The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the tag “America”

Why Americans Always Choose the Wrong President

By Luke Welch

Constitution

The United States Suggestitution

We seem not to know who we are, and we do not know who we are looking for. We have been surprised to find out whom we have already chosen. Most of us are under the impression that we can correctly identify political candidates and the promise they hold by an old idea we had about their parties.

I know many democrats who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about abortion, they don’t think anyone will get out of poverty without assistance. If this were true that the choice were between assistance and exploitation, then it would be understandable that people would swallow the bitter democrat pill.

I also know many republicans who are supportive of their party, because they believe it will aid Americans. Despite their misgivings about the weak promise keeping of past candidates, they keep on voting (R), becuase they think America will never be free of hard times with all the enforced social assistance. If this were true that the choice were between a meddling government and freedom, then it would be understandable that people swallow the giant rotten elephant.

One of the most pressing problems when facing the future of America under the weight of her own political machine is the problem of the continuous stream of Statism. Read more…

The Righteous Anger of a Four-Year Old

By Uri Brito

Response to Comments: I am pleased with the enormous response. As of now there have been over 500 views. The vast majority of responses were very supportive and expressed in one way or another the sadness, but also the hope that a new generation will turn this evil tide in our country.

As I expected there were a couple of negative responses. The responses can be summarized in the following manner: “Abortion is such a difficult issue, and to expose a four year old to such an issue can be unhealthy.” One comment referred to the topic of abortion as “intense.” I do not wish to spend too much time with a lengthy response, except to say the following: Read more…

What Does Jesus Look Like?

The History Channel’s hit miniseries “The Bible” offers us yet another on-screen depiction of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The honor this time goes to Diogo Morgado, whom the New York Post calls “a kind of surfer Jesus.” The Portuguese actor’s Jesus is not exactly Anglo (although his on-screen accent is); but basically, this Jesus is white. And therein lies a problem.

My thoughts on what Jesus looks like were spurred by a fascinating lecture at Baylor by the University of Colorado’s Paul Harvey, author with Edward Blum of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. In spite of the Ten Commandment’s ban on “graven images” (and the worship of them), many Christians have become so used to visual representations of Christ that we often don’t give them a second thought, nor consider what they say about our mental picture of the Son of God.

The medieval church also produced artistic representations of Christ, but many Protestants assailed these icons, tapestries, and paintings as violations of the second commandment, smashing and burning many of them as they had opportunity. The Puritans and some other early settlers of America tried not to employ visual representations of God, although they surely must have had some mental image of God or Jesus as they spoke to him in prayer.

During the nineteenth century, visual images of Jesus became more common among American Protestants, and they were almost always ‘white’ – or at least not distinctly Semitic/Middle Eastern/North African, which one would think would be the preferred choice if ethnic accuracy were a priority. These images became more common – and insistent – in the years following the Civil War. Perhaps the most disturbing use of the white Jesus was in D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915), in which Jesus blessed the founding of the Ku Klux Klan.

Most depictions of a white Jesus were more innocuous in intent than Birth of a Nation, and the most common one in American homes was Warner Sallman’s 1941 The Head of ChristThe commonplace depiction of Jesus as white led to indignant reactions, with some African Americans and other Christians claiming a “black Jesus” or some other Christ of their own ethnicity.

I don’t mean to go all ‘Puritan’ here, but should churches promote any visual depictions of Christ? Do the images of a white Jesus risk making God in our own image? Would a more Semitic Christ solve the problem? Or should we return to the full Reformed skepticism about using any images of God at all?

Whatever our answers, the fact remains that Christians do normally imagine Christ’s appearance as we read the Bible and pray (reported visions of Jesus have often seemed Anglo, too). Scripture, however, gives us precious little guidance about his appearance. If not the Jesus of Warner Sallman or The History Channel, then what should he look like?

Thomas Kidd is contributing scholar to The Kuyperian Commentary. His newest book is Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in 2011 with Basic Books.

This article was originally published at Patheos.

What if Church and State Aren’t Separated? A Comparison

I spent eight days in Ireland recently, and while I was there I was struck by the way the Irish people approach their government–along with similarities I’ve seen in my travels in other European countries. What follows is an overly simplistic description of that approach. I want to compare it to the approach we take in the States. The result will be not so much a judgment of which is better or worse, but rather what the ramifications of each are.At the Crossroads

The United States is a nation of people whose identity is defined by two things: Read more…

American Exceptionalism to the End. But to Which End?

Exceptionalism is a flag that a hopeful politician in America can hardly afford to keep at half mast. Hesitation on America’s greatness gets you names – at best, “isolationist”; at worst, “unpatriotic.”

Some sail the ship of political showmanship by insisting that America has it’s own proud circle on the charts in the back of your grandmother’s Scofield Reference Bible. Read more…

US: A Promise

“US: A promise”

A Poem of American Love For Vision and Revision

by V. O. Waver

Know I would never have you doubt our love; it will endure
For we, the people, spoke our words: of them we may be sure
That they were never writ in stone – now we are more mature
of this united state, my love, be ever so secure

Don’t tell of ancient meaning laid within our founding caper
Don’t say your freedom was elusive, fleeting as a vapor
Don’t say your liberty was strong, but now you see it taper
There’s been a revolution, love; it’s just a piece of paper

Once all you wanted was the freedom to procure a tea
For me to harbor your decisions in obscurity
But I’ve decided what you need is not my purity
And I’ll be watching you my dear to give security

For I will never let you go, as sands of time do run
And I’ll be firm with promises as rising of the sun
Here to enact some sequences next decade to be done
Your mind can know my faithfulness, while I’m out having fun

I may not have the means to fund, but there’s a strange solution
I bless your scooting over, dear, to make room for intrusion
I bless your silence, as I force your frequent absolution
I bless your will to love a man of weakest constitution

——-

Luke Welch is a conservative in politics. He has a master’s degree from Covenant Seminary and preaches regularly in a conservative Anglican church in Maryland. He blogs about Bible structure at SUBTEXT.

Tim Tebow Cancels Speech at First Baptist Church of Dallas

The New York Jets backup quarterback has cancelled his appearance at the Baptist mega-church in Dallas. The well-known Christian athlete tweeted a short time ago:

 “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance.

“He continued, “I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”

The Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Robert Jeffress, has been an outspoken critic of Mitt Romney and suggested in the last campaign that he would prefer to see an orthodox Christian in the White House instead of a Mormon. He has also spoken out against homosexuality and Islam, which has made him a detested name in the politically-correct media.

Undoubtedly there is much that could be said about the star-driven ventures of the evangelical world, and I stand firmly behind critiquing it, however, Tebow’s bailing out of his commitment due to what is perceived to be a strategically wise move for the NFL superstar in unwise. My appreciation for Tebow is known and I can only hope that there are other motives involved, rather than simply avoiding the controversy of associating with a  pastor that has in actuality spoken publicly and truthfully about a host of issues over these last years.

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

Homeschooling: A Fundamental Human Right?

Thomas S. Kidd is special contributor to the Kuyperian Commentary

A remarkable political asylum case has raised questions about whether the U.S. government should defend the right of families to homeschool.  The case concerns the Romeike family of Germany, where homeschooling is illegal, and where families who attempt to homeschool their children can face heavy fines and even have their children taken from them. An American immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum in 2010, but the Obama Justice Department has been working to overturn their asylum status and have them returned to Germany. Administration lawyers say that the German law does not represent any kind of specific religious discrimination (which would warrant asylum), but only a general legal requirement that all children attend public or state-supervised schools. Thus, in the administration’s view, German authorities punish families like the Romeikes not because they are Christian homeschoolers, but because their children are not attending a governmentally-sanctioned school.

I understand that this issue is more complex than whether Attorney General Eric Holder likes homeschooling or not. And I very much hesitate to designate a political good as a “fundamental human right,” because such notions have become distended and overused in modern American politics. Furthermore, it is not “homeschooling,” per se, that is a fundamental human right. What is fundamental, however, is the right of parents to raise their children according to their consciences, without interference from the state. The Obama adminstration hopefully has no inclination to infringe upon this right in America, but in this case they obviously have more sympathy for Germany’s rigid education policy than the rights of parents, including parents of dissenting religious sensibilities.

The effect of Germany’s law (which, thankfully, is almost unique in western Europe) is to ban parents from taking primary responsibility for educating their children. The most common reason parents would want to do that is religious conviction. This is certainly the case with the Romeikes, so they deserve political asylum as refugees from religious persecution by the government of Germany. Other German Christian homeschoolers have already been fined, and even jailed, for acting according to their conscience with regard to schooling, and the Romeikes can reasonably expect similar treatment if the Obama administration forces them to return. Reasonable fear of such persecution is clear justification for political asylum.

Originally posted here.

For more coverage, see:

Joseph Knippenberg, “Federal Government Tries to Block Homeschooling Refugees,” First Things

Mary Jackson, “Christian homeschoolers losing deportation fight,” WORLD Magazine

Napp Nazworth, “Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right, Justice Dept. Argues,” Christian Post

Joe Carter, “Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right Says Justice Department,” Acton Institute

Michael Farris, “Sobering Thoughts from the Romeike Case,” Home School Legal Defense Association, which is representing the Romeikes

Rod Dreher, “Romeikes as Canaries in Coal Mines,” American Conservative

The American Presidents BEFORE George Washington

Presidents Before The Constitution

The American Revolution was a counter-revolution against the encroachment of the British Parliament. The independence movement released the thirteen colonies from foreign control. It is important to remember the American Revolution was a battle between Britain and the thirteen individually sovereign states, each with their own state governments. During the War, the state legislatures granted enumerated portions of their own limited sovereignty to an entity called the Continental Congress.

A congressman was elected by the other delegates to serve as this body’s President-his role was largely as an impartial moderator. Later in the war, the States transferred more responsibilities to the central government in the Articles of Confederation (1781). This stood as the nation’s first established constitution until the Constitutional Convention ratified the current U.S. Constitution in 1788.

Fourteen Presidents Before George Washington

George Washington was the first President to be elected under the 1788 Constitution Model. While many know of George Washington, the Presidents under the Continental Congress are largely unknown to modern Americans. They were men of great moral vigor, who stood strong for liberty, and held at the center of their ambition the glory of God.

Below is a list of the pre-constitution Presidents, along with inspiring quotes from these men who did not shy away from leadership when times were trying.

First Continental Congress

Peyton Randolph, Virginia (Sept 1774 – Oct 1774)

Often called the “father of our country,” the courageous Peyton Randolph led the charge against the Stamp Act as one of the most revolutionary Patriots. He also intitated the practice of prayer before conducting of government business.

In a letter to British General Thomas Cage, Randolph protests his occupation of Boston,

“Your Excellency cannot be a stranger to the sentiments of America with respect to the Acts of Parliament, under the execution of which those unhappy people are oppressed, the approbation universally expressed of their conduct, and the determined resolution of the Colonies, for the preservation of their common rights to unite in their opposition to those Acts. In consequence of these sentiments, they have appointed us the guardians of their rights and liberties…” [1]

Henry Middleton, South Carolina (October 1774)

Only serving four days, Middleton resigned in opposition to independence to Great Britian. He was succeeded in Congress by his son, Arthur Middleton (1742–1787), who was more radical than his father and became a signer of the Declaration of Independence.[2] Middleton’s first official act, was to execute a letter as President supporting the efforts of oppressed colonists. In the letter Middleton wrote,

“So rapidly violent and unjust has been the late conduct of the British Administration against the colonies, that either a base and slavish submission, under the loss of their ancient, just, and constitutional liberty, must quickly take place, or an adequate opposition be formed.” [3]

Second Continental Congress

John Hancock, Massachusetts (May 1775 – October 1777)

Hancock was President of the Congress when the Declaration of Independence was prepared. He was the first to sign what most men understood to be a note of their own death. The Declaration was received as treasonous by the British, making the signers traitors to the crown.

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgements….All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness–and all created Power Vanity…” [4]

Henry Laurens, South Carolina (November  1777 – December 1778) Read more…

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