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January 4, 2004 Theology and Politics: Today's Issues

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Pat Robertson said Friday, January 2, that God told him President Bush will be re-elected in a landslide - as the Associated Press reported. "The Lord has just blessed him," Robertson said of Bush.  "I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it.  It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad, God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him."

Well, that about wraps it up.  Voting any other way is blasphemy.

The reaction from the front-running Democrat?

See Dean Wrestles With the Question of Faith
Matea Gold, Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2004


STORM LAKE, Iowa - Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, who rarely mentions religion and God on the campaign trail, said he was wrestling with how to talk about faith in parts of the country where it figured prominently in daily life.

During a conversation with reporters on his campaign plane late Friday night, Dean said recent stops in South Carolina had moved him to try to be more forthcoming about his view of religion to connect with voters who speak openly of their relationship with God.

"I think that I'm gradually getting more comfortable to talk about religion in ways that I did not talk about it before," he said. "It doesn't make me more religious or less religious than I was before, but it does mean I'm willing to talk about it in different ways."


This is not going to work.

Dean is an ex-Episcopalian, now a Congregationalist, and his wife is Jewish.  Here's how he appears to the Christian Evangelical Right....

See You've Got the Wrong Jesus, Howard
Matt Grills, OpinionsEditorials.Com, December 31, 2003


I'm not saying Dean is lying about being a Christian.  What I am saying is that if a memorial to devout Christians were constructed tomorrow, you'd find his name alongside such stalwarts of the faith as John Lennon and Ted Turner.

Is anyone else weary of this "
Jesus was a revolutionary" line Dean and his ilk feed voters?  Brace yourselves, people: Jesus wasn't at all like Gandhi, Confucius or even Martin Luther King Jr.  He didn't have a "dream," and he didnt walk around talking about love and peace - at least not liberals' idea of love and peace


You see, Dean and the Democrats don't understand the militant, kick-ass nature of Jesus.


Jesus didn't have a lofty goal of uniting the people of the world together, hoping to plant the seeds of self-actualization that would guide humanity toward creating a utopia.  During his life and the 2,000 years that followed, Jesus has divided people.  He intended to.  Don't believe me?  Check your New Testament cue cards, Dean.

Jesus split one of the world's great religions right down the middle by claiming to be God.  He said he had the authority to forgive sins, and Scripture records that hundreds witnessed a resurrected Jesus after his painfully excruciating death on a cross.  He chose that death, and he told his followers to spread the message of salvation in his name to every nation.

Jesus said he would be on the throne at Judgment Day.  He also said he was "the way, the truth and the life" and that no human being comes to God except by him
Jesus told the disciples to go to the surrounding towns with his message.  If a town didn't accept it, the disciples were to brush the dust of that town off their feet and move on.  Those who were not for him were against him, Jesus said.


Sounds familiar.  I get it.


Yes, Jesus said things about turning the other cheek and being nice to others, but he also said some folks were BAD and unless they believed in him, and him alone, they were going to HELL to suffer forever.  Got it.

But then we get to the real heart of this issue:


Howard Dean's comments place him squarely in the "Jesus of convenience" camp.  His wife and children are Jewish.  Cool.  But I have to wonder: if Howie's faith in Jesus Christ is so important to him, why didn't he marry someone with the same faith?  Why didn't he insist on raising his children in that faith?  Say it with me, on three: because what faith Howard Dean has in Jesus isn't central to his life.


Dean loses.  Bush wins.


On another theological note some interesting questions from Jack Ballinger from elsewhere on the world wide web of ideas.


When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9).  The problem is my neighbors. T hey claim the odor is not pleasing to them.  How should I deal with this?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7.  In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us.  A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians.  Please clarify?  It says, also, that if I hit my slaves I shouldn't kill them, as it ruins them for work purposes - but it's fine with God if I maim them a little, putting them at death's door - so long as I get another days work out of them...  What's the best method?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.  Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.  Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.  I don't agree.  Can you settle this?
Lev. 20:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight.  I have to admit that I wear reading glasses.  Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?


Yep, good questions.
Ah, how to understand the nature of Jesus!  And what do we make of those odd ideas in the Old Testament?
If the next election is, as many see, a showdown of the the religious among us facing off against the more secular folks, then all of this may actually matter.
Some may welcome a Christian theocracy here.  But that looks like trouble to me.