Theocracy (“God” Runs the Government) –
We Would Deeply Regret It

(One of my letters to the editor of a local newspaper.)

I am a church person, a person of faith. But I don’t think the US needs a government that rules as if it were the voice of God. This nation’s Constitution was written partly in order to help us avoid theocracy.

Theocrats claim to know just what God wants – therefore their decisions are in effect the very will of God. And you WILL obey. The Founders were wise to resist that.

Unfortunately there are Americans today who clearly think the Founders were wrong. They want their groups of churches to dictate to the White House, the Congress, the Courts and the rest of us.

We do need God’s wisdom, help, and protection.
I hope we seek and pray for those things daily. And we need to practice the faiths we profess.

But we have three branches of government precisely in order to keep any group from running things their way without criticism or restraint.

We are free today to practice our faiths. If we each did that more thoroughly this would be a happier and safer nation.
America’s would-be theocrats raise some important concerns that we need to consider. Unfortunately, they also fully intend to have their group running things just as they wish, without criticism or restraint. In that they are wrong. We do not welcome their efforts to stamp their image on all of us.

John Danforth was an Episcopal Priest, then a US Senator. He said this last year:

If we let our country surrender its freedoms to our home-grown theocrats, we, our kids, and our grandkids will deeply regret it.
“Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of Conservative Christians … The problem is not with people or churches that are politically active. It is with a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement.” (Quoted from Jimmy Carter’s Our Endangered Values)

We are free today to practice our faiths. If we each did that more thoroughly this would be a happier and safer nation. But if we let our country surrender its freedoms to our home-grown theocrats, we, our kids, and our grandkids will deeply regret it.

[Published as a letter to the editor September 20, 2006.]

Capitalism: Does Anyone, Biblically, Have Authority to Interfere in Economic Matters?

A major theme of the Bible is that there is indeed a higher standard for public behavior than the preferences of the wealthy and powerful of this world.
I’ve experienced it a number of times – many of my Christian acquaintances can get so worked up with contempt and even hatred for their government. They often seem to have no respect at all for the idea of government interfering in people’s lives in any way – or at least not in well-off or successful people’s lives.

We’ve all heard it – something like:

We've all heard it. Something like ...
Those attitudes are not actually capitalism. They are anarchism of a certain sort, or radical libertarianism, or tea-baggery.

And of course I am stating it in extreme terms. But I actually do hear it in those terms.

Aside from the fact that such radical anti-government attitudes are quite un-American in sentiment, there IS this question that bothers me.

Question 1: What are we going to do with Isaiah?

Many times in Isaiah (and other places in the Bible) there is a complaint like this one in Isaiah 1 Continue reading

When You Chop Down a Tree a Few Chips Must Fly / Gaza & Israel

This is from a powerful diary over at Daily Kos. It lists casualties of the Israeli efforts to subdue the Palestinians in two recent months. Her article adds some very helpful historical illustration and comment.

I do not ask that you read the lists. But do scroll through them; you’ll get the point.

Both lists span July 8, 2014 to August 13, 2014. And the people on both lists were just that, people. Living, breathing, dreaming people.

Operation Protective Edge Wood Chips From July 8 to August 13, 2014

Israeli Wood Chips
Majority military, mandatory conscription. Continue reading

When You Work On It It’s No Longer Impossible – “A Set of Problems to Solve, One After the Other”

Here’s the guy who did the (illegal) high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center. Dare you think about the impossibe? – especially something impossible that badly NEEDS doing?

It’s impossible. But that would not stop me from considering it.
Interviewer: I assume that an illegal or clandestine wire-walk, or any other kind of performance involving a major public building, would be much more difficult today.

P.P. It would be impossible. But in my life I work on the impossible, so when you work on it it’s no longer impossible. It becomes a set of problems to solve one after the other. Obviously the world has changed. New York has changed. Human beings on earth have changed, and it’s impossible. But that would not stop me from considering it.

Walking on Air
Man on Wire
Philippe Petit

You Can Pray and Still Be Wrong

Here’s William Jennings Bryan, about 100 years ago. He’s rejecting the idea that because a man is rich, powerful, and a faithful churchgoer his behavior should be automatically honored and imitated.

It is not necessary that all Christian people shall sanction the Rockefeller method of making money merely because Rockefeller prays.

[from Michael Kazin, A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan, 2006, p125]

[Reposted and slightly edited from Feb 2007]

10 “Rules” For Happy Married Life – from a Couple Who Practice Them!

These were created on their recent tenth anniversary by a couple who are friends of ours . We have always felt they are some of the best people we know. Maybe it’s attitudes like these that make that true.

  1. Be on each other’s side no matter what.
  2. Don’t keep track of who does what or who does more.
  3. Laugh at yourself.
  4. Be kind and patient.
  5. It’s not about being right; be willing to compromise.
  6. Make time for each other (harder to do when you have kids but important).
  7. Compliment each other.
  8. Turn off the tv.
  9. Never go a day without a kiss and “I love you”!!
  10. Keep working at it.

Then she added:
“Here’s to ten successful years and to many more with an amazing husband, father and friend.”

Any reactions?

Which one would you like to point out, emphasize, or maye even disagree with?

For today, I’ll point out #3. It’s remarkably freeing, and good for your blood pressure. :)

Fox “News” – Still Hurting People I Care About

True story:

A friend recently complained that she was really hurting and really needed health care. But she didn’t sign up for the ACA because “everybody” was saying it was such a disaster.

Now she finds out some friends of hers went ahead and signed up and are now very well taken care of for very minimal monthly expense.

We know who the “everybody” was who persuaded her that Obamacare was a waste of her time.

She seems to be angry about that. Strange …