Saturday, July 30, 2011

The TSA Guy on the Train

Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. (1 Tim 6:1-2)

My wife was remarking to me the other day that there's just something about the way a Christian carries himself that is different from the way nonbelievers do. The context was what people choose to talk about and how they express themselves, but she also said that some people even without speaking seem to give evidence that the Holy Spirit is guiding them. I would have to say that if she's not right, she's not far from it.

One would expect that those who have a right relationship with their maker would give evidence of that, even unconsciously. When I hitchhiked across the country in December of 1972, I was picked up just outside Kansas City in the middle of the night by a carful of random college-agers, and during the course of the conversation, I let it slip that I was a Christian, at which point a couple of them in chorus said, "We knew there was something different about you." They sounded as though they thought that was a good thing, so maybe they were Christians (though other things said during the trip didn't leave me thinking they were), but the evidence supporting the thesis is even stronger if they weren't.

My wife's words came home to me in a less pleasant way recently when I had to work late into the evening a couple of times.

On the first of those evenings, I sat on the train in my seat of choice, the end seat that faces forward, looking at the rearward-facing passengers in the rear half of the car. Two rows ahead of me was a fellow, a thirty-something, perhaps Hispanic, in a TSA uniform that looked like he had just gotten it out of the box.

My view of TSA people has been colored by the horror stories and viral videos of infants, Congressmen, oldsters, and beauty queens considering themselves molested and worse by the TSA. My "favorite" is the attractive twenty-something woman who did not want her one-year-old's bottled breast milk irradiated and, when she refused to have it confiscated, was forced to stand for an hour in a glass cage guarded by a marginally female couch potato who did literally nothing the whole time but casually survey her surroundings and fold and unfold her arms. (Reality check: would I have been so offended if the guard had been foxy and the prisoner unattractive?)

Every line of work attracts a different personality: engineering and art and teaching and lumbering and sailing each tend to attract people with not only the requisite skill but consistent personality types. While the guard in the video is precisely what I would expect of a TSA agent, this fellow isn't. His hair was meticulously brushed, and even his facial expression as he read said that he takes everything in life seriously. I would guess that if his daily duties include groping people, he doesn't engage in it for fun; I would expect him to be serious, as respectful as the poster-boy Boy Scout, and minimally intrusive. Nor would he be a pushover in a discussion of the morality of Uncle Sam's undertakings and the part he personally plays in them.

I heard it said of a man I know from church as a generous gentleman with a hearty sense of humor that he becomes a completely different person once he dons his policeman's uniform. The same is likely true of Officer Newshirt: He would likely tolerate no deviation from the obsequiousness we mundanes are now required to render our masters.

Had he been in anything but a TSA uniform, I would have wanted to get to know him. Even as things are, I'm sure he has a story to tell.

So I was not overly surprised to see him on the trip home two days later reading a hardback study Bible.

The morning of the first day I saw him, I had read the passage I quote at the top of this post and realized that I have a lot to learn about counting the reputation of the kingdom of God more important than my own freedom. I find it frightening to think that God values his own reputation more than he cares whether those he has appointed to positions of authority "do justice, love mercy, [or] walk humbly with [their] God," even if those people are Christians. Where Ayn Rand and others say that we are only as oppressed as we allow ourselves to be and advise the oppressed to be as uncooperative as possible, Jesus tells us to treat our oppressors with respect, not only fulfilling their unjust demands but going beyond what they ask:

If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matt 5:40-42)

(I don't measure up. How about you?)

Yet for all the deference we must show such people, they are people "whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron" (1 Tim 4:2), as described by C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. ("The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment")

US Christians may hate politicians—or say they do—but they love the armed agents who carry out those politicians' desires, as shown by the special days churches hold to honor the military and the police. By contrast I've never heard of one prominent evangelical uttering a syllable of thanks to those who predicted that the fall of Vietnam would not be the first stage of the fall of Southeast Asia, or that the war in Iraq would be a quagmire, nor to those who predicted that the Community Reinvestment Act would inflate a bubble that would eventually take down most of the US economy. And so, while I have yet to hear of a church holding a TSA Appreciation Day, I expect Officer Newshirt gets plenty of attaboys when he goes to church.

What response would an evangelical pastor get if he preached an exegetical sermon that followed all the established rules of hermeneutics and homiletics and concluded with the admonition that young adults to stay out of the military, police, and TSA, that it was unwise to indenture oneself to ungodly leaders who pass ungodly laws? My guess is that he would be looking for a job within a month.

Are the ungodly laws passed by our ungodly politicians still "good enough for government work" that a Christian will not run afoul of God by enforcing them? For that matter, have there ever been any laws passed in the US that Christians should not have enforced? Are any on the books now? If so, how long can a Christian remain in government employ without enforcing them?

What scares me most about my view of Officer Newshirt is that I hate him. He is my brother in Christ, yet I not only hate everything he stands so proudly for, I hate him for standing proudly for them. I can understand why an unbeliever who can't procure other employment or who simply enjoys bossing people around would work for the TSA, but I can't see how someone who reads his Bible and shows every sign of seeking to be guided by the Holy Spirit would take such a job. But there we are, and God wants me to be more concerned with my attitude toward Officer Newshirt than about the depredations that his colleagues, and possibly he himself, commit.

Someday there will be no conflict between obeying God and obeying his ordained authorities. Meanwhile, those of us who suffer under official depredations must learn to treat those who carry them out with respect. And the hardest ones to respect may be our fellow Christians.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Anarchist and Not Ashamed

Do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. (Rom 14:16)

"Don't tell me you're an anarchist." "So you ARE an anarchist after all, not just a Libertarian."1

Two good friends—and I mean good friends, both because they are people who seek to "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with [their] God" and because they have been especially forebearing with me—have taken me to task for my anarchist views.

My first response is that any word ending with ist or ism is dangerous until it is specifically defined, and this is especially true of anarchist.

The first self-proclaimed anarchists—[firstname] Kropotkin, [firstname] Bakunin, and their later apologists like Murray Bookchin—rejected the idea of private property, envisioning a sort of participatory democracy in which everyone owned everything, a model I find both indistinguishable from the communist ideal and subject to the same inevitable devolution into oligarchy. Note that this definition has to do with the result they pursue.

My definition of anarchist has to do with the process by which the ends are pursued: an anarchist society is one in which there are no archons, people with privileges and rights denied others. In the resulting society some people will wield more influence than others, and sometimes those who live lawfully will have to use force, even lethal force, against miscreants, but the sine qua non of my definition of anarchism is that no one, "from Pharaoh who sits on the throne to the servant girl grinding grain," has the right to violate the bodies or property of innocent people for any reason.

Let me also hasten to add that the kingdom of God is Jesus Christ, not any ism, certainly not either anarchism or "American exceptionalism." But we need a term to describe the way basically decent human beings, Christians and otherwise, treat their neighbors, and anarchism as I define it fills that bill.

That said, what's so shameful about anarchism? Why do my Christian friends use the term as an insult?

The usual answer is that without an archon, society would devolve into chaos: "Look at the book of Judges! 'There was no king over Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes'!"

Let's say for the sake of discussion that Israel did meet my definition of anarchy: Was that anarchy the root cause of the chaos of those days? Did anarchy exacerbate the chaos? Or was it simply one of its symptoms?

Until one of my vast readership commissions me to write a book-length response to those questions, I'll have to make do with repeating my argument from the biblical evidence: Anarchy is simply the term for what happens when people love their neighbors as themselves and treat others as they would have those others treat them. There was no privileged class: the whole community was the agent of even the execution of murderers, the first activity I can think of that would call for the creation of a privileged elite.

The chaos, on the other hand, was the result of the rejection of the Lord and his rule. When Israel tried to end the chaos by establishing archy (the monarchy), the Lord himself stated that that action was evidence of rebellion, not godliness. And in the end, the monarchy was able only to postpone, not prevent, the demise of Israelite society.

I should also point out that the chaos of those days was widespread, but it was not total: the society was still cohesive enough that it could establish the monarchy and did not cease to exist until Shalmaneser and Nebuchadnezzar—archons par excellence—destroyed it.

So while it is true that the one anarchic society the world has ever seen devolved into chaos, it does not necessarily follow that the only possible outcome to anarchy is chaos: the cause of Israel's demise was archism, not anarchism.2

Nor is anarchism the only known source of chaos. I have mentioned Nebuchadnezzar and Shalmaneser. Need I remind any Christian of Jewish extraction that those who abducted Abraham's wife in Egypt and Gerar, enslaved their ancestors and treated them cruelly in Egypt, destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, conducted murderous pogroms against them in Russia, ratified the Treaty of Versailles that set the stage for the Holocaust, conducted the Holocaust, and prohibited those fleeing the Holocaust from entering "the land of the free," this "nation of immigrants," were archons, not anarchists?

Even those of us from the uncircumcision should note that the worst persecution of Christians is in archistic societies like North Korea and China and (other) third-world oligarchies, to say nothing of Muslim nations that make no secret of their archistic belief that non-Muslims are at best second-class citizens (as are Muslims who wish to change their religion).

Both of my friends would accuse anarchism of denying the truth of Romans 13:1-7, and I don't blame them; this is a serious charge, and I can't claim innocence. However, I would suggest that the reason they so ardently fly Uncle Sam's flag is that in the history of the world only one government has come anywhere close to matching the description of archy given in Romans 13, and that was the government of the United States, the philosophical basis of which was the anarchist tenet that "all men are created equal" and therefore have "unalienable rights" to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness [which, if not property, is what?]."3

"But people are depraved, and we need overwhelming force to deal with human depravity."

Are all people depraved, or only those who don't become archons? Do depraved people never become archons? If you fear a depraved person who doesn't have overwhelming force—that is, when you would have to band together with others in order to defend yourself against them—how can it be that you are better off if that same depraved person becomes an archon with overwhelming force over you? How do you go about making sure no depraved person becomes an archon?4

What has become Uncle Sam's flag has flown over the murder and enslavement of weaker, innocent people, from African abductees to the first inhabitants of this continent. The major political parties today stands for endless imperial wars, the transfer of unheard-of amounts of wealth from the weak to the politically connected, and the eradication of privacy, all violations of the first tenets of basic human decency responsible parents teach their children. Yet Christians proudly wear flag lapel pins, identify themselves with the major parties, and vebally spit at anarchists.

Dear Jesus, where have I gone wrong?


1The capitalized L is in the original. While I am a past member of the Libertarian Party, I have allowed my membership to lapse because "the party of priniciple" has abandoned too many libertarian principles. So I am a small-l libertarian in the tradition of Murray Rothbard, not a capital-L Libertarian Party member.

2I'm inviting theologically astute friends to shoot down my assertions in these two paragraphs.

3I would say this was close to true for whites and free blacks and perhaps even most "Indians" from 1783 until 1861. My friends would likely be more generous.

4I would welcome discussion on this topic as well.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Taking Things a Step Further

I dread going to church on the Sundays near the patriotic holidays of Memorial Day and Independence Day.

I admit to being a "glass is half empty" kind of guy, so I tend to focus on the shortcomings of my society. But I don't consider that a virtue. I can't even make the excuse that when you have a headache, nothing is enjoyable. The level of opporession, corruption, and economic distress is much lower here than in most of the world, and my taking the ease of our situation for granted is sin, pure and simple.

But it is also true that our society is not as free, just, or wealthy—to say nothing of optimistic—as it was in the Carter years. We now wave our flags much more vigorously than we did in those days—"Carter for President" bumper stickers, even the first time, were green and yellow, not red, white, and blue—but we have much less to celebrate.

So when the patriotic holidays come around, I wonder what the hoopla is about. Why aren't these people mourning? I go to church with my guard up, which means I work so hard at not noticing the Old Glory lapel pins and neckties that they're all I notice.

But God has seen to it that despite myself I hear the sermons my pastor has preached on the two patriotic Sundays this year, and they have been good, biblical, and centered on the gospel.

In the Memorial Day sermon we learned of three characteristics of godly government: godly laws, godly leaders, and Jesus Christ at its center. (I don't know that the list was meant to be exhaustive.) Yesterday the topic was the first three of the Ten Commandments, and we were reminded that there is but one God, that we are not to worship anything before him, and that we are not to make our own images, tangible or otherwise, of him.

I feel like he could have filled the glass fuller, pounded the nail in farther, or whatever, but maybe the plan was to stick to preaching and not meddle. Well, I'm a-gonna meddle.

I liked his definition of godly government as godly men passing godly laws to the glory of Jesus Christ. But I would like to suggest that the men who run our government are not godly men, the laws they pass are not godly, and the glory of God as revealed in Jesus Christ is the farthest thing from their minds. This is true at the local and state levels, but nowhere more so than at the federal level. I think the burden of proof is on those who would claim that Uncle Sam has any claim to godliness. And if we know that our "leaders" are ungodly, should we not assume that any law they pass will be ungodly unless they can prove to us that it's not?

Why instead has there been no major public debate between Christians about such major legislation as Social Security, the War on Drugs, the existence of public schools, or the invasion of Libya? Are these things so obviously biblical that only someone as obtuse as I can't see it?

If Uncle Sam is ungodly, why do those who claim to put God first-and-only wear Uncle Sam's paraphernalia to church? Is their message to foreigners there "We may be equal in Christ, but I'm still better than you because I'm an American"? Or are they putting Democrats and libertarians in their places by claiming to be more authentically "American"?

If I were to stand as an usher wearing a lapel pin advertising a nudist resort, or even one with an anarchist circle-A, I would expect to be asked to take it off, the idea being that "even a hint of sexual immorality" (generous cleavages apparently don't count) and partisan politics (i.e., anything outside the range between Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney), respectively, are not fitting anywhere in the church building: they would offend people, and worse, communicate wrong ideas about what we stand for.

I would suggest that juxtaposing, let alone intertwining, Uncle Sam's flag with the cross of Christ is similarly offensive and causes miscommunication.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. (2 Cor 6:14-16)

We've all seen Uncle Sam's flag on adult book stores and other places known for ungodliness. If nothing else, most Christians I know are being ruled by people they didn't vote for and often voted against. What does the flag they fly signify, then? If not "I don't care whether I am ruled by godly men making godly laws or not, I'm a partisan of this government," then what? As a fan of Seattle sports teams, I can understand a "win or lose, I'm a fan" mentality for some things, but when millions of mortal lives, to say nothing of billions of souls, are at stake, it seems out of place when the subject is government.

I think that's because Uncle Sam is the true "American Idol," which leads me to the second glass.

An idol is anything apart from God that we worship. One example given in the sermon of an idol was power. (I'm having to paraphrase here:) "We all know of politicians and economic leaders who have ruined their lives by abusing power." No argument with that. However, I find it more relevant that these same leaders have ruined the lives of millions of innocent people by exercising their power in ways too many Christians find legitimate.

The 9/11 attack is one reason Christian workers are finding it harder to get to and stay on the field, even as "tentmakers," but another is the fallout from the Community Reinvestment Act, perhaps the biggest cause of the housing bubble that drew so many people's money into investments that became worthless when the bubble burst. This is simply one of hundreds of laws passed by "politicians and economic leaders" who did so not because the Bible and the Holy Spirit told them to, but because they had the power to do so and considered doing so expedient. And they received no resistance from evangelicals because the latter could see no biblical reason to oppose them.

We see this still going on in the programs I mention earlier. Not only does one rarely hear evangelicals oppose these pillars of the welfare state on theological grounds, the question of what biblical basis there is for them is usually considered irrelevant or offensive. But shouldn't there be some kind of public debate about these things?

The thinking seems to be, "I'm a Christian. I'm a decent person. The state feeds me, educates me, heals me, protects me, and provides for my retirement. The state is therefore good, and any suffering caused by the state is collateral damage." This isn't far from saying that the state is God's way of providing for my pleasure.

We heard in the sermon that pleasure is an idol. My inability to tear myself away from a TV when there's a baseball game on tells me that's true, and we do need to show this idol for the vain hope it is, beginning with our own worship of it. But have we nothing to say to those who look to Uncle Sam or other agencies to provide the pleasures that ensnare us? How many Christians have spoken publicly against tax funding for baseball stadiums? Isn't the Seattle Mariners T-shirt I'm wearing as I type a statement that the tax funding by the Washington state legislature of bonds voted down by the citizens of Seattle is somehow OK in my ethical system? What message does it communicate to those who voted against the bond issues?

Finally, we get to the question of the image of God. It is true, as was said in the sermon, God cannot be likened to animals or even people; he is who he is, and there is no thing or being like him. And we need to keep God's reputation at the forefront of everything we do as his ambassadors.

But man was created in the image of God. When ungodly men pass ungodly laws that direct people to mistreat the image of God in man, doesn't going along with such laws violate the image of God as much as immolating a baby in the statue of a fish? When those ungodly men call such mistreatment "collateral damage," a term that calls to mind rubble, not corpses, shouldn't those who believe that man is the image of God recoil in horror and do all we should to end the killing?

If we want to see the knowledge of the glory of the Lord fill the earth in our day, we need to have no idols. No Seattle Mariners. No nudist resorts. No anarchism. No Uncle Sam. Our citizenship is in heaven, whatever advantage we might be able to take of our local legal system. Our only fellow-citizens are those who belong to Christ. Everyone else, like our fellow-citizens, is our neighbor, whom we are to love as ourselves.

Only then can the glass become filled.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why Allah Will Laugh Jehovah out of Afghanistan

Afghanistan is called the graveyard of empires with good reason: the Afghans have not been conquered since Genghis Khan, though they have been invaded by imperial armies far richer and in some sense more powerful than they. In our own day, Afghanistan has outlived the British and Soviet empires, and Uncle Sam's attempt to subdue it has bled our economy and killed scores of innocent people with no benefit to anyone except the "masters of war, [those] who build the big guns."

Perhaps this invincibility is the provision of Allah; he has certainly ceded nothing—and most certainly not the moral high ground—in this present conflict against the saints of Jehovah, who pride themselves in being "more than conquerors." But despite the title of this post, I would like to think that there is no god but the Father of Jesus, who has built into his creation a foundational principle that the Afghans* are using but Uncle Sam has forgotten, and God is using them the way he used the Recabites in Jeremiah's day (Jer 35), to shame those who call themselves his people and exhort them to repentance.

The principle is this: things start small and spread. We see this in Jesus' parables of the mustard seed and the yeast (Matt 25:21), and in his statement that those who are faithful in little things will be faithful in big (Matt 25:21-23). We see it in Paul's admonition that we change our lives through changing our minds (Rom 12), not by submitting to outward regulations (Col 2:23). We see it in the history of the church, which began with a village woodworker and twelve undistinguished followers and has gone worldwide. We see it in the ant, who does his work without a commander (Pro 6:6-8). And, on the down side, we see it in our lives when we allow ourselves small sins; they eventually metastasize into big sins.

Afghan society is based on loyalty to family and tribe. The Pashtun are the best-known example of this—"I fight my brother; my brother and I fight my cousins; my brother, my cousins, and I fight the world"—those who are not on government payrolls (and probably many who are) are far more loyal to each other than to whoever is in the palaces in Kabul or Islamabad. And though—or should I say because—they are constantly fighting each other,* they also have strong networks below the surface. And those who survive the fights are by definition the best fighters. Who can defeat people like this?

As we saw in a similar situation in Vietnam, it certainly won't be a bunch of mercenaries who are members of an ungodly top-down system.

Yes, I said mercenaries: it is not uncommon for people to join the military in peacetime because they want a steady job, or the training for a peacetime vocation. These are generally not people who pride themselves in being vicious fighters; fighting is not in their blood, as it were. There is always the risk that war will break out, of course, but it's a risk such people are willing to take: they're in the army for personal gain, the trademark of the mercenary.

Then there are those who join hoping there will be a war; this is the mentality of the soldier of fortune—the mercenary.

Those like Pat Tillman, who join only because they are convinced that they are protecting their loved ones, are the most honorable of the bunch, but I would guess they are the exception to the rule. (And again, these are not generally people for whom fighting is a way of life.) Both sides of the War to Prevent Southern Secession, and all sides in the World Wars, relied on conscription—slavery at its worst— to build their armies.

Conscription, as is all slavery, is almost by definition top-down: the underling's duty is not to think, but to obey; thinking is the job of the commander (hence the title).* When the drill instructor says, "First I'm gonna break you, then I'm gonna make you," he means he's going to teach you that you have no mind apart from the will of the whole as expressed by your commander. Today Uncle Sam's army is "all volunteer," but the structure and mentality is still top-down.

The two World Wars were fought entirely between conscripts in top-down militaries, and the object, at least the second time, was complete subjugation of the other side. Today Uncle Sam is sending mostly unsuited mercenaries across the ocean to fight bottom-up volunteer networks on their home turf. Worse, the object is to prolong the fighting, not to vanquish the foe.

That's right. Christians soldiers are going off to a war in which the war itself is more valuable to its beneficiaries than victory.

Twenty years after World War II ended, Time magazine wrote that the ideas of John Maynard Keynes "have been so widely accepted that they constitute both the new orthodoxy in the universities and the touchstone of economic management in Washington." Keynesianism essentially takes Randolph Bourne's denunciation of war, that it is "the health of the state," and turns it into a paean: Keynes believed that war is good, at least for the economy. Why were "we" unable to win in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan? According to Keynesianism, the government spending necessary for war is a boon to the economy, so wars that never end will guarantee the prosperity of the nation.

Think of the narrative we were all taught in school: The stock market crash of 1929 came out of nowhere, or was a product of a laissez-faire economy. Herbert Hoover did nothing about it, and by 1932 things were so bad that only government intervention would save it. Indeed, they were so bad that only the government spending needed for World War II eventually saved it; we need to thank God (or the gods, or the fates, or Mother Nature, or our lucky stars) that the helm was taken by the likes of Franklin Roosevelt. Others have shown this narrative to be fiction; my point here is that it is almost universally believed in the US today, even by evangelicals.

So we have Christian mercenaries, some sincerely believing that they are defending their loved ones by occupying Muslim lands, fighting a war their true commanders have no intention of ending, not even with victory. As Frédéric Bastiat argued years before Keynes,

"Society loses the value of things which are uselessly destroyed;" and we must assent to a maxim which will make the hair of protectionists stand on end—To break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labour; or, more briefly, "destruction is not profit."

That is, World War II made the US poorer, not richer, though it did profit the "masters of war." The same is true of today's wars: Our unemployment rate continues to rise along with the national debt. Our only manufacturing jobs are in government-subsidized industries. Uncle Sam is borrowing money to pay off his present obligations, not to invest in the future, and there isn't enough money in the world to pay off his future obligations.

As the paraphrase of Margaret Thatcher puts is, "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." And once Uncle socialist Sam runs out of other people's money, the troops will have to come home.

This blog is about being good neighbors: When the soldiers leave, will the Afghans mourn the loss of good neighbors who happened to be Christians? Or will they be singing some version of "Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead"?

I suspect they will be shouting exultantly, "Allahu akbar!" God have mercy on us.

*As will be made explicit in what follows, I use "Afghans" for the sake of brevity and clarity; there are, I would expect, few residents of Afghanistan who consider themselves Afghans. Afghanistan is a European construct, its borders a relic of the colonial era.

*Because the Islamic world has never embraced the idea of the fundamental equality of human beings and the corollary sanctity of life, property, and contract, Richard Maybury has coined the name Chaostan to describe it. The name has even gone mainstream.

*I don't know, but I would guess that a wise commander would welcome and even encourage independent thinking by his subordinates, but this goes against the natural human tendency to dominate others. And even the most permissive commander, if he's to live up to his title, will permit independent thinking only within specified perameters.

Why Not Vote Republican?

A good friend writes:

Please do not allow Obama in for a 2nd term[;] all hell will break loose with him in a free 4 yr term [one in which he doesn't have to run again],

My friend and I agree that Barack Obama is our mortal enemy and that all hell will break loose if he's not stopped. Where we disagree, of course, is over whether all hell will break loose if a Republican is elected.

But the proposition is reasonable, right? If the prison cafeteria offers rotten fruit with maggots and rotten fruit without maggots, why not choose from the maggot-free pile?

My answer is that, as we who voted for Reagan learned, such a vote is, in effect (i.e., consequences in time and space) less a vote against maggots than an endorsement of rotten fruit. "See? They took the fruit. That means they liked it."

It's not the areas of disagreement between Obama and his likely opponents that scare me; it's where they agree. So I can agree with my friend that Barack Obama is the enemy of everything good. But I would add that the Republicans are also.

Three friends from church over the last few years have died of cancer after spending kilobucks, maybe a megabuck, on conventional treatment and suffering horribly. If I were to develop a malady that I thought could be treated, or at least my suffering alleviated, by marijuana, every Republican but one would send armed agents to put me in a cage for growing, buying, processing, or using marijuana. If I were to resist forcibly, they would kill me. They are my mortal enemies.

So my questions are these, dear Christian conservative:

What would it take to convince you that Barack Obama is your mortal enemy?
If he is already your mortal enemy, what would it take for you to consider his armed agents (FBI, DEA, TSA, military, police) your mortal enemies?
If either of your answers to the first two questions were to take place, what could you do about it?

Please respond below, anonymously if you wish.