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God's Politics...........

Discussion in 'Politics & World News' started by Andyman_1970, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Andyman_1970

    Andyman_1970 Turbo Monkey

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    This probably won't get much mileage on here but I ran across this excerpt and found it interesting:

    An Excerpt from God's Politics
    A Better Option

    "God’s politics" are therefore never partisan nor ideological. But God’s politics challenge everything about our politics. God’s politics remind us of the people our politics always neglect - the poor, the vulnerable, the left behind. God’s politics challenge narrow national, ethnic, economic, or cultural self-interest, reminding us of a much wider world and the creative human diversity of all those made in the image of the creator. God’s politics remind us of the creation itself, a rich environment in which we are to be good stewards, not mere users, consumers, and exploiters. And God’s politics plead with us to resolve, as much as possible, the inevitable conflicts among us without the terrible destruction of war. God’s politics always remind us of the ancient prophetic prescription to "choose life, so that you and your children may live," and challenge all the selective moralities that would choose one set of lives and issues over another. This challenges both the Right and the Left, offering a new vision for faith and politics in America and a new conversation of personal faith and political hope.

    People concerned about social change and hungry for spiritual values can actually combine those two quests. Too often politics and spirituality have been separated, polarized, and even put into competition with one another. We have been buffeted by private spiritualities that have no connection to public life and a secular politics showing disdain for religion or even spiritual concerns. That leaves spirituality without social consequences and a politics with no soul. Political discourse that is disconnected from moral values quickly degenerates. How might we change our public life with the values that many of us hold most dear? How can we connect a genuinely "prophetic" spirituality to the urgent need for social justice? This is the connection the world is waiting for.

    After the 2002 mid-term elections, I attended a private dinner for Harvard Fellows in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Our speaker was a Republican political strategist who had just won all the major senatorial and gubernatorial election campaigns in which he was involved. Needless to say, he was full of his success and eager to tell us about it. This very smart political operative said that Republicans won middle-class and even working-class people on the "social" issues, those moral and cultural issues that Democrats don’t seem to understand or appreciate. He even suggested that passion on the social issues can cause people to vote against their economic self-interest. Since the rich are already with us, he said, we win elections.

    I raised my hand and asked the following question. "What would you do if you faced a candidate that took a traditional moral stance on the social and cultural issues? They would not be mean-spirited and, for example, blame gay people for the breakdown of the family, nor would they criminalize the choices of desperate women backed into difficult and dangerous corners. But the candidate would be decidedly pro-family, pro-life (meaning they really want to lower the abortion rate), strong on personal responsibility and moral values, and outspoken against the moral pollution throughout popular culture that makes raising children in America a countercultural activity. And what if that candidate was also an economic populist, pro-poor in social policy, tough on corporate corruption and power, clear in supporting middle-class and working families in health care and education, an environmentalist, and committed to a foreign policy that emphasized international law and multilateral cooperation over pre-emptive and unilateral war? What would you do?" I asked. The Republican strategist paused for a long time, and then said, "We would panic!"

    THERE ARE NOW three major political options in our public life. The first political option in America today is conservative on everything - from cultural, moral, and family concerns to economic, environmental, and foreign policy issues. Differences emerge between aggressive nationalists and cautious isolationists, between corporate apologists and principled fiscal conservatives, but this is the political option clearly on the ascendancy in America, with most of the dominant ideas in the public square coming from the political Right.

    The second political option in contemporary America is liberal on everything - both family/sexual/cultural questions and economic, environmental, and foreign policy matters. There are certainly differences among the liberals (from pragmatic centrists to green leftists), but the intellectual and ideological roots come from the Left side of the cultural and political spectrum - and today most from the liberal/left find themselves on the defensive.

    The third option in American politics is libertarian - meaning liberal on cultural/moral issues and conservative on fiscal/economic and foreign policy. The "just leave me alone and don’t spend my money option" is growing quickly in American life.

    I believe there is a "fourth option" for American politics, which follows from the prophetic religious tradition we have described. 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 like 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 come 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, mean-spirited, or scapegoating against any group of people, including gays and lesbians. They can be pro-life, pro-family and pro-feminist, all at the same time. They think issues of "moral character" are very important, both in a politician’s personal life and in his or her policy choices. Yet they are decidedly pro-poor, pro-racial reconciliation, critical of purely military solutions, and defenders of the environment.

    At the heart of the fourth option is the integral link between personal ethics and social justice. And it appeals to people who refuse to make the false choice between the two.

    Simply put, the two traditional options in America (Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative) have failed to capture the imagination, commitment, and trust of a majority of people in this country. Neither has found ways to solve our deepest and most entrenched social problems. Record prosperity hasn’t cured child poverty. Family breakdown is occurring across all class and racial lines. Public education remains a disaster for millions of families. Millions more still don’t have health insurance, or can’t find affordable housing. The environment suffers from unresolved debates, while our popular culture becomes more and more polluted by debased and violent "entertainment." In local communities, people are more and more isolated, busy, and disconnected. Our foreign policy has become an aggressive assertion of military superiority in a defensive and reactive mode, seeking to protect us against growing and invisible threats, instead of addressing the root causes of those threats. The political Right and Left continue at war with each other, but the truth is that these false ideological choices themselves have run their course and become dysfunctional.

    The answer is to put values at the center of political discourse and, in every public debate, ask what kind of country and people we really want to be. We would find new agreements across old political boundaries and new common ground among people who agree on values and are ready to challenge the special interests on all sides who are obstructing the solutions most Americans would support. Ideologies have failed us; values can unite us, especially around our most common democratic visions.

    Jim Wallis is editor-in-chief of Sojourners. This article is excerpted from God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It: A New Vision for Faith and Politics in America (Harper SanFrancisco)
     

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  2. Heath Sherratt

    Heath Sherratt Turbo Monkey

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    Maybe I'm confused, but most of your fourth option lines up with Bush's administration. Pm me with differences. Thanks, H
     
  3. ohio

    ohio The Fresno Kid

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    In green are areas that are aligned with Bush. In red those that aren't. My commentary in brackets[]:

     
  4. Andyman_1970

    Andyman_1970 Turbo Monkey

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    It's not my option, it's the author's "option".....just to clarify.
     
  5. Andyman_1970

    Andyman_1970 Turbo Monkey

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    I think it's the religious right's "spin" to get people to believe that the Republican party is "God's" party. Granted they do have one or two core issues that align with Biblical prinicples, otherwise they tend to fall short, certainly not a Biblically wholistic political option.
     
  6. Andyman_1970

    Andyman_1970 Turbo Monkey

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    BTW there is going to be a show on ABC tonight (7:00 central) on this very subject "In God they trust" about American Evangleicals and politics.

    I'm going to watch it, even if I do get horribly embarassed by the example these people put fourth.
     
  7. enkidu

    enkidu Guest

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    I would vote for that candidate. Thanks, Andyman, for introducing us to this fine candidate. . . Now what was his name, again? (So I can write in my ballot.)
     
  8. Andyman_1970

    Andyman_1970 Turbo Monkey

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    I would too..........don't write my name in on that ballot though...LOL
     
  9. manimal

    manimal Ociffer Tackleberry

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    carl rove
     
  10. enkidu

    enkidu Guest

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    Carl Rove is "The Republican strategist" who "paused for a long time, and then said, 'We would panic!'" Not the fictitious ideal candidate.

    Rove, btw, should be panicking now. . .
     
  11. Andyman_1970

    Andyman_1970 Turbo Monkey

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    I voted Republican and I say ....................NOT!!!!!!!!!
     
  12. manimal

    manimal Ociffer Tackleberry

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    i must have forgotten the :rolleyes: ;) after my "carl rove" comment.
     
  13. Changleen

    Changleen Paranoid Member

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    I'm somewhere between liberal and libertarian. I prefer the 'god politics' to those of the republicans, but there are some aspects I disagree with.
     
  14. Andyman_1970

    Andyman_1970 Turbo Monkey

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    Yeah I was wondering about that...................