Tuesday, February 20, 2007

McCain Talks

Don't be so easily fooled by this guy either. Kudos to him for his service in Vietnam - what he endured there as a POW was far worse than anything I encountered in Iraq or Afghanistan. That point being accepted and set aside.

It seems he has come to SC to court conservative Christians.

WLTX- The Arizona senator returned to South Carolina Sunday to try to build support among Christian conservatives for his presidential bid.

The voters in that group can sway the state's first-in-the-South G-O-P presidential primary.

McCain campaigned at a hot dog social then was heading to an evening rally promoting an abstinence program for teenagers in Spartanburg.

If any conservative Christian in South Carolina really believes that there is a conservative Christian trying for either the Republican or Democratic nomination please contact me - I have some land I want you to look at. (You might argue Tancrendo but that remains to be seen)

Do these people just think we are fools or worse still are we fools? There is not a dimes worth of difference in either party, they are different sides to the same coin. Sure one wants to spend your money here and expand government there while the other has slightly different ideas - but in principle they are the same. They both want bigger government and more control.

Think it not true? Just name real downsizing of government that has ever occurred under Republican leadership. Name one important and permanent thing (i.e. culture) that has been protected or preserved under Republican leadership. You cannot, they talk the talk but conservatives they are not.

It is high time conservative Christians actually came to understand this. Stop being the patsies and fools for liars and thieves.

That Loud-Mouthed Woman

That woman, you know the one - she wears those big britches, talks loud and funny and is married to that philander - seems she recently came down to our state with stupid things to say and money to buy votes.

WRAL-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday denied that her campaign traded money for an endorsement from one of South Carolina's most influential black politicians.

Yes we certainly believe you, after all, $10,000 for "consulting" work would not influence me either (actually it really wouldn't but that is not the point)

And of course she had to take the obligatory stab at our flag flying on the statehouse grounds.

AHN - U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) says the state of South Carolina should remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse, to help unite the country and stop dividing it between those who see the flag as a relic of slavery, and those who see it as an integral part of their state's history.

Another damned yankee come down to tell us what to do. The only people that divide anybody over this issue are those that do not know history or that have nefarious motives, i.e. race-baiting.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Will The Real South Carolinians Stand Up?

In my last post I established that it is impossible for a Christian to disagree with the "mere Christian" statement of faith espoused by Christian Exodus. In point of fact almost all of the Christian congregations and all of the historic Christian congregations in South Carolina have as part of their statement of faith each of the points listed on the CE organizational website.

Disagreement, while disguised in false terms such as "sect", really boils down to a difference of opinion over politics. Some make protestations related to questions related to if Christians should band together at all in an attempt to effect political change. These arguments too are false; if a Christian is allowed Biblically to vote then certainly they are allowed to fully participate in the political process, up to and including forming political parties and influencing the activities of existing parties.

So then, why are some pastors apparently unwilling to support a notion such as Christian Exodus? Could it be that they are truly unwilling to face the evil that surrounds us in the world? Is it possible that making commentary on the state of affairs in our world might perhaps hurt membership at their mega-church. Indeed it could, rocking the boat is never a popular activity in the beginning.

Let's look at the historic viewpoint of South Carolina Christians in this regard. I am not speaking of first of second generation transplants, I speak of the historic communities and their attitude toward government, morality and the role of natural law in public affairs. I wonder if we truly consider the values that these learned men and outspoken pastors proclaim mesh well with what we in South Carolina as a majority have always held to be truth.

South Carolinians have always been tolerant of a man living his life as he saw fit, within the bounds of moral public behavior. We have accepted Blue Laws that close down most stores on Sunday, not as an effort to force people to attend church but out of respect God who gave us government and liberty. We have accepted that liquor stores ought to close early in the evening, not to stop people from drinking but to prevent public drunkenness and disorder. We have always accepted that strip clubs and bars of ill-repute should be limited in their visibility, not because we think we can force people not to visit such places but because we do not wish a society where such things are prominent.

We have always valued family and community more than loyalty to some distant and remote entity. We have always respected the property rights of another man and stood on the notion that a man ought to provide for his family, that the government (particularly the Federal government) has little business in most aspects of our lives.

Have we changed so much? Do we really not believe these things to be true any longer? Do these things not serve in some small way to define us? Have we sold out completely to modernism and secularism?

I travel the state extensively whenever I am home. I have friends in several small towns. I simply do not believe that in those places we have changed that much. To those more concerned with figuring out how to convince some new industry to move to the state, or how to get the government to build a bridge or road to enhance their property value such simple and naive concepts as tradition and culture probably do not matter much.

I say that there is something profoundly special about being unique, standing by principles and living in accordance to a code of behavior. The things that have always made us a great people are the very things we seem so willing to abandon, all in the name of progress.

Progress can occur with principles intact. I suppose that is exactly what scares people so much about Christian Exodus. This group latched onto South Carolina because of our history and the culture is extant in the small places. Perhaps they were foolish enough to believe that we still cared about the important things. They have not moved to our state to take over or to bring a foreign notion of culture to our home. They came to join us, how foolish of them. They did not know that so many of South Carolina's sons and daughters had long since abandoned the heritage of liberty, morality and civility that our ancestors bequeathed to us.

There are enough of us still out there that cling to the principles our parents taught us. There are still enough good people in the state that know right from wrong. We know that things at the national and the state level are simply not right. We have the opportunity, in our lifetime to take back some of our culture. We can restore our local governments to the right path. We can reestablish the society in which we grew-up, let the rest of the world go as it will. In our homes, in our towns and out counties we can live free and morally.

If you are one of those declining few that still understand the special circumstance of being a son or daughter of the Palmetto State I challenge you to reconsider your apathy toward actually changing things, reconsider your blind acceptance of everything corrupt politicians tell you, consider that our government is ours for the making. We can work together to set the course right.

Christian Exodus Is Not a Sect

My Fellow South Carolinians,

I invite you to consider for a moment the recent disparagement of Christian Exodus within the pages of our local papers and on our local radio talk shows.

I will admit, the idea seems radical, and on the face of it the notion seems dangerous. Dangerous if we accept the secular hobgoblins we are presented.

Let us address those hobgoblins - the idea that this is some perversion of our Christian Religion into a political movement hell-bent on establishing a tyrannical theocracy complete with the reintroduction of the burnings at the stake.

The description of Christian Exodus as a "Christian sect" or any other such similar term is patently false. Consider for a moment the analogy presented first by C.S. Lewis of the hallway with doors. He described "Mere Christianity" as extant within that hallway; his description of the term included all of the basic tenets required to comprise mere Christianity. In his description, denominations branch off from the hallway and diverge into more dogmatic theology, but Christianity cannot exist without a connection and adherence to mere Christianity.

Lewis did not endeavor to elaborate on ecclesiology, that is the realm of the space behind the doors along the hallway he describes. He does go to great length to establish that to exist within the hallway a Christian must accept that Natural Law is real, and focuses his definition of Mere Christianity on "the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times". These beliefs, uncolored by man-made dogma and edicts are essentially the Christianity of those that followed Jesus and those that worshipped in the early church. Lewis' definition did not advocate a return to such simplicity, rather he stated that Christianity is simpler than our Churches have defined it.

Would any of us deny that Mere Christianity must have existed before the Church? The Apostles had Mere Christianity before they went off to fulfill their charges. No matter how adamant we might be about our own particular style of worship, the belief system of our denomination or our definition of various points of ecclesiology would we deny that there is a possibility that there are other Christians other than the ones' we worship with on Sunday morning? I hope this is not the case.

Christian Exodus cannot be a sect because its own statement of faith is extant within many of the doorways leading off of Lewis' hallway. Read them for yourself. There is nothing of a distinct sect within a belief in the trinity, the full deity/humanity of Christ, the fall of Man, The Substitutionary Atonement and Bodily Resurrection of Christ, Salvation by Faith Alone in Christ Alone, The Physical Return of Christ or The Authority and Inerrancy of Scripture.

In fact, if one were to exclude the inerrancy of the Scripture portion (a point that was not applicable to the earliest Christians) these points comprise the tenets of Mere Christianity. This is what the early church believed and this is generally accepted as "the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times."

Who then can righteously argue that the brand of Christianity held out by Christian Exodus is that of a sect? In fact the CE statement of faith is less a statement of dogma and more a tent under which all real Christians can agree to stand. CE is a political, not a religious organization and as such it does not desire to advocate a particular dogmatic stance. It seeks political change.

Nobody can make these points if they stand within Lewis' hallway or behind one of the doors leading off that common ground. The contention people really have with Christian Exodus cannot be with their position statement on Christianity or the notion that this group wishes to establish some new form of Christianity via political means. Contention comes in the shape and form of the groups intention.

Nobody, in America, would deny any number of like minded groups the right to cooperate and collaborate. Our very system of government demands the right to free association. We see this all around us, secular groups cooperate all the time. Who complains that a secular group is trying to "take over" government when they form political associations - beyond a few brave pastors?

Do we honestly believe that a group that sees human reason and secular values as more worthy to self-associate and cooperate than a group that merely wishes to vote and act according to Natural Law? Our political parties owe no allegiance to any principle other than pragmatism - is this principle better or more noble than adherence to Christian morality and values.

Many proclaim that Christians are to be just good citizens and participants in the governments of the world. Those that hold this view fail to fully explain just what they mean. Should we vote? If so who should we vote for? Should we refrain from voting for candidates that proclaim that they are Christians that will seek the guidance of God? Perhaps voting for such people would be pushing our beliefs too far. Why would a person say it is ok to actually vote but then say it is not ok to cooperate in the political process? Why is voting for someone that enacts laws ok but it is not ok to vote for people that will enact specific laws? Do you see the logical fallacy of such arguments? We are either a part of the political process, with all of the rights and privileges of every other group or we are not. Why should we self-restrict ourselves from participation. The phase "I see no Biblical justification" for this is often used, the people uttering such phrases never bother to offer Biblical justification for Christians self-restricting ourselves from influencing the process.

This sort of thinking would make us all patsies to a system we have decided to only partially participate in. Our own Declaration of Independence acknowledges that nations and governments exercise just power and legitimacy from God. Our own SC Constitution recognizes God as the provider of our liberties and for the ordination of our form of government. If we actually mean those words, then God has provided us with a representative republican democracy; if we then choose to not utilize the systems he has provided then the shame is upon our own foolishness.

Enough of all of this disparagement and nay-saying regarding the Christian nature of Christian Exodus. It is in fact a "Mere Christian" political organization. Some people in South Carolina may disagree with the political motives, but no Christian can righteously disagree with the statement of faith.

More to come soon on the political aspect of this group.

El Cid

Saturday, February 17, 2007

History Ought Not Be Forgotten

Lest we forget, read Paul C.'s words-

No, this post is not about the war in Iraq, but it could be. All acts of aggression against a sovereign people might be described thus. (read on)

In Defense of Christian Exodus

Heidi Cenac wrote a piece in the 10 February Anderson Independent that simply must be repudiated. Read the entire thing and then come back for analysis.

The story begins "objectively" enough -

Some people read the Bible and some people use the Bible.

This is of course a true statement but it is an odd way to begin a fact based article.

Local ministers and religious experts are concerned that Christian Exodus might be the latter.

This would imply that all or most local ministers and religious experts share this view. I wonder if Heidi asked all or most of these people after they were fully informed of what Christian Exodus is all about and what they really envision for government in South Carolina. I doubt that she did because I doubt that most ministers in Anderson fully understand these things right now. Any opinions they could possibly express would be based an upon incomplete understanding of the facts.

As an example of the ignorant views she solicited we have -

Tom Ritchie, pastor at Young Memorial Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, said he has difficulty finding scripture that suggests Christians should take over government.

This is an ignorant response because Ritchie is suggesting that CE desires to take over, that phase implies some tactic other that the utilization of legal precedents. It is a strong term, it connotes negativity. If we applied the term, as used in Ritchie's response, any time one political party achieves a majority we might say that they have "taken over". In reality all Christian Exodus seeks to achieve is a majority in the various law-making bodies. The application of the phrase "take over" is better applied to a coup, something outside of normal legal channels; this is not why CE stands for. He continues:

“I think it’s pretty tragic and pretty frightening stuff,” he said. “If the people of Anderson allow it to happen, we probably get what we deserve.”

So according to Ritchie, if a majority of Christians in Anderson elect lawmakers that observe natural law and respect liberty then the county will get what it deserves. I must question what alternative Ritchie would propose? Would he rather see agnostic, atheist and heathen lawmakers legislating based on secular values? Does he propose that this is a better alternative?

What is truly frightening is the notion that anyone that seeks higher guidance in lawmaking is somehow inferior to someone that relies entirely on human reasoning.

And of course then there is Dan Olinger from Bob Jones -

Those in conservative Christian circles are worried about Christian Exodus’ implication that the church should use the power of the state to enforce biblical morality, said Dan Olinger, a professor in the seminary at Bob Jones University in Greenville.

“We want to be good citizens and participants, but we’re not really interested in using the iron fist of the law to compel people to everything Christians should do,” Mr. Olinger said

Here again we find someone answering a question unrelated to the issue at hand. Ms. Cenac never even attempts to establish that CE desires to "do anything like compel people to do everything Christians do." Why then print a response to an unproven accusation? By printing this response the article implies that it is a known fact that CE does wish to impose some sort of theocracy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But let us take Mr. Olinger to task for his statement all the same. A careful review of history clearly demonstrates that for most of American history and all of Western history morality has indeed been regulated by law. It is true that we have ever so slowly slipped from an adherence to natural law to secular law. This fact alone does not make the trend a correct course of action.

The preamble of our own Constitution recognizes the fact that man alone is not supreme. We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

One wonders how we could be grateful on one hand but disobedient on the other. Mr. Olinger suggest that Christians should be mere participants in what ever happens. But if we take his own words, "good citizens and participants", is it not logical that voting, and maybe even voting together for Christian leaders, is not reasonable?

Let's just break this entire thing down. Christian Exodus is nothing more than a group that intends to build a voting bloc. The method is unique in the American but not solely so - it has been done before (successfully in Kansas). Critics make large deal of the fact that CE wishes to return the county and state to a legislative stance closer natural law. People act as if this is something new, or perhaps something old that was tried and failed.

The questions that any Christian in South Carolina ought to seriously ask themselves is this.

  1. Will there children be better off in a secular or Christian society?
  2. Is society really better off without some constraints on morality?
  3. Who better to make laws, a Christian or a secularist?
  4. Who better to vote with, Christians or secularist?