According to the website The Root — and it is important that this be labeled as second-hand information, because we all know how newsfolk have the penchant for editing stuff to suit their own agendas — we learn a few things, among others, from leading presidential Republican candidates. The initial statements are from the source; the bold, italicized commentary is my own.
- Religious Americans must fight back against nonbelievers. Based on what principles or examples, Mr. Cain? To what end, and why?
- Our laws and our national identity are Judeo-Christian. Well, yeah, historically speaking, and to some extent … but things do change, Mrs. Bachmann. And they obviously have. Have you looked around recently?
- No religion but Christianity will suffice. If you really said this, Mr. Perry, you have about as much chance of being elected as Mr. George W. Bush stands of being elected again. It’s not that you’re wrong; even if one reduces the Way of Jesus to “religion,” Christianity is still probably the best choice. No, it’s that you have no idea how to influence listeners. You seem like a decent believer in Jesus as Christ, but you’re not a very likely President, I’m afraid.
- God created our government. Uh, no, Mrs. Bachmann. God didn’t even create it in 1776 or 1787, much less today. Let me name one opposing reason for the current era: God is associated with justice, and our system of law is fraught with ludicrous injustices. I’m not even sure we can rightly say that God created the Hebrew government after the time of Moses.
- U.S. law should follow God’s law. Really, Mr. Santorum? According to whom? Your presumptuous pope or Presbyterians? Jews or Jehovah’s Witnesses? Mormons or Muslims or Methodists?
- Courts that get in the way should be abolished. I’m not sure what the context was, Mr. Gingrich, but I’d agree that some courts should be abolished for some reasons.
- The purge of judges should be based on public opinion. Seriously, Mr. Gingrich? That kind of statement is not too likely to garner public opinion in your favor.
- Freedom means obeying morality. Again, I’m not sure of the context. But, Mr. Santorum, it sounds like you got bound up in a desperate attempt to say something meaningful and ended up freely spouting nonsense.
(Entire article here.)
Many incongruities between ostensibly Christian candidates and Christian mores were reportedly pointed up publicly in a follow-up to the recent Iowa Family Leader forum. Since most, if not all, of the leading Republican candidates have relatively serious anti- or at least un-Christian problems plaguing their pasts or their presents, a statement of some non-candidate affirming the faith and morals of the hopefuls seems to have been careless, if not laughable. (From what I’ve heard, Cain, Gingrich, and Romney are ahead these days, and I’d sooner have Schwarzenegger as president than one of them.) When one attempts to paint a candidate with a Christian brush, he is destined for artistic and political failure. I’m also turned off by the Family Leader’s tacit suggestion, through a David Bush video presentation on their website, that Jesus is to be appealed to in order to stop businesses from closing and houses from being foreclosed on, but that’s a blog topic for another day.
Predictable disagreements between evangelicals and so called “mainline protestants” such as Lutherans and Methodists abound. And Roman Catholics are by no means out of the picture, not to mention the Islamists and the Hindus and the atheists. Attempts at unifying a nation full of increasingly diverse populations will not succeed. We will never see civics alike. We are simply not wise enough to effect such unity, even if we weren’t so impotent as a race.
Our hope is not — is not — in this life. Christianity and government need not attempt to mix.
Yes, Frank Luntz, America’s best days are behind us. The glass isn’t half-empty or half-full; I’m looking around for another glass. (This view disqualifies me for any political roles and for some friendships, but the Bible doesn’t require humanistic optimism of me.)
No, Bob Vander Plaats, government should not be considered part of a trifecta of God’s institutions (with the church and the family). That is an aberrant, unauthorized suggestion, despite applause from 99% of Christendom.
Yes, David Bush, “Jesus, we need you more than ever today” … but not in order to change or restore the United States of America. That is not Jesus’ business.