class.

It's not a question of whether or not government is the only appropriate conduit for providing some minimal support for the poor, or whether private charity ("faith-based" and otherwise) has a role.

It's a question of whether government exists to serve the interests of corporate wealth at the expense of individual citizens ("consumers").

I continue to grieve at the current widely accepted propaganda whereby sincere, well-intentioned, highly moral American people are persuaded that they have a "Christian duty" to consistently vote against their own economic interests by supporting a party that sponsors, and is financed by, warmongering and corporate greed.

All of us, left, right, and center, seem to instinctively (and correctly) feel that individual human values are being undermined by corporate interests. Too bad we can't get ourselves more united to do something about it.

Those on the right are apparently most suspicious of corporations in the entertainment and information industries, and perceive their left-ish opponents as pawns of these "pornographers," while they accept the behavior of powerful corporations in the fossil-fuel and defense sectors.

Those on the left are united in opposition to the Enrons and Halliburtons of the world while finding little or no problem with Hollywood and the music and video-game industries (or, at least, are reluctant to support any form of censorship, even of expression that they might find personally distasteful).

I think it all comes down to attitudes about sex. One camp is horrified by whatever evils might be rooted in uncontrolled sexual activity, but seems willing to accept wholesale theft and financial corruption, not to mention "unavoidable" "collateral" killing of countless humans, especially if they're poor (i.e., "insignificant"), dark-skinned, and/or far away.

The other bunch has opposite priorities ~ opposed to stealing and killing, not too concerned about adultery and covetousness.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 04:20 PM

It'll be interesting to see if anyone from Sojourners joins in here. Good on you, Jim (T) - I think that's the way to do it.

"His point is that the right does not care - has made the wrong moral choice."

I'd draw a distinction between the two halves of that sentence. It is perfectly possible to care deeply, and act on the basis of that care, and yet still make a wrong moral choice. In fact it happens all the time. I have no doubt whatsoever that we agree on that point anyway, even if we might apply it in different ways.

Political choices are moral choices. Otherwise they are just a kind of gambling or sport.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 05:04 PM

Well, they emailed me back -- an email from an "Andrew" who said "Please do not quote".


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 05:11 PM

Okay, I'll stick it right out there for Jim or anybody else to knock off.

There was a couple who used to live in the same building my wife and I do. They attended a very hard-charging evangelical church in downtown Seattle. They spent most of their evening hours in Bible study. They were quite concerned with the salvation of their souls. And peripherally, the souls of other people. Salvation, to them comes (only) though accepting Christ as your Savior and being "born again." He fastened on Barbara and me as particular friends in the building because he knew that we both attended church (although he didn't know that the church we attend is regarded by some other churches in this area as "so liberal it's 'un-Christian.'" How's that for judgmental?). Anyway, one day, while Barbara was at work, he dropped by our apartment and exploded in rage and disgust. Why? He had been walking in the nearby park, and he saw to guys walking along holding hands. He went up in flames, and he dropped by because he had to vent to someone, and he figured I would be a sympathetic ear.

I listen to him rant and rave, and although I didn't agree with him (why the hell should it matter to him? It doesn't really affect him in any real way whatsoever), I sympathized with the fact that he was upset by what he had seen, but I offered no expression of agreement. He just assumed, and although I probably should have made my position clear, I didn't because I knew his mind was set in concrete on the matter and I didn't want to start a pointless feud with him. Okay, fine.

I have heard this same man express disgust and contempt at the number of homeless people he sees around Seattle. "Why don't they get a job!?" he intones repeatedly, apparently ignorant of the fact that most of these people did have jobs, but lost them when they were exported, then lost their homes because they couldn't afford the high rents in this city, and most of them are desperately seeking work.

So this is just one guy. What does that prove, you ask? Nothing, really. But—

Of a fair number of conservative Christians that I am acquainted with, I find this attitude pretty damned typical:   if it's anything of a sexual nature (teen pregnancy, abortion, gayness), it sends them into an absolute tizzy; and if someone's fallen on hard times, the person is somehow to blame for his or her own misfortune. Let them suffer the consequences!

This strikes me as a distinct lack of what is generally known as "Christian charity."

I make a generalization:   within my experience, conservative Christians tend to look inward and are primarily concerned with the state of their own souls, with some peripheral concern with trying to save the souls of others, because that earns them brownie points in Heaven ("His mind is so set on Heaven, he is of no earthly use!"). Liberal Christians tend to look outward and are not just concerned with the well-being of others, many of them do something about it. I can give you a long list of what my "ultra-liberal" church does, but I'll leave it at that unless you want details.

Your mileage may vary, but that's been my observation.

Okay, let me have it! Do your worst!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 06:25 PM

What's to knock off? That's just sad.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 06:40 PM

What? Me, or the situation I describe?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 07:31 PM

The situation, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: EagleWing
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 05:28 AM

Little Hawk said "I would say that the Old Testament, in general, espouses a pretty Rightwing kind of attitude, while the New Testament tends in the other direction. To put it another way, religious fundamentalists and literal thinkers tend to the Right, religious liberals and metaphorical thinkers tend to the Left."

I have to confess that I disagree about the Old Testament. The prophets, especially, call for justice. Things like Jubilee and the sabbath are intended to work against exploitation. Prohibition of "moving boundries" are to stop "big business" from taking over the little man's land. Loads of left-wing stuff in the OT.

Frank L


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: EagleWing
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 05:46 AM

"Okay,it's a generalisation but;
Right wing Xians....old testament
Left wing Xians....new testament"

It's more than a generalisation - it's not really true. Perhaps it is time for left wing Christians to get to grips with the Old Testament. (And does the above mean that all Jews are right wing?)

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy, and bring the poor of the land to an end... that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals. (Amos 7 4&6)

Sounds pretty leftish to me.

Frank L


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: EagleWing
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 05:55 AM

"religion and politics ought not to mix...in my opinion of course"

I can't see how they cannot mix. How can a person have a set of beliefs about a Creator and not have them affect the way they react to Creation? The Bible (both testaments) are deeply political sets of books - in particular, the OT which has whole books devoted to how people should live in society. It makes as much sense to say "people and politics should not mix"

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: EagleWing
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 06:12 AM

"I am always intrigued by the way "conservative Christians" seem to espouse the teachings of the Old Testament instead of the New - Leviticus instead of the Sermon on the Mount, if you like."

But even Leviticus has some material for the left wing Christian.

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very border, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: EagleWing
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 06:39 AM

Way back in January Martin Gibson said "Little Hawk, I love ya pal, but am disappointed that your post on the Old Testament absolutely reeks of the worst possible type of anti-semitism. Your Sunday school teacher might have been thinking about your crotch when he taught it to you.

Mudcat continues to be a haven for strong and ignorant anti-semitism."

Just a couple of points, Martin.

I agree with what you say about Little Hawk's understanding of the Old Testament. I don't know about anti-semitism but it is certainly not a fair description of the Old Testament that I have read and not the one my Sunday School teacher taught me.

However, I'm not convinced that Mudcat is so "Anti-semite". It has very free speech so can be anti-semitic, anti-christian, anti-pro-life. I see more anti-christian stuff than anti-semetic. However, there seem to be more Christians prepared to fight back than there are Jews.

Can I also suggest that you sometimes set yourself up for apparently anti-semitic replies by the way you attack other people's views - just as some Christian posters seem to attract anti-christian replies.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 07:15 AM

nice posts Eagle Wing. Well reasoned, and kindly stated.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 11:25 AM

About the mixing of religion & politics.....

Of course they DO mix in various ways. People's religious views (or lack of them) will obviously affect how they vote and how they interact with others with whom they do not agree. (There is a LOT buried in that simple statement!)

The USA is 'supposed' to be founded on a principle that allows religious diversity without favoring any particular brand. Sadly, some brands seem to have the idea that if they can gain the majority...or even be a loud enough minority, they can influence and control situations and issues so that their ideas prevail...not just so that THEY can live they way they choose, but so that they can control how others live also.

This is how I see what Don Firth was referring to in comparing liberal & conservative Christian churches. One group is happy to let you pray to any diety you wish, keep different Sabbeths, cover various parts of your body according to scripture, eschew abortion, educate your children in special classes...etc...etc.

   The other group wishes..indeed, feels compelled, to promote one interpretation of a Diety over yours, pass laws which favor their notion of Sabbath, instill their own religious doctrine into public schools, (including prayers to their Diety, and excluding other's), demand that YOU not be allowed abortion, ensure that NO ONE gets to high office in this country unless he/she meets their religious standards....etc...all-in-all, attempting to not only MIX religion with politics, but to CONTROL politics with religion--and usually, one specific class of religion. We see this done in Iran, or Iraq, or Italy, and we go *tsk*, *tsk*...but here in the USA, where we are supposed to have free choice, there is constant pressure to conform and submit.

There are some areas which should not be a matter for vote or majority rule! The Supreme Court should not be ABLE to change Brown vs. Board of Education, or Roe vs. Wade just because we have G. Bush about to appoint 2-3 guys who are conservative.

The difference between liberals & conservatives might be described this way: When liberals are in office, most everyone is able to to most everything they wish that is legal and not directly at odds with society & their neighbors. When conservatives are in office, they immediately want to STOP certain behaviors and practices and INSTITUTE others. (Live in Salt Lake City, Utah for awhile to get the full flavor of that attitude. It is not enough for the LDS church to not partake of alcohol & caffeine, but they make it difficult for YOU to use it.)

Yeah, religion & politics DO get mixed in people's behavior, but I wish to live in a country where they are not explicitly mixed. If there were only 17 Christians in the country, they should be able to live, worship and congregate freely....and...if there were only ONE atheist in the country, he should be able to go to school without being subjected to daily prayers and harassed! That seems to be a pretty hard idea for some folks to swallow, but that is the ONLY way a country can truly call itself free and fair.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Religious Left
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:32 PM

Every religious system has a code of morality. A "code of morality" and a "system of ethics" are exactly the same thing. Philosophically, a consistent ethical system is a necessary precursor to a cohesive system of politics. However, one does not need a religious moral code to form an ethical system. Such systems can (and have been) formed without religion. Thus, it is impossible to separate religion from politics. But it is possible to separated politics from religion.

The genius of the founding fathers, as Bill D points out, is that our political system recognizes the overriding morality of allowing for diversity in religious belief (including the right to opt out, if one chooses). The First Amendment begins "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . ." (Yes, the First Amendment).

One of many reasons the Constitution should never be used to try to enforce "moral behavior," such as a "definition of marriage" amendment, is inherent in the nature and purpose of the Constitution:

The difference between the Constitution and the Law is as follows—

The citizens are free to do anything they wish, unless it is specifically prohibited by Law.

The government is not allowed to do anything, unless it is specifically permitted by the Constitution.

Liberal churches tend to recognize this and see its value. Within my experience, conservative churches tend chafe under this kind of restriction.

Don Firth


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