Foreign Policy: Christian Conservative or Progressive Humanist?

Eric Andersen Eric Andersen 31 Comments

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A response to Mr. Frank Dowse.

Washington TearsIn a previous post Frank Dowse took me to task for challenging Congressional candidate Jacquie Atkinson’s foreign policy views. My thoughts below summarize what I see as the distinctives that separate a Christian and a principled policy view from a humanist and progressive one.

Who is Frank Douse who goes by the pen name “Founding Father”?

Dowse is a retired Marine Officer. He was the USMC Commandant’s Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, receiving an MA in International Security Affairs. These are his observations based on over 30 years involved in counter-terror, intelligence, and defense operational planning, implementation and execution as an active-duty officer and DoD civilian official.”

Frank,

I think the reason you are unable to answer my question is because it exposes the immorality of your policy view.

You not only have little in common with our founding fathers, you have rejected the basis of their law system, “laws of nature and Nature’s God.” Their policy view presupposes a Creator and therefore a transcendent law that governs all men. In their view all men are equal before the law. There is therefore no room for a hegemon as your view requires.

Your view is a progressive one which aborts the individual and the Creator to make room for a new king – man and the State. You have carved the Creator into an idol that now supports your humanistic foreign policy. Your conscience can now be assuaged on Sunday by your actions on Monday.

Noticeably absent in your writing are references to principle. Your position demonstrates a complete dependence on experience, the essence of progressive humanism. And if you will excuse me, the fruit of a Harvard education.

Harvard has been progressive when Charles William Eliot became Dean in 1869. Eliot applied Darwin’s theory of evolution to education and changed Harvard’s motto from Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae, meaning “Truth for Christ and the Church” to “Veritas” meaning “Truth”. Truth became disconnected and autonomous from Christ and the laws of nature in the same way you state our views on policy must change as our environment changes/evolves. Like Eliot, a Unitarian, you desire man to be autonomous from principle.

The harms you attempt to nobly thwart around the world are for the most part a byproduct of your morality. You do not respect your neighbor. Your view justifies the initiation of violence against a person who poses no such threat to you or your family. One with such views will always create more enemies than his neighbor and will point to such threats as continued justification for additional violence.

Your comment “Ron Paul’s virtual evaporation from the political scene…has been roundly rejected by the electorate” offers a case in point.

In your view man, “the electorate,” is king and our moral standard  not “the laws of nature and Nature’s God.” Your view seeks to justify immorality based upon the autonomous will of man “the electorate” apart from higher law. This is the philosophy that buttresses statism, voids natural rights and destroys the individual to make way for the state. This view allows two wolves and a sheep to vote on lunch. It justified slavery. It is this immoral view of law that has de-educated the electorate, creating acceptance for the humanism of Obama, Sanders, Hillary and Trump .

There are two sources of threats to our nation, internal and external. As Lincoln noted our greatest threat would be internal. I happen to agree with him. I believe your policy view is responsible for most of the terror we face, most of the debt that burdens our families and most of the freedom we have lost responding to blowback.

The world we live may be “complex” and “intricate” but it in no way voids the operation of “the laws of nature and Nature’s God.” Triangles still have three sides.  Apples fall rather than rise from trees. Theft, tyranny and the initiation of violence remain evil unless of course our philosophy rejects such a thing as a Creator and such a thing as “good.”

Ideas have consequences. Your faith is in man and your own ideas and experience. My faith and reason are submitted to higher law, something greater than myself. As Augustine stated peace with God precedes peace in the home, in society and in the state. Like Augustine I am rightly or wrongly of the opinion that your policy view, and Atkinson’s, will be an instrument for tyranny, violence, debt and terror until your ideas are reconciled to those of the Creator and the ideas our nation was founded.

I am not nearly as worried about the third world immigrant looking for employment as I am the white collar veteran seeking more power in our society who holds your view.

If you consider yourself either Christian or conservative I think you have some soul searching to do.

* * *

Eric Andersen is a member of the Central Committee of the San Diego County Republican Party and former Caucus Chair for the 71st Assembly District.  He is the current Chair and Co-Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus of San Diego County and Co-Founder of im2moro.com. He is a former Rock Church Citizen of the Year.

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Comments 31

  1. I have been labeled a great many things by critics/attackers on Rostra… “progressive” is a new one in the folder. Please don’t let the several hundred conservatives I speak to in the SD area annually catch wind of that…they will think I’m a libertarian.

    “Chair and Co-Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus of San Diego County”…Of course.

    Friends- That is code for “Libertarian”. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing that have turned a once strong conservative GOP in SDC into the RINO shell it has become.

    Unlike Mr. Andersen, I need not cloak or hide my Christian Conservative views in innocuous and Bolshevik-esque sounding euphemisms for deceptive social progressive ideas, or tin-hatish Paulian folly that thinks the enemy is America’s military and its “white collar” supporters; and then wrap them in piety when it suits me.

    Libertarian views as prescribed by many critics of mine and other Conservative Christians in SDC on Rostra have stooped to great depths to advance their Libertarian views. Ironically, I share some (few) of them, but not to the extreme almost child-like ingenuousness underscored by Mr. Andersen and his “Liberty Caucus” ilk.

    The “veritas” is- Mr. Andersen received his answer…it was clear and direct…yet, he didn’t agree or like that answer, so he couched it deceptively as if it wasn’t answered.

    Not very “Veritas-ish” of you, Eric. Perhaps it is you who needs soul searching.

    The harsh reality is the writing was on the wall in 2014 when many RINO-libertarians here on Rostra advanced a candidate that was antithetical for true Christian Conservatives. It caused quite a rift with the structure and support of the RPSDC, and many of the Libertarian infiltrators are still stinging from the striking rebuke from a principled electorate- Not to mention the nearly 100, 000 (yes, 100,000) former GOP registered voters having left the party ranks in SDC.

    The more libertarian/RINO the party has become, the less effective and influential it is.

    This is a well-known observation since Libertarians can’t win an election if they are the only one’s running. So, they need to couch their libertarian views with conservative sounding labels like “Liberty Caucus” and when the true conservatives expose them, they lash out. We saw this with some very disturbing comments posted where some of these same Conservative posers viscerally and with invectives hurled at longtime RPSDC conservative figures, voices and supporters, attacked in unison all in an attempt to prop up their guy in the 52nd. However, the true conservatives saw through this sham and proceeded to vote their consciences and principled positions and not support the more libertine/New Republican wave oozing over the party apparatus.

    The new Pharisees within the RPSDC and its supporters are here. Make no mistake- they are libertarians and have taken great steps to pull the once great GOP in SDC to an unrecognizable husk of its self.

    Thankfully, most Americans see them for what they truly are- apologists for America’s enemies’ agendas and remarkably naïve to the real threats and concerns that plague our nation in the modern day.

    Q.E.D – http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/rand-paul-to-end-presidential-bid/ar-BBp4PVH?OCID=ansmsnnews11

  2. Boy, you both have escalated with ad hominem fallacies.

    “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing that have turned a once strong conservative GOP in SDC into the RINO shell it has become. ”

    Frank, calling the RLC a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” is laughable. FWIW, I’m the other co-founder of the RLC-SD. Moreover, Mr Andersen dissented with most of us to support your chosen Congressional candidate in the 52d CD…and stood (alone) against School Board Trustees who voted for Common Core Curriculum.

    “The harms you attempt to nobly thwart around the world are for the most part a byproduct of your morality. You do not respect your neighbor. Your view justifies the initiation of violence against a person who poses no such threat to you or your family. One with such views will always create more enemies than his neighbor and will point to such threats as continued justification for additional violence.”

    Eric, if you’re going to reference St. Augustine, you’re going to have to acknowledge that he discusses intervention on behalf of your neighbor in “City of God”. While his essays were not precise in developing “rules” for the just war theory, it is commonly accepted that those “rules” articulated by St Thomas Aquinas built upon St Augustine’s just war theory. It is Aquinas’ rules which are referenced by most every nation-state today.

    Neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas Aquinas were strict libertarians; both saw intervention as a necessary means when a weaker nation-state was the victim of aggression and all other efforts were exhausted.

    Frank acknowledged, in his essay, that the current Pax Americana practice is overreaching.

    If you want to cite the NAP, fine but don’t confuse NAP with the just war theory commonly accepted by Christians world wide.

    Frank, I gotta be fair to Eric here, too. You know better to conflate the premise of Pax Americana with St Augustine’s just war theory. I know you’ve read both him and Aquinas.

    What should have been an interesting dialogue, grounded in principles, is fast turning into a battle about whom is more Christian or Republican than the other. What a disappointment.

    Do better; both of you.

  3. Post
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    There are two types of conservatism.
    One conserves Christian principle (all men created equal, limited government, property rights), God given rights and “the laws of nature” and Nature’s God. This person is said to be libertarian. One who loves liberty. See Statue of Liberty and Liberty Bell. See our Framers.

    The other “conservatism” conserves the status quo – big government, an unsustainable debt and continued encroachment on freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

    Which do you conserve?

    I am guessing most Rostra readers are clear now of what each of us represent. Thank you Frank for this exchange.

  4. Eric- No, thank you…I always enjoy exposing Randian libertarians within the GOP ranks… 🙂

    Brian- As you well know, I have been a target for some vociferous voices with the RPSDC and that of some of their staunch supporters. Some are still stinging from the stance taken by me and 1000s of others in the 52nd. I’m used to it. However, my explanation of Eric’s position (a libertarian one) and his inability to accept the answer posed was the thrust of my response…not an ad hominem response.

    I must say, Eric’s piece seemed more of a hit piece on one’s “morality” than a FP response. The irony is I’ve been a speaker at the Rock Church at seminars specifically about International Terror and national security. They were always well received. I guess Eric wasn’t there that day.

    In all fairness, Brian, I am not in competition with Eric, or any other RPSDC apologists. I’m not sure the opposite can be said.
    A genuine question- Isn’t the Liberty Caucus a libertarian group (heavy leaning to be kind)? Their website and principles smack of classic libertarian views IMO. That is not meant as an ad hominem attack- It is factual retort and the premise I cited in my initial argument was in fact that Eric’s FP and IS view was “ostensive libertarian” where mine was an International Realist view. I was citing that there is a wide spread rebuke of the libertarian standard bearer that was originally Ron, and then the less strident, Rand. Both have been rejected by the electorate primarily because of their respective libertarian views on FP and US national defense in an age of ISIS.

    The fact that nearly 100k folks have left the GOP in SD is what it is. I fault the lurch to a more libertarian and less classic conservative (Christian) views being advanced; so did 10ks in the last election. Again, it is not ad hominem…it is real, and Mr. Andersen and his like-minded supporters are a direct influence of that.

    Much timelier and of considerably greater import: Who are you pulling for on Sunday?

  5. “Isn’t the Liberty Caucus a libertarian group (heavy leaning to be kind)? Their website and principles smack of classic libertarian views IMO”

    Not necessarily. It is described as “a home for classical liberals, constitutional conservatives, and libertarians, working within the GOP”. Keep in mind that we were the first Republican organization to endorse Senator Ted Cruz, when he ran in 2012 and he scored a 50% plus rating (for President) in the most recent straw poll at the RLC convention.

    I’m not running from the libertarian label. As President Reagan said, “at the heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism”. This is not to be confused with libertine philosophy (of which I think you are more accurately critical). Libertarians criticize the improper use of force (much like the paleoconservatives do).

    Pulling for the Broncos. I despise the Panthers for what they did to the Cardinals.

  6. “I cited in my initial argument was in fact that Eric’s FP and IS view was “ostensive libertarian” where mine was an International Realist view.”

    C’mon Frank a title like “THREATS AND FREEDOMS: OUR UNIQUE, VITAL AND PRECIOUS ROLE” is idealism not realism. Your whole piece was about Wilsonian Collective Security – defending their freedoms to defend ours. Granted it wasn’t purely idealistic like Wilson you saw vague “aggression” as the threat to peace instead of a specific state actor as a realist would. But citing terorism and the caliphate and Islamism is pretty close.

  7. To be fair to Mr. Dowse, we think he submitted it simply as “Threats and Freedoms,” if memory serves, or maybe it was much longer than the final headline. Either way, we selected the headline based on what we thought was a fair synopsis of his article.

  8. Elliot- You know as well as I do there is a very real “realist” aspect to our unilateral pursuit of Jihadi Terrorists that is, let’s just say, at the “highest Tier” caliber addressing “national mission” equities.

    You better than most understand first hand the need for enabling partners in addition to DA or other unilateral activities in our best interests in the age of global Islamic Jihadist Terror attacks..wouldn’t you agree?

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    Brian,
    “you both have escalated with ad hominem fallacies.”

    If I have embarrassed myself with the use of even one ad hominem please point it out. I would like to apologize to Frank and donate $100 to the charity of Frank’s choice.

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    Brian,
    “Eric, if you’re going to reference St. Augustine, you’re going to have to acknowledge that he discusses intervention on behalf of your neighbor in “City of God.”

    Could you provide a link to the book and chapter?

    Are you saying Augustine would endorse our military bases on foreign soil and our permanent military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan? Our foreign aid to Mubarak and Musharaff that kept them beholden to Washington instead of the needs of those they were to uphold and protect? Our overthrow of popularly elected Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran?

  11. Eric-

    Peace- No donations required. However, whether you embarrassed yourself would be ascertained by the ones that know you.

    I would point out; you have yet to provide what your or any viable alternative in defense of this nation would be in the age of Islamic Jihadist threats. Arguably, this is at the crux of the failed agenda of the Libertarian FP/IS view in the modern world.

    Hint- That’s a bit more difficult than to simply espouse political and theological philosophy while basking in the very comfort afforded by those that actually do the defending.

    As far as the rather sanctimonious “If you consider yourself either Christian or conservative I think you have some soul searching to do.”…well, as a Christian, I am confident you are not the purveyor or litmus test of my salvation.

    Do you know who is, Eric? Hint- It isn’t you. It isn’t me.

    Possibly you missed the day they spelled that out at the Rock as well. Perhaps they need to rethink the criteria for the Citizen of the Year; one that perhaps doesn’t think he sets the conditions for who are Christians and who are not.

    Just a thought.

  12. It seems to me that this thread is trying to ascertain the answers to three questions, at least as it relates to the Middle East:

    1. What responsibility, if any, do past U.S. foreign policy decisions have for the creation of the Jihadist terrorist threat we now face?

    2. What responsibility, if any, do past U.S.foreign policy decisions, have for mitigating what could have been an even greater threat?

    3. Accepting the situation as it currently exists, what should be done currently and in the future (maybe those are two questions) to mitigate or eliminate the threat of Jihadist terrorism? Bonus points if you could avoid a solution that leaves us with an even more dangerous adversary.

  13. HQ- A very informative book that shapes the conditions and understanding for the questions you pose is called “The Looming Tower” by Lawrence Wright.

    You will not be disappointed.

  14. “You better than most understand first hand the need for enabling partners in addition to DA or other unilateral activities in our best interests in the age of global Islamic Jihadist Terror attacks..wouldn’t you agree?”

    Well it depends on the objective. But I kind of addressed that in your SDRostra article just now.

  15. “Are you saying Augustine would endorse our military bases on foreign soil and our permanent military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan? Our foreign aid to Mubarak and Musharaff that kept them beholden to Washington instead of the needs of those they were to uphold and protect? Our overthrow of popularly elected Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran?”

    Most likely not (I don’t know enough about Mossadegh to say ‘definitely’ not) but it would be interesting to examine St Augustine’s views on Frank’s example of the Ukraine.

    “Could you provide a link to the book and chapter?”

    I can but you know how dangerous that could be. City of God builds argument upon argument with each book.

    I may regret starting this because it will have me scurrying to my storage unit this weekend, to recover a compendium of 22 books and some 500 chapters. It’s been close to 30 years since I’ve read it (in toto) and that was done over 2-3 months of a semester. Here goes…

    It starts with Book 1 Chapter 21 but Book 9 Chapter 12 discusses how protecting a neighbor could restore justice (and possibly peace to the aggressor)

  16. Gosh I hate to be the logical fallacy referee but:

    “If you consider yourself either Christian or conservative I think you have some soul searching to do.”

    and then this retort:

    “Possibly you missed the day they spelled that out at the Rock as well. Perhaps they need to rethink the criteria for the Citizen of the Year; one that perhaps doesn’t think he sets the conditions for who are Christians and who are not”

    I don’t see how sarcasm or insinuations are productive in this debate.

  17. Brian- I had some people share they viewed Eric’s “article” more as an indictment of me than of my position; his personal observations about my morality, faith, education, etc…

    I saw this line of attack from some of his close political cohorts that hurled the “homophobe, intolerant, Neanderthal” invectives based on my and those that choose not to support their candidate; many of them either former members of the EC or RLC members, or both.

    Given I have not ingratiated myself as FF with select elements of the RPSDC (you are well aware of the genesis and history of why that is) and some of their more strident defenders, it is not surprising Mr. Andersen’s tone and tact on what was all along for me a debate on Foreign Policy and International Security.

    However, more meant as tongue in cheek, in all sarcasm is some truth; Mr. Andersen chose to take the righteous and sanctimonious absolutist position that anyone deviating from his dyed-in-the-wool Libertarianism mustn’t be moral (and by extension, Christian). However, I consider the source. Apparently that same level and unwavering biblical conviction was not applied when he as a member of the EC remained there as the party endorsed a candidate that clearly and openly defied two key tenets of both the Christian Faith and the traditional GOP platform. Where as I took great steps to remain true to my Christian Conservative position, and at significant sacrifice as a life long republican and former donor to the RPSDC, he abandoned his and is apparently still within the same organization that promoted a proponent of Abortion and Homosexual Marriage. Certainly his right, however, it’s a little disingenuous to cite a “higher calling” moniker when evidently it is relative and situational when it suits our political agenda.

    I plead guilty for pointing that out.

    On a less somber note, I’m pleased you enjoy the exchanges with Elliot. We should all get an adult beverage and solve US foreign policy. 🙂

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    Brian,
    “Gosh I hate to be the logical fallacy referee but:
    If you consider yourself either Christian or conservative I think you have some soul searching to do.”

    Frank,
    “I am confident you are not the purveyor or litmus test of my salvation.

    It is not Frank’s faith I have questioned. I have assumed it.”

    It is the contradiction between Frank’s faith and worldview that I have questioned. It is his fusion of Christianity with Humanism. We glorify Christ by submitting to his teaching. We are called to love Christ not just with our heart but with all our mind. The soul searching I refer my brother to is reconciliation between belief and practice.

    It is the Christian view that one can challenge his neighbor’s view without challenging his person. Humanism doesn’t make that separation, an attack on one’s views is considered an attack on the person.

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    Frank,
    “you have yet to provide what your or any viable alternative in defense of this nation would be in the age of Islamic Jihadist threats. Arguably, this is at the crux of the failed agenda of the Libertarian FP/IS view in the modern world.”

    I am sorry. I believe I have. A Christian conservative foreign policy (one that conserves God’s law and upholds liberty) acknowledges that Christ only has one ethic for mankind, not one for individuals and another for groups of individuals.

    The problems you ask me to fix are the result of your policy view not mine yet you ask me to fix it? Smile. Fine.

    We confess that we reap what we sow.
    We confess that Christ isn’t pro-American.

    We go to our brother and repent and make restitution. We withdraw from his property. Allow him to self govern. Leave the energy trade to the free market. We repent from the trillions of property redistribution from our families to finance noble goals by ignoble means. We come home and take care of the vets who have been misused and their families who have been harmed and have inadequate VA care. We begin to dismantle the warfare/welfare state and allow private property to flow from the public sector back to the private sector. We repent from misusing them for imperialist/hegemonic means wrapped in “defending our freedom”.

    We confess that Christ doesn’t have a covenant with the United States but under the New Covenant adopts individuals. We confess we are no more valuable to Christ than an individual from the Middle East. We confess we only have jurisdiction on our own land and Christ only allows the use of force for defense. We stop divisive behavior, honoring one neighbor (Israel) above another.

    We keep a strong defensive military and thank Him for not placing us in Europe where there is always schism. We praise God that we have two large oceans to separate us from aggression and surprise. We cease giving our neighbor a reason to harm us but make every effort to freely trade and live in peace with him, honoring him above ourselves. We confess we are citizens of heaven first and reject friendship with the world.

    We walk by faith not by sight.

    If we do this we will be blessed.

  20. FF,

    Thanks for the book tip. I will definitely give it a read.

    Eric,

    Although I agree with most of your conclusions in this discussion, I find the fact that you justify them through religious teachings to be quite frightening. Throughout history there has probably been more blood spilled in the name of religion than for any other cause. Just because you feel strongly that your religion is the one truth, doesn’t mean that any public policy should be based on it. In fact, were that to happen, we would be no better that the jihadists we fight. They also believe that their religion is the one truth.

  21. Eric-

    Now all we need to do is convince ISIS, AQ, Hezbollah, or Al-Shabbab of this strategy- However, his is one that does NOT prescribe to our worldview. In fact, it is wholly and by design antithetical to our Christian world view. Does the mongoose expect the snake to behave?

    I have every reason to believe that you would have no qualms expressing your 2A rights if an ISIS member, or anyone for that matter, encroached into your property with the expressed intent to cause you and your family harm. In fact, we are explicitly positioned as Christians to ensure evil does not flourish- Wouldn’t you have rather that threat had been identified, located and dealt with before it arrived in your living room?

    In The Life and Death Debate: Moral Issues of Our Time, leading Christian apologists James Porter Moreland and Norman L. Geisler wrote:

    “To permit a murder when one could have prevented it is morally wrong. To allow a rape when one could have hindered it is an evil. To watch an act of cruelty to children without trying to intervene is morally inexcusable. In brief, not resisting evil is an evil of omission, and an evil of omission can be just as evil as an evil of commission. Any man who refuses to protect his wife and children against a violent intruder fails them morally.”

    As two Christians, are we as isolated or introverted in our Spiritual Warfare position? Do recede into a place of comfort solitude or are we proactive, pre-emptive, and supportive of our each other or our brothers in their time of need?

    As I said from the very beginning, Eric- I do not seek, relish, or advance violence- However, I do not prescribe to idling or turning a blind eye to it. In fact, Moreland and Geisler aptly and biblically underscore this position.

    I will leave you with this; while politically, even socially, we may not choose or commit to spending time with one another, it is on my heart to perhaps put our respective Christian “money” where our mouths are and take a moment of pause and break bread. If you are amenable, I can even “donate” to the charity of “turning the other cheek.”

    Your call!

  22. HQ- You’re welcome.
    Word to the wise- The meme that “Throughout history there has probably been more blood spilled in the name of religion than for any other cause,” is factually unsupportable.

    While there are “statistics, damn statistics, and lies,” the overwhelming massive numbers of murder in the name of Secular ideologies staggers the imagination. Just Stalin, Hitler, and Mao alone (where Mao is estimated to have killed as many as Stalin and Hitler combined) attributed for over 100 mil deaths in the twentieth century alone. In his widely acclaimed defense of poorly sourced accusations by the Dawkin’s faction of atheist and secular progressives, Dinesh D’Sousa aptly points out-

    “Religious fanatics have done things that are impossible to defend, and some of them, mostly in the Muslim world, are still performing horrors on behalf of their creed. But if religion sometimes disposes people to self-righteousness and absolutism, it also provides a moral code that condemns the slaughter of the innocents. In particularly, the moral teachings of Jesus provide no support for — indeed they stand as a stern rebuke to — the historical injustices perpetrated in the name of Christianity.”

    I too prescribe to the “I don’t blame God and faith for what man does to or in the name of religion.” While he may not want or need my concurrence, I agree with Eric’s premise and would not blame the biblical precepts of the greatest peace maker in the history of the world with the actions of some in the name of religion. The Judeo-Christian worldview of the Founding Fathers is what inculcated and framed our Constitution and not that of secular-progressive-humanism from either Schiller or Lenin.

  23. FF,

    “The meme that “Throughout history there has probably been more blood spilled in the name of religion than for any other cause,” is factually unsupportable.”

    That is why I said “probably.” 🙂

    Whether or not that particular statement is accurate or provable, it is indisputable that most every religious person believes their religion to be the one truth and many have died simply because they didn’t agree with that “truth.” Because of this, it is dangerous to base public policy on the tenets of one religion. As I also said in my previous post, I am quite certain that the Islamic Jihadists are following the tenets of their religion when carry out their barbaric acts.

    Our great country has avoided much of the sectarian violence that has, at one time or another, plagued much of the world, specifically because we do not base policy on religious beliefs.

  24. HQ- That is the danger of moral relativism- The Founding Fathers were quite adamant about the role of Christ-centered virtues as the basis for a moral society. Starting with the 10 Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. We shouldn’t as Americans be fearful or indifferent to the role Western Judeo-Christian moral foundations have shaped in this the most exceptional societal-governmental experience we have been blessed with.

    George Washington, “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.”

    Benjamin Franklin, “[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

    Noah Webster, “The moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. . . All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

    Benjamin Rush, “[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be aid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.”

    Noah Webster, “[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government. . . . and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence.”

    Robert Winthrop, “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”

    Certainly not popular in an increasingly secular society, in the nascent and formative age of our nation, the Bible was used as a text book for the purpose of teaching children moral principles to live by. Over time, the Bible was gradually replaced by other text books such as Noah Webster’s Primer. Webster’s Primer taught children to spell but was also filled with moral Bible verses. In the front of his Primer was his picture with the inscription, “Who taught millions to read but not one to sin.”

  25. FF,

    Trot out all the quotes you want. It won’t make the thought of the United States as a theocracy any less frightening, especially to those who don’t believe in Christ as a deity.

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    Frank,
    “It is on my heart to put our respective Christian “money” where our mouths are and take a moment to pause and break bread.”

    Amen.

  27. HQ- you’re conflating the will of people of the US and their freedoms to be influenced by what they want and believe, and the regulating of moral relativism of the government. No better case for more control locally for schools and get the Feds away from dictating the Church of Gore. Communities had been able to influence their students based on what the parents wanted- not the state. Now, districts with 70-80-90% Christ believers are prohibited from exalting or even hinting His name. I am pretty confident that was never what the Founder’s envisioned.

    True freedom is being able to choose who influences you.

  28. FF,

    I don’t believe that the Founding Fathers would have wanted Christianity to be taught in public schools, specifically because of the 10-20-30% who don’t believe in Christ.

    On the topic of the Founding Fathers, there is no question that the Constitution is one of, if not the, greatest legal document ever written, but that doesn’t mean that everything any Founder Father said has be treated as gospel, especially 200+ year later. After all, these were men who had no qualms about owning slaves or denying women the right to vote.

    As for your main point, of course everyone, including our elected officials, has a right to to be influenced by whoever they wish. However, when creating public policy, there has to be a rationale beyond simply saying “the Bible says so.”

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    The Framers were silent on public education and left the federal government out of it.

    While the Declaration of Independence placed the standard for law high, “laws of nature and Nature’s God”, it was just the chassis. The ‘wheels” to deliver such a utopian society, the Constitution, fell short as you noted in correlation to the character of the authors of the document.

    If I am speaking with a believer I would refer to the Bible to ground my opinion in something greater than myself. If I am discussing these things with an unbeliever I would use natural law. In either case, I am attempting to ground my opinion in something greater than myself. Who cares what Eric thinks? Not many.

  30. HQ- Once again, you’re conflating.

    I will leave you with this…why was it ok only 10 years ago to have a Christmas event in a public/commercial venue in virtually every town across America but now it is somehow prohibited? Not “discouraged” or” frowned upon” or” mocked”…prohibited. High school FB players are now subjected to incurring fines and Districts are victims to lawsuits if a player makes any reference to God or Christ? Yet, Beyonce can sing a politically motivated song degrading and belittling police at the Super Bowl? If my political views are fueled and shaped by my world view (faith) and yours are driven by your world view, why are mine prohibited when yours are allowed?

    I think we can agree the Framers certainly didn’t fight, risk imprisonment and death so my view is somehow prohibited by the state apparatus, and yours is celebrated and enforced.

  31. FF,

    You still misunderstand me, so I will try one more time and then move on to other topics. My position, simply put:

    1. Everyone’s views are based by the totality of their life’s experiences and that certainly includes one’s faith. Therefore, everyone has a right to make decisions based on whatever and whoever is most important in their life. This right certainly extends to elected officials. However…

    2. Even though public policy will often be inspired by faith, faith cannot be the JUSTIFYING reason for a public policy decision. In the United States of America, we don’t decide our laws or decisions on whether or not to go to war, for example, by quoting the New Testament.

    As for your last question about Christmas, firstly there is no prohibition on celebrating Christmas on commercial property. I assume any prohibition on public property is based on an interpretation of the Establishment Clause. I personally believe that interpretation pushes the pendulum too far, but much like the readers of Rostra, the courts seldom consider my opinion.

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