Thursday, November 02, 2006

Unequally Yoked

................If you are a conservative Christian this may be the most important story that has ever appeared on Arkansas Watch. The war of words between Focus on the Family President James Dobson and former Republican House Majortiy Leader Dick Armey intensifies. The words of these two men reflect a problem that will impact us all. It may not be pleasant reading, but retreating into denial of the problem, as has too often been done, will only lead to more pain later. The scripture reads "study to show thyself approved". With that admonition, let us study the situation we are in closely.

The war of words began when former House Majority Leader Dick Armey called Dr. Dobson and associates "thugs" and "bullies" and many other uncomplimentary names. This took many people by surprise, including the famously genteel Dobson, who responded to the charges in this FOX news column (which bears reading). Now former Congressman Armey has responded with this column, which also bears reading and which I will inspect shortly.

(continued- click THURSDAY below and scroll down to read this column, or if sent straight here just scroll down)


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Here is an example of a statement from Dobson that Armey uses to justify his name-calling....

"Does the Republican Party want our votes, no strings attached -- to court us every two years, and then to say, 'Don't call me; I'll call you' -- and to not care about the moral law of the universe?... Is that what they want? Is that the way the system works? Is this the way it's going to be? If it is, I'm gone, and if I go, I will do everything I can to take as many people with me as possible."

I find it a relief to hear that Dobson has been making such statements. If they continue to treat us like that it is exactly what ought to happen. What man with any personal dignity could do anything but that in a situation where a party wants their votes every two years, but then makes no real effort to advance their agenda? Is a man a "thug" and a "bully" when he says, "if you don't stop wiping your feet on our faces we are going to stop supporting you"?

Armey further quotes Dobson, :

In 2005, Dobson and his colleagues even sent a threatening letter to the White House challenging their decision to focus on Social Security reform after the 2004 elections. That letter read in part:

"We couldn't help but notice the contrast between how the president is approaching the difficult issue of Social Security privatization where the public is deeply divided and the marriage issue where public opinion is overwhelmingly on his side…. Is [President Bush] prepared to spend significant political capital on privatization but reluctant to devote the same energy to preserving traditional marriage? If so it would create outrage with countless voters who stood with him just a few weeks ago, including an unprecedented number of African-Americans, Latinos and Catholics who broke with tradition and supported the president…. When the administration adopts a defeatist attitude on an issue that is at the top of our agenda, it becomes impossible for us to unite our movement on an issue such as Social Security privatization where there are already deep misgivings."

That is exactly right. Bush only trots out the "Federal Marriage Amendment" when sagging poll numbers require it. In reality, he couldn't care a less about it's passage, as demonstrated by the actions described by Dobson. When Bush really wants something, he pushes for it relentlessly even when the people are crying out to him not to do it (see illegal alien issue). When he does not want to do something, even though the people are for it, somehow, it does not get done. Even the so-called "Marriage Amendment" that he occasionally touted would allow for homosexual "civil-unions" that are marriage in all but name. The administration is rife with homosexual activists, and the reality is the Bush administration listens to them, not us. Just last week Condi Rice referred to the mother of the homosexual's partner as "your mother-in-law" at a state department function.

These are facts. To face them takes courage and integrity. It takes faith to depart from the familiar path once you realize that it leads to the wrong destination, but the book of Hebrews tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.

-continued next post-

8:11 AM, November 02, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Armey goes on to say"In fact, the specific demands constantly made by Dobson and his gang in the name of “values voters” feel a lot like the group identity politics employed by the left wing that every conservative should abhor. The politicization of the culture war cheapens the political participation of millions of Christians by turning us into just another “special interest” group to be appeased by meaningless symbolism.

Meanwhile, the growth of government spending and regulation continues unchecked.

So I guess in Mr. Armey's view of the world Christian values voters, alone of all the groups in America, are not supposed to make "specific demands" of their legislators. He bemoans the "politization of the culture war", but the fact is that there is a war on our culture. Mr. Armey would like us to shut-the-h*11 up and not fight back. He is exactly wrong when he claims that it "cheapens" christians particiaption in politics when they make "specific demands" on their leaders with respect to culture war issues. He is as wrong as a man can be. What cheapens Christians participation in politics is when they get used cycle after cycle by men like Mr. Armey and never put a stop to it. What cheapens us is when we as Christians are used to advance a "Republican agenda" that never seems to contain a "Christian Agenda", nor does it ever acknowldge, much less advance, God's standards for civil government as found in the Bible.

Mr. Armey atempts to misdirect us to the threat of growing government spending and regulation. But Christian Conservatives by and large share Mr. Armey's disdain for government growth. Dobson and company were not trying to stop him from his fiscal mission, they are for it too. They are willing to help him do what he wants on the fiscal side. What is missing is his willingness to help with what Dobson wants. The "partnership" between the two sides in the Republican party has always been one sided. The Dick Armey faction is reacting with bitterness and anger at the idea that the Christian side of the party wanted some of its agenda enacted too. Apparently, we were only supposed to help the Dick Armey's of the GOP get what they wanted and then go away.

I must interject a mystery at this point. If the fight in the GOP is between Social Conservatives and fiscal conservatives, and neither side wants government spending to grow, then why has it grown faster than under Clinton? What is alledgely happening is that these two sides are fighting to have their way, but what is really happening is that neither of these two are running the Republican party. They are only the distractions that are going on out front. So who is really running the Republican party? The solution to the mystery is simple, but disturbing: The people running the Republican party and the administration are those whose policies are being pushed by the Republican Administation. That is to say, globalists and global corporations. Once upon a time big corporations wanted government out of the way to get a level playing field. Now they are big enough and influential enough that they can use government spending and regulation to give them a competitive advantage over medium and small business, as well as other big players. They have co-opted much government spending and bid for many government contracts, and that is why it is growing. Corporatism is a big threat to our freedom, along with Islamofacism and Judicial Tyranny. It is the unknown and unspoken threat, for our media gets their ad dollars from these same people, and are loathe to alert the populace to the real new order of things.

But back to our story: (continued)

9:01 AM, November 02, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

As far as his comment that what we want is "meaningless symbolism", what could he mean? Could he mean ending over one million child murders a year through pro-life legislation? Is that "meaningless symbolism"? I tell you that if Roe v. Wade had not been thrust on America against our will we would have much less problem with illegal immigration and Medicare and Social Security would be in far better shape. Perhaps he means defending Marriage from re-definition by judicial fiat? Is marriage "meaningless symbolism"? What IS he talking about?

The only thing that he mentioned specifically was this: That being the case, I’m sure he agrees that the action by Congress in the Terri Schiavo situation was a trespass against the separation of powers, and an affront to conservatives’ historic resistance to judicial activism and interventionism. Clearly we cannot find judicial activism acceptable in cases when it is ordered by a legislative body. If we do find that acceptable, we might consider the damage that future liberal legislative bodies can wreak. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

All wisdom has departed Mr. Armey. That poor woman was starved to death by judicial order even though her parents were willing to care for her. "Judicial Activism" is when judges make rulings against the clear intent of the authors of legislation which is being ruled upon. Because of this, legislatures cannot engage in judicial activism. If only the Congress had gone beyond meaningless symbolism and impeached the judge in question. I am concerned about separation of powers issues, but the offending side has consistently been the judiciary. The legislative branch has not done its duty to check and balance them- likely because the godless establishment wants an agenda that cannot be enacted by the legislature to be enacted by judges. The legislators don't check or balance the judges because they secretly approve of what the judges are doing but dare not say so for fear of being turned out of office by irate voters.

Armey goes on to speak like a perfect libertarian: If Dobson is a champion of freedom, he understands then the risks of using the power of government to define social norms. We might not like what others have to say on these issues when they are in power. If Dobson is a defender of the Constitution, he will pause before calling for amending it on every social issue of the day.

When you boil it down, this debate centers on the role of two critical ideas: freedom and righteousness. In our private lives, living righteously is paramount. However, in our public lives — in our relationship with policymakers and our government — we should resist the belief that the power of government should be used to force righteous behavior in others. That’s the temptation facing religious conservatives.

This is that hippie tripe that "You can't legislate morality". That is abusrd, legislating morality is the primary function of law. A follower of Niche might think that it is unjust to protect the weak from the strong with laws that say you cannot kill. He might think the strong should kill the weak to make more room for the strong and "improve the species". Our laws, in a moral statement, prohibit this. A radical communist might say it is immoral to prevent the poor from taking the property of the rich, because equality of outcome is the ultimate justice. Our laws protect property rights as a moral good. What "righteous behavior" are we trying to "force" on others? Is trying to stop someone from butching an unborn baby an example of that category? Yes, then, I do want to use the law to "force" abortionists to stop killing babies. Or maybe defining marriage as one man and one woman is "forcing" someone to do something? Baloney. They are the ones trying to force us to accept a new definition of marriage. Marriage is about more than what two people choose, it is about what we as a society want to recognize. Are we now to have no choice about what we want to recognize as good?

He continues, "Indeed, such efforts to impose righteousness are doomed to fail — society cannot truly become righteous simply because the government compels “righteous” behavior. God gave us free will, and true righteousness can only be found through a free exercise of personal choice. Although Dobson may not realize it, government-mandated righteousness is a pathway to tyranny.

The goal for Christians in our public lives, then, must be freedom -- freedom to practice our faith without government interference. Freedom to build churches and schools and businesses without being forced to supplicate before an ever-expanding government leviathan.

When we defend values, we win; when we impose values, we lose.

You don't do either one Mr. Armey, and now you impede those who do. Your strawman is a joke. We are not the Taliban. We are not trying to "impose righteousness", we are trying to protect the innocent, and maintain our own freedom to disapprove. His high-sounding rhetoric is just an excuse to throw out God's standard's for civil government. His law of the jungle approach will lead to a jungle where we are all prisoners in our own homes. Libertarianism may produce great freedom in theory, but in practice we must put restraints on the more uncivilized among us or we will get anarchy. Most of those retraints should come at the state and local level to be sure, but in order to maximize freedom, some limits on personal behavior are necessary. I don't care if someone wants to go naked with mayonaise spread on thier body selling magazine subscriptions door to door. I vote to limit that guy's personal freedom in order to expand the legitimate personal freedom of the rest of us.

10:06 AM, November 02, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

The bottom line:

Armey makes the same Faustian bargin offer that Christians have fallen for in the past, like Lucy and her football do with Charlie Brown:

There is a better answer than Dobson’s Choice. The Republican Party needs to find a common ground, as President Reagan did, that unites all factions of the GOP coalition.

What that means is that you Christians continue to vote for us libertines and then keep your idiot mouths shut for the next two years while we finish dismantling Western Civilization. We have heard your offer before, to walk down the one-way street you call "common ground".

We need to choose a different path. Stop by Arkansas Watch after the election and let's talk about what that path should be.

10:10 AM, November 02, 2006  
Blogger Mr. Toast said...

What mis-directed respect I had for Armey has now been vaporized. Repeatedly quoting "Spongebob" and relying on a perverted version of "separation of powers" to justify the tidy murder of Terri Schiavo makes Armey a total fool and has left Dobson the lone one on the high road.

The question is, if Republicans like Armey continue to take this tone with the RR, who will they then look to?

10:26 AM, November 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Scripture you refer to, 2 Timothy 2:15, actually says, "Study to show thyself approved unto God ..." not "Study to show thyself approved."
Big difference.
Don't use God's Word to justify your own political opinion. God's Word stands on its own and has nothing to do with Armey and Dobson.

6:05 AM, November 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing, eh? Doesn't matter what they say, I don't have the right to compare it to scripture, right?

What a useless religion you have; a powerless shell of Christianity.

4:51 PM, November 08, 2006  

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