The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Candidates”

The Abuse of Power and the Power of Abuse: Dealing with an Inconvenient Truth

By Uri Brito

Republicans are the party of small government. Democrats are the party of big government. These distinctions no longer hold true. Reagan’s first term, perhaps, in recent history, is the last to come close to the type of small government Republicans say they envision. But for too long the scenery of the political landscape is replete with big government towers. We, the people, stare hopelessly at those babel-like towers wondering if any of them have read Genesis 11. We are Tolkien’s hobbits wanting to be left alone smoking our tobacco and drinking the finest beer, but alone they will not let us be.

David Shipler’s The Rights of the People: How our Search for Safety Invades our Privacy (2011) detailed some of these abuses. Shipler wrote that the Bill of Rights were “embedded in the first ten amendments to the Constitution…to climb and counter the might state, to keep their speech free, their confessions true, their trial fair, their homes and files sealed from cavalier invasion by police.” We are losing that right as speedily as the government (NSA) is tracking your e-mail or Verizon phone call right now.

What we are seeing today is more than the undermining of the Constitution; we are seeing the undermining of morality. And this implies that we need the objectivity of Christendom. We can no longer amen the actions of any party, because both major parties do not care about the shire. They will make deals with anyone. We need the boldness to assert the foolish actions of our party and then condemn them each election.

Obama’s promise to secrecy and the respecting of civil liberties in 2007 has quickly derailed into a Mordor-like crystal ball. They have looked and accessed every conceivable file. They have found what they wanted and used that information for their own purposes. “We cannot have 100% safety without inconvenience,” the president argues. Inconvenience? An absurdly burdensome tax system,  the waste of our taxpayer money, TSA, a destructive economic policy, reckless wars led by reckless leaders, the murder of the unborn? This is more than inconvenience; this is abuse; and all in the name of an agenda.

What we are witnessing is not the era of inconvenience; those days were relatively comfortable. At least we knew when the inconveniences would come. We are entering the era of abuse. We are in an era where the words “abuse of power” have become redundant. In an abusive society, led by abusive leaders, we do not know what to expect. Power corrupts, but absolute power in the hands of fools leads to abuse.

We are not claiming that this is a distinctly Obama problem. Bush’s Patriot Act opened the doors to this type of infringement. The tyranny of technology began long ago. And we are now recipients of a president who is continuing those policies.

The Economist observed in 2007, that in the past, information was gathered by drawing conclusions about citizens from fragmented reports by party loyalists. They would tap phones, send informers to workplaces, and follow people around. Today, “data about people’s whereabouts, purchases, behavior, and personal lives are gathered, stored, and shared on a scale that no dictator of the old school ever thought possible.”

We are living in a new era. This is an era where privacy is becoming extinct. The security of e-mail exchanges, counselor to counselee phone calls, and a host of other matters are sacrificed at the altar of safety. But are we safe? The answer to that is an inconvenient truth to our president.

Why I am Proud to be an American

By Uri Brito

In the best sense of the term, this has been a very patriotic weekend for me. It began on Thursday evening at the Banquet for Life hosted by Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor is a ministry the saints of Providence have invested in for quite a few years. It is more than just another pro-life ministry, it is a labor that saw 162 women this past year choose life rather than live with the blood of the innocent in their hands for the rest of their lives. They provide counseling, medical help, and the environment to best guide confused young women out of their present chaos.

At their annual fundraising banquet they invited Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum was still living off the energy of last year’s election. The Senator from Pennsylvania shocked the nation by losing to Mitt Romney by only eight votes in Iowa and going on to win several other primaries. Though Santorum was no match for the prosperous GOP establishment candidate, the Senator was still able to leave a lasting impression in the GOP Primary.

Santorum observed in his speech that though he had opined continuously on the state of the economy and on other pertinent matters, the media chose not to pursue the Senator’s opinion on these issues, but rather focus on some of his more “extreme” ideas. Ideas like opposition to abortion, which according to the general American public are far from extreme. Yet, we are at such a stage in the civil discourse that when anyone speaks passionately about any moral issue, he is already termed a radical. To hell with logic! Read more…

Bill O’Reilly, Robert Jeffress, “The Bible,” and the Truth of God’s Revelation

Bill O’Reilly had on Pastor Robert Jeffress of The First Baptist Church of Dallas, TX. Jeffress gained a lot of attention during the 2012 presidential elections when he opposed Romney—in favor of Perry—on the grounds that Romney was a Mormon. Jeffress argued that we needed an evangelical in the White House.

O’Reilly’s segment focused on whether the Bible should be understood literally or allegorically. The unstable Fox News host began the segment with an irresponsible remark:

“The Bible,” which was co-created by Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, “highlights fundamentalist Christian beliefs.”

The History Channel show can be debated (at another time), but the opening assumption already triggers the insult of ignorance of anyone who believes such events to be literal. “Fundamentalist Christian beliefs” is the media’s way of perpetuating evangelical Christians as theological dinosaurs. Further, it carries on the abusive stereo-types usually addressed towards Islamic radicals. If you are a fundamentalist, you are in some way capable of doing things the typical enlightened human being would never do. Read more…

Rand Paul Is Still My Senator

In early 2009, I was a fairly new fan of Congressman Ron Paul, having learned of him during the 2008 presidential election. You can imagine my excitement when I heard that his son, Rand Paul, was thinking of running for the U.S. Senate. When I found out he would be representing Kentucky – my home state – it was that much more invigorating. I knew immediately that I would do everything I could in my local community to raise support for Rand.

The first order of business was to bring Rand to my city for a live speaking event. If he decided to run I knew he would be going up against establishment candidates in both the primary and general elections Read more…

I hate to interrupt your hysterical weeping, but maybe this poll would be worse if Romney had won

A new poll out by Gallup shows that for the first time since 2000, a majority of Americans believe it isn’t the responsibility of our federal government to provide healthcare to all Americans.

Government responsible for healthcare of all Americans?.gif

via POLL: Majority of Americans against federal guarantee of healthcare « MichelleFields.com.

[Note: I have no idea why the image won’t show. Until someone can fix it, you’ll have to follow the link.]

I’m not now, just as I never have, promoting some kind of strategy for getting Obama elected to teach anyone a lesson. But I’m just saying that it could happen.

And you should pray that it does.

Romney’s Loss: The Ron Paul Factor

by Adam McIntosh

As expected, I’ve already seen numerous Facebook posts blaming Ron Paul supporters for Romney’s defeat on election night. Since the majority of Paul supporters abstained or voted third party, it is concluded that they swung the election in Obama’s favor. How ironic, that after being marginalized and cheated during the primary process, now they supposedly decided the election! Yes, there were those who tried guilt-tripping Paul’s base to vote for Romney, despite all of his shenanigans. But not even Rand Paul’s endorsement could convince Paul supporters to seal the deal for Romney.

The question must be asked: if Paul’s supporters are so large as to swing an election, then why wouldn’t Romney reach out to them? It’s as though Romney thought he could beat Obama with the evangelical vote alone, while running on Obama’s weaknesses alone. Neither strategy is beneficial to winning an election. Romney refused to reach out to Paul supporters, independents, third party voters, and anti-war voters. He never positioned himself as different from Obama in any significant sense. If blame is to be placed anywhere, it is with him and his campaign.

Obama’s re-election is no surprise to Paul supporters. Since the beginning of the primary season, they had been saying that Paul was the candidate most likely to beat Obama in a general election. Fox News panelists agreed that the GOP couldn’t win without Paul’s supporters (see here and here). Romney never cared to heed that advice.

So, would Romney have won with the Ron Paul vote? We’ll never know. But it’s a fact that he was unelectable without it.

How Now Shall We Then Live?

Like many of you, I was following closely as the results came in last night. The “respected” pundits who predicted a landslide win for Romney are now being predicted upon as to the relevance of their predictions. Obama’s “vengeance voting” strategy won. And quite a revenge was had. Democrats won Senate majority. The disastrous first-term presidency of Obama gets another four years to duplicate itself.

There were also some great victories for conservatism and moral libertarians last night. Tea Party, Ted Cruz, won his Senate race. The hero, Roy Moore, re-gained his post as Alabama Chief Justice. Several other candidates backed by Ron Paul also won.

But overall, it was a bad night for Republicans.  That was easily exemplified by the cable news’ reactions. While MSNBC enjoyed her political drunkenness, Fox News was fighting itself.

The age of moderate, center, and ever-changing Republicanism is over. The GOP has thrown money at not only flawed candidates, but flawed ideas. Of course, if history teaches us anything it is that the GOP will not learn her lesson. And so the blame-game will commence. “We did nothing wrong. We simply lacked the the right strategy,” they will say.

The reaction will be two-fold to last night’s debacle: First, commentators will speculate that Todd Akin was partly responsible for the GOP’s defeat. They will then argue that the pro-life issue is a losing issue and a sure way to lose the independent and moderate vote. They will then become more focused on economic issues and leave the pro-life movement to die. We need to appeal to the middle. “Tea-Party candidates are insanely unpredictable, therefore they should leave and find a home elsewhere.”

The second reaction is a more hopeful one. After recovering from the defeat, there will be a vast number of Republican leaders who will realize that  political compromise did not energize the base. In fact, compromise and constant change are not good ideals. They leave voters confused and often disillusioned by the process. As a result, the Republicans will listen to the more Conservative voices and attempt to form a more coherent system echoing the great conservative voices of the past.

The second reaction is a bit too hopeful, and I acknowledge that such reaction will take time.

In the meanwhile, Francis Schaeffer’s piercing question stares us with vicious pertinence: How Now Shall We Then Live?

How should Moral Libertarians and Classic Conservatives react to last night’s results? The answer lies in localist dominion. We need to concentrate our attention on those issues that are nearest to us. Our cities need to re-gain their importance in our thinking.

Have you sought to bless your city lately? Proverbs 11 says that the upright needs to bless the city, and when he does so the city is exalted (see also Jeremiah 29). Localism is not merely a political philosophy, it is very much a part of the biblical dogma. We are to be concerned about our streets and counties before we are concerned about our nation and the rest of the world. The nationalist is not truly patriotic until he becomes a localist.

With this in mind, here are ten suggestions for becoming a better localist:

A) Pray for your city. Pray for the peace of your city. For justice to be known among her people. Pray for her shalom and its well-being as you drive through it daily.

B) Give to the city by being a part of its affairs. Participate in local activities when possible.

C) Read about the city. Instead of turning to CNN, turn to your local news or newspaper. Be informed about the matters of your city, for the sake of better praying for her.

D) Biblicize your city. Start Bible studies. Equip others to love the city by discipling her. After all, this is the call of the Great Commission.

E) Vote and Elect godly leaders of the city. Before considering national politics, do not forsake your responsibility before your fellow city-dwellers. Seek to be informed about local politics. Comment on local on-line news about those decisions made by politicians that are blatantly against biblical principles and priorities, and always offer alternatives. We need practical solutions, not more theorizing.

F) Unite with other churches. Despise the divisive sentiment that is so prevalent. Know the local pastor’s names and meet with them. Pray for them when possible. Build relationships with others from other traditions who also seek the good of the city.

G) Imprecate against those who do not seek the well-being of the city. The psalms provide a perfect platform for such prayers. There is no neutrality. You either seek the good of the city through the blessings of the Trinitarian God, or you despise it.

H) Minister to the City through giving. Contribute to local charities either through the Church tithe or through personal gifts.

I) Teach others about your city. When I visited the Pacific Northwest once I was surprised how little and misinformed people were about Florida, and in particular the Panhandle. Inform people about the good, the bad, and the ugly while emphasizing the good a lot more.

I) Love the city by loving the Church. Congregate. Worship. Adore the Only-True God by worshipping the One who is King of the City, Jesus Christ.

Like a Bad Tooth

John Gil elaborates on Proverbs 25:19:

Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble
is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.
(Proverbs 25:19 ESV)

It is not good to put confidence in any man, not in princes . . . much less in an unfaithful, prevaricating . . . man; and especially in a time of distress and trouble, depending on his help and assistance, which is leaning on a broken reed, and trusting to a broken staff.

Every Four Years, It’s The End of The World Again

by Adam McIntosh

At this very moment, the fate of America hangs in the balance. Re-electing President Obama will result in the destruction of America as we know it. It will lead to the Islamic takeover of our western heritage. Mitt Romney, however, loves America and knows it is the hope of the earth. He alone can save us from Obama’s agenda of ushering in the apocalypse. Cast your vote for Romney this Tuesday and be amazed at the marvelous deeds he will accomplish. A vote for Romney is a vote for all that is holy and righteous in this land.”

Sounds like a pro-Romney argument you’ve heard recently, right? It’s my amateur attempt at writing an attack ad, but I think I captured the overall perspective of those who insist you must vote for Romney if you wish to be a decent American, and a decent Christian. It seems that we are always on the brink of impending doom if we don’t vote for the Republican nominee. Obama is the great enemy and Romney is our coming savior.

Our Democrat friends aren’t immune to this way of thinking, either. They buy into messianic scenarios just as easily. In 2008, it was proclaimed that Obama would establish peace in the world and usher in a much needed era of war-ending, civil-rights-protecting, transparent government. Today, we’re hearing that Romney will overturn Roe v. Wade, ban gay marriage and let sick people just die, along with hurricane victims. Obama is the champion we must vote for and Romney is the terrifying adversary.

This apocalyptic mindset is borderline idolatrous. Both parties repeat the same rhetoric and propaganda each cycle, regardless of who the candidates are. Every four years, it’s the end of the world again – except that it’s not. Jesus the Christ is ruler of the universe, not Romney or Obama. He is reigning from his throne working all things according to the counsel of his will and for our good (Eph. 1:11; Rom. 8:28). We shouldn’t worry about political scare tactics; the only thing we have to fear is God himself. The cosmos will not blow up if the “wrong guy” is elected. In fact, all leaders are given authority by God (John 19:11; Rom. 13:1). As hard as it is to believe, God planned for Barack Obama to be president. Same with George W. Bush and those before him. But this doesn’t mean that all leaders are justified in their actions. God often raises up tyrannical leaders as an act of judgment (1 Sam. 8:1-22). What it does mean is that God uses our voting strategies to bring about his will. Regardless of who is elected on Tuesday, the President of Presidents will still be seated on his heavenly throne.

In his providence, Christ has placed Americans in a nation where voting is an option (not a mandate) and where multiple candidates can be on the ballot. There is no law, biblical or constitutional, that says we must vote. Nor is there a law that says we must vote for one particular candidate. Next time someone tries to guilt-trip you into voting or voting for a particular candidate – with the implication that you are an irresponsible citizen if you don’t – simply smile and say, “Chill out! Jesus is in control.”

Yet, we certainly do have responsibilities when it comes to electing our leaders. We are instructed to pray for them (1 Tim. 2:1-2) and to obey them as long as it doesn’t necessitate disobeying God (Acts 5:27–29; Rom. 13:2-5). We should also use wisdom in our voting strategies. We are supposed to proclaim the lordship of Christ in all areas of life, including politics. This means that we can’t make apathetic or uninformed decisions. But it’s precisely because Jesus is Lord that we aren’t obligated to vote a particular way. We don’t know the future and he has not told us which candidate he plans to elect. As has been previously argued, there are valid points made for each voting strategy. The question to ask yourself is,“which result would best further the kingdom?” Christians won’t always agree on the answer to that. We won’t know God’s answer to that until Tuesday night.

Why You Should Vote Third-Party!

After a wearisome election season, perhaps the most tiresome in my short life in the political cosmosphere, I think it is safe to say I have heard every salient argument in favor of Mitt Romney. I have perused with great nervousness the posts of some of my political and theological heroes exhorting me to close my eyes at least one more time. I say nervousness because part of me feared they would make a compelling case. And I confess, some articles have come quite close.

I will mention at the outset that I am not anti-Republican Party. I am against the political polygamy of the Grand Old Party. The Republican Party has achieved its goal of becoming a big tent. And in doing so, she has satiated herself with many lovers.

There are still many principled leaders in the GOP: Jim Demint, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Justin Amash, and Tom Davis. On a local level, one can find principled Republicans who have not forgotten their commitment to the Constitution, and still consider it to be relevant. These local politicians should receive our votes, support, and yard signs.

At the national level, I am afraid ideological adultery occurs with tremendous frequency. For instance, to even dispute the effectiveness of FEMA is anathema. If a giant agency does something good at any level it necessarily receives the stamp of approval, and it is added to the plethora of agencies. Never mind the tremendous failure of certain agencies on a consistent basis. If you throw a few million dollars at something, even if there are extremely incompetent people managing those monies, you will still find something to cheer. And this is how national programs and agencies work: If there is an ounce of good it overrides the pounds of bad. There is a certain inevitability about government growth that is utterly discouraging. And when candidates favor the termination of certain sacred programs they are mocked and ridiculed as radical anarchists who are in love with the suffering of the poor.

The Democrats are easy targets. They drink deeply of the fountain of guilt manipulation. Their media apologists scream with effeminate indignation at the travesty of cutting the federal budget. “How dare you kill grandma,” they ask. “How dare you…how dare you…you’re so bad!” And then the discourse descends to sophomoric level. Reason is the tactic of bullies, and at the end Democrats end up looking civilized and philanthropic.

On the other hand, Republicans have done a fair job at their mid-term exams. They do what some of us did in our college years: we cram all the nice talking points, and  memorize as many lines as possible to make sure we pass the exam. If I tell my opponent he is wrong for America, or if I simply repeat it long enough, then I win the argument and the debate, and national recognition ensues. “Facts:” Those bastard little things. They only get in the way. “Conservatism:” That very flexible term that can be applied to just about anything and anyone.

But is this all we got? Rhetorical brownie points versus guilt manipulators? Again I don’t oppose the entirety of the Republican Party. Like the mainline churches there are some brave souls trying to keep the flames of orthodoxy going. But the tsunami is powerful, weighty, and destructive. And so their bold words fall into the ground and disappear in a sea of political platitudes. These few politicians become “isolationists” in the House. They are looked upon with contempt by those who have made a living hosting lobbyists.

To this point, I have heard every version of  “this is a wasted vote argument” possible. If I happen to vote for a candidate that lines up with most of my core beliefs, then I am a perfectionist. If I vote for a third-party candidate, then I am re-electing Barack Obama. Try to rationalize that! If I mention that Mormon thing, then I have not considered deeply Luther’s mythical statement. If I talk about principle, then I am labelled a utopian. Yes, I have heard them all, and more. But I am not persuaded that this election will determine the rise of the antichrist. “This election is the most important election in my lifetime,” said a multitude of people every four years.

No. A thousand times no! A man can only take abuse for so long. The lesser of two evils is really the evil of two lessers. And that’s what we got: Two powerfully well-funded candidates who find TARP, Bernanke, and warfare the trinity of ideologies. As for me, I am ready to see big banks bankrupt. I am ready to see Bernanke go back to his Keynesian prison-house, and I am ready, to quote Shakespeare, to “see the the words of war silenced.”

So as a family we are supporting the unknown, but honest Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party. His strong Christian background coupled with a love for the Constitution make him the type of candidate worthy of our support.

 

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