Author Topic: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies  (Read 17545 times)

rightleft22

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Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« on: June 15, 2018, 10:38:03 AM »
Attorney General Jeff Sessions quotes Bible to defend immigration policies: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44499048

Wondering what people think of Jeff Sessions using this Bible verse to defend policies
Romans 13 "to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes"

My take on that was shut up and obey, daddy knows best... another shot, step at dismantling democracy?

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2018, 10:46:27 AM »
What does quoting the Bible have to do with the premise that laws should be obeyed? You either agree with that premise or you don't. His basis in the Bible is maybe why he does but that's immaterial, since plenty of other people presumably agree with the sentiment even if they're not practicing Christians.

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2018, 11:05:45 AM »
He didn't use the Bible to defend it.  He used it to deflect the issue.  This is par for the course in leveraging religion for politics.  I mean, what else are you going to do with it?  All that morality is a real pain in the ass when it comes to Making America Great Again.

Wayward Son

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2018, 11:11:56 AM »
He would have been wiser to quote Isaiah 10:1-3 instead.

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1 What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws. 2 They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans. 3 What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe?

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2018, 11:16:46 AM »
Deflect from which issue?  That the law of the country dictates the deportation of several million people?  Or that no one in Congress has put in place a real fix, or even really tried in decades? 

Honestly, the idea that the media is acting as an honest broker in this is absurd.  There are plenty of valid reasons we have immigration policies, and plenty of reasons to amend them, NONE of which they cover.  Instead, we get media "personalities" accusing a spokesperson of having no compassion for children.

Fix the law, quit complaining that it's being followed.

DonaldD

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2018, 11:27:00 AM »
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plenty of other people presumably agree with the sentiment even if they're not practicing Christians.
True, but they believe that they are practicing Christians...

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2018, 11:33:23 AM »
He would have been wiser to quote Isaiah 10:1-3 instead.

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1 What sorrow awaits the unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws. 2 They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people. They prey on widows and take advantage of orphans. 3 What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe?

Sure, and then you could get into give unto Caesar what is Caesar's. There's a difference between making an unjust law and enforcing an unjust law. I don't know if it's fair to blame the person carrying out the law, although maybe that depends on the kind of injustice. If a law called for gunning down innocent people then I hope people would disobey it. On the other hand if it calls for arresting people for shoplifting, but who happen to be starving, I'm not sure it would be laudable to refuse to enforce laws about theft even though we can sympathize with those in need.

NobleHunter

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2018, 11:40:06 AM »
Deflect from which issue?  That the law of the country dictates the deportation of several million people?  Or that no one in Congress has put in place a real fix, or even really tried in decades? 

Honestly, the idea that the media is acting as an honest broker in this is absurd.  There are plenty of valid reasons we have immigration policies, and plenty of reasons to amend them, NONE of which they cover.  Instead, we get media "personalities" accusing a spokesperson of having no compassion for children.

Fix the law, quit complaining that it's being followed.

They aren't complaining the issue of illegal immigrants in general, they're complaining about taking kids from their parents. The Republicans are trying to deflect they're being monstrous.

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2018, 11:40:12 AM »
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Deflect from which issue?
That as a whole, the Bible is pretty clear on how we should be treating these people.  That's not to say I'm an amnesty for all, throw the gates wide type when it comes to illegal immigration.  It's just that using the Bible this way is about as deep down the hypocrisy hole as one can get.

Were it up to me, I would financially penalize anyone hiring an undocumented worker so severely that you would have to be a insane to even attempt it.  Boom, problem solved.  Now we can spend time stream lining immigration to account for any actual workforce needs we have as a country instead of pretending this is a policy issue instead of a means to exploit people for cheep labor or for fear-mongering to increase turnout (used by both sides).

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2018, 11:53:01 AM »
I know this is a bit off-topic, but does anyone know the specific rationale for why the children are being separated from their parents? It seems cruel to just take the kids away to punish the parents, if that's all it is. That would be a very draconian deterrent. On the other hand, there's a parallel in the U.S. which may be overlooked when considering the matter. It's become more or less standard for American children to be taken away from their parents when there's negligence going on, and although I frankly don't care for that practice either it seems to have gone on without much fuss. Assuming (charitably) that the border enforcement is using concern for the children as the criterion, would it not be a similar argument that if parents are willing to try to smuggle their children over the border that they're endangering their children and should be separated from them? Again, I'm not trying to justify this, but rather to suggest that maybe it has something in common with how such matters are handled within the U.S. already.

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2018, 12:05:11 PM »
It is a deterrent.  They've openly stated as much.  However, the optics are magnified by the number of unaccompanied minors; which are in turn distorted by parents urging their kids to cross over to relatives already on this side. 

To answer the negligence question, one would have to know the circumstances they are attempting to flee.  If the parents genuinely believe (and are probably correct) that the gamble they make crossing over is likely to lead to a better life for their child, is that really neglect? 

They aren't coming here to break the law.  They are desperate.  Fear of having your family broken up has been calculated as a force stronger than this desperation.  Being detained and deported certainly hasn't proved enough of a deterrent. 

velcro

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2018, 12:21:35 PM »
Deflect from which issue?  That the law of the country dictates the deportation of several million people?  Or that no one in Congress has put in place a real fix, or even really tried in decades? 

Honestly, the idea that the media is acting as an honest broker in this is absurd.  There are plenty of valid reasons we have immigration policies, and plenty of reasons to amend them, NONE of which they cover.  Instead, we get media "personalities" accusing a spokesperson of having no compassion for children.

Fix the law, quit complaining that it's being followed.

Fact:  It is not a law that children must be separated from parents.  It is a policy that has been decided by the Trump administration. There were policies in place that gave latitude in certain situations, and those policies were superseded by the "Zero-Tolerance Policy".  Retract that policy, and families can stay together as they did for years, without breaking the law.

Should we have immigration reform to resolve this policy dispute?  Most definitely!  What is holding us back?  Hint: It is not the party without control of the House, or the Senate, or the White House.

I
It is a deterrent.  They've openly stated as much.  However, the optics are magnified by the number of unaccompanied minors; which are in turn distorted by parents urging their kids to cross over to relatives already on this side. 

To answer the negligence question, one would have to know the circumstances they are attempting to flee.  If the parents genuinely believe (and are probably correct) that the gamble they make crossing over is likely to lead to a better life for their child, is that really neglect? 

They aren't coming here to break the law.  They are desperate.  Fear of having your family broken up has been calculated as a force stronger than this desperation.  Being detained and deported certainly hasn't proved enough of a deterrent. 

So as a deterrent, it's pretty feeble.  Here's a deterrent:  In order to get here, pay a criminal thousands of dollars, not knowing if he will show up, or just leave you in a truck in the desert.  If he does follow through, you will have to walk dozens of miles through the desert.  In the summer.  With your kids. 

If someone is willing to do that, I don't think separating your kids from you once you get here is going to make them stop. 

velcro

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2018, 12:41:47 PM »
Let's step back and look again at what Sessions said:
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“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”

The bolded part has to be the most un-American thing I have heard from a government official in my life.  God did not ordain this government for his purposes.

In God We Trust. 
We can assume the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle us. 
We can be endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights.
We can ask that God Bless America, and be one Nation under God.

But to claim God has ordained any existing government for his purposes (never mind this particular government) is anathema.  Monarchies do this.  Empires with allegedly God-descended emperors such as Japan did this.  The Islamic State does this. 
Americans do not do this.  It bridges no criticism, or efforts at reform. If you don't like it, take it up with God. Welcome to the Republic of Gilead.

Did God ordain the government of Iran? How about North Korea?  Where exactly in the Bible does it say which governments this applies to?

Not surprisingly, this  same verse was used to defend slavery, and to oppose the American Revolution.



Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2018, 12:47:58 PM »
I know this is a bit off-topic, but does anyone know the specific rationale for why the children are being separated from their parents?

It's hard but not impossible to find because so much of what is written asserts the behind the scenes rationale as the factual basis.  However, it seems to be fairly straight forward.

DHS changed it's policy to prosecute on criminal charges everyone crossing the border illegally.  This is a deviation from the prior policy, which was to pursue civil charges.  The material difference is that for civil charges the person charged was assigned a court date and then released with an instruction to return to court (ie the "catch and release" program), and many never showed up again. 

With a criminal charge the person is detained pending resolution of the case.  Children cannot be detained in that manner, so like with any child where their custodial parent is detained for criminal charges and no other responsible adult is available they are turned over to child services.

However, there does seem to be a concerted, and frankly inexcusable, plan to increase the pain and ridiculously poor provision for tracking the children (or else we're only hearing reports on relatively fringe cases).

As far as I can tell there is no literal policy directing the removal or breakup of families, it's all derivative of prosecuting the parents on criminal charges.

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2018, 12:59:15 PM »
They aren't complaining the issue of illegal immigrants in general, they're complaining about taking kids from their parents. The Republicans are trying to deflect they're being monstrous.

Actually, it's only being phrased that way because Dem's react on emotionally matters more than logical ones.  The real fact is that the only way to "not separate" a family is not to detain the parent. However, the government is acting properly in detaining the parent and is entitled to prosecute them.  Ergo, they are in fact demanding that we return to "catch and release" whereby the immigration law will continue to be frustrated.

In fact, the entire issue that kid's can't be detained with the Parents has it's own history of activism and was in fact a previous demand of the left.

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2018, 01:01:33 PM »
The bolded part has to be the most un-American thing I have heard from a government official in my life.  God did not ordain this government for his purposes.

I'm no expert in Bible interpretation but that strikes me as a serious misread of the verse in question. The verse is clearly on about something to do with respecting the law and authority in general. What's not clear to me is exactly what the context was of Paul writing this, and what the intention behind the statement is. It's also unclear to what extent the chapter is meant to be an allusion to theological authority and therefore a double meaning, rather than just being a statement to obey the laws of the land. But the idea of obeying the laws of the land is a pretty Biblical thing.

cherrypoptart

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2018, 01:06:11 PM »
Democrats could have passed any law they wanted, literally, under Obama for a nice little period of time. They could have undone all the immigration laws, granted a mass amnesty, and passed any new laws for any system of immigration they wanted. Even if every single Republican voted against it the Democrats still could have rammed it home, just like they did with Obamacare. They chose not to. So it doesn't make a lot of sense to blame the current President and his administration for enforcing the laws that a Democrat controlled Congress and Democrat President chose to leave on the books.

As for why separate the children from the parents, I heard it was because children can't be housed with adults in a prison population so classifying the law breakers as criminals and now prisoners changes things a bit from the way they were classified before, as was just pointed out. Just adding the part about it being illegal to house children with adults in prison. Not certain but it seems like they are classifying the immigrant detention facilities as more like prisons than they were before. If there is a way to keep the families together that would of course be better. Since they can no longer claim asylum for domestic violence and criminal violence like with the gangs down there hopefully the vast majority of families can be kept together as they are summarily rejected in their asylum claims and all returned home immediately. It was always pretty ridiculous to say that a person from a country with a stable government should be able to come to America just because his wife beat him constantly for not being able to find a good job. That happens in America too.

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2018, 01:07:48 PM »
Fact:  It is not a law that children must be separated from parents.

It actually is law where the parent is detained, as children have to be released from detention quickly.

Quote
It is a policy that has been decided by the Trump administration. There were policies in place that gave latitude in certain situations, and those policies were superseded by the "Zero-Tolerance Policy".  Retract that policy, and families can stay together as they did for years, without breaking the law.

It's a consequence of enforcing the law that allows the government to file criminal charges.

You should also note that it doesn't apply to any asylum seeker that crosses the border at a legitimate spot, only to those that cross illegally, as the criminal charge is for the illegal crossing.

So again, "retract the policy" means return to catch and release, which is not "without breaking the law" as demonstrated by history or facts.  Families released disappear rather than come back to be deported.

Quote
Should we have immigration reform to resolve this policy dispute?  Most definitely!  What is holding us back?  Hint: It is not the party without control of the House, or the Senate, or the White House.

It is, it's also the Republicans.  It's complete bad faith in framing issues (which you're endorsing here) and inability to compromise, coupled with literal lying about goals.  Preventing illegal immigration is a majority position, yet Dems' will never support it because it's against their self interest.  That's part of the bad faith that keeps them from working with a very motivated portion of the Republicans that could  compromise.

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2018, 01:09:36 PM »
With a criminal charge the person is detained pending resolution of the case.  Children cannot be detained in that manner, so like with any child where their custodial parent is detained for criminal charges and no other responsible adult is available they are turned over to child services.

Thanks for the explanation. It would have taken me a lot of searching to come up with that, assuming your statement is accurate. *If* this is the case then it makes the whole thing seem not quite as bad, putting aside the issue of bad implementation, because that's a whole other can of worms. If there is indeed intent to make the kids suffer, or make the parents suffer through knowing their kids are being taken away, I would call that abusive or even torture. But if it's a just a question of a lack of organization in trying to implement something legal then it becomes more an issue of that's just what governments are like, sad as it is.

I read one article showing that kids were being detained in a defunct Walmart Superstore, with separated rooms that don't have doors. That sounds bad, although I suppose it's not as bad as starving to death since the article said they were being fed BBQ chicken and sandwiches.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/14/us/inside-immigrant-children-shelter-brownsville-texas-invs/index.html

I'm not informed enough about all of this to have a real opinion but I do think it's inevitable that if the borders were to ever be secured there would be growing pains to achieve it. Since that *is* the mandate the President campaigned on it seems like in a sense this is following the will of the people, for better or worse.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 01:12:11 PM by Fenring »

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2018, 01:10:51 PM »
Not clear to me why it matters whether Sessions is motivated by God or something else, where the motivation is to enforce the laws, which is his literal job as the Attorney General.  It seems far more of a dog whistle than any type of legitimate criticism.  Unless the argument is that non-Religious people believe that we should not follow law as some kind of tenant of non-faith?

rightleft22

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2018, 01:33:54 PM »
Quote
Not clear to me why it matters whether Sessions is motivated by God or something else, where the motivation is to enforce the laws, which is his literal job as the Attorney General.  It seems far more of a dog whistle than any type of legitimate criticism.  Unless the argument is that non-Religious people believe that we should not follow law as some kind of tenant of non-faith?

Interesting: I wasn’t actual concerned with which law he was defending or deflecting… but the use of the Bible in this way as a public figure.
Your right why should it matter if Sessions is motivated by God... However the laws and his Office represent all American, many who do not believe in God… And what if Sessions quoted the Quran? Would you defend sharia law in the same manner?

cherrypoptart

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2018, 01:43:08 PM »
It probably matters to many people because it's not likely that Jesus would ever condone turning away these desperately needy people so to make it palatable to Christians a religious rationale must be concocted in order to justify what is very difficult under the precepts of "real" Christianity.

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2018, 01:57:24 PM »
Your right why should it matter if Sessions is motivated by God... However the laws and his Office represent all American, many who do not believe in God… And what if Sessions quoted the Quran? Would you defend sharia law in the same manner?

What does sharia law have to do with it?  We're talking about US law, and I don't care what his motivation is for doing his job and enforcing the law.  The risk is that someone won't follow the law because of religion not that he will.  I have no problem, at all, with a Muslim that believes it's their religious duty to faithfully execute US law.

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2018, 02:00:56 PM »
It probably matters to many people because it's not likely that Jesus would ever condone turning away these desperately needy people so to make it palatable to Christians a religious rationale must be concocted in order to justify what is very difficult under the precepts of "real" Christianity.

It strikes me as being a complicated issue because the NT was written at a time when Christians had no political power and were persecuted. So the idea of obeying the laws of the land would have had a different connotation for them than it would for a group actually in dominant political power and looking for how to enforce the laws. I doubt Romans 13 can be realistically taken as being a guide for how to govern a nation, even though on its face it does seem to say that secular authority is to be respected. The moral mayhem begins when people purportedly Christian are also the ones making and enforcing the laws, since the doctrine of turning swords into plowshares seems incompatible with governance through force (this reminds me of Pete's many comments in the past about the issues with 'Christendom'). How to negotiate armed governance (i.e. backed up by police and military) with a 'Christian approach' is weird to even contemplate.

However, the main thrust of U.S. law right now is that it's been made by elected representatives and in itself isn't a religious law but simply the law. Individuals can have any reason they like why they believe in it or follow it, and for Sessions to cite the NT about why he believes in it is well and good for him. Maybe it's a dog whistle for Christians but that doesn't particularly address the basic validity of whether or not the law in general should be obeyed.

It's tempting to think of hard-line right wingers as having cognitive dissonance over Jesus' teachings on the one hand and a harsh view on immigration law on the other hand. But I think it's a non-trivial matter in itself to try to reconcile how to run a nation and secure its borders while at the same time adhering to the minutiae of every teaching in the NT. I mean, an argument can be made that a 'good Christian' ought to be living a life of poverty; some certainly believe that. So how do you apply that maxim to a nation? Let's have no GDP or productivity?

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2018, 02:07:27 PM »
Which is a good reason to separate church & state. 

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2018, 02:16:39 PM »
Which is a good reason to separate church & state.

Separating chuch from state means there can't be an official state religion or a banning of diverse religious practices. It does not mean that people of a faith can't contribute their thoughts and values to the process of governance. Especially in a representative democracy (or even more so if it was a direct democracy) you'd better believe there will be no separation of religious convictions and reasons to supports public policy. It doesn't mean the public policy will be religious in itself, but its origin can certainly be religious if the majority votes in someone who represents their interests. In fact, part of the separation of church and states necessarily means that religious reasons for decision-making cannot be barred, so if anything it's a protection specifically to use religious reasoning in determining who to vote for or what to support. It doesn't at all imply that religion will have no connection to governance, as many people seem to take it to mean.

But you're right that the separation does mean that, in principle, the attorney general (for example) doesn't have to mull over the difficulties of how to enforce the law 'in a Christian way' since he doesn't make the law. Whatever latitude he does have in implementation may employ his personal beliefs, but he's also subordinate to an elected official who is supposed to represent the will of the people in some way. The mass of private citizens of Christian faith (assuming their will is carried out at all) will certainly have to privately mull over the question of how to government a powerful nation under 'Christian principles'.

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2018, 02:56:02 PM »
Can't disagree with any of that.  What I was implying was one can avoid internal conflict and hypocrisy a lot more easily if you don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole.  (Such as an attempt to provide a religious rational to support an immigration policy that can outwardly appear callous.)

Though, that implies that most religions are not political tools by design, left vague enough (in almost all its flavors) to prove useful in convincing people they should support almost any position.  So maybe he's just really bad with the hammer and there's nothing wrong with the peg.

rightleft22

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2018, 02:57:25 PM »
Sorry Seriati I just don't buy you defending the statement if it was made by a public official who used the Quran and or was a Democrat.
Its ok not like something a Republican says or does, you won't lose your membership or identity.

 

rightleft22

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2018, 03:02:56 PM »
Quote
What I was implying was one can avoid internal conflict and hypocrisy a lot more easily if you don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole.

I agree, there was no reason to use the quote to defend the principle that Laws are meant to be followed.
I suspect this was intended for a specific audience and keep the current politicization alive and well. Well played but dangerous

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2018, 05:58:56 PM »
Sorry Seriati I just don't buy you defending the statement if it was made by a public official who used the Quran and or was a Democrat.

You have a very bizarre view of me, which makes sense based on only seeing things posted on the internet. 

For the record,  Obama did a great thing with normalizing relations with Cuba, the US's record on that front was appalling and completely inconsistent with how we should always have wanted to present ourselves.  The picture of Trump saluting a NK general demonstrates that he's still a political neophyte making mistakes that no President should ever make.

And to be really clear, I don't have an issue with anyone having faith and sticking to it.  I'm not discriminatory on that front.  If your faith is inconsistent with public service it's on you to resign, it is not okay to impose your faith on that service.  If your faith is not inconsistent with service then I'm happy to have you serve.  That doesn't mean I have to accept anyone's views, whether faith based or not that are inimical to our way of life.  If the flying spaghetti monster tells you to enforce the law, that's great in my book, if the Jedi code tells you to oppress women it's bad. 

So in your prior example, again, a Muslim who's faith encourages him to faithfully enforce US law is great in my book, one whose faith requires they impose Sharia law should decline to serve in a role such as Attorney General.  It's utterly bizarre to complain about religion, when the prescript of that religion is to do the actual job of the position you hold.
 
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Its ok not like something a Republican says or does, you won't lose your membership or identity.

Well, you actually might, there are plenty of people labelled Rino's or as the Democrats are referred to as "moderates."  I'm not aligned with Republicans on many social issues, though I'm not aligned with the Democrat's on how they go about seeking change on the same issues.

velcro

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2018, 11:16:51 PM »
Democrats could have passed any law they wanted, literally, under Obama for a nice little period of time. They could have undone all the immigration laws, granted a mass amnesty, and passed any new laws for any system of immigration they wanted. Even if every single Republican voted against it the Democrats still could have rammed it home, just like they did with Obamacare. They chose not to. So it doesn't make a lot of sense to blame the current President and his administration for enforcing the laws that a Democrat controlled Congress and Democrat President chose to leave on the books.

No,Democrats did not follow their leadership 100% on every issue  (Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, for example).  And this is whataboutism anyway. We are talking about what to do now.

"Ramming home" Obamacare is a myth.  Please stop propagating it.

Quote
In June and July 2009, with Democrats in charge, the Senate health committee spent nearly 60 hours over 13 days marking up the bill that became the Affordable Care Act. That September and October, the Senate Finance Committee worked on the legislation for eight days — its longest markup in two decades. It considered more than 130 amendments and held 79 roll-call votes. The full Senate debated the health care bill for 25 straight days before passing it on Dec. 24, 2009.

Note that this was not done under reconciliation.

Fact:  It is not a law that children must be separated from parents.

It actually is law where the parent is detained, as children have to be released from detention quickly.



Just curious, was your statement juxtaposed with my statement intended to appear to rebut it?  Because if you actually read it, it does no such thing.

Here, I think this reinforces my actual point, that it was a policy change that drove the separation.

Quote
DHS changed it's policy to prosecute on criminal charges everyone crossing the border illegally.  This is a deviation from the prior policy, which was to pursue civil charges.

Keeping the prior policy would prevent separation.  Which is what I said. And by DHS you mean the Trump administration, and by the Trump administration you mean Trump.

velcro

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2018, 11:25:07 PM »
Not clear to me why it matters whether Sessions is motivated by God or something else, where the motivation is to enforce the laws, which is his literal job as the Attorney General.  It seems far more of a dog whistle than any type of legitimate criticism.  Unless the argument is that non-Religious people believe that we should not follow law as some kind of tenant [sic] of non-faith?

Missed the point entirely.

Sessions claimed that "God has ordained [this] government for his purposes".  He is not just saying it is good to obey the law because God likes that, which is wrong on many levels anyway. He is saying that if you are against our government, you are against God. Very, very different, and very very dangerous.



Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2018, 12:04:42 AM »
Sessions claimed that "God has ordained [this] government for his purposes".  He is not just saying it is good to obey the law because God likes that, which is wrong on many levels anyway. He is saying that if you are against our government, you are against God. Very, very different, and very very dangerous.

How do you know he meant that? It is not in evidence based on what he actually said, so do you have additional information that would lead you to this interpretation? Note that the use of the square-bracketed "this" is crucial to your interpretation even though Sessions never said it. Or maybe you took a peek at the original Greek to see what Romans really says?

velcro

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2018, 08:31:35 AM »
Sessions claimed that "God has ordained [this] government for his purposes".  He is not just saying it is good to obey the law because God likes that, which is wrong on many levels anyway. He is saying that if you are against our government, you are against God. Very, very different, and very very dangerous.

How do you know he meant that? It is not in evidence based on what he actually said, so do you have additional information that would lead you to this interpretation? Note that the use of the square-bracketed "this" is crucial to your interpretation even though Sessions never said it. Or maybe you took a peek at the original Greek to see what Romans really says?



His speech was regarding following the laws of this government.  He then said that God ordained the Government. He then followed that up again by saying that people should obey laws.

Which government do you think he meant?  The government of Rome in the 1st century A.D.?  That is the only other government that is remotely related to the quote.  Using a general government doesn't mean anything.  It needs to be applied to a specific case, and it just so happens that Sessions was talking about a specific case.  Do you think that is coincidence?

Crunch

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2018, 09:15:58 AM »
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He then followed that up again by saying that people should obey laws.

Whoa, wait a minute. He said people should obey laws!?!. I didn’t realize we’d sunk to this level. People obeying laws, yeah, that’s horrific.

velcro

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2018, 11:50:36 AM »
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He then followed that up again by saying that people should obey laws.

Whoa, wait a minute. He said people should obey laws!?!. I didn’t realize we’d sunk to this level. People obeying laws, yeah, that’s horrific.

You do realize that you just pulled one sentence completely out of context? 

Please answer this honestly- do you believe that I criticized Sessions for saying that people should obey laws?
If the answer is yes, provide evidence.
If the answer is no, then please explain the purpose of your post.  If it is a joke, it's only purpose is to make me look stupid.


Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2018, 06:58:19 PM »
His speech was regarding following the laws of this government.  He then said that God ordained the Government. He then followed that up again by saying that people should obey laws.

Your first sentence does not follow from the second and third ones. You may think they do, but they don't.

velcro

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2018, 08:04:52 PM »
OK, I will reorder them.

He said that God ordained the Government.  Then he said that people should obey laws.  He was talking about laws for this government.  Why would he say anything about Government if he did not mean this government?

"I think that the players should stand for the national anthem.  And I think that NFL owners are right in enforcing rules that players have to stand."

(Just an example, not my opinion)

What players do you think I mean when I say "the players"?  Just anyone?  Piano players?  Poker players?  Given what I followed up with, it is nonsensical to consider any players other than NFL players.

Just so, it is nonsensical to think Sessions was referring to any other government.  Please name another government you think he was referring to.  Or if you think he meant governments in general, please explain how that applies to the governments of Iran, China, and North Korea.

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2018, 12:40:55 AM »
He said that God ordained the Government.  Then he said that people should obey laws.  He was talking about laws for this government.  Why would he say anything about Government if he did not mean this government?

I will explain it as best I can. The quote says that "government" is ordained. That could mean anything from the concept of a ruling organization among men, to the idea that worldly concerns are not divorced from religious ones. I will also point out that your first sentence is not a correct rendering, because the quote doesn't specify that God ordained THE government. You are repeatedly including wording that you're adding that isn't in the quote. Why are you doing that?

To answer your broader point, the quote surely cannot be about any particular government because in the context in which it was said the ruling government was the Roman Empire. And clearly the early Christians wouldn't have been approving of the Empire, and so the statement cannot be taken to mean an endorsement of any particular government. Rather, it means that regardless of what kind of government there is the people should obey the laws. When taken to its extreme one could then take it to mean "be slaves forever" but it's not a statement about political philosophy. I'm not qualified to go into all of the things it might mean, but it does not mean that. There is doubtless a deep philosophical intention in suggesting that law must take precedence, but one doesn't need to say anything about particular laws to make that statement. Consider the issue of mercy: in order to show mercy there must be a law in the first place that one chooses to relax in a particular situation. If there is no law then the concept of mercy doesn't mean very much. Likewise, there can't be a basis for improving on the law if law itself isn't respected in the first place. There's something analogous in artistic training, where first one must obtain disciplined instruction regardless of what one is doing with that instruction, and later on the disciplined skill is what can be used to invent and innovate. But if the discipline is never achieved then the invention will never be possible. So it is, I think, with the concept of obeying authority in the abstract.

As you can see the issue is more immense than I can even explain. I'm not willing to make any bets that Sessions had any of this in mind when he said what he said; maybe it was something he muttered as a political expedient and as a dog whistle. But that possibility doesn't mute the fact that there could be legitimate meaning to it as well. If you think that he was privately thinking that God has ordained America that's fine, but what he overtly said did not communicate this.

rightleft22

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2018, 10:48:01 AM »
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Roman's 13
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”13:9a Exod 20:13-15, 17. These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

Growing up the use of this chapter was more often then used to stop the questioning of authorities and those that new best.

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2018, 12:07:12 PM »
What follows is a likely offensive to many anti-religious rant.  Sorry about that, feel free to skip it; but this particular quirk of doctrine gets me worked up. 

It's excerpts like that which drove me from the church.  Nothing made it more clear to me that, while I am likely to always believe in God and many of the moral lessons taught to me growing up Roman Catholic, religion is a tool of statecraft.  (or a parallel track to gaining power over others)   :'(

That's not to say every worshiper or priest or nun or bishop is a willing partisanship of some grand conspiracy, but it's a dangerous tool for those inclined to use it.  (and an apt description for many who try :P )  That anyone can look at this and similar passages and not instantly understand that unchecked morality is a threat to political powers so they saw fit to put in safety measures boggles my brain. 

In fact the only thing that makes me not scoff at those who think the entirety of the Bible is holy writ passed down by the divine, is just how long, and with how few 'translations' or versions were needed to keep it as useful a tool now as it ever was.  Maybe Big Father is a fan of Big Brother and always has been?  Jokes on me then I guess.

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #41 on: June 18, 2018, 12:41:59 PM »
"Ramming home" Obamacare is a myth.  Please stop propagating it.

Please keep spreading the truth that Obamacare was rammed home and is a Democratic owned policy 100%, notwithstanding, the blatant attempts to revise history.

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Fact:  It is not a law that children must be separated from parents.

It actually is law where the parent is detained, as children have to be released from detention quickly.



Just curious, was your statement juxtaposed with my statement intended to appear to rebut it?  Because if you actually read it, it does no such thing.

Because your statements were wrong as drafted, by part, and by implied whole.  The law does require a separation where there is a criminal detention (which is what happens with US citizens that are criminally detained as well).

When you continue to read your statements, you're left with the impression that there is a changed policy governing the separation of children.  No such policy exists, or can you cite to it and prove me wrong?

The policy change consists solely of charging illegal crossers (regardless of whether they are parents).  The consequences are not a change from existing policy for any parent charged with a crime.  Are you really arguing that illegal immigrants should have a special right to be released while charged with criminal conduct that our citizens don't enjoy?

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Here, I think this reinforces my actual point, that it was a policy change that drove the separation.

Yes.  The Trump administration decided to enforce the law.  It's bizarre that enforcing the law is a "policy change" particularly when not enforcing the law has fundamentally failed at achieving the objective of our immigration policy.  It'd be something else if catch and release were shown to actually work.

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DHS changed it's policy to prosecute on criminal charges everyone crossing the border illegally.  This is a deviation from the prior policy, which was to pursue civil charges.

Keeping the prior policy would prevent separation.  Which is what I said. And by DHS you mean the Trump administration, and by the Trump administration you mean Trump.

Lots of things could "prevent separation."  It sounds to me like you are expressly arguing that illegal immigrants should not be charged with criminal conduct as provided for in our laws.  I agree, if we ignore their actions there would be no separation.  Or we could revise our laws to keep the families together and detained, but then you'd be on here complaining about detained innocent children (not a speculation, this literally was the genesis for why the children are not detained today).

Your argument really just seems to be that Trump is wrong because he's applying our actual laws.  Fix the laws if you want a different result.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 12:44:14 PM by Seriati »

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #42 on: June 18, 2018, 12:51:54 PM »
It's excerpts like that which drove me from the church.  Nothing made it more clear to me that, while I am likely to always believe in God and many of the moral lessons taught to me growing up Roman Catholic, religion is a tool of statecraft.  (or a parallel track to gaining power over others)   :'(

Just curious, what about Romans 13 sounds to you like a tool of statecraft? Keep in mind when answering that the passage is written regarding people without political power and is about how they should respect their local authorities.

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #43 on: June 18, 2018, 01:05:11 PM »
1-7:  A better question is what does NOT sound like it?  This is strait up, obey the government because God wants you to.
8-10:  window dressing trying to pair 1-7 with the more objectively “good” moral code of the book.
11-12:  This isn’t just a “good idea”, your soul is on the line, and one slip up here and you may not get a chance to correct things! Also, the time is short angle works on another level that reminds you that your suffering won't be endless, and may even be short!  Wheeee!
13-14:   It’s not only a good thing for YOU, but by doing so, you are helping others!  Jesus would be proud of you.

This is pure, distilled control.  This is your lot in life.  Not only should you accept it, but you should believe you deserve it, and it’s God’s plan for you to endure it.
 
Translation:  Oh *censored* oh *censored* oh *censored* please don’t rise up and rebel.  There SURE are a lot of you and your belief in an afterlife and your soul being more important than your earthly well being and comfort scares us more than you will ever know.  Or CAN ever know, if we hope to retain power.  Let’s just insert a few lines here, a few lines there, and hope for the best. 

That excerpts like this are still being used (quoted), and thought to be useful by those in power may just tell you something about who they believe are still without political power, and how those people should respect their local authorities (mainly, them)...
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 01:09:37 PM by D.W. »

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2018, 01:16:38 PM »
1-7:  A better question is what does NOT sound like it?  This is strait up, obey the government because God wants you to.

It's more like the conversation a black parent has with their child about interacting with the police.  It could be summarized, here, as be a model citizen, understand that the government is designed (in greater or lesser part) to punish crimes and that is to the benefit of all, don't give it a reason to single you out.  For a subject people this is the inverse message of that which could also have been passed along, you know, disobey the unbelievers in all things for god is on your side and no offense done in his name will be punished.

Believers are always going to believe that ultimately god will vindicate them, this is a directive to let god do that work, rather than rebelling and killing in his name to get there faster.

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This is pure, distilled control.  This is your lot in life.  Not only should you accept it, but you should believe you deserve it, and it’s God’s plan for you to endure it.

In fairness, while I don't you're right, I'm not really in a position to gainsay you.  Maybe just consider that the interpretation of the world is often more complicated than our own part of it and direction to people who are poor in the minority about how to deal with a government they don't control, is probably not the last word on how they should participate in a government in other circumstances.
 
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Translation:  Oh *censored* oh *censored* oh *censored* please don’t rise up and rebel.  There SURE are a lot of you and your belief in an afterlife and your soul being more important than your earthly well being and comfort scares us more than you will ever know.  Or CAN ever know, if we hope to retain power.  Let’s just insert a few lines here, a few lines there, and hope for the best.

Well except again, it was written to a people who were a poor minority that could have become a suppressed minority, not a majority that had the power to overthrow a government.  In any event, even for a majority peace and good citizenship, leading by example, is not some kind of poisonous philosophy.  It's a logical extension of turning the other cheek.  Developing a reputation for being good citizens is a really good philosophy for an evangelical religion as it helps to establish that the members will not be a threat to an autocrat.

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #45 on: June 18, 2018, 01:32:06 PM »
I agree with pretty much all of that Seriati.  The only caveat is that I think it restates my positions rather than rebuts them...

No long lasting religion is going to be founded on an instruction book which promotes widespread in-caution and rebellion.  After all, what good would that teaching do once any 'victory' was achieved?  They would be prone to actively seek out any reason to overthrow corruption and be predisposed against peaceful contentment.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 01:34:51 PM by D.W. »

Fenring

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #46 on: June 18, 2018, 01:46:25 PM »
Thanks for the reply, D.W. One thing to keep in mind is what Seriati said about who the Christians were: poor, often oppressed people, and a minority. When reading a passage like this I would suggest removing present-day baggage from the reading and trying to see what is really being said, and to whom. You seem to be taking into your reading of it the idea that this is a message coming down from on-high: we are the powers that be, and you should obey us. But that's not at all the context or intent. Nor is Paul a stand-in for the powers that be, suggesting that obeying the government is the end-all in life. One thing that can be deceiving here is that Paul wasn't a political philosopher. He didn't write about how to achieve worldly ends or be a good Roman citizen or whatever else. The entire chapter should be viewed within context of a theological framework, so if he's making an argument about a person's relationship to the local government it would be in context of how, more broadly, to be a good Christian.

In particular, a few comments. What you call "window dressing" includes this passage:

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whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The next section, which sounds to you like a threat, contains the following:

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12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Sure, you could read this as a cult "the end is nigh!!!" kind of thing. OR you could read it as the Good News saying that you don't have to wait for salvation until Kingdom Come (the Jewish 'end of days'), which presumably would be very far in the future; rather the new message is that you can attain salvation as soon as you die, which indeed is a great deal 'sooner' from a temporal point of view. But the part I want to highlight is "let us put aside the deeds of darkness." We might well ask what these 'deeds' are; is this a generic way of saying let's not do bad things? But within context of the rest of the chapter I wonder whether he may not have been referring to specific acts of sedition going on at the time to show defiance to Rome. That, I don't know, but in any case if follows from the previous quote that "loving your neighbor" (which includes the Romans) shouldn't involve trying to harm them or undermine them. That's pretty crazy if taken as a strictly political statement, since in theory it would mean giving aid to an oppressive regime. And that's why it has to be seen in the faith context, as Seriati pointed out. The way to fight isn't with swords.

I think a bit of a clue about what he's talking about can be found in the last section:

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13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.

The next portion follows immediately after "deeds of darkness," listing examples of this, and its final clause - we might suggest, the culmination of the point - says not to indulge in dissension and jealousy. These are listed among various physical luxuries such as debauchery and drunkenness. The entire above commentary about respecting local government must, I think, be understood as being in this context, that Paul is asking his fellows to avoid licentious behavior, among which he includes being rebellious. This alone can probably stand an entire treatise to plumb it out, since we could well ask whether the implication is that the reasons why his fellows may have been doing whatever he thinks they've been doing isn't from purity of intent but rather because it made them feel invigorated, or adrenalined up, or whatever else. I've personally known people who thrive on finding things to rebel against or be outraged about. It makes them feel like they've got an enemy to attack, a righteous backing behind their bitterness, and other such reasons.

I suspect that diving deeper into the points being made in Romans 13 are beyond my grasp, but it does seem clear to me that this is an extremely difficult chapter to parse, especially in light of how difficult the message of "swords into plowshares" is in the first place. It's a serious question, how to reconcile the message of Jesus regarding violent resistance (like the zealots) with what one should actually do when confronted by a hostile regime. But It seems to me more or less implausible to suggest that Paul meant for this to say that one must support various regimes (or a particular one) because God says they're great. One needn't support them at all, even while still obeying the laws. The point in the Gospels seems more to be that there are ways to resist the system other than going toe to toe with the police.

ETA - However I can certainly see that passages like these can be taken to mean something fascistic, just like how the Nazis twisted Nietzsche to mean what it certainly didn't. To whatever extent corrupt people use good text to rule I agree with you that we should be cautious about blindly following what others say.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 01:50:56 PM by Fenring »

Seriati

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #47 on: June 18, 2018, 01:53:44 PM »
I agree with pretty much all of that Seriati.  The only caveat is that I think it restates my positions rather than rebuts them...

I often think the difference between two positions is a matter of charitable versus uncharitable interpretation.

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No long lasting religion is going to be founded on an instruction book which promotes widespread in-caution and rebellion.  After all, what good would that teaching do once any 'victory' was achieved?  They would be prone to actively seek out any reason to overthrow corruption and be predisposed against peaceful contentment.

I disagree here, you're ignoring that a religion can expressly favor its own theocratic government, which rebellion against would be a crime against god, while expressly supporting the overthrow, violent or otherwise, of every other type of secular or religious government.  That same religion, may even specifically provide for deceptive peace living under another government where a rebellion is unlikely to succeed until such time as one would succeed. 

D.W.

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #48 on: June 18, 2018, 02:36:40 PM »
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You seem to be taking into your reading of it the idea that this is a message coming down from on-high: we are the powers that be, and you should obey us. But that's not at all the context or intent.
” For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. “  Care to unpack this for me?  This is NOT an ambiguous statement, or one easily modified by “context”.  I’m not sure how present day baggage, vs. the historical context changes that.  I’ll concede that NOT doing so, may have been suicidal, and inclusion could be seen as self preservation as much as outside influence being injected.  Is that what you are suggesting?  If so, I think it’s a decent hypothesis to counter mine.

To be perfectly clear, I’m suggesting those were NOT Paul’s words.  Or more accurately, I believe that his words have been appropriated and modified / supplemented in order to create a tool of statecraft; as a means of controlling a potentially dangerous minority which had the potential to slip the usual bonds of control.
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rather the new message is that you can attain salvation as soon as you die, which indeed is a great deal 'sooner' from a temporal point of view.
Which speaks to the MOST dangerous aspect of this religion from the stand point of a government interested in controlling people.  By tying obeisance to the state, to salvation they defuse much of this threat (from their perspective).

Our different perspectives revolve around you taking this as a whole, where I view it through a lens of performing the fewest and most unobtrusive edits possible to make the whole more palatable to, and less a threat to the government.  I posit that 1-7 are fraudulent additions or a reinterpretation so significant as to change the meaning. 

Unless, seeing the danger they were in, the apostles ‘played it safe’ and attempted to assuage the fear some in the government were likely to have about them.  I’ll be honest, not sure if this was your point or not, but I hadn’t considered it previously.

Also, I should note, that I’m not suggesting that the alternative to such passages are calls for rebellion.  One can certainly preach non-violence without giving a specific government , or ALL governments, a divine mandate…
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I often think the difference between two positions is a matter of charitable versus uncharitable interpretation.
Amen.

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you're ignoring that a religion can expressly favor its own theocratic government
Teaching obedience is different from a starting position of the oppressed rebelling.  But you do have a point.  Your reference has certainly weathered the test of time as well.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 02:39:12 PM by D.W. »

rightleft22

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Re: Church and State: Using the bible to defend policies
« Reply #49 on: June 18, 2018, 03:30:33 PM »
Perhaps I am biased by my past experience with the church.

For many every word in the Bible is literal truth and in that light, I can’t see any other way to view it.
What ever Paul’s intention or how charitable one might examine Romans 13 its use is often cited to push back against any questioning of those in charge. 
When I first saw the Sessions press conference the though that cross my mind was how well that scene would work for the defense of the Republic of Gilead.