So What's This All About?

In case you didn't know, I'm in the multi-year-long process of posting a Christian devotional at the TAWG Blog. The TAWG Blog is, and always will be, mostly apolitical. For the most part, Bible-believing Christians will find little to disagree with there. But I also firmly believe that God's word can--and should--inform everything in life, and this should include politics and popular culture. How should we vote? How should we respond to hot topics such as abortion, capital punishment, taxes, and other issues? Which party, if either, is closer to the Biblical ideal? Tony Campolo and Ron Sider, Evangelicals whose political leanings are on the Left, have made the case in several of their writings that God wants his followers to vote politically on the Left more than on the Right. At times, some of them have gone so far as to equate voting on the Left with obedience to Christ, either subtly or not-so-subtly contending that the converse is true as well: If you vote Republican, you're sinning against the Savior.
I don't agree. I think that to the degree they actually resort to the Bible, they're misinterpreting it. With a whole bunch of caveats, I think politically conservative positions are a lot more compatible with the Scriptures than the Leftist positions.
Just to clarify, I would never accuse people who disagree with me--especially siblings in Christ--of what they accuse me of. I don't judge my own heart, much less anyone else's, and I don't equate political disagreement with theological fidelity to God. I have no reason to doubt their love for the Lord and "for the least of these," but I believe that they're sincerely wrong.
So there are two main purposes for this blog. One is to make a case for my political beliefs based on Scripture. The other is a bit more vague, basically to work out my political beliefs and figure out what's based on Scripture and what's based on my own biases. I certainly don't have all the answers. Some of this stuff I'm still figuring out. And I'm certainly open to correction. As long as you make your case civilly and based on Scripture, feel free to make a comment, and I promise I'll post it and consider your arguments thoughtfully and prayerfully. Who knows? Maybe we'll learn a little something from each other.
May God bless our common striving together towards both the "little t" truth and "Big T" Truth. Our watchword here is a line from C. S. Lewis's The Last Battle: "Further up and further in!"

P.S. -- Below on the left is "Topics I've Covered" which lists everything I've posted topically. It's come to my attention that some people would like to see everything just listed for them. If that's you, you can get it here. Thanks to my friend Stephen Young for the tip!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"Ich bin ein Berliner!"

           It's really sad. This morning I got my daily dose of Bill Bennett's American Patriot's Daily Almanac (which you can get here, and I highly recommend it). Today, June 26th, marks the day of President Kennedy's famous (or infamous) "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech which he made in front of a cheering crowd in Berlin, that divided city just after the Berlin Wall came up.
           So what's sad about it? The problem is twofold. First, the only thing that most people remember about that speech was Kennedy's alleged flub-up of saying "Ich bin ein Berliner," supposedly calling himself a "Jelly doughnut" instead of identifying himself with the people of that divided city in standing up against Communism. My friends, according to Snopes, this is a myth. It's not true. People to this day snicker and make jokes about Kennedy's gaffe, and the joke's really on them for falling for an urban legend. 
           Second, all this discussion about his alleged gaffe distracts from the strength of this speech. Yes, President Kennedy was horrible in the arena of faithfulness to his wife. He--with the complicity of the press--covered up the fact that he was in incredibly ill health, something that should've caused him to step down as President. He was responsible for some other policies which I heartily disagree with. But. .  .when it came to standing up against Communism, he was about as stalwart as he could be. He recognized how evil a system it was. He was never mealy-mouthed or wishy-washy on this subject, nor did he have any problems favorably comparing his country with totalitarian states. He gave not one inch to moral equivalence. And for that, he deserves some praise. Oh, how much I yearn for the days when Democrats as a party saw evil as evil, when they had no trouble defending America in both word and deed! Anyway, here's Bill Bennett's posting on the speech. Read and tell me that the most important part was a (mythological) gaffe: 

On June 26, 1963, John F. Kennedy became the first president to stand on the west side of the Berlin Wall and denounce totalitarianism. Kennedy called the wall “the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system, for all the world to see.” With the words Ich bin ein Berliner (“I am a Berliner”), he assured Europeans of U.S. resolve to stand up for freedom.

        There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that Communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. . . .

         Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us. . . . [The Berlin Wall is] an offense not only against history but an offense against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be joined together. . . .

         Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.

         All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner.” 

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