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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Helen & God


Left should fight right 'biblical verse for verse'
Labour needs to add a religious faction to the party to combat the rise of the evangelical right and challenge groups like the Exclusive Brethren.
The suggestion was made yesterday at Labour's party conference by Victoria University academic Paul Morris, and welcomed by party president Mike Williams as a "very promising idea".

Prime Minister Helen Clark said churchgoers were mainstreamed right through the party but she would be "absolutely delighted" if such a wing was pitched. "The issue (for the Labour Party) is tapping into social justice Christianity which has principles identical to our own."


I’ve blogged a couple of times about religion and a new movement in America which is going back to its liberal compassionate roots – if Labour are looking, there are plenty of examples in America right now trying to reclaim Christianity from the far right…

love one another, please

Sign the Jacksonville Declaration

Help make justice and compassion the hallmarks of our country. Add your signature to this letter. Let the Political and Church Leaders of the Religious Right know they do not speak for you. Help them hear a different understanding of Christian values. Add your voice below.

To The Political and Church Leaders of the Religious Right:

As responsible and patriotic Americans, we can be silent no longer. In light of the deepening polarization in our country's social and political life, we feel compelled to speak out to you in a spirit of sincerity.

For many people, your words and actions have identified Christianity with radical, far right politics. We believe that your use of Christianity has sown the seeds of deep discord in our nation and throughout the world. Hear some of your own words:

"You owe liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ."
-- Church Leader Bob Jones, to George W. Bush after 2004 election

"I hope the Supreme Court will finally read the Constitution and see there's no such thing, or no mention, of separation of church and state in the Constitution."
-- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas)

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence…in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."
-- Dr. D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries

"…the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated…"
-- Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians … the ACLU, People For the American Way … I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'."
-- Rev. Jerry Falwell, on Pat Robertson's 700 Club discussing the WTC attacks

We must tell you now that you do not speak for us, or for our politics. We say "No" to the ways you are using the name and language of Christianity to advance what we see as extremist political goals. We do not support your agenda to erode the separation of church and state, to blur the vital distinction between your interpretation of Christianity and our shared democratic institutions. Moreover, we do not accept what seems to be your understanding of Christian values. We reject a Christianity co-opted by any government and used as a tool to ostracize, to subjugate, or to condone bigotry, greed and injustice.

If your politics flow from your faith, then we do not know the Jesus you claim to follow. We cannot imagine a Jesus who would say:

"You are strong and powerful; your ideals are noble. Make war to spread those ideals."
"The end is near - So it doesn't matter what you do to my Father's creation."
"Heal the sick - Provided they can pay."
"All are welcome at the table - As long as they are the same as we are."
"Follow me - And help me form a government to force others to follow."

Do you believe such statements truly reflect Christian or American values? Do these views follow what Jesus taught? Do you think it is genuinely American to steer our country toward a Christian theocracy? Is it Christian to foster intolerance? Is this the path to which Jesus leads us?

We say "No". Instead, we say "Yes" to values Jesus plainly and passionately practiced. Listen to his words:

"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
-- John 13:34-35

We hold up to all fellow Americans the heart of Jesus' teaching: his unwavering commitment to justice, compassion, responsibility, equality, and care "for the least of these". These are values Jesus taught, and they also serve among America's finest traditional values. Our political views flow from these values.

We also reaffirm a well-established American commitment to a clear separation of church and state. In your statements you often characterize America as a "Christian nation". We strongly disagree. As a nation of immigrants, America has been a land of freedom and diversity. Separation of church and state helps ensure liberty and justice for all Americans - not just those who are like-minded. Hear these words:

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Know that you do not speak for us. We oppose so many of your words and deeds. But though we may disagree with you, we offer this declaration in a spirit of openness. We hope you will respond in kind. We call on you to stop dividing our country with your words and actions, and we invite you to turn to compassion and justice, values that Jesus lived.

In Truth and Faith,
Christian Alliance for Progress

4 Comments:

At 29/10/06 3:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christian values ???? Now what might they be. What about muslim values, or astrology values perhaps, then there are the maori ‘spirits’ where stupid old men are paid by the government to travel the world blessing buildings …..

Decent people do not need to look to the supernatural to know what is right and wrong. Rational people don’t need to talk to spirits to know where a road should be.

It seems if only the pre-war pope had signed and got a letter out in time less people would have been gassed in Germany in the 30's and 40's. Apparently christians couldn’t figure out it was wrong without some old guy telling them.

Helen is a coward and a hypocrite – governments give millions to religious and ‘spiritual’ groups, she has done nothing to stop that, she puts money anywhere votes might be

She is only talking now because they might be costing her some votes, if the brethren were voting for her she would be sucking up to them like she sucks up to anyone if there is something in it for her.

Not just Helen, they all do it, but some of them are actually believers so they can’t help it, Helen is an atheist so she is a hypocrite.

The writing is on the wall, sit back and they will take over.

 
At 29/10/06 10:28 pm, Anonymous pukeko said...

The esteemed commentator above needs to read up the confessing church in Germany, which opposed the genocide, at the cost of lives, including Boenhoffer.

Within the church, opinions are mixed: there is an accepted duty to care for the poor and oppressed, and a duty to oppose evil. At present the Christians are quiet: we are no longer the puritans who opposed the crown and gained a commonwealth.

Back to Helen. Within her electorate, she attends Diwali and Eid, but not Easter. She allows prayers in Maori and not English. (If we are a secular state we don't invoke any deity). If we allow for a publick religion, you have to live within the rules of that religion, and also accept that there will be active attempts to change it. Let's not go down that path: therin lies both Cromwell's commonwealth and the Taliban

 
At 30/10/06 1:54 am, Anonymous deano said...

Bomber, I'm no Christian, not since I was a boy anyway, but good post. I would prefer not religion at all in politics, but if Christianity is going to be in politics, better this compassionate, inclusive version of Christianity. The current form of Christianity in the US is rather frightening.

pukeko makes a good point about how supposedly the separation of Church and State means Christianity has no official voice, but
maori superstitious mumbo-jumbo is given a voice (as opposed to cultural protocol, which should be respected, as long as a line is drawn.) anon above also mentions this, kaumatua blessing buildings, traveling on the gravy train.

 
At 30/10/06 11:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pukeko said...

The esteemed commentator above needs to read up the confessing church in Germany, which opposed the genocide, at the cost of lives, including Boenhoffer.

If most religious groups were as principled I might even think they had something going for them. Sadly, that isn't the case and not even the confessing church is lily white. The main reason it became such a stronghold of resistance is because it had already been forced underground in order to escape being devoured by the Reich Church. I don't know much about Bonhoeffer (sic), but it took another leader in that church, Niemöller, eight years in concentration camps to realise that the Jews weren't the real problem. Ok, full credit to his turnaround in later life, but it wasn't his initial religious ties that made him see the light.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Niem%C3%B6ller

At present the Christians are quiet: we are no longer the puritans who opposed the crown and gained a commonwealth.

And with that silence you continue to tacitly support the fanatics, sects and bigots by neglecting to condemn them. It's more of an active silence than a passive one too, in its covering up of criminals within the church. Not to mention the fostering of nonsense (creationism, bible as truth etc.) if it helps to spread the doctrine.

Back to Helen. Within her electorate, she attends Diwali and Eid, but not Easter

Alright, I agree with you there, it is hypocrisy.

She allows prayers in Maori and not English

She probably conveniently forgets the Maori ones are prayers. Personally I think the Maori verse of our anthem sounds beautiful and I'm happy to sing along with that part even though I know that it's just a Maori rendition of the terrible (English) second verse. It's only when the latter comes along that I fall silent and wince with embarrassment on NZ's behalf...

deano said...

I would prefer not religion at all in politics, but if Christianity is going to be in politics, better this compassionate, inclusive version of Christianity. The current form of Christianity in the US is rather frightening.

The one begets the other.

- Nobody.

 

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