Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pre-Debate Faith and Politics Post

I haven't posted much lately. I'm still thinking about why and I'll probably post about it soon. Preacherman asked me if I was going to post about tonight's debate, and so I will.

I'm starting to realize that I follow politics like most people follow sports. I certainly have strong opinions regarding politics and the current presidential election, but I don't identify with any political party and I don't publicly endorse any candidate, as I feel that such an endorsement would be inappropriate and unethical for someone in my profession. However, I have and will continue to call for honesty and ethical behavior in politics, particularly when it comes to Christian involvement in the political arena. I have and will continue to resist efforts by either political party to co-opt Christians for political gain. I have and will continue to assert that neither political party has a purely Kingdom of God agenda, and I refuse to choose between behavioral morality and social justice.

I believe that it is a legitimate position for a Christian to say that their allegiance to the Kingdom of God prevents them from participating in national politics. I respect that. I also belive that it is a legitimate position for a Christian to participate in the political arena while pledging their "first allegiance" to the Kingdom of God, and thereby vote from the convictions of their faith and the Gospel. This is the position I find myself in during this election cycle. However, I must make one other point: If a Christian, who has committed themselves to the Way of Jesus takes this position they must a) conduct themselves in ways that do not violate that Way for some "righteous purpose" and they must not reward or propegate such behavior in the campaign of any candidate, and b) they must actively seek to be informed on the issues utilizing non-partisan sources rather than attaching themselves to the firehoses of propaganda eminating from obviously partisan sources.

I will post debate video and factcheck info when it becomes available later this week. Here are some of the sources I use to stay informed:
  • www.factcheck.org - this is a great, non-partisan site that examines the claims of both candidates and their running mates. Also features a weekly vidcast summing up each weeks information. This site will post a full report and analysis the morning after each debate, and their analysis for all previous debates (including the VP debate) is still available.
  • http://wire.factcheck.org - this is a companion site to factcheck.org, which is updated more often with "breaking news". I reccomend subscribing to the rss feed.
  • www.politifact.com - similar to factcheck, this site also examines the claims of both candidates. It includes a fun feature called the "truth meter" that rates the truthfulness of criticisms that are leveled against each candidate. I highly recommend subscribing to politifact on twitter, especially during the debate tonight. They do a great job of live factchecking during the debate.
We'll get back to talking theology soon.
Blessings,
AE

9 comments:

Mike L. said...

In my view, politics IS theology, so you've not really stopped doing theology.

Maybe another way to describe the connection is that our politics is an incarnation of our theology.

Toby said...

Adam - good thoughts on the debate and politics. Anxious to see how this circus comes out. If you get a chance, you might enjoy reading some of my thoughts about politics at http://faith4ftomorrow.blogspot.com Pay special attention to the entries called "God bless the world," "Toward a new kind of politics" and "It's not whom you vote for; it's the questions you ask." In fact, in light of your 10/15 entry, read this last one I referenced first. Please leave me some comments. I'd love to know what you think. Keep up the good work! Toby Jones

Toby said...

Adam - good thoughts on the debate and politics. Anxious to see how this circus comes out. If you get a chance, you might enjoy reading some of my thoughts about politics at http://faith4ftomorrow.blogspot.com Pay special attention to the entries called "God bless the world," "Toward a new kind of politics" and "It's not whom you vote for; it's the questions you ask." In fact, in light of your 10/15 entry, read this last one I referenced first. Please leave me some comments. I'd love to know what you think. Keep up the good work! Toby Jones

oliviaharis said...

Pity McCain is too frightened to use Obama worshipping with a bigotted hate monger for 22 years to show the single biggest danger an Obama Presidency bring to the forefront is his horrific personal judgement.
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oliviaharis
interactive marketing

Adam said...

Mike,
I agree that politics is an extension of Theology. I was looking back over my past several posts and they were all overtly political...which is different for me. As I actively try to publicly address issues of integrity and thoughtful Christian involvement in politics without endorsing a candidate, our private conversations regarding the matter have been a blessing to me personally.
AE

Adam said...

Toby,
Thanks for the comments. I look forward to reading through your blog and will add it to my rss feed so that I can keep up with you.
Blessings,
AE

Adam said...

Oliver,
With all due respect, I think your comment is exactly the kind of thing I'm referring to here. I am unclear from your comment if you are speaking from a Christian perspective or not, but I'll answer from one. (Please note that this is not a unilateral defense of Obama and his policies, nor an endorsement. If a criticism of this type were leveled against McCain, I would push back on it as well).
Your specific criticism troubles me for a few reasons:
1) It sidesteps the actual issues by involving an argument of "guilt by association" and accusations of "poor personal judgment". It is a diversion...a distraction. Further, I have found that many who apply such criteria to one candidate do not put the opposing candidate under the same scrutiny. Which of us could stand if we were judged on the morality and character of those we have been associated with (more on this later.)
2) It misunderstands the nature of church in general. Your specific accusation deals specifically with Senator Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright, who was his minister. Wright's comments have been inflammatory and certainly "over the line". He certainly struggles with many character flaws...just like every member and minister of every church that I have ever been a part of. The church is a collection of people saved by Grace...who are being formed into the image of Christ. This formation is "in-process". Read the black Theologian James Cone or even the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and you will begin to see how the theology that informs Wright's inflamatory rhetoric has evolved out of oppression...and before you call such theology illegitimate, I'll remind you that the Bible was written (by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) primarily by and to the oppressed. I say this, not to excuse Wright or to endorse his position. I say it to point out that there are reasons that he would develop this way. Further, all of my life I have attended church with people who are bigoted, as well as with people who are lustful, greedy, gluttonous, prideful, etc. The Christian belief is that through our "life together" in church, we are formed into the image of Christ. The "world" motivates by exclusion. Christ motivates by inclusion. I think it speaks well of Senator Obama that he didn't approach Church as a consumer, who jumped ship as soon as there was a problem...even with his pastor.
3) Again, I'm not sure if you are speaking from a Christian perspective or not, but I am. I would suggest that Jesus could not stand up to your criteria. He associated long term with Peter, who displays racist attitudes in the Biblical narrative...he associates with James and John, who call for the destruction of an entire city for not agreeing with them...he associates with prostitutes, drunks, and sellout tax collectors. I am in no way equating Senator Obama to Jesus. I am simply pointing out that your criteria are flawed and cannot be universally applied.

If you have thoughtfully engaged with the issues and as a matter of conviction feel that you should vote for Senator McCain, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. Make sure that you are informed by non-partisan sources [NOT MSNBC (on the Left) or FOX NEWS (on the Right) or ANY TALK RADIO (on all sides)], and vote your conscience with integrity.
Blessings,
AE

Dana said...

Adam,

Your Oliver here seems to actually be Olivia. But hey, at least we know that your disagreements with her aren't based on sex. We could never accuse you of that anyway seeing as we all know that you're fully aware of how awesome your wife is... right?

DK said...

A friend of mine recently said that his religion was neither politics nor the economy. His religion is Jesus.

I have to remind myself of this often as we are constantly bombarded by politics this and economic woes that. Neither of those things can save me or give me peace.

On the other hand, I know a lady who has a bumper sticker on her car that says "The Bill of Rights in my Ten Commandments". Now, I think that the Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of what makes America great. However, Rome fell and I expect that one day the U.S. will fall as well.

I vote what I believe is right. I love America for what it is. In the end, it's a country run by imperfect people. I can't put my hope in that.

What were we talking about again?