Tag Archives: two-party system

Epistle to the G̶a̶l̶a̶t̶i̶a̶n̶s̶ Megachurches: Ch. 4

My ultimate point is this: There are times in our lives when we can claim we don’t know the whole story. We are like little kids. So we go to school and learn, hopefully so that we can be responsible adults. But now, here we are, all grown up, and still acting like children, thinking the world is about us and our salvation.  But God’s attitude was different. God owns everything. Yet God gave up everything, allowing us to share in the divine. God is guilty of being the communist or the socialist that you hate so much.  And it must be frustrating that the scripture tells us all to be as much like God as possible. Remember, “be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect?”

Yet here we are. You are STILL God’s beloved, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, so you can still say, “Daddy! Dad!”  But you aren’t little children anymore. Grow up. Give of yourselves before it is too late.

Before you were Christians, you did whatever you wanted. You lived a selfish life.  Now however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to serving those selfish desires, which really make you a slave to yourself? How can you want to be a slave?  You go to church all the damn time, celebrate Easter, Christmas, and even go to Bible studies! But I’m afraid that you are wasting your time.

Listen, you have not done me any wrong. I bear you no personal ill will. I remember worshiping with you. The tears flowed, voices were lifted, and for what it is worth, I still consider all of you to be friends. But just like me, I hope you are able to see past the good feelings and see instead the danger and harm that is below the surface. There are those among you that would have given the shirt off of their backs for me. And some did. There are those who daily put their lives in harm’s way for others. There are those among you that are some of the most humble, loving, decent people I have ever met. And it is for those people I am heartbroken. Because no matter how many of those are in a church, the mob mentality of thousands of selfish people who vote with their wallets will always win out.

My spiritual parents, I wish I could have stayed in the house until Christ is formed in you,  I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, but I can’t do it anymore.

Tell me. What happens when you are fired and need a job? What happens when the 10% unemployment includes you? Who will pay for your big houses? Not the church. Who will help you? Probably your families, right? But what about those who don’t have any family? What of them? Those who have to move their families into shelters? Aren’t we supposed to all be ONE family? Good luck trying to get water from that stone.

Now this might interest you: These two rulers represent two different ways of being a king. Both were called the Son of David. One king, in fact, is Solomon, ruling from Jerusalem, who built a magnificent house for God. He used the best material, the best artists, and the end result was simply amazing. A work of art. The other king is Jesus. Jesus ruled from no place. He wandered around. He was among the people he ruled. He too built beautiful things, but not with materials. He invested in people, talked with poor, unclean folks, as well as the rich he happened upon. Solomon spent every night in luxury. Jesus never spent a single night that way. Solomon had a wife for every day of the year. Jesus has only one love – the world. Solomon is said to have been a terrible burden on the people. Jesus said his burden is light. Solomon used slaves, SLAVES! to build the temple of GOD! Jesus sets the slaves FREE! Don’t you get it? Who do you think the real king was? Who was the better Son of David? Even those who you emulate in the Bible are misunderstood by you. Turn to Jesus. Get your message and your mission from him, not whoever seems right to you at the time, whether it is me, Paul, or anyone else.

Democracy is the Problem: Jurgen Moltmann & A Theology for A Multi-Party System

Welcome to the revolution, Comrades Joel and Craig.

Did you ever stop to think, that despite how many times you shout for inclusivism in our “democratic” society, that it would be of no use? Direct democracy is seen as naively a good thing. Let’s be honest, even in the ancient Greek societies in which we get these ideals, democracy was limited for the few. In fact, the etymology of democracy is crat, or rule, and demos, not as people, but as a crowd, gathered together for any purpose (Walt Bauer, etc. A Greek Lexicon, 2nd edition). We learn from an early age that the founders were afraid of the “mobocracy”; on paper they were, but it was their racist and classist policies which provided the background for the lynching mobocracies in the late 19th and early 20th century post-Civil War.

Democracies in ancient Greece were not for the “people” but for more specifically, the privileged citizens in the polis. Citizenship excluded women, slaves and barbarians (those who were deemed stateless) (see David Theo Goldberg’s Racist Culture, page 21-22). The barbarian was deemed morally inferior, and thus, incapable of political activity. Pure Democracy, as it has been practiced not theorized, is reign of the in-crowd. Democracy originally came in the context of the city-state; after the “American Revolution,” democracy was the preferred ideal for the nation-state. I think we are still struggling to understand the difference, but I would argue that the transformation is immense, and has implications for how we view peoplehood, race, and class. The Supreme Court case that recognized corporations as citizens, guess what? From then on, our country has been gradually controlled indirectly by business class;
Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company
. That’s why the Civil Rights movement was so effective in going after people’s wallets first through boycotts.

What needs to happen? Well, first, there Congress needs to do its duty in defining corporations and their purpose, since it is well within its authority to do so. Theologically, Christians are well equipped to promote a multi-party system, thereby diluting (read:limiting) the power of special interests. First, there is the notion of covenant. Jurgen Moltmann argues that a politics based on covenant remains “threatened by centralistic socialism and by the extreme inequalities produced by capitalism. The covenant guarantees both personal liberties and social justice” (The Spirit of Life, 252). While we can see that Moltmann’s theology does have potential; in the United States, Moltmann’s theology seems quite abstract and exclusively for German social democracy. He can make such political pronouncements because he already lives in such a society with a multi-party system. In fact, Moltmann’s theology excluded Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions; for “centralist churches therefore have nothing to offer the new process towards political community. Their hierarchal structures paralyse the liberty of individuals and produce a passive welfare mentality” (Spirit of Life, 247).

While Moltmann claims that he desires to see a society working within covenant, his vision is exclusive; would Southern Baptists, Presbyterian Churches of America, and Catholics, conservative Muslims and Jews be allowed in Moltmann’s kingdom? I doubt it, for what Jurgen Moltmann does is make these groups to be the Barbarian, for democracy has become an idol in liberal Protestant theologies.

In my other works, I have commented on the threat of hegemony in Moltmann’s political theology, and without an emphasis on trinitarian difference, where a society is re-made in the image of Creator, Wisdom, and Breathe dancing in equality and reciprocal mutuality. For scholars of Moltmann, I hope that they would also consider the radicalism of Catholic and pro-Catholic religious thinkers such as New Negro philosopher Hubert Harrison, Eldridge Cleaver, Gustavo Guittierez, and Elizabeth A. Johnson, and then tell me if they promote a “passive welfare” mentality. I think that just as the Triune God took a risk and died in the form of the Son, so too must Christians take a risk and advocate a multi-party democracy, even if that means giving a voice to our “enemies.”

Why This Black Man Doesn’t Like the Voting Rights Act

In my series from a while back, THE TERRIBLE TWO PARTY SYSTEM, I argued that proportional representation, rather than what we have now,which depends on majoritarianism. Majoritarianism, in terms of race relations, can be haphazardous. In fact, this, along with the prevailing identity politics of the day, along with the economics of elections (only the richest prevail in primaries), means a system dedicated to the exclusion of the poor and the oppressed, no matter what race or ethnicity. Thus, what happens is that certain groups, in majoritarian democracies such as the United States receive over-representation, while leaving the minority begging for scraps.

This is exactly what happens with majority-minority districts, as created by the regularly renewed Voting Rights Acts of 1965. Originally, the VRA was designed to ensure disenfranchised persons access to the ballot as well as representation. Consequently what has happened is that African Americans, Hispanics, and other racial minorities have their political fates determined, as communities, by the process of re-districting. In the United States, in each state legislature, no one party cannot be said to be guilty of gerry-mandering. Gerry-mandering is the norm, make no mistake about it, even if we discuss re-districting in terms of individual candidates and how “liberal this district was” etc.

As recent as last year, the Supreme Court of The United States upheld Section 5 of the VRA, requiring districts with histories of discrimination to request permission from the federal government to change their procedure. This clause, for me atleast, is problematic for a couple of reasons, if you jump over the race issue for a second, the idea that each state has different barriers for ballot access in the first place, rather than one national policy is problematic. This is the primary hurdle for third party candidates, and the restrictions of free speech in recent campaign finance reform, like McCain-Feingold actually add to the burden of those persons who reject the duo-poly of power held by the DummoCrats and Repukeicants.

Now, according to Politico, the states are once more challenging Section 5, yes yes, Amendment 10, we know, same argument. Nothing new. Rather then go through all of this bureaucratic tape, it would be better to revise the Voting Rights act to reform the U.S. into a proportional representation system, with a constitutional amendment ridding ourselves of the Electoral College, and installing the Speaker of the House as the head of state on all domestic matters. All of this red tape leads to more losses on the part of tax dollars (to defend a law that could be so easily changed); this way we will have LESS off a problem of identity politics and charges of racism throughout primaries and redistricting efforts. The VRA should be considered offensive because it takes power out of the hands of individuals and restricts our choices for representation (at both the state and federal level).

Power to the People!