I am continuing my quest to post once per day during the month of June which will be difficult when I’m on vacation, but I will do my best. Today was a long day: Worship in the AM, then some NASCAR, then nearly 5 miles of walking, then yard work, then I built a bird-feeder in my wood shop, then laundry, then shower, then reading. What a day. After so much adventure you can imagine my dismay when I, for the merest of moments, popped over to atheocracy to visit my friend Jeff and found this post: Baby Jeebus Wouldn’t Vote for an Atheist if He were Old Enough.
Now there’s a lot going on in the post that I’m not going to bother with. It would be rather pointless for me to argue with Jeff about the merits of the Bush presidency versus the ‘merits’ of the Clinton party orgypresidency. We come from two different points of view on what makes a good president (besides having some class, dignity, and not using the oval office as a brothel). Be that as it may, I’m not even going to debate Jeff on whether or not President Bush is ‘responsible’ for the deaths of thousands, whether Clinton was a Christian in any sense of the word, whether Obama is even worth the time of day, whether Christians have ‘hijacked’ the Republican party (Conservative I may be, but I am not fan or member of the current manifestation of the Republican party that’s for damn sure!) or whether Christians ‘like all the attention.’ Frankly, I don’t care. Jeff is a dyed in the wool liberal (at least libertarian) and I am a red-blooded conservative and that is highly unlikely to change with any amount of debate.
That said, I did have an issue with Jeff’s post and it has to do with who Jesus may or may not vote for. Jeff wrote this:
And just think how horrible it would be if we elected an atheist at some point … he might be against churches being tax exempt, for gay marriage, against Hocus Pocus’s intrusion into our nation’s science classes, for women’s right to a safe, clean abortion if they choose to have one, for government funding of stem-cell research that could save lives and against waging war against non-Christian countries that are no threat to us amid calls of “Bring it on!” Can you imagine that? It’d be ……. well, maybe not that bad, actually. But he’d “have no morals! (trademark: Typical Baseless Christian Rhetoric, 2,000 B.C.)”
I’ll say this: if Dubya is a “moral, Christian” president, give me an amoral, atheist one every day of the week.
It is somewhat necessary to comment on these points in order to make the point I wish to make. Bear with me.
First of all, churches do not ask for tax exempt status because they are churches Jeff. Churches are tax exempt because they are non-profit organisations. Any non-profit organisation can be tax exempt if they wish. And just for the record, my church owns the parsonage I live in and you know what? We pay property taxes close to $3000 per year. That’s hardly tax exempt. I don’t think even an atheist would be stupid enough to pull tax exempt status from non-profit churches because then all non-profit organisations would be liable for taxes and that would kill a great deal of the liberal organisations in this country.
Second, what does gay marriage have to do with anything? The state of California is forging ahead rather nicely and they haven’t asked President Bush what he thinks of their state policy. The President’s opinion on this matter is for all intents and purposes a moot point due to state sovereignty. Furthermore, the current liberal congress would likely not bring the issue to the table.
Third, as for science in the classroom: Every classroom in the country, excepting private schools perhaps, teaches state approved curricula. While there are healthy debates, and there should be, I don’t know of a single classroom in the country where science is not taught according to those standards. Those standards are, necessarily, atheistic, Darwinist, and amoral. There is no God in any classrooms except for some very conservative small towns. But give it time, Jeff, and they too will succumb to the pressure. There is no ‘creation science’ or ‘ID’ taught unless it is approved by the state. The president, once again, has nothing to do with what is taught in the public classrooms of the 50 states of the union because curriculum is a state issue.
Fourth, legal, clean, safe and often state funded abortion is available in the United States for anyone who asks. Roe v. Wade is still the binding court decision. Abortion is still legal and even though there have been challenges to it, no one has yet mounted a substantial offense to overturn its legality and, to be sure, no one ever will. President Bush has had 8 years to work on this issue and, by and large, it has been a non-existent issue even when he had both houses of congress. The president, atheist or not, has nothing to do with whether a woman can get an abortion as late as the third trimester. What are you really complaining about here? (And, to be sure, we had a president who believed such a thing as you desire for 8 years. His name was Bill Clinton.)
Fifth, here’s what the president has said about federally funded stem cell research:
As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist” I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines ” where the life and death decision has already been made”, This allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem cell research” without crossing a fundamental moral line by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos that have at least the potential for life.” (White House) (Wikipedia)
In other words, it is a myth that there is no ‘federally funded stem cell research that could save lives.’ This document is from 2001 so likely there is even more available now.
Sixth, even your beloved Clinton waged war when he was in office. Harry Truman, a democrat, gave permission for two atomic bombs to be dropped on Japan in WWII killing thousands of non-Christians and Christians and innocents. Vietnam: Democrats. Hilary Clinton: Voted for the Iraq war. Look, the bottom line is that 3,000+ people died in the United States on 9/11 and president Bush took action to protect us. Like it or not. I don’t know how any reasonable, thinking person can say that Iraq posed no threat to us. And what does the fact that the these are ‘non-Christian’ countries have to do with anything? The United States of America is a Non-Christian country for crying out loud! There are plenty of Christians living in the Middle East (just google it). What the president did is exactly what Clinton wouldn’t do: He put those Islamic terrorists in their place and said: You will not get away with it on my watch. Seriously, Jeff, do you forget those who died on 9/11? Do you forget the first world trade center bombing? The USS Cole? Marine barracks in Beirut? Seriously, do American lives count for nothing? And what about protecting our political ally, Israel; and what about all the thoroughly Muslim countries we have not invaded?
Now, I certainly didn’t mean for this much to be discussed, so I must get on with the point of my post which really concerns who Jesus would and would not vote for. Jeff doesn’t think Jesus would vote for an atheist. My response: Don’t be so sure about that. First of all, consider what Jesus himself said to Pilate during his trial:
When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19)
Now, consider what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13)
My point in citing these two references is obvious I hope: Jesus votes for atheists to be in charge of governments every single day: Sometimes giving them the power, other times sustaining them in power, and other times deposing them from power. (Oh, I should note that Paul didn’t think churches should be tax exempt either. Neither did Jesus. They both agreed we should pay what is right.) But I digress. Fact is, most of the people running the world right now are atheists and since power and authority comes from above it seems to me that Jesus does vote for atheists.
I wonder, Jeff, is the world a better place with all these atheists in charge? Castro? Putin? Chavez? War lords in Africa? Amadinijab in Iran? Etc., etc.
I’m a different sort of person in this regard. Frankly, I’m not in favor of someone being president just because they are a Christian. In other words, Christianity is not the defining quality I look for so that when I find it I say, “Oh, he’s a Christian he’s automatically got my vote.” Most of them (politicians) say ‘I am a Christian’ just to pander to unthinking people who do just such a thing. Now that doesn’t mean I will vote for an atheist just because she is an atheist either. I vote for the person I believe a) best reflects the morals, ideas, and policies that I believe in and support and b) the person whom I believe to be the best qualified to hold that office (whether president of the US or mayor of McDonaldland). It is rather insulting for someone to assume that Christians are just such a bunch of dupes that we go into the polls blindly and vote for someone just because they have said “’I am a Christian’ and can fill up the collection plate.” That’s absurd.
Still, what I hope Jeff understands is that Jesus does vote and that more often than not Atheists do end up running things. I would think that the last 100 or so years of our nation’s history would be enough to demonstrate that. (I also realize this is fraught with all sorts of ‘Oh, so you are blaming God for Hitler, Stalin, and Castro!’ I would say yes. I don’t need to defend God in this respect, except to say that also a lot of people voted for these people to be their leaders and for the most part these people started out with some good intentions. He raised up Pharaoh in Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Caesar in Rome. Churchill in Britain. Lincoln in the US. Pilate in Judea. Etc. Etc. Etc. It’s not quite that simple and I’m not going to bother with all the details of providence and sovereignty because I don’t understand it all. I’m just saying that from a bare naked look at Scripture God has something to do with who is in power and when. What they do with that power once the have obtained it is something else entirely and would require many more posts than I have time for tonight.)
Anyhow, it was fun thinking through Jeff’s post. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.
PS–Jeff, you had your ‘amoral atheist’ president. Again, his name was Bill. And if Obama gets elected, you will likely have another. Thanks for entertaining me this evening.