John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Sunday, August 15, 2004
Evangelical Christianity has been hijacked

Click for more info
Early this month, I asked, will U.S Christians overlook obvious Bush sins?  I pointed out that some Christians not so hardened in their hearts and myopicly focussed on Republican candidates' perrenial re-election promises on so-called 'family values' issues are taking a more critical look at the incumbent candidate for the top job -- George W. Bush -- evaluating his performance and subsequently concluding that he and his administration's policies leave much to be desired.  Specifically, U.K.-based Christian Aid reports that billions of dollars in Bush's Iraq Defense Fund has gone MIA.  Billions of dollars from the sale of the Iraqi people's own oil for which the Bush administration remains totally unaccountable.

I appreciate all the comments you cared to share on that topic.  While this topic is definitely related, it isn't about Bush or his oil buddies stealing $20 billion.  So, in order to give Dubya the benefit of the doubt in this one matter alone, given his dismal track record of running his own businesses in the past, I'll just assume that like the those stockpiles of Iraqi WMDs, the IDF billions of dollars are buried in some unlocateable sand dune in the vast desert of the growing Bush World government bueracracy.  Big oil, corporate thieves, and inept or corrupt politicians are such common place things to discuss in the Bush World culture, I publicly challenge any late night TV comic to find a humorous angle to drum up a chuckle over them.

Bush chewed the head off of one of his aborted but adopted fetus collection.  Blink.

Bush and his cronies stole $20 billion dollars from the Iraqi people!  Crickets.

Wait just a minute, Sparky.  Before you go firing off some vitriolic hate email to me that would rival the Satanic Verses for my fetus remark, I would just like to say that I haven't put my office workspace back together post-Hurricane Charley so I wasn't able to make an eye-catching image for you.  In this case, that's probably a good thing.  I do have the skillz to make that fetus remark a mere caption to a visual image.  You might be thankful that I'm limited to a linguistic two-by-four to get your bovine attention on this entry.

I recently read a Belief Net article entitled 'Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hijacked': An Interview with Tony Campolo and it was helpful to understand that not all Christians are in lock step with the idea of four more years of Bush World.
It's necessary to know Jesus in an intimate and personal way. That's what it means to be an evangelical. I don't think it means evangelicals are necessarily in favor of capital punishment. I'm one evangelical that is opposed to capital punishment. I do not believe being an evangelical means women should be debarred from pastoral ministry. I believe women do have a right to be in ministry. It doesn't mean evangelicals are supportive of the Republican party in all respects, because here's one evangelical who says "I think the Republican party has been the party of the rich, and has forgotten many ethnic groups and many poor people.

I am an evangelical who holds to those three positions [Creed, Bible, personal relationship with Jesus] and is a strong environmentalist. I am an evangelical who raises very specific questions about war in general, but specifically the war in Iraq. The evangelical community has been far too supportive of militarism.
Being a progressive libertarian myself, I always cringe when I think about the historical political enemy of the last few decades of individual liberty.  The nasty hair on my back stands up on end when I think of the self-labelled moral majority calling themselves conservative when in fact they continuously sell out our country's founding principles of civil liberty to the lowest bidding politician: like privacy, free expression and church-state seperation.  Campolo's Belief Net articles dispel the myth that BACs are a monolithic ideological and voting demographic.

While a large percentage of FOX News viewing BACs might forsake their deeply held beliefs, and leave them outside the polling place in November, and vote for Bush -- it makes me hopeful that there are some more credibily-thinking and progressive Christians who will also be voting.

I am John Furie Zacharias and I approve this message.

Blog the vote!

[Added 08/17] Related Plastic Com discussion:
The Vanishing Protestant Majority in the United States

Posted at 05:00 am by John Furie Zacharias

August 18, 2004   07:05 PM PDT
I'm not gonna say too much at this time but I am curious...who do you think Christian's should vote for? Let's take a few things into consideration before you answer such as abortion, gay marriage and pornography for starters. Who supports these things? John Kerry. Who's against these things? George W. Bush. Who believes these things are immoral? Born again Christians.

Now I realize there are more issues at hand but these are some that are (or should be) VERY important to Christians (and all Americans if they know what's good for them...IMHO). So again I ask...WHO should Christians vote for? (and I'm asking only about the Dems and Reps)
J f Z
August 18, 2004   08:27 PM PDT
*poke* Just so you don't whine at me about not replying to directly your comment:
[>Now I realize there are more issues at hand ...<]

Other than my own curiosity, that's the reason I blogged about this. There are MORE issues at hand.

The articles available via the links I've provided should let you explore and be aware of other issues that concern the 'christian voter'. I encourage you to check out 'Belief Net' as they have christian forums in which you'll likely enjoy interacting and posting there, too.
August 18, 2004   11:33 PM PDT
That's all fine and well and I do go to Belief Net did not answer my question.
J f Z
August 19, 2004   02:59 PM PDT
If basic christian principles are your most important criteria at the voting booth this year, then this may be helpful. Using a search criteria of "christian" on the National Voice database of non-profit, non-partisan voter education organizations, I found this basic christian platform statement at the National Council of Churches web site ( entitled, "Christian Principles in an Election Year."

Our Christian faith compels us to address the world through the lens of our relationship to God and to one another. Public discourse is enhanced as we engage civic leaders on the values and ethics affirmed by our faith. At the same time, religious liberty and the integrity of our democracy will be protected as candidates refrain from using faith-based organizations and institutions for partisan gain. We offer these ten principles to those seeking to accept the responsibility that comes with holding public office.

1. War is contrary to the will of God. While the use of violent force may, at times, be a necessity of last resort, Christ pronounces his blessing on the peacemakers. We look for political leaders who will make peace with justice a top priority and who will actively seek nonviolent solutions to conflict.

2. God calls us to live in communities shaped by peace and cooperation. We reject policies that abandon large segments of our inner city and rural populations to hopelessness. We look for political leaders who will re-build our communities and bring an end to the cycles of violence and killing.

3. God created us for each other, and thus our security depends on the well-being of our global neighbors. We look for political leaders for whom a foreign policy based on cooperation and global justice is an urgent concern.

4. God calls us to be advocates for those who are most vulnerable in our society. We look for political leaders who yearn for economic justice and who will seek to reduce the growing disparity between rich and poor.

5. Each human being is created in the image of God and is of infinite worth. We look for political leaders who actively promote racial justice and equal opportunity for everyone.

6. The earth belongs to God and is intrinsically good. We look for political leaders who recognize the earth's goodness, champion environmental justice, and uphold our responsibility to be stewards of Godís creation.

7. Christians have a biblical mandate to welcome strangers. We look for political leaders who will pursue fair immigration policies and speak out against xenophobia.

8. Those who follow Christ are called to heal the sick. We look for political leaders who will support adequate, affordable and accessible health care for all.

9. Because of the transforming power of Godís grace, all humans are called to be in right relationship with each other. We look for political leaders who seek a restorative, not retributive, approach to the criminal justice system and the individuals within it.

10. Providing enriched learning environments for all of Godís children is a moral imperative. We look for political leaders who will advocate for equal educational opportunity and abundant funding for childrenís services.

Finally, our religious tradition admonishes us not to bear false witness against our neighbor and to love our enemies. We ask that the campaigns of political candidates and the coverage of the media in this election season be conducted according to principles of fairness, honesty and integrity.

I hope this helps answer your question, "Who should Christians be voting for?"
August 19, 2004   09:05 PM PDT
That's great but I was asking YOU who YOU think Christian's should vote for since you stated you are hoping they won't vote for Bush so I want YOUR opinion.

I appreciate all the other info you've provided but answer my question! (please)
J f Z
August 19, 2004   09:51 PM PDT
[>So again I ask...WHO should Christians vote for? (and I'm asking only about the Dems and Reps)<]

You put the qualifier into your question that Christians should only vote for Bush or Kerry. We both seem to agree that there are more issues at hand besides abortion and gay marriage.

I gave you the other issues about which Christians are apparently sincerely concerned.

Since this is the second time you blew off my reply, it is obvious you are simply fishing for something to rant about and haven't bothered reading anything. I honestly don't have the desire to play Hannity and Colmes with you.
August 20, 2004   10:17 AM PDT
hey jeff he was asking YOU who do YOU think (your self) they sould vote for
August 20, 2004   05:35 PM PDT
First of all, Tazz, Duke only asked, "should Christians vote for Bush or Kerry?"

If anyone has been paying attention at all, actually reading what I post on Thunderstorms, and what my personal opinion is about George W. Bush -- it should be crystal-friggin'-clear that I wouldn't trust Dubya to pull the ferris wheel lever at the state fair -- let alone run the country for four more years.

Given that Duke is a friend and has been paying attention, and given the two choices in HIS question, I don't think he is being very sincere and perhaps just looking to argue.

If you want me to tell you who OTHER people should vote for, that's easy. Whomever they want to vote for.

I have been an independent for many years. I don't accept the limitations to his question. If a particular 3rd party candidate espouses a poilitical platform concerning issues about which a person feels so strongly enough, they should vote for that 3rd party candidate. It's called a protest vote. Your 3rd party (or independent) candidate likely won't win the election for president, but you can sleep at night knowing you voted your conscious. And don't be fooled, 3rd party candidates DO WIN in local and state elections and make a difference.

As far as the federal elections, I think people should vote for whomever they think will lead their (our) country in a positive direction.

I'm simply pointing out that not all Republicans and not all Evangelical Christians are going to automatically vote for Bush.

In the next several months, unless BACs have a good 3rd party candidate rally around some the real issues at hand -- not the smoke and mirrors that the RNC is playing with -- many Christians will vote for Kerry and leave Dubya looking as foolish and dumbfounded as ever in November.
August 20, 2004   10:30 PM PDT
Ok first of all I'm NOT looking for an argument nor am I ranting. I was posing my question based on what you had said and added my own parameter of what "electable" candidate should Christians vote for based on who supports Christian beliefs/values. Perhaps I should have made the "electable" part more clear and I apologize for not doing so.

I did read that list of ten principals but I disagree with most of them in that their application is misplaced. The first one for example: ďWar is contrary to the will of GodĒ. While this is a true statement it doesnít take into account that this world is fallen and war is a fact of life AND that God does intervene in war when His people call on Him so that they are victorious even against inconceivable odds. So while it is contrary to His will it also isnít outside of His worksÖif that makes any sense to you at all. Plus, I challenge anyone to try and talk the terrorists into stopping their Jihad against all who disagree with their beliefs. You canít talk sense to people that are so filled with hate that they canít see straight, the only thing they understand is war. We DID seek peaceful means to get Saddam to disarm but he thumbed his nose at us every chance he got since the UN refused to uphold any of the 17 resolutions filed against him. (I fart in your general directionÖala Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

Thatís just one example; I could go on about the rest of them but suffice to say that they sound like liberals who want the government to control everything. IMHO. Much of what they say does hold true to the Word of God but much of what they say applies to us as individuals and not the government in that we are to help each other, the government is not to be giving hand outs.

And no, I havenít blown off any of your repliesÖthe way I see it you blew off my question, butÖsince you obviously misunderstood the intention of my question I see that you didnít really do that.

I do agree that everyone should vote for who they feel will do the best job of running the country but since Michael A. Peroutka (the Constitution Party candidate) doesnít have much of a chance and I think itís blatantly obvious that John Kerry doesnít support anything that Christians value that leaves only one choiceÖGeorge W. Bush.

So, now that thatís all cleared up (I hope) could you answer my question in your own words without directing me elsewhere?
August 21, 2004   03:00 AM PDT
Other than posting the National Council of Churches' 10 points list so as to not make you be directed elsewhere and for the sheer convenience of having their list in this discussion, I have been telling you what I think in my own words.

I think there are many Christians not in lock step with Bush's policies concerning domestic issues as well as his administration's foreign policy. Specifically, 'pre-emptively' going into Iraq. Hell, there are Army War College scholars scratching their heads over that decision. There are conservatives like William F. Buckley saying that he wouldn't support Bush's decision to invade Iraq without the WMD and Al-Qaeda linkage. I even heard General Tommy Franks promoting his book on a TV magazine show hem-and-haw when pressed to support Bush, now that he's retired. The are foreign policy experts at Rand and the American Enterprise Institute who are worried that other countries will now use the "pre-emptive war' philosophy like Iran, to attack Israel, or N. Korea, to attack S. Korea. Bush's Iraq has not made the world a safer place.

Whoever the next president is going to be over the next four years, Iraq will be the one major foreign policy concern. The never-ending cycle of terrorism that the Israeli's and Palestinians have pales in comparison. Isreal is tiny and its outside borders can be defended fairly well. Iraq is very large, has porous borders - one with Iran, and its own muslim population doesn't live well together.

Besides us supporting our own troops in Iraq, it's going to take a president whose credibility isn't questionable in the eyes of other countries. I'm not just talking about countries that are adversarial toward the U.S, I'm talking about our supposed allies. It's also going to take leaders of the muslim world to help clean up the mess in Bush's Iraq. If not, it could turn into a Pandora's box faster than you can spell apocalypse.

If Bush was a CEO -- running a U.S. corporation instead of our country -- he would be fired by the board of directors for the good of the company and its survival. I may only have one share, be able to cast one vote in November, but I can guarantee you I won't be supporting the idea of four more years of George W. Bush.

In 2000, I was amazed at how many traditional hardcore union Democrats voted for Bush over the RTKBA issue -- remember the NRA ads? I think in 2004, because of Iraq and the economy, it may be traditional Republicans, conservatives and christians, that offer up the election day surprises when they vote for Kerry.
August 21, 2004   04:19 PM PDT
Since you seem incapable of directly answering my question Iím going to try this one last time and Iíll make it very simple.

In YOUR opinion, based on the qualifiers Iíve placed on this (which should be at the top of the list for Christians), who should Christians vote for? Pick one of the answers below:

1. George W. Bush
2. John Kerry

(Please note: Your response should consist of not less than two and no more than three words, or if you prefer simply answer with the number next to the candidateís name)

(and no, Iím not trying to be nasty or argumentative I just want a simple answer)
August 21, 2004   10:16 PM PDT
Like, duh, 2 is gooder than 1
August 23, 2004   07:12 PM PDT
Well it's obvious you are not going to give this a serious ear anymore so I guess we're done here.

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