More Christians Should Vote NDP

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knownothing knownothing's picture
More Christians Should Vote NDP

I am reading this book Armaggedon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada by Marci McDonald, an I am frustrated by how many Christians (Almost All Denominations) vote for Harper and the Conservatives. 

There are many quotes from the New Testament where Jesus addresses economic inequality. The most condemning is James 5: 1-5, "

1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a] 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

 

What happened to the Christian Left and the Social Gospel?

What do you folks think?

 

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
Caissa

Some members of the Christian left and Social Gospel are on Babble.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Caissa wrote:

Some members of the Christian left and Social Gospel are on Babble.

 

I would sure like it if one of them would help me understand this contradiction between voting Conservative and being Christian.

SRB

knownothing wrote:

What happened to the Christian Left and the Social Gospel?

What do you folks think?

I know that some progressive Christians do vote NDP.  There was even a conscious initiative to attract them a few years back within the NDP.  See this document: http://www.ndp-faith-justice-foi-npd.ca/archives/000150.html

Does anyone know if this Faith and Social Justice Caucus is still in operation?

However,  I must add that it would be easier for the Christian left to support the NDP if they weren't apparently abandoning some long-held peace positions and supporting high levels of military spending.

Le T Le T's picture

I'm not of the Christian left but "stereotype" would be one way of helping you understand it.

It's kinda like this guy that was telling me how all the "ethnic communities" voted for Harper.

knownothing knownothing's picture

Le T wrote:

I'm not of the Christian left but "stereotype" would be one way of helping you understand it.

It's kinda like this guy that was telling me how all the "ethnic communities" voted for Harper.

I'm not stereotyping, in this book it says 64% of Protestants and 74% of Evangelicals and 49% of Catholics outside of Quebec voted for Harper in 2006.

 

And this book also breaks down how Harper fixed Kenney on the "ethnic" vote.

Caissa

One of the candidates in the recent NB provicial election from Saint John is a baptist Minister.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Once upon a time, the Anglican Church was known as the Conservative Party at prayer - but no more. I've known a few Anglican clergy who were NDP activists or MPs. I think the NDP is actually the best fit for all Christians, not just for those who adhere to the social gospel.

KenS

And just to complicate things- I know a number of evangelical Christians who are NDP supporters. Including some riding exec members.

They are a definite minority among evangelicals. But not surprisingly, they in turn know a number more who are NDP supporters.

And what do mean by "more Christians should"  .... ?

Do you mean that they just should- as in whats wrong with you?

Or do you mean that the NDP should do more to reach them ?

Or.... ?

knownothing knownothing's picture

KenS wrote:

And just to complicate things- I know a number of evangelical Christians who are NDP supporters. Including some riding exec members.

They are a definite minority among evangelicals. But not surprisingly, they in turn know a number more who are NDP supporters.

And what do mean by "more Christians should"  .... ?

Do you mean that they just should- as in whats wrong with you?

Or do you mean that the NDP should do more to reach them ?

Or.... ?

I mean the logic of the social gospel is in line with that of the NDP philosophy so they should Vote NDP.

KenS

In the 'world view' of the left there is ironically a moralism that has a lot in common with the faith based moralism of Christians.

And let alone left or social gospel Christians, I know no small number of evangelicals who can see beyond their moralism better than most lefties.

Caissa

You should read former provincial NDP cabinet minister Richard Allen's book on the Social Gospel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Allen_(politician)

Le T Le T's picture

What i meant was who is considered a Christian? Who is considered an Anglican? I was raised in a "non-religious" family but our worldview is for sure secular christian. We wouldn't be considered Christian by a pollster's measure.

 

Also, if you've read the New Teste you would know that Jesus was a prefigurative anarchist, not a social democrat! Wink

knownothing knownothing's picture

Like Bakunin!

knownothing knownothing's picture
Unionist

I think Christianity is versatile enough to embrace many human virtues, vices, and viewpoints:

[url=http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/fischer/100517]Jesus was a capitalist[/url]

 

KenS

No one in the ancient world would have been a social democrat.

SRB

KenS wrote:

No one in the ancient world would have been a social democrat.

Well, they wouldn't have been capitalists either.

As for Bryan Fischer's use of the parables to make an argument about Jesus's supposed political opinions, it's nonsensical.  It rather resembles the arguments that long ago were made from pulpits in the South in favour of slavery. (No need to revisit them, as they were thoroughly debunked by abolitionists at the time). Better to look at Jesus' actions, such as the cleansing of the Temple (in Mark 11), to understand his attitude to power, capital and the establishment.

Anyway, back on topic, it's my view that churches which are socially conservative can and do encourage their members to vote along those lines, and the Conservatives have successfully attracted those votes.  I wish that churches would be equally successful at encouraging their members to vote for the party that had the most peace-oriented, and active poverty-fighting agenda, as these sorts of goals are most prevalent in Christianity.

MegB

Le T wrote:

What i meant was who is considered a Christian? Who is considered an Anglican? I was raised in a "non-religious" family but our worldview is for sure secular christian. We wouldn't be considered Christian by a pollster's measure.

Also, if you've read the New Teste you would know that Jesus was a prefigurative anarchist, not a social democrat! Wink

I was raised by a Christian Scientist and an Atheist.  I'm am so confused Undecided

Anyway, I know a number of church-going Christians who vote NDP and a few atheists who don't.  I think there are certain core values that transcend organized religion and have deeper spiritual or intellectual meaning.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

I mean the logic of the social gospel is in line with that of the NDP philosophy so they should Vote NDP.

 

But among other things, the "logic" of "one man and one woman" is in line with the Conservative philosophy, so they should vote Conservative.

 

Depends on what's more important to you. Personally, I think that analyzing voter behaviour primarily in terms of economic interest neglects some very powerful motivators.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Maybe it is a function of my age and geographical location (tail-end baby boomer and Alberta) - but I find the OP kind of neglects to take into account the relationship between the United Church and the NDP. I would be hard-pressed to think of a provincial conference out here where I could swing the proverbial dead cat without hitting someone who was affiliated with both.

KenS

Or as a friend says,

 

The United Church is my political party.

The NDP is my religion.

milo204

the idea that christians should vote NDP is also making a big assumption:  that people who identify as "christian" actually are aware of, or really put front and center the teaching of their religion.  I think most christians or religious people don't actually know what their books say in the first place, or have much more of a moral stance on issues than anyone else.

they're religious for completely different reasons: it was taught to them as kids, to be part of the "community" or social reasons, etc.

also, religion means different things to different people, not what is set in stone in religious books.  so for some it's about justice and being good, for others it's an excuse to hate and kill.

absentia

Milo204 has got it.

Real Christians do vote socialist - and march in protests and picket lines and Pride parades and dig wells and deliver books and badages to the victims of human and natural disaster and stare down tanks...

Those are the Christians i used to fight Dr. Conway over. The ones who hold political - and, unfortunately, overweaning legal and moral - power in North America now are barely acquainted with the teaching of the man they profess to follow. They like the mean, bullying father; have no use for the tolerant son.

Unionist

In case I haven't made it clear, I think the thesis expressed in the thread topic is stupid. But go ahead and lecture Christians (and Muslims and Jews and...) that their "God" wants them to be social democrats. Good luck with that. Thank God religion no longer plays that kind of role in Canada.

 

 

 

SRB

Unionist wrote:

In case I haven't made it clear, I think the thesis expressed in the thread topic is stupid. But go ahead and lecture Christians (and Muslims and Jews and...) that their "God" wants them to be social democrats. Good luck with that. Thank God religion no longer plays that kind of role in Canada.

So people of faith should not be expected to "practice what they preach" in their political lives?  Or is the problem that no one should tell others how to live out their beliefs? Just wondering...

knownothing knownothing's picture

SRB wrote:

Unionist wrote:

In case I haven't made it clear, I think the thesis expressed in the thread topic is stupid. But go ahead and lecture Christians (and Muslims and Jews and...) that their "God" wants them to be social democrats. Good luck with that. Thank God religion no longer plays that kind of role in Canada.

So people of faith should not be expected to "practice what they preach" in their political lives?  Or is the problem that no one should tell others how to live out their beliefs? Just wondering...

 

This is what I was trying to get at. Jesus was not a capitalist despite Unioninst's pathetic attempt to link it through biblical parables. In fact Jesus condemned wealth and priviledge. Any one who lives their life by Jesus' teachings and actions should not vote Conservative as they stand for individual wealth and economic inequality.

Tommy_Paine

I think the reason we have Christianity more identified with the right is because of the prosperity gospel, the idea that god rewards the righteous in this life with material wealth.   Hand in glove fit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology

The wiki article gives a quick over view.  It says Oral Roberts founded the idea in the U.S. after WWII, but I seem to recall from other readings that it was a popular idea amoung Boers in South Africa, and when you think about it, it's such a handy rationalization that it would be hard to believe it hasn't come and gone a few times in the last 1500 years.

Edited to add that I find it curious that no one has really tackled this evil little idea head on from a secular or religious point of view.

 

6079_Smith_W

I don't think the question of whether a god wants people to vote a  certain way is relevant either. That is more of a question for a thread about whether you believe in a god.

Now the question of whether there is material in the bible, particularly the new testament, from which someome might draw a message of social justice and act accordingly? Absolutely. On the other hand, there is a lot of stuff in there that can be interpreted in exactly the opposite way.

I think the message of Christ was more compassion and conscience than any particular political bent (after all he, or at least the character, was clearly not one of the zealots, was he?). And aside from his overwhelming number of references to relief of suffering and poverty, I think it was on a competely different level from any party platform.

On the other hand, I think his deliberate contradictions were part of his exercise to make you think - setting up example after example of how Mosaic Law is not the whole truth, and can be worked around, and yet maintaining that every word of the law stands as written.

First thing, knownothing, I wouldn't assume that all christians are the same or think the same. They are not. Not even in in the same church, they are not. 

I think you pose a good question, actually, if a naive one. Naive because if you actually look for examples of peoples' faith in progressive politics, there are plenty there already.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

Edited to add that I find it curious that no one has really tackled this evil little idea head on from a secular or religious point of view.

It's discussed in this thread beginning with post #5.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

Maybe it is a function of my age and geographical location (tail-end baby boomer and Alberta) - but I find the OP kind of neglects to take into account the relationship between the United Church and the NDP.

 

Yeah, as one of our ministers at good ol' Ingleside United (it's in Saskatchewan, and you can see the east bank of the Assiniboine River from its front step) said, "God loves Liberals and Conservatives too."

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

A-Q: I suspect the OP may have been under the the influence of Central Canadian Overlords... or even more scarey, may be a CCO her/himself!!

Surprised

knownothing knownothing's picture

 Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’

 3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’

 5 “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ 6 The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’

 7 “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’

 8 “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.

 10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?

 13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

 14 The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him.

(Luke 16:1-14 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2016:1-14&version=NLT)

27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

 32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

(Luke 6:27-35 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%206:27-35&version=NLT)

41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
(Mark 12:41-43)

16 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”
 18 “Which ones?” the man asked.
   And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. 19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
 20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”
 21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
 25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.
 26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” 
(Matthew 19:16-26 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2019:16-26&version=NLT)

 “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you . . . 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

 22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. 

(Matthew 6:1-4, 19-34)

 

 13 Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 14“Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?”

   Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin,[c] and I’ll tell you.” 16 When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

   “Caesar’s,” they replied.

 17 “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

   His reply completely amazed them.

(Mark 12:13-17)

38 Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. 39 And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 40 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.

(Mark 12:38-40)

19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. 22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.
 24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’
 25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
 27 “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. 28 For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’
 29 “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
 30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’
 31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’”
(Luke 16:19-21)

Unionist

SRB wrote:

So people of faith should not be expected to "practice what they preach" in their political lives? 

The Pope of Rome says that politicians who support same-sex marriage or abortion should be denied communion. Will you praise this man for "practising what he preaches"? Or will you engage in some irrelevant discussion as to whether he is truly following the real teachings of Jesus - that he should become some kind of social democrat, or else he's not being truly pious? Utter nonsense, in my humble opinion. Religion is a private matter. People must be allowed to accept, or reject, any political notions irrespective of their religious beliefs.

Quote:
Or is the problem that no one should tell others how to live out their beliefs? Just wondering...

Yes. That's also the problem. Both are the problem.

 

Life, the unive...

I don't trust anyone who says they are a good "fill in the blank" when running for office.  I prefer those who practice their faith, or lack of it in private.  Maybe I am just old school, but I think anyone who has to tell me they are a good "fill in the blank" is probably trying to convince themselve first and fool me second.

Unionist

knownothing wrote:

This is what I was trying to get at. Jesus was not a capitalist despite Unioninst's pathetic attempt to link it through biblical parables. In fact Jesus condemned wealth and priviledge. Any one who lives their life by Jesus' teachings and actions should not vote Conservative as they stand for individual wealth and economic inequality.

So you're the "true" follower of Jesus, while all those millions of others who swear by his name and support wealth and privilege and war and aggression are not his "true" followers, I suppose. Why not have a crusade, or some nice Hussite wars, to settle the issue?

After that, we can debate who are the true Muslims and the true Jews, and how they should vote NDP.

I find this discussion frankly revolting and disrespectful.

 

Fidel

What has pope nazinger said about terrorizing Afghans and Libyans or bumping off Ladenum Arabians living in Pakistan?

SRB

Unionist wrote:

The Pope of Rome says that politicians who support same-sex marriage or abortion should be denied communion. Will you praise this man for "practising what he preaches"?

Why are you bringing up the Pope, and how is he any different than other right wing Christians like Brad Trost? Anyway, I've never been a fan of the current Pope, since the days when he was Cardinal Ratzinger and he attacked Liberation Theology.  Luckily for me, I'm not Catholic, and consequently he doesn't speak for me; I have better role models.

Before I stumbled across your post, I was merely responding to the thread which seemed to me to be implicitly asking why the Right had a monopoly on people of Christian faith given the nature of its message.

Unionist wrote:

Religion is a private matter. People must be allowed to accept, or reject, any political notions irrespective of their religious beliefs.

Well, if that's your view it's no wonder you are not a fan of this thread. Thanks for clarifying it. 

I would suggest, though, that  not many people of faith would agree that "religion is a private matter," nor would they easily be able to separate religion from politics in their own lives. 

That's because religion, for believers, is not just a set of theoretical doctrines but a way of living which has a practical and consequential dimension. That this pragmatic side to belief can have either good or ill effects does not negate the fact that religious people often choose to express their faith on social and political levels. 

milo204

i think i understand what you're saying unionist "Religion is a private matter. People must be allowed to accept, or reject, any political notions irrespective of their religious beliefs."

and i think that's the crux of this whole discussion, i.e. that peoples professed religious beliefs really don't play a major role in their decisions regarding ethics.  Sure, if their religion condemns it and they don't like it (abortion?) they'll say "god says so, so i do too!" but it's really a matter of convenience.  If they want to invade a country/kill people and god says "love thy neighbor/enemy or thou shalt not kill" then in that case they don't really care what god has to say, they're doing it regardless.

so the same seems to go for political affiliation. religion is just one more way for people to try and justify their own actions/beliefs/biases/etc. 

Tommy_Paine

Boom Boom wrote:

Tommy_Paine wrote:

Edited to add that I find it curious that no one has really tackled this evil little idea head on from a secular or religious point of view.

It's discussed in this thread beginning with post #5.

What I meant was that I'm surprised it is not discussed more broadly in society.  Flying Speghetti Monster knows we here discuss just about everything.  :)

And I'm surprised more that it's not repudiated within Christianity very much-- or at least it doesn't seem to be. 

Caissa

I have never held that someone's beliefs are private nor that types of belief can be compartmentalized. I know some do and some try to compartmentalize their beliefs, yet I think a human is the sum total of what they belief.

An analogous statement to title is " More workers should vote for the NDP".

Tommy is quite correct in pointing out the seduction of the prosperity gospel. 

I attend an Anglican church where New Democrats are a definite minority.

absentia

 

Unionist wrote:

.... Why not have a crusade, or some nice Hussite wars, to settle the issue?

They did that and did that and threw in a few centuries of inquisition. Far from religion being private and allowing people to believe what they want, the miltant churches - all of them! - have spilt a great deal of blood to have their doctrine dominate people and peoples who didn't want it. And the dominant power structure has never seperated church and state, even when calling itself secular, so it was in the interest of high clergy to support the rich and violent with its right hand while throwing crumbs of comfort to the poor with its left, each knowing not what the other doeth.

Quote:
I find this discussion frankly revolting and disrespectful.

Disrespectful to whom?

 

Quote:
Tommy_Paine:

And I'm surprised more that it's not repudiated within Christianity very much-- or at least it doesn't seem to be.

Michael Moore found a priest who said it right out loud on camera. But then, MM is public enemy #3 - or is it #2 now? - so who listens?

The big ambitious guys know which side their bread is buttered, can dig up or make up gospel to support their political  slant,  and can count on the natural venality, sloth and self-righteousness of people to prevent too close scrutiny. The little purist sects, or individual pastors, who object are easy to defund, defrock, defame and silence.

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Caissa wrote:
I attend an Anglican church where New Democrats are a definite minority.

The only church I ever attended where it was possible that New Dems were the majority might have been Holy Trinity behind the Eaton Centre where NDP MP Dan Heap was a priest assistant I think he was. That would be in the late 70s while I attended Trinity College. I saw Dan at Trinity College on Friday mornings during our early 'Eucharist and bacon buns' eucharists.

Snert Snert's picture

I would personally prefer a world where we all felt free to talk about sex, or how much money we make, but our superstious belief in ghosts would be the stuff we keep to ourselves in polite company.  Instead of "I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" we'd have "sorry, but I'm a bit uncomfortable talking about that... but I did have some awesome sex last night!"

knownothing knownothing's picture

I have a friend who is studying to be an Evangelical Minister and I got him to change his vote from Con to NDP last election. I just had to show him that Harper wasn't standing up against abortion and gay marriage and explain how sinful capitalism is.

He wishes he had a Christian-Left Party to vote for but he still voted NDP.

6079_Smith_W

@ Unionist

I had assumed your difficulty with the issue was the the assumption of a God who is presumably going to take out a party membership. 

Of course that is a ridiculous and offensive notion. 

Likewise the notion of organized churches using their power to influence their members and government. 

But beyond that, I think it is a matter of degrees. Do you really think it is reasonable, or even possible, to have a dedication to relief of suffering and poverty in a church and just drop it all when it comes to everything else in your life, including your politics? 

Of course I know that also applies as well  to those who oppose abortion, marriage equality, and who support  capital punishment, and the "traditional" family. 

We can (and should)  enforce a hard rule of legal separation between church and state, and we can strive to elect politicians who will have the wisdom to do their work for the interest of the entire community, not just for their own agenda. 

But to think that one can use a completely different moral compass in different parts of their lives? I see your concern, but people simply do not work that way. 

Besides, there are enough examples of people using their religious faith in the political realm in a positive way, without crossing the line separating church and state. From  civil rights work, to anti-poverty work, to international work (I am talking about Kairos and to some degree MCC here, not the evangelists who think people can eat bibles) to the aforementioned NDP. 

I think I have posted Paul Martin's address to the commons introducing same sex marriage legislation two or three times here already. Google it. It is worth reading, because he explains quite well the balance of personal values and political responsibility from the perspective of a devout Catholic.

Of course these values collide and conflict, just like anything else. That is where a thinking person has to not be selfish, and choose what is for the greatest good and does the least harm. 

Unionist

SRB wrote:

Why are you bringing up the Pope, and how is he any different than other right wing Christians like Brad Trost?

Because you said: "So people of faith should not be expected to 'practice what they preach' in their political lives?" I was replying to you. Go back and have a look. My reply was: "If someone preaches murderous anti-human doctrines in their religious life, no, absolutely not, they should not be expected to go ahead and practise that!" In other words, you have a right to believe (for example) that gays and lesbians will all go to hell - but once you support that politically, it is our society as a whole that will hopefully be sending you to hell.

Is that clear - the distinction between religious belief and political practice? If not, I'll try for some less inflammatory examples.

Quote:
Before I stumbled across your post, I was merely responding to the thread which seemed to me to be implicitly asking why the Right had a monopoly on people of Christian faith given the nature of its message.

The Right has a monopoly on Christians? Really? If by "Right" you mean Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, plus Bloc, then I guess that would be close. If by "Right" you mean Harperite Conservatives, then it's simply a foolish and false generalization which is disrespectful and insulting to Canadians who identify as Christians.

The last available census figures (2001) show that 77% of Canadians identified as Christians of various flavours. You know how many voted Conservative (around 40%). Where's your "monopoly"?

The most "Christian" province is Québec. Here, 91% of census respondents identified as "Christian". Yet, only 16.5% voted for Harper. Where's your "monopoly"?

Some crook gets up in church and says that all good Christians should hate homosexuals, loathe socialists, consider abortion as murder, and support our troops. How do you want to oppose this crook - by explaining how these preachings are loathesome to humanity, are evil, are bad for people? Or by saying, "No no no, actually Jesus said the opposite, here's some scripture to prove it..." If that's what it takes, then these unruly religious mobs, who believe scripture and not their hearts and minds, will one day go out and murder their neighbours, after a particularly persuasive sermon by some génocidaire.

Religion is a private matter. People must be allowed to accept, or reject, any political notions irrespective of their religious beliefs. If we reject that thesis, then one day, it will be our turn to die in the name of someone else's sincerely held religious beliefs.

6079_Smith_W

Actually Unionist. If I missed it before, your last paragraph above (#46)  is one I agree with completely. 

I think that a moral conscience (religious or not) is important in politics. Dogma on the other hand (religious or otherwise) has no place. 

So if I get your meaning I think we agree on much of this. I on the other hand don't have a problem with this thread, especially tackling the difficult issue of how much a person should let religion influence one's politics.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I think that a moral conscience (religious or not) is important in politics. Dogma on the other hand (religious or otherwise) has no place. 

Jesus said render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.  If I wanted to take that to its logical conclusion I would have to become a Jehovah Witness and withdraw from politics all together because it is not part of the Kingdom of God.  Those kinds of sects take voting as a evil.

Now on the other hand my favourite MP, in the 40 years I've been voting, is a Xian whose life partner is a Minister. He also was trained as a Minister. Here is an excerpt from his last speech in the House.  I hope all the new NDP MP's will go to the same sources for their inspirations.  If I believed in god I would pray that all our MP's could display the true humility and integrity of this exemplary man.

Tommy Douglas, J.S Woodsworth and Bill Siksay are all Xians I admire in politics.  

Quote:

 I will miss working in solidarity with dedicated people. The transgender and transsexual communities have taught me so much about our humanity and courage. I wish we had a bit more time. I have learned much from peace, anti-war and nuclear disarmament activists, gay and lesbian couples determined to walk through the front door of the important institution of marriage, those detained and working to repeal security certificates, war resisters, local activists on homelessness and poverty, the environment and industrial and transportation safety, animal rights activists, the labour movement and refugees, immigrants and temporary workers and their allies, supporters of CBC Radio Canada and those seeking more open government.

 

 

http://rabble.ca/news/2011/03/farewell-statement-bill-siksay-burnaby-dou...

SRB

Unionist wrote:

My reply was: "If someone preaches murderous anti-human doctrines in their religious life, no, absolutely not, they should not be expected to go ahead and practise that!" In other words, you have a right to believe (for example) that gays and lesbians will all go to hell - but once you support that politically, it is our society as a whole that will hopefully be sending you to hell.

I don't agree that "murderous anti-human doctrines" are Christian (the faith that was the ostensible subject of this thread -- I don't think they are Jewish or Islamic or Buddhist, either, of course but that is not what we were originally talking about here). Despite the bloody history of Crusades, Inquisitions, religious wars, etc  -- which in my opinion represent terrible failures of the church -- the fundamentals of Christian belief, drawn from the peace witness of Jesus Christ, are neither murderous nor anti-human.

But in post #33 you already ruled such discussion "irrelevant" so I'll leave my point there.

Unionist wrote:
The Right has a monopoly on Christians?

I'm sorry, I mispoke there -- I meant to suggest that this view (of the Right's monopoly) was, I thought, the implied basis for the thread, a position the thread was arguing against (and inviting others to join in with it, to participate in a discussion of the "Christian Left" as well -- or that was how I read it). 

I should have said "why there is a perception that the Right has a monopoly on people of Christian faith."   But I agree with you that (fortunately!) it is not really the case, even though the media and others are lazy and generalize as though it were. Thankfully, people of faith come from many points along the political spectrum, and act according to progressive principles, just as often as from regressive ones. (Others in this thread have cited civil rights, abolitionism, anti-poverty work, etc).

Unionist wrote:
Religion is a private matter. People must be allowed to accept, or reject, any political notions irrespective of their religious beliefs. If we reject that thesis, then one day, it will be our turn to die in the name of someone else's sincerely held religious beliefs.

Since you feel the need to repeat this point, I will repeat mine: for you, religion or personal belief or whatever may well be a private matter and that's fine.  But even in a modern society which respects the distinction between church and state, you would not find many people of faith who would agree with you. 

[For Christians, the reason for the need to put faith into practice is simple, it's a foundational Christian teaching: "So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. ...  Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith." (James 2:17-18)].

But for a fuller, more thoughtful and more intelligent reply on this subject than mine, I will refer you to 6079_Smith_W's excellent post (#45), which is much more eloquent than mine on this and other related subjects.

I would also agree with 6079_Smith_W's point that while people may be inspired to act politically by their conscience or religious principles, religious dogma does not belong in public life; that's why we as a society espouse such egalitarian values as the separation of church and state and multiculturalism.

6079_Smith_W

@ NS

Well said. 

Plus from the perspective of organized churches it is not always so cut-and-dried. 

The abortion fight you were talking about in that other thread? I lived two blocks from Morgentaler's former clinic on Corydon in WInnipeg, and I happened to be in a church - a Mormon Church - on the morning when someone gave a talk urging people to support politician Joe Borowski in his anti-abortion campaign. 

I assume most people in that congregation were strongly opposed to abortion, but even so, when he got out from behind that pulpit he caught some serious shit - from the church authority and from the members -  because what he did was absolutely out of line. 

I'm not a mormon, and I have had little to do with that organization in 30 years, but I still wonder what has changed, given their active financial backing of the Proposition 8 campaign in the U.S., and their discrimination on public property in downtown Salt Lake And from what I read, many of their members are just as alarmed.

I could also mention (for the umpteenth time) the overwhhelming support for abortion access in Catholic Italy.

I think there are plenty of people, even in the most oppressive churches, who are mindful of that separation, and understand that they should use their moral values positively, and without imposing them on others.

 

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