where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues,

For now I want to focus my writing now articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write and post short responses to newspaper columns and letters and even other articles as the inspiration hits me.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Real Problem Behind all the Other Problems in Our Country


This sounds like it could be the start of a joke: What do President Obama, ISIL, and gay marriage have in common?  The problem is that those who get it won’t think it is funny, and there are too many people who just won’t get it. 
So what do they have in common?  They all picture in some way the underlying problem in our country, the problem that is at the root of all the other problems. 
President Obama is an example of our nation having lost our sense of right and wrong.  When the President was trying to get people to support his healthcare law, he lied.  Not once, but over and over again. 
Now I am the first to acknowledge that all lies are not created equal.  There is the response to the angry voice about who took the last cookie out of the cookie jar.  There is the response to the question about the phone number found in your wallet or the woman who called you on your phone.  A President asked a question at a press conference regarding the potential or planned government action to an enemy threat might be less than straightforward or even entirely untruthful in order to avoid giving sensitive information to the wrong people. 
But this was a man who lied to people who were looking to him for answers and help.  He lied in front of cameras and to the largest audiences that anyone would ever hope to have.  He knew the truth would eventually come out, but he didn’t believe he would suffer any loss when it did.
My question is: where was the outrage?  The public and our representatives in Congress should have demanded his impeachment, and there should have been no problem getting the votes in the Senate to convict him.  Why?
Because once a person is known to lie, how will you ever know when he is telling the truth?  When the President of our nation says that there are no immediate threats from ISIS, can we believe him?  When the President of the United States says that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on his watch, is that true?  When the President of the United States says that the economy is doing better now than in his entire presidency, is it?
What did the media say about his lying?  He was overselling????  Were we supposed to know that he couldn’t possibly be telling the truth, and we should have seen it as politicians just doing what politicians do.
It used to be that when a person lied, it was called a lie.  We have lost as a nation the sense of right and wrong.  If something can produce ‘good’ results or was for a good reason, then we overlook the act, even if the act itself used to be considered wrong.  The end justifies the means.  That kind of thinking was a common plot in futuristic science fiction novels meant to waken people to impending government control or novels raising moral questions like 1984 and Crime and Punishment.
What? You never read those books?  I am not surprised.  The government is in charge of our education now, and they have other books they would rather have you read.  They have other things they want to teach you.
But all politicians lie.  Actually no.  But if that is the perception or the expectation, then we have lost all sense of moral values in our country.  We have lost something vital to the health of our nation.   If our politicians are dishonest, then where are the calls for their resignation?  Why are we not demanding better? 
Simple answer: we accept lies as a part of doing business.  We expect our politicians to promise us the moon in their campaigns, but we don’t expect them to keep his promises after he is elected.  We expect lies, because we lie. 
A person’s word used to be his bond.  If a person couldn’t keep his word, he would be considered untrustworthy and somebody to avoid.
When the idea of right and wrong become blurred, we don’t know how to respond to wrong anymore.  We have no grounds to judge the behavior of another, because we see all behavior as self-motivated, self-serving, and generally quite justified.  This person has a good reason in their eyes to do what they did.  So when something happens that used to be called evil, we don’t know how to respond.  Anger seems to be too judgmental.  And we certainly don’t have any moral authority to try to stop it.  Who appointed us to be the judge for the world?
And this is what happened with ISIS.  ISIS finally did some things that angered enough people to force our government to take action.  Do I believe they are serious about what they say they want to do?  He lied about health care.  How do I know he is not lying now?  My personal assessment is that much of this is for show, but that is for another article.
The point is that when they first appeared, their movement was seen as political, not evil, disenfranchised Sunni Arabs in a Shiite majority country.  They essentially declared war on us, but we didn’t see it as a real or imminent threat, so we ignored it.  They committed evil atrocities on Christians and Yazidis, but we only did what was necessary to feed some refugees trapped on a mountain and help expedite their safe exodus off the mountain. 
ISIS seemed more intent on getting our attention by beheading several American journalists.  And this finally provoked our leaders to action.  But because our leaders were so slow in responding, the best time to have confronted them had long passed.  When they were moving from town to town looking to gain new territory, they were on the road, completely exposed.  Now they have control of cities and towns where any action from the air would have heavy civilian casualties. 
In fact there is no way now to defeat them without going into these same towns we went into before on the ground a very high cost to our troops.  Now we, or somebody else, has to do it again?
We have given ISIS plenty of time now to prepare for all this.  When our troops fought in Iraq, they faced countless roadside bombs and booby traps, and whoever goes into these towns can expect the same.
But because we no longer have clear ideas of right and wrong, our leaders are hesitant in the face of evil, not knowing how or if we should respond.  What moral authority do we have?  We don’t even like to talk about right and wrong anymore?  Who’s to say what’s right and wrong?  Is it really our fight?  Do we really want to get involved?  Do we really have to?  Until they beheaded these journalists so blatantly, trying very hard to provoke a response from us, we would have dithered about for months or longer, hoping it would all go away on its own.
Right and wrong invokes a standard, a universal standard of how things are supposed to be.  We used to have such a standard, but its basis was religious.  Among other principles, there were Ten Commandments.  Commandments is much too strong a word for us to use today.  After all, who is doing the commanding?  We can’t appeal to a God, because that invokes religion, which is only meant for private use, not public policies.
Gay marriage is becoming harder and harder to talk about, because for more and more people this is their reality, their family, and in the case of the children, this is all they have known.  It is seen as being harder and harder to oppose gay marriage, because this has to do with people loving each other and not about evil people trying to destroy other people.  These are just people who want to get on with their lives and be left alone.  There is another larger agenda at work here as well, but for most I think they just want to be validated by society and no longer looked upon as being somehow inferior to everybody else.
The bigger issue goes back to the God question.  Questions like right and wrong need somebody to authoritatively answer.  Who says something is wrong, or right?
Christians believe that God created the world, that we were created in His image, and that He gave us the directions, or the instruction manual so to speak, on how all this is supposed to work.  Our nation used to believe in those instructions.  We used to post the Ten Commandments in our schools and in public places, and we used to teach the Bible in our public schools.
Now that we have removed the Bible and the Ten Commandments from public life, then there are no rules but what we make up along the way.   
I believe marriage has always been about children.  If children grew on trees, there never would have been a thing called marriage.  Some people would have paired up, but it is doubtful there would have been sexually exclusive relationships apart from the issue of children, disease, or moral constraints imposed by a religion.  But all living arrangements would have been considered equal, whether roommates, lovers, or communes.
Now whether you believe in God or evolution, they both ended up with the same thing.  Children are the product of a man and a woman and need all kinds of care, nurture, and training for a long time until they are able to fend for themselves.  For most of human history throughout the world, this job was considered the primary responsibility of the natural parents.
But then after our nation officially became secular, we normalized sexual activity outside of marriage. Yes, I know, people have always had sex outside of marriage, but sex was now considered recreation and a right and a right that needed to be aggressively pursued, by women as well as men.  A part of their equality.
Then we normalized abortion.  Human life was no longer considered sacred, but babies were seen along the line of pets.  You can have one if you want one, but nobody can make you have one.  Your own life and comfort are the important things.
Then we normalized divorce.  Marriage just became a mutual relationship that could be dissolved when either party failed to find it personally fulfilling. 
Then we normalized cohabitation, where we don't even have the hassle of a no-fault divorce.  Marriage itself is just a carry over from tradition and out-moded religions that are no longer relevant yet alone true.
Then we normalized single parenthood.  If sex was a choice and having children was a choice and being married was a choice, then why again did we need marriage in the first place?  Single parenthood became the leading cause of poverty in our country, but the government was eager and willing to help out to support the new family.
Then we normalized the two working parent family for those families that did stay together.  We taught our daughters that it was more important to have a career than to have a family.  So children were the afterthought, the career was the priority.  The children were viewed as pets, such that the only responsibilities of the parents were feeding them, giving them a place to stay, and seeing that they were housebroken.  This is leading somewhere, and we will get to that in a minute.
Then as our science improved, we could achieve pregnancies without a man even being present or needed in the life of the child.  And with the sacredness of life diminished, women began offering to bear children for other people.  Hey, the pay is good, and you could still keep your regular job.
Now in gay marriage, we are taking a step further, yet having coming this far, this is only one more step, and there is little or no reason not to take that next step.  With gay marriage, we will now intentionally remove one parent from a child’s life and call it good, normal, and equal to the way we used to have children and families.  Our society is formalizing the break of natural parents from the responsibility of raising their own children.  We are normalizing the concept that children just need loving adults rather than blood parents. 
Sure, we have always had this with adoption, but now we are officially saying that it doesn’t matter. One is just as good as the other.
And there are more steps to follow.  The next step in the process, and there is a process, is to increase the government’s role in the family.  Since children no longer need their natural fathers and mothers, and marriage is only a matter of mutual convenience and fulfillment and not critical to the life of the children, the government will become more responsible for the raising of our children.  This same government that sent millions of jobs overseas which now forces many parents to work who would rather be home with their children, this government now wants to offer more after school programs and before school programs, and child care, and mandatory pre-kindergarten for all children. 
The more the government can be involved in raising your children, the more they are able to produce people who believe in and support the work that the government does.  They will actually like government control.  The goal is to raise children who expect government assistance in every aspect of their lives. Freedom is only for people who don’t like their chains.  A nation that believed in freedom, that saw government control as tyranny will now see government control as security, desirable, and necessary.

Our nation was never ‘officially’ a Christian nation, yet it was always Christian in the sense that there was a consensus on believing in God, Jesus, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and the need or value of going to church.  This also gave our country a moral consensus, things like loving your neighbor, helping your neighbor or someone in need, trust, honesty, integrity, loyalty, faithfulness, hard work, responsibility, giving, compassion, mercy, courage, kindness, patience, sacrifice, saving yourself for marriage, not  having children out of wedlock, and working through hard marriages
We have been told over and over in the last few years that our country was intended to be a secular country, that there is a wall of separation between church and state that makes it unconstitutional for anything associated with the state, which now includes public schools, though originally it didn’t, to even mention God except in curse words, that anything religious has no place in discussions of public policy.
The problem is that there is nothing in secularism that provides a moral framework telling us how we should live or behave, telling us right from wrong or whether there even is a right and wrong.  This is not to say that secularists cannot exhibit love, compassion, and all the other qualities I mentioned, but it’s just that there is nothing in secularism that says that anyone should. 
There are no rules or codes of behavior but what society can agree upon, and apparently it has settled on just three.  Any other values seem to be holdovers from more religious times and are subject to challenges at any time.  So where there used to be Ten Commandments, we now have three: equality, tolerance, and fairness.
For over three hundred years starting from the first settlers to America until 1962, the Bible was taught in our public schools.  Why?  Because it was believed to be true and because it was believed that it contained and encouraged the highest human values and virtues.   And even when there started to be doubts in some places about the truth of everything in the Bible, it was still taught because the Bible was at the root of much of the great literature in Western Civilization.  If you didn’t know who or what Job was, or David and Goliath, a Philistine, Samson, Solomon, Jesus, Paul, Pilate, Easter, Moses, the Ten Commandments, Passover, Noah, the flood, shibboleth, the Golden Rule, an eye for an eye, turning the other cheek, the Good Samaritan, the rich man and Lazarus, the other Lazarus, Adam and Eve, the serpent, the apple, the Garden of Eden, the Sabbath, not only would you then not understand much of the foundation of Western Civilization or much of its great literature, but you would just be a poorer person.  Not financially, though they were thought to be related, but poorer in your soul, who you were as a person.
When our country was founded, the issue of separation of church and state had to do with having a national church like they had in Europe at the time.  England had the Church of England, Germany was Lutheran, France was Roman Catholic.  Giving to church was a part of paying your taxes.  All of them, of course, were Christian churches.  That’s why it is called separation of ‘church’ and state instead of separation of religion, or God, and state.  The very Congress that passed the First Amendment saying the Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion also had Bibles printed to be used in our public schools.
We used to teach values in our schools, but then it was ruled unconstitutional because you couldn’t teach values without teaching about God.  Let the parents teach their children religion at home. 
But what home?  We have taught our women that it is oppressive and demeaning to stay at home to raise children.  They needed to go out and work to find their true meaning and worth in life. 
But what was first portrayed as a choice then became a need as our government sent millions of good paying jobs overseas and allowed our country to be to be flooded with millions more people than our immigration system would normally allow.  The results have been that wages have gone down, good jobs are harder to get, and there is no home life to speak of.  The people who have the morals are all working, as they still resist government dependency.  Those with moral values not as strong are more willing to rely on the government to take care of them.  So either way values are not being transmitted to the next generation, because those who have them don’;t have the quality time with their children and those who might have more time don’t have the same values to transmit.
Wow, what this all intentional?  You see policies over generations all leading in the same direction, like there was some great plan in design to ruin our country by breaking down the home life of our people.
It all comes down to the God question.  If there is no God, there is no moral consensus in a country like ours but the lowest common denominator, because there is nobody who can or will tell us how things should be, at least anybody that everybody needs to listen to.
But if there is a God, then God is not just for private consumption and enjoyment.  There is a way how things should be.  We have lost our way as a nation, and we need to get back what we have lost. 

How?  That’s for another time, but I have already written extensively about this and posted my articles on my blog, poligion1.blogspot.com.  Stay tuned.

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