Sunday, January 27, 2008

Barack Obama, More Concerns: Faith and Social Issues

Barack Obama comes across as being a moral and decent, even a spiritual, candidate (see my previous post). He uses his beliefs to motivate people, as talks about issues in terms of morality and rights, then how we should vote and empowering him to take action through the state. He uses terms like "hope" and "change" regularly with the understanding that he brings these things in the best possible form, among the lesser choices. Even though he no doubt brings hope to some, I have some sharps concerns concerning him, with his past and his affiliations. I believe that character is important and I am not aware of how this information is being openly discussed, so here are some points I want to address:

1. The Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act
2. His church
3. His pastor and spiritual advisor

1. An article by Jill Stenek on the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act showed how "Obama had been the sole senator speaking against Born Alive on the Senate floor in 2001 and 2002 and had single-handedly killed it in a committee he chaired in 2003". "In fact, Obama's position against Born Alive was what persuaded Keyes to run against him in the first place. It was also why Keyes famously alleged during their campaign that Jesus Christ would not vote for Barack Obama, a comment that apparently haunts Obama since he continues to write and speak about it."

He voted against this very basic bill with protects infants born alive. Now that this bill passes in 2005, infants are legally protected as living human beings and will be treated as such receiving medical care vs. being shelved to die, which has been happening apparently. Here is a list of 10 things he said about why he didn't support this bill at various time. This is very indicting of his character in my book. I want to protect human life and human rights of infants, and I see this candidate is as bad as you can get.

2. His church is Trinity United Church of Christ (UCC). The UCC is perhaps the most liberal of all the Christian denominations. They seem to take liberal stances on social issues which in fact contradict what the Bible has to say. How is this church liberal?
  • Proudly shares how it was the first church to ordain a openly gay minister in 1972.
  • Supports same sex marriage: "In July 2005, the 1.2-million-member UCC became the largest Christian denomination to support marriage equality, when the UCC's General Synod, meeting in Atlanta, endorsed a resolution calling for full equal marriage rights for same-gender couples. "
  • Their ONA movement encourages gay, lesbians, bi-sexuals as members, leaders, employees, etc.
  • Stands for partial birth abortion recently and stands for abortion right for 35 years.
  • I haven't done much more research because their Web site doesn't have things in black and white, there are lengthy articles or very little stated at all, leaves me to see them as a fluid movement, not wanting to be bound to the Bible as a fixed document, that can be clearly interpreted.

My view of scripture would not allow me to partner with this church in issues of reaching the lost, reforming the church, and greater culture. Does Barack believe all these things? I don't know, he seems to say or imply "no" personally, in some cases, but I doubt his genuineness beased on other things he has done or said. He maybe trying to play both sides, clearly. For example, Barack said he doesn't support gay marriage (but does support civil unions). Perhaps his local church isn't as liberal as others? So what about his local church?

Trinity's UCC is a different church that emphasizes the black people and African continent. It's rooted in it's Black liberation theology. Check out the About Us link to see it for yourself. The main pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., was on Hannity and Colmes was questioned if his church is part of a black separatist movement. Wow, this is a revealing interview. Check out how he responds to the questioning. He was definitely angry and defensive. This pastor definitely has some "issues". Not saying he's a racist neccessarily, not sure, you be the judge, perhaps related to his liberation theology and political beliefs.

BTW: I agree with Hannity that we should be united in Christ and not having a singular race perspective. If you replace all the words "black or African" with "white" in the church Web site, you would have a serious, and rightly, an outcry of racism that is inherently not Christian.

Wikipedia talks about Black theology "As with all liberation theologies, black theology focuses on those who are perceived as oppressed and/or poor. Through its intentionally particular lens, black theology seeks to contribute to the liberation of black peoples.". So the question for Barack Obama should be, how does your church theology and teachings affect your understanding of leading various Americans? Black, White, Hispanic, etc., will you favor policies and legislation specially for the black Americans? How would this affect your relations with the African continent and African people? Perhaps there would be some positive impact with his concern for Africa, however, there are those in Africa that do hate America (Muslim Jihadists for example). Also the issue related to black sepratism should be asked, considering how Christianity is not so much focused on race, as his church is. Jesus wasn't such a political figure, as the Pope John Paul II said, however there may be nothing wrong with liberation theology if it's not taken too far.

3. His pastor - more on Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

The Washington Post reported that Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Obama's spiritual advisor, was involved with Trumpter Magazines award to the controversial, Farrakhan: "Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness.". The article goes on to say "For most Americans, though, Farrakhan epitomizes racism, particularly in the form of anti-Semitism. ", and "Over the years, he has compiled an awesome record of offensive statements, even denigrating the Holocaust by falsely attributing it to Jewish cooperation with Hitler -- "They helped him get the Third Reich on the road." His history is a rancid stew of lies.".

This article goes on about with the Rev. praise for Farrakhan: ""depth of analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation." He praised "his integrity and honesty." He called him "an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose."" This shows how this particular man has a large lack of discernment at best and at worse is really poor example of Christian leader, when it comes to racial reconciliation.

To Obama's credit he distanced himself from his pastor in regards to Farrakham, according to this post. So this issue is one that shows Obama can act independantly of his pastor but it still shows how Obama's relationship complicates Obama's candadacy for the president.

Monday, January 14, 2008

McCain for the Republican Nominee? Please No...

McCain seems to be the front runner now in the Republican race for the 2008 presidential candidate. While McCain has a good record on the war in Iraq, and may come across as good potential commander and chief, and even my he comes across as a great man, he seems to lacks the foundational guidance that would make him good on many other issues. I heard Michael Medved agree that he doesn't seem to have core values that other candidates have (conservatism, Judeo-Christian framework, etc.) and seems to be all over the place on things. Not everything McCain has done has been good but he's getting a lot of press, so what would give me pause voting for him in a primary?

1. Don't believe he is a trustworthy Social Conservative. Rick Sentorum a pro-life Christian Conservative Republican, who I heard on Hugh Hewitt's show recent, was in the Senate with McCain for 12 years and said that McCain behind closed doors argued against every social conservative issue because he wasn't comfortable voting on them. Publicly McCain never championed any social conservative issues. In fact McCain supported the bill (with Hillary and Obama) for Federally Funded Embryonic Stem Cell research that was ultimately vetoed by President Bush (I blogged on this in the past). This is inconsistent with his statements on his Web site. I don't believe his Web site because of that vote. Also of note, he has recently come out and said Row vs. Wade should be overturned. This is new for the 2008 election, can you trust his change in opinion and his ability to fight for the change?

2. McCain-Feingold Act. I am actually a bit outraged by this affront on the freedom of speech and first amendment rights. McCain stood clearly and vocally against the pro-lifers in Wisconsin. Affected not only big business but Right to Life advertisements and other grassroots lobbyists before an election, the making issue advertisements illegal 60 days before an general election and 30 days before a primary. WI Right to Life fought this and they got an exemption for grassroots lobbiest organization via Supreme Court 5-4. Now, despite McCain's work, pro-lifers wanted to be able to advertise on TV before the election about about the stances of a candidate, when it could actually make a difference! Here is a link to learn more: Supreme Court Slaps McCain-Feingold

3. He voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment twice (2004 and 2006). "Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances," Dobson said on the Jerry Johnson Live radio program, which is hosted by Criswell College's president. "... He's not in favor of traditional marriage, and I pray that we won't get stuck with him." McCain claims to for the states make the decision.

4. McCain believes in Man Made Global Warming and argues for federal legislation be done ("Cap and Trade" on corporations or consumptions taxation from what I've heard). He emphasis should be on more energy independence and not backing this liberal movement based on brute political force, distortions and fear, with the unproven scientific conjecture. Here is some of what he stands for.

BTW: The founder of the Weather Channel and meterologist, John Coleman has an 8 part set of articles on Man Made Global Warming, Global Warming is a Scam, or you can search my blogs for more on Global Warming, for example: Global Warming -- How concerned do we really need to be?

BTW: McCain also opposes drilled for oil Anwar AK as well and his solution, when I heard him on the radio today, didn't include Nuclear power.

5. His hateful angry outburst show he has some core problems with anger and self-control. Do you think he's the right guy when you read about all the times that he went off, swearing, on blistering personal attacks on other people? Sure, it's fun to watch this guy put people down sometimes but it's wrong, and not right for the president to be one of these people. See this article: McCain's Out-of-Control Anger: Does He Have the Temperament to Be President? by Ronald Kessler. He was really out of control in one of the debates, picking on Romney even... check out You Tube.

I will give him credit for being great on the war:
1. Inspired by him on his stand on the War in Iraq. See my blog.
2. He has some good ideas on his Web site that you can explore if you want (I only look briefly at heathcare and the issues I mentioned above):
3. Not sure how he is with taxes but I know he's good with spending. He fights pork barrel spending (claims to have never taken any pork for his state). He also voted against the presidents tax cuts (claimed that we needed spending cuts with that). I've heard that this is a problem with him but at least he's trying to protect the budget.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Who is Obama? Starting with Faith and Social Issues

I believe that Barack Obama is someone that we must learn about (no matter your political persuasion or affiliation) as he did very well in the IA Caucus and he is expected to do well in other Democrat primaries. If he wins in the primaries he will be the Democrat presidential candidate and he may capture the excitement of the press and people all the way to being the 44th president of the USA. What does he stand for? Here are some things that I found related to my time studying him (watching a remarkable speech on faith, "Call to Renewal", some of the Keyes - Obama debates in the 2004 IL Senate race on You Tube, and using his own Web site).

He is not ashamed to be associated as a progressive (what conservatives often call as liberals). He claims to be a Christian and even has a testimony of his conversion (see that speech on faith linked above) but is not a conservative Christian. He even has put down people like Pat Robertson or Alan Keyes publicly, as ones that misuse their faith to gain political power or points. Clearly he is a committed liberal Christian church-goer that doesn't preach the Gospel that I understand clearly based on his public emphesis, though he did say that Jesus died for our sins in his speech. He has a social justice emphasis, that is common in the African American church and in the Democrat party. He seems to also have a pluralistic view of all faiths as equal that encompasses all faiths in his dialog that makes me uncomfortable. His faith is connected to his lifestyle very much but it's different from mine.

Social Issues
He is pro-choice and supports homosexual civil rights (seems to be that homosexuals can have the same legal rights as married people without being married). He would support hate crimes legislation as well (which has been used to control religious free speech in other countries). I've heard him says that he doesn't support abortion and gay marriage based on personal reasons related to his faith, but his personal views do not impact his role of government beliefs. He claims that he won't use his faith to impose on others what to do. He said he wants to use common sense things that have appeal across all faiths, and believes that the Constitution mandates a separation of church and state. With that said, he said he wanted to not have separation when it comes to social issues, and wants to have more faith in the public sphere. He even sites Lincoln, Douglas, and others as examples of how personal faith related to morality should be used in the public sphere. With this point, he wants to get us all to engage in governmental solutions to social issues (like poverty, heathcare, education, family, jobs, etc.). I agree that these issues are important but disagree that creating a larger government bureaucracy that has proven to be infective and inefficient with tax payer money and programs (they can't manage a budget, social security, and even veterans' healthcare). A larger bureaucracy could easily tilt us into a economic downturn (that effects our way of life, children's way of live, and has side effects that affect our ability to be a great nation, including our national defense, and worldwide charity, and positive leadership for freedom).

He does seem to understand the importance of the family and having a mom and a dad in the home but doesn't say that religious faith and values are important to maintaining a family and then therefor solving all these social problems. He implyes that we all have responsibility to empower the government, but that seems dangerous to me. I wonder how much a secular government can help families without defending and supporting the basis of morality which is cultural supported Judeo-Christian ethics, without creating a secular nanny state... perhaps by appealing to the Judeo-Christian heritage of our Founding Fathers is the key (which is a conservative point of view). He seems to use the basis of common sense or is it natural law, which does have appeal to many. There is something that he understands about common sense that I agree Conservatives would work harder to appeal to vs. their religious text, that can divide.

Also of note: I heard him the debates in 2004 and in a speech in 2006 that he judged religious leaders and political figures as being wrong in their usage of faith in politics. These people he picked are conservative Christians (that I am one of) that believe in the Bible (in a non liberal way). I see how he has put down those who see homosexuality as a sin and aren't afraid to share that, as gay bashers or ones that are haters. This rhetoric is divisive, inappropriately spoken, and yes, I will say, morally objectionable, and thus will lead to further division for people of strong conservative faith and the progressives if he would become president.

Perhaps it's because of his world view that Homosexuality is innate (people were born that way) when asked (see Keyes-Obama debate link above), and is not a choice. Where did he learn this? This is a worldly beliefe that has no foundation in a Biblical worldview unless you are engaged in putting your own bias into the Bible or using a very liberal hermeneutic.

Do you see how he is inconsistent? Conservatives Christians exercise their faith in the public sphere with their voices and votes by being for traditional marriage and against special civil rights for something they believe the Bible speaks on as morally wrong, and more importantly are against abortion as a woman's choice (and also harvesting and destroying embryos). They have a high view of human life that comes from faith, with abortion being a subtle but real form of murder, as they believe that human life begins at conception. Barack can use his faith for social change on other issues but didn't respect others when they use there's. I hope he's dynamic enough to change on these things but I haven't found any evidence of that yet. I have real problems supporting Barack Obama based on these problems. I'm afraid that we may have well meaning people that vote based on his charisma vs. the substance of his positions, I hope you don't after learning more about him.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Huckabee Wins IA

It's estimated that Huckabee has won according to Fox News and CNN. He has a 9% edge over Romney with 93% of the precincts reporting. I did ended up caucusing for him but had to really think about it before I wrote the name on the piece of paper. My heart was with my word (online pledge made for Keyes) and wanted Keyes to win but I remembered why I was there that night, to defeat Romney and have Huckabee win (and Keyes had his other chances in the past). My particular precinct (18) had more votes for Romney by about 5 (which was disappointing) but perhaps this was because there was a much better speech for Romney by someone that was involved in the actual organization of the event. Huckabee didn't have anyone to speak for him at first but had a couple people speak up for him at the last minute. It was strange that Alan Keye's was not mentioned as a candidate so I'm not sure my vote would have even counted if I did vote for him, however, there was someone that was allowed to speak for him at the end (as all the other Republican candidates had people speak or could speak on their behalf).

Closing thoughts:

I think Huckabee could make a good president in the mold of Reagan in that he is an attractive and potentially unifying personality. I think he has significant moral fiber and I approve him so much more than any of the Democrat candidates. Just go to his Web and see his stand on the issues.

Obama won on the other side, so what does Huckabee offer over Obama? He's not from the GOP? He's more attractive to young people? The message of change resonates? Who is more for the the little guy? Huckabee said he wants change but change for the better. I agree that Huckebee offers a better plan. I also think Huckabee understands the little guy more so than many Repulican candidates which helps him against the Democrats that claim to be for them.

An hour away from the Iowa Caucuses

It's about an hour away from the Iowa Caucuses. I have my voter registration (registered as a Republican) with new IA driver's license. I am anxious and feeling the weight of the moment. It's tough to know what to do as I have recently pledged to endorse Alan Keyes, I have decided I don't want to see Mitt Romney win Iowa, and I have been very interested in Mike Huckabee. Also I consider myself a conservative and so don't want to ignore Hunter and Thompson as well, however, these fellas aren't as inspiring as leaders (so have no shot to win IMO).

Currently I'm leaning on voting against Mitt Romney and for Mike Huckabee because:
1. Mitt Romney has been involved with lying. I have heard this related to the beliefs of Mormonism. Saying that Mormons believe that Jesus will return in Israel when they really believe he will return in Missouri (Way of the Master Radio interviews an ex-Mormon about this). Implying that Mormonism believes in the same things that Christians do in regards to Jesus and salvation, which they do not. They believe that it's faith + obeying the commandments (works) that save a person. Also they do believe that Jesus is not God in the same way as Christians do (and yes, I believe that do believe that Jesus and Satan were brothers). Click here to learn more (see the video): Mormonism - Glenn Beck to what Mormon's believe

2. Mitt Romney has been negative campaigning in desperation against Mike Huckabee after he lost his lead in the poll to him. This negative campaigning has involved distortion of the statements and positions of Mike Huckabee. I agree with Michael Medved on these points and also believe what Mike Huckabee has said.

3. I trust Mike Huckabee even though he has done things that raise questions, I accept his response to them.

4. So what about Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter being more than harsh on Huckabee (not to mention Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Hewitt)? I think they want Romney or Thompson, or even Giuliani and Huckabee scares them. They don't think he's conservative enough, fear him being too compassionate perhaps, don't think he can win against Hillary, or something. I personally respect these people a lot but do not see eye-to-eye because my allegiance is not so much with the conservative movement as with the social conservative movement based on Christian values. So they hold him up to a hirer standard that the others, which is not fair and right. They can ensure a democratic win if they don't give up on this negative campaign of distortion against one of the front runners in the race.

5. Why not vote for Alan Keyes? He has let us all down by coming in late to the game and his support is grassroots, apparently it's not really getting into the media well enough. Ron Paul ran a much better grassroots campaign, for example. I'm disappointed that his campaign is so weak, however, I'm glad he is trying and I support most of his stands. He is best on social issues, much stronger, perhaps too strong, as he's a polarizer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Iowa Caucass in 2 days

Now that we are 2 days from the Iowa Caucus I am ready to share some more of my thoughts on who to support or not to support. While I haven't been keeping up as well as I could have, I have been able to investigate some of the choices.

Mitt Romney, is one who I do not support in the primary. He is misrepresenting his faith (i.e. LYING) publicly claiming that Jesus will return to Israel when he knows that the Mormon church teaches that he'll return in Missouri. Also he is trying to persuade people to believe Mormonism is another conservative domination of Christianity which it is not. They believe that it's faith + works that get you to heaven and yes, they do believe that Jesus and Satan were brothers (so thy don't believe in the divinity of Jesus like Christians). Mitt's has the uncanny ability to turn questions taken out of context, from his rival, into slams of bigotry. He is running a negative campaign with his millions against Huckabee and McCain, and I hope he looses in IA and maybe to McCain in NH because of it.

Mike Huckabee, is showing that he has main stream media appeal and some repectable polling numbers, however, the conservative talk shows and commentators do not have much good to say about him. I don't think most are being fair to him and believing some misrepresentations even, but he does make you wonder if he can muster enough support from the Republican base to win. I don't think he can, but he has elevated the dialog to moral issues again, and for that I'm grateful. Also I have seen him do compromising or stupid things, misrepresenting his faith by claiming that there is more than one way to salvation than through Jesus. To Mike Huckabee's defense, he is better than the others in my opinion. He has the ability to unify the country through his beliefs and ways, has the most executive experience of any of the candidates in either party, and is a compassionate conservative. If it wasn't for another candidate, I might have voted for him.

I think that Alan Keye's is the best on the issues, however, he came so late into the game, and isn't really going to be expected to win, at least by watching the polls and news. He does seem to have the best foreign policy experience of any candidate. Alan has worked for the State department. Even Mitt Romney admitted that someone from the state department might be the best for the job before he went to discounting that idea because he doesn't have that experience. Alan has a great ad that out shows why he is the best of the rest, and I agree that he is better than any of the others on abolishing abortion, judicial tyranny, border security, international policy, and Reagan conservative ideals.