A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Further Thoughts on Town Hall Meetings, Protests, and Tone-Deaf Politicians

I do not like to keep posting on the same subject two days in a row. I like to mix it up, but yesterday Henry Neufeld linked to my post on town hall meetings, protests, and tone-deaf politicians. In expressing his thoughts Henry basically gets to the main point of what I was attempting to say. He writes, I have been repeatedly amazed by the extent to which both sides of many debates are completely oblivious to the ways in which they use one another’s arguments each time the roles are reversed.

He states further, ...I think a corollary to this, is that politicians and voters in general really love an ad hominem approach to the political debate. We believe what people say if they’re on our side. We smear groups with the actions of some. The tea party protesters are smeared because some participants cross a line, as they did in Jacksonville, but ACORN is smeared because some people that they hire cut corners and engage in fraud.... My suggestion here is that a debate that so constantly turns to an ad hominem approach can hardly be expected to produce rational results. That’s the trouble with our alternatives. I would gladly vote the Democrats out of office, but then the Republicans would take over. I would gladly vote the Republicans out of office, but then the Democrats would (and have) taken over.

I concur. It seems as if each side imposes a certain ethical standard on the other, but refuses to apply that same standard to their own. The culture of corruption only refers to the other party; only the other side politicizes (whatever that means) an event; only the other side practices the politics of fear; and only the other side tells lies and misrepresents the facts. It is this context of demagoguery and finger pointing that will not, as Henry notes, "produce rational results."

The larger concern for myself as a Christian is that we disciples draw up lines along the same polarizing positions and accuse each other of the same thing. That brings back to my mind what I have stated before on this blog-- we Christians in the West have lost the primary role of the church as that which practices the politics of witness, and instead have substituted the politics of serving in Caesar's court. Both left and right have fallen into the latter trap. Indeed, if it were not for our Constantinian leanings the church would not even know the politics of left and right. Such a distinction would be nonsensical.

Whether Henry would agree with everything I just said, I do not know, but thanks to him for succinctly getting to the heart of the problem we face in political debate in our country.

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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian


Clay Knick said...

Yes & Amen!

Country Parson said...

Thought you might like to see an e-mail I got this morning from the tea-baggers. My reply to it is on top:

And why would you not want health care reform? The USA has the most expensive, least efficient, worst coverage health care system in the industrialized world. Nothing in the bills has anything to do with limiting choice, forcing public insurance down one's throat, taking away what you now have, limiting Medicare or making old people choose their death. The intent of all of it is to increase choice, open avenues to reduced cost, cover everyone, improve quality of service and the like. However, if you are insistent in opposing, please do so with respect for American democracy and the office of president. None of this shout to shut down stuff please. It's shameful.
The Rev. Steven E. Woolley
Steven Woolley

On Aug 12, 2009, at 11:24 AM, Nancy Rumfelt wrote:

For Immediate Release: August 12, 2009
Contact: Nancy Rumfelt 970-691-3446

"Hands Off My HealthCare" rally this Saturday in Grand Junction, CO during Presidential Visit

Tea Party activist and 9-12ers join forces with conservatives from four states

Grand Junction, Col. – Tea party activists and 9-12ers from Greeley, Fort Collins, and Loveland will join forces with the Western Slope Conservative Alliance and conservatives from across Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico to protest Barak Obama's socialized medicine proposals during the president's visit to Grand Junction this Saturday.

Activists will gather in Lincoln Park at 10:00 am this Saturday August 15th at the corner of 12th and North Avenue in Grand Junction, Colorado. Activists will then re-gather outside Central High School's Warrior Gym at 3:15 at 550 Warrior Way Grand Junction, CO 81504 the site of President Obama's health care town hall.

"We are asking everyone to wear a solid red, white, or blue shirt show our patriotism and to contrast the purple shirts worn by SEIU activists. Patriots and Conservatives are invited to bring signs that focus on Healthcare or Cap and Trade only," said Nancy Rumfelt, Chairman of the Loveland 9-12 Project.

"We have been writing letters, making phone calls, and lobbying our representative Betsy Markey in person for weeks to oppose HR 3200, 'Americas Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,'" said Rumfelt. "We came together with folks from all over Colorado last week during Speaker Pelosi's visit to Denver, and wanted to join forces with other conservatives throughout the Rocky Mountain region to let President Obama and Representative Markey know that this is NOT the plan that Coloradoans want."

Andy B. said...

Good thoughts, Allan. Thank you.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Thank you... and thanks for your thoughtful comments on your blog.