Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Six Questions

Ahh, election season sure brings out the trolls. As Dante has taught me, it is usually best to leave the trolls to their craft, making their wild, street-preacher zeal for whatever ‘cause’ they ‘represent’ anonymously on other people’s websites and emails unchallenged and ignored.

Call me easily baited.

One thing that has hindered, in my opinion, the Democratic Party in recent years – and this is especially true for folks of the ‘Southern Democrat/Southern Liberal’ wings – is that we have too often allowed trolls to put words in our mouths and we have too often allowed the shrillest, whiniest members of the left do our talking for us.

So people get a sort of distorted picture of what a Democrat is. The other side says that we are monsters in this or that way and those on our side who look the most like this or that monster respond, fulfilling the prophecy.

I’m kinda sick of that sort of discussion dominating the public perception of my Party. I also think it makes us look kind of weak when we can’t speak to our own defense effectively, when the trolls speak up.

We’re dealing with such a discussion over on Rev. Nelson’s Blog, as one usually ignored commentator is getting her kicks by playing the ‘God card.’ She’s trying to get Rev. Nelson to say something and get himself in trouble, or one of the volunteers to do it for him. Luckily for me, she’s run into a couple of bloggers who know better than to cause trouble.

“Who comes first God or your district? Will you advocate to put prayer back in schools? Will you advocate to stop the killing of innocent unborn children. Will you protect marriage. If you answered yes to all of these questions then you sir are not a democrat. Because if the democrats had their way a man of GOD would not be able to serve his country in Washington.”

Didn’t the Pharisees put a similar line of questioning to Jesus, trying to get him to slip up verbally? One of the most vital Christian passages comes from such a situation, when he instructs his followers to give God what is God’s and give Ceasar what is Ceasar’s?

I cannot speak for the Reverend himself on these answers, but I know how I would answer them. First of all, one of the highest callings of any Christian is to serve others. Sometimes this can be done by washing another’s feet, sometimes this can be accomplished by going to the United States Congress and making sure the government works for the people as opposed to the moneychangers.

Second of all, prayer has never left our schools. When I was at Glynn Academy, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathered at the flagpole at least once a week to open the day with public prayer on school grounds. It was student led, and as long as they didn’t obstruct anyone else, or force anyone who may follow a different set of beliefs to participate, they were completely within their rights to do so. Having a heart filled with faith means the faith goes with you, into the schoolhouse, the courtroom or the United States Congress, and you don’t need opulent monuments or pictures on the wall to demonstrate otherwise.

Third of all, I advocate a stop to the killing of unborn children by example, not by legislation, and that’s where this particular problem can only be solved. This is where I, personally, reconciled my pro-choice stance as far as the law is concerned with my pro-life stance as far as my personal life is concerned. I cannot, by definition, become pregnant. But that would be a cop out of sorts, so I take that one step further. At this point in my life, I do not engage in activity that could cause someone else to become pregnant.

As an aside to that above, it is which great trepidation that I write such things publicly. I could not tell you how many times I have had to deal with uncomprehending looks on the faces of many conservative, Republican, pro-life Christian compatriots when I found my way to a Waffle House at 2:30 in the morning instead of a warm feminine embrace. At which point those same conservative, Republican, pro-life, Christian compatriots did conclude not that I was acting responsibly and according to my beliefs, but that my sexual orientation was in question. (Thanks, ass****!)

Fourth, marriage would be better protected by maturity, communication and honesty than it will ever be from tax breaks and legislation. I’m lucky. I know many, many couples who have very strong marriages. Those are examples to me, and make my whole concept of marriage very strong. This isn’t an institution that is in trouble from without. If there is any trouble, it is trouble from within. That’s why I’m not married right now: I haven’t found someone who fits my requirements, and I haven’t fit the requirements of anyone else, and if you’re going to be involved for the 40-50+ years a real marriage takes, you’d better get involved with your eyes wide open.

Fifth, I answered yes to all of the questions, and I am undoubtedly a Democrat. Not only that, but I’m a liberal. You can ask my friends. You can ask my family. You may not believe it, but I am what a Democrat looks like. I am what a liberal looks like.


Sixth, and final: the Democrats are going to have their way, as are the Republicans who are tired of out of control spending and crony-run bureaucracies, as are the Independents who are tired of the shenanigans and embarrassment this current bunch of children in Congress has saddled us with, when we send a United Methodist Minister named Jim Nelson to the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. in January, and when we say so on November 7th, 2006.

Mirror Post at Rev. Jim Nelson for Congress.


Dante said...

There's a big difference between feeding the trolls and backing up your positions. Sometimes troll or not you have to put out there who you really are and you'll occasionally even have to do it in response to a troll. At the same time, someone questioning one's committment to faith vs their committment to public office is nothing new. There was a lot of stink on the Republican side of the isle during Kennedy's election because he was Catholic. Would Kennedy be too beholden to the Pope? What if the Pope asked Kennedy to do something that is not in the US's best interests? Would he do it? This is a silly discussion.

And I don't remember the Pharisees getting Jesus' position on school prayer or abortion but I might've just missed that part.

dadvocate said...

Are you sure you're a liberal? Fundamentally, I agree with you on all your points, mostly out of my libertarian leanings. As a Catholic in a high school of 1200 kids and the only other Catholics being my brother and sister. I didn't particularly like school lead prayer.

Wiping out abortion by choosing not to abort is the best way. There is no virtue in taking a course of action because it's your only choice. I have a problem when they force Catholic hospitals and the like to perform abortions however.

The gay marriage issue is over-blown. Get the government out to the marriage business. Make all marriages a civil agreement in the government's eyes. Allow these civil agreements to be between persons who don't even have sex with each other.

russelllindsey said...

I have to say, I agree with your assessment. I may be a Republican, but I think that what you stated with regards to the Left can be said for the Right too. Too often we let the fanatics speak for us.

Anyway, I apologize for being absent for so long. Lots and lots going on in the background.


S.A.W.B. said...

More deletions. Moderation going back off. That is all.

S.A.W.B. said...

You're right. I did. Let me inform you of this little tidbit, Roxy, the Comment Spamming Idiot. This is not a democracy. This is a dictatorship. I am one of the dictators. What I say, goes. Post on topic, constructively, and it'll stay. Post off topic, to whore your blog, or bitch about anything, and away it goes, into the netherworld of comments that never should have been.

Jmac said...

And I don't remember the Pharisees getting Jesus' position on school prayer or abortion but I might've just missed that part.

No, but they did ask him if it was proper to pay taxes to Caesar, as they sought to end his upstart ministry. He says 'no' they get to accuse of him of trying to start a rebellion and arrest him. If he says 'yes' he looks like a sellout concerned only with self-preservation.

What they were doing was exactly the same as what the one poster was trying to get Rev. Nelson to do, and that's ask what's more important. And I think Patrick answered it in the same, logical and thoughtful way Jesus did when he asked for the coin (brilliant by the way ... brilliant) and said render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

The specific issues are different - taxation versus abortion - but the intent is the same - allegiance to God versus allegiance to the state need not be in opposition.

Dante said...

"If he says 'yes' he looks like a sellout concerned only with self-preservation."

But Jesus did answer yes. He just happened to explain his reasoning in the process and the reasoning was something the Pharisees didn't see coming.

This passage does make clear that in unimportant matters like taxation, defering to government policy is fine. However, this passage does not address matters that are indeed important to God like prayer and marriage. Jesus would probably be a bit more reluctant to turn those items over to Caesar. And abortion may or may not be a similar issue depending on when Jesus considers life to begin (which we really don't know).

Even though the quote in the posting undoubtedly comes from a troll, asking how Nelson will handle conflicts between government policy and matters that are actually important to Christianity isn't really the same thing as asking about an individual's fiscal duty to government even if both were meant to be unanswerable.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Wow. Didn't quite expect this sort of reaction when I wrote this post.

DADV: Yes, I'm sure I'm a liberal. It's just Southern Fried.

RL: Glad to have you back. Hope everythings' goin' OK.

Jmac: Thank you.

Dante: The thing I learned back in Catholic CCD about this line of questioning (and Sprout will be shocked that this stuck after all these years) is that the Pharises were asking questions of Jesus that required a 'false choice' to answer.

While the specific passage (my Bible is back in Georgia) was concerning taxation, it was a false choice, just like the line of reasoning: you can either vote Republican or kill babies. Are you with us or against us?

I don't kill people. But my government sanctions or allows for the killing of people in a variety of ways. Because I am not the only individual that decides what government I should have, other people's beliefs must factor into my civic set of beliefs that do not factor into my private set of beliefs.

Roxy the school police watch dog said...

You sound just like Rush Limbough.
Rush says that all the time. You are just afraid someone might just prove you wrong.