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Obama -- Crypto-Muslim?

2/1/08

[COMMENT:  This came out of a family email discussion on Obama.   E. Fox]
 

Greetings, All,
 
        I mostly agree with XXX's remarks, at least in principle. 
 
        But I cannot help wondering whether he is applying the principles correctly.  Having come to the conclusion (from my personal experience and from long hours of counseling hundreds of people) regarding our individual lives that about 90% of our suffering is self-caused, rarely deliberately, but often as collateral damage after something we do, often to protect ourselves, I am now coming to the similar conclusion that the same is true of people groups, that most of the damage to our cultures is not what others do to us, but what we do to ourselves.  Often the self-destructive way we defend ourselves.  I think that is true of the Blacks, the Whites, the Browns, the Yellows, and anyone else out there.
 
        Actually, it is a good thing if we are responsible for most of our pain.  Then we are much more able to do something about it.  As painful and as embarrassing to our pride as it might be, we can change what we are doing to ourselves much more easily than what others are doing to us.  That principle has been acted out in thousands, millions of deeply destructive circumstances -- like prison camps.
 
        Yes, the westerners have done a lot of damage trooping around the globe.  But they have done a lot of good as well, which is given ample testimony by many in foreign and different colored lands  --- as indicated by quotes from Stark.  And the Africans, early Americans, early Europeans and Asians, all practiced slavery, often of the most brutal sort.  But so far as I know, the Biblical tradition has been the only one to decide that slavery was a very bad idea, which sprang from the notion right at the foundation of Biblical religion that every human being, from conception on, is made in the image of God.  That makes us all of equal and supreme value.  Theological ideas have consequences. 
 
        I fully support the efforts of any group to better themselves, and to take charge of their own lives as best they see fit.  More power to them.  But I would also hold them accountable according to honest rules of engagement, of logic, of fact, and of righteousness.  Without those, without an honest pursuit of the truth of a matter, and thus a conviction that there is a truth to be found, what possible hope can any of us have for dealing with the issues raised by Ben et al?   And, yes, all of that with a loving spirit. 
 
        When I put all that to work, I come out with the conclusion that there is no parallel to the Judeo-Christian way of understanding life, God, truth, righteousness, or love.  I am very much willing to have others present their case.  As I think Voltaire said (with whom I profoundly disagree on many if not most issues), "I may disagree with you, but I will lay my life down to protect your right to say it".  I would add -- so long as you show a spirit of inviting others to speak their piece also.  That is precisely what our Constitution was written to provide in the management of government, precisely what the separation of powers is all about -- putting the use of coercive force (the main business of civil government) under the law and grace of God, thus putting civil government under an authority higher than itself, and making government to be the servant, not the boss, of the people.  As Jesus said, the law was made for man, not man for the law -- translatable right into civil government -- because civil government gets its authority from government by God. 
 
        Both in practice and in principle we have long abandoned those principles, and I am hoping, praying, and working for the return of such to our collapsing Western Civ.  I see no hope for that outside of the same Biblical foundations which produced such a government in the first place.  But I am certainly willing to let others have a go at a government which respects the value, rights, freedoms, and obligations of all persons equally.   Including Obama, if that is really his aim. I am not convinced that it is -- from the little I know about him.  The Afro-centrism of his church might not be so innocuous as Ben thinks.   I, at least, need more convincing that there is not a Muslim plot behind the scenes.   I hope not. 
 
        My preference, so far, is Ron Paul.   
 
        I do take issue with one thing XXX said, implying that it makes no difference on which Scripture one swears his allegiance.  Theological ideas have consequences -- e.g., the kind of deity to which the Scripture in question points does make a huge difference.  If the Pope was right, several months ago, in his critique of the Muslim version of Allah (God), that their version is of a God who does not hold Himself responsible to either logic or righteousness in His dealings with His creatures (as I think to be the case), then I would not willingly permit the Koran to be used in that way.  Some Muslims, objecting to the Pope's comments, went out and killed a few Roman Catholics -- helping, of course, to prove the Pope's point. 
 
        (By the way, if it was not Obama, who was it that used the Koran -- within the last year or so?) 
 
        On the contrary, I think any person who either votes (voters in America are the highest officers of the state) or holds elected or appointed office should be asked publicly to renounce (1) all secret oaths, and (2) loyalty to any philosophy, deity, or other entity which does not clearly support the kind of government which promotes the open, level playing field for discussion of public policy.  All comers welcome -- not because all-views-are-right-for-that-person (relative truth, pseudo-pluralism), but rather to test to see which view is right to be enforced on the public (objective truth, legitimate pluralism).  No one should be allowed to help (vote, hold office) to make laws to enforce on other people who is not committed to that open, candid discussion in pursuit of truth. 
 
Love, Dad/Grampa/Uncle/Earle

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