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Barack Obama and Doubt February 5, 2009

Posted by Daniel Benjamin Smith (dsmith77) in Faith.
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Source: “This is my hope. This is my prayer.” – The White House Blog.

For all those that questioned the faith of our 44th president read this. This is President Barack Hussein Obama’s speech at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. And it is his testimony.

“Good morning. I want to thank the Co-Chairs of this breakfast, Representatives Heath Shuler and Vernon Ehlers. I’d also like to thank Tony Blair for coming today, as well as our Vice President, Joe Biden, members of my Cabinet, members of Congress, clergy, friends, and dignitaries from across the world.

Michelle and I are honored to join you in prayer this morning. I know this breakfast has a long history in Washington, and faith has always been a guiding force in our family’s life, so we feel very much at home and look forward to keeping this tradition alive during our time here. 

It’s a tradition that I’m told actually began many years ago in the city of Seattle. It was the height of the Great Depression, and most people found themselves out of work. Many fell into poverty. Some lost everything. 

The leaders of the community did all that they could for those who were suffering in their midst. And then they decided to do something more: they prayed. It didn’t matter what party or religious affiliation to which they belonged. They simply gathered one morning as brothers and sisters to share a meal and talk with God. 

These breakfasts soon sprouted up throughout Seattle, and quickly spread to cities and towns across America, eventually making their way to Washington. A short time after President Eisenhower asked a group of Senators if he could join their prayer breakfast, it became a national event. And today, as I see presidents and dignitaries here from every corner of the globe, it strikes me that this is one of the rare occasions that still brings much of the world together in a moment of peace and goodwill.

I raise this history because far too often, we have seen faith wielded as a tool to divide us from one another – as an excuse for prejudice and intolerance. Wars have been waged. Innocents have been slaughtered. For centuries, entire religions have been persecuted, all in the name of perceived righteousness. 

There is no doubt that the very nature of faith means that some of our beliefs will never be the same. We read from different texts. We follow different edicts. We subscribe to different accounts of how we came to be here and where we’re going next – and some subscribe to no faith at all. 

But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know. 

We know too that whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together. Jesus told us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ The Torah commands, ‘That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.’ In Islam, there is a hadith that reads ‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’ And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists. It is, of course, the Golden Rule – the call to love one another; to understand one another; to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth. 

It is an ancient rule; a simple rule; but also one of the most challenging. For it asks each of us to take some measure of responsibility for the well-being of people we may not know or worship with or agree with on every issue. Sometimes, it asks us to reconcile with bitter enemies or resolve ancient hatreds. And that requires a living, breathing, active faith. It requires us not only to believe, but to do – to give something of ourselves for the benefit of others and the betterment of our world. 

In this way, the particular faith that motivates each of us can promote a greater good for all of us. Instead of driving us apart, our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife and rebuild what has broken; to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. This is not only our call as people of faith, but our duty as citizens of America, and it will be the purpose of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships that I’m announcing later today. 

The goal of this office will not be to favor one religious group over another – or even religious groups over secular groups. It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line that our founders wisely drew between church and state. This work is important, because whether it’s a secular group advising families facing foreclosure or faith-based groups providing job-training to those who need work, few are closer to what’s happening on our streets and in our neighborhoods than these organizations. People trust them. Communities rely on them. And we will help them.

We will also reach out to leaders and scholars around the world to foster a more productive and peaceful dialogue on faith. I don’t expect divisions to disappear overnight, nor do I believe that long-held views and conflicts will suddenly vanish. But I do believe that if we can talk to one another openly and honestly, then perhaps old rifts will start to mend and new partnerships will begin to emerge. In a world that grows smaller by the day, perhaps we can begin to crowd out the destructive forces of zealotry and make room for the healing power of understanding. 

This is my hope. This is my prayer. 

I believe this good is possible because my faith teaches me that all is possible, but I also believe because of what I have seen and what I have lived. 

I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion, even as she was the kindest, most spiritual person I’ve ever known. She was the one who taught me as a child to love, and to understand, and to do unto others as I would want done. 

I didn’t become a Christian until many years later, when I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college. It happened not because of indoctrination or a sudden revelation, but because I spent month after month working with church folks who simply wanted to help neighbors who were down on their luck – no matter what they looked like, or where they came from, or who they prayed to. It was on those streets, in those neighborhoods, that I first heard God’s spirit beckon me. It was there that I felt called to a higher purpose – His purpose. 

In different ways and different forms, it is that spirit and sense of purpose that drew friends and neighbors to that first prayer breakfast in Seattle all those years ago, during another trying time for our nation. It is what led friends and neighbors from so many faiths and nations here today. We come to break bread and give thanks and seek guidance, but also to rededicate ourselves to the mission of love and service that lies at the heart of all humanity. As St. Augustine once said, ‘Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.’

So let us pray together on this February morning, but let us also work together in all the days and months ahead. For it is only through common struggle and common effort, as brothers and sisters, that we fulfill our highest purpose as beloved children of God. I ask you to join me in that effort, and I also ask that you pray for me, for my family, and for the continued perfection of our union. Thank you.”

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Comments

1. sally apokedak - February 5, 2009

*******
There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.
********

He doesn’t think the baby in the womb is innocent or he doesn’t think it’s alive? Or he just doesn’t care that he condones what God doesn’t.

2. Daniel Smith - February 6, 2009

I’m sorry to disagree, but the old testament writings on occasion clearly record God commanding the Israelites to kill everyone including the so-called innocent children.

1 Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ” – 1 Samuel 15:3 (NIV) – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=9&chapter=15&version=31

Be very careful saying that God does not condone taking the life of what we call innocents not just because he does, but because this can set you against God. It’s the same sin that King Saul committed. Read on:

7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. 10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. – 1 Samuel 15:7-11 (NIV) – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=9&chapter=15&version=31

It’s just not that simple.

3. sally apokedak - February 6, 2009

Are you talking to me, Daniel? I never said God didn’t condone taking innocent lives. Obama said it. I was quoting him. And then I was wondering why he thought abortion was OK.

4. Salty - February 7, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

Does President Obama have the authority to authorize the killing of innocent human beings?

Salty

5. Salty - February 8, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

Post 5 seems to be unnecessary. For some reason, post number 4 did not appear until after I posted post number 5. For this, I apologize but it did seem as if my original post number 4 had been deleted.

Salty

DS – Post 2: “I’m sorry to disagree…to kill everyone including the so-called innocent children.”

DS – Post 2: “It’s the same sin that King Saul committed.”

It seems there are those who can accurately discern the inconsistency between President Obama’s words and his actions. I question the sincerity of his faith on numerous fronts but all generally relate to the inconsistent manner in which he applies his faith to his walk. How can he legitimately claim to be a Christian when he empowers others to do that which he openly admits his God does not condone?

If he truly believes the God whom he claims to serve does not condone the killing of innocents, then how does he justify his expenditure of public funds toward that end? This single act indicates either a gross misunderstanding on his part of the God he claims to be a servant of or an attitude of open insubordination and rebellion against that God or he is simply a pretender. Regardless of the why, it indicates a need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to his conduct as president.

Your logic eludes me. Saul’s sins were disobedience and pride. How are these the same sin you caution Sally Apokedak about when she pointed out the inconsistency between President Obama’s words and his deed? Your use of this portion of scripture to justify the killing of innocent unborn children seems to be a misapplication of scripture.

Point 1: The charge God laid against the Amalekites regarded their mistreatment of the Israelites during their departure from Egypt. God deemed the entirety of the Amalekite people guilty; not just those who directed and/or participated in the attack upon the Israelites. They were not innocent as you have portrayed them to be.

Point 2: Saul did not initiate this act of divine vengeance of his own accord. God used Samuel to direct Saul to execute His judgment against the Amalekites.

Point 3: As a people, their destruction was to be total; they were to be exterminated.

Point 4: Saul failed to obey the instructions he was given. He captured Agag alive and spared the best of the livestock. He then built a monument unto himself. Saul lied to Samuel when he reported that he had done as God had instructed. He then declared the spared animals were for a sacrifice to God.

Point 5: Samuel informed Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice; that rebellion is the sin of divination; and subordination is the same as iniquity and idolatry. Because of these sins Saul was rejected by God as king over Israel and His Spirit departed from Saul.

Other than two men choosing to disobey God, I do not see a similarity between President Obama’s decision to rescind the executive order prohibiting the release of federal funds to organizations providing abortion counseling or abortion services and the conduct of King Saul. The unborn human beings who will die as a result of President Obama’s action will be killed because of a decision made by our President and not by a mandate from God. The question we must answer is does God still hold people responsible for the acts committed by their leaders?

Every Christian knew or should have known Senator Obama’s position on abortion. During the presidential campaign, he clearly articulated his support for abortion on demand as well as his frivolous justification for that support. For the sake of avoiding an inconvenience, President Obama is willing to terminate the life of an unborn child. This he teaches, by speech and by conduct, to his children as he uses the wealth of our nation to do that which is evil in the sight of God. His support of abortion on demand renders him unfit to hold public office.

Salty

6. Daniel Smith - February 8, 2009

Re: Sally

(Yes, but I’ve been away from my computer a lot this week. The whole household has been sick.)

Oh. I hadn’t caught that, sorry. That puts your post in an entirely new light. Sorry if I came on too strongly. The words flowed and the argument came together.

That said, I would say it is Barack’s position that is questionable – even dangerous.

7. Daniel Smith - February 8, 2009

Re: Salty

See post above.

An interesting question… A President can certainly take us to war and innocents die in wars.

8. Daniel Smith - February 8, 2009

Re: Salty #5

Indeed. I did miss the importance of that quote from Barack and thus I completely misread Sally’s post. I still like the speech, but it has lost some of its luster. Believe it or not, I’m glad to see it this way now. I prefer to know about my mistakes than to blindly continue on.

“…it indicates a need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to his conduct as president.”

From an objective viewpoint, shouldn’t we be vigilant of every President’s actions regardless of their particular background or party?

Clearly this opens up a discussion of Barack’s views on abortion. Somewhere, I made it known that this is one area that I disagree with Barack though I think I know why he has chosen this viewpoint.

“Your logic eludes me. Saul’s sins were disobedience and pride.”

Stop. Read my reply above. My entire reading of her comment was mistaken. But this scripture DOES justify the killing of innocent already-born children at least under certain circumstances.

“They were not innocent as you have portrayed them to be.”

I think this is a semantics issue. I use innocent to refer to all young children. Surely there were some babies of the Amalekites who were killed and they would have not yet know the difference between right and wrong. The argument I’ve heard is that the sins of the Amalekites were so great that these children were already tainted. I don’t know what that means for other matters of theology, but that’s the argument I’ve heard.

“The question we must answer is does God still hold people responsible for the acts committed by their leaders?”

I was merely offering a counter-example to Sally’s comment to prove the possibility of the opposite viewpoint being true. You read far more into it than I intended, but your comparison is compelling. It makes me think and I generally like that (provided I have the time and I haven’t this week),

“His support of abortion on demand renders him unfit to hold public office.”

I think that goes too far. First off, who are you to judge? While I don’t like the idea of abortion any more than you do, Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States of America by both popular and electoral vote. He is now my President and yours for the next four years.

I have had talks with co-workers on abortion rights. While none of them supported abortion, one person did offer a compelling argument for why pro-choice was the correct stance. It has to do with forcing rights on another. Your perspective (and mine, I was guilty too) is one of forcing a particular set of views on others. Those views are, in both of our opinions, the correct views. It is a fundamentally Christian viewpoint. However, forcing those views on another is wrong and fundamentally un-Christian. His argument was that he would never support abortion in his own life, but he would not take that option away from others by forcing his view on them. In the same way God gave us all free choice. There are lots of ethical morasses that people fall into because of that, yet God did what He did.

Forcing views on another is distasteful. Nobody likes a bully. How about the bible-beater stereotype? Can you really scare people into committing their lives to Jesus? Is fear of hellfire a good motivator? Does that really work? Are there longterm benefits? No. I’ll add that Jesus didn’t use any of those tactics. One must meet people where they are and the people of this country are largely secular. They accept abortion as an option and we must honor that decision. A President has to be the President of all the people.

I hope this makes sense. I am not able to articulate it as well as he did. As actions speak louder than words, I’d like to point out that Barack has two children. He may support abortion, but he apparently doesn’t practice what he preaches – at least on two occasions.

The other argument I’ve heard is decidedly weaker. Taking away abortion rights will create a black market for it just like Prohibition. The quality of the medical care will decline as a direct consequence since operations will have to be performed in back alleys and undisclosed locations. In Las Vegas where prostitution is legal the prostitutes get health insurance and regular medical checkups. Isn’t that better than the alternative?

9. sally apokedak - February 9, 2009

Daniel, the problem with the “don’t force your beliefs on me” argument is that the mother who aborts is forcing her beliefs on the baby, who is a living human being who just happens to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We force our beliefs on thieves and murderers. Why not on abortionists?

We force our beliefs on drunk drivers. I believe you should not be allowed to drive drunk no matter how much that cramps your style. why? Because when you drive drunk you are endangering other people. It’s not proven that you WILL hurt other people. It’s merely likely. And that’s enough for me to say the government has a right to make a law curbing your behavior.

But with abortion, we know an innocent is going to be killed. Why should we not stick up for and defend the rights of the the weak? Mothers aren’t allowed to kill their two-year-olds when they become burdensome of inconvenient, why then are they allowed to kill their babies in the womb–even viable babies in the last trimester? What’s the difference? Why can I force my belief on the poor mother with the two-year-old? (Believe me, I’ve had a couple of two-year-olds and they are very hard to take care of.)

We force our beliefs on people all the time. And it’s right that we do so. We don’t allow people lounge nude in the library, for instance. You may be a nudist and you may say, ‘Hey, don’t force your beliefs on me.” but you still can’t go into the library in your birthday suit. And you shouldn’t be allowed to, I don’t think. Your freedoms should not do harm to others. And public nudity is harmful, regardless of what the people on the Internet think.

10. Daniel Smith - February 10, 2009

Re: Sally and All Readers

This is what I want for this blog! Not so much the specific content of any particular argument, but both sides clearly presented so readers can get at the heart of the matter. And come to a clear conclusion.

I think you’re right about the mother forcing her beliefs on the unborn child. It’s an argument in favor of responsibility and ethics and therein lies the underlying problem. How do you legislate ethics in a country that is composed more and more of unethical people or, at best, ethically diverse individuals? Yet that’s what we’ve done in America and continue to do.

Some Appropriate Quotes:

“The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” – Calvin Coolidge

“It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity,our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” – George Washington

“We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.” – James Madison

“We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” – John Jay

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams

It is John Jay’s quote above that I find so interesting. It doesn’t solve the problem of choosing between two choices for President where neither is particularly Christian, but it does underscore the need for a thoughtful and deliberate choice.

This is a good argument and I have to say after going through these issues that I believe this is the correct viewpoint. I think shades of this were forming in the back of my mind as I was writing up the argument I had heard, but I’m usually too dense to pick up on such things until after the fact. Thanks so much for posting!

11. Daniel Smith - February 10, 2009

BTW, I’ve added a Guiding Quotes page. I’ve been thinking of doing that for a while and there’s no time like the present! Enjoy!

12. sally apokedak - February 10, 2009

Daniel those are very interesting quotes.

thanks for posting them.

13. Daniel Smith - February 10, 2009

Glad you like them!

I have been collecting quotes for a while. I used them to come up with names for my blogs, but I hadn’t found a good place or reason to use them since until this post. I’ll post them all eventually.

14. Salty - February 11, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

DS – Post 6: “…I would say it is Barack’s position that is questionable – even dangerous”

Could you expand upon this statement? What position are you speaking of and why would it be questionable? Why and to whom would it be dangerous?

DS – Post 7: “An interesting question… A President can certainly take us to war and innocents die in wars.”

Our President does not have the constitutional power to take us to war; that power is exclusively reserved to our federal Congress which refused to perform its constitutional duties following the attack of 9-11 and prior to the invasion of Iraq. The confusion and discord which resulted from this refusal was capitalized upon during the 2008 election. As long as “We the People” continue to remain AWOL from our stations as informed and discerning Citizens our situation will only grow worse.

Innocents do indeed die in war but we do not generally wage war for the purpose of killing innocent human beings. The distinction is that President Obama rescinded the executive order preventing federal funds being given to organizations providing abortion counseling and abortion services specifically so federal funds could be used to fund abortions. Thus, President Obama used the power of his office to enable the killing of a class of human beings known as the unborn. My question was whether or not he has that authority. If he does not, his act is illegal and justice is thwarted. If he does, our law is immoral and unjust and justice has been evicted from our land. Either way, we, as a Nation, face a very serious situation (2Ki 23:23-27, 24:1-4) for we elected this man to be our President and we elected those who populate our Congress. Electing to public office those who advocate for, permit, or actually shed innocent blood is a very foolish thing to do. At what point will God judge America and decree our national extermination?

Salty

15. Salty - February 11, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

Salty – Post 6: “His support of abortion on demand renders him unfit to hold public office.”

DS – Post 8: “I think that goes too far. First off, who are you to judge? While I don’t like the idea of abortion any more than you do, Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States of America by both popular and electoral vote. He is now my President and yours for the next four years.”

Let me break this down into manageable portions.

DS – Post 8: “I think that goes too far.”

Our constitution establishes a set of standards which a candidate must meet before being qualified to hold office. Any candidate not meeting those standards is unqualified, i.e. unfit, to run for the desired office. In my personal vetting process, I have added additional legal, moral, and ethical standards to guide me as I judge a candidate’s qualifications. Those standards deal with the constitutional mandate that our federal government protect life, liberty, and property as well as Biblical standards of leadership.

The first of those additional standards is abortion. Any candidate having a position favoring abortion on demand is disqualified. Affiliation with or support of labor unions is another standard and any candidate supportive of compulsory unionism is disqualified. Another standard deals with the degree to which the candidate demonstrates an understanding of and respect for constitutionally imposed limits on the power of our federal government. And so on it goes. Only those candidates surviving this vetting process are deemed fit to hold public office. I then subject the remaining candidates to a vetting process by which I determine the candidate that best meets my preferences.

DS – Post 8: “First off, who are you to judge?”

Do we not, as human beings, find it necessary to judge the world about us? Have we not been instructed to judge righteously? If not, then by what right do you judge the work of your students or that one laborer is more qualified than another to work for you? I have done nothing more than what I do when I evaluate those who seek to work for me and I find one qualified and the other unqualified.

I am a Citizen of this nation, empowered by both God and man to participate in the political process of this nation. That participation requires the use of judgment and thus the act of judging. I am required by the Law of God to judge justly (Le 19:1-2 & 15; Ps 82:2; Pr 21:3; Is 56:1; Ro 13:7; Col 4:1). I have not made an unrighteous judgment.

The act of shedding innocent blood is an unrighteous act. Those who advance such a cause are unrighteous. In that they bring harm to another, they are evil. As such they are incapable of leading our nation in the paths of righteousness and are therefore unfit to hold political office.

Our Supreme Law, the Constitution of the United States of America, establishes as a primary duty of government the preservation of life. Any person who does not adhere to the principle of the preservation of life can not fulfill this constitutional mandate and is therefore unfit to hold political office. Likewise, any person who does not respect the individual’s liberty to choose their associations by imposing upon the individual not only an association with a labor union but a requirement to pay a tax, i.e. a tribute, to that labor union is incapable of preserving liberty and is therefore unfit to hold public office.

In making such judgments, I have not violated the Biblical prohibition against judging the eternal destination of another’s soul. I have only judged the individual’s fitness for leadership within our society. Not only are such judgments permissible, they are essential if we are to live in a civil and just society. Much harm has been inflicted upon our people due to their lack of a proper understanding regarding the issue of judging.

DS – “While I don’t like the idea of abortion any more than you do,…”

Abortion constitutes an abuse of the power God gave to human government for the purpose of ensuring justice exists within human society. You claim abortion is distasteful while rationalizing your compromise as you voted for one who advances the cause of abortion. While abortion may at times be necessary, President Obama made no such qualifications. I find abortion abhorrent; an abomination that should not be tolerated.

You have made an unacceptable compromise. In this regard, you are like our forefathers who made an unacceptable compromise regarding slavery. History reveals the cost of that compromise; a cost we continue to pay to this day. The cost of our national compromise on abortion has yet to be revealed. But, I believe 2Ki 24:3-4, as well as other portions of scripture provide an insight on how God deals with those who shed innocent blood.

DS – “…Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States of America by both popular and electoral vote.”

What does this have to do with living righteously before our Creator? All the election of 2008 reveals is the unrighteous character of the citizenry of our nation. How is it possible for us to live in a righteous nation if we refuse to be a righteous people or to elect righteous people to represent us?

It was the electoral vote which selected Mr. Obama as president. The popular vote is meaningless and I believe it would do us good to return to that constitutionally established distinction. As long as the popular vote can be pitted against the electoral vote much mischief can be wrought in the minds of the ignorant and misinformed; mischief which can be capitalized upon to distort our system of governance and bring harm to the people.

DS – “He is now my President and yours for the next four years.”

That he is and he is due the respect of the office he holds. But that does not lessen the reality that we will be held accountable by God as well as The Law of Unintended Consequences for our choices related to those whom we elect to lead our nation.

Salty

16. Salty - February 11, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

Salty – Post 5: “…it indicates a need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to his conduct as president”

DS – Post 8: “From an objective viewpoint, shouldn’t we be vigilant of every President’s actions regardless of their particular background or party?”

I have not created a special standard for our president or for only President Obama. The standard holds for any person at any level of governance. Every organization has certain beliefs which render those holding a diametric belief unfit to hold office within that organization. Why should we ignore this principle when selecting the leadership of our nation? As I have explained elsewhere, our constitution mandates as a primary responsibility of government the preservation of life. How is it possible for President Obama to fulfill that mandate when he acts in a manner detrimental to unborn life? If he can so easily disregard this constitutional mandate, how easy will it be for him to disregard other constitutional mandates establishing limitations upon the power of our federal government? How then should a discerning Citizen regard the sincerity of his heart when he uttered his oath of office by which he obligated himself to uphold and defend a constitution which he appears to neither understand nor respect?

DS – Post 8: “Somewhere, I made it known that this is one area that I disagree with Barack though I think I know why he has chosen this viewpoint.”

To merely disagree on such a critical issue is an insufficient response. To understand why the candidate justifies the position taken is immaterial to the process. It is simply sufficient to know that the candidate holds the position that the unborn may be killed at will to render the individual unfit to lead this nation.

But what was his justification for his chosen position? That his daughter would not be burdened with the responsibility of a child should she make a mistake and become pregnant. To avoid an inconvenience and to erase a mistake, he is willing to destroy life by shedding the blood of an unborn human being. His justification pales to triviality when compared with the woman who must chose between the life of her unborn child and her own. President Obama’s position reveals a man whose belief system reduces human life to a mere triviality. What does that reveal about his willingness to hazard the lives of others in the course of his governance?

Salty – Post 5: “Your logic eludes me.”

DS – Post 8: “But this scripture DOES justify the killing of innocents already-born children at least under certain circumstances.”

And the unborn died with their mothers. God deemed the actions of the Amalekites to be so egregious that their lineage was to be eradicated from the earth. This He promised to Moses in Ex 17:14 and its fulfillment is recorded in 1Sa 15. The same seems to be true for the Canaanites who were likewise to be destroyed in their entirety. And there are others whom God judged were to have their lineage eradicated from this earth. I can not explain why God elects to eradicate an entire lineage but scripture clearly reveals that He does. And I can not offer any solution regarding the dilemma of determining when God gives such a command to a man.

But I do not believe scripture can be used to justify the spilling of innocent blood, i.e. those who have committed no crime against another human being. Nor do I believe scripture can be used to justify the wanton slaughter of human beings as a group. There are too many portions of scripture which establish that such is not permissible. From Ge 9:5-6 forward, God clearly establishes the precept that the price for killing a human being is death at the hands of humans. This is in marked contrast to the punishment Cain received for the murder of his brother (Ge 4:10-15).

Our constitution mandates that our laws and government policies are to preserve human life. To the extent our government has been empowered to ensure domestic peace and justice; it has the power to terminate human life via the operation of capital punishment. To the extent it is responsible for defending the states against organized violence; it has the power to wage war and to quell insurrections. But in the exercise of those powers, it is to ensure the preservation of human life to the maximum extent possible. The wanton destruction of human life, including the unborn, is simply not permissible and yet, President Obama, as well as our Congress and Supreme Court, has made possible the use of federal funds toward that unlawful end.

Salty

17. Salty - February 11, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

Salty – Post 5: “They were not innocent as you have portrayed them to be.”

DS – Post 8: “I think this is a semantics issue. I use innocent to refer to all young children. Surely there were some babies of the Amalekites who were killed and they would have not yet know the difference between right and wrong. The argument I’ve heard is that the sins of the Amalekites were so great that these children were already tainted. I don’t know what that means for other matters of theology, but that’s the argument I’ve heard.”

I understood the context in which you used the word innocent. To God, none of us are innocent for we all sinned when Adam sinned. But God has given us a standard by which we can judge those who shed human blood. I can not fully explain why God ordered the total destruction of the Amalekites or why God chose to use Samuel to instruct King Saul to do so. He is capable of such destruction on His own but it may relate to what He told Noah (Ge 9:5-6) after the flood. By requiring man to kill those who spill human blood, He placed upon man the burden of ensuring justice exists within human society.

In Ge 9:5-6, God establishes death at the hands of man as the punishment for those who shed human blood. In De 19:1-13 a distinction is made between an accidental and a willful killing. Those who willfully kill are to be killed. In 2Ki 21:16 God declares the shedding of innocent blood to be evil in His sight. Additional insight is given in Psalms 94 and Isaiah 59 as well as other scriptures. It is clear that those who shed the blood of an individual who has committed no blood crime against another person are deemed by God to have done evil in His sight.

DS – Post 8: “…one person did offer a compelling argument for why pro-choice was the correct stance. It has to do with forcing rights on another.”

Do we hold apply this prohibition against forcing views upon others in a consistent manner throughout our society and the laws by which we live? Sally said it very well so I will not repeat her words here. However, I know that we do not. I have been compelled by the violence of law to pay tribute to a labor union and I currently work under terms and conditions dictated by a labor union while prohibited from participating in the political process of that union. This reality is imposed upon me by force of law. I have been stripped of my constitutional liberties by those who have decided my liberties are inferior to those of the labor union and its membership.

The individual who made that statement either does not understand or is willing to disregard the coercive character of law and the tyrannical tendencies of human beings. He would not have believed this falsehood had he spent time in an diligent and honest pursuit of truth. His argument carries no weight and has no validity. The essential character of law is its ability to compel a desired behavior from those unwilling to provide the desired behavior voluntarily.

Ask anyone who has ever been conscripted into the armed forces of any nation about the law’s coercive character. It is because of this coercive character of law, and the tendency of those empowered to enforce that law to go beyond the defined limits of that power, that our forefathers sought to create a system of governance that would hold in check the tyrannical tendencies of human nature.

Salty

18. Salty - February 11, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

DS – Post 8: “Those views are, in both of our opinions, the correct views. It is a fundamentally Christian viewpoint. However, forcing those views on another is wrong and fundamentally un-Christian.”

Why is it un-Christian for Christians to strive to maintain a society that reflects their values? Why is it un-Christian for Christians to demand that the government under which they live operates within the limits imposed upon it by the document which brought that government into being? Where have I imposed my views upon another? The pro-choice advocate has no valid argument with me; rather, their difficulty is with the law as established by those who wrote and ratified our federal constitution. It is that document which establishes the preservation of human life as a primary duty of government.

What many refuse to acknowledge, let alone understand, is that the current whim of the people does not supersede the Will of the People as established by our federal constitution. If what the people currently desire is counter to the law as established by our constitution, then the current desire is unlawful and our representatives, president, and judges are powerless to grant to us that desire.

DS – Post 8: “His argument was that he would never support abortion in his own life, but he would not take that option away from others by forcing his view on them.”

Since when did the wanton killing of another human being become a choice? That such an act may be necessary as an act of self-preservation is a reality of this earth but we have a process by which such an act is determined as justified; we call it justifiable manslaughter. But the act of killing an unborn human being rarely meets that standard. Your friend’s words are akin to him saying he would never support infanticide in his own life but he would never take away that option by forcing his anti-infanticide views on others. Yet that is precisely what he already does by supporting laws which prevent parents from killing their infant children. His position reflects an unwillingness to respect the personhood of the unborn human being. He has made an unrighteous judgment. If you will take the time to check you will find the reason abortion is not murder is because murder is legally defined as the intentional killing of a born human being. But is God bound to use man’s definitions in the operation of His court?

DS – Post 8: “In the same way God gave us all free choice.”

And it is He who also mandates that each choice has its consequence.

DS – Post 8: “Forcing views on another is distasteful. Nobody likes a bully.”

How then do you propose we live in a civilized society? To create a society in which the views of one can not be imposed upon another is to create an environment of anarchy in which every person is free to do as is right in their own eyes. But if we are to avoid such a disaster, we must accept the limitations imposed upon us by the concept of rightful liberty. Thomas Jefferson said, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” When our law enables a person to wantonly destroy the life of another, we have passed beyond the limits of rightful liberty and entered into the realm of tyranny. Either our law protects human life or it does not.

We can not arbitrarily draw the line as to when human life begins without suffering the consequences of drawing that line at the wrong location. I can not say precisely where along the line of human development life begins; but I can precisely state where it does not exist. No human life exists as long as a sperm and an egg have not joined. But from the moment of conception, wherever that point may exist after the joining of sperm with egg, human life exists and it deserves as much respect, honor, and protection as any other human life.

Our laws are sufficient to this end save for the existence of a single word in our legal definitions. If the life of the unborn must be destroyed, then let that destruction be measured by the same standard by which we determine as legitimate the taking of other human life. If the destruction of an unborn human life is deemed to be legitimate; let it be classified as justifiable homicide and its cost born by the slayer. If not, let it be dealt with as murder.

Salty

19. Daniel Smith - February 14, 2009

Re: Salty

You just spent comments 14 – 18 responding to my comments prior to 10. You make some very good points. Your knowledge and skills are certainly beyond mine on this issue and I cannot disagree with most of the points you raise. I do have a question for you though. It is comment 10 where my views changed due in no small part to your rigorous participation in this conversation. However, I fail to understand why you are responding to my earlier comments when my views so clearly changed in 10. Care to explain or respond to comments 10-11?

20. Salty - February 23, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

DS – Post 19: “I fail to understand why you are responding to my earlier comments when my views so clearly changed in 10. Care to explain or respond to comments 10-11?”

I rarely compose a reply on-line. This practice sometimes creates the situation you described. At times I either have to revise my reply or abandon it entirely. Even so, it yields better content with fewer errors and regrets than active posting.

DS – Post 19: “…my views so clearly changed in 10.”

I disagree that your views have clearly changed. Nor am I convinced you are persuaded of the error of socialism or that as a Christian you are not permitted to advocate for or advance the cause of socialism.

DS – Post 19: “You make some very good points. Your knowledge and skills are certainly beyond mine on this issue and I cannot disagree with most of the points you raise.”

Then you have a need to sharpen your iron. (Pr 27:17) The mandate for Believers to rightly divide the word of truth (2Ti 2:15) does not apply only to scripture; it applies with equal force to their ability to rightly discern the words and deeds of men.

Salty

21. Salty - February 23, 2009

To: Daniel Smith

DS – Post 10: “This is what I want for this blog! Not so much the specific content of any particular argument, but both sides clearly presented so readers can get at the heart of the matter. And come to a clear conclusion.”

You ask for the unreasonable. Any dialog in which positions are clearly presented while lacking specific content is like a pie without the filling. How can others reach a clear conclusion if they are deprived of the factors which make such a conclusion possible? If you enforce such a standard, the conversations in your blog will never develop the deep fertile soil necessary for sustained convicted living.

DS – Post 10: “How do you legislate ethics in a country that is composed more and more of unethical people or, at best, ethically diverse individuals?”

Why is this difficult? You have your answer the moment you decide what type of society you desire to leave to your descendents. After that it is only an issue of what you are willing to do to ensure the existence of the society you desire.

As a professed practicing Christian, the Bible is the higher authority by which you judge what is or is not ethical. Where the Bible is not silent, you must defer to its standard. Where the Bible is silent, you must judge in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. Any law or interpretation of a law which does not align itself with scripture is unethical and its removal or modification so as to be ethical is required.

DS – Post 10: “Some Appropriate Quotes”

What good are quotations if we fail to incorporate the principles they contain into the fabric of our personal and national life?

Henry Morsenthau, Secretary of the Treasury said the following during an address to Congressional Democrats in May 1939 regarding the failure of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies during the Great Depression.

“We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong . . . somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have not made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enourmous debt to boot!”

http://www.kitco.com/ind/saville/feb102009.html
Quote taken from Benton Folson’s book, “New Deal or Raw Deal”.

If President Obama’s plan did not work for President Roosevelt, why should I believe it is going to work for President Obama?

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.
There are none so deaf as those who refuse to hear.
There are none so dumb as those who refuse to speak.
There are none so ignorant as those who refuse to learn.

Salty

22. Daniel Smith - February 24, 2009

Re: Salty #20

“I rarely compose a reply on-line. This practice sometimes creates the situation you described. At times I either have to revise my reply or abandon it entirely. Even so, it yields better content with fewer errors and regrets than active posting.”

I actually do the same sometimes.

“I disagree that your views have clearly changed. Nor am I convinced you are persuaded of the error of socialism or that as a Christian you are not permitted to advocate for or advance the cause of socialism.”

I missed the memo on that. Could you explain biblically (see below) on what basis socialism is somehow anti-Christian? Face it, the country is in trouble. I don’t necessarily like the idea of a bailout, but isn’t it interesting that the initial idea of a bailout started in the fall of 2008 when W was still president and the new congress hadn’t yet taken office. I don’t recall any outcries of socialism against the bailout then.

“Then you have a need to sharpen your iron. (Pr 27:17) The mandate for Believers to rightly divide the word of truth (2Ti 2:15) does not apply only to scripture; it applies with equal force to their ability to rightly discern the words and deeds of men.”

I never asked for you to be my teacher. I can teach myself and I think I do quite well for my demographics. Thanks for the advice, but next time if I want advice I’ll request it.

Re: Salty #21

“Any dialog in which positions are clearly presented while lacking specific content is like a pie without the filling. How can others reach a clear conclusion if they are deprived of the factors which make such a conclusion possible? If you enforce such a standard, the conversations in your blog will never develop the deep fertile soil necessary for sustained convicted living.”

There are varying levels of specifics and not everyone will begin as an expert. Thus, not having this as my goal means there is no opportunity for the advancement of ideas. You seem to have already made up your mind on all of these issues. In some ways I envy that, but you err if you refuse me those same opportunities that you must have had to form your opinions. I want the same opportunity here.

“As a professed practicing Christian, the Bible is the higher authority by which you judge what is or is not ethical. Where the Bible is not silent, you must defer to its standard. Where the Bible is silent, you must judge in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. Any law or interpretation of a law which does not align itself with scripture is unethical and its removal or modification so as to be ethical is required.”

I agree with this statement, but it’s fraught with holes. Life is not always so black and white, but more grey and fuzzy in places. It’s sometimes difficult to see the right path, sometimes we lack all the necessary information, and sometimes neither of those last two are rectified but a choice must oftentimes still be made. Humans have used interpretations of the Bible to justify just about everything, so saying that we must use the bible as our final authority, while respectable, isn’t at all practical. I’m sure I’ve said the same thing myself.

“What good are quotations if we fail to incorporate the principles they contain into the fabric of our personal and national life?”

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! Quotes are inspirational. Sometimes these things take time.

“Henry Morsenthau, Secretary of the Treasury said the following during an address to Congressional Democrats in May 1939 regarding the failure of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies during the Great Depression.”

And at least the truth is out!

Historians agree that the Great Depression was triggered or started on October 29, 1929. FDR did not take office as President until March 4, 1933. I don’t see how he can be responsible for causing the Great Depression nor can I see how calling his policies into question does any good. He inherited the financial mess from under Hoover’s watchful eye. The fact that FDR happened to be President and took on responsibility to try and fix the mess should be regarded positively. If his policies did not bring about change quick enough for Henry Morsenthau in 1939, then history still bears out that the US economy did come out of this crisis under FDR’s administration. If that did not happen by the later 1930s, it certainly happened in the 1940s.

Henry Morsenthau’s quote sounds like politics to me. History remembers the name of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt but this is the first I’ve ever heard of Mr. Henry Morsenthau.

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. (that FDR got us out of the Great Depression, that Clinton’s economic policies were very good, that Republicans since Reagan are not fiscally conservative – http://zfacts.com/p/318.html)
There are none so deaf as those who refuse to hear.
There are none so dumb as those who refuse to speak.
There are none so ignorant as those who refuse to learn.

Thanks for the quote. I enjoyed turning it around on you since you were so arrogant to post it against me in the first place. Pride goeth before a fall.

And now (with dramatic effect) IT IS FINISHED! I’m tired of letting you confuse the issues and waste my time. Comments are closed.


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