US Politics and Christianity

In Citizen Tom’s blog, he wrote a post entitled “Three Things You Probably Don’t Know about Islam.” In the discussion that followed, Citizen Tom wrote:

What makes the Bible different is that it promotes freedom of religion. Jesus told us to render unto Caesar what Caesar’s and God what is God’s. The Bible says that what we each believe about God is a personal responsibility. Those on a quest for power hate that, of course. That’s why Christianity is so unpopular with power-hungry politicians.

One of his few regular antagonists showed up to complain.

Scout is perplexed

The commenter “scout” (who appears elsewhere as “novascout”) wrote:

Your last sentence perplexes me, Tom. In this country, Christianity is very popular with politicians. You can hardly swing a cat at any level of government without find a bunch of pols trying to out-Christian one another. Stated obversely, one can hardly ever find a pol running on a platform that attacks Christianity.

I was amused by this, but hardly surprised. This commenter pretends to be a Christian of deep faith and a Constitutional conservative. He may actually be both of those things, but his writings are those of a pretender, who dons the mantle in order to gain a better position for attack. He may be playing a multi-layered game, and really be sincere after all, but the damage he tries to do would remain.

So I replied in Citizen Tom’s thread to Scout:

And yet on other forums you have pretended to be from the United States. Where are you located, really? Just so that the circumstances in the US can be compared to the “this country” you refer to.

Citizen Tom lives in the United States, as I do. Here, the chief “pol” as you put it is Barack Obama, the president, who is actively campaigning based in part on an attack on Christianity. Democrats, in general but including the president, make frequent reference to a “war on Women” driven by “the religious right” who are “religious extremists.”

Religious?

By “religious,” of course, these folks mean “Christian.” Other than Christianity and Judaism, both despised by many leftist politicians here, “religion” in the form of Islam is protected. The administration has organized Muslim Brotherhood consulting groups to make certain that US government/military materials make no derogatory references to Islam, whether or not such references are factual or important to our national defense.

Instead, the Obama administration has undertaken to inject warnings about Christianity into these materials, describing Christians as “religious extremists” who are dangerous to the country. There are a few references left to jihadists (though never using that word, banned as “offensive” because of complaints from jihadists), but these leftover references are being blended in to the point where the uninitiated might think they were Christian, following the general line of hostility to Christianity in politics here.

Sops to Christianity

Since most of the American citizenry remains Christian, there are certain sops to Christianity tossed in even on a few leftist speeches. So far, Obama ends his larger speeches still with “God bless America,” though it sounds odd coming from him considering the rest of the content of those same speeches.

Obama rather famously has a long history of omitting references to God when quoting America’s formative documents, from the Declaration of Independence to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address where he used an interim version (not the one hanging in the White House) just to avoid referring to God.

The occasional toss out of “God bless America” is enough to keep many in the public happy. But the politicians here are transparent enough. You might recall the Democrats voting to remove God from the Democratic party platform — a vote which evolved only through frantic public relations, as they realized the impact of being quite so open about it.

How about the right?

Even people who are known to be deeply Christian — Ted Cruz comes to mind — do not hammer on religion in speeches. In one famous speech in October, for example, Cruz refers to God one time himself: “Apparently, chaplains are not supposed to be talking about God” (when noting that the administration was punishing a chaplain for posting the phrase “there are no atheists in foxholes”).

In his speech, Cruz quotes from a letter (complaining about politicians attacks on Christianity) in which the correspondent mentions God. He later quotes a phrase from Ecclesiastes (“there is nothing new under the sun”). And ultimately closes with “God bless America.”  That’s it, in a long speech.

Losing history

I live in the United States, where cities and counties all across the country are being challenged by hundreds of lawsuits and threatened suits to remove every trace of Christianity from their official seals, stationary, practices, and public lands. This is “working” in the sense that the changes are occurring now usually with little resistance. We have entire organizations receiving federal and state grants that were set up simply to pursue these threats and remove Christianity from the US, in the hopes that the American people would gradually forget their history.

So, novascout, since the “no va” evidently doesn’t mean “northern Virginia,” what country are you taking about?

Later: He still insists that US politicians including Obama flaunt their Christianity:

I’ve seen no indication that Christianity is in any way a scarce commodity among politicians, at least in the shallow sense of being invoked as a campaign aid. Of all the world’s religions, Christianity seems to be enjoying a fairly good run in terms of pols thinking that it enhances their chances to be perceived as practising Christians. That generalization (and I acknowledge that it is a generalization) runs fairly true from the President on down through Congress to statewide and local elections.

The media/government bureaucrats/other Democrats’ constant attacks upon the “Christian” Right as “extremists” because of their religion do not register with this fellow, as he evidently agrees with them. I think that a dispassionate observer would find references to Christianity relatively rare in campaign advertisements.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Citizen Tom

    Thanks for the honor of link and a quote. Very kind of you.

    I honestly don’t know what to make of scout. His persistence and consistency amazes me. He has commented over 200 times. If he is a fake, he is good at faking.

    Other than sarcasm (I get worst from my siblings.), he is not otherwise unpleasant. So I don’t classify him as a troll. Therefore, if he wants to use me as a foil for his commentary, I am happy to return the favor.

    You used an expression that I think deserves some contemplation: “dispassionate observer.” When it comes to politics and religion, many people are apathetic, but very few are dispassionate. It is almost impossible for any of us to approach either subject objectively. The best we can do is to honestly appraise what we know. That I think requires requires a rare virtue, humility.

    Anyway, scout replied to your last comment. If you enjoy verbal jousting (scout apparently does, BTW), scout seems happy to let you pace yourself. I guess he is a busy man too.

    Thanks again.