There are so many ways to look at this. There are so many ways to spin it. There are so many things people say that turn my hair grey. Many conservatives are saying this is the “end of America.” It stresses me out.

Stressors include the fact that nations rise and nations fall. In tragedy and loss of hope, nations morph into something that they were not before, and start down a road that is hard to come back from. I have to deal with this fact. That is the value of studying history. For many, this latest election evidences the beginning, middle, or end of this shift. The freedom we once aspired to may be soon traded for the supposed “stability” Big Brother can provide. And the more people become dependent on the government dole, the more difficult it will be to pull them away. I don’t think the majority of the country understands or cares about what it all means and by the time they do, it may be too late. But that is just my anxiety talking.

On the other side, I am hard pressed. You would think the above expresses the opinions of only the most conservative in America. You would think this is the Christian far right talking. But not really. Not even close. You see, there are some out there who are even more conservative. While those above fear the decline of Christendom (a nationality ruled by Christian principles and leaders), there are many Christians who believe that the fall of Christianity came when Christendom in the West began. They blame Constantine and the favor he gave toward Christianity for the fall of the church. They are continually trying to get back to a pre-Christendom state of affairs so that the church might be pure again. After all, the rise of Christendom facilitated the rise of the Holy Roman Empire (800) and the eventual corruption of the church and the Gospel. We had to have a “Great Reformation” to even begin to recover from this.

And you don’t even want me to start on those who are advocates of a theocracy, where God is the king and the government is run by a law informed only by the Mosaic system. These are so far to the right that they may have even looped back to the left. I just don’t know how to classify them.

The odd thing is that the Great Reformation dethroned much of Christendom. The Enlightenment replaced the Pope, teaching a new hope in man, science, and technology. The shortcomings in the church in the Papal Schism, the Plague, and the lack of Gospel preservation left a vacancy which was replaced by nationalism. We began to trust our nation to provide for us. Nationalism paved the way for the separation of church and state in a way that had yet to be seen in the Christianized West. Many feared what this could mean. No more pope? No more church-state collaboration? Who could run a country but God?

Ironically, America was founded during this turmoil. Those who fled to America wanted freedom from the tyranny of the church, believing that when any organized religious force had definitive political teeth, true faith was less accessible. “We are children no more.” It was time to graduate to something new: democracy. In this, neither the church nor the government had the power; the people did. Democracy is always a risk, but we had learned enough from the tyranny of the church and state to take them out of the driver’s seat of our lives.

I want neither the church nor the state running things. And, until Christ returns, sin makes a theocracy impossible (not to mention that God left that building a long time ago). I don’t want human dictatorships and I don’t want Christendom. But every time we break free from one, the other seems to step in. This is why I love the idea of America, even if we never fully achieve the ideals of America. America ran from both. America ran toward freedom.

Yet the election on Tuesday was evidence that the ideals of democracy are in full force, even if some seem to be voting against the very ideals that got them to the polling booth. Yes, we voted for the most liberal president in the history of the United States. Yes, we did so even after he presided over a failing economy. Yes, we did so even though he took a stand against traditional family values. But I am not sure what this evidences. You must remember that most of the same people who voted for Obama just lived under eight years of the presidency of George Bush, one of the most conservative (in many ways) presidents in recent history! These people are still alive. They still have some recollection of the idea of America, don’t they? Or did everyone just pull a philosophical 180? I just think the reasoning is simple: People like to give presidents a second chance even when they are not totally sold on many of his ideals. And Romney did not really bring anything to the table but “not Obama.” So people went with the second chance. But I don’t know if this amounts to a fundamental shift in America, much less an imminent collapse.

Let me talk about two major issues and the supposed downfall of the American ideal: health care and gay marriage. Correct me if I am wrong, but I would suppose that if Obama were not trying to nationalize health care and was not in support of gay marriage, we would think a lot differently about the “downfall of America.” Add to that the issue of abortion (which I cannot get into here). What if Obama were not in support of abortion? You say, “If all these things were true, he would be a Republican!” Not exactly, but that sentiment does express my point: these are the issues which scare us most. Right? Let me first begin with gay marriage and compare it to health care.

Gay marriage is an interesting animal. Let me be very radical here and scare some of you. Let me go further to the right than you thought possible. Please understand, having performed so many marriage ceremonies and been involved with marital counseling throughout my time in ministry, I have thought about this for a long time. Here is my earth shattering statement: What hath the government to do with marriage? Seriously. What is the government doing in the marital business? When did we concede so much over to them? Why do they have the final and ultimate say on who is married and who is not? Who conceded such an important issue to the competency of the federal government? When did this happen and why wasn’t there an outcry? Ideally, the government does not have any say in who is married and who is not. Then who does? The people who are married. Did you know, in the Middle Ages, marriages were performed simply by the concept of the people getting married? “I marry you” was the agreement made between the two that “officially” wed them. Recognition of the marriage would happen within the church and/or religious system, but this recognition was subjective. Today we have big ceremonies. We have religious provisions and blessings. We have the vows and the rings. But none of this really matters. It all comes down to a government-issued piece of paper. Divorce is the same. The government, through the courts, tells whether someone is married or divorced. Can you believe it? Big government at its best, presiding over the most fundamental human relationship there is. Why do we tolerate this? What a silly question to ask the government without flinching: Can gays be married?

I know what you are saying. You are thinking about all the secondary issues. You are thinking like lawyers. You want to find a way to protect the “investment” of marriages, as they often go bad. You are thinking about things having to do with insurance and liability. And I understand. I am not really calling for us to dissolve this as a governmental function. Why? Because we are already here and we are already comfortable with this system. However, if the government was not involved in the marriage business (which it should not have ever been, liabilities or not), we would not be discussing whether or not it should allow for gay marriage. Society would deal with it and it would be subjective according to the society.

In fact (and I may get in trouble here), that is exactly how I will deal with it. Government-signed piece of paper or not, if a gay couple comes to me, shows it to me, and says they are married, I will say, “Yeah, right…” and go on refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the union, since it fails to meet the standard qualifications that such a union must theologically possess. I cannot do otherwise, God help me.

My point being: What do I think of the gay marriage issue? = What the heck is government doing in the marital business in the first place?

So, where does that leave us? Let’s talk about health care. Nationalized health care is not unlike nationalized marriage. Right? Think about it. The implications of nationalized health care are tremendous in an isolated sense. Yet are they more tremendous than the government being in control of marriage? Not to me. In fact, if we tolerated government-controlled marriage and divorce, why would it surprise me that we tolerate government-controlled health care? Both have implications that may or may not speak to the supposed downfall of America.

Yes, we are going to have nationalized health care. Yes, gay marriage will be the norm. Yes, half of the country is leaning further and further away from the idea of America. Get used to it. But the idea of America can tolerate and eventually survive these blows. The idea of America can tolerate Obama and ObamaCare. We have done it in the past and we will do it again in the future. It is a lot bigger than the issues of nationalized marriage or health care. We must believe this, especially if we hope to change it.

America is tweaking itself. Yes, the tweaks have implications. But I don’t think they are as far-reaching as many “doomsdayers” suppose. Yes, I wish the federal government would just build highways and protect us, then stay out of our business for the most part. Nevertheless, as of today, I believe the idea of America is still intact. This is not the end of America. It is bigger than both marriage and health care. The solution is in our history and in our future. I pray that education becomes the norm for conservative Americans—no, for all Americans, but conservatives are going to have to lead the charge. We need to be educated on the idea of America. People need to understand where we have come from so they have a compass to guide future generations. But without this education, only the grace of God will lead blind people in the right direction. Nations do fall, but I still have great hope for ours. And you know what? As wrong as I think Obama is about so many things, I don’t think he has thrown the idea of America in the toilet. He will veer from the path, but he has not pulled a 180. But we all need to be careful what we tolerate. I have hope. Let us continue to fight by educating people about our great family history. There is great hope there.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    167 replies to "Is this the End of America?"

    • Nick

      Michael. I fundamentally disagree both on redefining marriage and on health care.

      For marriage, have you seen any of the material from the Ruth Institute, such as the following: http://www.ruthblog.org/2012/04/02/privatizing-marriage-is-impossible/?

      For health care, this is just more money paid to more people when the church has been failing to do its job. The church should care for the sick. Not the government. The more control the state has, the less freedom the person has. I’ve been unemployed for months now having to depend on the government and my family, and I don’t like it one bit. I would love for my ministry to thrive on its own. (Sadly, churches are some of the stingiest with supporting the apologetics ministry)

      Now with health-care, it’s going to get harder and harder to get a job. Employers will hire fewer workers and those workers will have to be more specialized, which means those who don’t have the best skills in non-ministry areas, like myself, will get the shaft. What do those of us who get the shaft do? Depend on the government. How does the government pay for this? Raising taxes. What do employers do in response? Lay people off. It’s a never-ending cycle.

      In my thinking, all of this that we’re seeing is a symptom of a greater problem. I wrote my own blog earlier today on what to do about it. This is not a time to surrender. It’s a time to stand up and fight.

      https://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/how-to-save-a-country/

    • kevin

      I do think that the State has an interest in making sure that children are raised in as stable of homes as possible.
      And to make sure that children are not given into marriage.

      Other than that, I tend to agree with what you are saying.
      I don’t want to “take back America.”
      I want to win America with better ideas and better arguments.

    • Sam

      I have to be honest, your article sounds a little like the conservative mourning going on and trying to seem reasonable. First off i think Christians have spent too much time under the conservative umbrella. We have allowed conservatives to modify the Christians message and limit how we speak the truth. We are at the point that many Christians are unable to discern what is uniquely Christian apart from conservatism.
      A good example is how you speak of government. We live in a democracy, yet you speak of government as some an entity apart from us. We need to see the government as a tool of how we choose to live together. The conservative view of government is that it is the enemy. This is not a Christian view. Your misconception of government is apparent on how you speak of gay marriage. In the election people voted to allow gay marriage. It was not something that the government is forcing on us to accept.
      If anything i would rather have Christians start talking about what it means to be Christian in this world of ours. We should do it in a way that is not sub-subservient to conservatism. We need a new conversation about being Christian and stop fighting the conservative battles.

    • C Michael Patton

      Nick,

      “Michael. I fundamentally disagree both on redefining marriage and on health care.”

      Me too. I hope I did not communicate something else. I am in fundamental disagreement with federal involvement in just about everything. Who are they to interfere?

    • theo

      What this is, is a time to take stock. I was puzzled about my co-workers voting for Clinton…..Unfortunately I did not take that election too seriously. Not a chance this time. Got my attention.
      Now that I am closer to God I realize that people want to call their own shots. People don’t want religion or gov. hanging over them telling them not to have sex outside of marriage, keep an unwanted baby, etc. We are seeing not an up and down wave but a degenerating society that’s not looking back any time soon.
      We, the church, need to get our house in order. Each one of us needs to take stock. We elected Obama in 2008 and we changed nothing. Let’s not let that happen this time. The church needs to be instructed by its leaders as to where it has gone wrong. I don’t hear it being taught. The way we do church can be nauseating.
      We need to start with individual faith in action. We need to start with home church. If we don’t have time for that, quit your job and start your own business. We need to start with personal time with God, one-on-one and with our family. If you don’t have time, rearrange your priorities. Then when we have lives that demonstrate what we say we believe, we can reach out and affect others. When our kids and friends see us getting down on our knees and praying aloud, when we spend an hour or yes, even two, each morning seeking God, reading His Word and growing in our personal knowledge, then we can talk to others and affect them.
      Why don’t we just stop Sunday church? What good is it? Why don’t we have the pastor travel around to home churches and get them on track?
      Now that everyone is thinking that I am completely radical….GOOD. Maybe you can soak this in.
      “Give up everything you own, and follow me”. Jesus
      Do it! Prove it.

    • As a Brit in the US, I am with Nick here.. and after seeing what has happened to the British Empire, this is again just more of the biblical aspect of the Gentile Apostasy! It is a slow track perhaps, but I have surely seen it in my lifetime, the loss of the Judeo-Christian ethic etc., in both Great Britain and America! Indeed real Christians must get tough, and “stand” their ground! And the doctrine of marriage is centered of course around both God’s Creation and the Law of God!

    • C Michael Patton

      Sam,

      The issue of gay marriage should not have been up for election any more than the price of my new car. The government has no business requiring a vote for anything that is outside of its limited parameters.

      I think you are stuck in a bubble of propaganda which has been heavily delivered from the more progressives and the emerging church. I could care less about titles, republican, democrat, or conservative and liberal. What do those mean? Until you let go of the labeling, I doubt you will see where most of us are coming from.

      It is the issues that matter, that is it. And Christians are going to line up with the issues that matter, whether the label is Republican or Democrat.

    • John

      Speaking as a non-American looking on, we are all totally bemused why Government health care should be a controversy. Where I am we have it, and it doesn’t matter if you are far right or left, conservative or liberal, EVERYBODY supports it. Nobody would THINK of abolishing it. We all look at you guys and think you are all insane. I don’t know if Obama’s plan is good in details, but my guess is that after 4 years of this, the Republicans will HAVE to support it or face perpetual time in the wilderness. Frankly, it’s a Christian plan to care for these most basic needs. The church can’t do such things universally or consistently. That’s WHY we have government. The Byzantine empire financed such things too.

    • Sam

      You are right the labels do not matter. It is how we reason that matters. I would rather reason according to scripture. What i am pointing out is that your reasoning about government is more in line with conservative thinking.

      We live in a democracy. We control the government. Conservatives have a way of thinking about government which democracy does not define. Your reply of “limited parameters” show a conservative way of thinking. Why shouldn’t have gay marriage been up for a vote? Aren’t we living in a democracy? This is the kind of thinking i am saying we should move away from. We need to have a uniquely Christian message. We need to stop fighting the conservative battles.

      BTW you can label me as emerging if you want, i am not one, i am in small town with no emerging churches. What i am hoping to do is get back to the scriptures and cast off everything else that does not matter to Christians, this includes conservatism. When i oppose homosexuality, it is because it is a sin, not because the government is doing something it shouldn’t.

      • C Michael Patton

        But you are still stuck with this label “conservatism.” It should not be used either in the context of our discussion. I believe in small government. I believe that it is the bedrock of our society. Conservative or liberal, this makes no difference. The issue is Why? and How do I defend it? That is where this whole discussion needs to go. We need to be educated and then the people can decide whether or not and when they want the government to step in. I simply do not believe that the government should have any say in the gay marriage issue as I don’t think it is a federal issue. However, since they do, we have to be guided by our principles and do what we can to voice our stand against a government sanctioned allowance.

        The government simply needs to protect the people and build highways. Little else is their business. My assumption here is what needs to be debated, not labeled.

    • sam

      @Michael Patton
      Maybe i should reframe things better. We see in other cultures how when Christianity has gone in, some aspects of it became syncretic with the culture. I am saying that has happened for us and in our case we have made Christianity syncretic with the conservatism. It is time we show some discernment and return back to the scriptures.

    • sam

      @Michael Patton
      OK … where does the idea of small government come from? It surely not found in scripture. You seem hold onto small government like it were a truth that cannot be questioned or challenged. What makes you think that people have not made an educated choice and therefore had a vote about gay marriage? More importantly why do we as Christians need to have a conversation about small government? That is not where scripture takes us. Yet I find that most Christians are so embroiled in that battle. Why?

    • C Michael Patton

      Sam,

      It sounds like you advocate a form of nuda Scriptura (the belief that something has to be found in Scripture to be legitimate or mandated). This goes against sola Scripture (or, better, prima Scriptura), that when the Scripture speaks on something it is the final source of authority. However, this does not mean that there are not other authorities. When the Scripture is silent, we have to look to other areas to find solutions.

      For example, the Scripture does not speak about the law of non-contradiction, the basic elements of communication, about diet, how to perform a marriage, the best way to design a house, whether or not we can let women teach in public eduction, whether or not there is such a thing as public education, etc., etc., etc.

      This does not mean we ignore these things or don’t look to other sources (rationality, tradition, experience, ect). This is called the Weslyan Quadrilateral or the Lutheran Trilateral.

      In the end, the Scripture is silent about how civil government should govern. Therefore, we look to the broader principles and do our best to apply them.

      But this does not mean that there is not a mandated right or wrong.

      This issue needs to be discussed. We need to learn from experience and tradition of governmental systems. More importantly, we need to look to the constitution, as it is our governmental foundation. These are the things that need to be discussed and applied. If we stay out of it, we are in sin in my opinion as we are the government. To ignore our responsibility is to ignore Rom 13.

      There is nothing inherently evil in big government or small government. We just need to discuss and educate so that people can make informed decisions and not just walk with there eyes closed because Scripture does not tell us which to go with.

    • Btw, we could argue Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Ronald Reagan! With the real modern Father for America in William F. Buckley. And of course we cannot forget John Locke who made a defense of both: conservatism and liberalism. And I could even make a defense for St. Paul as a conservative, the Roman Citizen, with his Jewish Hellenistic and Greco-Roman thinking. And of course Paul the Pharisee! (Acts 22: 3-4 / Gal. 4: 4-6) 😉

    • Nick

      Hi Michael.

      Perhaps I did misunderstand but that’s the way I took it. It was along the lines of “Let the government stay out of the marriage business and if the same-sex community wants to redefine it, let them. It seems to be the libertarian stance and there are reasons for not taking it, mainly for the affect that will have on children.

      For health-care, it seemed like this was a kind of “No big deal.” I find it a huge deal. Right now, after moving, I currently have no health insurance. I also have no job and the donations are down to my ministry and it is extremely difficult to get a job around here. Throw in my Asperger’s and it seems to be difficult to get health insurance. The last thing I want is ObamaDeath. I agree that health care needs reform, but I’m sure we both agree now that giving it to the government is not the solution.

      I also agree with what I’ve seen in the comments that you take to task the position that if Scripture doesn’t discuss something, it isn’t important, and I love the name nuda Scriptura. I seem to see this attitude towards Scripture that practically worships it. I hold to the Inerrancy and Infallibility of it, but it is not deity and it serves a purpose and it is a misuse to give it another purpose.

      I’m just honestly concerned Michael. We went to see Allie’s doctor yesterday and he had to give me something to help me sleep at night. I’m just now starting to recover from this election. She’s never seen me so depressed about something. I hate living off of my folks and the government at my age as a now married man so apologies if I did misread.

      Perhaps on another note, we should consider that maybe realizing that Smallville went off the air after the Republican sweep in 2010 is part of the reason things went awry in 2012. People no longer had hope after that.

    • @Michael: I love the older connection between the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and the Lutheran Trilateral, myself. See btw the English Methodist, Philip Watson’s classic book: Let God be God, An Interpretation of the Theology of Martin Luther.

      And too, it is quite interesting that Nazi Germany was able to wrongfully press much of Luther’s Two Kingdom theology! But both England and America used the doctrine of God in their own measure, also. Of course no doubt in a more moral and theological sense, I think especially the latter with the British.

    • C Michael Patton

      Nick. #smallville. #tearscametoeyes.

      In the last two day I have found that we have lost some major donors due to the election. Small business stuff. They don’t know if they will exist next year.

      It is true that there are major implications. I don’t disagree at all.

      Concerning same sex marriage. I don’t know who gave the government the pen to write the definition for marriage. That is my point. They are not competent or needed in this area. My prayer is that we can hold societal standards which makes same-sex marriage reprehensible and rejected as my as marriage to a dog.

    • John

      “The government simply needs to protect the people and build highways”

      Protect the people from what? EVERYTHING the government does has something to do with protecting the people.

    • Ken

      We get the government we deserve.

    • Recovering

      I’m hoping that this article is a sign that the blog is moving away from discussing politics (other blogs do that better, anyway), and back to what drew me to it in the first place – investigating and discussing the essentials (and other important things) of the Christian faith, and how we can learn about them better and apply them better.

    • C Michael Patton

      Invaders ad murderers. Some regulation, minimal. Stay out of Heath, marriage, and banks. Minimal regulation only when necessary. Take the risk of letting people take care of things. We are pretty smart and innovative, but we need freedom to rise out of our messes. We are children no longer.

    • sam

      @Michael Patton for #13
      I think you are misreading me. You might need more categories to label my view of scriptures. I also will have to honest here, my intentions are to reclaim the Christian mind away from conservatism.

      If there is one thing we should learn from the sermon on the mount, it is that God’s moral law starts in the heart of men. There is no law that you can make for or against it. The idea of legitimizing it or mandating comes from a narrative that has been imposed on us by the world not from the scriptures. According to 2 Tim 3:16-17, scripture equips us for every good work. We don’t need the world’s narrative to to help us with our good works. So, yes, i do believe in sola scriptura but not nuda scriptura because the idea of legitimizing or mandating anything does not even come into the picture.

      I find the idea of “Scripture is silent” to be a contradiction which most Christians have to come to accept. Scripture is God talking to us. He is not silent. If we feel silence it is because we are not listening or we are asking questions of it that it does not answer. When we do the latter and then go elsewhere for answers we are saying that scripture does not equip us for every good work. We as Christians need to be passionate about good works. Diet, ways of getting married, designing a house are all not good works and there is no need to get zealous about them. You can look to other sources to try and answer them, but any answer you get, you don’t have to be passionate about it. Size of government is also not a good work. Yet you are religious for it, even in the face of people who might think differently. Why? God wants us to be a light for him, not for small government or conservatism. I will point out that you still have not answered my questions in comment #12.

      No where does the Bible say we should mandate things on other people. What have i to do with judging those outside? Romans 13 is about us submitting to authorities not us…

    • GoldCityDance

      Three reasons why big government is detrimental over the long run:

      1. Big government hinders economic growth in the long term, causing the poor to become poorer.
      Macroeconomic studies on historical data show that high government spending, as measured by % government spending (outlays) of total GDP, causes a drag on GDP growth.

      2. “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
      Big government means even greater consolidation of power and tax revenue in the federal government, thus attracting more politicians and the more corrupt types. Much like a pile of dung, the bigger the pile, the more flies AND the nastier the TYPE of flies it attracts.

      3. People, be it in government or a corporation, are sinners but their sins are most evident when they have authority to use force.
      Government is always a monopoly and can utilize force to achieve its will (tyranny), while companies competing in a free market cannot. If I hate Bill Gates, I can trash my PC computer today and go buy a Mac tomorrow. Gates cannot force me to buy his products. On the other hand, government, even in a democracy, cannot be changed immediately (gotta wait for next election). The feds are forcing me to buy health insurance now, I have no choice but to do so or get penalized for refusing.

    • Dave Z

      Michael, I think you are absolutely correct concerning the marriage issue. Somehow, the church (in America, at least) has defaulted to the government’s definition of marriage, IMO, without ever thinking it through or searching scripture to see how God defines it.

      There is a real sense that in our churches we enforce the government’s declaration of marriage without even wondering if that’s the correct approach. We’ll declare an “unmarried” couple to be in sin and enact church discipline even though they have demonstrated (to some extent) a long-term committment. Even the government recognizes common-law marriage, but we hold out for the government issued piece of paper.

      I suspect that as gay marriage becomes more common, the church will side-step it by retreating to a position of “blessing” heterosexual unions and leaving the legalities to secular authorities. Probably should have been that way all along.

      Also, IMO, gay marriage will never be a really big thing because of the 2 to 3 percent of the population that is gay, an even smaller proportion will choose to “marry,” and most people will seldom, if ever, encounter a “married” gay couple, except on the ever-present TV.

      I do find incredible irony in the fact that younger people, who on a practical basis seem to care little about marriage, are outraged that marriage is denied to gays. It’s a crazy world.

      BTW, there are some good threads about church, government and marriage in the archives over on Theologica.

    • GoldCityDance

      How do we know the government is too big?

      1. In 2011 EIGHT OF THE TOP 11 WEALTHIEST COUNTIES in this country are in the Washington DC area (Look it up yourself on the 2011 Census). Yup, Wall St “fat cats” are not even in the top 3. America was never like this historically. Judged based on this metric alone, it does seem like USA is becoming like USSR, where the rich are the leaders of the central committee party.

      2. Government expenditure as a % of GDP, which is at 39%, is close to the record high. The only time we went past 40% was during WWII, and that was because we had to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese Empire. You cannot expect the economy to sustain itself over the long run when the current government spending accounts for TWO FIFTHS of the economy.

      3. The federal debt to GDP ratio is more than 100% (you have to count total debt, including intragovernmental borrowings like SS). Historical analyses of 66 countries and nations over 600 years history shows that if the debt –to-GDP of a country reaches 100%, there will be a fiscal and financial crisis eventually (Reinhart and Rogoff). This is because those governments have grown too big.

    • John

      If government spending is the end of the world, why do we have in the top richest countries…

      #1 Luxemburg. 37.2% of GDP government spending
      #3 Norway 40.2%
      #8 United States. 38.9%
      #10 Netherlands. 45.9%
      #11 Austria 49%
      #12 Ireland. 42%
      #13 Sweden. 52.5%
      #14 Denmark. 51.8%
      #15 Canada. 39.7%
      #16 Australia. 34.3%
      #17 Germany. 43.7%

      Other than a few oil nations, and some special cases like Singapore and Hong Kong, all the top countries have pretty big government spending. Are we to believe everyone got it wrong? We’d all be swimming in a better lifestyle, if only the government would stick to military and roads? Where is the evidence? Where is the country that tried that, and is such a great place to live?

    • C Michael Patton

      John, I did not say anything about gov spending. It does cost a lot to maintain our top military status and police the world.

    • GoldCityDance

      @John for #26:

      Notice I said “You cannot expect the economy to sustain itself OVER THE LONG RUN” (emphasis added). America spent 50% of GDP during WWII and we were relatively fine. The point is that it was only for several years. Now we’ve gone past 30% of GDP since the 1980s and that % keeps going up.

      You are putting the cart before the horse. One reason why these countries have high government spending is precisely because they’re rich and they think they can afford to keep giving out “free stuff” through government programs. My point is that it is unsustainable over the long run. You can do it for a few years, even for decades, but at some point you will find yourself in a debt crisis, PLUS a slow growth/ high unemployment economy.

      From your list, these countries are expected by IMF and the bond markets to be at serious risk of a fiscal crisis due to unsustainable government spending: USA, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Canada, and Germany. Ireland already suffered one in 2008. Since the early 2000s, Sweden recognized the incoming problem, and began CUTTING spending. Their number used to be higher than 60%. Luxemburg and Australia only started increasing government spending recently, so it is short term for them.

      Most of the countries in your list have been suffering from slow GDP growth (0-2%) and chronic high unemployment rates (>3%) even before the 2007 financial crisis.

      When the next global fiscal crisis comes, rich countries like Singapore and Hong Kong that managed to keep their government spending relatively low go through the crisis less painfully and recover at a much faster rate.

      Remember you read it here first.

    • John

      @GoldCityDance

      I think its nonsense to say that you can do something for decades, but eventually it will get you. If it was unsustainable, you wouldn’t be able to do it for decades. You can’t just point to something going wrong (eventually something ALWAYS goes wrong), then blame your pet theory. It’s like saying that everyone who drinks water ultimately dies, therefore drinking water is lethal.

      Why don’t you prove that you can afford to NOT give out “free stuff” in the long term. Maybe ultimately if you don’t, the masses will rise up and overthrow the elite class, aka French revolution. It’s a theory. Until you pony up proof, it’s as good as any theory.

      You mention Ireland’s debt. In the 80s their debt reached 107% of GDP. In the 90s it spent a lot of time in the 90+% range. Yet they are now the #12 country now for per capital GDP. You mention the Netherland’s govt. debt, which is 67% of GDP as at 2010. It’s been about that much since 1983, hovering between the 50s and 70s all that time. You mention Austria which is 61% as at 2010. It’s been about that since 1987. Canada’s has been about the same since the early 80s.

      Australia “started increasing spending” recently? What do you call recently? Australia’s debt to GDP has hovered between 20% and 5% of GDP since 1980. Right now it is 11%.

      You say that “most of the countries” in my list have slow GDP growth and high unemployment. But their financial state has been this way since the 1980s at least at least as far as government debt. So why single out that as the cause? And their GDP growth is slow compared to what? You praise Singapore, but their growth is projected at 2.3% this year, about the same as US growth (2.0%).

      Should all these countries reduce spending and debt? Perhaps. But I see no reason to think that the world’s ills are caused by it. The US definitely made a mistake to rack up so much debt. But it can slowly print money its way out of it. Euro countries can’t do…

    • GoldCityDance

      @John:

      1. To clarify, I don’t think big government is the source of all evil in this world.

      2. It is not an illogical statement to say it is possible for an unsustainable trend to maintain its course for decades. The word “unsustainable” does not give a time frame, it just means the bubble will pop. For example, our pollution with greenhouse gases is unsustainable for the health for this planet, yet we have been doing it for decades. Another example, we’re consuming fossil fuels at an unsustainable rate, yet we’ve been doing it for decades as well.
      Here’s an economic example, the Greeks have been spending at greater than 30% GDP since the 90s. They only hit the wall in the past 2 years. Most mainstream economists would say part of the reason why there is a Greek crisis is because Greek public spending has been too high. I doubt they said so simply because it’s their pet theory to explain the cause of the Greek crisis.

      3. It might surprise you but I do agree that in any wealthy society, giving out of “free stuff” will reduce the risk of revolution or class warfare. Resentment and envy are just part of human nature. The question is whether it is morally right to redistribute the wealth.

      4. If you want an example of the most capitalistic country with the least socialism, look up Hong Kong during British rule (1950s to 2000). They never had minimum wage until 2 years ago.

      5. GDP per capita is not the best way to measure wealth, especially when our discussion is about government spending. Government spending (outlays) is calculated as part of GDP. That means any country that borrows money from outside (foreign creditors) will get a boost in GDP as long as the creditors allow them to. That is the case for Ireland and a lot of the eurozone countries. They utilized the low bond rates due to their eurozone status to borrow money and spend on government programs. Yeah sure they “appear” wealthy for a time, but at what cost?

    • GoldCityDance

      6. US can print its way out of it, but the resulting inflation is a form of tax on anyone who uses the dollar. The poor is the worst hit during periods of high inflation because essential goods get more expensive.

      7. Less than 2% GDP growth is traditionally the number economists use to describe low growth (stagnation).

      8. Singapore – There are many numbers, you just picked one of the worst ones. Look at their unemployment rates and GDP growth rates the past two decades. Then compare with those of European countries on your list.
      BTW, Eurozone GDP rate expected to be negative this year.

      9. What do you think is the cause for slow GDP growth and high unemployment in most of the countries on your list? It’s just a coincidence these factors and high public spending happen to correlate? I’d be willing to hear a reasonable alternative explanation for the correlation.

    • eklektos

      Well, being reformed you would think we should be less stressed, but from what I’ve seen we’re not. Of course not all my reformed bretheren are wigging out, but many are which I find troubling. God appoints rulers, whether it’s kings or presidents. The American people may have voted for Obama, but he would not be President were he not God’s annointed. We should pray for him and his family. Pray that he would repent, so as to govern wisely and justly. I cannot know why God chose Him, but I can have suspicions. I can certainly see Gods judgement falling on this nation already. Evil magistrates, government giving it’s imprimater to wickedness, and the evangelical communities complicity in the destruction of marraige just to name a few signs. There is homosexual marriage because hetrosexuals began to see marriage as a matter of convenience, not as a holy covenant.
      If you want to know why God is removing his hand of restraint look in a mirror. I can hear the howls already. The wicked strut about in the street, we hunker down. Evil rulers destroy the poor, we complain about taxes. Who then is to blame? Honestly bretheren, has our light shined forth. How often did we sit in church looking at our watch because the football game was starting in 5 minutes. How often did “Dancing with the Feckless” occupy our attention instead of gathering to pray. Can we honestly say we have given our whole heart to God? Supported and helped our Pastor? Been joyful to be among the Saints. Has our light shined forth to a lost and dying world?
      None of this is to excuse the evil of men around us. But what can we expect evil men to do? God converts men, not us. We should be clear in declaring the truth, no matter what it costs us. We should pray for the lost, that God might grant them repentance. And we should do what is right in Gods eyes; praising His judgements even if they mean the election of an unrighteous man. If we do these things then we will have served God aright.

    • Del

      Michael,

      My heart began to race as I read your post, not out of fear that you had lost your way, but with joy that someone who is expected to toe the conservative line (as conservatives define it these days) has deeply considered this issue and recognized another way. Stand your ground. It will be a long raod toward convincing conservative Chistians that it’s ok to let others live their lives in peace without passing laws to prevent them from sinning. Thank you for pointing out that less governent intrusion in all areas of our lives, whether economic or social, is a good and freeing thing for Christian and non-christian alike.

    • Thank God He is the Sovereign, and not the great Economist! 😉 And the Roman Empire finally fell, and Augsustine wrote the City of God! Indeed this great work mirrors the essential Augustine, and might be regarded as the most complete expression of what is central in his thought. It stands between two worlds, – that of Graeco-Roman antiquity and that of the Christian Middle Ages, – itself a notable landmark in that fascinating period of decadence and growth, the outstanding document of its epoch! If it has to be listed among works of controversy and therefore inevitably contains much outworn polemic and apologetic; it contains the Christian answer to the reproaches levelled… It reveals, as no doubt it helped to sustain, the spirit which enabled the Church to survive the Empire and maintain faith and hope in a darkening age. And btw, not a few have called Augustine the Founder of the Philosophy of History! (The Catholic Etienne Gilson, for one).

    • Btw, too Semper Fi American Marines…Happy Birthday USMC!

    • teleologist

      @Michael OP: We have done it in the past and we will do it again in the future. It is a lot bigger than the issues of nationalized marriage or healthcare. We must believe this, especially if we hope to change it.

      This is only true if you assume that all things being equal. You can’t say that this has happened before, we’ve survived it before and therefore we will survive it again. Schaeffer was so insightful and prescient to point out the titanic shift to postmodernism over 40 yrs ago. “Absolutes imply antithesis. The non-Christian went on romantically operating on this basis without a sufficient cause, an adequate base, for doing so. Thus it was still possible to discuss what was right and wrong, what was true and false. One could tell a non-Christian to “be a good girl” and, while she might not have followed your advice, at least she would have understood what you were talking about. To say the same thing to a truly modern girl today would be to make a “nonsense” statement. The blank look you might receive would not mean that your standards had been rejected, but that your message was meaningless.
      The shift has been tremendous. Thirty or more years ago you could have said such things as “This is true” or “This is right,” and you would have been on everybody’s wavelength. People may or may not have thought out their beliefs consistently, but everyone would have been talking to each other as though the idea of antithesis was correct. Thus in evangelism, in spiritual matters and in Christian education, you could have begun with the certainty that your audience understood you.”

    • Amen to the American and the sort of European thinking Francis Schaeffer! Surely being almost forgotten in the biblical thinking and theology these days! Note, he was Historic Pre-Mill.

    • Indeed the Judeo-Christian ethic and mind-set is almost unknown today, even most so-called evangelical Christians are but post-modern! How in the world could an American Christian vote for Obama, is quite beyond me!

    • teleologist

      @Fr. Robert #37, Sadly I have to agree with you. Also sadly IMO the religious right in America is more interested in recovering our mythical religious past rather than face the reality of our religious present. Case in point Gregg Frazer vs David Barton. Maranatha.

    • @teleologist: Since I have been in the US, off and on since 08, I have sadly noted a great paradigm shift it seems with American Evangelicals? I love America, but I am not sure its gonna make it, at least as it was before? But God is GOD, and HE knows! Sign of the times sadly! If I were younger I would go back to Israel, and stand with them again!

    • Eden4110

      Oh my! Hmm…Wonder why I our government has gotten to where it is? I sometimes wonder at the sins of humanity and the role of the church down through the years during this process. Why would the federal government need to intervene against slavery for example? Why would federal government see to displaced children and families? Why would the federal government take on the responsibility of divorce and marriage? I think the question regarding the role of federal government has to do with HOW they became involved in the first place…sort of like…what forced the hand here. Maybe we the people have brought this on as our own making?? I do agree with you Mike on many aspects. But regretfully by past experiences the role of how our government gets involved in personal issues, isn’t going to small. I believe small state governments just will be mimics of big governments. I do love my country…but I love my God greater. I will serve Him because it is before Him I will either fall or stand. I am not worried about America. I think we have come too far to turn back and lose what was fought for. Maybe some have put their trust too much in the political machine and how many act they have lost hope…oh my goodness! fBut I believe God is going to be working in this nation in a more profound way. I am not worried at all because I will dedicate my mind continually to Him..knowing He does and continues to answer our prayers regardless of the outcome. Our prayers move God and how He chooses to bring the results is definitely up to Him.

    • Francis

      I agree Sam.

      American Christianity has adopted so much of its tradition into their orthodoxy, that it’s impossible to tell where Christianity ends and politics starts. Most of its conservative rhetoric is actually foreign to us who aren’t used to being part of the American political climate, such their passionate cling to small government, rights to own guns, laissez faire capitalism. It’s only when we enter into US that we are force-fed that somehow we have always been heretical in our thinking. It’s at once both refreshing and intimidating.

    • Davids Gibbs

      Mike wrote: “As wrong as I think Obama is about so many things, I don’t think he has thrown the idea of America in the toilet. He will veer from the path, but he has not pulled a 180. But we all need to be careful what we tolerate.”

      Has he “veered from the path?” He may have veered from the comfort zone and long cherised childhood assumptions of some. maybe from white America Mike this is defintely NOT one of your finer articles: it carries the same “Obama is not a legitimate American” strain. You know what i am discovering ? if you really want to see what is truly at the core of Americans don’t watch their religion, watch their politics

    • Obama really is that bad! See, the movie 2016, remember him sending that bust of Churchill back to the British, well he hates any form of Colonialism, and is simply anti-Colonial. I see this in some modern theology too these days…i.e. Jeremiah Wright, etc. Lord deliver us!

    • mbaker

      While I don’t see it as the end of America, and if you read history you will see we went through many more worse times, I also think demographically speaking, the country is losing sight of the historical values that made us great. I would say the biggest danger is that our populace is becoming more swayed by mass social media in picking folks on a popularity basis, rather than spending time becoming completely familiar with the real issues themselves.

    • And btw, I believe it is time yet once again for the Church to re-engage in the principles and essence of the Reformation – Ecclesia semper reformada est (always reforming)! And to my mind at least Luther always has a contemporary relevance! To those that read and care, there is an OP book, that I simply love: The Protestant Tradition, An Essay In Interpretation, by J.S. Whale, D.D. (Cambridge, 1955/1960). Maybe someone has reprinted it? Simply a fine book on the subject! 359 pages with Index; a very dense book, but readable!

    • Nick

      Robert. Are you sure that’s it? I can’t find that on Amazon anywhere.

    • At 63, and watching Great Britain go down the tubes! Myself, I think America is at a real and great spiritual/religious crossroad! But yes, “demographical speaking” America has changed, and will change even more! Not to mention fincance, too.

    • @Nick: Yes, I have a 1960 copy in my hand (Cambridge, paperback). I have many books on the Reformation, newer and older, and this is simply one of the best!

      Try some of the used on-lines books…ABEBooks. Alibris, to give a few good ones.

    • Nick

      I see it. Surprised it’s not on Amazon.

    • *finance

    • Bud

      Sam,
      Re: OK … where does the idea of small government come from? It surely not found in scripture.
      You are correct about it not being found in scripture however it is a central point of the U.S. Constitution. It grants very limited powers to the Federal Government and those not explicitly listed are left to the individual States. A conservative position on this tends to want to stay true to the original intent while the progressive (liberal) position would suggest that this is an antiquated view and our government must evolve. What was good 200+years ago is not relevent today. It is very similar to the post modern/ modern debate on an objective vs. subjective truth.
      Truth and grace…….

    • mbaker

      I am always looking for solutions myself, no matter how bad things get, and although I expect the next 4 years to be a bit of a roller coaster ride. I do think it’s time for a viable third party to form. I am not talking about the usual fringe folks we’ve been presented with so far, on the right or the left, which don’t include the moderates, whom I think have left been left out of it by both sides, but a party who owes no particular loyalty to any party. These are the folks who are ready to tackle the real issues realistically and actually do something more positive than spout rhetoric on both sides.

      Perhaps I am an wrong, but i think that there are an awful lot of folks like me that think we can and should come to a workable agreement which will be equable to both sides.

    • mbaker

      I should have made that ‘established party.’

    • @Bud: Indeed it seems the US Constitution gets left out with many American Christians! It seems many don’t know it very well, is this not strange?

    • Sorry, my wife bet me I would not put up the younger and shirtless pic of myself, but I won the bet! I have changed it back to the older me, I hope? 😉

    • Bud

      @ Fr. Robert: I’m afraid it has been left out of too many Americans of all stripes. Very strange indeed. It is truly a beautiful document.
      F.Y.I. Hillsdale College offers a terrific class on the constitution online. They are so concerned about the ignorance on the subject that they offer it to anyone for free….

    • @Bud: Thanks mate! 🙂

    • C Michael Patton

      This is exactly what we need. Ignorance of the constitution is ignorance of the idea of America. We really need to show people what the idea of America is all about. Vote how you may, but be passionate about this country we are in.

    • Saskia

      @ John number 8 – YES!!!! Yes, so many thumbs up.

      I was talking to my dad about how baffling it is after church today; he said that America’s health system is already the most expensive in the world. I guess people are worried it will get worse, but seriously you guys, letting the government run it, and stopping companies like drug and insurance companies interfering the whole time, is actually going to SAVE you money.

    • Saskia

      Also, at Gold #23, this idea that extreme capitalism somehow helps the poor is soooo untrue. Economic growth is totally unsustainable, the idea of unlimited growth and money being the most important thing, like, ever, is a lie that the world believes because it worships money instead of Jesus. I would really warn against not buying into that.

      The richer the rich are, the poorer the poor are. Places like Sweden generally have a smaller gap between rich and poor, mainly because they do have things like healthcare, high taxes, spend lots on education etc – and the standard of living is just as good as it is in America so it isn’t that everyone is just destitute. Have a look at this link for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient

      Notice that in the figure at the top of the page I linked America and many socialist type countries such as Russia, Bolivia, Argentina etc. have around the same rich-poor gap. So your system is getting about the same results in caring for people practically (a biblical mandate) as the systems that you think are horribly flawed.

    • sam

      @bud @Michael Patton
      What you have is conservative view of government, which Bud acknowledges. Unfortunately the original intent of the document has been undermined since day one. For example George Washington should not have signed the central bank into law, or the southern states should have been allowed to keep their rights to own slaves and the reconstruction amendments should not have been adopted. According to liberals, the conservative view of the constitution seems to ignore a lot of history. It ignore Jefferson’s own view of the constitution. “Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment…But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.”
      The conservative view also assumes the infallibility of the writers of the constitution. The document has become an idol, it is placed on par with scriptures and Christians have been caught up in it.
      Fighting for an interpretation of the constitution is not a war that we have as Christians have been called to fight, yet many are passionate about it. This according to scripture is not a battle i need to fight to live a righteous life. I would rather fight for the truth of the scriptures and here is where Christians have lost their way from the narrow path.

    • teleologist

      @Fr. Robert #40, I share your sentiment on Israel. But a brother in the Lord pointed something obvious to me this weekend. Israel now knows that they can no longer depend on USA to stand by their side. This might be exactly what God intended with the re-election of Obama. God wants Israel to turn to their only true source of security, that is God Himself. Eschatological differences aside, historically it is true that Israel had never succeeded by making alliances and relied on their own power, only when they call on the name of the Lord.

    • Dave Z

      @mbaker, I’m pleased to agree wholeheartedly with you on this:

      I would say the biggest danger is that our populace is becoming more swayed by mass social media in picking folks on a popularity basis, rather than spending time becoming completely familiar with the real issues themselves.

      The election was a circus! Well, not the election but the campaign cycle.

    • Flyaway

      Maybe this election was all about Israel. Maybe the U.S. will withdraw support for Israel and God will be glorified in some way. We live in exciting times! Come quickly Lord Jesus!

    • Bud

      @ Sam: I would offer that the conservative view does not assume the infalibility of the authors. To the contrary, the framers had a keen understanding of human nature. In my humble opinion it is much more closley aligned with the Christian concept on that subject.
      If I may offer a quote ” If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions”
      You have pointed out that mistakes have been made. I would not disagree. It is in our nature and I think the framers were aware of the shortcomings of men. In the larger picture however, can you imagine what this world would have been like without the United States? It is hard for me not to see divine providence at work here.
      Grace and Truth…..

    • Bud

      By the way, the quote is from James Madison. 🙂

    • @teleologist: Well we should know by now that both British and much of American Christianity, is in error with their “superessionism” and replacement theology! Note now how the many classic or historic Christian Churches have taken the bait of calling “Israel” an Apartheid State! When in reality Israel is one of the greatest forms of democracy in the Middle East! (I lived and taught in Israel in the late 90’s myself) Sadly I have held to some form of supersession myself, in my long history as a Christian, and even “theolog”. But, after Gulf War 1, (which I was in) and reading Bock & Blaising book (PD), with Robert Saucy’s, both in 1993 (as I remember), I changed thanks be to God! But I did have the providence of my PB (Plymouth Brethren, so-called) Irish greatgram, even when I was Roman Catholic. She was simply a great Christian! And what an affect she had on me! She sowed precious seeds in my life!

      I think both American and British Christianity will be simply so compromised by the time the greatest depth of the trials hit Israel (I am Post-trib btw), that indeed Israel will be on its own! (Zech. 13: 8-9) What is strange, is even at my age now, I just could live long enough to see all this? Come Lord Jesus!

    • That PD, was of course “Progressive Dispensationalism”. 🙂

    • teleologist

      @ Fr. Robert #68, As a Calvinist I am not sure who actually holds to replacement theology views. Before I came to my reformed view I was a dispensationalist but now I lean toward premillenial partial preterism although I am not dogmatic on matters of eschatology at all.

      But what I am dogmatic about is this. My view on Israel is not predicated on my eschatology or even my particular theological perspective. It is based on the fact the God’s covenant with Abraham is an everlasting covenant and the principle that David shown when he will not harm Saul because Saul was God’s anointed. Frankly I don’t know how these 2 facts play out theologically and eschatologically but my fear of the Lord compels me to err on the side of Israel.

    • teleologist

      Here is a quote from one of your own countryman Malcolm Muggeridge
      We look back upon history and what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulated and wealth disbursed, one nation dominant and then another. Shakespeare has spoken of the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon. I look back upon my own fellow countrymen, once upon a time dominating a quarter of the world, most of them convinced in the words of what is still a popular song, “that the God who made them mighty shall make them mightier yet.” I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a German Reich that would last a thousand years; an Italian clown say he was going to stop and restart the calendar with his own ascension to power. I’ve seen a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin, acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aurelius , more enlightened than Ashoka . I’ve seen America wealthier and more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so that had the American people so desired they could have outdone a Caesar, or an Alexander in the range and scale of their conquests. All in one lifetime. All gone with the wind.

    • teleologist

      England, part of an island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and bankruptcy. Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy. Stalin, a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominated for some three decades. America, haunted by fears of running out of those precious fluids that keep her motorways roaring and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam and the victory of the Don Quixotes of the media, as they charged the windmills of Watergate. All in one lifetime. All gone.

      Behind the debris of these self-styled, sullen supermen and imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one person, because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom alone mankind might still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ.

    • John

      @GoldCityDance

      2. It may not be illogical, but its implausible, and unprovable. Greece suddenly hit the wall because they could no longer do what they and Italy did for decades, which is print money their way out of it.

      3. How can it be immoral (on a Christian forum no less! ) to redistribute wealth? The only thing stopping us from being ruled by a new set of kings (called corporations) is a redistribution mechanism called “taxes”. If not for taxes, within 50 years, one man would probably own it all. I think the US is already getting dangerously unbalanced in this respect.

      4. Hong Kong survived by being a free trade zone, and sponging off the countries around it. Micro-countries like Hong Kong and Singapore really can’t be used as serious examples.

      5. OK, but is this list a lot different to 20 years ago? Would Germany, Sweden, the United States, Australia, Austria etc. NOT be on the list 20 years ago, because they just suddenly started spending borrowed money? I think not. They are not on the list because of a sudden spending binge.

      6. Yes, printing your way out of it will result in inflation. But you are already printing money like there is no tomorrow and inflation is only 2%. So as long as you do it slowly, the pain can be limited. But you’re right, you shouldn’t have got into the debt so that you have to do this. But now you’re in it, there is no reason to panic.

      8. Eurozone is doomed because you can’t have monetary union without buying into the idea that you have to “redistribute the wealth” to the poorer areas. I think you’ll find that all geographically large countries (like the US, and Australia, and Russia) have to use taxes to keep money flowing to the poorer areas, otherwise they would slowly have all the money flow out and they’d go broke. Either Germany will have to face up to this, or undo the monetary union.

    • TJ

      Saskia,

      Please read this. I think you make some good points but just interpret them wrong. First of all, I would like to ask you the question. Which is better? A society in which everyone has 5 dollars? Or a society in which most people have 7 dollars and some people have $20? The answer should be obvious. A free-market allows some people to get really rich, but because those people create wealth everyone prospers more than they would otherwise.

      Capitalism doesn’t minimize the gap between the rich and poor. It provides more wealth for everybody. The Bible maintains that we should provide for peoples needs. So these things actually go together. You say, “Russia, Bolivia, and Argentina have the same ratio between rich and poor.” Well yes, but America is just richer (thanks to a free-market). So being poor in America is better than being moderately rich in Boliva. Those who are all about equality need to understand that envy is the driver of that idea.

      Another misunderstanding is that economics isn’t a zero sum game. What I mean by that, is there isn’t a fixed amount of wealth that gets spread around either evenly or unevenly. Football is a zero sum game, one party wins one party loses. In free trade, win win senarios are created. In which, we all get something that we willingly trade for.

      Watch this starting at 37:20 to about 43:00 this explains it more fully.

      I’d like to hear your thoughts

    • John

      9. There could be a whole lot of reasons for high unemployment. Overregulation of labour markets for example. I had a look at a few stats, and most of these countries look pretty similar in unemployment rate to where they were 10 years ago. Some are up, some are down. Norway for example, our #3 on the richest countries is at 3% unemployment with 40.2% of GDP government spending. How do you explain that? And their debt hasn’t really moved much over the last decade, so you can’t say that they spent their way to success on borrowed money.

    • John

      @TJ

      “First of all, I would like to ask you the question. Which is better? A society in which everyone has 5 dollars? Or a society in which most people have 7 dollars and some people have $20? The answer should be obvious.”

      Actually, the answer as you have framed it is not obvious. You’re asking us to compared “everyone” having $5 with “most people” having $7. But… you just threw under the bus the people who don’t fit into “most people”, who perhaps only have $2, or maybe even $0. In a completely Laissez-faire capitalist society, there will be people with $0.

      “A free-market allows some people to get really rich, but because those people create wealth everyone prospers more than they would otherwise.”

      Sure. But you only have to provide enough incentive for people to go out and be successful. You don’t have to agree to not tax them hard when they do it. Bill Gates would not have done anything differently if you were to go tax him 10% more.

    • teleologist

      brainstorming: Here is an idea to stop overspending. The party that sets the amount of spending is prohibited from deciding how the money is spent.

    • teleologist

      Bill Gates would not have done anything differently if you were to go tax him 10% more.

      That might be true after he became the richest man in the world, but when Microsoft was still in its infancy that would have made a live and death difference. He would have to cut back on R&D, reduce engineering staff, cut back on customer support. If you taxed him 10% more back then Microsoft would not be the dominant company they are today. And Apple might just be able to dominate Microsoft on tablets, phones and music players today.

      Seriously, your example is a bad one. Why stop at 10%. Why not just confiscate his entire net worth up to 99%? He would still probably be richer than 98% of the population in their entire lifetime, especially if you do that to all those millionaires and billionaires right? Really leaving them a couple of dozen millions should be more then enough don’t you think? That shouldn’t make him do anything differently would it. He would still be the richest man in your capitalistic system.

    • Jeff Ayers

      @Robert

      My opinion about why Britain went down hill and is in the mess it is now (politically, financially, morally and ecclesiastically, etc.)

      It all started with the church. At one time England was the center of the universe in Missions and Gospel dissemination. Its (the church’s) downfall is what has ultimately led to the UK’s demise (metaphorically):

      1. It abandoned foreign missions
      2. It replaced sound doctrine with the Calvinism of Beza.
      3. It departed from the King James Bible , replacing it with the RV.
      4. It lost its moral compass and replaced Bible Preaching with creeds, dogmas, high church philosophy and denominational-ism.
      5. It lost its impact in the secular life by abandoning principles of conservatism for “tolerism”.
      6. It became post modern in the majority of its pulpits.
      7. It allowed socialism to become the norm without warning of the evils of the “robin hood” philosophy, which always leads to godless communism and religious oppression.

      And its ultimate demise will come through the radical muslims that are allowed to run rampant and not be squashed like the rodent infestation that they are.

      Just a poor Yank’s thoughts on you brits.

      Because as Great Britian goes, so goes America.
      We have been hard on your heels ever since we booted you out in 1776 and again in 1812.

    • Jeff Ayers

      I left out the sine qua non of the reason for UK’s demise.

      In between #1 and #2 it abandoned its salvation by grace alone through faith alone and replaced it with a lordship theology, which ultimately led to a full embracing of Beza’s Calvinism.

      By the way— the inexorable link between dispensationalism and free grace theology (of faith alone in Christ alone for eternal life) is only equaled by the undeniable (as well as inexorable) link with high Calvinism and lordship salvation (turn from your sin, make Christ lord and surrender all to be saved).

      chicken or egg. #2 could be Beza calvinism or lordship salvation.

      Have you read John Stott, AW Pink (later writings – after he abandoned his dispensational hermeneutic and traded it for the amil allegorizing which led to his lordship theology) Packer and a host of other brits?

    • @teleolgist: Yes, I am too something surely Calvinist, but modern Reformed Theology tends to be a bit too systematic to my mind in places, and biblical theology appears to be more eclectic in the best sense. But then I am always something of a “biblicist”, and prefer to allow the mystery of God. And in this life, we can but know in part as Paul said, but too await when we can know face to face. (1 Cor .13: 9-12)

    • mbaker

      I am curious about something, being a senior citizen: Do they still teach civics and American history in our middle schools and high schools as core subjects? Or even electives? Perhaps someone here with those age school children could answer that.

      I know growing up we got a good dose of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, the latter of which my entire class had to memorize to get a passing grade. Later it was the Bill of Rights. There are many small booklets you can get that contain the Constitution. My husband got his free from the Heritage Foundation. He tells me you can also get them from the VFW, and the American legion and other veteran’s service organizations. It’s good to have a printed copy as well.

      I believe all children should all be made familiar with it, whether it is taught in schools or not anymore.

      BTW, Happy Veteran’s Day to all you who serve or have served in the military. We have our freedom to discuss these issues freely largely because you defended our right to do so. Thanks to all of you. That is an invaluable gift.

    • John

      @teleologist

      “but when Microsoft was still in its infancy that would have made a live and death difference.”

      You know, tough luck. Somebody else would still have done it if he hadn’t.

      I don’t know how it is in the United States, but judging by what I hear, and about Romney’s tax rate, it is even worse there. Over here the corporate tax rate is around 30% and top personal tax rate is like 45%. OK, so big corp would do less R&D if you taxed them like individuals. But what about the R&D that *I* want to do? What about that small business I want to save up for, but I can’t because as an individual I’m taxed more than big corp? This is crazy stuff. Big corp should pay *AT LEAST* as much as individuals, and in my opinion more. Big corp R&D is not sacrosanct compared to my personal needs.

      “Why stop at 10%. Why not just confiscate his entire net worth up to 99%? He would still probably be richer than 98% of the population in their entire lifetime”.

      There’s a point beyond which the disincentive becomes too much such that nobody will do anything any more. I think I’ve heard economists say that point is a tax rate >70%. But I think >50% should be the upper limit.

      Look, sure lower tax is good. But it’s not sacrosanct. What annoys me about the right wing politics in America is they treat it like a religion, as if it is a matter of morality. It isn’t. Probably tax rates a bit lower and a bit less government spending would be a good thing, but its not a moral issue or a religious one.

    • John

      @Jeff Ayers

      “It replaced sound doctrine with the Calvinism of Beza”

      Funny, I don’t think of the CofE as ever being especially Calvinistic. Sure, there were pockets of it.

      “It departed from the King James Bible , replacing it with the RV.”

      Really? The moral downfall is due to not using the KJV? What about all the other civilisations and empires in history past and present that don’t use the KJV?

      “It lost its moral compass and replaced Bible Preaching with creeds, dogmas, high church philosophy and denominational-ism.”

      And what about all the empires past and present that are high church? Russia became a great nation being high church.

      “It allowed socialism to become the norm without warning of the evils of the “robin hood” philosophy, which always leads to godless communism and religious oppression.”

      Well… yes Britain did become too socialist, but.. it didn’t lead to communism did it? So I guess it doesn’t always lead there.

    • @Jeff Ayers: Well I would agree, but only somewhat, I am an Anglican evangelical Christian, and surely at one level Anglicanism and the CoE has been the central faith in England at least, of course following the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles. But then there was also the Independent and Free Church Movement also in the churches of Great Britain, noting both Scotland and Ireland. And the Anglican High Church and Anglo-Catholicism only came later in the 19th century. But certainly today there is the Roman Catholic offer of Anglicanorum Coetibus, for Anglicans. And too Roman Catholicism itself. But of course as an Evangelical Anglican presbyter, this is not my path. But, surely Postmodernity, which really followed Modernism has affected the whole of the Western culture and world. (Note too, these are things that AW Pink and John Stott did not face fully!) Note also, I can well remember the Judeo-Christian ethic and reality as an Irish boy in the 50’s (Dublin). But those days are long gone now!

      Finally, again the things that affect both the British and America are really the same, and after living in the US for several years, I can certainly see this! The sexual mores have certainly changed in the so-called Free World, and this is part of Postmodernity surely. So anyway, I don’t see the theological issue of Calvinism as really the major effect, pro or con. Even the American Calvinism is at logger-heads, etc. Though I am surely myself basically Reformed. (Btw, I rather like the Federal Vision, in some of the American Presbyterian churches). But yes, I would agree that Reformed Theology has some real problematic places, like eschatology, and sometimes an overt “supersessionism”. The doctrine of the visible church is surely important, but itself is always both seen in the NT at least in the Jewish Covenant/covenants but with the Gentile Church also, (Rom. 15: 8-9). But this is a deep subject, and demands our thought and thinking!

    • Btw Jeff, note, the great affect that the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (the really first well known Protestant martyr in England)…and himself one of the first real lasting Protestant Evangelical thinkers. And too Peter Martyr Vermigli had also in England. But of course this all came from the English Reformation, with both Luther and Calvin.

      Btw, I love the KJV myself, I’m a Brit! 😉 But I am not KJV only. I like too the ESV and the NASB. 🙂

    • Also Jeff, WE Evangelical Anglicans really like the first several Ecumenical Councils and Creeds, especially the Nicene, In Christ is ‘very God’! Here too Luther stood strong! And The Council of Chalcendon, 451 is good also, though must be carefully expressed… “He (Christ) being one Son, dual in nature, not dual in Person … Christ our God is perfect God and perfect Man.”

      And too, the Council of Ephesus, 431 is important! But I will leave that.

    • @John: Actually Calvinism has always been part of the early CoE and Anglicanism, see both the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles, especially Article XVII, Of Predestination and Election. And the Irish Articles 1615, of which I give the link below.

      http://www.lasalle.edu/~garver/irish.html

    • Ebony

      It is always interesting to hear the opinions of Obamacare from those who either have no health insurance or who fundamentally disagree with the idea of universal/governmental healthcare. They often, without serious consideration to it’s alternatives, form opinions void of fact. As a nurse I see too often the consequences of those who suffer because of poor healthcare in this country. The enormity of covering every person in this country comprehensively should be considered; what other entity is large enough to take on the task without abuse outside of the government? I think conservatives fundamentally can not accept that God and a government can exist. Consider Daniel in the bible who God set up as a dignitary in Babylon for God’s purposes. Christians need to stop being radical in the wrong way. Just like the Lord stated, “The poor you will have with you always”, it is not a stamp of approval from God saying it is His desire for it to be thus, He however realizes that many would reject Him, therefore rejecting the blessings He provides. Leaving them vulnerable to this worlds system. I look at healthcare the same way. Allowing healthcare does not disqualify help from God, in fact it gives Him great glory as He raises up evangelicals in healthcare fields to minister the gospel to sick people. God is the only Healer, that will never change.
      I look forward to the day I hear a medical doctor giving God the glory for success in surgery. We are too quick to define God by our experiences, therefore limiting our relating to Him in another’s view. This is not in regard to sin, as we should be uncompromising when it comes to that; yet full of mercy as God is merciful with us. Because He will judge the world and that will not change.

    • sam

      @bud
      I am sure Conservatives will claim not to consider the founding fathers as infallible, then why do they want to go back to the “original intent” of the document? Also i have no idea how you come to conclusion that the framers of the constitution come close to the Christian concept of human nature. You really have got to prove this one. Until then you have really proved my claim, that Christians have made conservatism syncretic with Christianity.

      In your quote of James Madison and mine of Thomas Jefferson, it is pretty clear that they themselves differed on the original intent of the constitution. So i am not sure what good it does to go back to the original intent of the constitution. More importantly why do we as Christians feel we have to get into a battle that was fought from the very beginning and has not ended?

      I do not need to imagine the world without the United States, i can just read history! The world survived quiet a while without the US. God’s providence works even without the US. What i would like to imagine is a future where Christians are faithful to God and are not under the tutelage of conservative ideology.

    • Saskia

      Hey TJ,
      Thanks for responding. Your point about America in general being more wealthy than a place like Russia is correct.
      However, you missed my point about the fact that a place like Sweden or Switzerland or Norway, where the gap between rich and poor is the smallest, has a great standard of living.

      So to throw your question back at you (as well as the reply already given by John) – which is better; a place where most people have $7 (just enough to eke out a living); some have less than that (subsistence); and some have $20 (way more than they could ever possibly need) – or a place where almost everyone has around about $10 (just enough to live comfortably ala Sweden)? I would say the choice to that is pretty clear.

      I can also tell you from personal experience that when people are making way more money than they could ever possibly need, it DOES NOT benefit the poor. Where I am this is exactly what is happening, and no the poor are not getting richer. Things are just getting way less affordable, so that people who are earning what used to be a regular and normal wage which would have let them live comfortably, are now finding they have to struggle more and cannot have things which used to be within reach.
      I and many people I know have been personally affected by this. Homelessness here is increasing badly (this is exacerbated by other factors like bad policy). The price of food and housing is really high. And yet the only people who don’t seem to notice are the ones whose crazily high incomes are pushing the prices up in the first place.

      Yes, these people work hard. But so does everyone else. It’s false to say that people who earn more have done more to earn it. Sometimes – but usually not.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful reply, but with the greatest respect (sincerely), I disagree very passionately with your ideas on this.
      Saskia

    • Saskia

      Oh also, I was probably a bit unclear in that I wasn’t saying that communism is a good way to go. I agree about capitalism allowing more wealth in general but I don’t think it should be allowed to be a free for all because that’s when you start getting people in a prosperous country in a position where they have no housing or food. That should not be.

    • John

      @Fr Robert

      “Actually Calvinism has always been part of the early CoE and Anglicanism”

      That’s true… officially. The Queen swore she would do everything in her power to uphold the Reformed Church and 39 articles. I don’t think it’s true of the Queen, and I’m not sure how true it’s ever been of the rank and file Anglicans. Perhaps you know better than I.

    • @John: I am 63, so in both the Church of Ireland as the older CoE, as too the Church of Scotland (historically), the Anglican Article XVII (as the Irish Articles), have been seen as Calvinist! Surely more so in the years past. But the Anglican Communion has always had a strong-minded Calvinist section of clergy! Yes, we are on the small side now, but were still here! Note, the Anglican and Irish Rev. T.C. Hammond.

    • John

      Yes, absolutely there is a Calvinist “section”. I’m just not sure that there was ever a time in history you could have surveyed the Anglican Church with a question like “did Christ die for all or only some”, and found a rank and file Calvinist answer. Maybe way way back in the 16th century there was such a time, but even then I doubt it. What do you think?

    • John

      “am sure Conservatives will claim not to consider the founding fathers as infallible, then why do they want to go back to the “original intent” of the document”

      Well, original intent is the only valid exegetical method, whether its infallible or not. In fact, the less divine it is, the less room there is for other methods. Otherwise documents can be interpreted to mean anything, even the opposite.

    • Bud

      @Sam: The Constitution is not a particulary long document to read and was written in a very straight forward manner. It begins with a statement that all men are created equal and that there are certain rights that come from the creator (God). The point to me being that the rights were given by God and not the government. It then goes on to list the reasons why they felt it necessary to establish a new government and then it proceeds to detail the structure of this new government and how it will operate. The best insight into the how’s and why’s of it seems to me to be in the Federalist Papers.
      As to the human nature part what I ment is that the framers understood that men were subject to their passions and self interests. As students of history they saw how tyrannical or despotic regimes could gain control over peoples lives and they concluded that both mens nature as well as governments needed restraints. A quote I remember to that effect was ” We must take human nature as we find it and not as we think it should be” or something along those lines. My point was I do not think they held mankind as by nature good. My comparison to Christianity was that it finds human nature as fallen (not good) as well and as a Calvinist I would refer to the doctrine of total depravity. Some progressives would say human nature is basically good but because of social or economic reasons can turn bad.
      I am not suggesting that to be Christian is to be conservative. Liberalism and conservativism are political ideologies. Christianity is a large house with many rooms. While we may differ on our philosophy of government we are united in Christ and a truly perfect form of government will not exist untill his return. Untill then this is the best one we have.
      Grace and truth……

    • John

      Here’s the deal. Capitalism doesn’t work because it’s moral. It works because it harnesses our greed. I say harnesses, because regulation and taxes are what brings an immoral beast to work for the good of society. Communism is moral, but people are not, so it doesn’t work (amongst other reasons).

    • sam

      @john @bud @michael Patton
      If you go up in the comments you will see a quote from James Madison, another from Thomas Jefferson. Also when you go into the history and see the reasons for George Washington signing into existence a national bank, you will see that even the founding fathers had different ideas as to what the original intent of the constitution was. As far as original intent goes, it is not monolithic as how the conservatives claim it to be. So the question eventually becomes, whose original intent to go with? This has been a battle that has been fought from the beginning. I see no reason for Christians to be so passionate about an interpretation of constitution or small government, except that they have defined Christianity as through the lens of conservatism. In such a view of Christianity, the command to set on our hearts on things above seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

      It is good that you welcome liberals into Kingdom of God too. But when conservatives say things that they need to be educated about the constitution or when conservatives say that they will never vote for Obama yet vote for a mormon Romney or when they say because of liberal votes the USA is going to go down the tubes, like it wouldn’t go down the tubes under Romney, is that welcoming liberals into the Kingdom of God?

    • Vinny

      The most liberal president in the history of the United States? That really shows a lack of knowledge. Obama is about as liberal as Eisenhower. At least in how he has governed so far, Obama is well to the right of LBJ or FDR.

    • @John: I can think of the time of Anglicanism, in the late 1700’s, with John Newton, who with William Cowper wrote the Olney Hymns. Cowper (pronounced Cooper, btw). Cowper was an English poet and hymnodist, and one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. He was a fervent Evangelical Christian and friend of Newton. We should note too, that he had problems with depression and thought perhaps that he was one damned by God, and not one of the elect. As this was the general position of Anglican Calvinism at the time, i.e. election to grace or reprobation! Check out the life of William Cowper.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olney_Hymns

    • I have always thought of Obama as one of the most “Left” American Presidents, and certainly the one that has spent more money than any and all combined! Is this true?

    • John

      @Fr Robert

      “I have always thought of Obama as one of the most “Left” American Presidents, and certainly the one that has spent more money than any and all combined! Is this true?”

      Bush is the one who blew out government spending. Obama just kept it about the same. Bush grew spending 8% per year. Obama grew it 1.4% per year, which is actually the slowest government spending growth since at least before Reagan. Reagan, Clinton, Bush I and II all grew it a lot more. Actually, adjusting for inflation, spending actually fell under Obama.

    • Funny again, I have heard it all different, that Bush was spending with both 9/11, and later the Iraq War? I am sure this is a debate!

    • John

      @sam

      “As far as original intent goes, it is not monolithic as how the conservatives claim it to be. So the question eventually becomes, whose original intent to go with?”

      As a legal document, always the plain meaning of the words takes precedence over suppositions about original intent. But where there is doubt or questions about original intent, it’s standard procedure of judges to look at intent. When judges are not sure just from the words what some legalese means, they will look at what debate look place around the legislation and what the government was saying about the legislation at the time it was enacted. To do it for the constitution would not be different than for any other legislation.

    • Btw, let me share this great Cowper Hymn… I think this fits into American Christianiity also, as Christianity proper, in the doctrine of God! Often times hymnology is the best theology!

      LXIII. Light Shining out of Darkness
      God moves in a mysterious way
      His wonders to perform;
      He plants His footsteps in the sea,
      And rides upon the storm.

      Deep in unfathomable mines
      Of never-failing skill,
      He treasures up His bright designs,
      And works His sovereign will.

      Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
      The clouds ye so much dread
      Are big with mercy, and shall break
      In blessings on your head.

      Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
      But trust Him for His grace;
      Behind a frowning providence
      He hides a smiling face.

      His purposes will ripen fast,
      Unfolding every hour;
      The bud may have a bitter taste,
      But sweet will be the flower.

      Blind unbelief is sure to err,
      And scan His work in vain:
      God is His own interpreter,
      And he will make it plain

    • Vinny

      I would have to do more research, but I don’t think that the growth in spending under Obama has been dramatically greater than it was under Bush or Clinton. Much of that growth was the result of bailing out the financial system, which was just a continuation of the policies of the prior administration. So I don’t think that there is any way that he has spent more than all his predecessors combined.

      Debt has increased dramatically on Obama’s watch, but once again that was the result of the financial crisis. It is not the result of the kind of new liberal social programs that were seen under Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. It is hard to believe that any Republican president wouldn’t have continued the bailouts that began under Bush.

      Obama’s health care reform usually gets him labeled as a socialist, but nationalized health care was once upon a time a perfectly respectable thing for moderate Republicans to support so it is hard for me to see how that could make him one of the farthest left,

      It is difficult to put all forty-four presidents on the same left/right scale, but going back one hundred years, I would say Roosevelt and Johnson were the most liberal. Truman and Carter come behind them and I would group Obama, Clinton, and Kennedy behind them. So I’m not sure he’s even in the top third for leftiness of presidents in the last century.

    • teleologist

      @John #104 “Bush is the one who blew out government spending. Obama just kept it about the same. Bush grew spending 8% per year. Obama grew it 1.4% per year, which is actually the slowest government spending growth

      I am not a fan of Bush but this is just pure propaganda. Did you get that from George Soro’s Media Matters or Ctr American Progress.
      http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/hist.pdf
      Just stick to the facts. The bottom line is Obame increased spending by $535B in his first year from $2.9T to $3.5T while rev dropped $419B which is what created the $1.4T deficit. Obama has been running over a $1.2T deficit every year since while rev only increase a little over $100B/yr. If you want to spend money we don’t have fine. If you want to tell the American people you want to raise another $1.2T in new taxes, fine. But cut the propaganda of 1.4%. The campaign is over.

    • Vinny

      Teleologist,

      I saw the 1.4% number on the MarketWatch website and I think it was reached by blaming Bush for some portion of the 2009 bailout spending. I wouldn’t call it pure propaganda since an argument might legitimately be made about who was responsible for that increased spending, but objectively it occurred on Obama’s watch. The spending during every administration is effected by events outside the president’s control as well as decisions made during prior adminstrations, but the numbers are still the numbers.

    • teleologist

      The Obama campaign was pushing this 1.4% propaganda prior to the election. I say propaganda because you can selectively compare any subset of figures from the budget to get a number that is favorable to your argument. You can create all sorts of reason why Obama got his hands caught in the cookie jaw but at the end of the day his hands are in the cookie jaw for over $1.2T/yr and according the CBO it will continue to be over $1T/yr long after Obama leaves office. So it doesn’t matter where or how you got the 1.4%. It is completely irrelevant when you are running that kind of deficit.

    • I just knew there was a further debate here! 😉 After seeing 2016, Obama is a bummer, without a doubt!

    • Vinny

      Teleology,

      I have no major disagreement. I only consider it somewhat less than pure propaganda in that the original source of the number was not necessarily partisan. The way the number was used by the campaign is another story all together.

    • mbaker

      You know i have kept up with all the comments, and although there are good reasons, many of which I agree with, on why America has gone wrong, including the last election, the bottom line is : Are we going to roll over and die because of it, or are we going to believe in the ordinary people who make up our country and have survived no matter what? I’m certainly not happy with the way the country has been going in the last few elections either, yet neither am I willing to bow to the doomsday sayers. So I have to agree with Michael on this.

      We have Christ for heavens sake. who says we win in the end and so we Christians. even if we are in the minority, should as least try to act like winners for a change, and take it as an opportunity instead to compare the gospel of the Good News instead of crying in our beer over all the negative stuff.

    • teleologist

      I guess that depends on what you mean by win. Does Christ winning mean that America will not descend into irrelevance like all the other empires before it? If we think from history that we’ve always risen out of bad times, history also tell us empires do fall. Does Christ winning mean that Christians will not be persecuted? I don’t think so. I believe persecution on Christians will increase. America will continue to decline morally and in significance. That is alright, because the Lord has warned us of this, even with eschatology aside. No we are not to cry over some warm beer but we are to continue to work until He comes or until we are taken home. I am fine with that. Still I would pray that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life.

    • Francis

      I didn’t see it coming, but it seems that America truly is coming to an end:

      http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/texas-petition-secede-reaches-threshold-obama-comment/story?id=17701519#.UKJxX2fbw14

      This reminds me of the issue with Quebec sovereignty, which sought (and will seek) to secede from Canada, during which some in Montreal asked to secede from Quebec. 🙂

    • @Tel, Indeed if America gets much more like the UK and Great Britain, the secularism will press people into madness! And only the Spirit of God can save and change people! But the Gospel is becoming so unknown today, that when it is really preached, the secular ears just cannot hear it, much less believe it! Note, St. Paul’s Last Will & Testament, 2 Timothy, especially chapters 2-3-4! Indeed this is a “spiritual” condition, i.e. humanities sinful being! It is collective in the First Adam, Rom. 3:23 ; 5: 12-14, but we have (thanks be to God), the Last Adam, verse 15, etc.

    • Btw, just an amazing stat, but it appears that Romney lost by more than 2 million votes compared to John McCain’s run. Indeed the American voting demographics have surely changed! One wonders if the GOP can win again? And the British HAVE their Conservative Party in! But there are such major differences in the British idea of “conservative”!

      Just a question, but who feels (on the conservative side) that Obama Care is a good thing in the long run? I mean the Brit’s have had social health care for many, many years! (And just a futher note too, but we, my wife and I came here (USA), for the health care for her – we pay for it – and the weather in S. Calif.) She has chronic COPD. Oh those years of her smoking, don’t smoke! I don’t, and she hasn’t now for over ten years.

    • […] Is this the end of America? – Here is a helpful article in light of the recent election by our friends over at the Credo House. […]

    • John

      @Fr Robert

      ” it appears that Romney lost by more than 2 million votes compared to John McCain’s run. Indeed the American voting demographics have surely changed!”

      Mightn’t it be because Romney is a clown? Maybe when they find a candidate without so many liabilities, they will win again.

    • teleologist

      @ Fr. Robert, I am no expert in Europe but even I can see the secularization is a fait accompli. America lags Europe but it is has been a long time in coming. IMO, it began with the social gospel of the 1800s when a Christ center gospel has less priority than the worldly needs of the unsaved. The seed that was plant back then has morphed into the monster we have today typified in the emergents and to a lesser degree in many of our Christian psyche. Biblical and social conservative like myself are walking dinosaurs that is sure to go extinct if the Lord tarries.

      As to your question on Obamacare, how can it possibly be good accept for those who are already eligible for free healthcare. Some CBO estimates that there are over $2T of hidden cost in Obamacare that is not accounted for. We will have to wait and see. Every entitlement we have is a ponzi scheme that normally is illegal unless it is instituted by the gov’t. Every entitlement is headed for financial armageddon. Like dependent drug addicts we can’t quit but now we can get another helping with Obamacare.

      I pay for my own healthcare and the only way I’ve managed last years increase is to increase my deductible. Call me cynical but I don’t think there are any good players in this game, not the insurance company, not the doctors, not the government and not even the patients. Just from my personal experience.

    • John

      @ teleologist

      “your question on Obamacare, how can it possibly be good”

      Err… I think enquiring minds want more detail about why health care wouldn’t be good.

      “Every entitlement is headed for financial armageddon. Like dependent drug addicts we can’t quit but now we can get another helping with Obamacare.”

      But… health care is a fairly inelastic consumable. Or at least… it should be. If you need it, you pretty much need it. And its got to be paid for. You can’t substitute it for anything else. If it costs 1T or 2T or 10T, well, its got to be paid for. Whether you pay it out of your pocket, or via a private health firm, or your employer pays it, or the government pays it, sooner or later, directly or indirectly, you will pay it and society will pay it.

      I don’t see why Britain can afford it and be running a successful economy, and Australia can pay for it and run a successful economy, but the US can’t pay for it. Those countries like it, and it isn’t even a controversy. There is NOBODY crying out about how it should be gotten rid of. NOBODY.

    • @John: I would never call Romney or Ryan “clowns” nor should you mate! Disagree on the political, but not ad hom, etc. But, I would call Obama very close to being “evil”, at least on the level of ideology, etc., but of course that’s my opinion, and I am a Brit., but an old military one, to degree. And as I have said, I served as an RMC with/attached to the American Marine 3rd Force Recon (years ago). But on health care, I would agree somewhat, but perhaps it would have been better to have some kind of agreement with the GOP and the full American people, before they pressed it thru! Not one vote from the GOP, this was not good! Note my Irish younger brother is now an American citizen, and he was an American Marine. And he is a Republican.

      And btw, one of my best friends in the Nam, was an American Marine Recon guy who was a Mormon. I remember him telling me he loved Jesus Christ as his Savior. He was later killed in action. I always hope he RIP!

    • @Tel, I would think it would take years really for the American people to get to some kind of general agreement on health-care, Dem’s, GOP, Independents, etc., but now its going to be done in one quick hit with Obama Care? Indeed does not sound so good! I wonder what many of the American doctors are gonna do? But again, I am Brit, but a conservative one.

    • John

      @Fr Robert

      Romney being a Mormon doesn’t influence me much, but… it only takes a few percent of the population to swing the election, and there were even atheists out there commenting that Mormonism is so ridiculous, compared to mainline Christianity, that they had to doubt the intelligence of anyone subscribing to it. That’s without even talking about Christians who have issues with it.

      If we’re not going to call Romney a clown, then let’s just say it was a very condescending campaign in my view, from the Etch a Sketch comments to the 47% comments, to the attempts to downplay people’s need for health care, and policy to reduce deficit via reducing taxes. I’m the sort of person who would be inclined to vote Republican if I were American, and if they ran a good campaign.

    • @John, I have learned that the so-called existential side of the Faith, exists even within poor or bad doctrine. As much as I love the Reformed faith and theology itself, we can never make any litmus test in faith, save perhaps the essence of the Incarnation and something of the Work of Christ. I would agree that Momonism has some deep errors here also. But some call Christ as their Savior! And being raised in something is always a great challenge. I was raised Irish Roman Catholic in the 50’s and 60’s, and it took for some heavy work, mentally and even emotionally, to get free of Roman Catholicism! (But even as a Catholic, I first touched Augustine and the Augustinian faith). I was even an Anglo-Catholic for several years, before the Reformational and the Reformed doctrine/doctrines of grace took hold of my heart & mind. But I have learned with Luther that the “theologia crucis” (the doctrine of the cross), is really the doctrine of St. Paul! (1 Cor. 2: 1-5) And Paul was and is Christ’s chosen vessel in and for this Gospel, (Acts 9: 15-16 / 1 Tim. 1: 11-16). But then this is pretty “theological”, and I thank God for it! And Paul does talk about proper “knowledge” (ginosko)…2 Cor. 8: 9, as “In Christ”. But this is also always profoundly mystical in faith too! And we are as Peter said to “grow in grace, and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 3: 18) But once again this is not just intellectual activity, but by the Holy Spirit. In the end, it is always toward the Doctrine of God, that we are drawn by Christ, in the Spirit (Eph. 2: 18). How’s that for a mental run of faith! 😉

      Yes, if were an American, I would be inclined too towards the Republican party. It seems the best form of seeing the American Constitution, etc. Funny though Lincoln was the first “Republican”, and he really pressed the Federal Union, and perhaps overly so? Btw, look at all the States that want to get away from the Federal goverment, now. Quite…

    • teleologist

      @Fr. Robert, I doubt there will be enough votes even in those states that petitioned to secede. But if there were enough votes I doubt Obama and the liberals would allow it, which makes me wonder why? If you are a liberal and you have this following mindset of people like me, why would you want to be in the same union as I am?

      Even if Romney is a pragmatic centrist, I question his ability to act independently of a party that I fear has become beholden to people I view as extremists – anti-intellectuals who are hostile to women, minorities, the poor, immigrants, and gays, and who don’t believe in evolution, diplomacy, protecting the environment, equality for women, global warming, and gun control.

      My suspicion on why they won’t let us secede is because everything we have belongs to them. I think they would be fine with people seceding if they just leave the country with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Liberal are the most kind and tolerant bunch as long as you don’t disagree with them.

      @John, I am not trying to ignore you but I am just in no mood to re-debate Obamacare. If you don’t know the problems with it by now I doubt you will see it now.

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist,

      It’s not that the possessions of conservatives belong to liberals. It’s that the states belong to the United States.

      I don’t see where the idea comes from that a minority of people should be able to claim some portion of the United States as their own personal possession and set up an independent government just because they didn’t get their way in the most recent election.

    • teleologist

      @Vinny, you have it exactly the opposite. I think these 2 articles from Walter Williams will answer your questions.
      http://capitalismmagazine.com/2002/04/do-states-have-a-right-of-secession
      http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2009/03/25/states_rebellion_pending/page/full/

      Personally I am not suggesting we should secede. I am just forwarding the argument why people might want to secede. The problem is not just over a single election. It is over the increasing polarization of the country. The question is will it get to the point of the 1776 Revolution or the Civil War level. In its simplest cause these wars were because people finally came to the point where an amicable solution could not be reached between two diametrically opposing values.

    • Vinny

      @Teleological,

      Do you really think that two articles from a man who does not appear to have any qualifications as a constitutional scholar really answer any questions? Moreover, the people who want to secede because of the increasing polarization seem to me to be the very same people who are responsible for that increase. If we acknowledge the right to secede, doesn’t that just provide motivation for further polarization rather than compromise?

    • Wow.. Its not hard to see the great divide here with ideology in the American political! But as we watch the American Obama since the election, it appears he thinks he is a prince or king, rather than a president! What was it Lincoln said, ‘A Nation divided against itself shall not stand.’

    • teleologist

      I am not a constitutional scholar but I am not yet ready to bend my knees and give obedience to whatever a constitutional scholar tells me is right. Although Williams might not be a lawyer I would submit that he is a scholar of the constitution among his many degrees he holds a Doctor of Laws.

      Credentials aside, whether you agree or not, the secessionists sees justification for secession in the 9th and 10th Amendments and the quotes Williams gave from Virginia and Jefferson punctuate the strength of his argument. Although you can argue the interpretation and application of the Bill of Rights but it is a fact that both the federalists and anti-federalists were cognizant of the danger of a overpowering national government and that states does have sovereignty. That was the reason for the Bill of Rights to protect the states from the federal government.

      Whether secession is feasible is one thing but your claim that the states belong to the “United States” is incorrect. On the contrary the federal government received its authority from the states.

    • teleologist

      @Fr. Robert, you are exactly right Obama has acted above the law but the media and a large portion of the public is fine with that. And that is another reason why the secession talk continues.

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist,

      I did not mean to suggest that the states belong to the United States in the sense that the United States holds legal title to them, but rather, that they are a part and no longer have the status of free and independent entities. The Federal government did receive its power from the states, but that doesn’t mean that any state can get the power back without the agreement of all the others. The issue of secession is far too complex to be answered by quote-mining a few founders.

      It is no doubt true that many people at the time of ratification thought that the states would be able secede if they decided to do so, but I don’t really see how that’s relevant today. Lots of people had different ideas about what the various clauses of the Constitution meant and how they would be applied in the future. No one thought that they could anticipate everything the country would ever have to deal with and they understood that they were creating a Constitution that was sufficiently flexible that the country would be able to respond to changing times and circumstances.

      For better or for worse, the country went in the direction of a stronger central government and weaker states. Many people at the time of ratification might have expected the states to remain stronger, but not all did. Moreover, had the balance not shifted in favor of the central government, the United States likely would not be the most powerful country in the world today and would not exist in its present form.

    • teleologist

      @Vinny, I will agree with you in this way. I can’t imagine it is possible to have a bloodless secession and for this reason I pray that it will never happen.

    • @Tel, Just my opinion, but the major channels of American journalism appear to be ‘in the tank’ for Obama, of course save FOX. And this simply helped get Obama elected again. But too, the dumbing down of the American people is all too apparent, as has been my own British people also. The loss of the Judeo-Christian ethic, and the authority of the Holy Scripture in the life of the Free World is now just generational! Sad, very sad! But, we see this in the Bible don’t we, i.e., since the Last Days of the NT itself! Even St. Paul saw the beginning of this great Apostasy, in 2 Thes. 2, though I am sure he did not see about two-thousand years of the church on earth! Yes, some of this is Apocalyptic, depicting symbolically the ultimate destruction of evil and triumph of good, but only and finally with “Christ Jesus”, Himself Lord, and His Lordship on and over the earth, at His Visible Second Coming! And I myself, see the Nation and People of National Israel, central here in the final Eschatology, and the New Creation on Earth! But the Church, sitting with Christ above and over all the earth… of course I am Historic Pre-Mill. And we shall see won’t we? 🙂

    • teleologist

      @Fr. Robert, amen. 🙂

    • Bud

      @Fr. Robert, To the question of Obamacare being good or not my sense is no. What I found most distressing was that no one read the bill before it was passed and given the number of pages involved, who had the time? If you remember, then Speaker Pelosi said we had to pass it if we wanted to know what was in it. If that does not raise red flags I don’t know what will. Not quite the transparency the president had promised in my mind. I’m sure there will be more and more coming out as this is rolled out over the next few years so we will find out just how good this is. I hope it does not drive private insurers out of the market.
      Grace and Truth….

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist, I fear that attacks on the legitimacy of the government may inspire acts of domestic terrorism in the Oklahoma City vein, but I don’t think that serious attempts at secession are likely.

    • I love America and Americans! Here it appears is the last stand for freedom and any sense of the Judeo-Christian (save too for Israel). I lived and taught in Israel for several years mid to late 90’s. They are the only real democracy in the Middle East! But they cannot hold-out or stand forever, as we know from Zech. 13: 8-9 ; 14: 1-2, etc. If I were a younger man, even as a Christian (and presbyter) I would be in and stand with Israel! The great question is, will America still?

    • teleologist

      @Vinny, I hope you are not trying to equate the people who petition for secession with McVeigh. McVeigh was a neo-Nazi with a lust for violence. I have not seen any indication let alone evidence that any of the petitioners for secession has any inclination for violence. In fact most of the hate and violence have come from the left. e.g. MSNBC talk hosts, tweet attacks on pro-Romney actresses, occupy wall street, environmental terrorists.

    • teleologist

      @Fr R, the answer to your question is NO. Just look at the response from the Obama administration with rocket attacks on Israel for the whole last month.

    • @Tel.. Sadly I have to agree! Even old Jimmy Carter would not have sat and done nothing! Not that I am a Carter fan, for he has proven to be against Israel, really. Obama simply acts like Israel does not exist! How in the world any Jewish American could vote for Obama is a mystery to me?

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist,

      The secessionists of 1861 all understood that the necessary result of their actions would be armed conflict with the government of the United States if that government was inclined to oppose separation. Some might have thought it possible that peaceful separation would be allowed, but none could have pursued the course of secession without believing that violent resistance to the federal government was justified.

      So while I do not equate someone who signs a petition with someone who commits an act of violence, I find it very hard not to view secessionists as explicitly challenging the legitimacy of the government of the United States and implicitly sanctioning armed resistance. Unlike in 1861, no one today can rationally believe that peaceful separation is a possibility. Also unlike in 1861, no state or combination of states is capable of fielding an army that can challenge the forces of the United States on the battlefield. That leaves domestic terrorism as the only option for someone who is not content with signing petitions.

    • Joshua Moore

      Amen, brother. I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of things, esp the marriage piece. Thanks for the thoughtful, truly conservative, word.

      I agree that a big part of what we need is more education about our past and about the implications of true liberty. This article sounded a powerful note and is only more evidence that there is a swath of people out there who still believe in our founding vision. The Liberty movement is alive and well in this nation (esp among the younger generation, like my own) thanks to the ramaining vestiges of liberty that we still have. May God help it grow.

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist,

      The secessionists of 1861 all understood that the necessary result of their actions would be armed conflict with the government of the United States if that government was inclined to oppose separation. Some might have thought it possible that peaceful separation would be allowed, but none could have pursued the course of secession without believing that violent resistance to the federal government was justified.

      So while I do not equate someone who signs a petition with someone who commits an act of violence, I find it very hard not to view secessionists as explicitly challenging the legitimacy of the government of the United States and implicitly sanctioning armed resistance. Unlike in 1861, no one today can rationally believe that peaceful separation is a possibility. Also unlike in 1861, no state or combination of states is capable of fielding an army that can challenge the forces of the United States on the battlefield. That leaves domestic terrorism as the only option for someone who is not content with signing petitions.

    • John

      “Also unlike in 1861, no state or combination of states is capable of fielding an army that can challenge the forces of the United States on the battlefield.”

      Well… Any state that contains nukes could challenge, if they could take control of them.

      And any combination of states? Really? At last count 40 states have filed petitions to secede. Are you sure the other 10 could win?

    • Vinny

      @John,

      If there were actually forty states that could muster a majority of their citizens for secession, Obama wouldn’t have won the election.

      I think that seizing control of nuclear weapons would fall in the category of domestic terrorism.

    • John

      “I think that seizing control of nuclear weapons would fall in the category of domestic terrorism.”

      I guess the American revolution was an act of domestic terrorism. But the victors will write history.

    • teleologist

      @Vinny, you can speculate all you want but again, there is no indication from any of the secessionist movement that they would even contemplate a violent secession. I saw an interview from one of the secession organizer and he reason for the petition was more of a protest on issues rather than actually seceding.
      I would agree if there is an actual secession, it would be hard to imagine there would not be bloodshed. And whoever draws the first blood would be irrelevant at that point.

    • Vinny

      @John,

      The Continental Army was an army that fought according to the generally accepted rules of war of the day. It did not target civilian populations. I do not think that its actions could be considered domestic terrorism.

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist,

      It is my impression the that secession petitions have been pretty careful to avoid any suggestion that they are advocating armed opposition to the government. Nevertheless, I grew up pledging allegiance to a republic that was “indivisible” and these people are seeking its division. That seems to me to be a bit more than simply a protest on issues.

    • teleologist

      @Vinny, I haven’t read the petition but that is the opinion of that one representative from that state said. Until I see any indication from any secessionist group advocating violence, I think it would be unfair to suggest otherwise.

      @Vinny said, I grew up pledging allegiance to a republic that was “indivisible” and these people are seeking its division.

      The problem is that the republic that you pledged allegiance to started by seeking division. From the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. Again I am not saying we should but this is just the fact. (no offense to the Brits 🙂 )

      IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
      The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
      When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    • Vinny

      @Teleological,

      I would argue that the difference is that the colonies were dissolving political bands about which they had never been given a choice, whereas, they voluntarily consented to become the United States. When all parties agree to be bound by a contract and no provision is made for the withdrawal of individual parties, it may only be dissolved by the agreement of all the parties. On the other hand, whether the right to secede is implied by the Constitution is a different issue than an individual’s moral right to rebel against a tyrannical ruler.

    • teleologist

      @Vinny, this is a cheap copout. In essence we are all by implied if not implicit consent submit to the ruling authority that we are born under. The colonists by implied consent submitted to King George through conformity to England’s laws until the revolution.

      I have never personally given consent to all the articles of the United States so does that mean it should not be binding to me? I think if you have to appeal to semantics to bind a group of people to a contract, then the contract has lost its power. It is just a matter of time before another Jefferson comes along and draft another article of separation.

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist,

      That was why I was trying to make a distinction between the moral right of an individual or group of individuals to rebel against an illegitimate government and a state’s right under the Constitution to secede from the union. I think that the former is implicit in our nation’s founding while the latter is not.

    • teleologist

      @Vinny, but the problem is what constitutes a legitimate gov’t? Some argued back in 1776 that England was a legitimate gov’t and we have no right to rebel against it. Today we also have people questioning the legitimacy of the gov’t to force people to buy healthcare, refuse to allow citizens of individual states to protect themselves from foreign invasion and the list goes on. Legitimacy is in the eyes of the beholder. Am I being too postmodernistic? 😀

    • Vinny

      I cannot help but be cynical when people start invoking a “founding vision” as if that is something that is easily determined by reading a history book and easily applied to the world today. The Constitution was the result of a compromise reached among a diverse group of people, many of whom had very different visions for the future. Jefferson, for example, envisioned the United States as a collection of citizen farmers producing their livelihoods from the land upon which they lived.

      I am struck by how many things mentioned in this thread go far beyond any discernible “founding vision.” For example Michael “wish[es] the federal government would just build highways and protect us.” However, it is hard to imagine any of the founders who would have approved of the kind of military that America has today and the role it plays in the world. The notion that the federal government should be involved in building public improvements like highways was a very controversial issue during the first eighty years of the republic. There was a large portion of the country that believed such things should be left to the states and proponents of federal involvement in public improvements didn’t gain the upper hand until the Civil War. There is much hand wringing over the decline in support for Israel, but it is hard for me to imagine that any of the founders would have sanctioned that kind of foreign entanglement.

      It is true that many people do not remember the past. It is also true that many people remember a past that never really existed while others remember the past very selectively.

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist,

      It is absolutely a huge problem, however, there has to be a difference between questioning the propriety of particular government actions and challenging the legitimacy of the government itself.

    • teleologist

      @Vinny, I find much of your last comment I can agree with. The biggest problem with I have with selectivism(which we are both probably guilty of) is there are many Christians who view our founding fathers as some Sola Scriptura orthodox Christians when in fact they would probably be branded as heretics today.

      But then from my limited reading including correspondences between Adams and Jefferson they were very concerned with foreign affairs and seems to support a strong military from their references to the 1812 War. But frankly I don’t care what the founders or history says about foreign involvement. My commitment to the support of Israel transcends any argument. It is as intransigent as the Bible.

    • I love America and Americans, but sadly it seems many are themselves becoming their own “conspiracy theory”. And true Christianity must always see and be people of another world! This is very hard, for we cannot see this other world, save by other worldly “faith”! WE are people of another land! (Heb. 13: 13-14) Can we note here the Plantonic ideal and visionary in Hebrews? May it ‘In Christ’ change us!

      Amen Rick! May we be looking for that “real” vision in the appearance of CHRIST Himself! In the New Man or “nature”, which will fully shallow-up the old! (1 John 3: 2)…now this hope really does make a pure desire! (verse 3)

    • Vinny

      @Teleologist,

      I am not familiar with that aspect of the Adams-Jefferson correspondence, but my guess would be that they were still thinking in terms of well trained state militia that could be called upon in time of need rather than a large standing army in time of peace.

    • teleologist

      Thank you F. R.

      Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. And, be not children in understanding, but in malice, be ye children, that in understanding ye may be perfect; and O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you? But now no longer in his own voice; but in Thine who sentest Thy Spirit from above; through Him who ascended up on high, and set open the flood-gates of His gifts, that the force of His streams might make glad the city of God. Him doth this friend of the Bridegroom sigh after, having now the first-fruits of the Spirit laid up with Him, yet still groaning within himself, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body; to Him he sighs, a member of the Bride; for Him he is jealous, as being a friend of the Bridegroom; for Him he is jealous, not for himself; because in the voice of Thy water-spouts, not in his own voice, doth he call to that other depth, over whom being jealous he feareth, lest as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so their minds should be corrupted from the purity that is in our Bridegroom Thy only Son. O what a light of beauty will that be, when we shall see Him as He is, and those tears be passed away, which have been my meat day and night, whilst they daily say unto me, Where is now Thy God?

      Augustine, S., Bishop of Hippo, & Pusey, E. B. (1996). The Confessions of St. Augustine.

    • @Tel, One of my first books as a Irish Catholic lad, right after Confirmation (which one of me aunts bought me), was Augustine’s Confessions, I even still have it…a London, Burns & Oates copy, 1954. It still has the dustjacket (which I have covered with a Brodart). Aye, I was one of those book lovers (and still I am). I have just a few! 😉

    • Nice quote! 🙂

    • And btw, in my day Confirmation was in the 5th grade as I remember?

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