America's New Religion

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America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:52 am

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/ ... gions.html

This article was drawn to my attention in a social media post from a former high school student of mine who was one of the more active and vocal students in my Government/Economics class one particular year.

Andrew Sullivan in the Intelligencer wrote: Yes, many Evangelicals are among the holiest and most quietly devoted people out there. Some have bravely resisted the cult. But their leaders have turned Christianity into a political and social identity, not a lived faith, and much of their flock — a staggering 81 percent voted for Trump — has signed on. They have tribalized a religion explicitly built by Jesus as anti-tribal. They have turned to idols — including their blasphemous belief in America as God’s chosen country. They have embraced wealth and nationalism as core goods, two ideas utterly anathema to Christ. They are indifferent to the destruction of the creation they say they believe God made. And because their faith is unmoored but their religious impulse is strong, they seek a replacement for religion.


Long article, worth the time to read. I think he hits the explanation for the political perspective, but there's also some insight in here as to why the membership and attendance among conservative Evangelicals is tanking and getting worse in spite of the attention denominations and leaders are giving to attempt to reverse it.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:21 pm

How many evangelicals voting for Trump is not a real problem to me. The choices were bad, either way. Both candidates carried major ethical baggage. To vote a write in or for someone who had no chance was a vote, basically, for Hillary. That was as unacceptable to them as voting for a Trump is to you.

The part of the article you quote has its merits but it’s one persons opinion and labeling something they don’t like as a cult. Yet, the focus on religion and the disdain for anyone who sees the USA differently is noticeable.

I can see why you agree.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Rvaughn » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:46 pm

Jon Estes wrote:How many evangelicals voting for Trump is not a real problem to me. The choices were bad, either way. Both candidates carried major ethical baggage.
Jon, I agree. Evangelicals voting for Trump over Hillary is not particularly telling of much of anything, imo. Now, if evangelicals went for Trump in huge numbers in the Republican primary over against other candidates that would be a more telling. I have no idea how that broke down, though I think to at least some degree Trump benefited from the large number of candidates and the vote split among them.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:32 pm

The religious right once claimed that the character of the candidate was the most important aspect of their candidacy. That was, of course, when Bill Clinton was running and it was easy to say. Perhaps the leadership that kept that theme up and running for so long didn't succeed in convincing the rest of their following that such a position needed to be consistent, or they didn't envision that the Republican party could ever let things get out of hand and nominate a candidate who, in every possible way, was worse than they accused Clinton of being. Though in defense of the hypocrisy that is demonstrated by their support they have trotted out the "both candidates were just as bad" mantra, that is a matter of opinion, and not provable fact.

But that's really not the point here. The point is that we have a branch of American Christianity exhibiting some characteristics when it comes to their perceived "worldview" that are not consistent with their own core beliefs. They are putting trust and faith in politics and in politicians to accomplish what they claim is God's to accomplish. For all intents and purposes, they are now closely identified with a right wing political perspective that is noticeably inconsistent with much of the Biblical foundation of Christian teaching, relying on a couple of points to justify a Machiavellian soup of heresy. The church membership and attendance is dwindling because more effort and resources go into making Republicans than making disciples.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:07 am

Sandy wrote:The religious right once claimed that the character of the candidate was the most important aspect of their candidacy. That was, of course, when Bill Clinton was running and it was easy to say. Perhaps the leadership that kept that theme up and running for so long didn't succeed in convincing the rest of their following that such a position needed to be consistent, or they didn't envision that the Republican party could ever let things get out of hand and nominate a candidate who, in every possible way, was worse than they accused Clinton of being. Though in defense of the hypocrisy that is demonstrated by their support they have trotted out the "both candidates were just as bad" mantra, that is a matter of opinion, and not provable fact.

I am not sure if the comment was that character was the most important characteristic but I do believe we would say it is one extremely critical for the office. You can opine all you want to about the "both candidates we bad" but the fact remains.. it is truth. I sense you hate the fact that Trump won and evangelicals helped that happen. I sense that there needs to be a complaint and reason to make you feel better so those evil hypocrites were at fault. Oh well. There were two candidates on the ballot (leaving Bernie out) You really didn't expect conservative evangelicals to vote for Hillary... did you?

But that's really not the point here. The point is that we have a branch of American Christianity exhibiting some characteristics when it comes to their perceived "worldview" that are not consistent with their own core beliefs. They are putting trust and faith in politics and in politicians to accomplish what they claim is God's to accomplish. For all intents and purposes, they are now closely identified with a right wing political perspective that is noticeably inconsistent with much of the Biblical foundation of Christian teaching, relying on a couple of points to justify a Machiavellian soup of heresy. The church membership and attendance is dwindling because more effort and resources go into making Republicans than making disciples.

Opinion noted. I disagree with your opinion. An argument could be made against all those Christians who voted for Hillary are hypocritical also... but it would be fruitless and you would disagree... so no need to waste typing effort.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:27 am

One of the interesting things to me in all this is the charge that Hillary carried a lot of "ethical baggage." It seems that what she carried was Bill, he was her baggage in the ethical department, so she was judged often on his character, not her own. Show me, if I am wrong. If this is true, then we judged her based on her mate's ethics.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:05 am

Dave Roberts wrote:One of the interesting things to me in all this is the charge that Hillary carried a lot of "ethical baggage." It seems that what she carried was Bill, he was her baggage in the ethical department, so she was judged often on his character, not her own. Show me, if I am wrong. If this is true, then we judged her based on her mate's ethics.


For me it is the political baggage of wrongdoing - the emails / private server were enough to cause me to know she shouldn't be given access to any governmental intelligence - ever again. She knew what she was doing by not using the government server... thus unfit. If she didn't.. unfit after being in politics her whole life.

If the choice is between a person who has a history of moralfailures or one who sets things up for hacking of confidential government information. I know which I would choose.

If you choose the latter, thats your business. SAd but your business/
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:53 am

I am fascinated by the inconsistency of the server and email charges by Republicans. I agree that she was wrong, but you can't demand Hillary's prosecution without also demanding the same for Colin Powell and Condi Rice who admitted to having done the same thing. If the servers were the real issue, all three would have been in the dock. You can't blame one and not the other two and claim the concern is security.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:37 pm

Jon Estes wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:One of the interesting things to me in all this is the charge that Hillary carried a lot of "ethical baggage." It seems that what she carried was Bill, he was her baggage in the ethical department, so she was judged often on his character, not her own. Show me, if I am wrong. If this is true, then we judged her based on her mate's ethics.


For me it is the political baggage of wrongdoing - the emails / private server were enough to cause me to know she shouldn't be given access to any governmental intelligence - ever again. She knew what she was doing by not using the government server... thus unfit. If she didn't.. unfit after being in politics her whole life.

If the choice is between a person who has a history of moralfailures or one who sets things up for hacking of confidential government information. I know which I would choose.

If you choose the latter, thats your business. SAd but your business/


Not only did Clinton's predecessors Powell and Rice use their own personal servers, they used them for all of their government business including sending classified information. Of course, Trump, and daughter Ivanka haven't bothered with private, secure servers, they've just gone ahead and sent out confidential government information on their personal email accounts through public servers, so that makes your "if" a false comparison. And if you bother much with facts, you'd know that Clinton's private server was far less subject to hacking than the government owned one at the state department, which has been hacked on more than one occasion.

If it's a choice between someone who was cleared by the FBI or someone who not only has a history of moral failures, including committing adultery multiple times, and being convicted of fraud, paying off prostitutes illegally and a generally corrupt character, but also who, through his campaign manager, negotiated with the Russians to get their help to win the election in exchange for getting in on the ground floor of a business deal once he lifted the economic sanctions against them, I know who I would choose.

If you chose the latter, sad. You helped sell this country out.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:39 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:I am fascinated by the inconsistency of the server and email charges by Republicans. I agree that she was wrong, but you can't demand Hillary's prosecution without also demanding the same for Colin Powell and Condi Rice who admitted to having done the same thing. If the servers were the real issue, all three would have been in the dock. You can't blame one and not the other two and claim the concern is security.


You'd have to demand Trump and Ivanka be prosecuted too. Their behavior certainly minimizes their opinion of the risk of anything Hillary did.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Haruo » Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:26 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:One of the interesting things to me in all this is the charge that Hillary carried a lot of "ethical baggage." It seems that what she carried was Bill, he was her baggage in the ethical department, so she was judged often on his character, not her own. Show me, if I am wrong. If this is true, then we judged her based on her mate's ethics.

For some Bill was her baggage. For others, it was emails. Or Benghazi. Or Honduras. Few knew enough to hold three or four of those against her, but for others any one was enough.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:52 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:I am fascinated by the inconsistency of the server and email charges by Republicans. I agree that she was wrong, but you can't demand Hillary's prosecution without also demanding the same for Colin Powell and Condi Rice who admitted to having done the same thing. If the servers were the real issue, all three would have been in the dock. You can't blame one and not the other two and claim the concern is security.


Dave - When did the discussion become about prosecution? I was speaking about voting as an evangelical. I get it... the email wrong was enough for many to never vote for her and left no debate against such a position... so throwing in prosecution changes the whole discussion.Insee the need. Lose one discussion so change the rules... topic.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:59 pm

Sandy wrote:
Jon Estes wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:One of the interesting things to me in all this is the charge that Hillary carried a lot of "ethical baggage." It seems that what she carried was Bill, he was her baggage in the ethical department, so she was judged often on his character, not her own. Show me, if I am wrong. If this is true, then we judged her based on her mate's ethics.


For me it is the political baggage of wrongdoing - the emails / private server were enough to cause me to know she shouldn't be given access to any governmental intelligence - ever again. She knew what she was doing by not using the government server... thus unfit. If she didn't.. unfit after being in politics her whole life.

If the choice is between a person who has a history of moralfailures or one who sets things up for hacking of confidential government information. I know which I would choose.

If you choose the latter, thats your business. SAd but your business/


Not only did Clinton's predecessors Powell and Rice use their own personal servers, they used them for all of their government business including sending classified information. Of course, Trump, and daughter Ivanka haven't bothered with private, secure servers, they've just gone ahead and sent out confidential government information on their personal email accounts through public servers, so that makes your "if" a false comparison. And if you bother much with facts, you'd know that Clinton's private server was far less subject to hacking than the government owned one at the state department, which has been hacked on more than one occasion.

thanks for the humor.

When Powell, Rice or Oceania run for President, then whatever they did can be a part of the discussion. Please show a source that shows Trump sending confidential stuff on personal server. Not just an opinion piece from someone.


If it's a choice between someone who was cleared by the FBI or someone who not only has a history of moral failures, including committing adultery multiple times, and being convicted of fraud, paying off prostitutes illegally and a generally corrupt character, but also who, through his campaign manager, negotiated with the Russians to get their help to win the election in exchange for getting in on the ground floor of a business deal once he lifted the economic sanctions against them, I know who I would choose.

If you chose the latter, sad. You helped sell this country out.

I know who you would choose also. I also know you watch too much RM.

But again, thanks for the laugh.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:24 am

Jon Estes wrote: Please show a source that shows Trump sending confidential stuff on personal server. Not just an opinion piece from someone.


O.K. Small sample of what's been going on for two years now. Living under a rock must be amusing. :-)

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nat ... story.html

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/pr ... port-says/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the ... 26f098675a

http://fortune.com/2016/10/18/donald-tr ... -security/

Jon Estes wrote:When Powell, Rice or Oceania run for President, then whatever they did can be a part of the discussion.
. Oh, I see. They'd only be guilty if they were running for President. (rofl)
Actually, from your perspective, they'd only be guilty if they were Democrats running for President. Republican hypocrisy, corruption and immorality is OK with you.
Last edited by Sandy on Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:44 am

Funny how Trump's crowds cheered for Hillary, "Lock her up!" but never for Condi or General Powell. Guess they could be forgiven since they were Republican Secretaries of State.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:07 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Funny how Trump's crowds cheered for Hillary, "Lock her up!" but never for Condi or General Powell. Guess they could be forgiven since they were Republican Secretaries of State.


It's even funnier that one of the loudest cheerleaders is going to prison himself.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Reminds me of a bad joke from the Nixon years. There was a prisoner who went to the prison library and asked the library manager, "Do you have All the President's Men?" The inmate managing the library responded, "No, I don't believe so, but they are arriving every day."
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:00 am

Dave Roberts wrote:I am fascinated by the inconsistency of the server and email charges by Republicans. I agree that she was wrong, but you can't demand Hillary's prosecution without also demanding the same for Colin Powell and Condi Rice who admitted to having done the same thing. If the servers were the real issue, all three would have been in the dock. You can't blame one and not the other two and claim the concern is security.

This conversation is about electing someone - not prosecuting them. Is there a reason you want to move the discussion from electing to prosecuting? These are two very different conversations?
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:06 am

Sandy wrote:Oh, I see. They'd only be guilty if they were running for President. (rofl)
Actually, from your perspective, they'd only be guilty if they were Democrats running for President. Republican hypocrisy, corruption and immorality is OK with you.

Since the discussion started on evangelicals voting for Trump and my point has been - we had two candidates, both with excess baggage and for me, I'd rather have a Trump in the office with all of his personal sins than a HC with her personal and political sins.

I understand the need for the discussion to take a different path. When you are losing on one - change the topic.

The Dems need to learn the lie the senator from HI stated when she wants us all to believe the liberals are the intelligent ones in the room. Now that's really funny.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:15 am

Well, actually the point was how Evangelicals have, through their political perspective and involvement, transitioned from being a spiritual-led, scripture guided faith to a political movement that has abandoned its Biblical values and spiritual leadership to gain its ends through political power. And your responses, Jon, prove the author's thesis perfectly.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:50 pm

Sandy wrote:Well, actually the point was how Evangelicals have, through their political perspective and involvement, transitioned from being a spiritual-led, scripture guided faith to a political movement that has abandoned its Biblical values and spiritual leadership to gain its ends through political power. And your responses, Jon, prove the author's thesis perfectly.


And as an evangelical, you must fit the descriptive you make against us (we).
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:26 pm

Jon Estes wrote:
Sandy wrote:Well, actually the point was how Evangelicals have, through their political perspective and involvement, transitioned from being a spiritual-led, scripture guided faith to a political movement that has abandoned its Biblical values and spiritual leadership to gain its ends through political power. And your responses, Jon, prove the author's thesis perfectly.


And as an evangelical, you must fit the descriptive you make against us (we).


I would use the term "evangelical" as a general description of a personal theological/denominational perspective in the sense that it was used a couple of decades back. It is a descriptive term for Christians who are conservative theologically, believe that evangelism and missions are one of the five functions of a church as directed in scripture, accept the sixty-six books of the old and new testament as the written word of God and as completely authoritative in all matters of Christian faith and practice, including in directing the very general and nebulous concept of "worldview" as it relates to the application of its principles in life. I use it as a term which distinguishes the churches and groups within from "mainline" denominations and churches.

As it is used by this author, in this context, I would not apply it personally. In this context, it refers to religious conservatives who have allowed their political perspective to influence and alter a purely Christian worldview. They are selective in the application of Biblical teaching, ignoring it when it doesn't fit with the political position and agenda of right wing politicians or when their character and morality is obviously inconsistent with a Christian perspective, and using it only when it can be bend and shaped around a particular political agenda and issue. They are silent on issues when the right wing political perspective is inconsistent with Christian principles, or they compromise their view to justify taking a position inconsistent with their Christian faith just because a right wing politician supports it. I completely differ from this position because I do not let my political perspective dictate what I believe and practice as a Christian. I do not claim that there are some political candidates who, by virtue of the platform they support or stand they take, are more "righteous" than others because of their political beliefs.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Jon Estes » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:32 am

So tell Us Sandy... Wh would you have recommended those evangelicals who voted for and support Trump to have voted for?

And keeping your definition... how they could also have supported your choice?

Please describe the unblemished life of your candidate that we don't see?
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby KeithE » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:42 am

Jon Estes wrote:So tell Us Sandy... Wh would you have recommended those evangelicals who voted for and support Trump to have voted for?

And keeping your definition... how they could also have supported your choice?

Please describe the unblemished life of your candidate that we don't see?

I am not Sandy, but if you wanted to vote for the candidate with the most Christian involvement/influence in their lifes, it would have been Hillary Clinton a lifelong Methodist or perhaps Gary Johnson who is a Lutheran.

Jill Stein is agnostic. Donald Trump is best described as a self-absorbed, lying pervert who unlike Christ favors the rich - especially himself. Trump has a family history in a Presbyterian church but is "not active in his church”. Somehow he has co-oped a substantial slice of so-called “evangelicals” who have lost their way as the article points out.

None of these are unblemished but Trump is the most blemished.

I vote for candidates based on (1) what policies they proclaim and (2) their character as shown by their lives. Trump was lowest in both categories.
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Re: America's New Religion

Postby Sandy » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:32 pm

Jon Estes wrote:So tell Us Sandy... Wh would you have recommended those evangelicals who voted for and support Trump to have voted for?
And keeping your definition... how they could also have supported your choice?


There never has been, and never will be a perfect candidate. The only unblemished life I'm aware of was Jesus, and he wasn't running, nor did he endorse a candidate that I noticed.

Hillary Clinton's position on most issues reflects a positive perspective on humanitarian and economic issues. There are a few areas where we disagree, including her position on abortion rights, but as I said, I don't let politics dictate my Christian perspective. On most other issues, her position is more humane and more consistent with a general "Christian worldview" than that of Trump or the Republicans who are more interested in advancing their own personal prosperity than they are in the interests of the country or its people. As far as making a comparison of her faith to that of other candidates as a criterion for support, Hillary Clinton is a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church in which, by her own testimony, she received Christ as her savior during her confirmation. She has been accused of many things and investigated by Republican committees more than any other American politician. Her opponents turned up nothing anywhere that justifies a label of "corruption." Being a lifelong member of a church and regular in your attendance doesn't save your soul, but it's hard to claim to be a Christ-follower when you won't even darken the doorway of his house. And we at least have Hillary's tax returns, showing that she is also a tithing member of the church.

Trump has been a con artist for most of his professional life, a title he celebrated and used to his advantage. Most of his politics can be classified from his perspective as schemes for his own enrichment. He was corrupt in his business dealings, owns clubs where women remove their clothes and dance for money, casinos where people gamble, has been married and divorced three times, has admitted to numerous affairs while being married, bragged about two of them, has been convicted of fraud, paid off at least two porn stars to buy their silence, and was caught on national television in a conversation that reduced women to sex objects. I don't see much there that preaches well from an Evangelical pulpit, at least, not in the way I interpret what it means to be "Evangelical." Nor do I see his economic policy as consistent with Christian values.

I wouldn't have voted for Jill Stein, nor would I ever vote for a libertarian. If Bernie Sanders had been the nominee, he'd have had my vote. As big as the GOP field was at the beginning, I don't think there was anyone in that field I'd have voted for with the possible exception of Marco Rubio.
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