Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

  • Unless Gov. Romney is a Blatant Liar…

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:33 am, June 20th 2014     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    and he most assuredly is not – then this story represents some sort of agenda on the part of the press.  It bounced around the political press all day yesterday, it is “data’ to follow-up all the “they still love Romney” stories that have been on the blogs of late:

    He’s said over and over that he won’t run for the White House a third time, but a new poll indicates that if Mitt Romney changed his mind and made another bid for president, he’d be the frontrunner among Republicans in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

    The poll result is entirely unsurprising; polls at this stage of the game are all about name recognition and Romney would naturally have the most as the last candidate with no clear choice coming in the next cycle.  So why is this news, at least in political geek land?

    The last election was identity politics – the evil, bigoted, moralistic Mormon versus the oppressed, open-minded, liberal black man. On the Democratic side (which means the press) they want more of same.  Substitute “woman” for “black man” and they figure Mormon again is easier to beat than simply religious – even if they have spent the entirety of the Obama administration wrongfully turning religion into the most evil force on the planet.

    We fell for it last time, even played into it, with our own concerns about Romney’s faith, though on an entirely different basis.  We were silly.

    Share

    Posted in Candidate Qualifications, character, Electability, Evangelical Shortcomings | Comment on this post » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    Blame Bill Clinton

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:54 am, May 10th 2014     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Another decade – another Clinton scandal – Benghazi.

    How did Bill Clinton survive impeachment?  Pretty simple really.  With the deft aid of partisan allies in Congress and a willing press, he managed to turn what was a perjury trial into a referendum on the “right” of a guy to mess up in his marriage from time-to-time.  I find it fascinating the Monica Lewinsky pops up her head when Hillary Clinton – and the president – find themselves in a bind worthy of Congressional investigation.  Sometimes I wonder if it is not a signal to run the same play?

    Boehner has named the Republican side of the special investigative committee and Pelosi has balked.  Why has Ms. Pelosi balked?

    In a letter sent Friday afternoon to Boehner, Pelosi rejected committee rules proposed by Republicans, citing concerns that Democrats would be treated no better than on the contentious House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Democrats and Republicans on that committee, under Chairman Darrell Issa, D-Calif., clashed repeatedly over the handling of its Benghazi inquiries.

    “Regrettably, the proposal does not prevent the unacceptable and repeated abuses by committed by Chairman Issa in any meaningful way, and we find it ultimately unfair,” Pelosi wrote, adding that she hoped a one-on-one meeting with Boehner may produce a way forward. “I am still hopeful we can reach an agreement,” she said. [emphasis added]

    Let’s see, “unfair” – I think that is ringing some bells here.  Let’s face it Affirmative Action was all about righting the ‘unfairness” in hiring practices based on race, gender etc.  So, we have an African-American president and a female Secretary of State under (deserved) fire from a Republican controlled House and we cry “unfair.”  Is it possible that they are trying to turn a straightforward investigation into the politicization of the murder of American diplomats and the potential dereliction of duty by the Commander-in-Chief  into a referendum on race and gender?  Could Ms. Pelosi be sending a signal to the press minions on how to spin the thing?

    It’s the play book the Clinton’s have used before.  Worked then, and if anything the press is even more in the bag now than it was twenty or so years ago.

    I was stunned when Clinton did it and I am more stunned now.  The lack of honor is extraordinary.  Nixon had the decency and honor for the office to resign rather than taint it in this fashion.  This bunch clearly does not – shame on them and shame on us for putting up with it.

    Share

    Posted in character, Governance, Identity Politics, News Media Bias, Political Strategy | Comment on this post » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    There Is A Cure

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:52 am, March 27th 2014     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Daniel Henninger in this morning’s WSJ wonders why liberals can get elected, but not govern.  He uses action on climate change as an example as says:

    Put differently, it’s not about doing something serious about global warming. It’s really all about them (a virus threatening American conservatism as well). The “them” at the U.N. summits included not just the participating nations but a galaxy of well-financed nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs.

    Not a particularly insightful conclusion really, but that parenthetical shot at conservatives is what really bothers me.  You see, if we have the same issue then I must conclude we have abandoned religion just as surely as the left.  Oh to be sure we remain clothed in our religious garb, but if we are “threatened by the same virus,” then it would seem our religiosity is in garb only.

    Regardless of your particular brand of of faith, there are two lessons you can draw from faith that sink deeply into the Great American Civil Religion.  Lesson One – there is something much bigger than the self at play.  Lesson Two – It’s about service, not self.

    Before this turns into a sermon, I would simply suggest that the key to our recapturing the Senate this year, to winning the White House in 2016, but most importantly to setting the nation back on the right course are those lessons.

    That most likely means careful and deep re-examination of our religious lives and the institutions that support them.   Take your faith seriously first and the rest will follow.

     

    Share

    Posted in Candidate Qualifications, character, Culture Wars, Evangelical Shortcomings, Governance, Understanding Religion | Comment on this post » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    How Do We Change Thinking?

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:28 am, January 6th 2014     &mdash      1 Comment »

    Very interesting profile of Frank Luntz by Molly Ball in The Atlantic today.  The piece is two things really – one is a description of some deeply personal and emotional stuff that Luntz is dealing with and the other is a look at some serious problems facing the nation that no one is much talking about and no one at all seems to have a solution for.

    The first comment I have to make about this is that to approach the subject as a personal profile is part of the problem.  It describes Luntz’ reaction to the last election as a deep depression and says this:

    It was what Luntz heard from the American people that scared him. They were contentious and argumentative. They didn’t listen to each other as they once had. They weren’t interested in hearing other points of view. They were divided one against the other, black vs. white, men vs. women, young vs. old, rich vs. poor. “They want to impose their opinions rather than express them,” is the way he describes what he saw. “And they’re picking up their leads from here in Washington.” Haven’t political disagreements always been contentious, I ask? “Not like this,” he says. “Not like this.”

    I cannot help but reflect on the fact that part of the reason people are not “interested in hearing other points of view,” and “want to impose their opinions rather than express them: is because everything has become personal.  Those are indications that personal desire has become paramount – nothing matters but what “I” want.  By making this article about Luntz’ personal struggle instead of about the ideas at stake is to make the individual more paramount than the ideas, which is the problem being described.

    Luntz’ solution; however seems awful:

    Most of all, Luntz says, he wishes we would stop yelling at one another. Luntz dreams of drafting some of the rich CEOs he is friends with to come up with a plan for saving America from its elected officials. “The politicians have failed; now it’s up to the business community to stand up and be heard,” he tells me. “I want the business community to step up.” Having once thought elites needed to listen to regular people, he now wants the people to learn from their moneyed betters.

    That seems like an amazing disconnect to me.  Business’ objective is to fulfill personal, individual desire – what can it possible teach someone about subjecting personal desire for the sake of the whole?  Furthermore, are people really taking these discordant cues from DC?  Or has something changed in the American people to make them more susceptible to the discord that has always been the case there?

    Certainly the ever increasing media presence in DC has revealed the discord more and more which has served to then increase that discord, but can we even blame this entirely on the media?  As an avid consumer of the political rag sheets, what’s actually amazing is how few people really do consume them.  No, it’s not just that.

    This is nothing short of a spiritual crisis in the nation.  Churches are better organized for political action than they have ever been in our history, but are they anymore organized to build the kind of people that a nation like ours needs to really function?  Big swaths of America Christianity are now dedicated to  a model of the church based on a model as service provider not person builder.  Vast portions of the faith in this nation follow – they do not lead.  Large chunks of Christianity have absorbed the lessons of business and the result has been the crisis in which we now find ourselves.

    No, the solution to the problem that Luntz’ correctly senses will not come from his business cronies.  It will come from the church reclaiming its rightful place in the American culture.  Political action on the part of the church may happen from time to time, but it is not how the church is best suited to change things.  Rather the church is at its best when it is a culture maker, not a culture follower.  When the church makes the culture then the politics will follow.

    And it should be noted that making culture is not simply a matter of having the majority of people stand in the right place on the issues of the day – that’s just more politics.  It is about the very hard work of building people of sufficient character that they arrive at political stances without direct church intervention.  It is about the church building leaders that fan out through the community (not just keep the church running) and help others arrive at the same point.

    Making culture is about making people, for example, that do not watch soft porn on cable TV because they do not like it, not because they are told it is bad for them or because it violates religious teaching.  This is what the church was designed and ordained to do.  If the church does this, culture and politics will follow as naturally as the dawn comes each day.

    Share

    Posted in character, Culture Wars, Doctrinal Obedience, Evangelical Shortcomings, Social/Religious Trends, Understanding Religion | 1 Comment » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    Not Everything Is Personal

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 06:02 am, October 14th 2013     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    WaPo is giving coverage and coverage to a personal feud between Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, as it appears they are the last “negotiating” to try and get some sort of deal on the current fiscal crisis.  I could not help but think that it should not be personal with these stakes.  At The Fix, Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan said:

    Politics — particularly when the stakes are this high — is a personal business, and trust is at the core of any deal.

    Trust is indeed at the heart of any deal, but personal?  Trust does not always have to be personal.  Trust can also be placed in law, or in some cases simple negotiating leverage – trust does not have to be personal.

    I think this strikes right at the heart of many of the problems the nation faces today.  We view everything on personal terms.  And so, as McConnell and Reid are at personal odds, we pick sides when we should be looking for the best deal.  The only consistent in seemingly any negotiation involving Obama of late is his personal view of himself.  Ideas, even political stratagem, seem secondary his personal ego.

    In the last election it seems clear that people voted on who they, personally, could identity with or the vote that made them feel better about themselves far more than they did on the candidates qualifications for office, or his stance on policy.

    The good of the nation matters more than Obama’s ego or any personal disagreements between McConnell and Reid.   They should be able to set those aside in a situation like this.  It is the tradition our nation is built upon.  I cannot help but think of a couple of verses of Scripture:

    Prov 29:9When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

    Prov 29:15The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

    Share

    Posted in character | Comment on this post » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    The Stubborn and Ego Driven Pursuit of Failure

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 06:26 am, October 3rd 2013     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    The political theater that is the shutdown show is one of the most amazing things this observer has seen in a very long time.  From “I don’t have to offer anything” to “anarchist” to “the Showdown at the WWII corral,” to any one of the other now almost countless inanities that have marked the Obama administration’s attempts to define essential and non-essential government service we are being treated to something rare.  And if one can remain sufficiently objective, something quite entertaining.

    But the lead story in this morning’s New York Times, moves this bit of political theater from rare to frightening:

    A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.

    Now the story goes on to try and blame Republicans:

    Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid,….

    But come on, we see through this in a blue minute!  Blaming Republicans accomplishes nothing here.  They passed this mess of legislation with but a single goal and they have failed to meet the mark.  They should have either expanded Medicaid in a fashion that was not optional  (they tried, but the Supreme Court told them it was unconstitutional) or they should have exercised some leadership and convinced the Republican states to come along willingly.  Instead they chose, and continue to choose, to shove it down the throat of the American people.

    This entire mess, from the the parliamentary legerdemain that passed Obamacare to begin with to the massive absurdities that have marked this government shutdown, has been in pursuit of a laudable goal.  But this NYTimes story makes it apparent that goal has been missed by a wide margin.   Not only that, any competent administration would have seen this coming back when SCOTUS handed down their decision, and reacted.  Instead we are treated to administration and media driven efforts to hide the ball and forge ahead.  They can blame Republicans all they like, they have still failed to meet the mark.

    One must wonder at what point we slip from the world of partisan battle into the world of the delusional.  With this revelation, what we are witnessing – Obama’s unwillingness to negotiate in any fashion – is not a tough stance but a failure to recognize that he has failed to accomplish that which he intended to accomplish.

    Reality  has left  the building and only ego remains.

    This is not compassionate or equitable or praiseworthy in any fashion.  It is failure compounded on failure.

    Americans won’t stand for it.

    Share

    Posted in Candidate Qualifications, character, Culture Wars, Governance, News Media Bias, Political Strategy, The Way Forward | Comment on this post » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    « Previous« We Are Not A Cartoon! (or a demon)  |  Next Page »Common Decency »