Posted by: Jim | October 13, 2006

I do not believe Bush is a Christian–not in any sense that has to do with Christ anyway.

I’d like to posit that those people who back Bush because they believe they are backing Christian principles by doing so are sadly mistaken. If you are a Christian who believes that the only two Christian principles are “do not have abortions” and “do not have gay sex” then maybe Bush is your man.  However, if you believe in Christianity as portrayed by Christ, then I suggest you compare the words of Christ to the words of President George W. Bush.

Jesus: …love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)
Bush: My hope is that all nations will heed our call, and eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own. Many nations are acting forcefully….But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will. (2002 State of the Union address)

Jesus is called the Prince of Peace.
Bush: “I’m a War President.”

Jesus: Blessed are the peacemakers.
Bush: God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. I am confused. [ed-If God likes peace, why did he tell Bush to go to War?] Bush: I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” —Washington, D.C. June 18, 2002OH! [ed-OK that explains it!]Jesus: Blessed are the meek, for that shall possess the earth
Bush: My answer is bring them on. (on Iraqi insurgents attacking U.S. forces, Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003)

Jesus: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (when asked to give a woman a stay of execution)
Tucker Carlson on Bush: “Bush mimicking the woman’s final plea for her life. “‘Please,’ Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, ‘don’t kill me.'” (when asked to give a woman a stay of execution)

I will leave it at that …

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Responses

  1. Jim, I do not believe you are in a position, as a human being, to question other people’s beliefs to that degree, President or not. You can compare anyone to a dictionary definition of a word, but to judge someone is, in my humble opinon, a little presumptuous. You may say George W. Bush is a bad person, but comparing him to Christ (which, by your own words, you are doing) is non-sequitur. George W. Bush is a Christian (by his own admission, not by yours or mine), but also a sinner, as we all are.

    By the Tucker Carlson quote, you seem to be implying that GWB is playing God. You are playing God by judging him. You are also casting stones. Are you without sin?

  2. The new beginning for the blog will get nowhere with Todd in town! The idea that there is to be no judgment of others means what, in the final analysis? How do you, Todd, evaluate (ie: judge) a political candidate? Or do you just tick Republican every time because that’s what your parents did? Or maybe you don’t vote, and have faith that God (or Diebold) will provide the right result.

    Politics is all about judgment. Any incumbent asks to be judged – on their record, on how they performed. And that is fair. And when George Bush’s statements are compared with his actions as President, and the Christian philosophy that supposedly drives them, we find the kind of contradictions that Jim’s quotes highlight. It is called hypocrisy. Jim didn’t make the President say one thing and do another. And the issue is simply not sin. If we follow your logic, we must do away with the legal system (Bush is already working hard on this), because it places people in judgment over one another, when only God can judge. Is that really a viable position?

    I think Todd’s comment is a model of how reason and ostensibly religious ideas can be warped to serve any purpose, here, to protect the President from scrutiny of his actions and to damn Jim for daring to bring up Bush’s inconsistencies. You have certainly learned the first rule of Rove-style political “debate”, which is to attack the messenger and skip the difficulties provided by the message. I think the easiest thing to do is just say Todd is now the Non-Judging Todd and call you on every instance of a judgment you make between now and eternity.

    Amen.

  3. Todd … I apologize for being a human being. 😉 But I’m also not a Christian, and therefore do not feel the need to “not judge.” Rather, I will use the brain God (or whoever) gave me to judge, i.e. reason, between who someone says they are, and who they actually are.

    If someone said they were Ghandian, and burned babies to try and achieve world peace, would I not be in a position to say “This man is not Ghandian”? Bush has declared himself to be a Christian. I quote: “When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your heart.” (Bush said this during the primaries in 1999.) I wonder what his heart was like before Christ changed it? Or perhaps … this was just a ruse. Methinks it was a ruse, and I don’t mind pointing it out.

    Saying that it’s wrong to judge a Christian is a convenient escape-pod for Christians who don’t live like Christians. I’m not a Christian so I don’t hold myself up to some higher standard.

    But that’s all beside the point. I’m merely saying that Bush doesn’t act like a Christian, and suggesting to people who think it’s important that Bush is a Christian that maybe he really isn’t. I’m not trying to determine if his soul is eternally damned to hell or not. Not only is that not my job–I’m not interested.

  4. Everyone–please be careful not to attack the person. Attack the ideas.

  5. Felix – I respect your opinion, however I was merely defending my faith. Thanks for your support of my freedom to express myself. Was hoping to be a more objective and less reactionary commenter in the new forum, and you are not helping. If all you wish do is get under my skin, bring it to my house, but don’t do it here on Jim’s front porch.

    Jim, I’m not saying don’t judge Christians, I’m saying I don’t think it’s right for us (ok, me) to judge anyone. I am also not interested, but above that, I don’t think it is my place. Bush’s religious alignment means nothing to me, nor does Kerry’s, Obama’s or Clinton’s. I guess I don’t understand your point in this. And lastly, I don’t think I’m ‘attacking’ anyone’s ideas in here. I am questioning, hoping to learn and better understand your point.

  6. Sorry, had to add this with regard to the Ghandian part of your reply. If someone burned babies in the name of any religion, I would not question the religion, I would question the people behind the practice.

    And I do hold myself to a higher standard. I likie that about me. The fact that you do not could also be seen as a convenient escape pod for non-Christians 🙂

    Same issue, opposite angles, eh?

  7. “Was hoping to be a more objective and less reactionary commenter in the new forum, and you are not helping. If all you wish do is get under my skin, bring it to my house, but don’t do it here on Jim’s front porch.”

    Todd, I did not make you write your initial response. You don’t manage to address the valid argument I put forward regrding judgment being an essential part of the political process, both in terms of what our elected officials choose to do, and in how the voters evaluate their performance.

    As there are no insults directed towards you in my post, and no offers of getting more personal, I have zero idea why you go into “Bring them on!” mode and start inviting me back to your place.”Was hoping to be a more objective and less reactionary commenter in the new forum, and you are not helping. If all you wish do is get under my skin, bring it to my house, but don’t do it here on Jim’s front porch.” Think I’ll pass on that one.

  8. apologies, my computer is going crazy, i’m not.

  9. One last thing. The Bible instructs Christians to “judge” each other:

    In first Corinthians chapter 5, it says.

    “If a brother has a dispute or an offense with another brother, this should first be addressed personally and privately, one to one. If this does not bring about reconciliation and harmony, then one or two witnesses must be brought along. If this does not result in repentance and reconciliation, then the matter should be taken to the whole church. If the belligerent party does not heed the admonition of the whole church, the wayward saint must be expelled from the fellowship of the church.”

  10. Egad Kingfelix! I believe I fixed your comment. Let me know if I messed it up.

     And Todd, sounds like we agree that we’re not interested in the status of Bush’s immortal soul. You ask my point, and it is this:

    Many people support Bush because they believe he espouses the tenets of the Christian faith. I am merely challenging to look at this a little harder, rather than merely accept the status quo of Bush’s religion. My hope is that Christians around the world will say “You know, Jim is right. Bush does not act like a Christian, so I am not going to support him anymore.”

    Does this impact the 2006 election? No. Will it impact the 2008 election? Only if W tries to run again. 😉

  11. Felix, this is going nowhere. I asked you to write me directly if all you’re going to do is attack – sorry if you don’t get my American slang. Just trying to keep Jim’s new place clean. I challeneged Jim, he responded. I challeneged back. Where is your challenge? If YOU think that judgement is a vital part of the political process, more power to you! I disagree, but ‘challenging’ me like you did is getting you nowhere. Politics to me is all about philosphy and trying to do the right thing, not judgement. I see your point, I disagree with it, and I’m not going to try and convince you otherwise. What’s the point?

    Jim, did you see how your argument re: escape pods can work both ways?

  12. “Was hoping to be a more objective and less reactionary commenter in the new forum, and you are not helping. If all you wish do is get under my skin, bring it to my house, but don’t do it here on Jim’s front porch.”

    Todd, I did not make you write your initial response. You don’t manage to address the valid argument I put forward regarding judgment being an essential part of the political process, both in terms of what our elected officials choose to do, and in how the voters evaluate their performance. Not once. You are basically not debating now, having been challenged.And I did not challenge your faith, only how your interpretation of it is applied with respect to politics.

    Issuing a “Bring them on” style invitation to your front porch is just ludicrous, my comment was thoughtful and hardly inflammatory, but it is patently obvious that you have no time for the intricacies of discussion. I would dearly love you to prove me wrong.

  13. jim, thanks, please delete the mess i made

  14. I’ll try to keep the commenting on point.

    We are talking about Bush. Not me. Bush.

    He’s the one in office that millions of people support because they believe he is a Christian. I’m saying they have been hoodwinked.

    Jesus: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
    Bush: “I intend to kick his sorry mother fucking ass all over the Mideast.”” -Referring to Saddam

    Shall I keep going? I’m like Jimmy Durante–I got a million of ’em!

  15. “I asked you to write me directly if all you’re going to do is attack.” – but that is the point. I am not attacking. You outlined an approach to debate that precluded judgment because it is not Christian, and I argued against it. So that constitutes an attack? That is your judgment.

  16. Sorry, had to add this with regard to the Ghandian part of your reply. If someone burned babies in the name of any religion, I would not question the religion, I would question the people behind the practice.

    I don’t see where Jim is attacking the Christian religion. If anything, his Jesus quotes are merely highlighting what a righteous dude the man was.

    However, Jim seems to be questioning, as you suggest, “the people behind the practice.” In this case, Bush.

    To my mind, it’s pretty simple. If you (the general “you”, not the specific “you”) call yourself a Christian, then you must live by the words espoused by Jesus (whom Jim has quoted). If you do not, you are not a Christian. Bush may call himself a Christian all he wants, and he may even believe deeply that he is a Christian, but if he does not follow the words and teachings of the guy after whom the religion is named, he is not a Christian. He is either tremendously self-delusional or he is merely using a label that makes him acceptable to a certain contingent of the voting populace. Simple logic, really.

    It is our job to judge Bush. He’s the guy in the White House, after all. He’s the guy who supposedly was placed into office by voting citizens of the United States (I have my doubts, but that has nothing to do with this post). I don’t give a crap how powerful he is – he works for us and we’re paying his salary. He sure as hell had better expect to be judged on his job performance.

    I don’t care what religion he professes to believe, but when he uses that religion as a basis to do his job, then his interpretation of his religion is going to be judged. Not the religion itself, but his interpretation of it. And that is where Bush is woefully lacking. Well, that’s not the only place he’s lacking, but again, off-topic…

    BTW, John Scalzi makes an excellent point re: Christians who continually spout quotes from Leviticus. Seeing as Leviticus is a book from the Old Testament and Jesus resides solely in the New Testament, methinks people who can’t seem to make the leap past the BC years had better start relabeling themselves.


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