Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Faith-based Elections...

While I would be the first to admit that the majority of the members in our church congregation are conservative in their political persuasion, our pastors have never used the pulpit to campaign for a particular candidate for political office. What the congregation is told is to get out... and vote. Simple as that. Now, certainly, much of the motivation for such a tactic has to do with IRS regulations regarding non-profit organizations. So it is quite interesting to read Kerry Campaigns in Church over at PowerLine. Here are some images of a recent stop, by John "But..." Kerry, at a Baptist Church in Miami. As Hindrocket at PowerLine states,
It's time to level the playing field, and either abandon the principle that churches can't endorse candidates, or apply the current rules equally to both sides.

5 comments:

Ilona said...

Ok. I am not sure what is called for in pointing up the discrepancy. I notice that this is a black church... as in being peopled by Afro-Americans. The reality of the cultural difference is that churches are firmly woven into the fabric of the black community and have been the foundation from which many civil rights, ( read political), opinions and movements spring from and are nurtured in.

I don't know if people criticising this want parity in something that is a basically skewed view of separation of Church and State desire or whether they want more allowance and reversal of the strict stance against the place of the churches in the Community affairs ( including voicing political opinion).

Which is it? Because I doubt if you will get compliance in many of the black churches which are not giving it now. And how would anyone, not already innurred to the glaring facts of our time, advocate that somehow religious morals and political stances are isolated from one another?
So I am with you all on the one side of the equation,"abandon the principle that churches can't endorse candidates".

I think freedom of speech should be extended to churches as they are to meeting halls in any context.
That Americans may freely speak which candidate they advocate and why. No matter what the venue.

Bonnie said...

Ilona,

I can only speak for myself, but I find these pictures rather sickening for several reasons: a) the people in the first photo are not expressing love and worship of our Savior God, they're supplicating the idea of Kerry/Edwards as savior. b) Seeing Kerry in a pulpit is just, well, sacrilegious. *shudder* I'd be glad to go into detail. c) churches should not be "meeting halls in any context." In Isaiah 56:7, our God states: "my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." Here His people will come to worship Him and be given joy in Him alone. He's a jealous God, you know.

Also, there's a difference between a church voicing political opinion and endorsing a particular candidate.

Rusty said...

Ilona,

I think the major headache here is that while the separation of church and state fanatics come down hard on a conservative church that hints at political endorsement, they turn a blind eye to liberal churches that openly endorse a political candidate. Let's either allow it, or consistently prohibit it.

Anonymous said...

GEORGE W BUSH IN NOT A BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN!
There's no account of him being baptized either in water or the Holy Spirit. The following is an account of his spiritual path:

1984 - Mark Leaverton (a founder of Midland's Community Bible Study) … I think he probably came in 1984 to our Bible study that preceded Community Bible Study (CBS). He was the vice president's son.

1984 - George W. Bush, the oilman I prayed with to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord on April 3, 1984 has gone on to become President of the United States of America. All glory to God. What to do Now! - Confess Christ Openly and Be Baptized. *THIS NEVER HAPPENED! - Arthur Blessit at:
http://www.blessitt.com/

1985 - From GWB: Reverend Graham planted a mustard seed in my soul, a seed that grew over the next year.

1985 - His heavy drinking was threatening his marriage so Bush began attending a community Bible study group in Midland. Before long, he was working on his father's 1988 presidential campaign (where he was assigned to consult with leaders from the religious right) and turning an eye toward the governorship of Texas.

Don Poage (One of the group leaders in Midland's Christian Bible Study): "... What I can talk about [is] .. I saw that transformative process beginning. Whether he was then quote, "saved" or not, or "born again" or not -- he made a couple of comments in core group that would lead me to believe that he was.

1986 - At Bush's 40th birthday party (July 6, 1986), with the wine flowing freely, he once again "couldn't shut it off," says Don Evans, Bush's friend and campaign finance chairman. Karen Hughes, Bush's spokeswomen said ... He has said he gave up drinking the day after his 40th birthday.

CNN:Bush acknowledges 1976 DUI charge - November 2, 2000
Bush said, "I was able to share with some of the men and women here that I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then."

The Jesus Factor:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jesus/interviews/wead.html
Doug Wead's advise to GWB's Dad in 1987 Presidential Race: "So, [in] my memorandum I was saying to him, "Look, Mr. Vice President, if you're asked the question, "Are you a born-again Christian?" you can't say no. You can say anything else, but you can't say no.

US News Online, "George W. Bush: Running on His Faith"
GWB: "Would you call your experience born-again? I call it a renewal of faith. But I could say that. I would say that. But you've got to understand, a born-again experience connotes a moment. And I would say my experience was the planting of a seed, where something grew, grew quite rapidly. But I got back to Midland. I remember reading the Bible. The words in the Bible made–you know, the same words–I began to have a better understanding. And so I would call it a renewal, an acceptance of Christ."

Interview with the Baptist Press, the national news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, August 31, 2000
GWB: "I would describe myself as a man who was raised a Christian, who sought redemption and found it in Jesus Christ. And that's important [to admit the need for redemption] by the way, for someone running for public office. It's a humbling experience to make that admission. I admit I'm a lowly sinner. It's that admission that led me to redemption and led me to Christ. Without making that admission, I don't think there's such a thing as redemption."

Town Meeting. Columbia, South Carolina, February 12, 2000
GWB: "Well, I appreciate that. As you know, during a debate, one of the debates in the public arena, I was asked about a philosopher who influenced my life. I didn't spend much time thinking about an answer. It just came out, and I said it was Christ, and it was Christ. "What does that mean? Why?" he said. And I said, "Because he's changed my heart." And the man said, "Could you explain it further?" And basically what I said is it's kind of hard to explain it in 30-second sound bytes. It's hard to explain unless you have witnessed it yourself, and so it is hard to explain."

Wead: "But with the son, it was just instant. In 1998, 1999, 2000, within five minutes of any meetings with evangelicals, within minutes, they instantly knew he's a born-again Christian."

Wead: "I remember him (GW) reviewing the memorandum on Texas, and he just lit up. He said, "Ah, you know, I could do this in Texas. I could make this work in Texas." There was no secret he was talking about running for governor. But he'd see this, and said, "Whoa." To me, it was like the missing piece for him. Now he had become an evangelical Christian himself. So he's reading this strategy, and he's thinking, "Whoa, this could certainly work for me."

US News Online, "George W. Bush: Running on His Faith"
GWB on being an evangelical: "I'm not even sure what the characteristics of an evangelical are in common parlance. I think if someone prays– I pray. I do. I believe in the power of prayer. I can't tell you how comforting it is to me to hear people say, "I pray for you." And it happens a lot. It does. And I say, "Thank you." I think an evangelical believes in the power of prayer."

Wead: "We won the [election] in 1988 with the largest percentage of evangelical support ever in American history, more than Reagan got in 1984 when he had the landslide that carried every state in the nation but Minnesota -- by far more than George W. Bush had in 2000."

Wead: "I think it might've been 1997, before his re-election as governor -- George W. Bush was going to meet with some evangelical leaders. I called him to warn him of this surprise question that they occasionally pop. I repeated the question, which is, "If you were to die and suddenly appear before the pearly gates, and Peter said, 'Why should I let you in?' what would your answer be?"
He cut me off. He interrupted me before I even finished the question, and said, "I know, I know, I know. Because of the blood of Jesus Christ and because of his death for my sins," which is the argument evangelicals make -- that no one can be good enough to go to heaven, that the death of Christ is a sacrifice for our sins and you accept it in faith. That's the whole idea. So, no problem for him. I mean, he understood where evangelicals were coming from."

Wead: "Well, my advice to George Bush Sr. was, "Signal early, signal often." My advice to George W. Bush would be, "Signal early." The reason George Bush Sr. needed to signal often was because he was not known as someone who had sympathies towards evangelicals, or even understood them. So he needed to drive that home. ..."

GWB Signals toooo often to mention.

1999 - "Pastor Craig said that America is starved for honest leaders. He told the story of Moses, asked by God to lead his people to a land of milk and honey." ... "He was talking to you," my mother later said. ... "hearing this rousing sermon, to make most of every moment, during my inaugural church service, I gradually felt more comfortable with the prospect of a presidential campaign" Bush sees his presidency as willed by God.

GWB IS NO MOSES!
John 3:5 - Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:1 - And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

1 John 2:4 - He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

2 John 1:7 - For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

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