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Customer Discussions > Christianity forum

Can Someone Explain Fundamental Christianity's Belief That They Have A Right To Have Their Belief Endorsed By The Government?


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Showing 1-25 of 258 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 9, 2011 6:09:04 AM PDT
W. Martins says:
I was raised in the Baptist Church. When I was very young it was almost holy writ that the Church and State should be totally and completely separate. Baptists more than most had suffered under the Church of England and wanted nothing to do with mixing the two. Then JFK had the nerve to run for President and Baptist preachers nearly wigged out; they feared that a Catholic in the White House would be bound to follow the dictates of the Pope and from the pulpit urged their congregations to vote against Kennedy and certain Papal dominance. Now lets fast forward a couple of decades and we have Baptists holding hands with Papists (as they called them) demanding the government to follow their (I can hardly believe it) united stand against a woman's right to chose. This "the state must follow the teaching of the Church (both Baptist and Catholic0 or face God's judgement" continues through to gay rights, gay marriage and a host of other things. I don't speak for the Catholic Church or the Baptist Conventions, but I'm still all for separation of Church and State. Doesn't matter to me if the State is for my views or against my views I don't want them dealing with my views. If I cede them the power one way, sooner or later they will use it the other way. Let me put it clearer. If you give the State the power to ban abortions, you have given them the power over abortions and some day the state will say there are too many people, any couple that has more than 1 child will have to terminate additional pregnancies. If you don't think the State can do so just look toward China. I was pretty happy the way things use to be. Let the government do its thing and we'll use our pulpits and the Word of God to convince people to do the right thing. That's what's kept this country free and religious tolerance healthy, but I see nothing but problems coming from mixing the two. Maybe that's why I don't attend a Baptist church any more.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2011 7:57:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 9, 2011 4:35:31 PM PDT
Martins: This is fairly simple. Laws in the United States are made by representatives, who are to reflect the will of the people in formulating public policy. Being a democracy, people of all views have a right to participate in electing representatives who reflect their priorities and worldviews.

Christians are obligated to stick up for the weak and helpless and promote justice. As demonstrated in the recent trial of a "lady" in Florida who murdered her daughter, the weakest and most helpless humans in our society are children. It is therefore the obligation of Christians (and of other well-meaning individuals) to try to protect children against those who would abuse or, heaven help us, kill them -- as Christians have always done, from Roman times on. In a democracy, one way ordinary people can help protect children is by encouraging laws that do so.

That is why Christians work to make abortions, or at least late-term abortions, illegal.

As for your fanciful dominoe theory, in practice it usually works the other way around. The Chinese government forces abortions and infanticide precisely because it has yet to fully internalize the Christian influence that began to bring about life-saving reform and protection of the weak through 19th Century missions. The Nazis rejected Christian morality, which led to the killing of millions of unwanted and undesired human beings in Europe, including children. That's precisely what Christians are fighting AGAINST. And if you were happy with the "way things used to be," well up until 1973, it was illegal in most states for parents to kill their unborn children. So on that score (if not racial relations, which have improved), I agree that we've gone downhill.

I also believe that robbing banks is wrong, and expect the government to "endorse" that belief, as well.

I hope this answers your question.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2011 8:17:32 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 1, 2011 8:28:52 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 9, 2011 9:05:22 PM PDT
W. Martins says:
DM: You have not addressed my question at all. You merely parrot what fundamental Christianity states as their right. Because they inaccurately believe that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and therefore it should adhere to Christian ethics (of course the problem with that is there are many differing Christian beliefs, which should be dominant? Unitarians who have been in this country since before the Revolution and Constitution or Congregationalists or maybe Baptist, how about Roman Catholics and Mormons, don't forget Christian Science, Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses to name just a few). Just because government and religion agree that murder is not acceptable does not mean that government does so because of religion. With regard to abortion, I'm talking about governmental power...once you concede that government and not a woman has power in deciding if she can or cannot abort a non-viable fetus you have given government power to compel as well as to ban. I'm not talking about the morality of abortion, just whether government should have power over it. That pretty well sums up my whole point.

A person (or religion) may well be morally opposed to abortion, while at the same time opposing giving government the right to either ban or compel abortions. A person or a religious sect may put forth moral views or ethical standards and attempt to convince others to share those points of view. It is a totally different thing to expect government to impose those views on the entire society.

Consider this example. The religious beliefs of both Jews and Muslims require all males to be circumcised at birth as a covenant with God. Now supposing you and your family are living in israel or Egypt because your work requires it and during this time a son is born into your family. Should you as a Christian be required by the government to have your son circumcised because that is the religious belief of majority in those countries? See my point? It is one thing to have beliefs and ethical standards and use the pulpit to convince others of the rightness of your arguments. It is an entirely different thing to expect or demand or even believe that the government should require every citizen to adhere to what you think is right, when they do not.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Christmas Trees are pagan symbols and preach against having them as part of the Christmas tradition. Should Congress or the State Legislature or the City Council be allowed to ban Christmas trees for everyone? (the Witnesses are right by the way, it is a pagan symbol dating to the Druids who decorated trees in their homes during the Winter Solstice, December 21-22).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2011 5:32:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 10, 2011 6:13:59 AM PDT
>If you give the State the power to ban abortions, you have given them the power over abortions and some day the state will say there are too many people, any couple that has more than 1 child will have to terminate additional pregnancies.

W. Martins, that could be an argument against any state regulation of any matter whatsoever. If you give the state power to make war, unjust wars may ensue. If you give the state power to grant subsidies, it may waste the money on ethanol. If you give the state power to require voters to register, there may be abuses at the polls.

You don't seem to realize that you have raised a complex matter here that does not depend exclusively on religion. Do you imagine that if religion either left the public square or even vanished altogether, that there would be an end to state-sponsored misbehavior?

In fact, politically-minded Protestants learned their tactics in part, at least, from the militant Left of the 1960s. I too remember when the evangelicals of my childhood eschewed any more participation in the political process than the act of voting--in part, because the pre-millennialist eschatology we embraced taught us that the world would deteriorate anyway until the Second Coming of Christ. It was liberal churches, back then, who engaged in protest marches and loudly affirmed the church's right, even duty, to become politicized.

Very well...and then, lo and behold, churches on the right began to embrace the same idea, with the coming of the so-called Reagan Revolution in the 1980s. And then what did we hear from our fellow Christians on the left who had so insisted on the virtues of political participation? "Oh no, it's *so* inappropriate for *churches* to try to *campaign* to force their views on others!"

What they meant, of course, was that they thought church involvement in politics was quite all right--as long as it supported left-wing views. That sort of thing just made me laugh.

I too deplore the participation of churches as churches in politics because Christianity is false; whatever good it accomplishes is not unique to religion, while its ill effects are indeed likely to be aggravated by its superstitious character. In theology, many churches now seem to have embraced a post-millennialist eschatology, which tells them that they must actively make the world a better place, under the aegis of the church, to be a fit scene for Christ's reappearance. Some go further and advocate "Dominionist" theology, which advocates that the religious actively "take over" and "manage" the world for God.

I am under no illusions about the dangers of this. As a college student forty years ago, attending an evangelical Christian college whose president was the father of John Ashcroft, I heard the college president tell us, in a chapel sermon, that Christians should seek positions of public authority so they could influence the world for God (and I remember thinking "Why? If, as you also say, Jesus is coming soon, what difference should it make?"). And then, this man's son actually did become Attorney General of the United States and all but disgraced the office, becoming the second-worst Attorney General in United States history.

Nevertheless, the problem you think you are describing in this thread is not unique to religion. Any candidate of any religion or no religion at all will have ethical views on what he thinks ought or ought not to happen. This may affect war, taxation, education, judicial punishments, and other areas. To reduce it, as you seem to be doing, to a simple formulation of "Religion alone raises the risk of political misbehavior and if religion were merely quiescent once more, all would be well" is simple-minded.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2011 5:56:11 AM PDT
What's most apparent is that when evangelicals support and elect someone to office because they promise to return the country to the "Christian principles upon which it was founded," (sic) that once elected, the official never follows through on those promises. It goes all the way up to presidential candidates who make such promises only to appease and garner the votes of the Religious Reich. How many times do single issue voters have to be tricked before they get it.

From an old article by Charley Reese titled "Our Moral Ills are Our Sins, Not Governments" --

"Traditional Americans believed, and wisely so, that the power of government should never be used except to protect public health and public safety. It should act only to protect people from comunicable diseases, force and fraud. If we could ever re-chain the federal government to the Constituiton, it could easily live off revenue tariffs and the proceeds of the sale of public land...

"Teaching morality (and let's face it, that what the issue of marriage equality and abortion are all about --sm) is the province of parents and religion. If they fail, the government can't do it instead."

Let's face it, what the Religious Reich is attempting to do is FORCE their brand of morality down the throats of every citizen in this pluralistic society. They do so, because they have failed miserably to instill it in their own members. Too many clergy are the worst perverts and pedophiles of the century, Catholic women have abortions above the average for non-affiliated women, couples divorce themselves from the Church's doctrine on contraception and divorce. Now the Church wants to get the government to step in and enforce these moral issues through secular laws. That attempt is simply unconscionable.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2011 6:05:50 AM PDT
"If you give the State the power to ban abortions, you have given them the power over abortions and some day the state will say there are too many people, any couple that has more than 1 child will have to terminate additional pregnancies."

<<<< W. Martins, that could be an argument against any state regulation of any matter whatsoever. If you give the state power to make war, unjust wars may ensue. If you give the state power to grant subsidies, it may waste the money on ethanol. If you give the state power to require voters to register, there may be abuses at the polls. >>>>

You are absolutely correct, Michael. Once you give the government the power to interfere in such private matters, not only can they ban abortion even if the life of the woman is at stake, but they can force them as well. It's amazing to me that a group that espouses less government seems to support the intrusion of government into the most personal life matters of our citizens.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2011 6:22:46 AM PDT
One more thought, W. Martins: Do you question the legitimacy of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s because some of its most visible leadership consisted of ministers, headed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? An organization that called itself the Southern Christian Leadership Conference?

When Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 and gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, would you have had the Park Police remove him on the grounds that it was inappropriate for a minister to stand on government property and give a political speech?

Would you have supported restaurant owners who refused to serve blacks on the grounds that Civil Rights laws were unwarranted government interference in their private right to determine whom they would or would not serve in their places of business?

Or do you think religious involvement in politics is quite all right, but only as long as it produces political outcomes with which you happen to agree anyway?

Posted on Jul 10, 2011 10:18:31 AM PDT
Our government, by design and intent, is meant to represent its citizens *regardless* of their individual religious beliefs, and with no special bias on the basis of religious belief. The government is also supposed to show a compelling State interest when it restricts our freedoms, or treats its citizens unequally.... and "My God doesn't like it" doesn't qualify as a compelling State interest.

Posted on Jul 10, 2011 2:59:10 PM PDT
TO: W. Martins

RE: "Can Someone Explain Fundamental Christianity's Belief That They Have A Right To Have Their Belief Endorsed By The Government?"

It's simply a naked power grab. Historically it has been the goal of almost all religionists, of whatever sect, to have the guns of the state enforcing their particular belief system. The United States is known as the "most religious" nation, at least in the West. Strangely enough, however, the only reason that America is not - yet - a theocracy is the no one sect had enough power on a national level to suppress all the others. Early American history is full of state or colonial governments that were theocratic to a lesser or greater extent. Many state laws had a religious origin, such as so-called "blue laws", anti-abortion laws, and laws that prohibit sales of alcoholic beverages while the voting polls are open. And we mustn't forget Prohibition! While it was a federal law - actually a constitutional amendment - it had to be ratified by 75% of the state legislatures. There has always been religious influence on secular laws and policies. The fundamentalists just want to make it overt. We, as Americans, MUST defeat this because if a fundementalist Christian theocracy does happen, first they'll come in the night for me (I'm an agnostic) and then they'll come for you!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 3:38:16 AM PDT
W. Martins says:
Walter R. Johnson: "first they'll come in the night for me (I'm an agnostic) and then they'll come for you!" You're wrong about that. They'll come for me long before you, I'm a gay atheist!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 4:27:00 AM PDT
W. Martins says:
MHuggins: I happen to think that religious people and organizations have as much right to participate in the political process and anyone. They do not have a right to impose their religious precept on society through legislation or governmental action. However, when Dr. King and the SCLC championed the rights of African Americans they were doing so based on expanding individual rights in a Constitutional way. Christian fundamentalist wish to shrink individual rights by prohibiting woman control of their own reproductive rights; they wish to restrict or deny individual rights to gay men and women, preventing them from entering into a civil marriage, which at its heart legally is nothing more than a contract. Legislating religious beliefs is inconsistent with the constitutional doctrine of the separation of church and state.

Outcome as nothing to do with the right to be active politically, motivation has everything to do with it. Religion and society (as represented by democratic government) may have many areas in common. For example most religions consider murder amongst the worst of sins; society to recognize murder as a vile crime justifying governmental penalties. Two of the major world religions (Judaism and Islam) require that all male be circumcised as a covenant between man and God (you can find this in the Bible). Should government then require all males born in this country to be circumcised to demonstrate America's allegiance to God and His word?

As a side note: You probably to not know that it was not Dr. King who conceived or organized the August 1963 March on Washington. No, it was the brainchild of Bayard Rustin who was also its chief organizer. If you look just to the left of Dr. King (his right) while he was giving "the" speech you will see Mr. Rustin. It is also interesting to note that far from being a religious leader he was the chief strategist for CORE and a proud, openly GAY MAN.

PS Think you're setting a trap with the restaurant owner question? Yes I support government interference when the dignity of a living human is being denigrated for no demonstrably rational reason. Private property rights (when such property is generally open to the public) are not significant enough to justify doing so as history as clearly shown.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 6:01:42 AM PDT
Your analogy is a bit skewed. Dr. King was a reluctant leader who sought to bring justice and equal civil rights, the opposite of what evangelicals terrorists are doing today. His work was not based on religion and did not seek to promote a religious objective. In fact, many who opposed civil rights and equal access quoted the Bible as the reason why the races should remain separate. Evangelicals who seek to deny, by legal writ, the civil rights of others based solely on religious principles are trying to force their religious views on all of society. Religious groups who use politics to promote their moral issues were then and still are unconstitutional.

Posted on Jul 11, 2011 6:08:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2011 6:09:33 AM PDT
Brian Curtis says:
The most fervent faction of political-powermongers among the Christian Right are the dominionists. And they make no bones about it--they simply don't value the Constitution or democracy at all. They want our government demolished and replaced with a "Christian government" ASAP, to make America an explicitly Christian nation.

Why? Because they see no value in the United States apart from how it can serve their religious beliefs. They're not Americans in any sense; they're simply zealots pushing to overthrow freedom and set up a theocracy, with themselves in charge righteously persecuting and silencing everyone who disagrees.

In short, they make a fine Taliban.
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 7:18:19 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 7:25:15 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 7:27:16 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 8:06:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2011 8:06:18 AM PDT
Brian Curtis says:
I agree they're a small sect, but they have the unquestioning complicity--and therefore support--of many, many millions of American evangelicals who never get around to denouncing the dominionists' hateful statements and actions.

Remember how many folks were complaining about the 'good Muslims' not speaking up and denouncing the terrorists? Same deal here. When millions of evangelical Christians never speak a word in opposition to their dominionist counterparts, they become unwitting allies.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 8:10:48 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
SK: Go, Michael!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 8:13:34 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Michael Huggins's post:
Would you have supported restaurant owners who refused to serve blacks on the grounds that Civil Rights laws were unwarranted government interference in their private right to determine whom they would or would not serve in their places of business?

SK: The esteemed Rand Paul would. Disgusting.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 9:09:38 AM PDT
>The Nazis rejected Christian morality

Is David Marshall serious? Is it possible that he can seriously delude himself into actually believing the above statement? "The Nazis rejected Christian morality"???? Christian morality was the self-proclaimed FOUNDATION for the Nazi government and their genocidal outlook. The Nazis themselves, in their own words:

"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.."
-Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter . . .as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people...."
- Hitler, speech in Munich, 1922

"We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity... in fact our movement is Christian."
- Hitler, speech in Passau, 1928

"(The Nazi Government) will take Christianity, as the basis of our collective morality, and the family as the nucleus of our Volk and state, under its firm protection...."
-Hitler, first speech as German Chancellor, 1933

"The Government of the Reich, who regard Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation . . ."
-Hitler, speech to the Reichstag

"We are acting not as a party, but as Protestant Christians who only follow a call to faith from God,"
-Nazi leader Helmut Bruckner

"The party stands for positive Christianity."
-Original Nazi cabinet member Wilhelm Frick

"When today a clique accuses us of having anti-Christian opinions, I believe that the first Christian, Christ himself, would discover more of his teaching in our actions than in this theological hair-splitting."
-Nazi Propaganda Director Joseph Goebbels

"Christian faith is a heroic, manly thing."
-Joachim Hossenfelder, head of the German Christian Movement which attempted to combine the teachings of Nazism and Christianity.

While some of the above quotes can be attributed to political propaganda, the statement that the "Nazis rejected Christian morality" is clearly, ludicrously false, and contrary to the facts and anyone who makes such a statement simply knows nothing about what he is talking about. I realize that David Marshall's status on these forums as a complete ignoramus is well established beyond dispute and already has enough abundant evidence to support it. But every so often he comes up with a belly-laugher so preposterous it has to be pointed out and commented on.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 9:25:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2011 9:34:13 AM PDT
<<<< Mehegan: You call people "terrorists" because they disagree with you (apparently) about whether or not gay marriage should be legal? Wow. >>>>

Wrong. I call any who attempt to destroy the Constitution of the United States and its founding principles, and the separation of church and state, terrorists.

<<<< There's nothing in the Bible about keeping blacks and whites separate. >>>>

Apparently you don't own a Bible, or have never opened one. The Bible is peppered with God's condemnation of mixing of the races, of which Canaanites are a prime example.

Acts 17:26 (KJV): "And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." This verse is extracted from Paul's Sermon on Mars Hill, and is normally interpreted as a declaration of Christian universalism; indeed, it was commonly used in the nineteenth century to refute racist theories of polygenesis. But the phrase "bounds of their habitation" was used to claim that segregation, as an existing "bound," must ipso facto be divinely ordained.

Bible scholars have concluded that the three races -- white, black, & yellow -- were the progeny of Noah's there sons, Shem, Japheth, and Ham.

Japheth is the father of the Caucasian race, Shem of the Mongoloid race, and Ham of the Negroid race. Some have interpreted Noah's prophecies of his sons in Genesis 9 to be the Scriptural basis for discrimination of one race against another. Particularly, the supposed curse on Ham's son, Canaan, was purported to be Biblical support for Negro slavery.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 10:41:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 22, 2011 12:13:33 AM PDT
W. Martins says:
Mr. Marshall you state that dialogue with me is difficult, if not impossible. Let me assure you that dialogue with one such as yourself who abandons logic in making his points is no walk in the park. I cast no blame on anyone who disagrees with me I simply ask why it is that Fundamental Christianity believes they have a right to use government as a tool for their religious beliefs. If you are against abortion, that is your perfect right, though I strongly disagree with you. What I'm saying is that under separation of church and state you have no right to impose your religious morality, heart-felt and sincere though they may be on the entire society. Your religious beliefs my well be opposed to murder and robbery and society may come to the conclusion that they are inconsistent with a well ordered society and outlaw them. That does not mean that government has outlawed them because of your religious belief, merely that your code coincides with that of society.

Let me give you a much easier to understand example. The issue of gay marriage. When arguing against gay marriage Fundamentalists come up consistently with three arguments: that marriage has always been between a man and a woman; that God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve; and that homosexuality is against the will of God as expressed in the Bible.

Let me knock down those arguments one by one. Traditionally, that is to say longevity in the course of history slavery has existed and is even condoned by the Bible, as the Southern States and Southern Baptists repeatedly pointed out. Tradition is not a good reason to continue slavery.Neither is tradition a strong enough reason to deny two people who love each other the contract of marriage. For the other two points to be successful as an argument you have to concede that it would require imposing religious precepts of one portion of society on society as a whole. In our nation, in our Constitutional democracy to deny any citizen rights granted to others (when they are of sound mind and consenting adults) is violative of fairness and equal treatment under the law. You nor anyone else can articulate how the marriage between two men or two women damages either society or the state of marriage. Now this is not to say, that any church would be required to perform gay marriages, just as no one can require the Catholic Church to marry a person who has previously been married and divorced, though divorce is perfectly legal.

So just because I don't agree with the perspective of others does not mean I don't understand it. I understand it very well. You on the other hand seem to need to cast aspirations when someone can clearly articulate a position that you have difficulty logically defending.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 1:53:13 PM PDT
SinSeeker says:
"Is David Marshall serious?"
Unfortunately yes.

"Is it possible that he can seriously delude himself into actually believing the above statement?"
Unfortunately yes. David has a very "interesting" understanding of history.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 2:40:12 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 1, 2011 8:29:06 AM PDT]
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
Participants:  35
Total posts:  258
Initial post:  Jul 9, 2011
Latest post:  Nov 17, 2012

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