How Would Jesus Vote?
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Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 09:33:53 PM EST
Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHow Would Jesus Vote?

The answer to that question all depends on who's being asked, and it's a big reason that the Christian Coalition of Alabama says: "You can't fire us ... because we quit!

The long decline of the Christian Coalition continues apace, as the Alabama CC chapter demands a divorce -- or is kicked out, depending on whose version one believes. John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, says, "The Christian Coalition is drifting to the left. There's a new vision --- and we're not part of it."

The loss of its large and active Alabama chapter comes on the heels of the departures of the coalition's Iowa and Ohio chapters. The problem seems to be that when it's time to render unto Caesar, some people's Jesus comes up short on Christian values.

In March, the Christian Coalition of Iowa announced it was changing its name to Iowa Christian Alliance. Steve Scheffler, the president of the group, said the national organization, which is struggling to raise funds and is accumulating debt, had lost focus and become "an albatross around our necks."

In July, the Christian Coalition of Ohio pulled out too.
Despite the loss of the state chapters and its limited finances, the organization remains strong, according to its president, Roberta Combs.

"This is not the demise of the Christian Coalition," Combs said in a telephone interview last week. "Three disillusioned state chairmen have pulled out, but no one is indispensable. The Christian Coalition is a household name."

State chapters are defecting because the national organization has widened its focus to include not only campaigning against such religious right demons as reproductive rights for women and full civil rights for LGBT citizens, but has begun campaigning for something -- raising its voice in favor of environmental issues and government protection for the poor.

"We live in a different era now," Combs said of her effort to expand the coalition's core tenets. "We need to get out of the box and look at the organization. I'm a family person. If you really read the Bible, it says to take care of the least among us."

Jesus' teaching on caring for the poor might have been acceptable in Alabama, just as long as it didn't cost anything.  

In Alabama, resentment against the national Christian Coalition emerged in 2003, when Combs came to Montgomery to campaign in support of Republican Gov. Bob Riley's plan to overhaul the tax system, which involved a $1.2-billion tax increase. The Christian Coalition of Alabama had already stated its opposition to the plan.

When Combs agreed with Riley that Alabama's existing tax system placed an unfair burden on poor families, Giles accused her of departing from the organization's traditional commitment to low taxes.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingNope, in places like Iowa, Ohio and Alabama this brand of heresy just doesn't sell.  John Giles said Combs' visit to Alabama "was a total bushwhack. It confused Christians and it divided the Christian vote."  

That must mean that if Jesus was voting in Montgomery, he'd vote to cut taxes -- even if that meant he was out of step with most of the country, and even if poor people suffered.

Or would he?

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According to new national polls, 69% of us think liberals have gone "too far to keep religion out of school and government" but 49% us believe that conservatives have gone "too far in imposing their religious values," even though two-thirds of us consider the United States to be a Christian country.

Left and Christian Right Take Lumps in Poll

Most of those surveyed (78%) also view the Bible as the word of God. But only 35% believe it should be taken literally.

Despite a strong connection Americans see between Christianity and the nation's identity, most said the Bible should not be the driving force behind creating laws.

For example, when asked which should have more influence over the nation's law -- the Bible or the will of the people, even when it is in conflict with the book -- 63% of Americans said the people's will should hold sway, compared with 32% who thought the Bible was superior.
"People are sick of two extreme points of view," said the Rev. Kurt Fredrickson, director of the doctor of ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and an expert on the relationship between religion and American life. "There is this middle group of people that recognizes that religion does still have a very strong influence in our culture."
Most of those surveyed (78%) also view the Bible as the word of God. But only 35% believe it should be taken literally.
For the first time in Pew polling, more white evangelicals now favor stem cell research (44%) than oppose it (40%) -- one of several surprising discoveries of the researchers.

Overall, a 56% majority of Americans now believe that conducting stem cell research that may lead to new medical cures takes precedence over preserving embryos necessary for that research.  About half of us now agree that a person's sexual orientation isn't something that can be changed, and favor allowing gay couples to contract civil unions.

Since Christian belief is not monolithic, who gets to "own" religion in public life? That discussion is catching fire in Texas, where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell is wondering why his party has left religion in politicking to the GOP, and shied away from talking about their own religious and moral values.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingBell said his Christian faith has in part inspired his political agenda, which includes calling for an increase in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7 an hour.

"A lot of the issues that are driving this debate as far as I'm concerned come down to questions of morals and values: How are we going to take care of the less fortunate, the more vulnerable individuals in our society?" Bell said after his speech.

Bell might be planting that thought in fertile ground, since incumbent Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas GOP steadfastly oppose establishing a living wage.  As a Perry spokesman explained, "The last thing you want to do is start telling those companies that want to move to Texas ... how much they have to pay folks." Hey, Jesus himself said that "The poor will always be with you," and Rick Perry and his homeboy Patriot Pastors wouldn't have it any other way.  That's just the price of doing business.

Following in the steps of the Ohio Restoration Project, Rick Scarborough and Laurence White have been instrumental in helping Perry build a political machine to harness the power of Texas churches in promoting a faux-religious social agenda that Jesus rejected with his every recorded word.  Meantime, the poor just keep on getting poorer.

But the American people are speaking out. And what they say is that when politicians of either party are ready to talk about government in accord with real Christian principles, plenty of real Christians are ready to listen.

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for Ray Stevens to belt out a rousing chorus of "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?"

Would Jesus be political if he came back to earth,
Have his second home in Palm Springs ... yeah ... but try to hide his worth;
Take money from those poor folks when He comes back again,
And admit He's talked to all those preachers who said they'd been-a talking to Him?

There are far too many preachers and politicians who think the answer to that question is YES.

by moiv on Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 10:01:19 PM EST

During the last presidential election, I prayed for peace around all of it, and this poem/song came to me.  Feel free to share.


(sung to the tune of 'JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW')

Jesus vo-otes this I know
for the bible tells me so
to one and only does he yearn
towards our Father he does turn.

Yes, Jesus vo-otes
yes, Jesus vo-otes
yes, Jesus vo-otes
and he-e chooses God.

Bush and Kerry want your vote
want to herd you like a goat
but if you want the true shep-herd
vote for the one who created the Word.


Some think terr-or-ists are real
they say it's them we should kill
but God teaches us what's good and right
love your neighbor, do not fight.


They make promises as they run
"Vote for me, we'll be number one!"
But they know no-ot what they do
look to God for what is true.


Until towards God they turn their ear
Kerry and Bush will be lead by fear
thoughts of anything but love are wrong
they are weak, but God is strong.


November second, some win, some lose
but every moment, we get to choose
and I sure know what I'm gonna do
God in Heaven - I VOTE FOR YOU!



I don't know why we ever got the thought to look to anyone besides God to preside over/govern us.

Mary Hayhoe

by Mary Hayhoe on Sun Sep 10, 2006 at 07:46:48 PM EST

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