Yeah, I have three images up. I want you to take a good look at them, because that is what this post will be about. But before I get to that, a couple of things:
#1. I apologize to Andy and a couple of other readers who pestered me over the past couple of days for not getting anything up on here. You guys sent me e-mails essentially saying "DUDE, when is the next post?" Well, I'll explain in a moment.
#2. ADRI, who ever you are, you are the only follower at this point that I don't know. Would you please e-mail me so that I can get know who you are and why you would bother to find anything that I have to write the least bit interesting?
#3. The reason that it has taken me so long to post anything is that I really wanted to do my homework on this one. I had to do quite a bit of research to make sure that I had my facts straight. You see, my normal area of interest is in Christian Spirituality is the U.S., but this post will deal heavily in the area of secular politics. Going in to this I knew that this post stood the chance of being rather controversial, and that it would ruffle many feathers. That having been said, I DID do my homework. You might not like what I have to write, but your argument will NOT be with me. I am going to include many, many links to the sites that I researched. (Not all of them, but a good deal of them.) If you virulently disagree with what I write, then I ask you to go to every single site that I link to and refute them with facts, NOT opinions. All of this may be a bit touchy, but there is a reason for all of it. I will explain why all of this relates to the church in America towards the end.
#4. I include a video in this post that most, at least I hope, will find disgusting. A friend of mine told me about it, so I looked it up. I was stunned! When you watch it, you will understand why I believe all of this relates to the church in Modern America.
So here we go.
This past Monday I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR. The topic was on the extreme rhetoric of politics today. Frankly, it was very disturbing. They asked callers to phone in and tell their stories about how this was affecting their lives. A woman phoned in to say that she is the only liberal in her family, and that as such she tends to get dumped on by the rest of her family. She told of how one day, in front of her 10 year old son, her mother stated that Obama (This was before he was elected President.) ought to be assassinated. Wow! Nice to know, Grandma.
Here is the link to the show. You can either read the transcripts or listen to it for yourself.
I want to state for the record that I think of myself as fairly conservative. I prefer limited government and lower taxes in general. But I also recognize that there is a role for government to play in the lives of people & business. I was a huge fan of Ronald Reagan. That having been said, I will also say that there is a massive difference between being a Conservative and being a Right Winger. What now passes for the Republican party would be completely unrecognizable to Reagan if he came back to life.
What now passes for Conservative on Fox News radio and other Rightest talk shows is nothing more than lunatics stirring up masses of people unwilling to think for themselves. And I will say the same of the Left. As I listened to that show on NPR, they gave quotes from both the Right and the Left on various talk shows and I was amazed at the extremist rhetoric that I heard. You have a fellow like Ed Shultz on the Left saying that "Republicans would like to see you dead. They'd rather make money off your dead corpse." Then they have a guy on the Right like Glen Beck saying that President Obama has an extreme hatred of white people.
Oh, even better, Glen Beck apparently said back in the summer that Obama has asked FEMA to create temporary villages in cases of emergency disasters. But what these really were going to be were concentration camps. He goes on to say, "Well, I don't have any proof of this. But that's what I'm told." Why in the world would you say something that outrageous if you have no proof of it? Does any of this spewing help the country move forward in any way, shape or form?
Talk of the Nation went on to point out that MSNBC is planning to set itself up to be the Fox News of the Left. They are filling their slots with extremist Left Wingers in hopes of boosting ratings. They have seen what guys like Glen Beck & Rush Limbaugh can do to get viewers and listeners to tune in, and they want the money that comes with it.
This got me thinking. I figure that a guy like Glen Beck is either a complete idiot for vomiting out his nonsense, or maybe he is a genius. Maybe, just maybe, Beck doesn't believe a word of what he farts out of his mouth. Maybe Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity don't believe what they say either. But what they do believe and know, is that they get paid millions of dollars a year for saying what they say. There is a lot of money to be made by stirring the pot. It is fairly clear that it doesn't help the nation move forward at all, but who cares when there is a huge chunk of change to be made?
My dad tends to get quite a few Forwards from his friends. Most of these are outlandish warnings of what the Evil Obama is going to do to the country. He asked me to do some research on a few of them to verify if any of it was true. (Oh, my own thought on FWDs that deal with politics & such? If someone Forwards you something, delete it! If they are too lazy to not actually research and verify the items themselves, then whatever it is is simply not worth reading. FWDs about jokes or Youtube clips in which Hitler wants Burger King are the exception.) I will state for the record that between us, my dad & I own 6 guns. Obama has not sent out his goons to take them away. Neither did Bill Clinton, even though I was told repeatedly that he would do so.
ANYWAY, my dad will talk about how President Obama is spending the country into the ground. He will show me e-mails that say that this is the case. President Obama is directly responsible for all of the national debt that we now owe China, Japan and Belgium. (Yeah, Belgium actually owns about a third of our country now. I guess that they are moving up from beer and chocolate)
So I did my research. You may not be very happy with what I have found, but again, please don't yell at me. Prove the facts wrong. And before I go on, I want to say for the record that I never thought that I would be defending a Democrat...
#1. The stimulus package of President Obama cost roughly 787-790 billion dollars. Everyone knows that and it can be easily verified. This money is being spent of infrastructure that we all know we need like roads, bridges, schools and such. (Damn it! We're being spent into the ground!) And this is what people vent their spleens over.
#2. I pointed out to my dad that the cost of the war in both Iraq & Afghanistan have already cost more than Obama's stimulus. He didn't believe me. Well, check it out for yourself. Those two wars have cost the country 917 billion dollars with estimates running as high as 3 TRILLION if they ever end...which is questionable.
Now, that last article is from the Washington Post, which does have a liberal bias. But facts are still facts.
#3. The Troubled Asset Rescue Program, TARP, that was issued to rescue the banks towards the end of the Bush administration and continued under President Obama was 700 billion dollars. Put that together with the cost of the wars and you get roughly 1.6 trillion dollars upfront in national debt...under President Bush. Hhmmm.
#4. And now for the best part. Republicans had complete control of the government for 6 years. These are people who call themselves Conservatives who want limited government, lower taxes and less spending. Well, we got lower taxes. However, when it came to the growth of government...PLEASE go to this site and look at it for yourself.
So it turns out that while the Republicans claim to be the party of Reagan, the fact of the matter is that they caused the size of the Federal government to grow almost twice as much as that of Bill Clinton!
So, the question is "Who is responsible for the size of the national debt?" Is it that evil, left-wing, marxist, racist President known as Obama? Nope. It is the Republican party that can happily claim that prize as it's own. But will they own up to it? Nope. Certainly not if you listen to Fox News. Glen Beck will just continue his mouth farts, and make millions while doing it.
Actually, there are a few Republicans that will own up to it. Former Congressman Jim Ramstead says that they blew it. So will Tom Horner, a Republican operative in Minnesota. To his credit, Governor Pawlenty says the same thing. But the majority will play party politics and try to blame Obama for everything. (I simply can't trust a person who will not take responsibility for their actions)
A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the newspaper about former Senator & presidential candidate Bob Dole. In it, he bemoaned the state of politics today. He pointed out that back when Reagan was president, almost every Wednesday, he and Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neil, would meet for a drink and munchies and figure out what they could do together. Reagan was very conservative. O'Neil was very liberal. But they understood that they were there to work for the good of the country. So they talked WITH each other and found common ground, and made the needed compromises to move forward.
Today, that is a complete joke. The state of hyper-partisan politics in the nation is crippling us. And it is only made worse by these idiots on the airwaves. These guys like Limbaugh & Beck are not Conservatives. David Brooks is a Conservative. William F. Buckley was a Conservative. (And it was said of him that he could disagree without being disagreeable) Guys like Beck and Limbaugh are Ranters with massive egos, who are in it for the money.
I listen to Public Radio. It gets accused of having a liberal bias. That is simply not the case. It is true that it has some liberal oriented shows, such as Fresh Air. (I used to call it Left Air when it first came on.) This American Life could certainly be called Socially Liberal when it comes to the stories they tell. And yes, Garrison Keillor is a proud Democrat...with an ego the length of the Mississippi. (But, boy, can he tell a story)
However, shows like Market Place certainly are not liberal. A show like Speaking of Faith is very pro-religious, albeit certainly not a Christian show. How you could call shows like Car Talk or The Splendid Table political at all is beyond me. In fact, the news programs that they have are the most unbiased of all the news programs out there. They will give ample time for as many sides as there are on an issue to be discussed. The reason that they can do this is because they don't have to worry about advertisers. In fact, I highly doubt that Bethel University and Northwestern college would be sponsors of Minnesota Public Radio is they thought the station was some left-wing plot.
I have listened to Gary Eichten on his Midday program interviewing people for years. He has never tipped his hand as to what his personal views are. He has been doing this since MPR first went on the air. He has interviewed politicians, scientists, authors and such, from across the spectrum. He will go after anyone who tries to be evasive with their answers. I have heard callers yell at him for his "Obvious Left-Wing bias." I have also heard callers yell at him for his "Obvious Right-Wing bias." Hhmmm, sounds like he might be doing something right.
So, why do I bring all of this up? Well, I am convinced that many, many Believers, and others who call themselves "Christians," are being duped and used by these morons on the radio...especially on the Right. Back in the 90's, when Clinton was President, a Believer friend of mine was convinced that the Clintons were setting up death camps for Christians. He also bought a Dessert Eagle hand gun because the radio told him that the Clintons were going to take everyone's guns away. All of this is happening again.
The saddest part of this hatred of Obama that is being spewed by the radio is that the President IS a Believer. Yes, I know that this will come as a shock to many, because we know that Obama is really the Anti-Christ in disguise. (As one of my Believer friends told me) But I have heard his testimony. In fact, take a look at this article from U.S. News & World report.
It turns out that two of the President's spiritual advisors are the same ones who mentored President Bush. So if it's true that Obama loves Jesus, why would Believers buy into some of the extremist rhetoric and hate him? It's one thing to disagree with policy and hold to your economic & social principles. It's another thing to hate.
I know that I am taking these verses out of context, but bare with me. Paul told Timothy "Study, to show yourself approved." God says "Come let us reason together." The point being that God gave us brains. I think He expects us to use them. No Believer has any business being duped by secular propagandists. This is particularly true when it comes to the way that we treat other Believers. As I understand the Bible, Believers are supposed to love each other and bare one another's burdens. For that matter, we are to love our enemies too...and even pray for them. Jesus did!
Now, if you don't think that all of this extremist rhetoric isn't a problem, then I ask you to watch this next video. I heard an interview with some Secret Service agents on CNN. They said that since this past August, death threats against President Obama have gone up by %400. I'm sure that none of this has to do with him being black. Just like that rude Congressman Joe Wilson's outburst of "You Lie," had nothing to do with the President being black. (This from a congressman who is a member of the Son's of Confederate Veterans. Hhmmm.)
This has got to be one of the sickest things I have ever seen or heard! How you could call yourself a "Christian," and have something like coming out of your mouth is completely beyond me. I don't know if I will see Pastor Steve in heaven. Only God knows his heart. But if I do see him there, I don't think I will want to stand next to him for too long. I would be afraid that his gun would go off.
Oh, here is a link to Pastor Steve's church.
If you go to their page about the doctrines that they believe, the first is that they think the King James version of the Bible is the only version that is the true word of God. Because we all know that Jesus had a British accent and that Paul wrote in Shakespearean English.
I worry a lot about the state of the church in America. And for good reason. Jerry Falwell said that the reason that the attacks on 9/11 happened is because God is displeased that we allow Gay people to walk the streets. A few years back, Reverend Pat Robertson said that the U.S. ought to assassinate President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. I could go on. These are folks who call themselves "Christians."
I worry a lot about the state of the church in America. Now you know why. Any thoughts on the subject?