I'm in a mood to vent so bear with me or skip this post if you don't want to hear some finely tuned griping. It's old and it's tired to many, I readily admit, but I'm losing the ability to be patient with this current Administration.
I'm conservative through my faith, and that conservatism expresses itself in my fairly regular support--verbal, monetary, and (especially) voting--of the Republican party. For some time, I've been less than enthusiastic in my support of the GOP and lately...well...it's been positively waning.
Conventional wisdom has it that the Republicans owe their current hold on the Senate, House, and Presidency primarily to the electorate's passion around just a few issues: national security and the restoration of the judiciary being chief among them.
So what to make of the situation today, when we have to rely on unpaid, self-motivated citizens to take our immigration problem head on? When we have the majority party stymied in the judicial confirmation process by a handful of rogue Democratic senators? The GOP seems weak, even while in the majority, and is apparently incapable of achieving victory on some of the most crucial issues that they were ostensibly elected to champion.
THIS is exactly where you end up when you accept liberals in place of tried and ideologically committed conservatives. When you pull up the tent pegs and move back in order to broaden the tent, don't be surprised if a lot of strangers show up to the party. My beef is that I foresaw this happening miles away.
Think about it: when you abandon conservatives like Pat Toomey, Brett Schundler, and Tom McClintock, either through lack of strong support (Brett Schundler in NJ) or through decisive support of their moderate Republican challengers (Schundler and McClintock), you end up with wishy-washy or downright contrary senators, congressmen, or governors who can't be depended upon to stand up for core Republican platform planks.
It makes governing when the majority is slim incredibly trying because the actual power wielders in the party become the moderates. In an overwhelming majority, the few moderates in the party are marginalized; their votes are not as crucial to the success of a given agenda issue because the majority is solid without them. Contrariwise, when the majority is slim every vote counts and the power of moderates consequently increases dramatically. Their votes are needed and needed badly to win. In the Senate today, at the very moment when the least amount of equivocation can be tolerated, the party finds itself captive to a handful of senators who can effectively stop any progress on judicial nominations cold. Strategically, it seems like an incredibly backward and counterproductive move to place your greatest stress on your least reliable and weakest members.
In my "regular joe" analysis, this is exactly what the GOP has done in 2005.
This is Part I of a series of posts on this extended topic. I'll pick up again tomorrow...
Apparently the talk-about-the-Pope-get-smacked-down thing is catching all over "Christendom." Word from LaShawn Barber and Wittenberg Gate is that an Evangelical talk show host/pastor Marty Minto was fired from his radio program for articulating a position that said that the Pope might not be going to heaven. Additionally, he spent about a week of his radio program examining Catholic doctrine. The Pittsburgh-Tribune Review reports that,
During the week in which the news was dominated by the death and funeral of the pope, Minto discussed with callers John Paul II's deep devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Catholic beliefs, such as purgatory.
"I made it clear that the discussion was not an attack on the character of the pope but, rather, a look at the teachings -- not only of John Paul, but the Catholic Church in general," Minto said.
Minto said he responded to a question about whether the pope would go to heaven with the belief held by many evangelical Christians that a person must be "a born-again believer."
"I said the question of whether a person is born again is something personal, something between an individual and the Creator," Minto said. "I believe it was a legitimate topic to discuss."
After his week of discussion on his program, he was called into the management office of this Christian radio station and let go after 3 years of broadcasting because he was "alienating listeners."
Chuck Gratner, general manager of WORD-FM for the past 14 years, said the station does not dispute Minto's account of events.
"We ended our relationship" with him because of differences in how he conducted his show, Gratner said.
"WORD-FM needs to function in this city in support of the entire church -- that means everybody -- and not focus on denominational issues," he said.
I can't imagine what would happen if he hadn't been working for a Christian radio station.
Incidentally, WORD-FM is owned by Salem Communications, who owns Salem Radio, the same station that Southern Baptist theologian Dr. Albert Mohler is on. Dr. Mohler's show is
"...a one-hour talk show hosted every weekday by Dr. R. Albert Mohler. The show is devoted to engaging contemporary culture with the biblical truth".
The Protestant rejection of the papacy was no small matter, though some liberal Protestants and careless evangelicals seem to have forgotten why. Beyond this, the papacy is inextricably linked to the structure of Catholic theology and the superstructure of truth claims, practices, and doctrines that constitute Catholicism. Evangelical Christians simply cannot accept the legitimacy of the papacy and must resist and reject claims of papal authority. To do otherwise would be to compromise biblical truth and reverse the Reformation. With the death of John Paul II, evangelicals are confronted with a sensitive question: Can we recognize genuine virtues in a man who for over a quarter of a century held an office we must expressly reject?
We should be unembarrassed and unhesitant to declare our admiration for John Paul II's courageous stand against Communism, his bold defense of human dignity and human life, and his robust and substantial defense of truth in the face of postmodernism. In many of the great battles of our day, evangelicals found John Paul II to be a key ally. This was especially true with the crucial issues of abortion and euthanasia. With bold strokes and a clear voice, this pope defended human life from the moment of conception until natural death. In his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (1995), he argued for an implacable opposition to what he called the "culture of death"--an age that would increasingly embrace death rather than life and forfeit human dignity on the altar of human autonomy and individual rights.
In Veritatis Splendor (1993), John Paul argued that the modern concept of freedom as unrestrained human liberty would lead to the destruction of Christian ethics and the undermining of all authority. In this powerful statement, the pope defended the very nature of truth against postmodern denials and a culture increasingly attracted to moral relativism.
Even so, we must also recognize that John Paul II also represented the most troubling aspects of Roman Catholicism. He defended and continued the theological directions set loose at the Second Vatican Council. Even as he consolidated authority in the Vatican and disciplined wayward priests and theologians, he never confronted the most pressing issues of evangelical concern.
Even in his most recent book, released in the United States just days before his death, John Paul II continued to define the work of Christ as that which is added to human effort. Like the church he served, John Paul II rejected justification by faith. Beyond this, he rejected the biblical doctrine of hell, embraced inclusivism, and promoted an extreme form of Marian devotion, referring to Mary as "Co-Redemptrix," "Mediatrix," and "Mother of all Graces."
In the end, evangelicals should be thankful for the personal virtues Pope John Paul II demonstrated, and for his advocacy on behalf of life, liberty, and human dignity. Yet we cannot ignore the institution of the papacy itself, nor the complex of doctrines, truth claims, and false doctrines that John Paul II taught, defended, and promulgated. As Roman Catholics mourn the passing of the pope, we should take care to respond with both compassion and conviction, fulfilling our own responsibility to take the measure of this man and his legacy.
I'm baffled. Confused. Befuddled. What IS it with the new drive for everyone to get along at the expense of what you hold dear? This recent dust up over Jeff's comments about Protestants who seem to hold an unusually tender connection to the Pope is just one example that has me scratching my head.
I was raised Catholic well up into teen-hood and, call me crazy, but it seemed then, and it seems now, that there were real and substantive differences theologically between the two religions that explained why one was named "Catholic" and the other "Protestant." Nowadays it seems Protestants are supposed somehow beholden to the "Holy Father" as a great influence in their faith. To say otherwise is to be indulging in "shameful" behavior.
Looking over at the Republican goat rope in the Senate, I see similar confusion as to who is on what side. On the one hand, we have a party that is committed to cultural and hence national suicide: destruction of the family through redefinition of marriage; the destruction of human life through abortion; the dissolution of any kind of national character or identity through unchecked immigration; surrender of national sovereignty to unaccountable, unelected institutions whether it is the UN on a global level or the judiciary within the US. On the other hand, we have the GOP, who supposedly stand toe-to-toe in disagreement with their Senate colleagues across the chamber. In all these extremely important issues, the conservative position and the liberal position (read: Republican vs. Democrat) are poles apart. And yet, I continuously hear talk about working with "our friends" across the aisle, even as "our friends" continue to pull out all stops in an attempt to obstruct EVERYTHING this administration attempts to do.
I'm hungry for a time when people can differ honestly and passionately. We should be respectful, for sure. I'm not here to lend my support to disrespectful and hateful actions or attitudes (like the incident recently where someone spit in Jane Fonda's face), but we must not confuse respect for agreement. I'm not Catholic for what I consider to be strong and substantive BIBLICAL reasons, "soul serious" reasons. Likewise, because of my faith, I tend to be what is nowadays known as conservative, which puts me apart from and in opposition to, the liberal position.
If you disagree with me, that's fine; that's the nature of life in this world. But don't label me a crank or my positions untenable solely on the basis of the simple fact that I disagree with you. The ultimate goal is for the Truth to triumph, not for us all to shake hands and settle for a cheap attempt at comity at the expense of what we believe. I agree with Dennis Prager when he says, "I'd rather have clarity than agreement." True that.
Standing for what you understand to be right has consequences, one of which is that it will sometimes put you in opposition to what some, even the majority, think is right. That doesn't automatically make me somehow lesser; it just means I'm taking a stand.
I know and I apologize! It's much too long to get into but all kinds of things have been going on on the home front that have just made it difficult to get something of interest or substance on the site. Add to that that the Terri Schiavo case really hit both Jeff and I quite hard. We were really and truly speechless that things happened as they did. It sent us both into a tailspin of sorts.
Our promise to you, though, is that we won't leave for such a long time without a notice as to what's going on. We're back and bolder than ever!