Archive for January, 2012

The Gospel, Foreign Policy and Rep. Ron Paul

Representative Ron Paul has carved a niche in this year’s Republican Primary election season by focusing on two major themes. The first theme is that we are desperately in need of cutting government spending due to the terrible amount of debt we are piling up. The second major theme is, what many would call, an isolationist foreign policy.

Of course, there are other issues that he is strong on, but these are the two that characterize him the most to me. While I don’t have a beef with him about the domestic spending, I do question his wisdom and his understanding of scripture in regard to our role in international affairs. Before I go too far, I want to make clear that I do not think that we have always conducted international relations in a godly or selfless or even a good way. There is much to be desired in our conduct of international affairs, but I do not think because we have not always conducted ourselves well, we should retreat from the field.

Now, regarding my concerns about Rep. Paul; recently Representative Paul used the idea of doing unto others what we would have them do unto us as a template for foreign policy, which is a good idea and one that should not be booed, but there are other commands from Jesus and scripture in general, that also need to be kept in mind and do seem to run counter to what Representative Paul advocates.

For example, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, it was clear that crossing the street on the other side of the road was not an acceptable response to a person in need. Would that be an acceptable response for a nation? If we are truly going to conduct foreign affairs based on biblical precepts, we need to keep that in mind also. Would that idea have put us in Iraq? Darfur? Afghanistan? Vietnam? Taiwan? The questions are yours to answer, but Representative Paul seems to answer in the negative: “In South Korea, they’re begging and pleading to unify their country, and we get in their way. They want to build bridges and go back and forth. Vietnam, we left under the worst of circumstances. The country is unified. They have become westernized. We trade with them. Their president comes here. And Korea, we stayed there and look at the mess.”

This is dangerous. Vietnam is united, but it is a unity under a repressive communist regime that quickly and violently swept to power as soon as we left in 1975. “After reunification, the government confiscated privately owned land and forced citizens to adopt collectivized agricultural practices. Hundreds of thousands of former South Vietnamese government and military officials, as well as intellectuals previously opposed to the communist cause, were sent to study socialist doctrine in re-education camps, where they remained for periods ranging from months to over 10 years.Vietnam’s 1978 invasion of Cambodia …in particular together with its increasingly tight alliance with the Soviet Union, appeared to confirm suspicions that Vietnam wanted to establish a Soviet-backed hegemony in Indochina.”

This is nothing to be proud of and not a foreign policy to be praised. Does Representative Paul support repression? We betrayed our South Vietnamese allies: “A bitter, tearful President Thieu resigns during a 90 minute rambling TV speech to the people of South Vietnam. Thieu reads from the letter sent by Nixon in 1972 pledging “severe retaliatory action” if South Vietnam was threatened. Thieu condemns the Paris Peace Accords, Henry Kissinger and the U.S. “The United States has not respected its promises. It is inhumane. It is untrustworthy. It is irresponsible.” He is then ushered into exile in Taiwan, aided by the CIA.”

Is this what Representative Paul wants for South Korea? He is misleading at best when he says South Koreans want re-unification but South Koreans know that the re-unification is not something to be taken lightly. Is Representative Paul prepared to abandon our South Korean friends as well?

There is a scripture, I John 3:17 that says “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” If we are truly to project a biblical foreign policy, how can we, being arguably the richest country in the world turn our backs on the rest of the world and their needs? I do agree with Representative Paul that our fiscal house is a disaster and we must get a reign on our domestic spending, but we would be foolhardy to turn our back on the world in order to do that. That strikes me as the personal equivalent of stopping our tithe until we pay off our credit cards.

There are a lot of things regarding foreign policy that Representative Paul says that make sense. We do prop up dictators to the harm of the citizens of the country and we do provide foreign aid that tends to make dictators and their families rich. We need to be better and allow our international influence to grow because we are a good and prosperous people at home with citizens that want to care for the worlds poor, but it is selfish to become strong and then watch the weak and oppressed of the world remain oppressed because they do not have the ability to stand for their own freedom. Do the free people of Taiwan deserve to be abandoned to the forceful takeover by China?

France may have had nefarious motives, but they were used by God in helping us to win our freedom from England. We would have had a much more difficult time attaining our freedom without their help. Should we turn our back on freedom loving people around the world because we are afraid of angering despotic regimes?

I think it is obvious that war is hell, a hell to which I confess I am completely inexperienced in, but I wonder if it is the worst thing. I recently read with our book club, the Notting Hill Napoleons, the latest Jeff Shaara book, “The Final Storm”. While he says he is not making a case either for or against the use of the atomic bomb against Japan, it is quite apparent as you read the unfolding story, that the dropping of the atomic bomb was a far better choice than continuing the war in the status quo. Even at that, though, the war was a far better thing than allowing the oppression of people that Japan was involved in prior to their bombing of Pearl Harbor. The war was hell, but as Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes, it was a time for war. Our peace at that time would have meant an ongoing hell for many people for many years to come. Maybe that hellish war was not the worst thing.

I bring that up only because, I wonder if our modern sensibilities about the hellishness of war will ever allow us to fight a war again as war has to be fought (They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword – Joshua 6:21) if it is going to be fought. I wonder if we can really be more merciful than God. Maybe Ron Paul is right about foreign policy, but I wonder if his desire to conduct foreign policy with an unbalanced biblical perspective will only lead to other more hellish outcomes. Proverbs 3:27 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it.


This is a repost, but I believe it is still timely


Is America really a Shining City on A Hill, or is it just a dream? Was it once and is no more? Could it ever be? Should we care? Maybe it is just wishful thinking.

In Ronald Reagan’s farewell address to the nation in January of 1989, he said, “We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.”

I was prompted to read this speech after hearing Rush Limbaugh play some excerpts from it on his show. Reagan’s words are profound, which I think we have a hard time appreciating, having grown up in the USA. We have always known “freedom”. We have never lived under a regime that dictated our occupation, education, residence or a ceiling to what we could accomplish or worse…

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I Thought President Obama Swore To Uphold the U.S. Constitution

We are, once again faced with a serious Constitutional Crisis precipitated by the Presidents refusal to follow the highest law in the land, a law which he swore to uphold and to defend. I have previously written about this administration ignoring the law and specifically asking the President to resign. Since those comments were written, his behavior has not changed, but has only gotten worse, so against my wishes, I am pulling myself out of the palliative of the holidays and the football bowl season to think about much more serious issues.

I must admit, I have had serious fears about this administration since at least November of 2008, some fears of which I will refrain from sharing lest I appear paranoid, but the Presidents actions this week only reinforce my fears. What do I refer to – why to his recess appointments of course? I am sure you have heard all about how unprecedented and unconstitutional and therefore illegal these appointments were from your normal sources of news. What is that you say, you did not hear that? Shocking – sadly this one of the most serious constitutional crises in our nations history, but we are anesthetized by life and unaware that we are rapidly moving from a free republic to a centralized and unaccountable government.

Maybe that is hyperbole, you be the judge. Earlier this week President Barack Obama decided that he would consider the Senate in recess so that he could appoint individuals to unaccountable positions in the Executive branch of government. These positions require Senate confirmation, but if the Senate is in recess the President has the “Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate …..which [appointments] shall expire at the End of their [the Senate’s] next Session”. Article 2, Section 2, Clause 3 –U.S. Constitution. Italics mine.

The problem in this case is that it is very debatable whether or not the Senate is actually in recess. In order to be in recess, both the Congress and the Senate must agree to recess, but the Congress has not agreed to a Senate recess – ergo, the declaration by the President of a Senate recess is at best questionable. In addition, the vacancies that have been filled did not occur during the recess, they have been vacancies for quite some time but the Senate refused, for good reasons and in keeping with their constitutional responsibilities, to approve the appointments.

There have been other Presidents over time, albeit rarely, who have used a recess to appoint individuals who have been blocked, but they have done so when there was in fact an actual recess in place. An excellent piece by Phil Kerpenis vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity outlines some of these concerns much better than I could.

This is another step in a long list of steps taking us down the road toward a centralized government and loss of freedom. This is not the only transgression of this President or it might not raise so many concerns, but it is the latest in a long list of questionable constitutional moves. A constitution, I will remind you again, he swore to uphold and to defend.  

A partial discussion of unconstitutional acts can be found in detail at Maggie Thornton’s blog, but let me share some of them here along with some of my own concerns: 

1)      Bailouts – The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to spend the taxpayer’s money. Without the consent of Congress, the President cannot legally spend taxpayer money. He believes the Constitution should allow for the redistribution of taxpayer wealth.

2)   Supreme Court – Believes it should redress omissions of the founding fathers. “…the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”

3}  The Czars – The appointment of the many “czars” by the Obama administration are unconstitutional – They are being appointed without the Advise and Consent of Congress.

4)   Government ownership in private business. The seizure of ownership of private business is unconstitutional.

5)   Health Care – Obama’s health care plan is unconstitutional as numerous courts have already determined and most likely will be affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court later this year.

6)   Fast and Furious.

7)   Instructing his Justice Department not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

8)   Ignoring a Court order to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill.

9)   Refusing to enforce a judgment against the Philadelphia Black Panthers in a voting rights case.

10) He believes the constitution is flawed.

These are dangerous signs that we have a President that does not respect the rule of law and a Republic can only survive if the office holders have the utmost respect for the positions they steward and are willing to obey the law of the Constitution, which they as well as each of us are subject to. A Republic will not survive without virtue in its leaders and in its people and that has been said in different ways by many, including Abraham Lincoln and James Madison, but that truth is taught to us in Proverbs “It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, for a throne is established on righteousness.” Proverbs 16:12.

It is hard to watch a once great nation fall into decay and as frustrating and angry as you can get watching it, let’s remember these things as an inspiration to pray for our President and all of his appointments, legal or not, that they may rule in righteousness, for if they do not, we will be the ones who suffer. I Timothy 2:1-3 “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,”

In addition to our prayers, there are two other things we should do. The first thing is that we should share with our friends what we know and ask them to pray with us for our county. The second thing we can and must do is to watch closely the actions of our President, and if he does not repent and turn and honor righteousness and justice, we need to exercise our responsibility as believers and vote for his removal from office in November. These are our rights as citizens and our duties and privileges as those who are called to be salt and light in a dark world.

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