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July 29, 2011

Debt Limit Fight: Is There a Christian Compromise?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delayed a vote yesterday on his plan to raise the federal debt limit because he did not have enough votes, according to Politico. Within his own party, freshman and tea party legislators wanted Speaker Boehner to push for more restrictions on spending. From the other side of the aisle, Democrats (including more conservative “blue dog” Democrats) opposed it. Indeed, the only bipartisan cooperation found this week in Washington appears to be an agreement to oppose any compromise on the debt limit. The House could vote on a plan to raise the debt ceiling today.  

The plan proposed Boehner would raise the debt limit (enough to cover until around February 2012). The plan is facing strong opposition from both sides of the aisle.

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Breakpoint's Charles Colson said the inability for those on the right and the left to come together is a sign that Washington is broken. Colson said that leaders in Washington need to do the right thing for the country despite the political costs.

“I’ve been involved in or fascinated by politics for more than 50 years,” Colson said. “But in all these years, I’ve never seen the kind of chaos, recalcitrance, and perhaps downright obstructionism that I’m witnessing in the battle over the budget and the debt ceiling.”

Colson is not alone. A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds that 68 percent of Americans believe that legislators should compromise rather than stand by their principles, even if that means the government will default. Support for compromise was greatest among Democrats, but a majority of Republicans also preferred to give up some of their positions to get a deal.


The one group in the public that rejected compromise, however, were Republicans who said they agreed with the tea party. By a 53 to 42 margin, these Republicans wanted Congress to stick to their principles. Other conservatives are  also calling on Congress to reject the Boehner plan as a bridge too far.


Many social conservative groups, including the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, believe the best plan is the so-called “Cut, Cap, and Balance” bill (CCB) that passed the House last week. The CCB would dramatically cut spending immediately, cap future spending to 18 percent of GDP, and require a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. 


The Family Research Council (FRC) is one group calling on Congress to reject Boehner's plan. FRC president Tony Perkins said the plan falls short of the CCB.


“I applaud [Boehner] for helping to get us to this point where there is now serious discussion taking place across America about Washington's spending problem. But now is not the time to give in to those whose political fortunes are built upon enslaving the rest of us to debt,” Perkins said.


The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer said that any plan other than the CCB would be a betrayal of Republican (and tea party) principles. Fischer said that the House should propose nothing more than the CCB. For Fischer, raising the debt limit at all is a compromise.


“I’m with those who are in favor of simply refusing to raise the debt ceiling at all,” Fischer said. “The only reason I support CCB is that although it does raise the debt ceiling, it will put us on a glide path to fiscal responsibility by cutting and capping spending and giving the states an opportunity to tell Washington to do what 49 of them are required to do by law or state constitution, which is balance the budget.”


Other groups like Sojourners believe Boehner’s plan cuts too much and would hurt the poor. The group is buying radio ads in Ohio, Kentucky, and Nevada to try to persuade members of Congress to remember the poor as they reduce the deficit.


Tim King, Sojourners communications director, said that the poor are being forgotten in the debate over the debt. Reflecting on this week's prime time addresses by Obama and Boehner. “Neither of them mentioned how their plans would affect the poor,” King said. “The Christian tradition teaches that if you forget about the poor, you forget about Jesus.”

Tom Minnery, executive director of Focus on the Family's CitizenLink said that the best thing people can do is pray for a productive compromise.


"[Pray] that wisdom will triumph in Washington, that there will be some real negotiations producing some real reform, real change so that our country will not go the way of Greece,” Minnery said. “This is a time when there is a great gulf between liberals and conservatives but they must come together and get something done."

Comments

WWDRD? What would Dave Ramsey do?

Good grief....is there a distinctly "Christian" angle on every story?! I guess CT needs one. I think we're all in this mess together (Christians, atheists, Jews, etc.) My take-away....while I share some tea party sympathies, I'm going to try hard to send them home from DC. They don't really like it anyway...and they are not well equipped for the fine art of compromise, required for genuine leadership. I hope fellow GOP CT readers will do the same. When you don't have a majority, you should not try to dictate terms. If there is a Christian angle, maybe it's "do unto others as....". etc.

"Christian compromise?" No, but Scripture does say that civil government must obey God, administer His Law (Romans 13), which means Caesar has no authority to house, feed, clothe, give healthcare, education, to ANYBODY. These things are to be provided by the church, God's people. We are in the present mess because civil government has not obeyed (in this order) God's Word and the U.S. Constitution.

John Lofton, Recovering Republican
JLof@aol.com
Editor, Archive.TheAmericanView.com

The overwhelming majority in Congress are not interested in doing what is good for the people. They are interested only in sticking to their "principles" --and don't have a clue how to govern. Which is obvious from the way the House has been carrying on, not for the past weeks, but for the past two years. There is nothing Christian about what the "tea party", Christian or not, is doing. I've never seen so many misguided people, and some are beyond misguided. I'm with Bro. Dave: send them home, and let's hope that happens before they destroy the country.

Send the "tea party" home. The sooner the better. Jesus said he would judge nations by the way they treated the poor, the sick, the alien, the naked, the prisoner (Matt 25). That's the only "Christian" yardstick there is. He was not addressing the church or individuals specifically in this passage. He is addressing the NATIONS of the world.

Cutting "entitlements" out is cutting Jesus out. Tax loopholes for the rich is hardly a Christian value. And this is neither "liberal" or "conservative." It's simply the heart and soul of Christian behavior.

Thanks, Dr. Grant, for an even handed assessment. I agree with "gh" that there may not be a distinctively Christian view on fiscal policy. We (as individuals) are commanded to feed the poor, for example, but reasonable Christians can disagree about the role of the state in that activity.

Augustine argued persuasively, some time ago, that our moral obligations as individuals do not translate in a simple way into ethical prescriptions for statesmen. Among other things, what you do with your own resources is one thing, what you do with the resources of others is quite different. So I am not sure WWDRD is the solution, but I think one thing he would do is pay his debts and not set a limit and say "if the interest I have to pay on the debts incurred by my predecessors push me above this line, I am going to default." Which is, essentially, what the "principled" tea party folks are threatening.

Is it Christian to live beyond your means so that this generations can have all their needs satisfied by the government and pass a huge debt onto future generations? Seems rather selfish to me and I believe the Bible has a lot to say about that.

There is no "Christian" compromise in this. This is arrogant. There are no easy answers that can be found in the Bible for the kind of pracctial application everyone seems to love these days. This is complex matter that requires serious and thoughtful consideration that takes into account a host of issues that are interrelated. With its strong ideological bent, the Tea Party is hardly in a position to lead until they come clean on their own deeply held presuppositions. But I don't expect this will happen anytime soon. They are much more interested in projecting the appearance of occupying the moral high ground. I think Jesus had a few things to say about such posturing.

Mr. Lofton: To paraphrase a prior Supreme Court Justice, the Bible did not enact the policy preferences of 19-21th century "free market" anti-government (for others) political theorists actors, particularly those who are at the front of the lines for their own subsidies, benefits, grants, and so on. E.g, Mr. and Mrs. Bachmann. There is no scriptural prohibition on the various levels of governments' provision of health, housing, and other benefits where, as here, the Church and private charities have simply failed and refused to do so. There is nothing in Romans 13 or the Constitution that supports your position.

Paul, it's obvious that throughout the Bible, God teaches that we will be judged as people at the very end. We are told that believers have a mediator, Christ Jesus, and will be receive eternal life. You are stretching a verse beyond what it really means to imply that Jesus is going to judge ALL the people of Uruguay vs the people of Brazil, and think that our eternal salvation depends upon what their governments do to see if they receive salvation or not. That's totally ridiculous, nice try to fit the Bible into your politics. But God will judge us as individuals and knows our hearts. You can try and twist Scripture all you want. But if you want to do that. you are going to follow your line of reasoning, you will have to admit that all believers will be turned into sheep, and unbelievers into goats, and that is how we will spend our eternity. Nice try. God would not want us to hand our children and their children a huge debt that they can never pay, or make us virtual slaves of a government that can't control it's spending, and wastes much of it. We should each help the poor as we can, and not have some president wanting a blank check to throw money to groups like acorn, planned parenthood, build mosques in foreign countries, etc. Believers and unbelievers are judged as individuals. It means the people of all nations, sorry, your politics aren't supported by the Bible.

Reading this thing makes me think that a certain portion of Christians in the conservative movement have completely lost their bearings. Politics is almost always a matter of compromise, especially in the area of budgets. There is no way that God's will is so specific as to set budget limits and proposals for bringing debt under control. It's the kind of thinking that this post represents that has the House in knots. You really have got to change your thinking. This is not an issue like abortion ... and even there, different people will arrive at different solutions to the question of how the State should legislate.

Maybe some aren't following it. Obama wants nothing less than a blank check. Sorry, many of us don't want him to have a blank check, and don't agree with how he is spending it. His jobs czar just the other day, gave a lot of jobs-to people in China! Somebody needs to hold him accountable, and he doesn't want that at all.

I hope HR4646 (which he plans to release after the Nov elections) is something that's stopped. I don't want to pay 1% on every deposit I make in my bank account as a tax.

If we are to follow the Scriptures, we also know that neither Jesus nor Paul said we are to force people to do charity. Or to tax everybody so that a few people could decide what "charity" they, as the leaders of government, would make a reality. We also know that when government does all this "charity", some people think they need not be involved, because the government is already doing good. Jesus and Paul said you and I are to do charity. You and I are to love. Neither said government should love. In fact, government cannot love.

To John Lofton. Lest we are deluded, we need to be wary of unAmerican AND unChristian views. The Scripture verses in Romans 13 actually require that WE obey our US government's laws. Paul says that each person is to be subject to their governing authority, for the authority is from God and has been instituted by God. If you resist, YOU resist what God has appointed and YOU will incur judgement. "For rulers (our current USA government, included) are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad." Further, in verse 6 and 7 of chapter 13, "For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God's Servants, busy with this very thing...Pay to all what is due them--taxes to who taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due..". The government has EVERY authority (in fact is required by God) to make sure that it's citizens act in love to one another in fulfillment of the great commandment. The government has a divine right to make sure that we care for one another and share with one another so that, even to the least in the kingdom, no one is forgotten. Although the Old Testament Jewish Kingdom was a theocracy and the USA is not, in a USA republic our Christian citizens and Christian representatives are still called to vote as Christians of His kingdom...with the "OBLIGATION TO LOVE WHICH FULFILLS THE LAW". (Romans 13.8-10)

The Federal budget was balanced under Clinton; the principle drivers of the current deficit according to the analyses I have read are the tax cuts enacted under Pres. GW Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Though there are certainly problems with entitlement program financing.) A number of big corporations pay no tax at all; since the Bush tax cuts, unemployment has grown, the gap between the wealthy and all others has widened. To try to close the gap by cutting spending (primarily on programs to help the poor and middle class) and ignoring tax loopholes and wealthy privilege is not in accordance with the Biblical principles of caring for the poor, the widow and the orphan. The 'government' as representative of the people, is also responsible for this.

Actually Paul, the national debt greatly increased every year that Clinton was President. You can verify this at the US Treasury site. And Clinton's last budget proposal for FY2001, which ended in September 2001, generated a $133.29 billion deficit. The growing deficits started in the year of the last Clinton budget, not in the first year of the Bush administration. Clinton paid down the public debt by borrowing far more money in the form of intragovernmental holdings (mostly Social Security). When Social Security began, people were told that the money would never be used for anything else. Well of course, that was just more lying from politicians. He didn't have a balanced budget, he just did what politicians do, they "borrow" money intragovernmentally.

The mainstream news agencies know nothing about government accounting. Always check the Treasury Direct website. The last time the US govt had a balanced budget was in the year 1957. The Treasury site accurately and honestly reports the largest accounting scandals in world history. On July 17, 2008, the current US Government Debt was nearly 9.518 Trillion dollars. It's now 14 trillion dollars, and this is before the obamahealth care plan has kicked in, we can only imagine what a nightmare the deficit will become.

Obama should learn from President Kennedy. When he was President, he lowered taxes, and that has always resulted in increased tax revenues. From Heritage.org "There is a distinct pattern throughout American history: When tax rates are reduced, the economy's growth rate improves and living standards increase. Good tax policy has a number of interesting side effects. For instance, history tells us that tax revenues grow and "rich" taxpayers pay more tax when marginal tax rates are slashed. This means lower income citizens bear a lower share of the tax burden - a consequence that should lead class-warfare politicians to support lower tax rates.

Conversely, periods of higher tax rates are associated with sub par economic performance and stagnant tax revenues. In other words, when politicians attempt to "soak the rich," the rest of us take a bath. Examining the three major United States episodes of tax rate reductions can prove useful lessons."

Obama just enacted, by executive fiat, the DREAM act, which was voted down by Congress last year, and this will add 20 million more people to the job market (so he can get their votes). Even before this was enacted, 80% of all college graduates were still living at home.

Due to this president, who should stop blaming Bush for his own failed policies, we are facing a depression that will make the 1930's depression look mild in comparison. There are far more people who are unemployed than is what is being reported. They aren't counting the people who have simply given up, they aren't counting the unemployed college graduates, and so on. People are living in tent cities around cities like Sacramento, Fresno, Phoenix. Every one of us who owns a home has probably lost a hundred thousand dollars or more. For those who live in less expensive areas, their loss will be lessened, but it's still probably a large percentage loss to every household when they try to sell their houses, IF they can sell their houses.

Giving this president a blank check is like adding gasoline to the fire of our 14 trillion dollar debt. He has had nothing but failed policies, and actually for the good of our country, he should step down. He has no idea what to do about the debt. Like I said, we can pray he will follow what Kennedy did, which was lower taxes and turn the economy around. The liberal agenda is just not working, and it's far past time to admit it and make changes. Like Reagan said, "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem".

Taxing the "evil" corporations will only drive more of them out of the country. They need to stop NAFTA, and we need to start manufacturing products in our country again. The dems love to pit the "rich" against the "poor". It's the rich who do the hiring and pay the taxes. We need to support businesses, not drive even more out of the country, which WILL happen, unless other steps are taken.

If anything has been abundantly clear in this debate it is that the Republican Party and its "Christian" zealots haven't a clue about the Christian understanding of government and community. The palpable contempt for the poor, the crazy compulsion to "protect" the rich from any responsibility for their own actions to say nothing of any contribution to the common welfare, the passionate commitment to the social darwinist ideologies of Ayn Rand and her legionnaires; the slavish repetition of Tea Party platitudes in response to hard questions about attitudes and consequences - all these suggest behaviors and beliefs which demonstrate no awareness of the Christianity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They would destroy this democracy and people's lives to create their perverse version of the Kingdom of God.

Thank God for the Catholic bishops who have finally pointed out how the Congressional budget debate violates centuries old Christian teaching. Don't expect the Congressional thugs to pay any attention though.

This issue does not need a Christian perspective1
One needs to send the first-time Republicans home in diapers and read the rules of governance in their cribs.

Send the Tea Party home. They've been misled by the Koch brothers and the Ayn Rand fans. First by causing fear that the government was trying to take their Social Security and Medicare under the guise of 'Reform'--and now listen to what the Tea Party is trying to do.THEY want it gone. Tea Party is NOT a Christian party. If they wish our government to adhere to their own moral/social beliefs as presented by the Christian Right-why are they suddenly only concerned about the possibility of taxes going back to what they were before the tax cuts in the 90s. Why did they fight the government while they were trying to bring down costs? In MN, the Republican Christians gave up their social values in exchange for not returning to the 1990s tax levels on the state's very wealthy, in their budget deal with Gov.Dayton. The good part in this was it showed how the Republicans in the state didn't really value the beliefs of Christian voters the way they claimed to. It's dishonest.

Julie, it's time that people take careful note of what is happening in Washington, before it's too late. It was OBAMA using the scare tactics of not sending Social Security money, not the TEA party. Yes, let's send him home!

Of course there is a Biblical response! Those who do not believe there is just don't read/study their Bible enough or you would discern God's wisdom.
(II Tim. 3:16, 17) And those who have got us into this morass obviously don't read the Bible. But one thing is clear: those who make a living off of so-called entitlements (the welfare advocates) and many of those who work in the govt. will never give up their control without a fight. And their biggest "ball bat" is to demonize those who disagree with them. They play the "race card" and the "poor card".

Americans' passivity and lack of knowldge is frightening. The crony policies of the "beloved" Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush brought us to this level of debt. The Tea Party naifs are the dupes of interests that intend to roll back the 20th Century. An "Ayn Rand" America cannot stand. Basic economics demonstrates that proportionally the LEAST consumption or ENTREPRENEURIAL investment (and the least philanthropy) occurs in the richest 1%, who now own and earn most of the productivity that WE ALL have achieved. Wake up, America!

Here's what the evangelical scholar John Stott had to say:

“Good Samaritans will always be needed to succor those who are assaulted and robbed; yet it would be even better to rid the Jerusalem-Jericho road of brigands ... Just so Christian philanthropy in terms of relief and aid is necessary, but long-term development is better, and we cannot evade our political responsibility to share in changing the structures that inhibit development. Christians cannot regard with equanimity the injustices that spoil God’s world and demean his creatures.”

As quoted by Nicholas Kristof in today's NYT. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/opinion/sunday/kristof-evangelicals-without-blowhards.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&ref=todayspaper&adxnnlx=1312135209-RsvC/8pSc66XTbqbxoA8Bw

Once again pretty much everything Barbara has cut and pasted is incorrect. She has confused the issue of a budget deficit/surplus, with the national debt. It is indisputable that the Clinton Administration left office with a huge budget surplus. The debt is an entirely different issue.

There may be times that tax cuts are needed, especially when they are raised again in between, so that there was still room to cut them back again. But, if you just keep cutting them, while at the same time increasing spending, which is precisely what the GW Bush Administration did, eventually you will bankrupt the country.

It's like a diet. Cutting from a daily calorie intake of 4000 calories/day to 3000/day is a really good thing. A person is likely to have increased energy and slow their weight gain. A cut to 2000/day is likely good as well and might even stop the weight gain altogether. (Except if you're trying to run a marathon and you need more calories than normal.) And a cut to 1500/day is likely to cause actual weight loss, which will likely improve a person's health. BUT, if you keep cutting down and down to 500 calories/day and lower, especially while at the same time vastly increasing the calories you burn through increased exercise, you're eventually going to starve yourself to death.

That's the Tea Party's problem in a nutshell. They don't know when to stop. And, just like an anorexic, they can't see that it's likely to kill us.

The problem is SPENDING not revenue.
The government is a devouring beast that will never be satisfied. The more we give it, the stronger and hungrier it gets.
Starve it!

"Caesar has no authority to house, feed, clothe, give healthcare, education, to ANYBODY. These things are to be provided by the church, God's people. We are in the present mess because civil government has not obeyed (in this order) God's Word and the U.S. Constitution."

We are in the present mess because the church failed to provide any of these things at a reasonable level in the 19th century, causing the government to finally step in in a big way during the Great Depression. Don't blame the government for this.

Its people like Barbara who uncritically believe anything the Heritage Foundation scoops out that are the real problem in this country. The Bush tax cuts were an obvious economic failure. Maybe we should just eliminate taxes all together and the government will have plenty of money? Or better, perhaps we should just hand Barbara a shovel and let her build her own interstate...or deliver her own mail. Oh, and while you're doing that, don't forget to feed the poor; remember it's your Christian responsibility.

George Whitefield campaigned for the legalization of slavery because Georgia, he argued, would never be prosperous unless farms were able to use slave labor. Partially through his pleas, the Georgia Trustees re-legalized slavery in 1751. He went on to purchase slaves to make his plantation profitable and raise money for his orphanage and to work in his orphanage.

We are experienceing a repeat of history. We are becoming slaves to the government (and placing our children into slavery) through increased taxation, increased spending, greater deficits all in the name of making the country prosperous and, ofcourse, helping the poor.

George Whitefield was wrong, and the tax and spend crowd is wrong!

George Whitefield was a Calvinist, so his support for slavery is unsurprising. But keep in mind that corporations have just as much ability to enslave as the government does. We need small government AND small business, or else our rights will always be at serious risk. Wall Street criminals virtually own the Supreme Court and the entire Republican Party. There is nothing good or Christian about that.

Romans 13:8

“We are in the present mess because the church failed to provide any of these things at a reasonable level in the 19th century, causing the government to finally step in a big way during the Great Depression.”

You assume an objective standard for how much people should give to the poor. Please let us know what that is because I have never seen one before. Without an objective standard, how can you say churches in the 19th century failed?

Paul Johnson: “Jesus said he would judge nations by the way they treated the poor…”

Can you show me a nation that does a better job than the US? The world standard for poverty is $3/day of income. How many in the US live at that low level?

Steve Novy: “The Scripture verses in Romans 13 actually require that WE obey our US government's laws.”

The church has never taken that as an absolute. The Apostles, including Paul, violated it every day they preached the gospel.

There is a Christian perspective on government, but it’s not in the NT. Too many try to make Jesus into a policy wonk. He had very little to say about government while he was on earth. He spoke to the church and personal behavior.

As God he had a lot to say about government in the Torah. Clearly we can’t apply every law today because most were intended for historical circumstances that no longer exist. But we can distill principles of government from God’s plan of government in the Torah that apply to all people at all times.

God’s government had no executive or legislative branches. It had only judges who were to settle disputes between people. No one made new laws, especially not judges. Judges merely applied God’s laws. The people enforced the civil/criminal laws with courts and cities of refuge, but God made no provision for people to enforce the religious or moral laws. They were to leave those for God to enforce directly.

That includes the laws concerning the poor, like Jubilee and gleanings. No one could sue in court to enforce them. God intended giving to the poor to be voluntary and without coercion so that they honestly reflected the giver’s attitude toward God.

The role of the state under the only government God ever created was to provide judges to settle disputes according to God’s law and nothing else. God allowed Israel to have a king as judgment against them for their rebellion against him. The implication is that any form of government other than what God designed is a judgment against the people for their rebellion.

So those who come to Washington and believe they have a mandate, particularly when it comes to fiscal responsibility, should be sent home "in their diapers"? Because those in power have done such a stellar job of governing? Of being responsible with other people's money? Of avoiding waste and corruption?

We all know that's simply not true. Those in power want to stay in power, spend as much as they can of other people's money to make people back home fat and happy so that they'll be re-elected and keep their power. Why are they the "responsible" ones who "understand about compromise and governing"? They are the problem.

And how can anyone here possibly support or justify the outrageous debt the country has incurred? And both parties are at fault - it's not a Republican or Democratic problem. They are both profligate spenders with no sense of propriety or morality. None.

I appreciate the argument that the debt ceiling should be raised to avoid (theoretical) financial catastrophe. But for anyone to claim that it's the moral, biblically justifiable course is laughable. The government is corrupt, not God's agent on earth that always does His will.

I have an idea to solve the 15 trillion dollars unpayable Debt, before it reaches 20 Trillion.

Sell Alaska back to Russia, Hawaii to China or Japan, Puerto Rico and the USVI to Venezuela or Brazil. Guam and the Pacific Territories to Australia and NZ.

Our side of the Great Lakes, to Canada together with Minnesota or Michigan.

Some of the 12 Aircraft carriers to whoever wants them, less the airplanes and all High Tech. gadgetry in them.

Make all of our great Armed Forces available as Mercenarie Forces to whoever can pay the most money.

Once we have all the money we can. Retake back the Panama Canal and the rest of the Istmus, sell it back to Colombia.

Since Texas appears to be in good shape they can buy a chunk of Mexico. Sorry Mexico your pesos are not good enough yet!!

This a win win deal!!

I think we need to bring all overseas soldiers home, kill the JSF project, cut all funding to any programs we can survive without (albeit not comfortably), and stop all funding to other countries and to the UN. Doing all this should at least have us going in the right direction.

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution limits the things upon which Congress may spend money. Programs having to do with "health, housing, and other benefits" (mentioned by one correspondent here) are NOT mentioned in Article I, Section 8. Thus, Congress may NOT spending money on such programs.

John Lofton
Communications Director
Institute On The Constitution
JLof@aol.com

Why the conduct of the debt/deficit/debt ceiling debate should concern Christians is because the conduct of our entire political discourse has become so unchristian. These are terribly complex issues with no simple solutions, and many hidden unintended consequences. We are called to be peacemakers. Yet we stand by and sometimes even support, those whose rhetoric and actions are anything but peacemaking. Those who don't share our views are not our enemies and should not be thought of as such. To get to a peaceful resolution of any problem requires thoughtful listening to the other side and compromise. Our system has become too adversarial we have allowed far too much power to accrue to the two major parties whose only incentive is stay in power for the sake of the organization. It is the process/system which has become so corroded as to become unworkable. Changing this is what we need to focus on. There are several groups which are working to change the tenor of debate. No Labels is one of them.

George Whitefield was a Calvinist, so his support for slavery is unsurprising. But keep in mind that corporations have just as much ability to enslave as the government does. We need small government AND small business, or else our rights will always be at serious risk. Wall Street criminals virtually own the Supreme Court and the entire Republican Party. There is nothing good or Christian about that.