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More Two Kingdoms Confusion - This Time from the Left

During a heated political debate--such as the on-going spat over health care reform--politicians are sore tempted to play the religion card as they troll for support.

Most often, it is the Christian right which is criticized in our circles, presumably because the activism of the "Christian" right is easier to spot.  Those in my circle have few dealings with the theologically liberal left.

So, when President Obama plays the religion card and in full campaign mode tells a group of religious leaders "we are God's partners in matters of life and death" and then asks them to "tell the stories of health care dilemmas to illustrate what is a stake" in their preaching, he is as guilty of confusing the two kingdoms as anyone on the Christian right has ever been.  (Click here: Army of the Lord? Obama Seeks Health Care Push From Pulpit - Political News -

If it is argued that government intrusion into personal health decisions and in funding "full reproductive rights" (a code word for abortion) are moral issues, and should be debated in an appropriate forum, I'll heartily agree. 

But lets keep the religion card out of political debate, and the health-care debate out of the pulpit!

Reader Comments (26)

Amazing how the left wants religion out of gov't until they can use religion to promote their cause. Disgusting.
August 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhb
Let's see: the abortion issue was "above his paygrade" during the 2008 presidential campaign, but during his presidency he is a partner with God in life and death issues in healthcare. My, my.
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrfwhite
Maybe James Kennedy gets more attention as a kingdom confuser than Jim Wallis because he used that greater revivalist mass-media device called television to do so, where Wallis just uses radio?

But moralized politics and politicized religion tend to go hand-in-hand. Yes, politics should stay out of the pulpit (and vice versa), but let’s learn something from the colossal failure of the abortion conversation in America: the political debates over things like abortion and healthcare are political, not moral.
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim

Did you just say there is no moral element to the abortion debate?
August 21, 2009 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger

No, that’s not what I said. Every political question has moral dimensions to greater or lesser degrees. Abortion is certainly no exception. But when a question becomes political there must be a political answer, not a moral screed. It seems to me in America we evaluate something like Roe in moral categories instead of the political ones it was really all about. I’m with Bork:

“I oppose abortion. But an amazing number of people thought that I would outlaw abortion. They didn’t understand that not only did I have no desire to do that, but I had no power to do it. If you overrule Roe v. Wade, abortion does not become illegal. State legislatures take on the subject. The abortion issue has produced divisions and bitterness in our politics that countries don’t have where abortion is decided by legislatures. And both sides go home, after a compromise, and attempt to try again next year. And as a result, it’s not nearly the explosive issue as it is here where the court has grabbed it and taken it away from the voters.”
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Zrim -
It is a bit crazymaking to hear someone say that they did not say what they just said.."The political debates over things like abortion and healthcare, are political, not moral."

The political debate on the abortion issue is even a debate because it is a moral issue.
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterobey
Don't even get me STARTED about our Dear Leader...
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpb

My second statement was simply clarifying my first one. If it helps, how about a retro-edit: "The political debates over things like abortion and healthcare, are primarily political and secondarily moral."

The failure to carefully distinguish matters political and moral results in showing up at townhall meetings and calling Obama "Hitler." Or maybe you find that particulalry helpful citizenry? Another result of failing to carefully distinguish these things is for those who conceive of themselves as conservative Presbyetrians to speak and behave like the Methodists of yesteryear. You know, as in making links between the politics of reproduction and abolitionism. But what interest do old school Calvinists have in the causes of Methodists? Could siging ECT not be too far behind?
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Zrim -

If you were clarifying your first statement, why not say, "Let me clarify..."? Instead you said that you did not say what you had just said. Do you see the careful distinction?

I disagree with you that the debate over abortion is primarily political, and secondarily moral. In my opinion, it is the reverse.

It seems you like to pick out the extreme (your Obama as Hitler reference) and make it sound like the routine. Is that "particularly helpful citizenry?"
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterobey
Good Grief!
Politicians need to stay out of the churches and pastors need to stay out of politics.

Zirm, I would have to agree with obey, you did say "The political debates over things like abortion and healthcare, are political, not moral." Why agrue that you didn’t say it when three people are saying that you did?
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy

You state, "Politicians need to stay out of the churches and pastors need to stay out of politics." I agree with you.

On this website, I have given a bunch of quotes by Luther on how it is the devils work to mix these two kingdoms. They MUST be kept separate.

Thank God for Pastor Kim speaking the truth on this very important Biblical issue.

Politicians in all parties need to keep God and His Word out of politics. When they attempt to bring God into it, they should be shouted down. The country is in bad enough shape as it is. We certainly don't need these bozo's misquoting the Bible to fit their own agenda's.

Also, the bozo's that claim to be pastors, and preach this crap from their pulpits, need to resign, go back to school, and learn what the Bible teaches, (and none of the 40 authors of the 66 books, has anything to say about healtcare -- 2009)!

Really, I'm sick of it!
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd Cadle
Obey (and Timothy),

Re my clarification, I think you're being more torturous than careful. My meaning is that political debates are, by definition, political. Likewise, moral debates are, by definition, moral. Is that really so complicated? The strategy to make a political debate moral is to render one's opponent immoral, which makes it really hard to disagree. Not too unlike revivalists casting confessionalists as unregenerate. How does one argue against that?

Re the Obama/Hitler example because those who reverse the necessary priority of the moral and political dimensions in the political abortion debate routinely invoke the Third Reich to cast their opponents as "Nazis" or the current legislation to nurture "holocaust." The other tactic is to cast choice politics to be in kahoots with racism and eugenics. (This is as silly as casting lifers as mysogynistic and oppressors of individual rights and liberty.Anyone who took high school debate 101 learned that there is no more lazy (or tacky) strategy to compare one's opponent to Hitlerism.
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Zrim - Do you have to be so torturously condescending in your posts?
Is that really so complicated? Anyone...debate 101...

This question may be below your paygrade but, if the abortion debate is primarily political, what are the grounds for debate? Is it then just a debate about which legislature makes the rules for the immoral proabortionist?
August 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterobey
Zrim and I get more of our friends on this great website upset than anyone could possibly imagine.

I'm sure that our wives will attest to the fact that we are -- deep down, very lovable guys!
August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd Cadle

I'm not sure I understand your question. But let me show my cards. My short hand outlook is that the political question is not "may she or mayn't she" but rather "who gets to decide." I say, along with Bork, local legislatures (Roe said the federal government). And once the correct question is asked and correctly answered, the next one is "may she or mayn't she," and I say she mayn't, not even in cases of sexual asault (how's that for conservative?).

If I am outvoted by my fellow constituents who disagree and "she may," I don't start casting them as immoral and ranting childishly about "holocaust." I simply strongly disagree and hope one day I might win, enduring the fact that this day I lost. Does that begin to answer your question?

Lloyd, shhh, not so loud. I'm on vacation and promised my wife no cyber time.
August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Zrim - Yes, that does answer my question, and I agree with you.
August 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterobey
are people still arguing with Zrim on this site? sheesh. He's a contrarian - we ought not argue with a contrarian. It's a bit akin to continually banging your head against the wall and then wondering why your head hurts. abortion is not a moral issue - well it is but mostly a political one - well, what I really mean is, you just don't understand what I'm saying because your just a right-wing wacko confusing the kingdoms - and on and on and on, ad nauseum
August 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersteve

Actually, at the risk of taking my own life in my hands, I think the question over whether political questions are political (duh) is less one about two kingdoms per se and really one about how (presumably) fellow 2Kers understand issues within the kingdom of man.

It sounds like you disagree with me that political questions are mainly political which demand political answers. How contrarian.
August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
I KNEW you couldn't resist responding. very funny
August 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersteve

Yes, looks like you sure got me. With bait like that you'll be a fisher of men in no time.

But just to keep you humble about your nautical skills, you must remember that I am a huge sucker with a weakness for the "you're just a contrarian, nyah" mode of exchange. It's a close cousin of the "you're immoral for disagreeing with my politics" stuff. We all have guilty pleasures I guess.
August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim

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