NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Archive for the category “Christian Politics”

Chicago – Not MY Kind of Town

The Mayor’s Office of Special Events Nixes “The Nativity Story” Movie Display at Chicago’s Annual Christmas Celebration for Fear of offending non-Christians.

Yes, read it again… that’s what it says.  It brings absurdity to an entirely new level and provides an even more ridiculous category for political correctness. And the name of this annual Christmas celebration?  It’s the German Christkindlmarket – yet the movie chronicling the birth of Christ is not welcome. 

Somehow, though, the grand Nativity display that has been a part of the Celebration since its inception is perfectly o.k. and not considered “insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts,” in the words of Jim Law of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.  By the way, among the “unique gifts” is a vendor advertised as follows on the official Christkindlmarket website:

Bethlehem Nativity Products – From the Holy Land –
Nativity scenes, praying hands & religious symbols

Christkindlmarket Nativity

According to Natalie Martinez of NBC5 in Chicago, the movie was listed on the city Web site as a sponsor of the city’s largest Christmas celebration at Daley Plaza until recently.  Even though the city claims they “never threatened to withdraw their support” of New Line Cinema’s movie, a statement by New Line expresses their frustration: “We don’t understand why our sponsorship would be rejected for religious reasons, particularly considering the fact that our film details the story that inspired the holiday season that Christkindlmarket was created to celebrate.”

Only after this story drew national attention did the City of Chicago amend their stance to include any mention of advertising standards.  Apparently, the City’s problem with New Line Cinema is now under the heading of “aggressive marketing tactics”.  Interesting.  What heading, pray tell, would this fall under:

2Travel Show

*I* found it advertised on the official Christkindlmarket website under 2006 Program Highlights… right after “Grand Opening”. 

I’m sorry, but I’m getting mixed messages here, people.  If the underwriters of the Christmas festival participate in blatant commercialism, it’s o.k., but if a company produces a movie about the birth of Christ, they can’t pay to display the trailer for that movie?

As long as I understand… :-/

How about everyone just gets used to the idea that Christmas actually IS Christ’s birthday?  It IS a Federal Holiday… we all have a day off to honor Christ’s birth and for no other reason. Why not stop the bickering, political hair-splitting, ACLU-ing and try to find out what the day actually means?

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A “Fall from Grace”?

 

A Fall from Grace is defined as “a loss of status, respect, or prestige”, but is actually an idiom originally based on scripture:

You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.  Galatians 5:4

Certainly Ted Haggard qualifies as one whose status, respect and prestige is now lost – I can’t even refer to him as Reverend Haggard anymore.  As to the question posed by the idiom’s Biblical source, ahh… that is another question altogether.

I have mentioned it before, and will mention it here again: My faith is a simple one, you could call it fundamental, even.  To complicate one’s faith would be to supply an excuse to disregard it.  There are those who insist on complicating the definition of Fundamental Christian, for example, somehow linking the term “Christian Fundamentalist” with “Islamic Fundamentalist”… and the Christians live with the negative consequences.  Truth be known, there is a very simple definition for Fundamental Christian, that being, they subscribe to the following 5 beliefs: the inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.  Not all that complicated, really.

As an Evangelical, Ted Haggard also believes this.  What comes as the biggest surprise to most is that Ted Haggard is, in addition to these labels – and ones he has newly acquired – (dare I say it)… human.  In no way am I excusing his behavior, he was wrong.  On that, we can all agree.  But here is where it will get sticky – Where was he wrong, and why?

I have my thoughts, and they’re just my own opinions… so here goes…

To me, Haggard was most wrong for allowing the power of his position to blind him to God’s calling on his life.  In a nutshell, he became full of himself.  “Pride comes before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)  This is something each of us is susceptible to, but perhaps not to the degree of someone who has risen to national prominence and occasionally has the ear of the President. If hundreds of thousands of people listened to and read my words, would I suddenly have an over-inflated opinion of myself?  Would I think I was “all that” if GW asked my opinion on spiritual matters and then, maybe, decide I didn’t need to consult with God anymore. Gee, I hope not.

Betraying his wife and family is a biggie for me.  It matters little to me that it was with a man, except for the added shame it brings on his family.  It is the broken trust.  He has also betrayed his church family, but they should be discerning enough to know how important it is never to “follow” a man in place of God.  By taking drugs, engaging in homosexual sex, and then lying to cover up his transgressions, he has provided a duplicitous message to all eyes watching, but especially to his children. 

And this brings us to hypocrisy.  Anyone who knows me knows I have a big problem with THAT one.  Oddly, though, in this case, I find I’m not looking for a stone to pick up and cast first.  This is partly due to the fact that there are so few stones to be found after the media got their hands on the story.  Granted, this story is noxious with hypocrisy, but for me, it illuminated a finer point about our society.

The problem with being a Christian, but especially a publicly, well-known Christian, is to announce to the world, “I have set a bar of morality by which I’ve chosen to try to live”.  From that point on, there are people watching and waiting for you to fall short of that bar; they will trip over each other to point out when you have failed to meet that bar.   In my case, when this happens, I can only respond with, “Why are you so surprised?” :-)  Man, if I could always reach that bar, MY name would be Jesus!  But I strive toward the example He set, the “bar”, if you will.

In the case of publicly known Christians, those who are tripping over themselves include the media.  Camera crews and scurrying people with pads and pens chase down the sad person who has missed that bar.  (I’m so glad a camera crew does not show up every time *I* mess up!)  And, with Haggard, they hit the jackpot.

What has occurred to me through the Haggard situation is how each person has their own “bar” set for themselves, but it seems as though only those who set their bar as high as the Bible asks are the ones who get tormented this way when they fail.  It’s easy to be successful when the bar is low – heck, it’s even easier when you allow yourself to keep moving the bar to suit your life!  But let someone dare to take a stand, and fail… and we’ve got 24-hour news to keep us abreast of that failure.

For me, I am grateful that the grace this idiom is based on is not as fragile as that available in society… or as mutable as the morals found there, either.

“I Love It When a Plan Comes Together”

 

You may remember a TV show from the 80’s called The A-Team – the show that pretty much made “Mr.T” a household name.  At some point during the show, when the team was in the process of successfully completing their dangerous mission, many times the Hannibal character (played by George Peppard) would say, “I love it when a plan comes together,” with a cigar hanging out of his mouth and a wry grin.

Somehow, those words… that voice… and that grin are exactly what played in my head this morning after learning the results of yesterday’s election – sans the cigar, of course, since it’s 2006 and we’re talking about Democrats with their worship of all things politically correct.  But kudos to Rahm Emanuel for a well-planned strategy to deliver Congress to the Dems, and to his pal, Chuck Schumer, who worked to deliver the Senate.  They both knew their only chance at victory would be to choose candidates who resembled Republicans, the so-called “Blue-dog Democrats”.  In so doing, the “choice for change” was that much easier for disgruntled Americans impatient with the war. 

The choice was basically: “same” or “different” and, at least in my opinion, many people just want something – anything – different than war.  It matters not that the Democrats have yet to articulate a plan for Iraq, we have been promised that it will be different… and, apparently, for the slimmest of majorities, that was enough.  Hardly a mandate, by anyone’s standards. 

For me, I look forward to watching the Democrats try to accomplish all they have promised, AND within the timeframe they have promised to do it.  The onus of performance is on them from now on and they will be under a microscope.  No longer do they have the luxury of whining, complaining, pointing fingers, calling names and claiming they can do things better… it’s game time, boys and girls.

Nancy Pelosi has been quoted as expressing her desire to “drain the swamp” once she becomes Speaker after more than a decade of a Republican controlled Congress, with a hefty list of goals for her party to accomplish in their first hundred hours. According to an AP interview published in WashingtonPost.com, this is how she has broken it down:

  • Day One: Put new rules in place to “break the link between lobbyists and legislation.”
  • Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Time remaining until 100 hours:
    – Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step.
    – Cut the interest rate on student loans in half.
    – Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients.
    – Broaden the types of stem cell research allowed with federal funds, “I hope with a veto-proof majority.”

I will wait with bated breath. 

In the meantime, chances are, “Ms. P” may become as much of a household name as Mr. T.  My guess is that the many people who did not really know who Nancy Pelosi was prior to voting, who allowed their emotions to dictate their decision, those who “voted for change” will be quite surprised at just what type of change they ended up getting.

It’s Only Funny Until We Vote

3Dems

Why do so many people think they’ve got this election figured out?  I’m so tired of hearing pollsters quote their findings: “29% of people say this,” “58% of people say that,” “it doesn’t look good for Republicans.”  (What people?)  To listen to the bevy of clairvoyant pundits who shoot their mouths off every opportunity they are graciously given by our ever-accommodating media, one would think they are reading from their own “wish books”, not offering impartial analyses as the professionals they claim to be. 

They call it “news”, and it certainly is news to me.  As someone who falls into the category of “Values Voter” and is a Christian Conservative, I have learned that “I am so turned off by the Foley – and other – scandals that I will probably just stay home and not vote in November”.  Reeeeally?  Well, have I got news for them: The terms “Values Voter” (or whatever else you want to call it) and Conservative Christian does not mean that I am STUPID. 

I cannot speak for all Conservative Christians, for Evangelicals, or for the “Far Right”, but I can tell you what the people I know think and what makes sense to us.  Mark Foley obviously did something wrong and is now in the process of paying the consequences.   He is not being punished for being gay, nor should he be.  He is NOT the entire Republican Party, or a symbol of it.  We have local elections all around the country of major importance where Mark Foley is not running (Duh :-/ ). 

The division of Congress hangs in the balance and this cannot be taken lightly. Not voting would be the same as a voting for a Democrat, and while the media may look down upon us as a group, I guess we only look stupid.  We realize that allowing the Democrats to win would be putting Nancy Pelosi in the #3 seat for the Presidency.  This, of course, is unacceptable.

It’s not like Conservative Christians think they’re perfect, we just “vote our values” when others may vote based on taxes or social issues, for example.  We also realize there is a certain amount of pragmatism involved in the election process.  It’s a give and take kind of thing, an imperfect system.  After all, Jesus isn’t on the ballot… :-/

Bottom line?  To preserve the values and the standard of morality that is important to us, we must prevent liberals from taking office, taking over Congress or taking the third chair.  So, no… we won’t be staying home.

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