Politics and Spirituality

In February a follower of this blog wrote the following comment:

I used to appreciate your posts because I thought you have some great insight about spiritual growth and Biblical inspiration. Recently, your posts have been very political and you are not even American. So, I decided to stop following your blog. Please unsubscribe me thank you.

I have addressed political issues on this blog – probably more so since American, white evangelicals played such a pivotal role into handing Donald Trump the US presidency – because I’ve found that politics and spirituality can’t be separated from each other as if they are unrelated. I believe they are very closely related, however the important thing is to recognise their differences.

 

Firstly, politics cannot be used to address spiritual realities. For example, righteousness cannot be legislated or enforced, because the lawmakers and enforcers are no less fallible than those they seek to control – even IF those lawmakers and enforcers were religiously devout.

I believe history shows us that human attempts to bring about Christian theocratic governments have provided the WORST kind of witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Examples of “Christian” government throughout history have been no different to examples of Government in the name of any other religion (or non-religious philosophy).

True justice and righteousness will only ever come through Government on this earth after the return of Jesus, when he reigns over the nations during thousand years commonly known as “the millennium”.

 

Secondly political realities can and MUST be addressed according to the Spirit and not according to national self-interest. The follower of Jesus should be set apart from political rhetoric and partisan allegiances. As believers we need to stand as a CONTRAST to the world’s political expediencies, by representing what serves God and His Kingdom, not being swayed by patriotic fervour, or what we are told are the nation’s interests.
Our nation’s interests rarely (if ever) reflect God’s interests – and yet, contrarily, God’s interests ALWAYS reflect the best (eternal) interests of the people in ALL nations,  not only those where we live.

 

Thirdly, our own attitudes and actions should always be informed by truth,  an understanding of God’s character and with an eye on God’s overall purposes.

It is easy to be distracted by single issue agendas – even worthy issues can draw us away from the “bigger picture”. By focusing on the rightness of that one issue, we can find ourselves being blinded to the wrongness of the larger political agenda being presented. Beautiful gift wrapping can easily disguise a sealed box filled with stinking garbage.

The Last Last Trump of August

a 75 minute improvised rant in which he attacked the media, relitigated his response to the deadly Charlottesville rally, made incorrect statements about history and energy technology and indicated he would pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

He also attacked two members of his own party — Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake — and it’s this segment which may tell us most about Trump’s political future.


from here:
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/world-wrap-with-matt-bevan/8837582

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When former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper questioned President Donald Trump’s “fitness to be in this office” after the President’s wild speech in Phoenix Tuesday night, it was likely only a matter of time before the President aimed his Twitter ire at the retired general.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/08/24/politics/james-clapper-beautiful-letter-trump/index.html

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Is President Trump stable and competent enough to do his job?

Investigative reporter and CNN contributor Carl Bernstein says reporters must be asking those questions.

“Republicans in Congress, the highest of intelligence officials, the highest of military officers in our country, leaders of the business community — all of whom have dealt with the White House, and many of them dealt personally with Donald Trump — have come to believe that he is unfit for the presidency,” Bernstein told CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/20/media/trump-carl-bernstein-reliable-sources/

How I Became Fake News by Brennan Gilmore

I think this is a very significant article (thanks to Chris for the link). I recommend you don’t just read the excerpts below, but go to the link and read the whole article.

I was initially going to post this as a comment on an earlier thread, but decided the content is too significant to risk it being missed.

Did I actually have to worry that the president of the United States might launch an investigation against me because I happened to capture footage of a white supremacist terror attack and spoke publicly about what I saw? I realized I couldn’t rule it out, and that frankly scares the hell out of me—for my family, but particularly for our country.
Over the past week, I’ve seen personally the very real damage that these conspiracy theories have on our public discourse. The danger is not necessarily that a large number of people will believe them in their entirety. Instead, it’s that they muddy the waters on issues that should be about right and wrong. This is truly dangerous. If we are to get beyond this current acute manifestation of the cancer of American racism and begin to heal, the right must join with the left to excise the malignancy of white supremacy from our politics and society. Conspiratorial thinking and confusion on what is real make this much harder.

in this story, there are not two sides.

I know what I saw on Saturday, and I know which side was responsible. I saw a man who identified himself as a Nazi purposefully drive his car into a group of protesters.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/21/fake-news-charlottesville-215514

Where the Streets Had a Name, Randa Abdel-Fattah

This is a “review” of a book I recently finished reading. It addresses some down to earth issues about the lives of every day Palestinians living on the West Bank.

Because of the setting of this book and the political situation it describes, I felt I needed to assess it in the context of my own understanding of Israel’s existence, its policies and the way the lives of many are affected by what it does.

I found it woke me up to some uncomfortable realities regarding the way injustice can be wilfully ignored for seemingly honourable reasons – particularly when those reasons seem justified by our understanding of God’s purposes.

But if injustice is the result – maybe we need to reassess our thinking regarding God’s purposes.

Out of Shadows

Every political situation has human face: often unseen or unnoticed, expediently pushed aside and ignored. Decisions made by rulers affect voiceless, everyday people who are prevented from determining their own path in life.

In Where the Streets Had a Name,  an elderly character describes this to her granddaughter.

“My life has been all politics,” she whispers as she touches the pile of photographs of my aunts and uncles on her bedside table. “I do not watch the television for politics because it is in every breath I take. It is here in this apartment, in the empty chairs that should hold my children who were forced to scatter around the world. It is here in the mint leaves floating in this cup of tea beside my bed. Mint leaves that should have been picked from the garden bed in my home, not bought from Abo Yusuf’s store. It is in…

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Deja Vu and the SSM Issue.

As Australia continues on the slow road to (inevitably) legalising same sex marriage, there are continuing claims being made about bullying and abuse being directed at those supporting SSM.

That is despite the claim that 70% or so of the population are said to be in support of it. It is also despite the fact that the majority of the abusiveness and hateful commentary I’ve seen has been directed against “the religious”.

For examples see the comments after the article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/17/religious-freedom-is-an-important-right-once-same-sex-marriage-is-legal-it-must-be-protected

 

One of those comments even suggests that businesses owned by people objecting to SSM should have some kind of identification placed in their windows as a sign of their beliefs.

 

For some reason that suggestion seems scarily familiar.

 

More Godless Cowardice

It seems my previous post needs to be updated:

THREE terror attacks this week carried out by pathetic, Godless cowards.

Charlottesville, Barcelona and now Cambrils.

A second terror attack has taken place in Cambrils, a coastal town around 120km from Barcelona. Six bystanders and one police officer were injured – two seriously – when they were reportedly deliberately hit by a car.
Police officers then shot dead five suspects, some of whom were wearing what appeared to be explosive belts.

more details here:

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/aug/18/barcelona-cambrils-terror-attack-suspects-killed-latest-updates

However, even this update is lacking.
It only addresses the terror attacks that have been widely publicised – which more or less means attacks on Western targets.

A wider picture can be seen at this link :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_August_2017

Pathetic Godless Cowards

Two terror attacks this week carried out by pathetic, Godless cowards.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

BARCELONA

One was quickly and strongly condemned by the US President, the other was reluctantly and half-heartedly “condemned”.
One was Islamist inspired. The other was home-grown, white supremacist inspired.

 

The following bible quote reveals the inspiration behind their cowardly acts (as well as the source of so much of Trump’s rhetoric).

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it

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Trump Swiftly Condemns Barcelona Terror Attack. Charlottesville? Not So Much.

He then promoted a fake story about mass murdering Muslims.

 (Article from Mother Jones)

With pertinent details still unfolding, President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday afternoon to condemn a terrorist attack in Barcelona, where a white van plowed through the popular tourist street of Las Ramblas, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 50 people.

The president’s response to the Barcelona attack was far swifter than his delayed response to the white supremacist clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday and his initial failure to flatly denounce white nationalists. Instead, Trump blamed “many sides” for the violence.

Trump later followed up his condemnation Thursday with a second tweet that perhaps explains why the president was so quick to react to Barcelona and not Charlottesville. It should be noted that the story he cites below is fake.

Complete article here.