The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the category “Voting”

“Where’s my Diversity?” asks the Polygamist

By Uri Brito

Does the Supreme Court truly believe in equality? If so, why is the long tradition of polygamy being discriminated against? As Steve Deace observes:

They’re just as guilty of discrimination as those dastardly conservatives still bitterly clinging to their guns and their religion. Why no argument for polygamy, polyamory and other forms of diversity? Why are they only defending their exclusive definition of diversity?

The LGBT should be up and arms about not valuing other types of consensual relationships like polygamy. Is this the next step? Or to put the question more forcibly, “is this the inevitable next step?” Read more…

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Whither the Wicker?

Guest Post by Rob Hadding

I’ve been watching politics since I was about ten. My earliest political recollections are of the 1972 Republican and Democratic conventions. I was captivated by the theater of it all. The speeches were full of pathos, the nominating process was full of drama, and it seemed like everyone was full of enthusiasm for the possibilities that lay ahead if their man (or woman – Shirley Chisholm ran that year) won the day. It all seemed so important. I’ve watched coverage of almost every political convention since, if with significantly less awe.  Somewhere along the way since 1972, I began to see what every other informed observer of American politics sees. To say that I’ve grown cynical is to say a true thing.

My political cynicism found an easy friend in the hell-in-a-handbasket eschatology of Dispensationalism, and quicker than you could name the next candidate for antichrist, I was a full-blown pessimist. But over time, I found pessimism to be exhausting – there was never a payoff. When things just keep going from bad to worse to worser, the only thing there is to feel good about is the destruction of the universe, and, frankly, that kind of a downer.

Imagine my relief, then, when I was introduced to a more hopeful eschatology. It took me a long time to sort out, but once I finally did it was like I had been given permission to feel good about the creation that God called good in the first place. He isn’t just going to blow it to smithereens; he is going to put it all back together again, but this time more glorious than ever. In fact, new creation had already begun in the resurrection of Christ. Antichrist, meet Jesus Christ. You lose.

But in a sense, this just caused me further consternation. I had abandoned the theological titanic that is Dispensationalism, but my political cynicism had only grown. Speeches, conventions, elections, and bad leaders accumulated, and things only appear to grow worse. How can someone remain optimistic when the handbasket is moving so fast?

Well, last week something happened that sparked hope. Now, it’s only a spark, and the kind of hope it inspires is not in any sense ultimate, but it was like nothing I’ve seen in some time. On the floor of the United States Senate, the junior senator from Kentucky stood for thirteen without a pee break on principle. In accordance with Senate rules, and armed with the conviction to stand up and say, “Hell no,” Rand Paul hijacked the Senate for the day to make a point. The filibuster of John Brennan’s confirmation to the job of CIA Director was not to block Mr. Brennan’s appointment (he admitted at the outset that he did not have the votes to succeed in doing so), but to call attention to the use of drones against American citizens, both on and off American soil, without benefit of due process. Specifically, Mr. Paul was calling out President Barack Obama and his chief lawyer, Eric Holder, to give a clear answer on whether they understood it was within the president’s power to order a hit on an American without a trial to establish guilt. Up to this point a clear answer had not come, though the question was clearly asked.

This moment is probably not in itself a tide turner. Even though it seems that Mr. Paul did get a clear, yet terse, response from Mr. Holder the following day, and even though Mr. Paul raised awareness on the issue of drones – both of which were his stated objectives – this event does not in itself change the course of the nation, or usher in a new age of openness in government, or make the president any less likely to do everything he can to drive the America Bus into oncoming traffic.

But something very real happened on that day that gives me reason to think that the handbasket could take another direction. This is evident in the way the day unfolded. At the beginning, it looked like Rand Paul, a chip off the nutty ol’ Paul block, was going to make a long-winded speech. It would be well reasoned, of course, and would score some points with the Tea Party crowd, but would accomplish just north of nothing. But as the day progressed, a swell of tweets and status updates formed. A website emerged to clock his filibuster. Activity in the Senate Chamber increased. Other senators rose, requesting time to ask questions without asking Senator Paul to yield the floor as a show of support and to give him a moment to rest his voice. C-SPAN 2’s existence was justified. I went to bed that night before he had finished. I said to my wife as I turned out the bedroom light, “I hope he’s still going in the morning.” But by the time the day had ended, Mr. Paul had done something that hadn’t been done in a long time – he captured the imagination of the political right, and gave them something to be excited about.

In just thirteen hours – which is a long time to stand without peeing, but not so long if you’re talking about the history of the world – a freshman senator breathed life into his party and into those of us who had lost all confidence in the Republican Party after the nomination of Mitt Romney. In a single moment of political theater one began to think that all just might not be lost.

Let me be clear: I don’t think the answer to our ills is political (in the common sense of the term). I don’t think that Rand Paul is the great hope of the nation, or even of the Republican Party. I am not sure he would make a great president. But on the day of the filibuster, he lit a match in the political darkness, and it may be that that match touches a candlewick – or a fuse. One thing is certain: Rand Paul stock went up that day, and he may just be the leader conservatives have been looking for.

But what really strikes me about the whole thing is something more hopeful. That is, as fast as that things can change. Even though things look like they are hurtling toward certain disaster, in just a moment things can change. Who knows what the effects of this event will be? It could be the beginning of a massive re-framing of the conversation about the economy, morality, and so on. It might not be. But for me, it has persuaded me that good things can happen, and I am free to be optimistic even in the face of what appear to be overwhelmingly bad circumstances. It can all change quickly.

Rob Hadding is the Senior Pastor of Christ Church in Pace, Fl.

The Battle in Bear Country » Sullivan v Wilson: Is Civil Marriage for Gay Couples Good for Society?

The University of Idaho hosted a public debate, to a crowd of over 800, on February 27, 2013. The debate was participated in by Andrew Sullivan, blogger and former senior editor of The Atlantic, and Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church of Moscow, ID, author and educator. The topic of the debate: Is Civil Marriage for Gay Couples Good for Society?

Battle of the Beards

Battle of the Beards

Read more…

Bush, War, Conservatives, and the Search for Consistency

One of the perplexing dilemmas we face as those who oppose the over-reach of the Federal Government is the inconsistency we see in such movements. While on the one hand, we opine viciously in opposition to all forms of welfarism, on the other hand, we support and encourage our military efforts ( a form of international welfarism).
In his essay for The American Conservative, Ivan Eland discusses this inconsistency and warns conservatives that they can’t have it both ways:

“Conservatives should be leery of jumping into wars not only because American powers may become overextended—especially in a time of fiscal crisis—but because war makes government expand rapidly at home, even in areas of national security.”[1]

It is also fair to say that the Conservative mood has changed drastically in these last few years. Just as Democrats are quick to oppose a policy under a Republican governance, so too are they quick to support that same policy under a Democratic presidency.[2] I would like to think Republicans have learned their lessons, but they are just as prone to falling into the cycle of political hypocrisy. On a positive note, I have heard growing opposition to Obama’s Drone Strikes’ Policy from Republicans. Much of this opposition stems from the non-hawkish Senator, Rand Paul.

In his 2007 book, A Tragic Legacy, Glenn Greenwald details many of the former Bush supporters who have now come to see the light on America’s endless wars. Among them is Rod Dreher, a former contributor to National Review. In 2001, Dreher declared, “Thank God we have a Republican in the White House.”[3] Dreher later describes his regret for supporting Bush’s policies:

I see that I was the fool…the consequences of his (Bush’s) failure will be far, far worse than anything Carter did.

These political transformations are the results of a long line of unintended consequences, or what Chalmers Johnson referred to as Blowback.

I am convinced that serious minded Republicans are willing to count the cost, and the cost has been high. The U.S accounts for more than 50% of the world’s military spending[4] and with all that might it has left the Middle East desolate and unstable. The eloquent “No Nation-Building ” answer given by then candidate George Bush should be our policy. It is costing us too much. And as Eland observes, once warfare starts, taxes and spending continue:

Conservatives should not fail to recognize that war is the most prominent cause of the massive welfare state that has been erected in the United State.

Hopefully, consistency will return to small-government conservatives. We cannot continue to stay on budget at home, while distributing our credit cards abroad.


[1] The American Conservative, January/February 2013

[3] Greenwald, Glenn, A Tragic Legacy: How Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, 34-35.

[4] Ibid. 3

Romney’s Loss: The Abortion Factor

by Adam McIntosh

Nothing puzzled me more than when conservatives kept insisting that Mitt Romney was a pro-life candidate for president. Many voters cast their ballot for Romney last week because of the abortion issue alone. Likewise, many Americans – including Christians – didn’t vote for Romney because of the abortion issue alone. Not because they are pro-choice, but because they don’t believe Romney is truly pro-life. It is an undeniable fact that Mitt Romney has been on both sides of the abortion debate throughout his career. Inconsistency is usually a good sign of not being trustworthy, but people can change their minds. For now, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

The official narrative we are given is that Romney converted to the pro-life position in 2004. Throughout the 2012 campaign, he has used the typical pro-life rhetoric to his advantage. His website even had a great section on protecting the unborn. So far, so good. One could easily conclude that his days of supporting legal abortion and funding Planned Parenthood are done and in the past. But what did he say in the months leading up to election night?

On September 9th Romney was asked on NBC’s Meet The Press if he would fight to overturn Roe v. Wade. He replied:

Well, I don’t actually make the decision the Supreme Court makes and so they’ll have to make their own decision … I’ll reverse the president’s decision on using U.S. funds to pay for abortion outside this country. I don’t think also the taxpayers here should have to pay for abortion in this country … I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution. And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe v. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue.”

Though not the best answer, it is consistent with a pro-life position. Let’s continue.

On September 23rd Romney told CBS:

My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother. But recognize this is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court. The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts. It’s been settled for some time in the courts.”

On October 9th Romney said to the Des Moines Register:

There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

The very next day, October 10th, Romney said:

I’m a pro-life candidate. I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also I’ve indicated I’ll reverse the Mexico City position of the president. I will reinstate the Mexico City policy.”

On October 16th Romney releases a TV ad pandering to pro-choice voters:

You know, those ads saying Mitt Romney would ban all abortions and contraception seemed a bit extreme… Turns out, Romney doesn’t oppose contraception at all. In fact, he thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother’s life.”

That’s five total statements regarding abortion over the span of five weeks and only two of them are consistent with a pro-life position. That means his pro-abortion statements outweigh his anti-abortion statements. His two good statements aren’t even unique to the pro-life movement! Certainly, taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund abortions and Roe v. Wade should be overturned. But these ideals could just as well be uttered by a pro-choice constitutionalist. So, how should we interpret all of this?

Romney’s stated views are not exclusively pro-life and he can’t offer us a constitutional argument. He defers all responsibility to the Supreme Court, ignoring that the Constitution gives Congress the power to strip jurisdiction from federal courts. A pro-life president could push Congress to pass personhood legislation, effectively overturning Roe v. Wade. But not Romney. There’s no abortion legislation on his agenda, remember? The Supreme Court will have to make their own decision, remember? Romney wants abortion to be legal, remember? He alluded to abortion being a valid form of contraception, remember? It makes one wonder what’s left for Romney to be “pro-life” about.

There may have been legitimate reasons to vote for Romney last week. Unfortunately, pro-life activism wasn’t one of them.

Barack Obama, Evangelical President

Barack Obama was re-elected by Evangelical Christians. He was re-elected by both the Evangelicals who were confused and foolish enough to actually vote for him and Evangelicals who nominated a worthless “alternative” to him. He was re-elected by Evangelicals who sent their children to be enculturated and indoctrinated by a secular state. He was re-elected by Evangelicals who gave their children, as an alternative to a secular upbringing, an Anabaptistic, dropout version of the Christian view of the world.

Barack Obama was re-elected by hipster Evangelical churches that think real biblical condemnation that Jesus would make about people like Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, Timothy Geithner, Hank Paulson, and Ben Bernanke means that the property of the poor should be expropriated by the state to the benefit of people like Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, Timothy Geithner, Hank Paulson, and Ben Bernanke. He was re-elected by conservative Evangelical churches who would rather preach a personal, private, relationship-with-Jesus gospel and see the Mississippi red with the blood of the unborn than lose their precious tax-exempt status over proclaiming the Kingship of Jesus over every square inch. And lest anyone Evangelical stone be unturned, he was re-elected because conservative Evangelical Christians, in churches that believe and preach the sovereignty of Jesus Christ over all of life and give their children a Christian education that engages and reforms culture, regard our own “little,” besetting sins less worthy of mortification than other people’s “big” sins.

Barack Obama was re-elected because of generations of Evangelical Christian unbelief.

The only recourse we are left with, the only option we have ever had and will ever have is repentance and hating our cherished unbelief.

The President has the power to buy voters and everyone knows it

This is an excellent analysis of how much can be wasted over wishful thinking. But it also pretty much spells out the producers v. dependents scenario that most Conservative/Libertarians fear (which I guess slipped through in the article because it was off topic). I’d love to get the writer in a room and ask him some questions about what he thinks this all means.

Romney advisers say it was impossible to compete against Obama’s huge war chest. They also envy his ability to leverage the presidency for his campaign. Young voters were told about new provisions for student loans and Obama’s support for same-sex marriage, an issue that appeals to young voters. Hispanic voters were wooed by the president’s plan to waive the deportation of children of illegal immigrants. One Romney aide also included the much-debated changes to welfare requirements as a policy aimed to win over African-American voters. “It was like they had a calendar,” said one Romney aide. With each month, the Obama administration rolled out a new policy for a different segment of their coalition they hoped to attract.

via Why Romney was surprised to lose: His campaign had the wrong numbers, bad assumptions, and underestimated Barack Obama’s campaign team. – Slate Magazine.

Conservatives have two things (humanly speaking) going for them.

1. Hatred of slavery. Romney didn’t believe in this. He figured if the 47% didn’t pay taxes/or were dependent (which? I was never clear on this). But while more dependency will obviously favor the giver of gifts, it isn’t going to be that great experience for everyone. Some will hate it. If they get the idea that the government has destroyed the economy and is benefiting from that destruction by moving more people into dependency, we have every reason to hope for a backlash.

2. Greece Benefits are only attractive when the government actually gives them to the people who are voting for them. Obama is gambling that he can spend and spend some more and not feel the repercussions while he is still in office. Maybe he will make it and escape offshore after he leaves office. But there is a debt Doomsday about to hit. Republicans have contributed to that horrible situation, but Obama has made their sins look almost insignificant. We need to put out a consistent message so when the Obamalypse hits, everyone knows its name.

As a Christian, there is also a lot more to do. But on the level of appealing to a secular culture on economic issues, I think these two points are really important.

(This article derived from a slightly longer version at my website.)

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.

Is the election just an exercise in scapegoating and championing?

My friend George wrote an excellent piece on the sociological phenomena that attend voting.  It’s short but sweet.

Are you, like me, worn out by presidential election season?  It is exhausting keeping up with debates,  sorting truth from lies, tracking the ads, dissecting the statements, and arguing with our neighbors.  And all leading up to what? Casting one measly vote out of millions.  Our efforts to change the world for good start to feel like riding a ten-speed bike in first gear.  We frantically spin our feet but hardly move.

Every four years we invest a disproportionate amount of our time, energy, and emotion in an event that we have virtually no influence upon.  And we sense the futility. We rightly seek to bring righteous transformation to the world, but when we examining it objectively we see the investment doesn’t pay off.
Why do we do this?  And is there a more efficient way to change the world?

Read the rest here.

Don’t Open the Pandora’s Box of Future Obamas

At this point, it is unlikely anyone will not have their minds made up, one way or another, but I will offer my two cents anyway.
Only the most deluded fan-boys of the Republican Party are actually excited about voting for Mitt Romney. Anyone worth paying attention to that is voting for Romney are voting for him out of fear and/or hatred of Barack Obama. To these people, the certain continuation of undeclared drone wars, Obamacare, multi-trillion dollar deficits, manipulated currency and interest rates, and government-protected abortion, to name a few things, under Romney, plays little role in their calculation. To them Obama is antichrist and Romney is de facto messiah.

The problem with this type of thinking is that it reduces modern American electoral history to one election, with no reference to any elections in the past or in the future. But God did not create the world on January 20, 2009. Barack Obama came from somewhere. He came from the abject failure on every issue the George W. Bush administration touched. Only those who worship at the church of the Republican Party dispute this. To everyone else, Barack Obama is simply compassionate conservatism in full bloom.

The idea that Mitt Romney is a celestially married George W. Bush clone with rhetoric upgrades is not really a subject of much debate even among those die-hard adherents of the cult of Saint Dubya. The real debate should be over who the certain failures of the Romney Administration will bring us in 2016 or 2020. Despite what many may think. There are things worse than Obama. They reside in a Pandora’s Box that only Republicans like Bush and Romney can open. Whoever follows Romney will be worse than Barack Obama.

How did we even get in this mess, anyway? So long as Evangelical Christians are a guaranteed voting bloc for the Republican candidate, no matter how truly awful he may be, this cycle will continue. Lucy will continue to pull the football away. It is time to stop being Charlie Brown. Evangelical Christians will never have an effect on American Presidential politics so long as they are guaranteed Republican votes. Until there is uncertainty among Republicans as to whether or not we will vote for their candidate, or dare I say, actual certainty we will not vote for their candidate, so long as they campaign to keep our government doing things that God hates, we will continue to have Barack Obamas. So, for all those who truly want to rid our country of Barack Obamas forever:
this election, don’t vote for Romney.

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