Archive for category politics

Time for the GOP to abandon social conservatives?

I read a blog post over at the Pocketful of Liberty website today: Point: Social Conservatives Costing The GOP

I had some strong opinions from what was stated in the blog post and I’ve assembled those comments here with some minor edits for clarity’s sake:

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Quoting from the post:

“In case you haven’t guessed where I stand on this: I say screw social conservatives. Let them go somewhere else and start a new wholly irrelevant ”Constitution Party” or something. Then they can be a part of the bigger joke: the fact that fragmented third parties that achieve absolutely nothing.”

It seems to me that the most significant discrepancy of this post is the lack of perspective. The writer seems to believe that a Republican Party devoid of social conservatives won’t be doomed to become it’s own fragmented third party.

Political parties are made up of coalitions. Without them, political parties fail to win elections. Politicians having realized this long ago have made great efforts to bring various groups under their banner.

My understanding of the latter half of the 20th Century political landscape of the Republican Party is that social conservatives tended to stay out of the political process or at best were like herding cats. Each person of socially conservative mindset acting on his or her own. Religious leaders seeing that the nation was straying into what they deemed to be the moral abyss decided to get organized and unified. That was somewhere in the late 1970′s. Again feel free to correct my comprehension of history.

Ronald Reagan was the first presidential candidate who ‘endorsed’ social conservatives, and lo and behold, the Republican Party began winning elections. Social conservatives used to be somewhat easy to placate because in the 1980′s, they were one issue voters. If a candidate spoke out against abortion and had at least a decent voting record with regard to the matter, the social conservative vote was near guaranteed.

Today, social conservatives have become two issue voters: abortion and same-sex marriage. I would be willing to bet that a politician who had a solid pro-life record and one on same-sex marriage that made it clear that he/she believed it to be a state issue that should not be decided in Federal courts would win overwhelming approval from social conservative voters.

The Republican Party doesn’t need to change the platform. Republican leaders need to speak their minds. Undecided voters don’t vote on party platforms. The evidence is easy to find. The majority of Americans oppose the Democrat Party platform stance regarding abortion. Here’s the statement of where the Democrat party stands on abortion:

“Protecting A Woman’s Right to Choose. The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.”

The Democrats used to espouse safe, legal, and rare abortions. ‘Rare’ is no longer part of the platform or the vocabulary. Surprisingly enough, Americans voted twice for one of the most liberal voices for abortion rights in the past two Presidential elections. Apparently their ‘personal’ views on abortion didn’t matter that much to them.

The point being, by changing the Republican Platform to a more permissive stance on same-sex marriage, the GOP risks disheartening social conservatives who may as a result be less likely to show up to the polls on election day. What is the upside for the GOP? Are those highly-motivated by the same-sex marriage issue going to change their minds and suddenly start voting Republican?

Pro-life voices began in the Republican Party. Conversely, pro-same-sex marriage voices began in the Democratic Party. The likelihood of capturing any appreciable number of votes from a shift in the Party platform on the issue of same-sex marriage is low. The likelihood of dispiriting a normally highly-motivated voting bloc for the GOP is much greater.

Maybe at some point in the future, if those who believe that opposition to same-sex marriage equates to bigotry have their way, the Republican Party will by political necessity need to conform to prevailing societal opinion and change the platform.

Until such time, it’s unwise and counterproductive to do so.

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In a separate interaction, I challenged the notion that social conservatives based on their desire to ban abortion and prevent same-sex marriage from becoming permissible across the United States somehow makes social conservatives supporters of ‘big government’:

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Is social conservatism one in the same with those who promote ‘big government’? I guess I’ll have to cite some examples.

Which of the following are you ‘OK’ with?
1. Government laws against murder.
2. Government laws against theft.
3. Government laws against polygamy.
4. Government laws against copyright infringement.
5. Government laws against insider trading.
6. Government laws against speeding.
7. Government laws against yelling ‘Fire’ in a theater.

I guess I could go on and on, but I hope the point is understood. What it seems some have a problem with is someone defining what is ‘right’ that is opposed to their own personal morality. Each person’s morality differs. I would guess many would be quite upset if the Government did nothing to prosecute a murderer or rapist, leaving it up to the affected individuals to mete out justice in a manner appropriate to them.

The basic idea is that one of the primary reasons for the existence of governments is to define and enforce what is right and wrong, aka morality.

I understand some may be irritated by my line of reasoning, but honestly, at what point does the government need to just ‘butt out’?

Just because someone else’s definition of where the government should excuse themselves from intruding on my own personal liberty differs from yours doesn’t mean that I’m for ‘big government’.

Social conservatives see abortion as detrimental to the health of the nation. Witness the lack of restraint of Kermit Gosnell. At what point did he begin justifying the murder of babies that were born alive? Certainly seeing years and years of worth of fetuses (babies) that were terminated (killed) had some kind of a desensitizing effect.

Social conservatives also see same-sex marriage as detrimental to society. Some may have absolutely no problem with it, but social conservatives feel like it devalues the social norm of heterosexual marriage that is foundational to the survival of the human race and healthy upbringing of children.

Do those two reasons sound like ‘big government’ or legitimate concerns regarding society? You want to be able to draw the line at what you feel is OK or no concern of yours and so do social conservatives. The difference being only that your line differs from theirs.

Social conservatism is hardly ‘big government’. You can call it irritating, opposed to liberty, stifling, or any other like term, but ‘big government’ it is not.

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‘Conservative’ and ‘Christian’ Shouldn’t Be Synonymous

I used to call myself a Republican and more recently I’ve taken to calling myself a Conservative. Over the course of the last year, I think I need to not identify myself as belonging to any political ‘movement’ of any kind. It may be that the reason you’re reading this post is you are giving consideration to the same.

Conservatism and Christianity

If you’ve made a thorough and honest reading of the Bible, you’ll note something: God cared a great deal about His creation, particularly mankind. We are created in His image. He loved us enough to die for us.

It is in the example of Jesus that all Christians should be measured. He didn’t belong to a political party. He didn’t belong to a political movement. There’s only one instance that comes to mind when Jesus involved himself in a political discussion. When asked to get involved in the political matter of taxes, He said “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and the things that are God’s to God.”

God cares about your politics because how you vote affects how your fellow man, for whom Christ died, is treated in this world. Does He desire to be identified with your political party and political beliefs? No. He doesn’t. Jesus didn’t write the Constitution and although men of faith contributed to the birth of this nation and its founding texts, the Constitution isn’t found in the Canon of Scripture. It’s sad that so many Conservatives who claim the name of Christ, including yours truly, know the words of the Constitution better than the Word of God.

Would Jesus be as hostile to illegal immigrants in this country as you?

Would Jesus be as on fire for your Second Amendment rights as you?

Would Jesus be as enraged about additional taxation as you?

Would Jesus use as angry of a tone with the opposition party as you?

These are just questions to ask. There’s truth to the argument that some of the issues and tactics above are being used to bend the political environment from one of freedom of speech, religion, and expression to one which limits or seeks to eliminate the speaking of God’s Truth to a secular world. I get that.

There is good in fighting political battles, but if your demeanor and politics bring unnecessary harm to the Gospel, are you living out the Great Commission anymore? All I can do is be wise in how I deal with politics and politicians and act in a way in that is God pleasing and Gospel affirming. It’s a fine line.

“…be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16-23

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At The Right Time Christ Died For The Ungodly…

I’m amazed at the truth in this verse: Romans 5:6 (NASB):

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

The world in which we live is vastly different from the world in which Christ lived and ministered: two millennia before the Internet, a millennium and half before the printing press. It would seem that the Gospel would have been better served had Christ been born at least at the time of the printing press, and how much more so in the modern age of instant communication? Why did God choose the time of the golden age of the Roman Empire?

The earlier years of the Roman Empire seem like a good time because of the reach of the empire at the time; as well as the relative peace of the empire at the time, the so called Pax Romana, but the best time or more accurately the ‘right’ time?

I, like many others, question God’s timing of nearly every event of my life. Why not at this time God? Why at all? Why not sooner? Why not later?

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit this, but the inspiration for this post is political in nature.

There was a vociferous back and forth between two conservative bloggers about the critique of what appeared to some as a movie trailer that had been produced by a conservative political group and played at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The critique appeared on what many conservatives feel is a ‘liberal’ website. One of the parties writes for the website started by Andrew Breitbart.

Andrew Breitbart passed away a little over a year ago, and since his passing, many have tried to carry on what they feel is his legacy. This post speaks quite well to the ups and downs of passing on his legacy:

I Smite Thee, in the Name of Andrew!

After reading this, and having seen other instances in my lifetime of the same battle that goes on amongst devotees after the passing of a visionary leader, I’ve come to understand better why the time in which Christ lived, died, and was raised was the ‘right’ time.

If devotees of a visionary leader can be at one another’s throats within one year of the leader’s passing in this modern age of instant communication and cultural fragmentation, how fragmented and ineffective would Christ’s followers have been if He’d have walked the earth and shared his message in this day and age? How many of those disciples would have started up their own blog or Twitter account or Facebook page? How quickly would the energy and effect of His life, death, and resurrection decomposed? How far-reaching and outlandish would be the conspiracy theories?

Obviously, God’s hand was upon His disciples and His work on earth. No plot or scheme of men can thwart His ultimate purpose, but isn’t it amazing though that He chose a time for the life of His Son and our Savior that maximized the reach of the Gospel while at the same time preserving the integrity and force of the message?

At the right time, Christ died for the ungodly…

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The *Need* to Redefine Poverty in the United States

Poverty in the United States: Air Conditioning, Cable TV and an Xbox | The Heritage Foundation.

 

The article linked above highlights the need in the United States for a redefining of poverty as deemed by the Federal Government. When an “impoverished” American owns a refrigerator, has cable TV, and a cell phone; something is wrong with the definition.

Poverty is a worldwide concern, but in the United States, the government’s use of the term is only designed to manipulate. Just yesterday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner noted some interesting facts:

“…remember this country, this great nation with our great resources today, one in eight Americans are eligible for food stamps today. Forty percent of Americans born today are born to families eligible for Medicaid.”

When 40 percent of Americans, which is equal to around 120 million people are eligible for Medicaid; it may be time to redefine the eligibility. If 30 million Americans are in “poverty” and 54.5 percent, which is equal to around 16 million, own a cell phone; and there are 90 million more who are eligible for Medicaid, there’s a problem with the proof of eligibility.

Shouldn’t the number of Americans who are eligible for Medicaid come closer to the number eligible for food stamps–about 40 million, as opposed to 120 million?

I understand there should be some give in that number, but when the “poor” in this country have adequate housing–enough to be able to keep a refrigerator running–then as troubling as poverty is, the definition in terms used by the U.S. government is equally disturbing.

Bottom line: if you can afford to have a cell phone ($40 per month) and cable TV ($50 per month), then you’re really close to being able to afford cursory health insurance. In America, as illustrated by these figures, poverty isn’t so much an issue of can’t as it is won’t.

Let’s help the poor, but let’s be wise about the government’s use of the word “poverty”.

–the civil commentator

 

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The Case for Limiting Government Recognition to Traditional Relationships

Follow this link: http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HTB4W4CSYDBWN6R2D5ESTASCUQ/blog/articles/270046

The link above will take you to the first page of a five page blog post on the reasons for limiting government recognition of relationships to that of the traditional nature: husband and wife which equates to one man and one woman.

To give you a sample of the argument laid out in the post, I have copied the text word for word from the first page below. If you’ve ever wondered how to argue intelligently about your views on traditional marriage, this is an excellent place to start.

–the civil commentator

From The Case for Limiting Government Recognition to Traditional Relationships

The majority in this country have come to appreciate how gay people deserve the same individual rights and liberties enjoyed by all Americans, including the right to choose where to live, be educated, obtain health care, and work (so long as the work place isn’t a religious institution whose doctrine prohibits same-sex behavior).  Integral to such rights is being treated with courtesy, respect, and kindness, which form the core of any civilized and democratic society.
Just like all citizens, gay people deserve these rights because they’re human.  Indeed, these are the very inalienable rights described in the Constitution because they exist irrespective of what people do, say, believe, or act, so long as their actions don’t infringe on the rights of others or the welfare of society.
For this reason, it’s important to distinguish between the person and what the person does.  A person simply is. He/she has no ability to be anything but a person, and is, therefore, deserving of rights, which no one can remove by vote or decree. The natural and immutable – or fixed – conditions of race and gender fall into this category.

 

A person’s behavior is another matter.  Unlike the human condition, which is beyond our control, human behavior is not.  Instead, it begins with an urge, which many perceive as having little to no ability to  control.  However, we can decide whether we’ll act on the urge or engage in the behavior resulting from the urge. Sometimes the behavior is beneficial; sometimes it’s not. 

 

For this reason, the Constitution assigns the public or its elected representatives the right to pass laws governing human behavior for the benefit of the individual and society.  In general, the intent of such laws ranges from prohibiting to encouraging different behaviors, based on their merits or lack of them.  For example, some behaviors furnish positive benefits to individuals and society, and should, therefore, be encouraged with financial and legal benefits.  Examples in this first category would include going to college, starting a business, buying a home, giving to charities, and entering into marriage.    Other behaviors have the potential for harm but banning them would cause an undue burden on personal liberty.  So, we limit these behaviors to consenting adults.  Examples in this second category would be smoking, drinking, gambling, and human sexual relations outside marriage.  Finally, some behaviors are so egregious that we prohibit them.  Examples in this third category would be the taking of life or property.
For some behaviors, the facts are supportive, indicating why they should be placed in the first behavioral category and encouraged with legal and financial benefits.  For example take traditional marriage between a man and a woman. In this relationship, people of differing genders offer psychological and health benefits to both partners and to offspring.  Among these are reduced stress, increased lifespan, and the best environment for raising children.  Heterosexual marriage also greatly reduces (if not eliminates) promiscuity and the potential for STDs, AIDS, and AIDS-related diseases. [1][2]

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Who Cares If They’re a Criminal?!

Representative Anthony Weiner - retrieved from newyork.cbslocal.com

Today’s post looks at the present mess of a political figure:
Rep. Weiner Admits to Sending Lewd Twitter Photo, Acknowledges Other Explicit Conversations

 

Eliot Spitzer - retrieved from cbsnews.com

…and what the future for criminals can look like:
Elliot Spitzer Gets Primetime CNN Show.

It’s quite sad to see the way that criminals, and in this case criminals who happen to be politicians, can use their position as a get out of jail free card, spend a brief time out of the spotlight, and then become highly paid, and highly visible celebrities.

“Those guys aren’t criminals,” you say? Well let’s take a look:

Imagine if you were to send unsolicited naked pictures of yourself to a member of the opposite sex with whom you had no relationship, and the person you sent the pictures to knew who you were. What would happen if/when you reported that story to your local law-enforcement officials? Exactly. Jail-time or at least probation.

Now imagine you were caught in the act of soliciting the services of a prostitute.  The outcome? Exactly. Jail-time or at least probation.

What has happened to Eliot Spitzer? No jail time and a high-profile, highly-paid position at a major news network.

What will happen to Anthony Weiner? Likely, by the end of the week or certainly by the end of the month he will resign or be forced out of his position as a Congressional Representative. What will happen after that fall from political power? Likely a lifetime of TV and book deals worth millions of dollars.

Why are we in America so fascinated with common scum? Before you object and say, “Look we’re not the ones hiring these reprobates to be on TV or write books,” let’s get something straight: media companies who hire disgraced politicians or pay them to write a book are responding only to the demand for these individual’s stories and celebrity. If people would swear off of CNN for hiring an admitted solicitor of prostitutes, that would be the last time that CNN would ever commit such an injustice.

So the problem, dear reader, is not the media company that hires the criminal to work for them; but instead it’s we the consumer who bear the responsibility. This phenomenon of lucrative media contracts for those who commit crimes and atrocious acts of personal misconduct has become the theme of our society.

It’s always convenient to point the finger at the supermarket tabloid, the cable-news network, the book company, TMZ, etc. The problem is without our mouse-click, tune-in, or book purchase, people who commit crimes or act in repulsive ways wouldn’t have a voice and place in society.

The time used to be that people who committed crimes and acts of personal indiscretion were ashamed of their actions and never again saw the light of day and wouldn’t even consider attempting to have a public platform again. That time is gone.

Will we ever see a return to a time when immorality is punished and virtue rewarded? We can only hope.

–the civil commentator

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Why Not Run $1 Trillion+ Deficits?

This is why: Analysis: High-yield and U.S. debt at risk if Japan repatriates.

The United States now stands at the brink of a debt crisis. The Obama Administration has embraced the Keynesian model of recession intervention: stimulus. This embrace has not been merely a handshake, but rather a full-on bear-hug.

The recent tragic and devastating dual natural disasters in Japan, resulting in a frightening dual environmental and public health nightmare highlights just one of the many reasons to keep public debt under control.

The article linked above may be a bit confusing if it is the first of its kind that you have read, but permit me to summarize it.

Japan owns a great deal of public debt from sovereign nations around the world. It has invested heavily not only in quickly developing nations such as Brazil, but also in the United States. As the article states, Japan holds nearly $7,000 billion ($7 trillion) in external assets; $890 billion of which are debt obligations of the United States.

With the need for Japan to recover from a $180+ billion disaster, it is quite likely that Japan will be pulling funds back into the country out of investments that it has from around the world. Even if Japan doesn’t proceed with this course of action, it’s almost a certainty that it will be a minor or non-existent partner in funding our debt for the near future until its rebuilding is complete.

All of that to say this: there is one less major investor for the United States to count on in the near future.

Who will be taking up the slack in United States debt purchasing during Japan’s recovery phase? Right now it’s anybody’s guess.

Should national tragedies affect other key investors in U.S. debt–China–it could lead to large scale issues here in the States. The loss of consistent debt purchasing by Japan will not be an easy pill to swallow, which makes it all the more necessary for the United States to get its financial house in order.

One issue President Obama hasn’t yet had to deal with so far during his Presidency is a lack of financial backers around the world. The United States has always been an excellent investment for countries around the world; a huge economy with huge resources. The U.S. cannot run huge budget deficits without someway to pay for them. Sure the United States could just print all of the dollars that it needs to pay its financial obligations, but at some point inflation takes hold and the printing press must stop. The only other way to meet it financial obligations is to borrow money from other countries.

Adding $1,000+ billion deficits every year for the foreseeable future has always been scary, but what happens when one (or more) of your best ‘customers’ doesn’t shop at your ‘store’ anymore? Not good.

–the civil commentator

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