Thursday, January 19, 2012

U.S. Christians boo the golden rule

Republican candidates on foreign policy (obviously plenty of Christians will be rightly horrified by some Christians appearing to boo Ron Paul's invocation of Confucious'/Jesus' Golden Rule [though they probably don't even know what it is, to be fair]). Thanks to the atheist missionary.

17 comments:

Anthony Smith said...

It's quite horrible. I wouldn't be surprised (sadly) if the people booing do claim to be Christians, but is there evidence for that? Did the audience consist entirely of Christians? Or are all Republicans in South Carolina Christians?

A cursory search suggests that plenty of Republicans do not claim to be Christians. Maybe most or all of the booing came from them? E.g.,

http://www.christianpost.com/news/how-does-the-faith-of-republicans-democrats-measure-up-26175/

ariel said...

i like your blog.

Reynold said...

Anthony Smith has it right...what evidence do we have that those people are christians?

Anyhow, you'll notice that when Paul got to the end and said that they needed to get their soldiers home and stop all those wars, he did get cheers after all.

I'm assuming that those cheers were not from the same people who booed him earlier?

Anthony Landreth said...

Most Americans self-identify as Christian. Among Republicans, one would expect that Ron Paul would capture most of the secular minority. Paul's position on the separation of church and state is much more liberal than any of the other candidates, as far as I can tell. One would suspect that the people booing were Christian by process of elimination.

Tom Larsen said...

A distinction should probably be made between people who claim to be Christians and people who actually are Christians... Obviously there are many people in the U.S. who, for cultural or family reasons, mark themselves as "Christian" on the census forms; and that makes them as much disciples of Jesus Christ as me signing myself as Barack Obama on an airport form makes me Barack Obama. But you folks knew that already.

Bernard Hurley said...

No true Scotsman?

The Atheist Missionary said...

what evidence do we have that those people are christians?

In answer, I am compelled to share an excerpt from the Irreligiosity column I write for our local newspaper:

Another humanist attending our meeting referred to the famous observation by physicist Steven Weinberg: "With or without [religion] you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.” Of course, religion is not the only social phenomenon which can accomplish this. Look no further than the insane jingoistic rhetoric spewing out of candidates for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination. The sad part is that much of this rhetoric is cloaked in religiosity. Current front-runner Mitt Romney provided this gem of a quote on October 6, 2011: “God did not create this country to be a nation of followers … America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers”. At least Romney can take credit for leaving an atheist like me muttering “Sweet Jesus …”.

It is taken as a given that a public announcement of non-belief in God would render a U.S. presidential candidate unelectable. On the other hand, it was considered perfectly appropriate for former President George W. Bush to suggest that God literally told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq (source: The Guardian). One is left wondering how long Bush would have been left in charge of the nuclear launch codes if he described speaking to Zeus instead of the moral majority’s chosen Lord and Savior.


All of the Republican candidates, with the notable exception of Ron "Why don't we just follow the Golden Rule" Paul, wear Christianity on their sleeve. Or more correctly, they wear something they call Christianity on their sleeve which has little to do with the moral precepts preached by the Jesus of the Bible.

Anthony Landreth said...

I would wish anyone good luck in trying to sort the genuine Christians from the impostors. The internal standards for such a distinction are pretty weak. Faith in the atonement is typically taken as the sine qua non. Conduct is no help at all, given that there is no limit to the moral errors Christians can commit before losing membership, and God can order anyone to commit any sort of act that we would normally regard as completely immoral (as Kierkegaard recognized)... Finally, anyone who is inclined to decide for others whether they are Christian runs up against the warning, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." One could reasonably conclude from the rule that true Christians would not be concerned to judge whether others claiming to be Christian are true Christians.

BenYachov said...

The Golden Rule means if you hurt me I should not personally retaliate.

It's doesn't mean the Government shouldn't use force against evil doers even if those evil doers are rogue terrorist states.

Romans 15

Are they really booing the Golden Rule or do they think Ron Paul is misusing the Golden Rule & citing it in a self-serving manner and this is why they are booing?

Ya think? It's not hard people.

Tony Lloyd said...

@BenYachov

"The Golden Rule means if you hurt me I should not personally retaliate."

I think that's the "turning the other cheek" bit. Wasn't Ron Paul referencing "love your neighbour as yourself"?

You could argue that this primarily applies to individuals and Paul was stretching things a bit. But to boo? Are you really going to boo someone who's slightly misapplying an ethical principle?

Booing doesn't fit with irritation in mistaking the "you" to be plural rather than singular.

It does fit in with an idea of American exceptionalism and a (albeit subconscious) rejection of reciprocity.

We have plenty of examples of US citizens claiming exceptionalism and, especially with American Christians, a seeming inability to even comprehend reciprocity.

We have very few examples of Republican irritation with mildly sloppy thinking.

Although it's possible the boos were for an alleged misuse of the rule, on balance I think it was from people who think that the US deserves special treatment, a special place in the world and that certain moral principles have an "of course, except the US" clause.

Paul P. Mealing said...

Ron Paul makes a very good point, made more pertinent when it's juxtaposed with Newt Gingrich's comment regarding 'America's enemies': "Kill them."

Ron Paul echoes an article I read in The Australian (a Murdoch publication, btw) in Nov. 2010:

‘Juan Cole, Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of Michigan, puts it more bluntly: “When you bomb people and kill their family, it pisses them off. They form lifelong grudges… This is not rocket science. If they were not sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qa’ida before, after you bomb the shit out of them they will be.”’

I think Paul is being booed because his anti-war rhetoric goes against accepted Republican policy. I assume the cheers he got - from wanting to bring troops home - was from a different section of the audience; possibly those who have sons, daughters or spouses serving overseas.

Regards, Paul.

BenYachov said...

>But to boo? Are you really going to boo someone who's slightly misapplying an ethical principle?

Of course I would. but here it is misapplying it to promote a political agenda.

Didn't one of your own bards say the "Devil cites Scripture for his own purposes"?

>We have plenty of examples of US citizens claiming exceptionalism and, especially with American Christians, a seeming inability to even comprehend reciprocity.

If you want to complain about that fine. You are all Brits here & I am an American. I don't expect to find pro-American patriotism on this blog. Indeed I would be shocked to find it since it would be a tad disloyal to Her Majesty the Queen. To say the least.

Defend Ron Paul's view of foreign policy if you wish. I don't agree with his unrealistic belief he can turn America back into a 19th century isolationist Republic.

But don't give me this crap about the good people of South Carolina booing the GOLDEN RULE. They booed his self-serving misuse of it.

The Golden rule doesn't forbid Governments using deadly force against evil doers. The Golden Rule doesn't overthrow Rom 15.

That's just the way it is. Agree with Paul if you like but not of this crap that not doing so is against the Golden rule.

Cheers.

Paul P. Mealing said...

Hi Ben,

Actually, I'm an Aussie. We only take an interest because America exerts an inordinate degree of power in the world.

I understand that Gingrich could now be the leading Republican contender after the South Carolina primary.

If his attitude is 'Kill Them' then I'm pretty confident that the rest of the world doesn't want to see him as the next US President. That's the attitude that I would call 'isolationist'.

Regards, Paul.

Sean Conner said...

.and yet people continue to claim Paul is the craziest GOP candidate.

Of course they ARE Christian, to claim otherwise is a logical fallacy.

Tony Lloyd said...

“Of course I would.”

Really? It’s that clear that it’s misapplied? Or are you such a stickler for philosophical precision in Republican candidates’ debates?

“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

Isn’t it at least arguable that that applies when considering bombing the crap out of a country that hasn’t attacked you?

"Devil cites Scripture for his own purposes"? Aye, Antonio, there’s the rub. For when Scripture is referenced I cannot tell whether it’s Jesus or the Devil sitting on my shoulder. I cannot read the true meaning. It does seem a little harsh to boo Paul for misrepresenting the Golden Rule when it’s so difficult to figure out what it means in the first place.

You, helpfully, referenced Romans 15 but, I’m afraid, I cannot see anything in there that’s even relevant. Not that, if I did, I would be able to sort out the priority of Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31 (Jesus) against that of Romans 15 (St. Paul).

Looking at the images in that clip of the crowd, though, this devil sees a verse in Romans that is apposite. Not that I claim that it’s about those people, just that it fits.

Romans 1:31: “they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.”

BenYachov said...

>If his attitude is 'Kill Them' then I'm pretty confident that the rest of the world doesn't want to see him as the next US President.

So persons who killed 3,000 plus Americans or Jihadists and or Nazis should be what "Arrested"?

Paul P. Mealing said...

Hi Ben,

You're assuming that you know who your enemies are individually, but when you use the term generically, it's just war-mongering, which is what Paul was arguing against. At least that's my interpretation based on the video clip.


Paul's point is very salient in my view, as I said above. We don't want to be starting wars with Islamist countries all over the world. I use 'we' because we all get caught up in them, including Australia.

Regards, Paul.