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Why Jesus would not have been Republican

In political discussions and arguments conservatives often try to claim the moral high ground on issues as if that gives them some kind of political authority. This is done because the “religious right”, as the media has termed them often; believe that as Christians they stand where Jesus stands. In my interactions with conservatives I often hear them frame their political arguments in terms of right and wrong, and sometimes even as wickedness versus righteousness.

As an active and practicing Christian this concerns me for two reasons: first, it has been my experience that a large majority of Christians tend to think of the Bible from an American perspective. This is no fault of their own; it is often said culture is the hardest thing to change, and having lived oversees I know there is profound truth in that statement. In order to truly understand Jesus, the Bible must be taken in context. If we only read the Bible for its words and not for its context and meaning then we lose half of its value, and for Christians, half of the message the Lord intended for his believers to have. For example, the statement in Matthew that after discovering her immaculate conception, Joseph, because he was a just man, sought to put Mary away (have her killed) privily. From an American perspective this seems harsh, and his change of heart after being visited by an angel looks as though the Angel had to humble Joseph. This is not the case. The religious elite of the day considered it a moral obligation to put an adulterer to death. The fact that Joseph listened to the angel is not a sign he needed humbled, but a sign of his remarkable faith. He had faith enough to listen to an angel and not to religious elites and the Law of Moses despite the fact this meant they would certainly be social outcasts and face difficulties because of this. Read the rest of this entry

Dysfunctional Congress

Slavery and secession. Though I know of nobody who supports slavery, the two words still bring up passionate feelings and discussions among all races in my home state of Kentucky and throughout the South. Are debt and taxes just as pivotal? Are they such hot button issues that we will continue to argue or avoid the super committee topic even 150 years down the road? This is highly unlikely, but you would not know it if you looked at our Congress; at least that is the conclusion of the book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. The book was written by two prestigious historians, Thomas Mann, the senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and draws some harsh conclusions toward the 112th Congress. According to their book, the last time Congress was this dysfunctional was in the years leading up to the civil war. Many polls have the approval rating of Congress in the single digits, and none above 15%; eyes can be seen glazed over whenever anyone so much as mentions Congress in a public discussion. It is clear that slavery and secession are far more drastic issues than those facing us today; nonetheless, Congress has manufactured one crisis after another this year, and the tension rivals that of the civil war era Congress. Despite all the troubles facing a nation literally torn apart in the 1850’s, U.S. history professor Daniel Feller, at the University of Tennessee said that “none of those involved the level of conflict within Congress itself that we see today.” Feller, who specializes in early to mid-1800’s American history also said “I think you’d have to go back to the 1850s to find a period of congressional dysfunction like the one we’re in today.” Read the rest of this entry

How to Fix Washington Gridlock

        The United States Congress has an all-time low approval rating; commentators often joke that those who do approve of Congress at this moment consist of their immediate family, and nobody else. President Obama is not fairing much better, holding the lowest approval rating of his presidency also; though the fact that he raised so much money in campaign contributions this quarter illustrates just how inaccurate these polls are. It has become next to impossible to find anyone who can say in complete honesty that our government is functioning. Democrats blame republicans, who point the finger right back; the poor blame the rich, the president blames Congress, and the web just keeps growing. We even see some who are still irrationally hanging on to their disdain of President Bush, blaming all our woes on him for no other reason than petulant bitterness (yes, some of our current problems were set in motion by Bush, but those comprise a fractional minority). Everyone in America is more than happy to blame their government, representative, neighbor or friend; everyone in the government is more than happy to blame the other party. The only thing we do not see is people taking any responsibility for the problems. One lone patriot by the name of Buffett is brave enough to step forward, admit the system is not working, and taking responsibility for that. He knows tax rates and breaks favor the rich, and he is taking responsibility for that, and trying to change it. Warren Buffett even invested billions of dollars of his own money to help banks which were struggling. Thank you for your good heart and generous pocket Mr. Buffett. For the other 320 million minus one of us in America, it is time to take a good long look what we have done wrong. How can we expect Congress to stop pointing the finger and acting if we do not do the same; they will not take responsibility until we do. Read the rest of this entry

It is Time for America to Re-finance

The revenue problem: Why Republicans need to agree to higher taxes.

“We have a spending problem, we don’t have a problem because we tax too little.” Those now famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) words bellowed from the mouth of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell have been heard time and again by any American with an interest in the future of our nation. The standoff on Capitol Hill between democrats and republicans over the debt ceiling was an ugly one. The effects of this battle may be felt for years to come, it is yet to be seen.  While I saw myself leaning more toward the GOP side of the debate, I still do not feel like a winner. National media has been largely portraying this as a victory for Republicans, and, though I am not Republican, you would expect me to feel satisfaction knowing that, in this instance, the side I happened to agree with more “won.” My one word hiatus from the sense that our congress did something right: taxes. I could not agree more with McConnell; the senator from my home state, that we absolutely have a spending problem. In fact, the break-neck spending started by President Bush has only been accelerated by the Obama administration. However; I could not disagree more with McConnell when he insists that we do not have a revenue problem. The more we spend, the more we must take in: that is simple economics seeming to be ignored by Republicans in Washington. Read the rest of this entry

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