let's talk politics

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson. Certain blog topics have not been kind to me–panties, politics, pygmy goats. Okay, so I’ve never had any negative feedback about pygmy goats. I have been attacked by them though.

I’ve sworn off talking about undergarments for the next five years (at least!), and I’ve shied away from talking politics ever since the election. If you were reading back then, you might remember a post or three where I spoke my mind about the candidates and what they stood for. Then I stepped over the edge of propriety and suggested that if the Republicans would have won, Election Day and Inauguration Day might not have been quite so peaceful.

And then I stopped talking about politics in the interest of getting along with everyone.

But I’m feeling a tug. A little nudge in my side, a little whisper in my ear that’s saying, “Are you afraid of losing friends? The gospel offends, you know.”

Here’s what I don’t ever want to be: a person who is such a people-pleaser that she’ll compromise her beliefs in order to gain/maintain popularity. Because you know what? That’s the very thing that’s bothering me about our President at the moment.

You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything (and for some reason, I’m hearing a twangy country tune in my ear as I type that).

And sorry about all the bunny-trailing, but I just realized that I have a “politics” category on my sidebar. Apparently, I’ve blogged about politics 14 times in the past 3+ years. And yes, my last post was January 21. Feel free to browse the archives for more background on my political leanings.

I meant to get my thoughts all in a row like little duckies before I opened Pandora’s box of Politics, but that’s not going to happen. Too much going on in my head, at my desk, in my life. So, I’m just going to take the plunge, throw a few things out there, and pray that my words will be more Spirit-inspired than flesh-incited.

I saw President Obama and his family on the lawn of the White House Saturday. We were pretty far away, but Gabe’s big camera lens + photoshop magnification confirmed that it was the First Family (and their dog). We took a walking tour of DC after the National Zoo and just happened to be at the White House when they came outside.

I felt warm and fuzzy and wanted to be their best friends.

At first glance–and even second and third glances–our President seems to embody many of the values I hold dear. Stomping out prejudice, loving the orphaned and oppressed, embracing people of every tribe and tongue, learning to get along peacefully with our neighbors, loving our enemies.

But something keeps nagging me.

See, I believe the whole Bible to be true. And not only true but the inspired Word of the one true God. A God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. A God who does not lower His eternally holy standards no matter how much we, His creation, “progress.”

Things that weren’t okay back then aren’t okay now. (And I’m not talking about Leviticus and the like–once Jesus died, we were under the new covenant.)

I’m talking about things like–it’s not okay to murder, even if you do while the person is still inside his mother’s body. And that sex outside of marriage is not okay–and that marriage is for one man and one woman, not 2 men or 2 women. And that when the God of the Bible says He created the world, that’s what He meant.

I’m talking about Jesus saying that He is the way, the truth and the life. And that no one can get to God–or heaven–except through Him. All other roads, no matter how sweet-sounding or sensible, lead to hell.

I know a lot of you cringe when you hear the word “prophecy.” Another P word! It conjures up images of hairspray-plastered weirdos declaring that the end of the world is upon us, that Obama is the anti-Christ, that Jesus is coming back on March 2, 2010.

But there sure are a lot of things happening in the world today that match right up with what Bible prophets of old said would happen when the end draws near. And we’ve been warned that peace will be a buzzword that’s actually a pre-cursor to much bloodshed and violence (But that’s a post or two in and of itself, and honestly, I don’t even know if that last sentence made sense.).

This post is already longer than licorice, and what have I even said? Maybe this first post will just ease us into a healthy, God-honoring discussion. Apparently, I do better when I enter the proverbial political pool one toe at a time, rather than cannon-balling right in.

I don’t know much, but I do know that I want to follow hard after Christ. And that a time is coming (or has already come) when we’re going to have to take a real stand. When choosing to follow Christ (and Him alone) isn’t going to be popular.

And while I’m tempted to walk around with my head in the clouds, feeding giraffes and leaving the poli-talk to the zealots, I feel a sense of responsibility.

To stand up for my God who laid down His life for me.

If you have (respectfully-phrased) questions or comments, I’d love to try to respond to some of them. I can’t abandon the Zoo Track obviously, and I did mention that this would be Dad Month (where has the month gone??), but I can intersperse political convo here and there.

Thanks for reading. Blessings on your Tuesday!

78 thoughts on “let's talk politics

  1. Sarah McGalliard

    i’m not sure if anyone has said this yet, but i just wanted to address the “religon” comments.

    As a Christian, I am not anti-religion, although I am definitely more consumed by the relationship that I share with Christ than following rules. You see, when Christ died, he took on the FULL WRATH of our God, and to me, well, that’s just incredible to think about. When he did this, the law of the Old Testament was wiped away. We were no longer required to follow a law, Christ FULLFILLED the law!!! (amazing!!!)

    this being said, it doesn’t mean that we are now free to sin and live in sin without a second thought. As a Christian I feel conviction when I sin. Therefore i LONG to quit sinning. I know this will never happen, but our goal as Christians is to strive towards this. To seek sanctification through Christ… for him to give us the desire to want to stop sinning.

    this is why many Christians say we dont have a strict set of rules that we MUST abide by. because, well, really we don’t. although i hesitate in saying that because we are most definitely called to work on ridding our lives of sin because we are to work towards being Christ-like.

    i don’t know how well I’ve articulated my thoughts. considering I’ve got one eye on the computer and the other on a 1 1/2 yr, 5 yr, 9 yr, and 11 yr old!! haha

  2. Andrea De Togni

    whoa. I stayed away one week and see what happened.

    Firstly and most importantly:
    @Marla: if you want to offend a serious non-christian, tell him/her that he’s “missing something but he’s not aware of it”. “we” are not “faulty” nor “missing” and not by any means unhappy. It’s a Christian belief that “man is born with sin”. I totally refuse this fact, the fact that God is such “bad” to create us with sin.
    So, please, don’t consider me faulty. I just followed a different paht. Thansk, much appreciated.

    @Tim: man you put so many arguements. Let’s go in order.
    – Political views: I do understand that America is different but…we are comparing things to learn differences and what’s wrong with that? Does comparison disturb you?
    When you say “people should be allowed to rise and fall by they own merits and not propped or supported” basically means “if you can’t do, good, if you can’t, just die, it’s not my business”. That means no equality and not help for the poor. But that’s a point of view.
    – “being forced to rent an house”: well, I ask you to think about this, to put your shoes in this situation: you have to move to France, with no way to go back to USA. You look for a job or a house because you’re American and Christian. What would you feel about that? Do you understand that someone is discriminating you by a STATUS and not by an ACTION? You can’t change your nationality or religion, and so you can’t have a job and an house. Would you STILL say “oh, the State should not force someone to rent me an house or give me a job”?

    – Climate change: I think you’re on a wrong side of the “informations”. Almost ALL global organizations, the majority of scientists agrees that we are too many, we are consuming too much and we are one of the major impacts (direct or indirect) of climate change. Just think about this: going “green” is more expensive, for any country. Since countries have an economy and they normally go for lowest cost, why ALL major countries are moving towards green energy? It’s just a hype, a trend, a new-age myth? I refuse the idea that goverments are doing this just for having research scientists to spare.
    First of all the climate change is happening, and has been proven by many independent sources (by the way, I live near the Alps and glaciers are reducing, has been PROVEN and it’s actually VISIBLE by eye). We could debate on “has been caused by humans”, but even here the proofs are so many that are overwhelming.
    The earth has not “at least 10.000 years”, but its 4.5BILLIONS years. Just a little longer.
    So the amount of data is MUCH MUCH less that the 1% you say:does this invalidate them? No, because we have scientific data.

    But I guess that you don’t believe in Climate Change because it’s not “written in the bible”, is it? Well, let me say that frankly: you (not specifically “you Tim”) can believe ANYTHING you like, unless it does not harm others. Unfortunately the belief that “earth is a God’s present to humanity and we should use it, no climate change because God has not written it” IS causing harm to other people.
    Also, Americans are BY FAR the largest USERS of Earth resources, the biggest waste producers and the ones with the biggest CO2 impact.

    – Religion/Relationship thing: first of all these are not in contradiction. Saying that Christianity is not a “religion” is just a grammatical false, because a religion is a set of beliefs, and Christianity IS that. So let’s first say that, and then talk about, if you like, a “special” religion, one based on relationship. I’ve been through the words you used again in the past with Gabe and I came to this conclusion which is OBVIOUS if you were looking it from the outside: if you can’t do ANYTHING to reach God, in Christian Religion, I have to assume that it’s a religion of luck. If you have been chosen, good, you’re a lucky man, if not…well..sorry for you. How can you say that, the fact that there is NO WAY you can reach God? It’s just lottery??? At least other religions relies on personal committment!

    @Lisa: yours are wise words. Unfortunately there are A LOT of Christians who would not rent an house to a homosexual, or would vote a president just by the fact that he’s not against abortion.

    @Steve: you’ve been very clear. And very Intelligent, in my opinion. I agree on your idea that we are “spiritual beings” regardless of religion. And I agree on the fact that 99% of the wars were caused by religions.

    @Lisa again, in response to Steve: you’re saying that “the Bible was written for those people, in those years, and clearly has the rules of that era”. Then, so why you’re applying it literally now, 2.000 years later?

  3. Lisa

    Steve, may I respectfully submit something here? When I first started reading and studying the Old Testament, I was strongly put off by the endless and excruciatingly detailed rules for the Israelites. And then, over time, I was reminded that during that time, the full revelation of God’s word was still VERY MUCH in process. These people did not have the printed word to go on. They needed, for lack of a better way to put it, a lot of hand-holding. They were a chosen people, a people set apart, and God wanted to make good and sure that they were living in a way that caused them to be open for the most blessing. He knew that anything that turned their hearts and minds away from Him would lead to their destruction, either over the short term or the long.

    The New Testament is very clear in its message that certain behaviors lead to safety, peace, joy, and blessing, and others have long-standing (and even eternal) negative implications. Remember, the apostle Paul was talking to some pretty depraved people in some of these cities. They had no idea how to locate their moral compasses, much less follow them. When a child is being raised, parents do a WHOLE lot of hand-holding, simply because their kids just don’t know any better. These were young churches, and as such, they needed a CLEAR direction to go. I truly believe this is why so many view the Bible as strict and even dictatorial.

    I will not speak in much detail on the issue of homosexuality because frankly, I am not educated enough on the genetic aspect of it, nor am I nearly educated enough on its prevalence in the animal kingdom. I would ask you to keep in mind that many of the exhortations on avoiding homosexuality in the Bible were given to people who were known for being depraved in their treatment of themselves and others. They abused and misused MANY things that God intended for blessing and good. They needed some serious hand-holding. In the same way, don’t we (as parents, family members, or caretakers) do our best to keep our loved ones from harm? Sometimes it means strictly limiting their access to certain things.

    I will be honest and say that I believe that sex is something that is designed and created to be enjoyed between loving, consenting partners within the covenant of marriage. I believe this for Scriptural and biological reasons. However, I do not judge homosexuals. I also believe smoking is harmful but I do not judge smokers. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “Everything is permissible for me — but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me — but I will not be mastered by anything.” Many of these churches, from Corinth to Ephesus to Galatia, were primarily ruled by carnal lust. Simply put, they just took things too far. And I personally can’t think of one activity done to excess that ends up turning out well for anyone.

    Well, I’ve prattled on too long. I’m coming dangerously close to stepping on a soapbox. I will humbly step back. Thank you for the time you took to share your thoughts with all of us! Marla’s been so wonderfully gracious to give us this forum to do so.

  4. Steve

    I have a problem. And it’s a BIG ONE. I have a problem with church. Ok, CHURCHES. ALL OF THEM. I have a problem with my sister, who converted to LDS and thinks THEY are the “one true faith” I have a problem with Islam. And Catholicism, and …ok, you get the idea.

    Some pet peeves – this “word of God” thingie – words are HUMAN INVENTIONS, NOT those of some omnipotent being. HUMANS wrote all these “sacred” words – and then subsequent humans BUTCHERED THE TRANSLATION, of course, as humans are oh so good at doing. In the beginning, MAN created GOD, and in his image created he / him (notice how GENDER-BIASED my writing has become in just a few short parapgraphs? That’s because ALL RELIGION since the advent of AGRICULTURE is paternalistic – as against how it was PRE-AGRICULTURE (largely) – MATernalistic – thanks to humans having not a CLUE how life really happened – the MAN was irrelevant – only the FEMALE gave birth. And so, women remain, at this pathetically late date in human history, largely CHATTEL around the planet. SICK SICK – and religion and politics are almost TOTALLY responsible.

    So WHY in the world would Man create a god? or gods? It’s so simple, it’s almost absurd – stating the obvious. Humans are genetically programmed to “fill in the blanks” – ie. if they don’t know the answer, the INVENT ONE to fill the void. Religion did a MASTERFUL job of that, and over the past several thousand years, also served as a means to control human lives POLITICALLY and ECONOMICALLY as well – cool! a Three-fer!! hehe

    Evolution – the DREADED E-word – I am FLABBERGHASTED when I ask a “Christian” if they believe they are a primate and they INSTANTLY say no, they are NOT a primate. Huh? What PLANET are they living on? Is this a MELTDOWN of our educational system? HOW IN THE WORLD can we have multi-million dollar MUSEUMS that spew garbage about humans living alongside dinosaurs, just to CRAM the bible’s 6,000 year absurdity into a belief system? Sheesh – we really have NOT advanced as a species much in 8,000 years at all, have we?

    Tolerance – boy, do religions hate (and I mean HATE HATE) this T word – it’s the old high school CLIQUE all over again – IGOG – In Group Out Group – if you aren’t with us, then you must be BAD, EVIL, ROTTEN, DEVILISH or whatever. morons. primitive thinking. very very sad. hazard of media, and video games, and NOBODY READING ANYTHING ANYMORE – which leads to NOBODY THINKING CRITICALLY anymore either.

    Homosexuality – largely the same moronic and TOTAL LACK OF THINKING and OBSERVATION inherent in the Evolution discussion above. All you have to do is VIEW THE ANIMAL KINGDOM to see how widespread and COMMON homosexual behavior is. It’s normal. It’s natural. It is HARDLY an aberration. It is CERTAINLY NOT a choice. Or a sin. HOW LONG HAVE WE KNOWN THIS? amazing – billions of morons, planet-wide who have NO CLUE the reality that is the GENETICS of homosexuality. And so we heap tremendous abuse, and mistrust, and neglect and crazy behavior on them. And RELIGION is largely to blame. Religious leadership could turn this round in a WEEK if they chose to. But NO!!! God doesn’t LIKE that pesky behavior, right? It’s in the bible that it’s BAAAAAD stuff. (makes me puke) – and I’m STRAIGHT! I shudder to think what I’d be doing if I were born gay…

    Anyway – I do NOT expect this post to last, but I had fun writing it – I’m 55 yrs old – born a presbyterian, and then “got religion” (or maybe LOST it is a better way to put it) just like MANY GREAT AMERICANS did – Thomas Paine, Mark Twain, George Carlin, Bill Maher – I’m a huge fan of them all, and I’ll go to my grave that way. Like it or not, I AM a spiritual being – just not what most humans would recognize as such – I BELIEVE in infinite intelligence and what I refer to as the “law of conservation of spirit.” But I don’t expect other humans to have a clue in hell (which I don’t believe in either) to understand my beliefs – at least not many.

    Note: my site isn’t up just yet – should be controversial, don’t you think? :)

  5. Pingback: So What Should We Do with the Bible? - Guest post by Marla Taviano « Rediscovering the Church

  6. Andrea De Togni

    @Marla: thanks for your kind words. Your husband trained me well on these discussions :-)

    @Marla,Tim,Lisa: there is so much “meat on the grill”, as we say in Italy, and it’s late. I will answer you tomorrow or…next week, when I’ll be back from holiday. Especially to you, Tim, about the Climate Change. You made very bold sentences and I’m very towards “saving the planet”. You challenged me to prove that you, in this case, are wrong. Because these are scientific facts, not religion.


  7. Lisa

    Andrea, if someone claims to be a Christian but does not love all people equally, then they are deceiving themselves. Christ did not come to condemn but to save. Remember, even the most vile serial killer will go to the kingdom of heaven if he believes, even in his last moments, that the Cross is the only way. God loves ALL equally, and if we claim to be children of God, then so should we. If I love only other Christians, what benefit is that to me? Jesus said so Himself:

    32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. (Luke 6:32-35)

    I am not a Christian because of what I will get back. I am a Christian because the God of all creation has made it abundantly clear to me, in many ways and over much time, that I am worth it to him. I can’t explain it, can’t define it, and certainly can’t understand it. But His presence in my life has been unmistakable.

    It’s simply not in our human nature to give and love without thought of how we will benefit or be rewarded. The fact that I can now love another, believer or not, is not of my own capacity, but it is my honor and privilege. Human beings are simply not naturally inclined to do so. Something greater must be at work for it to occur.

    I am a Christian because I recognize that the universe in its entirety was perfectly and precisely created to sustain my little life at this very point in time. Nothing that happens is an accident. I say this not only by faith, but also by the tiniest bit of sight I possess. God’s fingerprint on my life is indelible and more and more apparent as time goes on.

    I will never, and I mean NEVER, force my beliefs on anyone, and if I ever do, I hope I will be swiftly and sharply rebuked for it. I would dishonor another if I tried to cram my beliefs down her throat. That is never my intention. But Andrea, since you graciously and open-mindedly encouraged me to continue, I freely share what I can with as much humility as I can muster. I love you because of who you are, not because of what you believe or don’t believe. I love you because you share this mystery called life with me. I can’t love you intimately because I don’t know you intimately, but with my whole heart, soul, and mind, I want for you more than I want for myself, simply because I have been given so much. I have no choice but to share it because I’m so filled to the brim with blessing after blessing. If this means you never come to know Christ, I won’t wish for you one ounce less than everything I can possibly wish. And I say that not out of arrogance, but out of love. You are a gift to all who know you, and I hope you remember that. Our views may differ, but they make us no less equals in the grand scheme.

    Thank you for wanting to know me better, as I want to know you better. What a gift it is to be able to dialogue back and forth.

  8. Tim Alley

    There are soooo many issues and ideas to discuss in this thread and so the question becomes which one or ones to address first if at all. I make this post with an apology, I don’t know if this will address the most recent points or even the most important but I hope will address some of the underlying issues.
    This is a discussion of AMERICAN politics, not European or other nations. The American political history is separate and distinct from any other nation and despite the ancestory of the founders what was done politically here in the USA was separate and distinct from Europe.
    The structure and design of the American society and government was based on a unique and different form of governance and philosophy than anything the world had seen in all of human history. There were some concepts that were built on from British governance and there were some concepts borrowed from Jewish and Roman history, however, the configuration and philosophy were different than any other. So, to compare the USA to Europe is foolish. WE DO NOT WANT TO BE LIKE ANYONE ELSE! The philosophy and ideas behind American governance is so radically different than any one else in the world as to be comparing pickles to cookies. The concept behind the American society and government is that the people are the source of power, that each individual has rights from God and only God can take those rights away. The concept behind the rest of world’s governments are that the government is the source of power and therefore the government can grant and take away rights and responsibilities. These are radically different views. Unfortunately, most presidents and political leaders in America over the past 50 years have taken a view in direct opposition to the American founding philosophy. The most recent example of an original founding philosophy was Ronald Reagan, however, even he was not fully committed to that philosophy. Since then every president and congress has moved us either faster or slower in the same direction and that is a direction of big government control and interference. People, governments, and organizations should be allowed to rise and fall on their own merits and not be propped up or supported by governments of any kind. Anytime a governmental institution taxes a group of individuals and gives those funds to another person or institution it is theft. There is no other name for it.

    Getting into specific issues, while I like the idea of every person being able to get the health care and benefits that they want/need, government is not the way to accomplish that. Let the private industry provide this. Individuals of conscience and compassion will provide this. To force anyone to provide this is theft and slavery. While I hate the idea of someone being rejected from housing or jobs because of something they do in their “private life” having the government tell anyone that they must give their private property to another is theft. There may be good or bad reasons to reject renting to or hiring or serving an individual, but it is a choice of a private individual and only that individual can make that choice. The American government has no right to take that choice away. I may be harmed in some way because someone chooses not to hire me, but I have no right to force them to hire me. It is their money, their job, they can hire whom they choose and their choice will have consequences.

    Now, I want to take a moment and address global climate change. There are two general issues to address in this bigger issue. First, is there actual climate change happening and that is up for debate. No one, and I mean NO ONE, can prove definitively that global climate change is happening that is not a part of a natural cycle of change. The minimal amount of data that is available is non-conclusive to either answer. This planet is at least 10,000 years old and at best we have 100 years of somewhat accurate data, but truthfully we only have at best 30-40 years of data accurate enough to measure the changes that are claimed. This means that at best we can measure 1% of our history somewhat accurately. Other than that all data is anecdotal. Having said all that, let’s assume, that there is some form of global climate change occurring. The next question is what is causing the change? Is the change being caused by humans or by natural forces that we have no control over? To this point there is absolutely no evidence that what humans do causes any global climate change. In fact the changes in the suns patterns, volcanic eruptions and other natural forces cause more harm than anything man has or can do. So, all that to say before we agree to willy nilly hand over all of our rights and responsibilities to some group of individuals who want to “save the planet” I want to know that the planet actually needs saving and that there is actually something that can be done. I wouldn’t by a pair of shoes based on the amount of evidence presented by global climate change experts let alone give up control of my life, family, country and property.

    To this point I have made an assumption that those involved in this discussion understand that, the regulations and laws that have been passed and are being passed in recent years dictate to us everything from who we must support, what kinds of vehicles we must drive, what foods we can eat, what our houses must look like, and any number of other decisions we can make. Many of these decisions may be what most of us would choose anyway, but does not mean that that choice should be taken away.

    I know this post is way tooo long. So, I will conclude with these thoughts for now. When talking about Christian and Catholic they are not the same. One is a religion, the other a relationship. Why do I make the distinction? Because it is vital to an understanding of what a religion is versus what a relationship is. Catholicism like every other religion in the world is man’s attempt to get to God. With religion, people must do something to get to God, God never comes to the person. Christianity is the complete opposite, it is God coming to people and drawing them to himself. There is no way possible for me to get to God through my own efforts. Only by God making a way and offering that way to me (all people) can I or anyone else hope to get to God. Christianity is not about rules, it is about accepting the gift of eternal life that is given by God. Any actions, attitudes, or activities that I do or do not engage in are not a result of rules and regulations promulgated by a a human organization, but rather as a result of my thankfulness to God and a desire to know God and to follow his direction for my life. As my creator he knows what is best and only God can fulfill me.

  9. Marla Taviano

    Andrea, this is totally off-topic, but can I just say how impressed I am with your ability to articulate your thoughts in a language that’s not your native tongue? Amazing.

    And on-topic, I think that if you’re completely honest with yourself, you’d admit that there’s something missing in your life. You can’t put a finger on it, but it’s there.

    This is not a case of Win Andrea to Our Side and Score Another Point for the Christians. Go, Team!

    This is a matter of being fully convinced in our hearts that we have the One Thing that will bring you peace and fulfillment. And because we love you with the love of Christ, we want you to have it too.

    But we won’t force it down your throat. Shame on us if we do. Hopefully you will see the love of Christ shining through our words and actions.

    Blessings on your day!

  10. Andrea De Togni

    @DiaperDiaries: the bible is taken literally mostly in america. Outside,even with Christian, it’s considered partly an historical document and partly an allegory. After all, thousand hands wrote it and in different times, and passed through 3000 years in various revisions and translations

    Obviously in your point of view God was following this manuscript for these 3000 years, choosing with his own hand which one was the best suited….

    You’re right when you criticize your constant “bible referencing” when dealing with non christian. This enrages “us” because you try to infer your rules to someone else’s life. It’s like going in Italy and trying to apply the American Laws. It won’t work. What could work is trying to adapt to the other mind schema.

    Again, like Lisa did, you’re using your source to validate your source. “He called himself Son of God so he must be Son of God”. May be extremely valid for Christian, but understand that outside of this belief, it does not make any sense. Lunatic/Liar/Son logic application: world is full of people of Liar and Lunatics with a lot of followers (and I bet that you think that Muslims are following a Liar and/or a Lunatic and they are quite a lot).

    But as I already said: don’t want to convert you. Just wanted to show you, in an educated way (which I think it’s hard for you to find, as you said you’re being persecuted), what are the logical errors seen from outside.

    Back to politics: does EVER came into your mind the doubt, just the SLIGHEST doubt, that what you call “the truth” may not be the “real truth”? After all, other religions has their TRUTH. Each one of us has his TRUTH. So all non christian are in fail, then. For example: people in remote villages of africa, never been exposed to Christian religion, are in fail?

    @Lisa: instead you should go on. Not because you want to convert me, but because you want to KNOW me, as I’m doing now. And you want to grow through exchange of opinions.
    I appreciate that you don’t judge sexual orientation, but AFAIK a lot of Americans voted Bush or McCain MOSTLY because they were against these “immoral” things like gay marriage and abortion. This is a fact. I truly appreciate you don’t fit in this, but how do you explain the big remainders of voters?

  11. Lisa

    Andrea, thank you.

    I won’t go more into my beliefs because, as Marla has said, it’s not up to me to “convert” anyone to my way of thinking. But I will say this… being a Christian does not make sense. Hence the beauty of it, I am a Christian because Christ made His presence VERY clear to me in the darkest time of my life. He truly called me to Him. I had nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with it. This is how I know He is real. This is why I keep pursuing a relationship with Him.

    And no, I would never ask someone’s sexual orientation. I love people for people. In my mind and heart, people are NOT defined by the choices they make. I’m a sinner just as much as the next person. The difference is, I’ve since learned that I am not my sins. They do not define me. My relationship with Christ is what defines me.

    I will respectfully step back and let this conversation continue among those of you FAR more qualified to speak on them. But I very much appreciate this dialogue with you.

  12. The Diaper Diaries

    Great post and what great, respectful comments. If I may add my 2 cents.

    I see this a lot, when Christians are trying to persuade non-Christians to their views, and have always felt it makes little sense. While I completely believe in the complete and inherent truth of the bible, using scripture to prove a point about God to a non believer is futile. If they believe the book is an allegory or a book of nice stories, I am pretty sure we can quote scripture until we are blue in the face and it is about as convincing as reading a comic strip. I do not doubt that God can use the power of his own words, but I think we need to understand that when we speak it, it is probably not received as truth.

    That being said, Andrea, I do think that the “radical” Christian of which you speak is the only kind there truly is. For someone to call themselves a follower of Christ and call the Bible a nice allegory is inconsistent. These are usually the same people that say that Jesus was a great teacher and we should try and do some of the things he says. He called himself the Son of God. Many times. So to quote C.S. Lewis, he either is the Son of God, a lunatic or a liar. If he is either of the latter, why on earth would anyone use him as a moral compass? HE says that he is the only way and when we follow him we must make a choice to either accept or reject that claim.

    On the political note, I vote the way I vote for a lot of reasons, one of which being that I would prefer to vote for someone who aligns with my belief system. That being said, I agree with one of the above commentors that no one in many recent elections has completely fit that bill (although I was a big Huckabee fan). I also think that Christians so strongly trying to insert themselves in the political process (a la James Dobson and others), has led to a MAJOR misunderstanding of what we are about. I am fairly confident if Jesus came back to earth today, he would be concerned about more than just abortion and gay marriage (although I do think he would care). So why is that only platform about which many speak. The reason Christians voted for Obama and did so with a clear conscience despite his views on those 2 issues being at odds with what we believe is that he had a strong stance on other issues I believe God cares about such as taking care of the earth he has stewarded us and helping the poor and disinfranchised. Again, I don’t agree with the HOW, but I understand why people voted the way they did.

    As Christian citizens, I do believe it is our calling to vote for the person we believe will govern our country best, but if we expect an earthly appointed official to fully carry out God’s plans, I think we are not looking closely enough at the political climate when Jesus walked on Earth. Many of his followers also wanted him to “fix” the government of the time and bring peace to the land. But that wasn’t his ultimate mission (which is why Judas ends up betraying him). His ultimate mission was to save US and bring peace to US. The government and world as we know it will ONLY receive true peace when he comes back at restores all of humanity. In the meantime, we can pray for our leaders and those around us that they will know the TRUTH.

  13. Andrea De Togni

    @Ashley: kudos, those are sensible ideas!

    @Lisa: a short premise for you. My first gf had an abortion with the previous boyfriend. I just came after and I lived a 1.5 years relationship with the emotional issues of this girl. She was VERY damaged and I felt sorry for her. I PERFECTLY know the psychological issue of an abortion. 2 of my best female friends and one of my best male friends went through an abortion. And I was able to see the sufference. One year ago my sister got pregnant “by mistake” with a person that she does not love: I did my best to convince her to keep the baby and she did it. No, wait: I did my best to say her that she would have suffered a lot an abortion and the “best” thing would have been to keep him, but at the same time I would not have judged her for ANY decision. Not sure if was my words (don’t think so) but now Emanuele is born and he’s beautiful, but he has a mother and a father that don’t love each other.

    So, don’t tell me what is an abortion, because we in the “real world” knows it much better than in the Christian “no-sex-before-marriage” world. I have (unfortunately) quite an experience.

    Then comes the discussion about faith. Faith is not logic. The premise of faith is believing, trusting the existence of God (or a relationship…) and following his rules (bible) without questioning. The no-questioning part is crucial in faith, because when you start questioning, logic comes in and some things does not “match. I understand your point, but unfortunately from a non-faith person (a person who uses logic) it is SO full of logical errors.

    The point is that: should I point those errors to you? Even if I do, it won’t change a bit your idea, your faith. Because you don’t question the source. So I challenge you to read this without thinking to be attacked, but to see how logic people see the incongruencies of faith. No, more exactly, “how logic people see the incongruencies of BIBLE-LITERAL faith”.

    #1. “I say the true, and since I say the true, this sentence is true”. You can’t use the same entity (the bible) to certify the validity of the entity itself (the bible). You said “the bible has been inspired by God because it is written on it”. That is a logical error, something you’ll learn to avoid in 1st hour of 1st class of Philosophy and Logic courses.
    This is one point where non-believers likes to make fun of you: that self-referencing that does not go anywhere.
    It would be MUCH MORE sensible (albeit not proving anything) to say “the bible is true because I ‘feel’ it”. Your emotions about the bible won’t prove the validity of it, but at least it won’t be a factual error.

    #2: All things (underlined: ALL) touched by an human are fallacious (because human is imperfect). The bible has been written by humans. Then it must be fallacious and imperfect.

    #3: If you met me, you’re not going to discriminate me and not going to say “repent!” (and I believe that). You said you do not discriminate gay. However you said that there are biological and humanistical “errors” in a gay relationship (‘not the correct model’). Defining erroneous is judging, taking a stance: “I am right because I follow that model, you’re not”. Kimberly said that she would like to know the sexual status before renting an house. Would you? If so, you’re discriminating. Maybe you’re not hating, but still discriminating.
    Or, at least, you voted (I guess…) for a party that DOES discriminate against gays.

    Thanks for the time spent to argue with me :-)

    @back door: wise concept. I haven’t read that book, but I documented in the past on that concept. Founding Fathers were not Christian, at least not all of them. Just google it and face the reality. Face the eradication of Indians, face the slaves, face the wars ran by Bush, face the Cuba embargo. Those aren’t really things done on Christian principles (money, success, power, land…whatever you like, not exactly Godly attributes).
    And by the way founding fathers were humans. And if you say that people writing the bible were inspired by God, I can’t hear you say that modern founding fathers were “inspired by God”.
    That should break once for all the God/Politics question once for all. Keep god for yourself, and let politics follow ethics and civil rights.

  14. Ashley

    What an interesting post! I felt compelled to post myself.

    I am a Lutheran, raised in a Lutheran household since birth. I was raised to love an all-loving God. I was also raised with morals similar to those I was taught in my Sunday School and Confirmation classes. Such as saving sex until marriage (which I am doing) and loving others, even when their viewpoints conflict with your own.

    What I’m going to say next, then, may shock you. I was also raised to be pro-choice. The best quote I can offer here actually comes from President Obama when he said at Benedictine University in 2004, “No one is pro-abortion”. As a female, I recognize all of the complex emotions, religious beliefs, and personal opinions that come into this very emotionally-packed conversation. As a female who is going into the field of clinical psychology, I have also learned of women who were raped, forced into non-consensual sex with either a partner or husband. After such a traumatic, unbelievably defeating experience, I could never imagine sitting across from a client telling her she absolutely doesn’t have the right to seek an abortion if she chose that option for herself. If placed in the same scary situation, I don’t know that I would choose abortion. It would be a very difficult decision. But I think women who do make that choice have the right to a sterile abortion that greatly reduces the risks associated with self-performed abortions. Whether or not abortion remains legal, there will be women who choose to terminate a pregnancy. Keeping it legal allows these women to have access to a safe abortion.

    Less than half of unwanted pregnancies end in adoption, unfortunately. And the very troubling and sobering fact is that some children (notice I said some, meaning a small percentage) who are born “unwanted” suffer silently in homes for 18 years. The horror stories of neglect and abuse. Or some are never adopted and are shuffled through the painfully frequent uprooting associated with foster care.

    Rather than focusing on abortion, I dearly wish and pray that we could shift our focus to the children currently being raised. We need to redefine the family. Marriage needs to be seen again as a lifelong commitment. Mothers need access to programs such as WIC to teach them about the nutritional needs of their infants.

    Teenagers need comprehensive sexual education programs to help protect themselves from both STDs and pregnancy if they choose to be sexually active. By focusing on prevention, wouldn’t we be satisfying the desire of both camps to reduce the number of abortions?

    President Obama has suggested that focusing on education of future parents and current parents to ensure the safety and health of our children could be the topic to bridge the gap between liberals and conservatives and to find a healthy compromise, rather than just arguing about who is right and who is wrong for another 10 years.

    Just curious to know, for all of you that have stated that Obama’s views conflict with your own, what your opinion is on Obama’s push to focus primarily on pregnancy prevention strategies.

  15. Tim Alley

    WOW! I have been gone most of the afternoon and evening and so I missed some of the later posts. I have now read them and WOW! that is alot of information. As much as I would love to respond to the logical falacies and the incorrect statements made I will have to wait until tomorrow to be able to adequately respond. Have a good evening and I look forward to continuing this post.

  16. back door

    so, i love to discuss politics and coudn’t pass up this post. i so agree with many of your points……however, i struggle with reconciling politics, our “christian” nation, and christianity. you see, i read an amazing book called the myth of the christian nation. we as christians today like to blame political parties for leading us astray, but i wonder if that is true. we also do like to show up for picketing and signing petitions, but are we willing to daily live for Jesus? are we willing to love the sinners? are we willing to take in the lady facing abortion? are we willing to befriend the homosexual and walk through this life with them? you see, the Jesus i read about and believe in didn’t tell his disciples to change the current government (which ironically wasn’t much different than our current one) He told them to go into the world and change people’s lives. i have had my views radically changed and have needed to seek Jesus fully daily in light of what He is teaching me.

    i appreciate all of what you said – and several of the comments ring true with me. let me leave you all with this question that was posed in the earlier mentioned book: when exactly were we a christian nation? was it when we took the land from the indians and moved them? or was it when we had slaves? or is it when we complain about the imigrants coming to america? those all really make me think – and challenge me to be sold out for Jesus and living boldy for Him!!

    blessings marla – i so enjoy being a lurker on your sight!

  17. Lisa

    Marla, I love the stuffings out of you!!! You have NO idea how much you have blessed me over the past year or so. Praise God for anointed women like yourself. I feel like the popular girl on the block because you stopped by to visit me today. I know you don’t ever want to be put on a pedestal, but you are one dedicated servant, sister. And I love you, admire you, and honor you so, so much! Thank you for giving us a forum here today to respectfully share our views.

  18. Lisa

    Andrea, I do not discriminate against gays. I do not judge. God forbid it. If I were perfect, I could judge. I’m far from it. Not once did I say I take issue with the way anyone lives their lives. I choose to live my life a certain way because I have found freedom in that way.

    If I met you on the street, I would not lay hands on you and say, “Repent!” I would not tell you that I would only be your friend if you were a Christian. But what I would do is try to live my life through Christ so that His light shines through me and others can see and are drawn to it, drawn to Him. Am I perfect at it? Absolutely not.

    My mission in life is not to convert as many as possible to Christianity. It just isn’t. Because it’s not my job — Christ does it all on His own, in His time, and in His way. And if He chooses to use me to bring another to Him, then I am a willing vessel. I know my words here aren’t going to make one bit of difference to you. But His love of you, I pray, will in His time, and in His way.

    The proof that Christians will be persecuted is explicitly stated in the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:12 – “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

    The Bible is from God Himself. 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” He used fallible humans to write the words, but the words are from God Himself.

    There is a price for aborting a child. The mental anguish the abortive mother feels is often lifelong and brutal. Talk to a handful and see how many agree. Not to mention the plans God had for that child’s life, as He does for all of us. This is what I meant. And the ramifications of same sex marriage… the inability to have a natural sexual relationship that culminates in the production of a child, among other things, diminishes the beauty of a union that is meant to emulate God’s love for His church. I do not hate gays by any means, nor will I stand in judgment of them if they decide to marry. I am simply speaking from a humanistic and biological perspective. I know many gay couples, love them, are friends and family with them, and know them to be wonderful, warm people (some of the warmest, most accepting people on the planet) but simply put, marriage is an earthly model of a heavenly relationship, and as much as two people of the same sex may love each other, their union does not follow this model. And I don’t say that in judgment. Once again, God forbid.

    I respectfully submit these answers to the areas you highlighted. Once again, I know my words won’t “convert” you to my way of thinking. But I offer them freely and appreciate the time you took to read my responses.

  19. Andrea De Togni

    @Marla: James 1:26
    If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

    “Religion” is used in the bible, why you refuse it?

    @Lisa: yes you can (very Obam-ish :-))

    And this is my uneducated response:

    The Bible is God’s word [false. It has been written by humans]. God breathed and God inspired [maybe God inspired but people wrote it. Your Christian belief is that man=phallacy. How comes the bible not be erroneous?]. It reveals Him to us, and the more we want to find out about Him through His word, the more we will discover. The Bible is not meant to be a condemnation of opposing views (there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1) [that says that there is no condemnation in Christ. Does not say that it does not exist in other religions. Since you are in a mission to convert people to Christianity and bible says clearly that there is just one God…that logically gives that all the non-christian are condemned] but God is explicit in telling us what actions, words, beliefs, and behaviors, will bring us the most freedom, joy, and peace in this life [Yes. The rule’s book, the bible]. There is a price for aborting a child that goes far beyond the cost of the physical life lost [absolutely with you on this, but you’re not the one paying it]. There is a price for marrying someone of the same sex that goes far beyond the cost of how others might perceive us should we choose to do so [you’re not paying the price of marrying the same sex. In Christian words, let God save them and you not discriminate them because they’re not enlightened]. We might not know the full cost until we reach the other side of heaven, but it is grave and it is unfathomable [true, but you can’t be God and judge that person for Him. Forgive him and not discriminate him]. Is there any such thing as an unforgivable sin? I don’t believe so. We all fall short and all must stand in judgment when we reach our eternal home.

    I think too often we humans view the Bible as a rule book rather than God’s passionate pursuit of a relationship with us […you just said that he gave us the rules…]. He desires our worship, not because He’s on a God-sized ego trip, but because He knows it’s our only chance of saving ourselves FROM ourselves [now…this is hard to understand. I challenge you to put this sentence into a muslim’s mouth (or a taoist, or an hinduist…) and guess your reaction. “We must worship him because he knows that it’s our way to save from ourselves”. Double-sommersault logic trip :-)]. The more we focus on Him, the more He keeps us from our self-destructive ways. God loves us regardless of who we are or what path we choose in life […so he should love also gays]. He loves us whether we love Him back or not […so if he loves gays, why you don’t love them?].

    Christians WILL be persecuted. It’s just the plain fact [any proof of this?] Christianity is such a radical departure from any other world religion (what other deity humbles itself to its creation [unfortunately my English is not perfect…I’m not sure to have understood this sentence], doesn’t force itself on any human being [What? Ever studied other religions? Buddhism, taoism, Hinduism, just to name some], and lays down its life to free its creation from the bondage of sin [the fact is that other religions does not start with a sin! You start with a sin and then you praise God because it lets you free from this sin. Starting without a sin would be much better…like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism…probably all of them starts without any faultyness by design]?) that it’s no wonder Christians are often viewed as radical themselves. If following Christ makes me radical in another’s eyes, that’s the chance I’m willing to take [In fact you SHOULD and HAVE To stand for your ideas. ]. When someone tells me to stop the “God talk” so they can get on with their everyday life without thoughts of eternity, I remind myself that it’s not up to me to change their mind — it’s up to God. I’m just the willing vessel [true. Then why “you” discriminate gays?].


    Thanks for your thoughts, Lisa. I highlighted what can be seen, from a non – christian, some logical errors. I’d like you, if you want, to elaborate on those.

  20. Lisa

    Oops, I forgot to add that, like you, Marla, I believe Christianity is a relationship vs. a religion. It is God’s pursuit of each one of us individually, not His tyrannical attempt to get us all to follow Him like lemmings in mindless obedience. If only everyone knew how intimately they are loved, and how incomprehensibly much they are valued. It would make ALL the difference. But God will never force Himself on anyone. But oh, when we ask Him in, He will reveal Himself in the most unmistakable ways. I get goosebumps thinking about all the times He has made known to me just how much He loves me, but I’m always left with the impression also that He loves ALL His creation equally, and that is what makes me KNOW He is real. How could I have a thought like that on my own, imperfect and flawed as I am???

  21. Marla Taviano

    I’ve already started praying, Andrea. :)

    And the fact that Gabe has already explained the “personal relationship” aspect of Christianity warms my heart.

    I married a good man. Correction: a sinner made good by Christ.

    Have a good night!

  22. Lisa

    May I offer my very uneducated perspective?

    The Bible is God’s word. God breathed and God inspired. It reveals Him to us, and the more we want to find out about Him through His word, the more we will discover. The Bible is not meant to be a condemnation of opposing views (there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1) but God is explicit in telling us what actions, words, beliefs, and behaviors, will bring us the most freedom, joy, and peace in this life. There is a price for aborting a child that goes far beyond the cost of the physical life lost. There is a price for marrying someone of the same sex that goes far beyond the cost of how others might perceive us should we choose to do so. We might not know the full cost until we reach the other side of heaven, but it is grave and it is unfathomable. Is there any such thing as an unforgivable sin? I don’t believe so. We all fall short and all must stand in judgment when we reach our eternal home.

    I think too often we humans view the Bible as a rule book rather than God’s passionate pursuit of a relationship with us. He desires our worship, not because He’s on a God-sized ego trip, but because He knows it’s our only chance of saving ourselves FROM ourselves. The more we focus on Him, the more He keeps us from our self-destructive ways. God loves us regardless of who we are or what path we choose in life. He loves us whether we love Him back or not.

    Christians WILL be persecuted. It’s just the plain fact. Christianity is such a radical departure from any other world religion (what other deity humbles itself to its creation, doesn’t force itself on any human being, and lays down its life to free its creation from the bondage of sin?) that it’s no wonder Christians are often viewed as radical themselves. If following Christ makes me radical in another’s eyes, that’s the chance I’m willing to take. When someone tells me to stop the “God talk” so they can get on with their everyday life without thoughts of eternity, I remind myself that it’s not up to me to change their mind — it’s up to God. I’m just the willing vessel.

    Don’t know if this made any sense but it’s what’s been rattling around in my brain. It’s such a dangerous position to take to say that the imprint of Christianity on the soil of history is just the same as all the others. If we look closely, we’ll see that it’s off on a path all its own, and to travel it is far from the safest route. But oh, is it worth it, if we can only stick to it!

  23. Andrea De Togni

    @Marla: you and Gabe will have a lot to pray, tonight, for the Holy Spirit to enlight me :-)

    I’m kidding, of course.

    I never said that your ideas are foolish: they’re not mine, and I personally consider them very distant. But saying that they’re foolish will make an assumption to your intelligence (you would be a fool), which I never done and never will.

    Gabe already told me about this “personal relationship” thing, that you’re is not a “religion” and all this stuff.
    You don’t have to convince me, because there is nothing to explain.
    To me, again respectfully, it’s just a game of wording.

    A religion is a set of beliefs (your beliefs) and a set of formal rules (a.k.a. The Bible). And that’s all. All this “personal relationship” thing is just your “relationship with God” or, better, “your relationship with these beliefs”, or, again, “your way to follow these beliefs”.
    But all within this religion.

    What I can’t understand is not the “personal relationship” but the fact that you kinda refuse this “religion” word. Why it is “not a religion”? Don’t you follow Bible rules? Don’t you follow Christian beliefs? Don’t you try your best to evangelize people and “pray for people to recognize God”?

    Then you’re in a religion: a set of beliefs that you follow. All of the joking with words and definitions are IMHO just circling around. I just found this

    Too long to read…seems that it says “since a lot of religions are man-made, and man-made things are not perfect as god, we are not a religion. Religion is connected to sinful things – ??? – and Christianity no.”
    It’s like saying “i built something that has an engine, a gearing and goes on tires. Looks like a car, but is much more perfect than a car. So let’s call it…uhm…a Strumble!”.
    Strumble is a car, whatever wording you choose.

    I really don’t understand why you’re so scared about this simple definition. Popes (remember: God’s representation on Earth) calls it Religion and it’s not at all a discrimination or a bad word.

    Oh and by the way: we “non christian” believes that you’re not a sinner. That you are a wonderful person, not a sinner. That you’re not punished for being here.
    Once you realize that (but as you said, I will never be able to convince you- never in a million years :-) ) life would be much more heavy. :)

  24. Andrea De Togni

    @Kimberly. Can I, very respecfully, show you some VERY DISTANT different point of views?

    “When he imposes a national health care plan that requires doctors to perform abortions against their beliefs”
    …let’s rephrase…
    “When he imposes a national health care plan that requires doctors to respect the patient will, without imposing THEIR beliefs to the patient’s one”.

    Now it looks much better.
    In Italy abortion is legal. Private doctors can still refuse, public doctor cannot (even if some of them does). Because their are serving the country, _not themselves_, and they have a patient, they’re not in a mission. The country is not a religion. They’re paid to make their DUTY, to serve the patient.

    I know it looks this way to you “I am a doctor and I want to save lifes, not kill them”. Fair point, totally respected. A solution: in each hospital there MUST be AT LEAST always ONE doctor that performs abortions. All the others can refuse.

    “When he requires that an owner of a house rent to anyone, regardless of their sexual status, or be accused of illegally discriminating”
    …again rephrase…
    “when he requires that an owner of a house rent to anyone, regardless OF BEING SO CURIOUS ABOUT THE PRIVATE LIFE of the buyer”

    You have an house. You rent. End of the game. What the person does in his PRIVATE and STRICTLY private life, is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
    To put in another view: do you think you will “solve” the “gay problem” by not having them an house? Do you think that they will be “back to normal” if they can’t rent your house?
    What if you rent an house to a “perfect family” and then you discover, after, that they don’t go to church or they swear god or they have promiscous sex? Does the “appearance” of a perfect family saves you?

    Who is saved? You? The perfect family? The religion? Or just the appearance?

    See? Just these two ideas, in Europe, are seen as extremist (or more technically highly conservative)

  25. Marla Taviano

    Andrea, if only I could convey to you what my “Christianity” really entails.

    As hard as this may be for you to understand, it’s not a religion. My faith is a personal relationship with a God who is living and active. A God who sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for my sin. A God whose very own Spirit lives inside my heart.

    I’m no better than anyone else. I’m a miserable sinner. But Jesus has taken away my sin.

    I would never be able to convince you of this–not in a million years. Only the Holy Spirit can stir inside of you and change your mind and heart.

    I’ll pray for that very thing.

    Until then, I appreciate your willingness to dialogue and your attempts to understand our “foolish thoughts.”

    Thank you.

  26. Andrea De Togni

    @Gabe: I think that the people that “hates” the God you follow are very very very very very very very very very very very (ok it’s enough) FEW.

    Those are extremist. Like in medieval times Christianity went after Muslims with the Crusades, now there is a bunch of stupid people trying to do the same.

    What I think is that the highly conformist areas of Christianity are seen too rigid and too extreme to be valid in 21st century. That’s a point of view, of course.

    After all….you “strong” Christians sees satan everywhere :-)

  27. Andrea De Togni

    @Tim/Marla: as you may have noticied :-) I live in Italy. And in Italy there’s Rome, and in Rome there’s the Vatican. Even if it’s a “different country”, it does not have actual borders: none phisical and even less moral/spiritual/cultural. Italy is a country with an history which is far far far longer than USA, and that history is Roman and Christian/Catholic. USA got their influence from Britain, which is Christian but Protestant/Anglican.
    We have ten times (probably much more) churches than are present in USA, we have mostly mandatory religious teaching at school (not sure about USA…) and priests and vatican that is highly influential into the government and cultural life. The pope trasmit his Angelus every Sunday and it’s aired on the main public TV all the times.
    Muslim, also, here does not have freedom of speech. They’re mostly excluded from society. We have a party, which now has an important role in government (Italy parliament is fractured in about 6/8 major parties, there isn’t actual Dem/Rep division, and to govern, they make coalitions), which would like to expel all non-italians from Italy and our prime minister (the most important function) said that “we are not for the multiethnic Italy”. This should clarify how much “local” we are.
    Christian accounts for 91% of Italian population, with 87% being Catholic.

    So, we have quite an experience in Catholicism and Christianity :-)

    Still, if you ask here in Italy and also in Europe, very few (if actually none) believes, for example, to Creationism, something very “into” the American Christian community (wiki says 45% of Americans). For us, and for all Europe, it is seen VERY “extreme”, even among Christian and even among priests. If you ask a priest here, he will say that the Bible is “true” but it’s allegorical, it should not be taken literally. You will have an hard time finding some Christian that believes in creationism (I challenge you to try). Also because various popes are FOR evolutionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_and_the_Roman_Catholic_Church#Pope_Pius_XII)

    In Italy and in Europe you won’t find “signs” in front of the Churches, trying to “buy” religion. Here we use a lot less the God words (“if God wants”, “for God’s will” and we don’t have God written on money :-))

    Are we more “sinful” because of this?

    So as you can see you have a continent which has long roots into Christianity and a more “moderate” approach. Do you think, then, that the moorings have been damaged, due to this? Not at all: churches are still there, religion is still there. Lived in a less “formal” (if you ask me, I would say “healthier”) way but still there. Since A LOT LONGER TIME than USA!

    How can you then think that an highly Christianized America (45% of Creationists in America makes it, for us, VERY into religion – almost fanatically) can loose his Christianity?

    Of course in your point of view ANYTHING LESS than what is now is a “sin” or a “sign of satan”. What I think is exactly this: the American Christian is not into “change”, modernization of religion, because it’s a sign of Satan. It’s strictly “how it was now it has to be”. And this is, IMHO, a big threat to Christianity.

    In other words: if you want to make Christianity live, if you want to go through these “difficult times” you should reconsider your monolithic opinion. Some rules and beliefs were valid when people had no studies, during medieval times. Now Christianity is paying this rigidity and this…uhm…let’s say…”considering people guilty by design” (an all-loving, all-caring God that makes you faulty and you have all your life to pay this? This sounds illogical, irrational an unjust to non-christian people) is making people “reconsider”. They simply dont’ feel themselves guilty for something they haven’t done.

    To close this long msg: I don’t think you know what is “persecution”. Visit Auschwitz, visit the Italian jews museums, visit the indian “dalit” community, or visit Tibet, try to be a catholic in Iran or try to be a liberal in China. THAT is persecution. Being forced to “redefine” your view of God, to be a little elastic is definitely not persecution. If bet that you’re (you=”strong” Christians) not “persecuted” in America, but more “socially excluded”, looked like an alien, maybe. This IMHO…no, sorry in my VERY VERY VERY humble opinion…is because people is seeing that…well…God is a little less “formal” and a little more loving :-)

    Well, weren’t we talking about Obama? :-)

    @Lindsay: thank you. I live in Italy but I’ve been in America more than one time, I worked for an American company and now I work with an Swedish one, all around Europe (btw: to your americans, probably the really lovable Sweds are all sinners :-)). here comes my multi national culture. Also is it is much easier to being influenced by American culture, beucase you export so much (technology, lifestyle, trends…)

  28. Gabe Taviano

    @Rachelle Great point. Almost creates an image in my mind of America in the middle of a great battle, playing innocent to both sides who have different views. A battle with extremists who hate the Christ we follow, pro-choice advocates who murder the children our God created, and so on.

    The battle is starting intensify all around us, and the more we drift towards the middle the less intelligent we’ll actually start looking. It might seem like Obama has it all figured out now, but we can only play dead for so long. It’s a bit obvious when our country doesn’t stand for anything.

  29. Lindsay Contini

    @Andrea: I really do agree, that Europe is at such a great advantage for travel. I really do believe that makes it so much more easy to be exposed to different cultures, beliefs, lifestyles.

    I just absolutely love hearing the opinion who is not from America. I have heard so much back and forth, hearsay, etc about how people in other countries view us, but to hear from you, first hand, makes it much more powerful. I really do appreciate you expressing your opinions – I think that is great! Knowing what one believes in makes that person so much stronger – in my opinion.

  30. Rachelle

    or to bring it home: when we ‘Christians’ avoid confrontation (in an attempt to preserve peace) we are setting ourselves up for war with the world. If we actually believe that there is not going to come a time when we’ll have to ‘step up to the plate’, then we are greviously mistaken.

  31. Rachelle

    Good post and discussion. It reminded me of something I just read from a book by Dave Harvey, “When Sinners say I Do” (which I know seems off topic), but the quote bears a strong truth that is the epitome of what is happening in this administration and in the world:
    “In an attempt to preserve peace, we sow war.”
    Harvey is referring to avoiding healthy confrontation in marriage to address sin. So to tie this all together: President Obama, in an attempt to preserve peace, is in reality avoiding confrontation, sadly this is likely to lead our nation into more confrontation (not of our choosing).

  32. Marla Taviano

    Bless you, Tim Alley. You just saved me 20 minutes of writing. I was about ready to respond to Andrea, and that is EXACTLY what I was going to say.

    Christians ARE being persecuted in America, Andrea, and it WILL only get worse. And I’m not talking about the wackos. I’m talking about regular ol’ church-going, law-abiding citizens.

  33. Tim Alley

    Andrea: I appreciate your comments and I understand where they come from, however, your comments regarding persecution for being Christian or practicing Christian principles is naive. Anyone who says, “it can’t happen here or there” is simply not being realistic. Yes, the USA is pretty tolerant of most beliefs, however, as I indicated before, the Christian moorings of this country have been so damaged and many of them have been removed completely. This means that at this point almost all of the leaders are thinking humanisticlly and not from a Christian world view. As Christ said, the wisdom of Christ is foolishness to men and so ALL Christian beliefs are “extremist” positions when viewed from a humanistic or more accurately a sinful view point. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are those that claim the name of Christ who are devils in sheep’s clothing and yes those individuals/groups must be condemned in the strongest of terms. However, to say that one will never be persecuted for being a Christian, especially in America is at best naive. It can and will happen here. The question is not one of if, but when. How long will God withhold his judgment and will there be a revival or are these truly the beginnings of the end times. Only God the Father knows the day and the hour. We must be wise and watch.

  34. Kimberly

    It is sometimes very hard to separate my faith from my politics. Because since we live in a Constitutional republic, I have the right (and duty) to weigh in on politics. And sometimes the issues overlap with my faith (abortion, family issues, social justice). And so I am left with a choice: which person or party best represents the view that I hold. What is the best way to protect life? And who holds that position? What is the best way to strengthen the family (which begs the question of whether the government should be involved in the family at all, but since it is now an issue, I have a duty to respond)? And which candidate/party holds that position. Which is the best way to ensure justice for all (or as many as can be)? And which candidate holds that position.

    Notice that I posed two questions for each issue. What is the best solution, and who has it. THAT is the rub. And where Christians disagree.

    I believe that government (especially the federal govt) is almost NEVER the best solution to a domestic problem, and so I am unlikely to vote for a candidate who says that the “government will solve the problem.” If I thought it would work, I might be persuaded. But I don’t think it will.

    Alternatively, I believe that the federal government DOES have the responsibility to make our positions known to the world. We believe that democracy is the best for people, and we have to back the freedom-fighters. That isn’t a faith issue for me, it is more practical.

    But it is hard to reconcile my faith and my politics sometimes. Because most “stuff” is a heart issue, and hearts aren’t changed by laws.

    HOWEVER, using the issue of abortion as an example, the issue has become so very politicized that it is impossible to speak of regulation of abortion facilities to ensure the health of the women (which regulation is applicable to ANY other similar facility), because that is seen as trying to prevent certain abortions. Also, it is impossible to state that one believes that the issue of gay marriage should be left to the states, since it isn’t something that the feds should mess with, without getting into a whole shouting match about whether you hate gays or not.

    When the lines get so blurred, it is hard to tease them apart.

    I think Pres Obama has gotten in way over his head. I don’t think he understands the issues with foreign policy and I think he isn’t going about it the right way. I know that he believes that the feds are best able to handle domestic issues, and that’s why he wants to nationalize everything. I think he is wrong and that we will be the worse for it if he does, but those aren’t faith issues.

    When he starts to try to regulate what is said from pulpits (which I think he will), THAT is a faith issue. When he imposes a national health care plan that requires doctors to perform abortions against their beliefs, THAT is a faith issue. When he requires that an owner of a house rent to anyone, regardless of their sexual status, or be accused of illegally discriminating, THAT is a faith issue.

    WOW, that was long.

    Good post.

  35. Andrea De Togni

    @Rhonda: don’t go too far and don’t worry. You’ll never be persecuted for being Christian, especially in America. What could happen (and I hope so) is that some Christian extremist positions (you don’t really think that Christianity is an open-minded religion, do you?) may be “resized” and moved on the edge of society. As with ANY extreme, Christianity included.

    A rational person will never be persecuted, IMHO.

  36. Rhonda S

    Great post Marla. I think that it is very important that we stand up for the absolute truths in God’s word. It is scary but I think the day is coming, probably in our lifetimes, when we may indeed be persecuted for our Christian beliefs in America. It is important that we prepare ourselves spiritually to stand strong.

  37. Andrea De Togni

    @Lindsay: thanks, first of all. One fact that is unfortunate, for Americans, is that many of you consider “America” = “The world”. We, as Europeans, are much more used to traveling abroad, and it is much easier to see a different culture, because it is much closer. In one hour I can to go UK or Sweden and see people completely different than me.

    You had, with Bush, this strong belief: one “kingdom” (American) ruling the world, one religion (Christianity) to spread in the world, one culture (imperialism/consumism) to “export”.
    To we, outside of USA, this sounded a lot arrogant and dictatorialist.

    Obama now is trying to embrace differences in cultures and religions and this is good, because difference is richness. You will never “convert” all non-christian to christianity: that is utopistic (oh, yeah, and also unfair for non christians, but only if you have such an open mind to consider that there are only various forms of the same God and Christian is just one of the many).

    Now if this sounds pretty anti-american, consider that right now we have one of (if not THE) the worst world leaders, Berlusconi, and we have a xenophobic party leading the governement, here in Italy. I can speak much much much worse of Italy and Italians policies. Just to clarify that we can speak of countries profiles/limits without being anti- or pro- anything.

  38. Lindsay Contini

    Wow Marla! You really drew a crowd with this post!

    The twang of country music you hear – that would be Mr. Aaron Tippin. What a fabulous performer.

    I just wanted to say to Andrea De Togni that I think it is really awesome that you commented. To hear a different perspective, especially from someone out side of the country is really fascinating. I loved reading your posts!

    I have my own opinion on politics and what not, but I don’t discuss them with others normally. :) But I just HAD to comment and give you props Marla for writing what you believe in. I think that is oh so important. And courageous.

  39. KG

    I agree with what you are saying Marla in your post that we need to be Christ followers and not ashamed to draw a line in the sand and live what we say we believe.

    I also completely agree that some things that President Obama says and does contradict what I stand for as a follower of Christ.

    I guess I am left wondering something by what is not said. This post gives the impression that Obama is different than other presidents before him. I would agree that some of his issues are different, but I cannot think of a president who represented me well as a Christian. When I evaluate them that way (which I do), they all seem to have beliefs and actions which are in opposition to Christ and His kingdom.

    So I am wondering, would this same post have been written when George Bush or Ronald Reagan were president? Since their issues were different, did we give them a pass as the people of God.

    Thank you for you forthrightness and willingness to push the people of God to live like we are citizens of another kingdom. Grace and peace.

  40. Andrea De Togni

    Gabe, I fully appreciate Obama’s way of dealing with Islam and I don’t think he’s going to “sit down with terrorists” (uhm…may be my English understanding…”to sit down” = “to deal”?).

    What is trying to do is trying to lower the fixation about terrorism in America. How many “terrorist attacks” you had in America? One. Huge, but one in how many years? Still, people is scared about “terrorism”! Terrorism has been just an excuse for Bush to go for oil to satisfy the extremely high demand in USA (that’s a fact, not an opinion).

    Logic was: “scare people”->”now give them something to be afraid of”->”terrorism! After all comes from there, where the oil is!”->”go for Oi…whops…terrorists!”

    Now the logic is that there is no such thing like terrorist menace and the extremists islamics are just a bunch of idiot people which makes real peaceful islamic appear in a bad light. Can’t you see what’s happening in Iran? A huge mass of peaceful Iranians is moving AGAINST the idiot and extremist Ahmadinejad!

  41. Jennifer

    Thanks for posting this, Marla. I totally agree with Megan@SortaCrunchy. We can’t expect change in our leaders or our government until there is real, redeeming life change in the people of this country. I’m challenged to remember that our job as Christians is to fulfill the Great Commission that Christ gave us.

    (And can I just add that I’m SUPER GLAD that I’m not the president of the United States? I can’t even fathom the responsibility and the weight of every decision made. Can’t even imagine!)

  42. Missy

    So glad to see that the comments have remained respectful! Not that everyone has to agree, but it is so much nicer to “speak” honoring each other.

    Looking forward to seeing what you have to say in future posts on this…I’ll be praying for you as you work through your words. :-)

  43. Tim Alley

    Good post. I am somewhat of a news/political junky and so I do keep up with what has been going on and I am sad to say that until about 3 years ago I was much to much focused on R vs D and Lib vs Conservative. Over the last few years and particularly over the last 18 months I have hopefully matured in my views and realized that unfortunately, the place our country is at now is not a result of whether people voted for one party or another but rather because of Christians and Americans in general failing to follow the wisdom of the founding fathers and more importantly failing to follow the wisdom of God’s Word regarding the proper place and properties of human government. I DO NOT want to state that the USA was founded as a purely Christian Nation and therefore God was the sole focus of the founders and therefore the founding was somehow divinely inspired. This is NOT true. However, when you read the writings of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and many others, you begin to realize that their thinking and ideas were strongly influenced by a knowledge and understanding of Biblical principles regarding the purpose and place of human government. They understood that human behavior can only be controlled by internal moral controls based on a relationship with God and in society this can only be accomplished if a majority of those in society are taught, understand and believe those moral principles. Unfortunately, Reps and Dems have for almost a century pushed that idea aside and tried to impose their own set of morals without providing a basis for those morals. Instead, they have tried to dictate human behavior by law rather than encouraging families, churches and neighborhoods to instill morals and good citizenship on an individual basis. The best book I have read in a very long time is called the 5000 Year Leap. All who wish to discuss politics in any way would be well served to read that book and digest what it says. Regardless of whether you are Dem or Rep, Lib or Cons, the book will give you pause and cause you to think. The solutions to our modern day difficulties are not in discarding the principles of the past and looking to “new” thinking, but rather in discovering the timeless principles and guidelines of God’s Word. There is nothing new under the sun.

  44. Gabe Taviano

    I’ll never forget the forum that Rick Warren held before the elections, taking time to publicly talk to both candidates. Obama’s view on abortion is that it isn’t in his pay grade, which is an instant copout. If it’s not in his, then whose getting paid enough to deal with it?

    I think how he is handling himself on the world scene is what challenges me as a Christian even more. We’re told to love our enemies, but not once are we commanded to agree with them. I believe George Bush wasn’t a great leader, but he did stand up for things when he disagreed with them.

    The news right now is focusing on how little Obama is using the word “terrorist”, trying not to make the Islamic world upset. The point that Andrea made about peace being a good thing is true, although Christians know that will never happen. The way Obama is going about his business, trying to sit down with terrorists, play nice guy and give evil some time, will do nothing but bring even more intense war into the picture. Time will tell. I’d recommend reading from someone on the front lines over at http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com.

  45. Marla Taviano

    Andrea–thank you so much for your comment. Of course I remember you. Gabe took you to Super Wal-Mart for the first time, and you were in awe of all our potato chip and cereal choices. :)

    And we still have the great pics you took for us of Taviano, Italy. Bless you!

    You make some very, very, very good points. I will try to address them soon!

  46. Karey

    I have been struggling on my own for the past few months about the balance between standing up for what I believe and hurting feelings or offending people that I love… It’s hard for me to stand up and speak my mind when they already think of me as ignorant and socially backwards for my beliefs… Thank you for your perspective.

    I am so thankful that your tire went flat in front of our school! You have blessed my life through your blog, and the other blogs and comments that I’ve found through yours. Have a blessed day, and keep writing!

  47. Andrea De Togni

    Hi Marla,
    I’m an Italian long time friend of Gabe, we actually met a long time ago when you still lived in Columbus.

    As Gabe may have already been told you, we had various and interesting discussions on religion, politics and ethics. I am not an atheist, but I’m far from being Christian (even if I’ve born and being educated Christian and Catholic). I still have a lot of respect for religious people, ANY of them, as long as religion does not comes before brain usage :-)

    This was the premise, now the content.

    I do not live in USA, but you know, outside of USA the elections and the president are highly observed because the President of the USA is more or less the President of the World, due to the military, political and economic power he has. So I may not be American but I followed elections and I’m still following Obama’s news (as I followed Bush’es ones), and I’m going to give you a point of view which is outside your country and outside your religion.

    Obama is such a fracture from the past that embodies the change word he’s been repeating all the time. He used words which are SO DISTANT from all the things that powerful people used to say, that is so emotional hearing him. He went to Arabia and speak in front of thousands of Islamic people, speaking of God(s) and peace, speaking of the Q’ran, and he has been praised. Not a single protest.

    An AMERICAN President going in wolf nest and being praised by Islamic. Does Al Quaeda, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan ring a bell about the idea of the Americans that the Muslims has?

    Can’t you see the fracture, can’t you see the idea of peace, coexistence, exchanged trust, respect?

    Seems that Christian, like you, can’t see this: making two radically different worlds comes together and live in harmony, saving HUNDRETHS OF THOUSANDS of lives, thanks to the stop of the never ending wars between cultures…this does not say anthing to you, “radical” Christian.
    You’re picky about the gay marriage and abortion. I am (sort of) with you about abortion, it’s a “bad” thing, but I still think that there are life situation when there is no choice (I know, there IS always a choice, but these are different point of views). Ok for the abortion. But for the gay marriage! C’mon!

    “Let’s make wars for religion and money (oil) but, please God, save us from gays! They’re so horrible people, much worse than serial killers!”. Can’t you see the different “scale” of this? After all having a Rep or Dem as president, won’t change the amount of gays in America or in the world: they would simply have a civil status. This won’t change their “sin”, nor will save them.

    Gay Marriages against global wars and people being killed for money and power! That’s a fair exchange!

    Come on, please pick up a scale and use it. Pick your bible and count how many times “killing” and “murder” is present, as a sin, and count how many times “man with man” is present. I bet there’s no game.

    He’s acting strongly towards saving this world from climate change, towards green power, towards fair economy, towards reducing social status difference (excruciatingly high in civilized countries). What do you want MORE? What do you want that is going opposite to the rest of the world?

    Time will tell if Obama is right or wrong, if wars will end and we’ll live together or not. Almost the entire world was again Bush and his stupid and arrogand personality and politics, and almost the entire world cheeried when Obama won. It’s just the die-hard religious people that stick with these one or two ‘minimal’ (I know that they’re not minimal for you, but they are for the rest of the world) issues and forget seeing the big picture.

    A lot of respect to you, even if I almost completely disagree.

    Oh, btw: when you say “you have to stand for something” you would put the Bible as something standing for. I don’t think he’s not standing for anything, he’s ‘just’ (and this is a HUGE ‘just’, for me) standing for peace and global harmony.

  48. Kelsie

    As I was posting, apparently others were as well…Thank you, Megan@SortaCrunchy and Jay Caruso for the reminder that souls are the main issue. May we see the lost as Christ sees them, and may they see Him in us.
    Something I wanted to add: This is from the Voice of the Martyrs newsletter that I just received yesterday. In the letter written by Dr. Tom White, he quotes John Calvin (and I read it to my husband last night because I appreciated it so much), ” ‘The Lord often permits Christians to be despised or rejected by the world, that being liberated and cleansed from its pollution, we may cultivate holiness. We must love those who do not love God, but conforming ourselves to their standards for their approval and acceptance is distastrous.’ “

  49. Kelsie

    “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 7
    Marla, thank you for the reminder of the purpose to which we are called. We are in warfare, so we need to live it! 2 Timothy 2:4 “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a solider.” This verse has been speaking powerfully to be lately. Let’s desire holiness. Let’s desire Him above all things in this world. May He use us in a mighty way to bring Him glory and to do the work of His Kingdom. What an encouragement to read the comments of brothers and sisters in Christ who desire to be bold for our Lord!
    Last but not least, 2 Timothy 3:12 “And indeed, all who desire to live godlly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

  50. Mary

    love this. thank you! i appreciate you sharing and i wish more people would take a biblical perspective. such a good point about how certain things still aren’t ok no matter what society says. it really makes one think. keep them coming!

  51. Marla Taviano

    Sitting here at my laptop trying to think of something intelligent to write as a comment on my own blog.

    I’m blown away by your kindness, your insight, your questions. I’d love to start addressing them immediately, but I have a Zoo-related To Do List a mile long today.

    You’ve blessed me this morning, friends. All glory to God!

  52. Jay Caruso

    It’s interesting. I often find myself cautioning people, especially fellow Christ followers on their vitriol that is directed at President Obama but at the same time getting flak for criticizing him on a variety of issues.

    One where I took some heat was when I said I was praying for President Obama’s salvation. “Why would you do that? He’s professed that he’s Christian!” The reason I did it is because I remember him specifically denying biblical truth with regard to salvation. He said that his mother, an avowed atheist, was in heaven. Now, I don’t know her heart and if she accepted Christ prior her death, then yes, she is in heaven. But if she died an atheist, she is not there. I feel that Obama’s views are part of a frightening trend amongst evangelical Christians who believe their is more than one path to heaven. Of course, such thinking is completely counter to biblical truth which is spelled out clearly in John 14:6 – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (ESV)

    At the same time, using discernment as a sledgehammer to attack Obama is wrong as well. We’ve been doing James MacDonald’s study, “Lord Change My Attitude” and he talked about those who engage in absolute truth (bible thumping) and said:

    “In America, so often the focus is on trying to reconstruct the society for the comfort of Christians, instead of reaching the society through a brokenhearted love for lost people whom God loves and who Jesus gave his life for.”

    There needs to be that balance. We can’t shy away from biblical truth. No way. But we need to balance that truth with biblical love.

  53. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    This is such a difficult subject for me.

    Where I live, in the buckle of the Bible Belt, it is not unusual for President Obama and other Democratic leaders to be disrespected from the pulpit. These are the same preachers/leaders who were indignant when the national media took to calling President Bush “Mr. Bush” yet they have no qualms in calling President Obama simply “Obama” (again, this is in sermons, mind you) or referring to Speaker of the House Pelosi as “Miss Nancy.”

    These kinds of things rile me up.

    I stand in complete agreement with what your friend Ali said above, so I’ll not be redundant by repeating her sentiments in my own words. I do think Christians must remember that every government on this planet – every one – is of this world. There is a delicate balance to be found in standing up for the moral standards you feel you are called to as a Christian while remembering the ultimate calling each of us have.

    Nowhere in the New Testament are we called to ensure that our earthly government conforms to the standards of the Bible. Christ’s departing words to the believers make no mention of the kingdoms of this world – even though His disciples were still earnestly asking and expecting Him to bring about that type of revolution. (See Acts 1:6) His final words were to “GO!” and tell others of the Good News that is salvation in Him.

    Marla, I completely agree with you that we must be prepared to take a stand for our beliefs. We must be praying for hearts that follow hard after Christ regardless of the circumstances or of public opinion. I think, too, that at the core of the morality issues this nation faces is a heart problem. People need Jesus. That is what it boils down to. Sometimes we have the power as citizens to stand up and call for policy change from Washington. Sometimes that change happens. But what we all possess – every single day in every circumstance – is the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us to be light to those around us who stumble in darkness. Hearts won’t be changed through legislation. Hearts are changed by Christ alone and we are called to be the vessels through which others can experience the life change He offers.

    Oy, I’ve gone on a bit here. Clearly I have lots to say on the topic. Perhaps I should write a post of my own? I’m kind of scared. You might have to hold my hand. :)

    Beautiful, powerful, important words here, sister. Thank you for sharing with such boldness and love.

  54. Joshua D. Rollins

    While I do admire you for wanting to speak your mind on the issue, I would like to see a little more as to what you feel he is doing that is wrong – from a biblical standpoint. From a political ideological standpoint, I differ with him on just about every issue. However, I don’t really see his presidency fufilling prophecy.

    I think it’s very easy for us to view things – like those happening in Iran at the moment – as being a sign of the end times. However, we must remember this isn’t the first time there has been a rebellion. However, with our current technology we’re able to “experience” it. Same with wars, genocides, etc.

    I’m in no way saying that I think you’re wrong. I just think it’s important to remember that the world didn’t really change on that January morning as much as we think it may have. The bulk of his time in office has been attending to domestic issues, such as the economy, whereas the Foreign policy he has really doesn’t differ much from the last 3 years of 43.

    We may be on a path towards Socialism. That very well may be true – but Socialism isn’t any less or more of a biblical philosophy as Democracy.

    Anywho, I’m rather ready for him to be out of office – and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him go in 2012. The media will point towards his approval rating, but remember, Bush’s approval rating was 90% up until 2003. A lot can happen in the next 3 years.

  55. Tara

    Well said! You know it seems if you are for abortion and for gay marriages and for Obama, or basically anything thats not going to make you give up something you like, then you can rally and speak your mind however you want even if it offends those who don’t believe in that and then those of us who believe opposite and do take the Bible as all truth then we are expected to keep hush hush and not offend. But I’m pretty sure Jesus ruffled alot of feathers and probably ‘offeneded’ people. (like woe you brood of vipers 😉 ) Anyhoo, I think Christians have sadly become all too quiet and almost scared or hesitant to make a stand that might put them out there…But you are right, we aren’t here to be popular or to get along with the world. We are here to be a light and to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. I’m with you. Let’s start standing firm and hard and strong for the one who died for our sins so that we might LIVE. This world is NOT our home…Thanks for the reminder :)

  56. Martha

    2 Tim 3:5 Listen to God’s Word Translation:
    They will appear to have a godly life, but they will not let its power change them. Stay away from such people.

    My Mother always told me that subjects of politics and religion were off limits for conversation.
    Sadly she left this world very likely having not listened when the Lover of her soul was speaking… because He wasn’t politically correct.

    Thank you for allowing your blog posts to go beyond what is “comfortable” for others.

    The cross will always be an offense.

    And I for one am thankful that you aren’t trying to allow someone speaking with clever words and vain philosophies of the world to entice you. For:

    1 Corinthians 2:1-9 says

    And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
    Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

    I think it is neat you got to see the President and his family.. what a treat. I’m also thankful that you’ve not denied speaking the truth.

    We’ll join together in prayer for our 1st family and our country.

    Love you sis

  57. Lisa


    I have been getting “nudged” by God recently on the need to be popular vs. the call to be His servant. When I was posting “fluffy” stuff on my blog, my comments soared. When I started getting theological, people stopped visiting. But I refuse to stop being a vessel for the Gospel to gain popularity. I just do.

    I’m standing with you, sister. But God won’t mind if you stop and admire a giraffe or two along the way, you know. After all, He delights in showing off His work. :)

    Love and blessings!

  58. Denise

    I tried to write a post a while back and I got all kinds of hate words about how I can’t possibly be a Christian and like Obama.

    I struggle with being completely open and honest on my blog because I find that when I do – somehow people I’ve never heard of want to put in their two – rude – cents.

    But here’s what I have learned. It’s your blog – I don’t see why people feel the need to come to someone’s blog and start telling them everything they think is wrong and pick fights! If they don’t like what you put out, then they don’t have to read it.

    As far as the politics go – I have no comment, mainly because I do not at all pay attention to any of it and I do not at all understand most of it.

    But I do like what you said!

  59. Rachel

    Thanks for taking that leap, Marla. I agree with you. Sometimes it is really hard to say what you really think, because so many people get offended, but Jesus offended a lot of folks too. We are supposed to stand up for what is right in the eyes of God.

  60. Kim

    Great post Marla! We are called as Christians to never be silent when we see Our Lord being pushed out of every day life. You have a great faith that many can benefit from. Praise God for your courage and testimony!

  61. Colleen

    As Americans we have the ability to speak freely and have opinions and insights about our government. During the election, it’s hard to voice those opinions without others getting all riled up about Republican vs. Democrat…

    But, even after the election, I still find it difficult to express those thoughts because I try to balance that thin line of giving honor and respect to the “office” and sharing concern about decisions being made BY that person in office. (the whole give to Caesar, etc etc) I too believe he is a “good” man, he loves his wife, he’s not bringing adultery into the White House…he is a good father…and all the other things that you shared…

    however, I too am frightened by his lack of concern for Life…I feel like many “Justify” his stance by saying all the “good” he is doing…i.e. he’s pro-choice but he’s doing so much more for unwed mothers to prevent MORE abortions…The thing is…I’m more interested in his heart,and where he stands on God issues, than I am about the “busyness” that he does…isnt’ that what God says…you can’t WORK for righteousness, it’s a heart issue…anyhoo…thanks for the post! fun fun fun

  62. Annie Whitehurst

    funny that you write about this today. I was just thinking the other day about it… not politics, but standing up and being open with what is right and what the bible says regardless of risking our “popularity” or being persecuted by people— right is right and wrong is wrong and God’s word is the ultimate authority. And His Word tells us in Matthew chapter 5, that those who ARE persecuted and insulted for Him are blessed and that their reward is in the Kingdom of God. he also says in 2 Timothy (I think) that we should expect to be persecuted for being a Christian and trying to live by God’s laws….
    Thanks for taking a stand, Marla- you’ll never be persecuted by me for it. In fact, you just got even more “popular” in my book! :) You are the REAL DEAL and I love to read your words….
    p.s. WHY did you have to go and put the “you’ve got the stand for something or you’ll fall for anything” line in there? I got that same “country twang” in my head, too, and I am scared this song is going to be in my head ALL DAY long… :)

  63. Ali

    Marla, You did a GREAT job with this post! And that’s coming from someone who voted for Obama.
    You bring up a couple of issues, and I suppose I will throw in my two cents since it’s what I do.

    I struggle with the gay marriage issue bc I want so badly to see the same people who get all fired-up about gay marriage to get all fired-up about marriage – period. Our society (Christian and non-Christians alike) needs to get serious about marriage and stop letting Satan get in and break up our families. We MUST get God back in marriage (and families). So when I see folks protesting gay marriage with all their might, I just pray that their own marriage and families are right with God first. For me, that is the greater issue.

    And I have never and probably will never agree with President Obama re. abortion. I won’t expand on that but to say that I am pro-life, and I strongly believe that we need to take another look at how we fight this issue. Because what “we” (I don’t really know who I mean when I say “we”) are doing isn’t working.

    I really do appreciate your willingness to approach this conversation. Too often I read blogs that immediately put me on the defensive as folks lash out and make blanket statements about liberals and democrats.

    And finally, as you might imagine, I’m married to a die-hard Republican. We have a lot of conflicting political views, but God is so good because we have never once fought politics. In fact, we each have such a greater appreciation for various perspectives because we live with the opposite. I simply praise God for giving Matt and I the ability to grow, gain, and share via our political views. Who woulda thunk it?

  64. Liz

    I completely agree with every point you have made thus far. I look forward to reading more.
    There is a certain amount of celebrity when you are a persident but it seems as though Pres. Obama cannot manage to balance out his celebrity status and his presidential power. And we, as the people, are not helping the situation at all since we have put him on a pedestal because, like you, I would have been all warm and fuzzy inside and wanted to be his bff. But what I really want is to be able to support him, because he is our president, but have the guts to stand up and oppose the immoral decisions he is making. I definitely have minimal knowledge on all things political but with the recent campaigns I find myself trying to dig deeper to better understand our politics.
    I also am of the belief that everything that is going on in our world has to happen if Jesus is to return, wether it has anything to do with Obama or not. There is major spiritual warfare going on all around us and it’s up to us to respectfully but adamantly stand up for the truth of God’s Word.

  65. Charity

    I think these are thoughts not many people are willing to vocalize because we are still supposed to be on some sort of honeymoon with our president. But we as a country are setting ourselves up for a dramatic fall when we set our sights on a mere mortal to “save” us. That’s what a lot of people seem to think our president can do for us, and while he is a very articulate, intelligent, persuasive man, he is not our Savior. I hope your brave, well-thought out words lead to respectful discussion.

  66. ginger

    I am *so* with you here. Can’t wait to read more!
    I am troubled by Obama’s Middle East speech: That he seemed to portray America as an Islam country of sorts was troubling, to say the least. What do you think of it?

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