Thursday, December 29, 2011


This morning, this graphic showed up in my Facebook feed.  I have no issue with people allowing their faith to inform their politics and I do not have a problem with people of faith speaking out on political issues.  Indeed, I think we should.  Still, this little graphic really interests me.  While I'm sure there are those who are actually pro those four things and anti-Obama and who genuinely hold all of those stances, I have real problems when they are conflated.  I have met far too many folk who say that they are a package deal and if you don't own all of them, you don't own any of them.  Add to that, my basic orientation that says that to some degree, these statements are anti-thetical and you can see where I have issues.

Let me address each... I am pro-God... but it really does depend on what god you're talking about.  If we're talking about the God revealed in Jesus, then, I'm right with you.  If we're talking about the god worshiped in some national religion that equates God with capitalism, war, and most of all the USA, then I'm definitely not "pro-god."

I am pro-life, but I have to say that I cringe when I say that.  All too often the term actually means "pro unborn babies and once their born they're on their own."  If you really want to use that term, you need to use it as the Roman Catholic hierarchy professes to use it - anti abortion, anti-war, anti capital punishment, pro affirmative action (in the broadest sense).  Then, you can really say you're pro-life.  If you are against all f the programs that support poor children, for raising funding of the military industrial complex... well, you get the direction... and you aren't pro-life, you're pro unborn babies and once they're actually born, they're on their own.

Pro - gun?  Frankly, I don't believe the 2nd amendment has anything to say in today's world and should be repealed (like that would ever happen).  The real question though is what does this mean to these folk?  Are they saying they have the right to have a gun to shoot intruders (see pro-life)?  To stand up against a repressive government?   Good luck using that 440 deer rifle against a fuel air bomb dropped from a jet... or are they just saying they can spend their own money any way they please and that they have some machismo issue that requires owning something that can kill from 100's of yards away?   Or maybe it has to do with the aesthetics and engineering of some weapons and the deisre to own something beautiful or with historical import?  I don't know, but do any of those ideas really measure up to needing a constitutional amendment?

Pro-country... I'm pro the USA.  I believe it is the best idea that anyone has had for a political arrangement.  I believe we really can still be the city on a hill if we truly embrace the best of the dreams that gave shape to this country.  At the same time, I am not a tribalist.  If there is something to be learned from another country, then one who truly loves this country will learn it.  If this country does something that flies in the face of all of its stated ideals, then one who truly loves it will call it out.   Truly loving the country cannot ever mean turning a blind eye to its failings.  The most important parts of my religious tradition tell me that those failings have to do with treatment of the poor and vulnerable.  Being pro-country means to me, standing up to make life better for them.

Anti-Obama?  Go for it.  That is part of the genius of our system.  You can be against the president for any reason you like, even stupid ones, racist ones, selfish ones, and uninformed ones.  And there are good ones too.   Still, if you go to the website for the PAC that produced that little graphic, they are complaining about a lack of leadership... but proposing no leader.  Somehow, I think they've dropped the ball.  They want your money to dispose of one poor leader to put who in?  Trust them...  yeah right.

And finally, all of these ideas are conflated with being a Republican.  I'm sure there are Republicans who hold only the very best of values and vote that way because their conscience leads them in that direction.  Like me, when I vote Democratic, many of them hold their noses because the Republican party endorses some ideas that they feel are important while ignoring some they also think important... and they make what they perceive as the better of two bad options.  I sort of understand that.  Still, I cannot but see how the basic orientations of the Republican Party do stand in direct opposition to my understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.  Indeed, of the five statements, only two seem to fit,  for me, with the Republican platform - pro-gun and anti-Obama. 

for a little smile, here is a cartoon from the naked pastor blog (one of my favorites) that relates to the poster and the way that I experience the Republican party although it clearly is not meant for them alone (it is likely aimed at factions within the Church) and calls me to look more carefully at myself both from a faith standpoint and in regards to my politics as well.

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