The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the tag “election”

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

The Biggest Problem after Tomorrow’s Election

The biggest problem I will have with the results of tomorrow’s election is not who wins. As much as it pains me to say this–especially because I know so many object to it–there is not a dime’s bit of difference between the two candidates. The biggest problem is the continuing problem with short term memories in America.

Tomorrow, if Obama is re-elected, Americans will be admitting to the whole world that everything they grumbled against George W. Bush for (indefinite detention, not closing Guantamo Bay, troops in the Middle East, criminalization of marijuana, etc.) really weren’t that important.

Tomorrow, if Mitt is elected, Americans will be admitting that they only opposed what was happening because it was Obama doing it instead of another Bush (healthcare–remember Medicare Part D?, education–remember No Child Left Behind?, wars, detention, lack of transparency, etc.)

What I want is more men like John Piper, who criticized Bush and the Gulf War even when it cost him congregants. I want men like Greg Bahnsen, who opposed the First Gulf War, at odds with GOP. It was Greg Bahnsen who first demonstrated such character to me. From him, I learned how to judge war, not according to whether it was a Republican or Democratic war, but whether it was Biblical.

My biggest problem, however, could be my biggest surprise. Regardless of tomorrow’s results, maybe I will see men who will oppose tyranny and injustice because it is happening, not because of who is doing it. Maybe, after tomorrow, I will see Christian leaders stand up for what is right, not for who is saying it.

Or, maybe, I’ll just see a new four years that will tick by until I can be told again, “The 2016 Presidential Election is the most important election you will face in your lifetime.”

Either way, I can say with fellow blogger Steve Macias, “Christ is still faithful and Christ is still King.”

Politics and Charity: The State and the Church in Recovery Efforts

Only in America–maybe not, but it sure feels that way–can we politicize anything. Just days ago, Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Storm Sandy hit the northern eastern seaboard of the United States. North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, et al were damaged by the wind and rain resulting from Sandy. Americans, political to the end, have already politicized the event.

We’ve turned this into a global warming problem, and are endorsing presidential candidates on who will be best for global warming. See NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama, for example.

We’ve turned this into a test for who will be best to handle storm clean-up. Some arguing that NJ Gov. Christie has handed Obama the election with his praise for Obama’s handling of the storm.

We’ve turned this into a labor dispute, with volunteer crews from unaffected states being turned away because the volunteers aren’t union members.

This is why the Church is so important. The Church reaches out in love for neighbor to help the destitute, poor, and afflicted. The Church does so with no claims for glory or praise. The Church does so with no benefit to politics or political rhetoric. The Church, even within her own internal disputes, helps and loves without the charity being proof of one denomination’s love being greater than another’s. The Church does it because it is right.

Even when our politicians are trying to do “right,” we politicize it and make it a fight. We do so because we’ve elevated the importance of the State to unnatural levels–levels they will fight to maintain. If we repent, and turn from our dependence on the State and to the Church, we might find love that is worth receiving. And, we might find the State begins to act like a State should, because it is being viewed the way it should.

What it Means to Root for Obama

I suspect that my initial arguments for why I would “root” for an Obama victory have not been received without criticism. Humor me for a moment with some additional explanation.

First, I am not rooting for an Obama victory in the sense that I want him to win over any and all other options. Notably, I am not even voting for him. I am voting, rather, for a Third Party candidate. If the Third Party candidate can win, then I want him to win. He is the person I am really rooting for.

Second, I am not rooting for an Obama victory in the sense that I think he alone is better than Mitt Romney alone. This needs to be put into perspective–a perspective I had hoped to have made clear originally, but maybe not.

It is political ignorance to think that the election comes down to Obama versus Romney, alone on their own merits. The United States of America are not ruled by a king with absolute power; they are ruled by a three-branched government that is self-limiting. As a result, Obama is elected WITH the Congress, just as Romney is.

Therefore, I am either rooting for an Obama victory WITH a Republican Congress, or I am rooting for a Romney victory WITH a Republican Congress. The fact of the matter is that in American history, especially its recent history, the three-branched federal government is more conservative when it has a Democratic president and a Republican Congress. It is more conservative in that arrangement than it is in ANY other arrangement: Republican president with Democratic Congress, or Republican president with Republican Congress. Now that could change with any future administration, but historical precedence is on my side here.

So I am not saying that a second-term President Obama is the lesser of two evils in comparison with a first-term President Romney. I am saying that a second-term President Obama WITH a Republican Congress is historically preferable to a first-term President Romney WITH a Republican (or Democratic) Congress. Assuming historical precedence stands, I’d take my chances with the former scenario rather than with the latter.

One more point of note, the choice isn’t between four years of Obama (with a Republican Congress) and four years of Romney (with a Republican Congress). It is between four years of Obama (with an increasingly Republican Congress) and four years of Romney (with a Republican Congress that will likely become Democratic in 2014–following historical precedence) followed by four more years of the same or his replacement by another Democratic president. Thus, I have to follow my conscience and vote for the Third Party candidate (all the while hoping he’ll win), but expecting that if a major party candidate is going to win, the better scenario is for a President Obama with a Republican Congress (that will likely grow more Republican in the 2014 elections) than any other political arrangement in Washington.

I am neither saying that Obama is not evil, nor that he is the lesser of two evils. I am saying that tied to his Congress, that arrangement is the preferable arrangement.

Four Election Options: Explained and Defended

A week to go–that is how long we have until the 2012 Presidential Election. As I see it, we have four choices: Obama, Romney, Third Party, or Abstain. Allow me to present the reasons for each, and which I’ve settled on.

Obama: We’ve heard one argument: it is more likely to bring on a truly conservative candidate sooner. We’ve heard the response, “We are told that it is perverse to deduce from God’s providence, ‘Let us do evil that good may come.'” Another argument presented is that an Obama presidency will be the most conservative option we have–more on that later.

Romney: Romney–while far from guaranteeing it–gives us the best chance for conservative replacements to the U.S. Supreme Court. Others will argue that he also gives us the best chance for overturning Roe v. Wade (that’s a pipe dream) and for repealing Obamacare (another pipe dream).

Third Party: Voting for either the Constitution Party candidate (Virgil Goode) or the Libertarian Party candidate (Gary Johnson) would send a clear message to the GOP that we want change, REAL change–not the stuff Obama promised, but real change. It would tell them they can’t count on us to vote for them no matter how bad the Democrat challenger/incumbent is, unless they are willing to be principled.

Abstain: The best reason to abstain is the old slogan, “Don’t vote, it only encourages the bastards.” If you don’t like the system, if the system itself is evil, then don’t participate in it. Coincidentally, whole Latin American nations refuse to participate in their political systems. Dictators come and dictators go; dictators pass their laws and decrees; the people go right on living their lives and doing what is right in their own eyes and the dictator does nothing to stop them because stopping them would mean ending his own career. 

In the end, I am of two minds. I will vote Third Party because I want to send a message to the GOP. I don’t want to help get Obama reelected in order to do that because I’m afraid they’ll just interpret that as a failure on their part to get their message out. But if Romney loses conservative votes to the Third Party candidates, they can’t but help to recognize the problem is with them–even if they’ll refuse to admit that publicly.

My other mind will be expecting a major party candidate to win, and I will hope–should that be true–that Obama will win. *GASP* Catch your breath and give me a moment to explain.

America has a long history of being principled for short periods of time and being–well–nuts the rest of the time. When we are the most principled is when there is a Democratic president and Republican Congress. Republicans will ONLY stick to their principles in opposition to a Democratic president. They forget they have principles when the president is a Republican (see George W. Bush’s term for an example). The current Congress is already conservative, and if Obama is re-elected it will become even more so in 2014 (historical precedence is on our side, folks!) All of the damage that we fear Obama will incur upon us in a second term won’t be possible with a conservative and growing more conservative (and principled) Congress. Historically, the GOP was most conservative and principled when it was opposing Clinton. We can only hope for the same kind of principles with a second-term Obama.

Thus, I send the GOP a message with a Third Party vote (hoping they’ll hear the message and give us a real, principled candidate in 2016) and I hope for Obama to win (if it has to be a major party candidate). For, as historical precedence makes clear, an Obama presidency with a Republican Congress will give us a more principled and conservative America than a Romney presidency with a Republican Congress ever will.

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