I had the wonderful opportunity on Friday morning – very early in the morning, like 7:00 am in the middle of Middle America – to be interviewed by Troy Derengowski on his Internet radio show, RadioTroy (http://RadioTroy.com). I want to thank Troy and his wife Suzanne for an excellent interview, asking some hard questions, and allowing me to rant a bit.
I also want to thank his listeners. Unfortunately, because of Troy’s antiquated telephone system, his listeners could not speak with me directly; however, they did have a conversation with me through an IM featured on his Web site. I told them that I would try an answer some of their questions, but we ran into a new problem.
Because of a couple of Internet hiccups and mini-interruptions, some of the comments were lost. I will try to respond to what I retrieved and if any of the authors or listeners of RadioTroy, or any reader of my diatribes, ave a question, please feel free to ask through Questions@InkandVoice.com.
One listener, Mahlon, was a bit upset concerning statements I made concerning the Bush/Obama bailouts of the banking and automobile industries. Paraphrasing her comments: Don’t pay your taxes and see what you own. Embezzle, cheat, lie and have a political or two in your back pocket, get bailed out. She concluded with, “We are not Christian acting in politics.” And in a very real way, she is right.
This conversation started with discussing (though limited) the difference between the various definitions of socialism (conservative, liberal, European, academic) and communism (through there was not time for Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism or Maoism, nor fascism or any of the other political and economic “isms”). In a nutshell, socialism is when a government nationalizes an industry for the public wellbeing.
My example concerned the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill. Under a true socialistic system, the government would have sent in the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard and taken over the oil industry. The government would not to allow a foreign oil company attempt to fix their own problems while providing misinformation to the government and the citizens of the United States with little oversight.
Could the government have done better? I am not sure how to answer that question without seeming to be politically liberal, but yes. Not being involved was one of the major complaints made by the Republican Gulf coast politicos.
Was the government acting in a “Christian manner?” Maybe, but definitely not in a Humanistic manner. The bank bailouts were universally panned, not because the companies became “too big to fail” nor that they had their hands in the politicians’ pockets. (Well, maybe the latter.) It was that Joe Homeowner was left in overboard, drowning without a life preserver.
Jim wrote that if every American turn to Jesus Christ (“instead of Chris,” but I did not get the joke), “America would be fixed. Simple, right?” I am afraid not.
From the colonization of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantation by Roger Williams and Pennsylvania by William Penn to today, religious toleration has been at the very heart of the American ethos, though not always practiced. The oldest Jewish temple in the U.S. is in Rhode Island, founded in the 1690s and is still active today. By the mid-1750s, New York City hailed over 40-languages and at least 25 “recognized” religions including Islam, Catholics, Jews and those without faith.
The majority of immigrants to the New World came here because of theocratic government (England, Holland, and The Netherlands, for example) oppression – religious, national, ethnic and otherwise. The Anglican Church and the British monarchy were (and in many ways still are) inseparable, as was pre-revolution France and the Catholic Church. The list goes on.
The Puritan Huguenots were kicked out of Holland and then out of England , ending up in Massachusetts. The Mayflower Compact, signed by all of the men on that faithful ship, agreed to a secular government, not one of religion, Unfortunately, William Bradford held an iron-fist rule, much like Leninism, and his form of Christianity ruled. If you crossed the big-guy, you were banished or jailed, tortured or simply put to death.
James Madison and John Jay were very pious men, but they championed a secular government with religious tolerance. In fact, there is no record concerning the various state conventions of any discussion concerning the First Amendment or Article VI clause 3 prohibiting the use of religion as a qualifier to hold a public office of trust.
Joe H wrote, “Jefferson would not fit the mold today, would he Dave?” This is a hard one to answer. He could not be elected as President in 2008, that is certain.
The election of 1800 was extremely contentious and set the pattern for the two-party system and negative campaigning. Adams, a Unitarian Christian, was vilified – fear that he would make the nation a theocratic-democracy. Jefferson, a deist, was called an atheist (which he was not) and the claim was he would eliminate religion from the new country’s psyche. Of course, neither accusation was true.
Jefferson, Adams, Madison and the other “wide-eyed lunatics” we call The Founders would all have problems in today’s politics. Not Christian enough, simply not Christian, or a “devil worshipping atheist,” one of the great oxymorons, would never garner the votes needed to make the primaries, no less a national convention or election.
However, many an atheist, deist, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic, gnostic, and Pagan have been elected to local offices without devastation coming to their cities and counties. Personally, I don’t think the Christian god cares.
Finally, Jim piped in to say that Mr. Obama “mocked God’s words” on many occasions. This discussion most likely goes back to the Affordable Health Act’s requirement concerning religious institutions must pay for female contraception.
I have never heard the President mock “God’s words.” There is certainly nothing in the Jewish Bible that talks to contraception. In the New Testament, the sanctity of human life comes from Paul, not Christ. The preservation and sanctity of life is common in every religion and within Humanist-atheism. The problem here is the weighing of religious beliefs versus women’s health. Can we reserve that conversation for later? Maybe Troy will ask me back to talk about that one.
That was all that I was able to recover from RadioTroy. Again, thank you for listening, responding and asking questions. And a major thank you for the kind words from the listeners and Troy.
David Rosman’s newest book, A Christian Nation? An examination of Christian nation theories and proofs is now available through Amazon.com in paperback or eBook versions.
You can invite David to speak to your group or organization. For more information, please contact him at Speaker@InkandVoice.com