Rudy Double Dares Christian Right

It is difficult to draw conclusions about the extraordinarily unscientific straw poll conducted at this weekend’s so-called values voters summit. … Continued

It is difficult to draw conclusions about the extraordinarily unscientific straw poll conducted at this weekend’s so-called values voters summit. (In fact, the polling methods were so irregular that I wonder if an ombudsman at some major newspaper is questioning the propriety of publishing the numbers). In order to take the results seriously one must assume that the members of the group sponsoring the event, the Family Research Council, are representative of something, anything, beyond themselves.

Are they representative of Evangelical America? If so why did they shunt Giuliani into eighth place when all previous polling indicates that Evangelicals rank him at, or near, the top of the slate? Are they representative of America at large? If so how on earth did the iconoclastic congressman Ron Paul come in third?

But perhaps the most intriguing question concerns the degree to which these Conservative Christians represent the Republican Party and vice versa. For just a few weeks ago, James Dobson made it clear that frontrunner Rudy Giuliani does not represent the interests of pro-family groups. “Go right ahead!” he seemed to taunt, “nominate a candidate who does not share our values on abortion and gay marriage. Then try and beat Hillary without us.”

But by making no concessions in his speech at this weekend’s summit Giuliani made a statement of his own (albeit as politely and diplomatically as possible): he does not believe that this group’s views on these two issues represent those of the Party, or Evangelical America, or America for that matter. A spectacular game of chicken between Conservative Christian leaders and the rest of the GOP has now begun.

Doctor Dobson’s ultimatum identified the real stakes in the current race. Are Conservative Christians truly indispensable presidential kingmakers without whom the White House is unattainable in 2008? That was Dobson’s surmise. Or, are their contributions to the Party, be they electoral, financial or organizational, preposterously overrated? Although he asked his audience to listen with “an open mind and an open heart,” Giuliani must be closed off to any other possibility.

As they stand, the results of the straw poll would seem to suggest that the nomination of Mitt Romney (who took first place) and Mike Huckabee (who came in second on his home court) will keep these Conservative Christians from defecting. Senator John McCain, for his part, is in trouble. A few weeks ago, he did everything but speak in tongues in order to establish his Christian bona fides. The Family Research Council’s membership thanked him with a last place finish.

Giuliani fared just slightly better. The values voters are clearly not pleased by him. What remains to be seen is if the rest of the GOP shares their displeasure.

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
October 22, 2007; 9:14 AM ET


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  • Robert Box, Jr.

    What I have never liked about James Dobson is that his position is that if your family/religious views are not his views then you lack any true family/religious/social values, but more importantly this statement says it all.“Go right ahead! Nominate a candidate who does not share our values on abortion and gay marriage. Then try and beat Hillary without us.”He may be a man of good moral values, but he is no patriot. His view is that the only things that matter for this Country are the abortion and gay marriage issues. Apparently if he does not get his way on those two issues, then he and his Focus on the Family group will step off the train. He is a concerned citizen, but only if we agree with him on those two issues. Otherwise, he has no concern for this Country.

  • Garak

    Dobson is right. The GOP can’t win without his extremist christians. But they can’t win with them, either. Any candidate acceptable to Dobson will necessarily have to campaign on gay marriage and atheists being the greatest threats to America, not terrorism, the economy, health insurance, the environment, and all those other secular humanist issues. No such candidate can win the independents. If the independents go with the Dems, the Dems win hands down. Dobson’s crowd has shot its wad. It’s time is past, and good riddance.

  • BGone

    How can Giuliani wins without neocons? Real simple. he takes the two largest states, NY and CA that no other GOP candidate can touch, especially a neocon. Then the rest of the country votes the habitual way, worried about TAXES and TERRORISTS. The Ts have it while the As are just that.Give it up. Neocons are just as potent as labor unions. That would be insignificant at best. Try ignored. I feel your pain.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Rudy Giuliani has shown himself to be an obnoxious and unscrupulous politician and an incompetent mayor (what did he actually do on 9/11 that was positive and justifiably turned him into a popular “hero”?).But if he can beat the whacko right-wing Christians at their own game and maintain his liberal abortion/gay rights values, I say more power to him (to get the nomination but not to get elected President).

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Rudy Giuliani has shown himself to be an obnoxious and unscrupulous politician and an incompetent mayor (what did he actually do on 9/11 that was positive and justifiably turned him into a popular “hero”?).But if he can beat the whacko right-wing Christians at their own game and maintain his liberal abortion/gay rights values, I say more power to him (to get the nomination but not to get elected President).

  • Joe M.

    I don’t think the Republicans can win in this election regardless of who they have at the Helm. That Said, I don’t think the Republicans need the Christian Zealots. Further I think that when the Republicans get back to the core business of running the Country, they maybe they will be able to be relevant. It seems like their MO is currently to scare the populace into mindless acceptance of so-called conservative and christian values, of which none really are. Blind Allegience and surrender of personal liberties to the government for fear of terror is about as antitheical to Conservatism as possible. True Conservatism favors the least Government necessary, and raises a sceptical eye to increased Government control. True Conservatism wants a limited Federal role and a limited Federal interaction with the world, where the current Executive has dreams of military conquest, and rushes to use our military forces to impose federal control on matters of domestic policy. I generally vote blue down the line, moreso now than ever before, because the democrats are worse of the two evils, and I think that All of America would benefit from a less polarized atmosphere, one in which moderates from both sides of the aisle could be heard and would have a chance. This article is a perfect example. The GOP candidates are attempting to court an audience which is largely out of touch with the rest of America, and the cost of this courtship is that sensible, reasonable, and moderate policies, on both sides of the aisle, get rejected out of hand.

  • BGone

    Norrie, 9/11 Giuliani was there. That’s all that’s necessary. He was the mayor and he was there. 9/11 was a billion dollars worth of free publicity and to some extent still is.How many times did Bush show and go himself to “ground zero”? If Bush had anything to do with 9/11 it was to cause it to happen, at least failed to repel. Voters aren’t that bright, obviously.Politics begins as a “known person” contest. There are thousands of more qualified people to run the country than any announced candidate but we’ve never heard their names.I don’t have a “dog in this fight” myself. We are all dogs in the fight for an end to government supported terrorist organizations, (churches) peace, economic stability and economic justice world wide.Georgetown U has another agenda? Try

  • Kirk Tofte

    I cannot find one article by the people from Georgetown regarding the faith of the Democrats running for president. This is odd for very many reasons. There are more Catholics in the Democratic field (four, at least) than in the Republican race. None of them are more distanced from the Catholic Church (at the Church’s insistence) than Rudy.

  • Robert B.

    I hope the game of chicken continues and that neither side gives in. Given the GOP’s current dilemma, I think the smartest thing that the party leaders could do is drop kick the religious right out of the tent. Sure, they’d lose support in the short run, but they’d gain integrity, which would translate into support in the long run among those Americans who consider themselves moderates.I’ve been watching the Religious Right for a while and I’ve come to the conclusion that their problem is that their faith is weak. If their faith was so strong, why would they need to see it reflected in society around them? The ancient Christians certainly didn’t exist in a society that validated their faith, but these “political Christians” (as I like to call them) seem to need that crutch.St. Augustine wrote that Christians needed to remember that their citizenship within the City of Man (secular society) was only temporary; their true citizenship was in the City of God. However, the political Christians’ obsession with the City of Man tells me that their priorities are seriously out of whack.

  • Jim Carlson

    In my opinion (I’ll stipulate that it isn’t worth much) every political candidate who espouses strong religious views is a threat to the separation of church and state and a threat to my personal freedom. Why? Because in most cases they aren’t also explaining the limits of their faith. You don’t have to knock a wall down to destroy it – you can just remove one brick at a time.

  • Robert B.

    Kirk Tofte wrote: “I cannot find one article by the people from Georgetown regarding the faith of the Democrats running for president.”To give some support to Mr. Berlinerblau and his work here, the lack of attention that you note is probably based on the fact that the Republicans have made religion a major issue over the last twenty or so years. The Democrats generally don’t campaign on “faith-based issues” (despite your point that they have spoken regarding their faith), so it’s less of a focus for them.Kirk also wrote, “Finally, how does the Catholic Church view Mormonism? Most fundamentalist Christians consider it to be a cult.”Well, I would think that since Mormonism is a Protestant movement, Catholicism would follow the canons set down by the Second Vatican Council and say that it is a legitimate path to salvation (just like all the other Protestant denominations). However, my knowledge of Catholic theology is a bit scanty on this particular point. If anyone more versed than myself would like to correct me, please feel free to do so. 🙂

  • Kirk Tofte

    Mormonism is to Protestantism what the Moonies are to Eastern Religions. If you don’t believe me, read a book about the founder of the faith, how he wrote the Book of Mormon, instituted polygamy, the power the President of the LDS Church has over his flock (the Pope would be jealous), their secret Temple Rituals and so forth.

  • Anonymous

    att KIRK TOFTE:May we ask you What is your religion Sir?

  • Tannim

    Dobson pulled the same line in 2000. It was a bluff then and it is one now. They can’t go third party becuase they can’t 50-state ballot access that fast (2 months) and the third parties that already have it will nominate their candidates before the GOP convention.so much for that theory…

  • BGone

    Kirk Tofte:Maybe Democratic candidates are “recovering” catholics. I see you’re correct about Mormons, given ANON’s question. I think cult is the correct word alright. What makes you think Baptists, Catholics, all religions aren’t cults, not just Mormons? I suspect ANON is a Mormon and wants to trash your faith, if you got any.Devil worship is Devil worship, Georgetown is looking for, (more) taxpayer money, a clear case of violating the constitution. That’s why they’re hoping for the God vote to materialize and give us another abortion for a government.Lying while taking oath of office, (uphold and defend the constitution) lying any time for that matter is fine with Devil. When Satan give them the lie detector test they’ll find out how well they can lie. Devil, Lucifer for sure does care and wants them to fail that test of course, what buying souls is all about.

  • Kirk Tofte

    I am a member of an Assembly of God church. My wife is a life long Catholic.

  • BGone

    Kirk Tofte:Every time you put money on the collection, “gifts to God” plate you’re paying Lucifer’s fee to the ministry for helping Him harvest your soul. The biggest money goes to those who lead the most people to hell.

  • Mark Eaton

    Since no one has spoken from the Evangelical Right (pardon me, Kirk) I will. Dobson speaks for himself and for the people who support him. They vote on issues and character, not political ties and influence. That is why Rudy is such a difficult candidate to swallow. Rudy is divorced and pro-choice, both strikes against him on the family scene. Mitt Romny is seen as morally straight, family committed, and devout. All palitable characteristics. McCain, we had enough of him last election. He fooled many of us then, he will not fool us again. I personally vote for moral character. Not issues. I am drawn to people of conviction and passion. People willing to say and do things that may not be popular, but right and needed. Not change their mind based upon a poll. We have had enought of that leadership for the last two decades. OBama intrigues me. If he were to voice his true beliefs, his true feelings, his true ideas about the future, I would like him more. He reminds me of John Kennedy. Young, brash, and unafraid. Willing to make the tough choices. Clinton is a done-deal on the Democratic side though. Too bad, she is not electable in the heartland.

  • Ellen Chmiel

    Guiliani cannot be called a Catholic in good standing. Of his three marriages, were his first or second one officially annulled?

  • Civic Humanist

    For a glimpse of the noetic corruption of the “true” values voter, take a look at the most recent issue of First Things, in particular the item by the editor, Joseph Bottum, on “The Next President” @ He concludes his comment with the following remark – – – “Rudy Giuliani will have to run the table on Super Tuesday, winning nearly every primary on February 5 after losing all the ones before. Maybe he can do it. But the deeper into the winter the campaign goes, the more Thompson benefits. A Fred Thompson nomination, a slim election victory over Hillary ­ Clinton, a stealth pro-lifer slipped on the Supreme Court through a Democratic Senate — that weak ­ scenario is about the best a social conservative can hope for today. Everything else is bad. Very bad.”A “stealth pro-lifer slipped on the Supreme Court through a Democratic Senate”???That remark is typical of the tenor of his contribution, wherein Mr Bottum conveys both the dread & hope of the Christian evangeloids in the American public square. What they really want is a Putinesque “managed democracy” where only politically-correct candidates of their kind may stand for elections, thereby guaranteeing an “orthodox” outcome. This is further confirmed by a close reading of the final chapter on “law” in Richard Neuhaus’ “The Naked Public Square”, a masterpiece of conceptual legerdemain & redefininsm, wherein through his usual strategy of rhetorical elision – sleight-of-mind – he conflates every sense of the word law to sew up his own peculiar seamy garment of neo-conservative Christianity. You may recall that “Father Richard” – as he is affectionately known to Mr Bush – is the Editor-in-Chief of “First Things”.

  • BGone

    Civic Humanist, your post brings something to mind, I don’t know why. It’s “be careful what you want else you might just get it.”These so called social conservatives keep wanting abortion banned. They don’t seem to have the memory of what the world was like when it was banned. There were buku unwanted babies with no one to take care of them and they were being raised on tax dollars to, in their words “crowd the prisons.” ATDC is a pet peeve of fiscal conservatives going back to the 1930s. That’s Aid To Dependent Children, kids that aren’t wanted by anyone especially conservatives.It was fiscal conservatives that argued in favor of abortion and they got what they wanted. The welfare rolls were bulging at the seams at the time. Same old argument, taxes. The fiscal and social conservatives make strange bed fellows if you think about it.You may have noticed the anti abortion gang shifted into high gear when Regan suggested he might propose legislation to turn welfare over to churches. The late Jerry Falwell went hyper with thoughts of having a tax base, (public tithing) mentioned it on the “Geraldo” TV program.Thought you might like to check the record. Liberals were way too busy with the Viet Nam war while RVW was being argued in the SC.”Stealth” is the proper word for the whole situation. Well, maybe liars club.If they had any brains they would back Giuliani, at present the only GOP candidate with a snowball’s chance to win. As it is he won’t owe them the time of day.

  • Jay Shapiro

    Glad I’m a Jewish Democrat. Don’t have to worry which Christian faith is more true to the GOP than another. The bottom line is most of the Christian conservatives are hypocrites anyway. They go to church on Sundays and turn on their internet porn as soon as they get home. Violence on TV and the movies are thriving. If they are real Christian conservatives, they’d turn that crap off so that all the violent movie makers would go out of business.

  • The Jewish Guy

    Glad I’m a Jewish Democrat. Don’t have to worry which Christian faith is more true to the GOP than another. The bottom line is most of the Christian conservatives are hypocrites anyway. They go to church on Sundays and turn on their internet porn as soon as they get home. Violence on TV and the movies is thriving. If all the people who claim they are Christians turn off their porn and violent movies, the violent movie makers would go out of business. Family values in the GOP? Really??

  • Lucifer

    In the USA,christian extremists,walked with the politically incompetant,for decades.Such present situation for the USA, upon its knees,situation Brought by complete Abandonment of international law,combined in ever growing corruption within domestic law. The Political Party winning next USA general election,being the one that put up an donkey as party leader,such seen as a good alternative,to the past asses,whom have brought the nation to ruin….Only alternative,be that of, Hilary Clinton,whom hopefully lead an much wiser, Democrat Party… .. .

  • Don Reed

    Religious Right’s MistakeThe biggest mistake the Religious Right is making is their blind opposition to embryonic stem cell research.Over in Europe, the churches are increasingly empty, and something like 70% of the public identify themselves as atheist.Is this the future conservative religion wants for itself?If not, they should quit lying about embryonic stem cell research.

  • Don Reed

    Religious Right’s MistakeThe biggest mistake the Religious Right is making is their blind opposition to embryonic stem cell research.Over in Europe, the churches are increasingly empty, and something like 70% of the public identify themselves as atheist.Is this the future conservative religion wants for itself?If not, they should quit lying about embryonic stem cell research.

  • candide

    Giuliani is a shit, but if he engages in a war with the fascistic evangelicals, More Power to Him.

  • WILLEM

    value voters ?? all they can come up with is MORE god please, MORE guns please,NO gays please!! what country do these people live in?

  • patrick geraghty

    I just cant stomach how these politicians change like the wind,their well know long standing personal beliefs in the pursuit of power.How can they be labeled anything but out and out phonies.

  • patrick geraghty

    I just cant stomach how these politicians change like the wind,their well know long standing personal beliefs in the pursuit of power.How can they be labeled anything but out and out phonies.

  • glen knowles

    enough already about this obsession with the religious right. the media, again, are focusing on an issue that many of us are asking, “what’s the big deal?” what few independents that are left who cast the “values vote” in 2000 and 2004 will surely be casting votes for the democrats as a result of this debacle called the bush administration. fire and brimstone will not be enough to convince rational thinking people that they are going to hell for allowing others to have the choice to have abortions, marry gays, or watch tv on sundays.if we must throw stones, then weren’t there republicans that were purveyors of whorehouses, i would like to think that the religious right is passe but the media seem not to let the beast die a quiet and much anticipated death. common sense and human decency should drive our politics and not a bible-thumpin’ religious jihad bent on spreading holy terror throughout the land. hillary may not be everyone’ choice for president, but she sure beats these genuflectiong pandering opportunists who are running for the republican party’s presidential nomination.

  • tim

    all we are saying is give hate a chance…..

  • mnjam

    When will Jesus return to chastise Dobson and friends, the stone-throwing mob of our times?

  • paganus

    No way the GOP wins without the fundies, not in this cycle at least. Most likely this election will see a schism between the fundies and the more traditional conservatives and the neocons. (BTB, neoconservatism has almost nothing to do with Christianity at all – it’s simply a kind of capitalism-worship inspired by Trotskyist Marxists.) The fundies will simply become apolitical again, like they did after the failure of prohibition. ‘Go out and become a separate people’ – Please?The conservative movement will be in the wilderness for a while, much like the Dems, but they will hopefully return with a healthier and more realistic ideology.Also BTB, Mormonism is NOT simply another brand of Protestantism. Last I checked, Protestants don’t believe they will become gods when they die (unless you’re a woman, in which case you get to give birth for all eternity – YAY!)Cheers,

  • rohit

    I am truly disappointed that McCain came last. In 2000, he could have easily beaten either Bush or Gore, but he never got nominated. It is really a pity that the country does not seem motivated to deal fairly with this good man.

  • Mark

    I am an evangelical. Whew, I’ve said it, and I’ll admit it — as unpopular as it is these day (especially in this particular web location). Do I agree with James Dobson? Sometimes yes, somtimes no. Sometimes his approach disturbs me as much as my being an evangelical probably disturbs some of you. But, I will always look at him as someone who as someone who has spoken his principles and sticks by them. He can take any heat thrown at him. That’s admirable. As a Christian would I take a different tone in expressing my viewpoint? Almost certainly.And before we get too worked up about the ‘reasonableness’ of Dobson saying he’d suggest a third party candidate, or drawing lines in the sand, or not endorsing Guiliani, let’s also remember one Ralph Nader. Unreasonable? Narrow minded? Party crasher?As to all these evangelicals crossing the line in letting religion enter the public sphere, and the fear of too much religion in the debate, remember that we’ve had a few leaders in our history who’ve led our nation through the strength of their personal faith. The engraved speeches on the ways of the Lincoln Memorial attest to that. Or try Jefferson, Washington, or Roosevelt.In this election, I’m not in favor of telling candidates to plug it when it comes to talking about their faith. Instead, faith in the lives of candidates can be important, and as our nation’s history has shown, a valuable part of leadership. To me I go back to the the prophet Micah. “He has shown you, what is good and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God”. That’s my filter for who I will vote for, be it a Republican or Democrat. Jury’s still out on that for me.

  • paganus

    No way the GOP wins without the fundies, not in this cycle at least. Most likely this election will see a schism between the fundies and the more traditional conservatives and the neocons. (BTB, neoconservatism has almost nothing to do with Christianity at all – it’s simply a kind of capitalism-worship inspired by Trotskyist Marxists.) The fundies will simply become apolitical again, like they did after the failure of prohibition. ‘Go out and become a separate people’ – Please?The conservative movement will be in the wilderness for a while, much like the Dems, but they will hopefully return with a healthier and more realistic ideology.Also BTB, Mormonism is NOT simply another brand of Protestantism. Last I checked, Protestants don’t believe they will become gods when they die (unless you’re a woman, in which case you get to give birth for all eternity – YAY!)Cheers,

  • candide

    Mark: how can you be an evangelical. The Gospels are fiction, Jesus is dead, God may or may not exist but he is pretty far from us and our concerns. How does your personal relationship with an imaginary friend, Jesus, and his terrifying father work?

  • Tony Lopez

    So long as the “Christian” power brokers continue to turn their backs upon McCain it is difficult to give them any moral credibility since much of their disdain emanates from their closed hearts and his willingness to compassionately address immigrants.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    The one thing missing from the coverage of the values voters straw poll was the number of votes that went to None Of The Above. Because no name emerged as an alternate to the GOP establishment candidates, the threat of the evangelical wing of the Party to bolt has proven to be an empty bluff. They are so deeply enmeshed in the GOP that they have nowhere else to go. And that’s the devil’s bargain that evangelicals made with the GOP when they became part of the Reagan coalition.

  • Leon

    I was raised by these people and attended Liberty University. They are mean spirited and closed minded. I’ve seen them tell outright lies to further their cause.The sooner America relegates these people to the fringe (which is what they are), the better we will be.These people have nothing to do with Christ, but everything to do with racial hate, gay bashing, abusing women, and forcing their adgenda into public office.A former evangelical.

  • Leon

    I was raised by these people and attended Liberty University. They are mean spirited and closed minded. I’ve seen them tell outright lies to further their cause.The sooner America relegates these people to the fringe (which is what they are), the better we will be.These people have nothing to do with Christ, but everything to do with racial hate, gay bashing, abusing women, and forcing their adgenda into public office.A former evangelical.

  • Leon

    I was raised by these people and attended Liberty University. They are mean spirited and closed minded. I’ve seen them tell outright lies to further their cause.The sooner America relegates these people to the fringe (which is what they are), the better we will be.These people have nothing to do with Christ, but everything to do with racial hate, gay bashing, abusing women, and forcing their adgenda into public office.A former evangelical.

  • Keith

    Just a correction on the original blog:

  • Gary Jackson

    The election of 2004 was a complete fluke. So-called “Values Voters” may have come out in greater numbers than ever before but their vote was no more dispositive to the election result than was a curious admixture of other voting blocs who came out and voted for the GOP for reasons haveing more to do with Osama Bin Laden’s late breaking video before the election. Security moms, African-Americans, Hispanics and blue collars voted for the GOP in higher numbers than ordinary.This admixure is highly unlikely to ever come together in the same way ever again. The evidence from 2006 exit polls and electoral polling surveys underway now strongly suggest that all of those voter blocs that came together along with values voters in 2004, have now gone back home to the democrats. And, they are unlikely to ever turn back to the GOP in the near future.Too much water has gone under the bridge for them since that 2004 vote and no matter what the values voters do or how many of them come out to vote, the GOP is never going to get that same combination back. Remember: Even with all of those voting blocs supporting the GOP in 2004, Bush only won by 3 percentage points and handfuls of votes determined outcomes in a number of electorally significant states that have turned dramtically more blue” since 2004.Given what we are seeing in virtually all national and state surveys, I am persuaded that the values voters as a bloc are not statiscally that significant absent a coalition with other blocs of voters joining them. It is the independent voter that is going to determine the outcome of the next election. And as of now, they seem to have gone back to their more familiar pattern of voting democratic or moderate to liberal republican.Note Bobby Jindal’s win in Louisiana. He appealed to large blocs of independent voters who had soured on Kathy Blanco because of Katrina. He did not run a typical right wing campaign. There is a message there for the GOP. And for the values voters as well.

  • Benny

    I find it surprising that folks don’t understand that a decision made by a deeply religious, evangelical, social values steeped, right wing conservative President can be just as wrong as a decision made an opposite thinking, secular, business orientated, tolerant President. Wrong is wrong! What I find difficult when speaking with a person of the first part is that they are right no matter what. Look where that has led us up to now. America has become weary of people that are so arrogant as to believe they have the answers and it is their divine right to “destroy the world to save it.” By any definition, that is a crusade. Remember the Dark Ages? If that is the path we choose to put America on, then cut the crap, get it out in the open, grab the shields and banners and let’s begin singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” as we march off to do battle with the world. After watching the past administration, a “socially conservative values voter” scares the hell out of me!

  • Gary Jackson

    I grew up in the Bible Belt in Northeastern Kentucky. I still have fond memories of my mother singing gospel songs along with some of the radio singers. Many of them went on to be big country-western stars. I have no animus against these people. In many ways they are still my people.But, I do not believe religion should be as influential in government and politics as it so apparently is these days. I often find myself becoming amused at people who insist they have a personal relationship with Christ. My sister often talks in this way and gets quite exercized when I test her on this question. “Oh…” a typical session might go, “…describe Him to me. Uh, in personal terms please. Does He laugh? Does He have a particular fragrance? Is He interested in politics, movies, the arts? Does He have a favorite candidate He would like to see in office? Does He eat? Drink?. What is He wearing these days? How does He appear to you? Does He knock on the door when He wants to talk to you or does He use a blackberry or chat line?”I engage my sister in this type of discussion not to ridicule or make fun of her but rather to point out the absurdity and futility of trying to convince someone you have a personal relationship with a Deity. If such a personal relationship is to have any meaning to anyone on this plane of existence, such mundane, everyday encounters which make up our own personal relationships have to be applied here. But typically my sister will come back at me with the same sort of meaningless prattle about being enveloped in pure love, understanding and wisdom that here all-too-earthly ministers here have carefully and studiously coached them on when encountering nonbelievers such as myself.The only way such a personal relationship can be proved is through tangible, empirical evidence. Introduce me. Show me a picture or a video. Anything, but please no sermons on being drawn into the pure light of Christ’s love and compassion. That only worries me that you are on something or mistakenly ingesting mushrooms.

  • Gary Jackson

    I grew up in the Bible Belt in Northeastern Kentucky. I still have fond memories of my mother singing gospel songs along with some of the radio singers. Many of them went on to be big country-western stars. I have no animus against these people. In many ways they are still my people.But, I do not believe religion should be as influential in government and politics as it so apparently is these days. I often find myself becoming amused at people who insist they have a personal relationship with Christ. My sister often talks in this way and gets quite exercized when I test her on this question. “Oh…” a typical session might go, “…describe Him to me. Uh, in personal terms please. Does He laugh? Does He have a particular fragrance? Is He interested in politics, movies, the arts? Does He have a favorite candidate He would like to see in office? Does He eat? Drink?. What is He wearing these days? How does He appear to you? Does He knock on the door when He wants to talk to you or does He use a blackberry or chat line?”I engage my sister in this type of discussion not to ridicule or make fun of her but rather to point out the absurdity and futility of trying to convince someone you have a personal relationship with a Deity. If such a personal relationship is to have any meaning to anyone on this plane of existence, such mundane, everyday encounters which make up our own personal relationships have to be applied here. But typically my sister will come back at me with the same sort of meaningless prattle about being enveloped in pure love, understanding and wisdom that her all-too-earthly ministers here have carefully and studiously coached them on when encountering nonbelievers such as myself.The only way such a personal relationship can be proved is through tangible, empirical evidence. Introduce me. Show me a picture or a video. Anything, but please no sermons on being drawn into the pure light of Christ’s love and compassion. That only worries me that you are on something or mistakenly ingesting mushrooms.

  • BGone

    Gary Jackson:Has your sister reviewed The whole religion thing has a keystone, the meeting of Moses and a supernatural being living in a ball of fire. It has been assumed that being was God. Maybe you sister and her minister could gain a little enlightenment by more carefully examining that story. That being is the father of Jesus, the source of the good warm loving feeling she enjoys so much.

  • Paul H

    Much of the industrialized world is getting less religious as we become more so. As we develop a deeper commitment to God, our nation attempts to trample other nations and their citizens under our feet. We decided to batter Iraq into becoming democratic. Perhaps we can also bludgeon them into becoming evangelical Christians.Every time I hear a person discuss his faith, I wonder how the world would be different if there were no God. If God did not exist, this world might be beset by hunger, war, poverty, disease, and hatred. Oh, that’s right, it already is. If Christ is the personification of God and mankind is the crowning glory of the universe, why did God wait 13.7 billion years before He brought us into existence? If we are so important in His creation plan, we would surely be spread throughout the heavens by now, not an afterthought on a tiny planet on the outskirts of a modest galaxy.

  • Melissa

    I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1990. Being a member of this religion for the past 17 years, I know a thing or two about what we believe. We believe that God is our Heavenly Father, that Jesus Christ is His son, and that He speaks to us through the Holy Ghost. We believe that He is a loving Father who gives us the opportunity to make our own decisions and live our lives the way we choose. He gave us His Son so we could repent and be forgiven of those decisions that were wrong. His Son gave his life to pay the dept that we incure by living a sinful life. As the spiritual child of a God, it is my responsibilty to learn all I can about Him, and learn to become like Him. His Son is the example. He has sent us many prophets to teach us more about Himself and how to return to Him. Someday, if I do my best and repent of my sins, I can live with Him again and become like Him! I am so excited for that day when I get to see Him and Jesus standing together and welcoming me home. This is what my church believes and this is why we are such a happy people. Don’t blame your Heavenly Father for all the evil in the world. He has given us all the resources, knowledge, and charity to end hunger, war, violence, etc. The problem is we choose to not stop any of it. He won’t make us do anything, and don’t ask him to. Life would be so meaningless if we didn’t take responsibility for what we do. As for how much money my church has, check into our financial history. We don’t have a paid clergy so where does all that money go? Look at Africa, Thailand, the Phillipines, New Orleans, South America, Samoa….millions of dollars and thousand of volunteers are helping fight hunger. For a church that only has 13 million members worldwide, it has the largest and most effective welfare system. Our government could learn a lot about how to end poverty by studying the LDS welfare system.

  • langx

    I believe in God but I don’t believe any man who has lived and died is going to crack the sky to save this sorry planet. You keep waiting and I will be the best person I can be. The Christian right are not Christians. Jesus would not have a love for guns. He definitely would not be a repuglican.These are the same people who used to support segregation and used the bible in vain. You would think they would want to help the people who come to this country to make a better life for themselves and there families but they want to demonize them and kick them out.True Christians should speak out and denounce them as the fakers they are. They give Christianity a bad name. What sane person would confuse George Bush as a man god. These people are truly insane.

  • GeorgiaSon

    I do not understand why the Christian right/evangelicals (and Catholics) are ignoring the central point about the current crop of Republican presidential candidates. Except for Mitt Romney, if either of the other front runners—Giuliani, McCain, Thompson—gets the nomination and is elected, the presidency will be occupied by someone who loves in gross violation of the explicit words of Jesus Christ. Not only that, we will have an adulterer in the White House, and if it’s Giuliani, we’ll have and adulteress, too.I refer, of course, to their divorced status. Old news? Not so. We have not come close to discussing the divorce issue in the context in which it should be discussed. My blunt question: Why do evangelicals have a right to ignore divorce as a criterion for judging a candidate’s fitness for office, while at the same time continuing to judge candidates by their positions on such issues as gay rights, abortion, and stem cell research? If evangelicals are bound by the literal words of an inerrant Bible to determine a candidate’s fitness for office on the basis of their positions on those issues, why are they not bound by the literal words of an inerrant Bible to deny their support to Giuliani, McCain, or Thompson because of their divorces? In fact, why are evangelicals not required to openly label Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson as adulterers, and to call Mrs. Giuliani an adulteress? More to the point: It’s not just some random sentences in the Old Testament or some interpretation of the Ten Commandments that require evangelicals to take a firm anti-divorce stand.Nothing less than the literal words of Jesus Christ require them to take that stand. Here are the relevant verses, from the King James version:Matthew 5:31-32Mark 10:3-12You can’t get more explicit than that. Jesus forbids divorce, period. (Except, according to Matthew, because of the wife’s adultery). Jesus Christ forbids divorce much more explicitly than any words in the Bible forbid abortion, gay rights, or stem cell research. Jesus, of course, said nothing at all about those three issues. Any human being who believes that public office should be denied to anyone who does not adhere to the words of the Bible on such issues as abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research, must also believe that no divorced person should hold public office. Jesus does not allow compromise on the issue of divorce, any more than other Biblical voices allow compromise on abortion, gay rights, or stem cell research.Further, Jesus makes it clear that Rudolf Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson are adulterers, and Judith Giuliani is an adulteress.Over to you, evangelicals (and Catholics).

  • GeorgiaSon

    I do not understand why the Christian right/evangelicals (and Catholics) are ignoring the central point about the current crop of Republican presidential candidates. Except for Mitt Romney, if the either of the other front runners—Giuliani, McCain, Thompson—gets the nomination and is elected, the presidency will be occupied by someone who loves in gross violation of the explicit words of Jesus Christ. Not only that, we will have an adulterer in the White House, and if it’s Giuliani, we’ll have and adulteress, too.I refer, of course, to their divorced status. Old news? Not so. We have not come close to discussing the divorce issue in the context in which it should be discussed. My blunt question: Why do evangelicals have a right to ignore divorce as a criterion for judging a candidate’s fitness for office, while at the same time continuing to judge candidates by their positions on such issues as gay rights, abortion, and stem cell research? If evangelicals are bound by the literal words of an inerrant Bible to determine a candidate’s fitness for office on the basis of their positions on those issues, why are they not bound by the literal words of an inerrant Bible to deny their support to Giuliani, McCain, or Thompson because of their divorces? In fact, why are evangelicals not required to openly label Giuliani, McCain, and Thompson as adulterers, and to call Mrs. Giuliani an adulteress? More to the point: It’s not just some random sentences in the Old Testament or some interpretation of the Ten Commandments that require evangelicals to take a firm anti-divorce stand.Nothing less than the literal words of Jesus Christ require them to take that stand. Here are the relevant verses, from the King James version:Matthew 5:31-32Mark 10:3-12You can’t get more explicit than that. Jesus forbids divorce, period. (Except, according to Matthew, because of the wife’s adultery). Jesus Christ forbids divorce much more explicitly than any words in the Bible forbid abortion, gay rights, or stem cell research. Jesus, of course, said nothing at all about those three issues. Any human being who believes that public office should be denied to anyone who does not adhere to the words of the Bible on such issues as abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research, must also believe that no divorced person should hold public office. Jesus does not allow compromise on the issue of divorce, any more than other Biblical voices allow compromise on abortion, gay rights, or stem cell research.Further, Jesus makes it clear that Rudolf Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson are adulterers, and Judith Giuliani is an adulteress.Over to you, evangelicals (and Catholics).

  • Hrolfr

    Mitt Romney is a liar (another transgression of the commandments, easily on par with adultery) belongs to a make believe – money making machine.Let’s not examine the rest of their garbage. It is patent and easily available to any rational (not rationalizing) person. Everyone knows that mormonism is actually less than a cult.Cults do not normally do that.

  • Pete Harris

    These so called social conservatives keep wanting abortion banned. They don’t seem to have the memory of what the world was like when it was banned. There were buku unwanted babies with no one to take care of them and they were being raised on tax dollars to, in their words “crowd the prisons.” ATDC is a pet peeve of fiscal conservatives going back to the 1930s. That’s Aid To Dependent Children, kids that aren’t wanted by anyone especially conservatives.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Unwanted babies? Are you kidding me? Adoption was the answer back before abortion became legal. I have many friends who were adopted by wonderful parents, couples who could not have babies themselves. Now with abortion there just are not enough babies for adoption anymore. Yes I think abortion is murder. I think it’s killing a child. Studies have proved that the unborn fetus suffers during an abortion. But it also won’t be outlawed because any candidate that takes a pro-life stance will not get a nomination or be voted in my liberals. So to concentrate on the abortion issue is fruitless. We need to concentrate on what can be done. Helping the poor in this country, medical care, homelessness, high taxes, border security…this is what should concern Americans. We need to vote on a candidate that promises to make a difference in the lives of citizens in every class. Not just the rich. Tackle the issues that are feasible. Narrowmindedness has no room in politics.

  • Frank

    Ron Paul is the only true conservative running but all the sheep and so called christians will vote for the anointed candidate even if he supports ripping living babies out of their mothers wombs and marched in lockstep with the gay mafia.You are all so brainwashed they could convince you Joseph Stalin is a conservative.Those whe would trade liberty for security deserve neither.Ronpaul2008.com

  • Neal Bliven

    Gary Jackson: “The only way such a personal relationship can be proved is through tangible, empirical evidence.”Jesus had you in mind when he said, “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents (with their hands), and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Stop by “The Father’s Blessing” on Friday evenings at Church of the Apostles (Fairfax, Virginia) to see the healing signs (sorry, we don’t have any snakes or poisons on hand). Bring people with sicknesses to make sure that we aren’t healing “ringers” (bring 30 or more if you would like to employ large-sample statistical testing of the results). Visit http://www.ChurchOfTheApostles.org for more details and travel directions.As for “Rudy Double Dares Christian Right” (Professor Berlinerblau’s blog topic), Jesus seems to be more interested in accepting Gary’s challenge than in the challenge of annointing a candidate for the Christian Right.Seriously,

  • Brin

    Hello, nice site 🙂

  • Brin

    Hello, nice site 🙂