Monday, April 27, 2009

Have we as Americans really forgotten the Moral Issues because of the Economic threat?


From the conscience clause to stem cell research, President Obama has shifted social policy to the left in his first 100 days in the White House. But the reversal of several of his predecessor's regulations has garnered hardly a whimper -- leaving many to wonder how much social issues matter to Americans amid two wars and an economic crisis.
-- Obama overturned George W. Bush's restriction on embryonic stem cell research last month when he signed an executive order authorizing expanded federal funding -- a decision he described as moral because it pursues research that will "ease human suffering."
-- Obama has proposed reversing additions to the "conscience clause" enacted by the Bush administration that allow physicians and other health care providers to refuse to provide medical services that conflict with their faith or conscience.
-- On Feb. 25, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration will reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons and impose additional restrictions.
-- And although Obama has said he opposes gay marriage, he has made clear that he supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples.
"It's cultural aggression," former Bush adviser Karl Rove told, adding that policy changes that "inject government" into moral matters -- like the conscience clause -- will have "enormous consequences."
But conservatives like Rove acknowledge that little attention has been given to Obama's agenda shift since he took office -- largely because lawmakers are more concerned with the economic downturn and national security.
"They're not getting attention because the defenders of these policies haven't grabbed the stage," Rove said.
Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said matters of national and international security -- like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and North Korea's recent missile launch -- have taken precedence in the first 100 days.
"That trumps the social issues," Bond told
The financial crisis, which mushroomed one month before Obama won election in November, determined the government's chief focus, lawmakers say.
"The focus of the president's first 100 days has been the economy and getting it turned around," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. "As a result, people are more focused on the pocketbook issues at the moment".

Sad as it is, I think, to a certain extent, this is correct; many Americans no longer care about these moral issues. In the hierarchy of needs, money and war trump moral issues in the minds of many of our friends and neighbors. What I am seeing as a pastor is that many people who once went to church semi-regularly and kind of half-heartedly followed the Christian crowd are dropping out like crazy. It's no longer the "in thing" to do to be a Christian. But, what this exodus leaves is a totally on-fire, uncompromising, dedicated bunch who are determined to love as Christ loved and be a sub-culture to themselves.


history27 said...

Since the mid seventies the conservative movement decided to bring social issues into the political areana. The church was scarcly involved in the civil rights movement. Church leaders were quoted as saying that social issues had nothing to do with the church. Since that time there has been a conserted effort to politicize social issues and claim them as moral concepts for all christians. People attend church for spiritual reasons not to have politics inserted into their worship. If people leave the church they are leaving because they realize the inappropriateness of bringing politics into the church. Many people separate their faith and politics. That does not seem to be the case in your situation.

Purple Empire said...

As I've said before, when politics cross over into moral issues that the Bible deals with, I have to deal with them also. And so should you. Politicians don't get a free pass just because of their vocation. In fact, since we live in a democracy, WE are Caesar, and it is our responsibility to elect moral individuals. Our country is going down the tubes not because of non-Christians; it is suffering because Christians are not doing their job of being "salt" and preserving our culture. This is basic Christianity.

history27 said...

Politics comes from the Greek word Politikos which means the art and science of government;political science. I do not see any mention of religion. I do not see any mention of the right of a pastor to insert his political agenda into his sermons. We do not live in a Theocracy. The founders were quite purposeful in making sure that "All People" would be welcome here regardless of their race or religion. Having studied the Roman Empire exstensivly I do not understand why you would say that all people are Caesar. Caesar was a dictator and we live in a Constitutional Republic. I believe you used the term sub-culture. I am slightly disturbed by this for several reasons. Throughout history dictators have attempted to isolate those who believed a certain way and do away with those that had a different view. I thought the role of the church was to support and comfort the needy not isolate itself into a sub-culture. It has never been the role of the church to control the state. I am not quite sure where these ideas are coming from because they are not based on any theology or history I am familiar with.

Purple Empire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Purple Empire said...

It sounds like we need another breakfast! We are coming from two very different places, and it seems we have two different worldviews based on our different starting points. I get my view of what a church is from the Bible, not from what people say it is or what the popular idea of a church is. A church in the Bible is supposed to be salt and light: preserving and saving the culture. And, by the way, when did I bring in politics into my sermons? Ready for another roll or eggs this time?

eric said...


Since we can't have a Q&A session in real time in the comments section of a blog, how about just one question at a time?

How do you determine if an action or a deed is good or bad?

[a] If it aligns with God's character (as written in the Bible)

[b] Popular opinion

[c] What "works" for you

Malooly said...

Amen brother!

eric said...

history27, you probably never heard about this event:

"A Time For War" - January 21, 1776

Pastor Muhlenberg stood in the vestry of his church, putting on his traditional pastoral robes as he had on so many other Sunday mornings. A sense of destiny filled the air around him. This was the last time he would enter his pulpit, the last time he would open the Bible and share the words of life with his congregation.

He knew the sermon he had to preach - yet he knew that some of his people would not understand or accept his position. He himself had wrestled with it for months: How involved should a pastor be in the affairs of government? Didn't Jesus say, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's"? Would Christ get involved? Would He run to the battle? It was hard to imagine Jesus carrying a weapon. But it was equally hard to imagine him not taking a stand.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven," Pastor Muhlenberg proclaimed, reading from Ecclesiastes 3. "A time to be born, and a time to die...A time to weep, and a time to laugh...A time of war, and a time of peace." He stopped and looked at the people God had put in his care - hardworking farmers and their wives, merchants, recent immigrants. The tiny town of Woodstock, Virginia, was a long way from the fighting in the colonies of New England. And the Blue Ridge Mountains had kept its citizens from hearing the news of events in their own state in early January 1776.

"It is a time for war!" Pastor Muhlenberg declared. "And not only in New England. War has come to Virginia! The British have marched on our own city of Williamsburg, seizing our supply of gunpowder and munitions. Soldiers are entering private homes, homes just like ours.

"It is time for war! 'We are only farmers,' you may say. Patrick Henry has rallied five thousand men - farmers just like you - to fight back and drive the British out. It is time to act! Many of us came to this country to practice our religious freedoms. It is time to fight for those freedoms that we hold so dear. It is time for war!

"Let us pray." With that, Pastor Muhlenberg bowed his head and offered the traditional closing prayer. Then, breaking with all tradition, while still standing in the pulpit, he began to remove his pastor's robes and vestments. "I am a clergyman, it is true. But I am also a patriot - and my liberty is as dear to me as to any man. Shall I hide behind my robes, sitting still at home, while others spill their blood to protect my freedom? Heaven forbid it!

"I am called by my country to its defense. The cause is just and noble. I am convinced it is my duty to obey that call, a duty I owe to my God and to my country."

With that, he threw off the final layer of his robes - and now stood before his stunned congregation in the full uniform of an officer of the Continental militia. He marched to the back of the church, declaring to all, "If you do not choose to be involved, if you do not fight to protect your liberties, there will soon be no liberties to protect!"

Just outside the church army drummers waited. At Pastor Muhlenberg's command, they began to beat out the call for recruits. God's conviction fell on the men of the congregation. One by one they rose from their pews and took their stand with the drummers. Some three hundred men from the church joined their pastor that day to fight for liberty.

Pastor Muhlenberg and his men became the Eighth Virginia Regiment, who fought valiantly in many of the battles of the Revolutionary War. During the war, Muhlenberg was promoted to major-general. After the war he was a hero second only to General Washington among the Germans of his native state of Pennsylvania. In 1785 he became vice-president of Pennsylvania (Benjamin Franklin was president). He worked hard to influence others to adopt the Federal Constitution in 1787 and served in the First U.S. Congress in 1789-91.

Pastor Muhlenberg also had a brother, Pastor Frederick Muhlenberg. At first, Frederick criticized Peter for getting involved in the war, saying that a minister of the gospel should not be involved with politics. But when the British arrived in New York City in 1777, they drove Frederick from his own church and then desecrated the building. Frederick rethought his position and joined in the fight for liberty. In 1789, he became America's very first Speaker of the House of Representatives. In fact, his signature is one of only two on the Bill of Rights."

(Quoted from "Under God" by Toby Mac and Michael Tait with Wallbuilders)