Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Blue Evangelical Expresses Hope... and Anger

Well, as both Montana and Virginia (unless dirty tricks impede) will fall to the Dems, in my giddiness I thought I'd just go ahead and give this new Congress my wish list. I know they're waiting with baited breath to hear from me (uh-HUH!). And I will also offer a second wish-list to the Christian Right... who really, really want to hear from me (No, SIR!).

One preliminary note, just to remind everyone... I alone am responsible for this post. It is not an "official" position by any religious or Church group with whom I am affiliated.

For the Congressional Dems (and any Republicans willing to help) here's my list, without any real order or priority:

* Mr. Rumsfeld... oh, never mind. I'd just told a friend that he'd go "within two weeks." I'm a week and six days behind already.

* Can we finally see some humility in Washington? If the past six years have taught us anything, it is that arrogant, deaf-to-reality leadership is not the way to accomplish realistic goals or win over the American Public. Some pundits expect the Dems to go after Bush with investigations and so on... which part of me would love to see. But the saner part says, "Nah. Let's try to get some positive things done. Like..."

* Can we finally get some help on creating truly affordable housing? This wasn't all that great under the Dems, but under Bush housing in Chicago for the poor has practically dried up. Our Cornerstone Community Outreach Shelter programs in Chicago deal with so many poor families who are unable to find housing anywhere within walking distance of the services they so desperately need. As the inner cities are filled with condos (many of which are vacant) the poor are forced into decrepit older suburbs where they basically live only to work for minimal wages and extra hours, travel to work and home again via public transportation, all making their world more and more like the old domestic servants of the 1950s and earlier. Call it classism or racism or whatever... it exists as a blight on many lives. Housing must become a real issue again.

* End the War in Iraq. Do it sensibly, but get our people out of there. We were lied to about why we went, Washington's execution of the war was almost Keystone Cops, and American soldiers are at risk in a failed attempt to impose western democracy on a nation with no history in that regard. Will more Iraqis die with us gone than are dying now? I used to think so, but now have my doubts. It's botched! Get out.

* Can the Dems (a few of whom I note are pro-life) work with conservative but realistic Republicans to come up with a compromise on abortion? I think the time of "all or nothing" is likely past on that issue. But I also think that as long as Roe v Wade's incredibly broad permissions exist, the Right will use abortion to beat otherwise viable Democrats and to push the nation to the Right. This election does not mandate Roe v Wade, in case anyone was dubious on that score... and the Right has not lost all its vigor by any means. The Dems themselves have moved to the Right... gun control, anyone? (sigh)

* Make massive changes as regards public school funding. "What, you mean socialism or something?" Whatever you want to call it. Jonathan Kozol has done some of the best work on this issue. My favorite observation of his is that if you want to find the poorest, most ill-equipped, least educational, and most dangerous public schools, look for the ones named after Civil Rights Movement heroes. Oh, the other prime indicator of a bad school on almost every level? The darkness of the students' skin. Kozol's "Race and Class in Public Education" talks (apparently hard to find without paying for them) are stellar, and should offer a basis from which the Congress can make meaningful changes to hundreds of thousands of students' lives.

* Public (as in National) Health Coverage. "What, you mean socialism or something?" Uh, whatever you want to call it. I can testify that in Chicago, the very poor have such coverage via Cook County (Stroger) Hospital. Will that change? I certainly hope not. And I only wish it were so for the rest of the nation.

* And I'd love to see (and perhaps am seeing) some attitude adjustments for Democrats regarding evangelicals. Look, while polls last night seemed to indicate that three quarters of evangelicals were voting republican in, for instance, Ohio, it was noteworthy that one quarter of evangelicals were NOT voting that way. Evangelicals are increasingly on board when it comes to Global Warming, for instance. Evangelicals are on board when it comes to AIDS in Africa (and more and more, AIDS and HIV in America!). Evangelicals increasingly "get it" that though homosexual marriage is not something they want, some sort of legal union for gays should be part of our wide-open democratic process. The day of the New York Democrat who looks down his nose at the "rubes" who believe in Jesus is gone, or at least going. While a blue Evangelical minority works on becoming a majority, perhaps the Democrats could make our job easier by not being ignorant of the whole "God thing."

* And that leads to a three-book required reading list for Democrats wishing to understand Evangelicals. Ready? Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis (being an intellectual isn't contrary to being Christian). Cost of Discipleship by WWII martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a very brave Christian's deeply thoughtful expression of faith). Born Again by Chuck Colson. Wait.... did you say -- Yes, I did. I am no fan of Mr. Colson's politics, as he seems to me to have (using Christian parlance) backslidden in that regard to his Nixon days. But his book reflects a far different Colson, a man newly made aware of power's dangers and his own hubris. It also helps a non-believer grasp some of why we who do believe find our faith so central.

Alright... NOW for that wish-list to the Christian Right.

* Stop confusing America's well-being with God's will. Really. Nationalism, last time I checked, was a form of idolatry. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that America is "God's chosen nation." Heck, it doesn't even say that about the modern state of Israel. (Whoa! Did he say that?!) Now that doesn't mean we shouldn't pray for our nation. But it does mean we shouldn't keep living in the false myth that America was at one time a Christian nation, and will be restored to that state by an active Christian Right. False premises lead to false conclusions.

* Stop telling us what the will of God is... frankly, you do not know and sometimes appear to be on the wrong side, supernaturally speaking. The War in Iraq, for instance, is so obviously Satanic I cannot find the words to express my disgust for Christian spokespersons' support of it.

* Stop using homosexuality to rally voters to a party which only cynically uses Evangelicals to get themselves elected. Can you understand how your entangling Christ with Rove's use of "hot button" issues targeting gays destroys any Christian witness we have to this culture? Homosexuality demands nuance and wisdom, not hacked together political assaults upon gays only serving to put them on notice that we hold them in contempt. They are our neighbors. "Love your neighbor as yourself."

* Stop linking abortion to the Right's agenda. By doing so, you only underscore what pro-abortion forces believe about Evangelicals. Namely, that we teach: women are lesser than men; Women belong in the home, men on the job; Women are to submit to men, be under men, be directed by men. Well, many of us do NOT teach or believe those things, nor do we view women and men as defined by (pseudo-biblical) "roles." Yet we are against abortion on demand. And we are more than a bit irritated by your continual attempts to use abortion to coopt us politically. It so happens that, apart from abortion, we think the feminists basically understand reality better than you do.

* Stop fronting as "God's men" white males who actually are more gifted in the realm of corporate enterprise than they are in hearing the Voice of God. (Sure, there are a few women, and leaders of color, who also qualify in this dubious category.) These people more and more seem to speak a language we cannot hear, dance to music we do not like, and present a version of God foreign to either what we read in Scripture or what we experience Him to be in our own lives.

So please. Stop being "Right" and start being biblically Christian.


Anonymous said...


-B said...


Yer just down right mean man! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Insightful and interesting.

Marty Phillips said...

Wow The war in Iraq is "Satanic"?
I guess we should just leave all tyrants in power or better yet just put sanctions on them and starve the people, cuz the Tyrant Govt. never gets harmed by sanctions. Maybe we just should let terrorists eventually just work there in peace. War is bad but sometimes its far less destructive on the people than a "Hitler" in Charge. If you remember we did let Hitler go on for along time because America did not want to get involved and there were many more problems for waiting. Japan finally through us in, so we had to. War is bad but I think our soldiers are fighting for something important. There is a lot of good going on you leftist do not want to see, To bad. I personally do not think I would want a dictator running my country torturing 100's of thousands but I guess thats not satanic. Marty-JPUSA

Jon Trott said...

Marty, for those who don't know, is a good friend of mine here at JPUSA who (surprise!) doesn't think I speak infallibly...

I would in a nutshell answer you this way, Marty.

1. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There were also no terrorists, at least terrorists interested in killing us.

2. The invasion of Iraq by America created the current terrorist problem in Iraq. They were not there until we got there.

3. Saddam was indeed a wicked dictator. Some people, some places, were helped. But that doesn't mean other people, in other places, were not and are not presently being horribly harmed. Last estimate I heard regaring civilian casualties in Iraq (and this from their current govt.) was around 100,000.

4. If we use the argument that it is our duty to depose wicked dictators (as you seem to do in your comment), we have to universally apply it. That is, right now there are a number of dictators in the world. Why did we choose Iraq? And therein hangs the tale.

And all the above is god-breathed, so stop arguing with me (harharhar).