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Election night did not go the way most evangelicals wanted. President Obama's reelection, losses by social conservative candidates in red states, and outcomes of four same-sex marriage ballot initiatives are all causing some evangelical leaders ...

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Displaying 1–79 of 79 comments

Jon Trott

December 08, 2012  11:18am

And back to the topic of the article... I'm still waiting for someone involved with Evangelical politics on the Right to come out and say bluntly, "We were WRONG to suggest that our political views were synonymous with so-called 'biblical values.' We admit that some liberal, even some so-called 'socialist' ideas, have biblically defensible features to them. And we're wrong to ignore the bible's continual bias toward the very poor. We're also wrong -- there's no real biblical defense for what we've done here -- to suggest that the government has no role in aiding the poor." I know. It will never happen. But wouldn't it be sweet if it could? Sigh.

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Jon Trott

December 08, 2012  11:08am

Alinksky Alinsky. Sheesh. If you're gonna keep going with literary uses of Satan as admirable rebel, why go Alinksy when Mark Twain did such a better job of it! His unfinished and extremely dark "The Mysterious Stranger" exploits Satan fully in this regard (two or three different versions of the story exist). Then there's his "Letters from the Earth." Plenty for the Christian to object to in both works, and plenty to ponder (because we Christians really are ridiculous creatures much of the time and ought to cultivate the humility to admit as much). But of course Twain wasn't political, and Alinsky's one sentence or so on Satan makes his politics easier to assassinate with a few words. I think Twain would have made some great humor at our expense if he saw this little interchange.

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Paul Schryba

December 08, 2012  12:06am

J Thomas: I choose to neither confirm nor deny what you state my beliefs to be. Whether Saul Alinsky's methods and beliefs are of God is certainly a subject for TRUTHFUL, HONEST, HUMBLE, and CHARITABLE discussion in the church. What is a greater threat to the Christian church than Saul Alinsky and his methods are the group of Christians who are blind to their own faults and condemn others (humility) and fail to seek to understand others first and seek the good in them (truth and charity). I do not believe that the Bible supports fully either conservative or liberal political viewpoints (the subject of this article); for Christians to fail to seek to understand, to have charity towards Christians who have differing political viewpoints; who turn what should be a charitable, humble discussion into a win/lose debate; that is to sow discord among believers, and according to your own beliefs, is that not 'of Satan?'

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J Thomas

December 07, 2012  5:01pm

Good, I'm glad to hear that you believe what is in the Bible about Lucifer. If you believe that the Great Accuser, the "Prince of this World", is an ever-present danger to the eternal life of people who have not received the ultimate grace from God, and a limiting factor on the work that we allow God to do through us, then you should agree that glorifying Lucifer and his rebellion against God that has resulted in the eternal damnation of scores of creatures in God's creation is not just irresponsible, but it is downright sinful. Not only is it irresponsible and sinful, but it evokes an open door in the minds of the lost for Satan to walk right through as the valiant hero that Alinsky presents him as to confuse and attack them. It's not only his outright idolatry of Satan that should concern believers. It is also the nature of his political strategy, which directly mimics the behavior of Satan. I am speaking of specific things here. We should surely discuss them within the church.

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Paul Schryba

December 06, 2012  7:41am

J Thomas: Satan is the 'accuser'; the Prince of this world; of lies (and exaggerations and distortions); who seeks to sow discord among believers. "12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:12-14 KJV Each of us is responsible to God for what we have written, and what we have sown. Were we honest? did we exaggerate? Did we seek to cast stones at our neighbor, while ignoring our sins? Is what we said born from humility, love and truth? Let us go over what we have written, pray about this awhile, and then perhaps we can discuss what my 'beliefs' are.

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J Thomas

December 06, 2012  12:51am

Paul, do you believe that Satan exists?

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Paul Schryba

December 05, 2012  10:23pm

J Thomas: I do not respond to demands as to what I believe. Your opinions of Alinsky and blanket condemnation, are not shared by others who are less partisan, both liberal and conservative. "As for any 'conservatives' use of Alinsky's tactics, I agree." Then you immediately go back to attacking 'liberals', turning a blind eye to conservative failings. Matthew 7:3 - Philippians 2:3 - Colossians 3: 12-13

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J Thomas

December 05, 2012  12:36pm

As for any 'conservatives' use of Alinsky's tactics, I agree. They should absolutely be condemned in the church for depending on evil behavior to accomplish political goals. However, the left has institutionalized Alinskyism. Hillary Clinton wrote her doctoral dissertation on Alinksy and Obama taught Alinskyism at the University of Chicago. Alinskyism advocates abhorrent behavior and blasphemy. I propose that Alinskyism can be tied directly to the division and rancor in American society today. How about we give it some thought instead of dismissing it whole cloth because it makes us question our political allegiances. If you do not believe in Satan, then say so. Lets bring this into the light.

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J Thomas

December 05, 2012  12:23pm

Paul, I put the main quote right there for you to see. I did not call him a satanist, I pointed out his praise of Satan and the idolatry of Satan found there. That's more than enough to conclude that the man is someone that Christians need to inform others about and be wary about. That doesn't even begin to get to the meat of Alinsky, though. His "Rules for Radicals" are lessons in evil behavior for the sake of gaining power. He plied his trade at the feet of the Chicago mafia. Maybe that's where he learned to think its okay to glorify Satan.

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Paul Schryba

December 05, 2012  10:23am

J Thomas: 'Alinksy's satanism' is a product of your own making and a distortion of Alinsky's thought. I gave some quotes from Alinsky to show more of his thought. I will not renounce something that is of your own imagining. I refer to the earlier posts by Philip True and Jon Trott directed to you. The Alinsky quote you refer to was not a theological statement, but one of 'history/legend/myth' and it came AFTER references to Rabbi Hillel and Thomas Paine. The key being his use of the word 'establishment'. He can be painted as a 'secular humanist', but not a 'satanist' (though you are entitled to believe anything you want). It is you who create a 'straw man' and then knock it down. YOU CONTINUE TO IGNORE THAT CONSERVATIVES USE ALINSKY'S 'EVIL' METHODS AS WELL. This article is about the need to get away from equating Christian faith with one particular brand of politics and not about Saul Alinsky. We should return to the subject.

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J Thomas

December 05, 2012  2:11am

Alinsky is saying with that quote, that Lucifer's lust for power to overthrow God is something to be praised and imitated. He chooses Satan's bellicose lust for power as his prime example rather than Jesus' example. It's clear. Alinsky was overtaken by evil. His tactics are full of evil behavior that a Christian can look at and discern with the spirit that they are not of God, but are directly opposed to the Holy Spirit.. He propagated evil that has infected many politicians who use his tactics. Alinsky is orthodoxy for leftists. It's a problem.

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J Thomas

December 05, 2012  2:07am

Paul, you cannot denounce the idolatry of Satan found explicitly and implicitly in Alinsky's work? Why do you continue to avoid the question? Instead of denouncing Alinsky's Satanic idolatry, you are trying pettifog the issue. You conveniently left out the quote that is most important to the discussion about Alinsky's Satanism. Here it is, the dedication of his most influential book Rules for Radicals: "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer". The aforementioned quote is literally the first page in his book.

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Paul Schryba

December 04, 2012  5:39pm

“Curiosity and irreverence go together. Curiosity cannot exist without the other. Curiosity asks, "Is this true?" "Just because this has always been the way, is the best or right way of life, the best or right religion, political or economic value, morality?" To the questioner, nothing is sacred. He detests dogma, defies any finite definition of morality, rebels against any repression of a free, open search of ideas no matter where they may lead. He is challenging, insulting, agitating, discrediting. He stirs unrest.” ― Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals [http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/59314.Saul_D_Alinsky] Alinsky may have been an atheist or agnostic- Ayn Rand was an atheist- but he doesn't appear to have been a Satanist.

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Paul Schryba

December 04, 2012  5:28pm

“The human spirit glows from that small inner light of doubt whether we are right, while those who believe with certainty that they possess the right are dark inside and darken the world outside with cruelty, pain, and injustice.” ― Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/59314.Saul_D_Alinsky “My only fixed truth is a belief in people, a conviction that if people have the opportunity to act freely and the power to control their own destinies, they’ll generally reach the right decisions.” – Saul Alinsky to Playboy, 1972 http://billmoyers.com/content/who-is-saul-alinsky/

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J Thomas

December 03, 2012  10:18pm

Here's a simple question that should have a simple answer, folks: Do you denounce Saul Alinsky's Satanic idolatry? Its simple.

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Jon Hakim

December 03, 2012  10:17pm

I want to hear why Tobin Grant thinks it's okay to consistently use the term "evanglicals" while saying things that only apply to White evangelicals. In his previous articles, he didn't even distinguish that he was using the statistics for White evangelicals while claiming that he was referring to all evangelicals. At least in this article he noted that including non-White evangelicals changes the numbers significantly. But still, all non-White evangelicals get is that one sentence mention that basically dismisses how different their political views are. If including non-White evangelicals shifts the total Romney support numbers from 84% all the way down to 65%, doesn't that imply that non-White evangelicals voted HEAVILY against Romney? A little bit of math applied to Tobin's numbers shows 81% non-White evangelical support AGAINST Romney. Why is it that Tobin feels that the fact that the evangelical support for Romney is ONLY White evangelical support can consistently be ignored

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Paul Schryba

December 01, 2012  9:18am

J Thomas: Why are you ignoring the effect of atheist Ayn Rand on Paul Ryan, the Republican VP nominee under Romney? If according to you, liberals should renounce Alinsky, shouldn't political conservatives renounce Rand as well and her own brand of 'secular humanism'? And what about the Tea Party? Freedom Works, a tea party group, trains its organizers using Alinsky. (see- http://www.freedomworks.org/news/albanys-freedomworks-manager-trains-group) In both cases (Rand and Alinsky), one can use things from people without buying into the whole package. Guilt by association is not 'truth'. I agree with Philip's last post.

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Philip True

December 01, 2012  8:03am

J. Thomas...If Jim Wallis is a communist, then it suggests you believe anyone left of your political viewpoints is suspect. The Rev. Wallis is obviously liberal as most define liberal nowadays, but being liberal--that is, following the teachings of Jesus to help those in need, to care for the poor, to bind up the wounds of those who are hurt--is hardly the same as believing absolute state control of the economy, culture, and expression of views, and imprisoning those who disagree. As stated before, whatever your definition of communism and a communist is, it does not seem from what you've said to be based on standard of reality. Furthermore, I once more agree with Jon Trott's analysis that you have somehow taken too literally some of Alinksy's Satan statements and constructed an edifice of assumptions that agrees with your particular mindset on these issue and Mr. Alinsky. A serious lack in today's America is a lack of understanding of complex issues, as in your comments..

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J Thomas

November 30, 2012  8:38pm

Jim Wallis is absolutely a communist. Go check out his 'adventures' with communist activists.

J Thomas

November 30, 2012  8:33pm

Trott, whether or not Alinsky was using Satan as a literary device is immaterial. He lifted up and glorified the name of Satan in a way that was intended to communicate how important it is to try to gain political power at any cost. That basically describes Satan's fall in a nutshell. Alinsky admires Satan for this. That's not only evil, but is downright blasphemy. It's incredible to me that Christians would every try to rationalize the idolization of Satan in any capacity. If one cannot see past partisanship to condemn the idolatry of Satan and its propagation as a major political philosophy in your political party, then I don't see leftist Christians being open to truth and light in their faith. Alinsky must be dumped and leftist Christians must publicly urge their party to dump him as well, or they will just continue to propagate the idolatry of Satan. The man literally promoted the idolatry of Satan. That's not a cartoon. Those are his words in his strategy books.

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Philip True

November 30, 2012  8:33pm

J. Thomas. I agree with John Trott's comments, and in checking your past posts I find a decided slanted view of the real world--Pres Obama and Hilary Clinton know about Alinsky's organizing rules and therefore they too are tainted by the alleged satanic views of Mr. Alinsky. Reading more, I discover you believe that Jim Wallis is a communist! As someone who spent decades understanding how communism works in China, I suggest as kindly as I can that your view of communism is a vastly distorted view, which likely means that anything that differs from your own particular world view mindset is somehow "anti-Christian" or satanic. Christians and non-Christians alike fall prey to various cognitive biases that distorts reality and promotes conspiracy. Back to the thread. Agreed that some evangelicals by tying themselves to the GOP weaken whatever influence they might have. Much needs to be done in the name of Christianity other than oppose same-sex marriage and opposition to abortion.

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Jon Trott

November 30, 2012  4:41pm

I guess Saul Alinksy (or rather the cartoonish version of him presented in some of the comments here) is more important than actually discussing what the article was discussing. Too bad. Such is the fate of all good comment threads once a few folks with a mono-focus on (say) Soren Kierkegaard's alleged alliance with the "line of despair" or Alinksy's alleged Satanism take the thread over with repeated postings that say nothing new. We hear you. We understand your perspective. Some of us don't happen to think Saul Alinsky is a Satanist. He is a guy with a probably wicked sense of the ironic, thus the devil comments he makes in a few (maybe even just one!) place/places. But as Billy Crystal says, "Have fun storming the castle!" I'm gonna go listen to some good Christmas music.

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Jim Gustafson

November 30, 2012  3:17pm

I have my answer. Most of you (not all) just want to trash left and right.

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J Thomas

November 30, 2012  9:12am

Philip, Alinsky literally glorified and idolized Satan. He advocated Hell as an alternative to Heaven. How on earth can we rationalize this as Christians? He's literally evangelizing for Satan, and asking that people imitate Satan's behavior. He has undoubtedly carried many to Hell with him. This is absolutely antithetical to Christian goals. It's very disappointing that some Christians have invited the prowling lion into their hearts simply because its politically convenient. "Well, he's using Satanic behavior to advance the cause of the poor, so its alright by me." If this is the thinking that is brewing in the American church, then there is no doubt that judgment awaits it. We ask it upon ourselves with such evil idolatry.

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Paul Schryba

November 30, 2012  2:04am

J Thomas: While we're mentioning names, Paul Ryan, a Christian conservative, has admitted being very much influenced by Ayn Rand, also an atheist. So it would seem that the leven of atheistic secular humanism has infected the Christian 'right'. Philip and Carlos, thank you for your comments.

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Philip True

November 29, 2012  8:31pm

Few people today have heard about Saul Alinsky and his ideas about organizing groups. Some of his rules seem pretty much what anyone might find useful in organizing for a cause, a petition, a perceived injustice, whether politically left, right or center. Some of his tactics are not those found in Roberts Rules of Order. Still, when one thinks of the just past political campaign, or who has knowledge of past campaigns, will recognize that fact, half-truths, falsehoods and other methods of deceit were and have been used by those seeking election. whatever their party. Two thoughts. Alinsky's primary focus was to give voice to the poor and powerless, to advance their causes to gain the attention of those in power. Is this irresponsible or to be condemned? After all, those with money and influence hire lobbyists, give money to politicians who will advance their causes, and use media--often buying the particular outlet--to promote legislation that will enrich and empower them.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 29, 2012  6:34pm

Jim Gustafson, well said! The Church is the Church and it is invincible. I once bunked with a Gustafson at Nyack College circa 1972.

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 29, 2012  6:28pm

As I read the comments I noticed a trend. Most of you seem to think that God is just an observer in the political arena. God, lest we forget, implemented a plan the first instant of creation. That plan included Heb 10:5, a human body for Christ to eradicate evil, sin, corruption in all of creation (See Daniel 9:24, Romans 8:18, and 1Cor 15:50f). History bears the imprint of the hand of God steering it in the direction He wants it to go. Our call is to proclaim Christ, stand firm, and be filled with His Spirit. As the observer that I am, I see the Gospel message unfolding, evil desperately struggling for survival, and the Cross of Christ rising over the evil one that will usurp nations, sit on the throne and proclaim himself god. Then the brilliance of the coming of Christ will put an end to evil. God is in control of history. As He says in Isaiah 46:11, 45:11, 48:11, "I planned it and I will bring it to pass."

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Carlos Ramirez Trevino

November 29, 2012  5:45pm

My contention has been that Evangelicals used to be Christians. Their unfortunate demise in the murky lake of intolerance, extremisms, and continuous feasting under the Tree of Cultural Redemptionism, is due to their failure to recognize that they are eating of the forbidden fruit. Evanpublicans have placed their trust in their insistence that Christianizing society is what is going to keep Christianity alive, as if Christianity were something to fight for. Jesus, they forget, said He would build His Church. Posting the Commandments on the courthouse steps, praying under the flag, abortion, gay rights are all meaningless CAUSES. Post first the Commandments in your heart. Pray in the home. Talk to people about Christ in the workplace. Reflect the fruits of the Spirit everywhere. That's what Followers of The Way are. Pray and seek the unity of the Church. Remove the Beam before focusing on the other's splinter. We live in a secular world infected with corruption. Seek God first, then...

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Rick Dalbey

November 29, 2012  11:48am

J Thomas, I know some will mock you and say you don't understand sophisticated literary allusions, but you are right. There is a satanic energy behind so much of the secular humanist progressive politics. And it is doubly evil when the church begins to embrace this ethos.

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J Thomas

November 28, 2012  5:25pm

Saul Alinsky, who Hillary Clinton wrote her doctoral dissertation about and whose tactics Barack Obama taught at the University of Chicago, openly advocated the political imitation of Satan. He devoted his book 'Rules for Radicals', which is a primary source for political strategy for the left, literally to Satan. He has instituted evil tactics, many of which imitate the nature of which God describes Satan in the Bible. One tactic suggest that leftists should attack their 'enemy' by using ridicule, and that it doesn't matter if the ridicule is based in reality or not. Others that mimic the nature of the "Great Accuser" include, but are not limited to " Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it", "If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside", and "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself". The guy said in public interviews that he prefers Hell over Heaven, and there's no doubt where he put himself.

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J Thomas

November 28, 2012  5:11pm

Can someone explain to me why Christians on the left have been completely silent about the fact that their party almost exclusively uses the political tactics of Saul Alinsky, a man who idolized Satan and openly promoted his rebellion against God as a tactic to be utilized as a mode of achieving power? Did you guys even know about this?

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Jon Trott

November 28, 2012  4:33pm

America's place in history is not a place we can know in any ultimate sense. What we do know is that God is not a respecter of persons and that all stand before him on the same footing. The pursuit of Christianizing Nation-States -- whether America, Britain, or [fill in the blank] -- is a foolish pursuit. The idea that such a thing is a good idea led (in America's case) to such notions as "manifest destiny" and (in South Africa's case) an even more ornately theological fascism known as apartheid. Israel may be a unique case in some respects, but also reflects the basic problem with nation-states being identified as "Christian" or "God's People." American Evangelicalism seems far less informed of these basic realities than our British cousins; N. T. Wright, for instance, has written at some length on the problems with "Empire" -- modern nation-states where military-political power is confused (even conflated) with moral power.

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Kent Schmidt

November 27, 2012  10:21pm

God cares about Americans and all people. The only regard he has for America is that it is an empire one of many empires in history. America happens to be a fairly decent one but still an empire. When push comes to shove, all empires stand against the Kingdom (Empire) of God. All empires will war against God's Kingdom for the loyalty of people. The USA is not the Kingdom of God; never has been. When our leaders pass laws that support Kingdom principles, we cheer them on. Not only is His Will being done on earth but hope is kindled in our hearts towards that glorious day when all empires will cease and His Kingdom will rule without end. In a democracy we have opportunity for input as to who will lead us. We study the scriptures to see what supports Kingdom values. For example, the prophets and Jesus opposed the sins of favoring the rich, injustice for the poor, mistreating the foreigner and much more. Too many US Christians love America more than God's Kingdom.

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Paul Schryba

November 27, 2012  7:22pm

J Thomas:???? I am neither a 'leftist' nor 'rightist', something that you seem incapable of comprehending. "Choose your political party over your brothers in faith"...so you are a Mormon, who voted for Romney? I actually voted for several parties, and I vote considering on a range of Christian issues; I voted against increased funding for weapons of mass destruction (vaporizing millions of humans through the use of nuclear weapons and killing the unborn are 'similar issues'); I voted against policies that are destructive of the creation which sustains ALL life (both environmental and energy policies); I voted against increasing baseline military spending at the expense of programs that help the poorest in our society; I voted against tax policies that benefit the wealthiest at the expense of the poor. The sum of these issues are more important than just voting against gay marriage and abortion, as they are decided by elected individuals. Individuals singly choose abortion.

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J Thomas

November 27, 2012  12:41pm

Paul, you are flailing about from straw man to straw man chasing a red herring. Abortion and nuclear weapons are not anywhere close to being similar problems. It's really not worth getting into. Why do leftists always want to change the subject? Why do leftists always choose your political party over your brothers in faith? Is it because you do not view them as your brothers in faith? Why do leftists continue to buy the lies of politicians who wish to pit them against your brothers? Why do they sop of the Saul Alinskyite enmity and animosity fueled by slander? Why has the religious left not condemned Saul Alinsky and publicly attacked the left's dependence on his political tactics and their ideological devotion to him? I mean the man idolized Satan for crying out loud!

J Thomas

November 27, 2012  12:32pm

Kent, it's quite obvious that God cares that the US exists. He cares about it and its people. I don't know how you would come to the conclusion otherwise. Will God move on from the US if it begins to move against his will? Absolutely. The question regarding that concerns how long we have been moving against his will and how far are we away from it today? Barack Obama is being called a messiah by many of his followers. How long will that kind of blasphemy be tolerated? Its up to God.

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Paul Schryba

November 27, 2012  1:59am

J Thomas: I do not place my hope in 'men'. I really don't get how you managed to come up with me making 'idols' of politicians. What I said has to do with Christians bearing witness to the Kingdom in this 'fallen' world of nation states (which includes our own). It is YOU who are trusting the 'lying' US politicians with nuclear weapons (at least more of them) by voting Republican. Or do you think all politicians are liars except Republicans? It is you who seem to place hope in the US possession of nuclear weapons. Why don't you pray over whether it is 'Christian' to incinerate millions of people? I think that spending $billions on weapons of mass destruction is not a 'red herring' and merits mention next to abortion. Individuals must choose to have abortions; once a politician is voted in, they will vote on the budget, and not the people; budgets that can cut aid to the poor, take away protections for creation (the environment), and fund weapons of mass destruction.

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Kent Schmidt

November 26, 2012  9:34pm

When US evangelicals stop wrapping the cross in the flag, they will be free to follow Christ. Too many equate evangelical with conservative with republican with right wing with anti-socialist with anti-foreigner with anti-diversity with anti- anything not american. God loves all people. He doesn't care if US of A exists or not.

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J Thomas

November 26, 2012  7:53pm

Paul, if you want your government to behave in a Godly manner, you need to start electing Godly people. You need to put them in the courts, and put them in public offices. Otherwise, you are on a fools errand. Lord knows, they are not there now.

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J Thomas

November 26, 2012  7:49pm

Paul, your hope is in men, and you are superimposing the nature of God onto the godless. You are making idols of politicians. They are the worst kind of men and you expect them to behave in a Godly fashion, though you should have no reason to. Don't be so naive to believe that these men would not do whatever it takes to prolong their reign of power. Look at the hypocrite Obama who promised the most transparent administration in history, but instead is running the most secretive administration in history. These politicians are snakes. They literally lie for a living. As for the nuclear issue, this is a red herring. It is in no way an equivalent to abortion, and we shouldn't insult the intelligence of others by making that false equivalency and proposing it as some sort of moral incongruency.

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Paul Schryba

November 26, 2012  6:37pm

J Thomas: "The nature of the world dictates defense." The 'world', yes- the Kingdom of God which Christians are to incarnate in this 'fallen' world, no. We are told to be in the world, not of the world. The problem has been for centuries that Christians have been in the world, and 'of' the world. Where Christians have amassed worldly wealth and power while supposedly proclaiming the gospel of love, peace and sharing. "Where your heart is, there your treasure is." One could just as easily say, where your treasure is, there your heart is. Our battle is against principalities, not against people and nations (Eph 6: 12). And how do we overcome? By praying for our enemies and doing good to them. By loving and forgiving them- not threatening nuclear annihilation to anyone who opposes our 'fallen' nation state. Have you read Brother Andrew's, the Bible smuggler, thoughts on how to defeat 'militant Islam'.

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J Thomas

November 26, 2012  2:21pm

One problem I have with neoprogressive politics is that they feed on the naive. We live in a godless world, yet we somehow expect politicians to behave in a Godly manner. On the continuum of faith leaders, politicians would be at the bottom. They lie for a living. They tell us stories about the world that are patently false. Nuclear weapons are a reality. In a godless world, a world that God tells us is given over to Satan, we expect that our politicians make Godly choices based in biblical thinking at the same time they are taking God out of their political platform and suing Christians across the country. That's naive. The nature of the world dictates the need for defense. It is naive to believe that other countries will have Damascus Road experiences about nuclear weapons when they burn Bibles. If you believe the Bible, you believe that this world will pass away and a new one will replace it, and that Jesus will be the arbiter of that...not godless politicians.

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Paul Schryba

November 26, 2012  7:58am

We live in a complex, interconnected world of over 7 billion people, where we seek to reduce problems to simple right/wrong answers that demand nothing of us. Where truth can be captured in an ideology. Where we can demonize some over others, and assuage our consciences by voting for the Republicans, the party of 'life', over the Democrats, the party of 'death'. The truth is not so simple; neither party is truly 'pro-life'. We must protect the creation that sustains us from economics based on greed; we must end depending on worldly power (the military), violence, and the threat of mass destruction as a way to solve human relational problems; we must learn to act based on love one for one another, respect for creation, and not abdicating our responsibility to 'the marketplace' or the government. To cooperate with God in dealing with our problems, not by any 'political' solution, but living love in our own lives. Voting against abortion while voting for nuclear weapons is no answer.

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K. Smith

November 25, 2012  11:39pm

Bob Hitching - we're in decline? So what about Europe? Both Americans and Europeans need to take the poles out of their eyes before they point out the planks in others'. As for abortion, same sex marriage, etc., these exist to the extent they do in our culture because the church, yes the church, dropped the ball and took its focus off proclaiming the Gospel and put it on politics. Today, we're suffering from the damage Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and others like them did in the 80s and 90s. Time for the church to stop praying to the idol of politics and put its focus back on Christ. If you want to decrease abortion and other sins like it, proclaim the Gospel. That's the only way to create change in society.

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Rick Dalbey

November 25, 2012  10:49pm

Well, Jim, I agree with you. My feeling all along was that it was not about which candidate you voted for but which values you embraced, whether you chose God, chose life, or chose death. That is not a democrat or republican issue but a Joshua issue. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

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Jim Gustafson

November 25, 2012  10:05pm

Hi! Anyone care to comment on my earlier comment (see below)? Or do you all just want to trash left and right??

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Hugh (Bart) Vincelette

November 25, 2012  12:57pm

Conservative, & especially religious, leaders have left no stone unturned in the agenda to demonize anything deemed to be 'progressive' or 'liberal'. Consitutional freedoms came about from liberal thinking. Conservatives would never have given approval to freedom of religion for everyone. Look to the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock fame who left Holland after fleeing Britain, because Holland had freedom of religion for everyone. Liberals got women the vote, African-Americans the vote, & created Social Security, which lifted millions of elderly out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation, created Medicare, & passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, & the Clean Air & Clean Water Acts. Conservatives opposed every one of these measures.

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J Thomas

November 24, 2012  3:30pm

Jim Wallis is a radical leftover from the 1960's. He is a communist, and it is his goal to attack capitalist institutions, whether Christian or not. And that's part of what makes him questionable. He places his communism in front of his Christianity. Being a communist isn't sinful, but using the church as a platform to proselytize for communism absolutely is. That's what Wallis is doing. He's a wolf in sheeps clothing.

Jon Trott

November 24, 2012  1:14pm

And by the way, deeply appreciate the way some of those in disagreement in this comment thread have tried to keep the conversation from outright nastiness. Apologizing in the midst of a heated discussion isn't easy, but it is where theology meets practice. To those who've done so here, thank you for the convicting example.

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Jon Trott

November 24, 2012  1:04pm

One huge area White Evangelicals have done a bad job in is framing just what government's role ought to be. Currently, and this is reflected in this comment thread and elsewhere, the libertarian ideas on "small government is good, no government is even better" float all but unchallenged in the Christian Right Wing ether. But the theology behind this idea is abysmal, usually rooted in astonishingly bad "bible verse poker" (selectively quoting verses to prove an already-constructed point). Some of us -- not followers of Marx, by the way -- believe WE are the government, and very preferable to corporations running our lives is us doing it ourselves. The latter means none of us get all we want, and all of us (ought to) live with an understanding that legally we will allow things we do not agree with. Atheists, for instance, aren't in love with religion's tax-free status. But they live with it. We can live with gay marriage. Really. It might even strengthen our witness re biblical marriage.

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Paul Schryba

November 24, 2012  9:12am

Rick: Sorry to be confrontive in return- I often lose patience and become reactive, for which I apologize...why do you feel you have to attack Jim Wallis? "Every article is a constant attack..." That is untruthful, and not acknowledged by you. Wallis has sought to have the poor included in our politics, and sought to bring pro-life and pro-choice together to limit abortions. Yet you acknowledge no good to him (or have I missed something again?) "You paint a black and white picture of Jim Wallis as 'liberal', and others call him a Communist." Never said you called him a communist. The death penalty and the right of the state to bear arms have to do with a secular state that isn't 'Christian'. Jesus himself apparently did not believe in the death penalty (John 8:1-11). Jesus came to inaugurate the kingdom of God, not establish a nation state (especially one that must 'defend' itself with weapons of mass destruction). ("My kingdom is not of this world..."John 18:36)

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Rick Dalbey

November 24, 2012  12:28am

You may be right Kevin. One man can't get it all done. Forgive me for putting all the blame on him. I am praying for the POTUS. And the plight of the poor.

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KEVIN ANDERSON

November 23, 2012  9:37pm

"Yes, and after 4 years it has gotten much worse under his watch. And 4 more years looks the same. Bad for the poor." But to make the POTUS the main fall guy for that is simply wrong and naive. The GOP stated that denying Obama was their 1st priority: Not jobs, taxes, abortion, or the economy. Just beating Obama. As such they refused to help pass the PPACA, a carbon-copy of the plan the GOP floated against Hillarycare. Had they been more co-operative, they could have strengthened/improved the plan. Obama's problem was capitulating to big medicine & big insurance, allowing special interest groups to derail the Stimulus Package, and squandering a majority in both branches of congress.

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Rick Dalbey

November 23, 2012  7:55pm

Paul, of course Jesus was neither liberal nor conservative. Those terms had no meaning in the Jerusalem of AD 1. But if you mean by conservative one who has no tolerance for homosexual activity, one who advocates work rather than welfare, one who sets the bar for welfare high, one who supports capital punishment and the right of the state to bear arms, one who had no tolerance for sex outside of marriage, one who hated debt, then Paul is your man. Of course Jim Wallis is a liberal, he calls himself a liberal and a progressive. I never called him a communist. And why do you demonize me personally "You, on the other hand, baptize conservative politics and economics using select Bible quotes." I never said government is the problem. Why do you feel you have to attack me?

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Paul Schryba

November 23, 2012  5:59pm

Rick: re Sojourners: "Every article is a constant attack on the "religious right"...that is untruthful. Jim Wallis consistently stresses that Jesus was neither liberal nor conservative. He has tried to bridge the gap between 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life' by calling for the liberal left to support reductions in the number of abortions. You, on the other hand, baptize conservative politics and economics using select Bible quotes. You paint a black and white picture of Jim Wallis as 'liberal', and others call him a Communist. Since conservative economist Ben Stein was recently called a 'communist' by Fox news, that must be taken with a grain of salt. You paint government as the problem, ignoring the recent CT article citing an example of government/church/private cooperation. [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/november/church-and-state-for-hom eless.html?utm_source=ctdirect-html&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=9489479& utm_content=142391373&utm_campaign=2012]

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Rick Dalbey

November 23, 2012  4:14pm

Kevin, "If the POTUS is at all responsible, it's due to inaction & lack of leadership. He sure didn't cause the current economic crisis." Yes, and after 4 years it has gotten much worse under his watch. And 4 more years looks the same. Bad for the poor. Yes, John Trott is right about this, "Everyone is walking away from Evangelicalism, the younger and darker and female in the lead." It is called apostasy. Again, read Jude. Read 2nd Peter. Read Luke 17 where Jesus says the last days will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. Al Mohler is absolutely right as well. "An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them." Feel free to stay in your rut as well. Soros could have been right. Maybe in the long run there would be no difference between the candidates, which was essentially his comment (not an endorsement...I just read it). But given the choice I could not in good conscience vote for BHO.

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KEVIN ANDERSON

November 23, 2012  3:21pm

John Trott is telling you the truth and you simply do not want to hear it. There is not one statement in his comment that constitutes a rejection of the faith. Feel free to stay stuck in your rut though, and experiences years of watching your politics go down the drain. OR - you can ask God where he wants YOU to change - for once.

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KEVIN ANDERSON

November 23, 2012  3:16pm

If the poor suffered under Obama, it's because of the opposition to universal health care. And that includes Obama, because the PPACA is by no means "universal" - not everyone will get coverage. If the POTUS is at all responsible, it's due to inaction & lack of leadership. He sure didn't cause the current economic crisis.

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KEVIN ANDERSON

November 23, 2012  3:10pm

FYI: George Soros endorsed Romney this year.

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Rick Dalbey

November 23, 2012  1:38pm

Jim Wallis's Sojourner site is unabashedly political. Every article is a constant attack on the "religious right", on Republicans, on anyone who disagrees. I get all their issues. It is a left wing liberal attack on conservative politics and conservative religion that takes no prisoners. Sojourners received funding from George Soros, the atheist, socialist, globalist billionaire several years ago and it was reported right here in Christianity Today. As a college student I followed Jim Wallis but came to realize he was nothing more than a consultant for the left wing, engaged at one point a few years ago to provide strategies for drawing evangelicals into the Democrat party.

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Ted Hewlett

November 23, 2012  1:20pm

"Sojourners president Jim Wallis said the elections were not a disaster for evangelicals per se, just those who 'had again tied their faith to the partisan political agenda of the Republican Party.' " Wallis seems to be using the legitimate argument against putting our trust in a party to illegitimately imply that there is no harm in the entrenchment of abortion and the spread of laws giving state imprimatur to same-sex unions as marriage. There is nothing Biblical about laissez faire capitalism, it is true. There is something Biblical about speaking out against the state granting specific approval to immorality.

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Rick Dalbey

November 23, 2012  12:49pm

Bernie, I am weary of pointing this out to liberals, but the poor suffered most under Obama the last 4 years. The ranks of the poor swelled, their poverty became deeper, black unemployment grew higher, nearing 15% which of course doesn't count those that are too depressed and have stopped looking for work. 3 times more black babies are aborted than white, it is a racial holocaust. Obama's attempt to create jobs or buy jobs or create "green jobs" failed miserably. Yet by every measure the rich got richer under Obama. The middle class lost income and more fell into the ranks of poverty. But Obama feels our pain and the Democrats talk a great story. Biden scared minorities into rejecting the alternative, "They gonna put you back in chains". Unbelievable. We needed jobs but Obama made it about race, class warfare, free birth control, gay marriage and who appeared more sympathetic. However, I am praying for God to bless the President every day.

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BERNIE KOPFER

November 23, 2012  12:07pm

Jim Wallis said "The ironic and tragic thing about the religious right is how little of their own agenda they have achieved. And by voting for a conservative ideological agenda, they have actually hurt the poor, resisted immigration reform, promoted endless wars, and neglected the environment" This statement is so correct!! The Bible consistently emphasizes the obligation of those who have towards those who have not. If only we Evangelicals would argue about how best to fulfill that aspect of God's will perhaps we would gain some credibility and respect from the secular society we live in. And seldom if at all do I hear the religious right speak out against war and military spending etc. Can we really say we are pro-life and then support war and the resultant killing of human beings? The rest of the world probably knows that Jesus was a pacifist, to bad we Christians haven't figured that out yet.

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J Thomas

November 23, 2012  11:22am

Why does Christianity Today continually advocate the ideas of the communist Jim Wallis?

THE REV ROBERT MORRIS

November 23, 2012  10:52am

The major accomplishment of the strong link between the "evangelical" brand and Reaganite and even right-wing political ideology has been to alienate an increasing number of people from Christianity itself, as well as to "brand" the whole of the Christian world with conservative social stances. History will record, I fear, that the decline of Christianity as a powerful cultural force in the U.S. was hastened by the last 30 years of "Moral Majority" attempts to coerce the population through politics rather than persuasion.

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Dave B.

November 23, 2012  9:50am

Which is more "abominable"? Abortion or neglecting the poor? Same sex recognition or environmental neglect? The gospel goes beyond the physical; it encompasses Jesus' holistic view of Kingdom!

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Rick Dalbey

November 22, 2012  10:48pm

John you have a fundamentally different view of Christianity. You are leaving evangelicalism. Al Mohler is right. Billy Graham was right. John, read the book written by Jesus half-brother Jude. Read 2nd Peter. You are exactly right "Everyone is walking away from Evangelicalism, the younger and darker and female in the lead. " The church is facing apostasy and everyone needs to vote.

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Michael champion

November 22, 2012  6:44pm

As long as prominent evangelical Christians (Franklin Graham, Mike Huckabee, etc.) both subtly and blatantly say (and, yes, I'm paraphrasing, but only slightly), "Anyone who votes for Obama and other Democrats will go to Hell when they die! Christians who vote for Obama and other Democrats are CINOs (Christian In Name Only)! Anyone who votes for Obama and other Democrats have the blood of millions of babies on their hands!", as long as our "Christian leaders" say things like that, and if the evangelical community doesn't IMMEDIATELY challenge them and say how wrong that is, then the "Evangelical Brand" will soon be less popular than the "Scientology Brand" or the "Athiest Brand". Good, devout, sincere, Spirit-filled Christians can vote for Republicans! And Mormons! And Libertarian Candidates! And, yes, President Obama and Democrats, too! Let's start by telling our family members and friends who voted for "the other candidate" that they Did Nothing Wrong! It's really that simple!

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Jon Trott

November 22, 2012  2:37pm

Sigh. Let's do a bit of self-analysis here. Just why are people such as Albert Mohler, Focus on the Family, and others who doubled down on the election this year now suddenly wanting to get all apolitical? It is deeply frustrating to see what has happened here reduced to the -- forgive me -- maddeningly reductionist explanation given by Mohler: "An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them." No. No and no again. America has rejected your reductionist version of Christian faith, your relentless focus on the bedroom of others, your cartoonish treatment of Barack Obama. White Evangelicalism owes everyone in this country a massive apology. Bowing and scraping is in order here. Everyone is walking away from Evangelicalism, the younger and darker and female in the lead. Recalibrate now or forget about it.

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Gary Lynch

November 22, 2012  7:25am

We don't raise people out from poverty simply by saying get a job and we don't raise people out of poverty by continuing to give entitlements (for far to many receiving aideit has become a way of life, it is all they know). The answer lies not with the politics of either party, a mistake that both conservative and liberal evangelicals have made. The true answer for the church I believe has to be a shift in the way we do church. In some some cases the church has simply become and extension of the welfare system by meeting the needs of the poor through similar entitlement programs: rent and utility assistance, clothing and food pantries; if you don't have it come to us and we will supply your need. Instead of looking at people from as needs based, we need to look at them from an assets based approach, in order to raise people out of this needs based idea, the church needs to come alongside them in a more wholistic way. The Church needs to be the Church, the Body of Christ period.

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Jim Gustafson

November 21, 2012  8:42pm

Well said, Laura Steel and James Stevenson. God is not interested in saving America, but He is very interested in saving Americans. But that will not happen through the political process. He is also interested in saving Iranians, Vietnamese, Bolivians . . . you get the picture. The Church is the hands and feet of Jesus, not the Republican Party, nor the Democratic. And if churches need the power of the state to keep their own people in line, heaven help the Church. Literally.

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James Stevenson

November 21, 2012  8:09pm

I wish that evangelical christians would get out from under political activism. Our allegiance to God should be our primary focus and we should not be relying on any political party to promote christian ethics and morality. We will get there by assuming greater personal responsibility for reaching people with the gospel. People's hearts need to be changed and this will not occur by government imposing laws which oppose popular beliefs. Prohibition is an example of a failed policy which attempted to change behavior but only resulted in increased crime, and then a subsequent repeal. I read from a national newspaper today that the Republican party is now considering softening their approach to gay marriage and abortion as they contemplate 2016. Basically watering down policies in order to appeal to a greater proportion of the electorate. This is really what the real politic is all about- it is all about power and money, and whatever needs to be done to achieve these ends.

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Rick Dalbey

November 21, 2012  6:50pm

Steve, that is what the Democrats brought us. I belong to a thoroughly blue state that will never be in contention, my neighbor state Washington 15 minutes to the north, is also deeply blue. The Democrats passed legalized marijuana, and legalized gay marriage. Us Democrat states are fiercly in favor of unrestricted abortion and we are the least “religious” state in the union. Don’t ask which planet I am from, it is totally blue here and Christians are a definite minority. I really don’t care about a tax on the rich, that is minor, but the immorality that the Democrats have spewed out in this state is amazing. Why do you think Leithart is a conservative? He is talking about "Reaganites" and the "religious right". He is a progressive Orthodox Anglican. He has no disagreements with Wallis. Sojourners was funded by the atheist George Soros a few years ago as reported on Christianity Today. Wallis is a destructive trojan horse.

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Steve Weatherly-Barton

November 21, 2012  6:09pm

Quote - "the issues of the Democratic party...legalized pot, legalized homosexual marriage, protection for the killing apparatus of abortion, forcing Christians to pay for abortifacients, getting God out of their platform". What planet are you on, Rick? Do you actually believe that your nation would be better served by a wealth accumulating tax avoiding adherent of a grotesque cult? Do you honestly believe that your gross caricature of Democratic policies is a serious contribution to Christian witness? Thank God that Jim Wallis and Peter Leithart can disagree politically but be so united in Christian testimony.

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Rick Dalbey

November 21, 2012  3:48pm

Your last line is exactly my point Laura. But isn't it funny how the issues and agenda of evangelicals line up with Republican concerns, including jobs for the poor. And how the issues of the Democratic party...legalized pot, legalized homosexual marriage, protection for the killing apparatus of abortion, forcing Christians to pay for abortifacients, getting God out of their platform, more debt all seem to line up with...oh, you know who. Just sayin. I am called to be a witness for Jesus, His Kingdom and His righteousness and to the extent that any political party lines up with those concerns, more power to them. And speaking of your (you said we...don't count me and my evangelical friends) hatred of Obama, our church and prayer groups have prayed faithfully for him daily this last 4 years. And I have redoubled my prayers for him this next 4 years.

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LAURA C STEEL

November 21, 2012  1:20pm

I had been concerned about the damage the Romney campaign has already done to American evangelicalism: we watered down our definition of Christianity so Mormonism can be included, we increased out hate for Obama, and larger numbers of us refused to vote at all. It is heartening to know that some are speaking against a narrow definition of conservatism. We need to remember that God has not called us not to be Republicans but to be witnesses for Him.

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RICHARD L JONES

November 21, 2012  12:49pm

"The ironic and tragic thing about the religious right is how little of their own agenda they have achieved. And by voting for a conservative ideological agenda, they have actually hurt the poor, resisted immigration reform, promoted endless wars, and neglected the environment," Wallis said. "There is a new evangelical agenda for a new evangelical demographic." ~ Mr. Wallis has completely fallen for the propaganda of the left! Just how has the right done all these things you claim, Mr. Wallis? Or have you just accepted the left wing talking points? Just HOW have conservatives hurt the poor? I would say they want to empower them rather than enslave them to government entitlements. Resisted immigration reform? Oh, you mean the right wants to hold illegal immigrants accountable for breaking our laws, and you want amnesty? Endless wars? It was the Dems that got us into, and kept us in Viet Nam. What about the Dems platform of killing unborn children and breaking the sacrament of marriage?

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Rick Dalbey

November 21, 2012  11:39am

I am still going to consider abortion as one of the chief tragedies of our age and one of the chief sins of America, I consider homosexual relationships sin and their advocacy in the military, school and marriage as gross sin equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah. I am still going to share the gospel with all, believing that Jesus is the only way to salvation. If that makes me an evangelical, fine. I am still going to disciple all nations. I am still going to grieve over the liberal enslavement of the poor minorities, their increasing poverty and joblessness, 74% of black babies born out of wedlock. If given an opportunity I am going to vote against enslaving our children with debt and I am going to be for jobs for every family. If Republicans want to embrace those values and issues, fine. If not, I am continuing. Christians need to stand for righteousness whether in China, Mozambique, America or France. Jim Wallis can continue to embrace the Democrats and the hedonistic, sinful agenda.

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