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April 22, 2010 - 9:25am

Today's Poll: What's your opinion of the tea party movement?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Dennis Jay
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Another option on your survey should have been: O - People who watch Fox News waaaaay too much. I've had an opportunity to attend a couple of Tea Party rallies. I don't think most of these people are racist. The media tends to focus on the fringe types. Most are frustrated with the direction of the country and are angry for various reasons. I think most are well meaning, but misguided. As movements go, it's not very big, although apparently they're loud enough to bug Democrats, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
C. M. Barons
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The accurate answer seems to have been left off the survey: all of the above. Despite network media, who gauge their audience unable to comprehend nuance, individuals who have attached themselves to the Tea Party movement are no-more or less homogeneous than membership of any group. Even the Proprietary-Ps (Paul I, Paul II and Palin) voice divergent takes on the movement. Was Rand Paul named after the neo-con think tank? Or was his parents' choice a form of backlash against the trend in Afrocentric names?
Robert Bennett
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How about extreme special interest fueled politics?
Laura Russell Ricci
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I just finished doing research on the Tea Party for a paper in community organization and development. I believe, as with any group, you will have your fringe radicals. Overall, I think the majority of the Tea Party are middle class people who are fed up with carrying the burden of the rich and the poor, and just want to see changes made in government. Anyone who complains about how high taxes are or how much they tax us to death in NYS could easily be a member of the Tea Party. If there are positive changes from their rallies and protests than great, however if the fringe radicals are the norm then it won't do anyone any good. I recommend not relying on the news or what you hear at the watercooler at work for any accurate information, and do suggest people do their own research.
Doug Yeomans
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We have to remember that Obama is just as white as he is black. Black dad and White mom do not make an all black person. He's of mixed race with higher percentages of the 2 mixes than the rest of us. I'm tired of him being labeled as the first black president. He's not. We're ALL of mixed race if you know anything about DNA lineage. Getting past that, members of the Tea Party have clearly stated that they're tired of the crap from conservatives AND liberals, not just liberals. They're clearly patriots who KNOW government is out of control. The country belongs to "we, the people." The government only exists because of "we, the people." WE ARE the government. It's time to put the power back into the peoples hands like it was originally intended. That's not even a personal opinion, it's a fact.
Dennis Jay
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C.M. - Considering the ultra-libertarian views of Rand Paul's father, I think it's easy to guess how they settled on their son's name.
David Lazik
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I agree that they are misguided. Simplistic solutions will not solve complicated problems.
Tim Howe
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Bravo Doug!!!! Encore....Encore!!!
Jeff Allen
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Why can't simplistic solutions work, the complicated solutions don't work, and why is demanding smaller government, better accountability, and no more politics as usual misguided?
Howard B. Owens
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For anybody interested Google, "Collapse of Complex Societies" and start reading. Joseph Tainter wrote a much acclaimed book of that title that quite scientifically shows that great societies collapse due to complexity. I've been thinking about this book a lot since learning about it a few weeks ago. I haven't read it yet, but I've read summaries and it makes a lot of sense to me. The great failures of Albany are NOT due to simplicity. They're quite easily attributable to trying to solve complex issues by creating more complexity. What we've recently learned about Leandra's Law is a good example of trying to solve a complex problem with complexity, and now new problems are created that will require even more complex solutions. Perhaps the very answers we need are the most simplistic we can find.
Doug Yeomans
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Thanks Tim and AMEN Jeff. I'd like to add that the crap from Washington includes the damn dog show called Obama. He was groomed and presented to the world on some staged platform and paraded around like a dog on a leash. How can everyone be so blind to it? He was totally unqualified for the job and his bully tactics with the backing of the liberal party support that fact. The health bill vote was 100% Liberal. 40 Liberals voted against it and ALL the conservatives voted against it. Is that how a country is supposed to be run? I for one hope that the Tea Party takes this administration and everyone that comprises the Federal government, to task. The Obama administration is nothing but a sham but It's only part of a much larger problem that comprises both parties. GO TEA PARTY!
Tim Howe
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There's the Encore I wanted :)
Robert Bennett
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Ok, so we've established that Obama is not black and apparently poops on the White House lawn. It all makes sense now thanks Doug! If you really want to know what the Tea Party is all about check out what Sourcewatch has to say about where the money comes from. Politics is about money and the Tea Party is no exception. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Tea_Party_movement_funding Lets start voting on issues and people not partisanship and lobbyists...
Bea McManis
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I wasn't going to say anything about the dog comment, but then I got thinking about how Bush was called shrub, and you know what dogs can do to shrubs.
Howard B. Owens
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Good one, Bea.
Tim Howe
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We also know what dogs do to people legs (the american taxpayer) :)
Herb Chapman
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Doug, Obama is black. Back in the day, he would not have been sitting next to you at a lunch counter, and he would not have been riding with you in the front of the bus. Regardless of his mixed race, he would have been treated as black, and he is treated that way today. Obama did not win so much as the McCain and Palin lost. Obama was a dogshow and Palin was not? Come on. Don't give us that mess as an alternative to Obama, and then complain about the outcome.
JoAnne Rock
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Herb: To what "mess" are you referring?
Doug Yeomans
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Robert Bennett, I already know what the Tea Party is about and what other people "think" it's about. Herb Chapman, Obama is just as white as he is black, right? He's of mixed race. I don't think we even need to debate that. Black father from Africa and Caucasian mother from America. Is that black? Hardly, but, whatever. We're not "back in the day" now. He's hardly getting equal treatment because of his color. It's so tiring listening to everyone holding him up to some higher standard than every other president before him just because of his color. It's pathetic and sickening. If you can't see that he's getting special treatment just because if his color, you're blind. People should fill the job based on qualifications, not on color. Tim.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvGZjRIH-NQ
Chris Charvella
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What 'special treatment' is Obama getting because of his color?
Chris Charvella
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One other thing Doug, President Obama is a Constitutional Law scholar. He also served in the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate prior to his election as President. The Constitution simply requires that a person be over the age of 35 and a natural born U.S. citizen; Obama is both. What other qualifications should he have?
Tim Howe
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We should all pray for our president every day. And when I open the good book and think of him, i cant help but go to Psalm Chapter 109 Verse 8 :)
Chris Charvella
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Tim, that verse is an occurrence of a worshiper of the God of Abraham specifically asking his Lord to cause the untimely death of an enemy resulting in his replacement. See also Acts 1:20 regarding Judas. Earlier in the Psalm a request is made of God to appoint an 'evil man' (also translated 'adversary' and in some cases 'Satan') to oppose him. Are you saying that you pray daily for the death of our President? As an apparently religious person, do you think that God should unleash Satan on our President? Or did you just think you were being clever?
Tim Howe
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Whoa Chris....I am a bible believing CHRISTian, I know what that refers to. And it was just a joke, that is why i stuck with verse 8 and ONLY verse 8. I wish absolutely no harm whatsoever to come to him, but i would like him out of office as soon as possible :) I do truly with all of my heart believe that whether or not we agree with Obama, God Almighty put him in office for a reason, and as CHRISTians we should be praying daily for him, for God to touch his heart, and to pray for our country. Smile Chris :) And just take is in the spirit that was intended.
Chris Charvella
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Psalms are all or nothing Tim, particularly the ones known as 'imprecatory psalms.' They were written with nothing in mind except for the punishment of God to be released upon the writer's enemies. I'll accept that you didn't mean it the way David did when he wrote the ugly thing though and give you a smile back :) Are you taking into account that President Obama is a practitioner of the christian faith when you pray for God to touch his heart? I would argue that his dedication to improving the lot of the poor in our country should tell us that he takes the teachings of Christ very seriously. While many of us don't enjoy the bits about 'rendering unto Caesar' I think a good argument could be made that Obama has governed with his faith (or at least the golden rule) in mind.
Tim Howe
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Chris, you really believe that he is of the Christian faith? Really? Anyone who claims to follow the teachings of Jesus would never support murder, right? Obama supports abortion. He attended a "church" and i use that term very loosely, where the paster was a hate driven man, he has surrounded himself with alot of unsavory people both in his past and his present, and i truly believe he is Muslim, NOT someone who follows the teachings of Jesus. So like you ended your last comment, he may like "the golden rule" but that does NOT in any way make him a bible believing CHRISTian. Oh, and i believe you meant NO disrespect whatsoever, I really do, but refering to your second paragraph....There is nothing UGLY in the Bible, its all there for a reason, its the living, breathing, word of GOD. I know certain parts especially taken out of context are not as easy to read as other parts, and not all of the bible is there to give you that oooey gooey fuzzy feeling :)
Chris Charvella
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What would lead you to believe he's a Muslim? As far as the Psalm being 'ugly' I stand by it. The imprecatory psalms are nasty things; the result of people who believed in a vengeful God praying for their Lord to take vengeance. This is not to say that we can't learn something from them or that they're not there for a purpose. The Psalms aren't bad things, nor are the people who wrote them, they are simply a reflection of how the people of that era viewed their God. I'm no biblical scholar, but I'll offer a humble opinion about what I think Christ meant to religion in general. Whether or not we believe Jesus was the son of God, we have to accept that his teachings changed the tone of worship. Christ taught us that God was not (or at least no longer wished to be) the spiteful, vengeful deity worshiped in the Old Testament. Christ told us that God was filled with love for us and wished to forgive us our imperfections so long as we were willing to come to Him for forgiveness. When Christ died for our sins, he not only gave us God's forgiveness, he gave us the responsibility of forgiving others. So, when I say the tone of worship was changed what I mean is that things like the imprecatory Psalms are no longer an acceptable form of prayer within the Christian faith. Instead of praying for God to deliver His vengeance on our enemies, Christ taught us that we should instead pray for our enemies to be forgiven for what they do to us. The imprecatory Psalms can teach us a lot about how Christ wanted our relationship with God to be different, and also the gift and responsibility He gave us with His death.
Chris Charvella
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I forgot to answer the question you asked me about whether or not I think Obama is a Christian. The answer is this: I have no reason to believe otherwise, nor do I think it should matter. He could worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster for all I care, I simply don't think a person's faith should have any bearing on his/her qualification to hold public office, unless that faith comes in the form of zealotry.
Laura Russell Ricci
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I totally agree with you Chris on your last post! Nicely said.
Howard B. Owens
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I've always thought that Christians who question the faith of Democrats merely on the grounds of their political beliefs, be it Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, President Obama or anybody else -- those people should read The Body, by Chuck Colson. Another great book that touches on the topic of the discussion is The Culture of Disbelief by Stephen L. Carter. It's a book I read after Bill Clinton recommended it in a speech early in his first term.
Charlie Mallow
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I don't understand why anyone would bother to question the presidents faith. I have no understanding of why his faith would matter. This is a good example of why our political system is in shambles. There is no ability to politely disagree anymore. It is now acceptable to paint those who disagree politically with you as evil. Am I also hearing that Tim believes only Muslims are capable of evil? I would like to believe that Tea Party members are patriots but, their numbers seem to be made up with people who do not understand what the word means.
Tim Howe
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Charlie, your hearing wrong :) Muslims are not by any means the ONLY ones capable of evil....not by a long shot. The extremists in that paticular group are america's #1 enemy right now, and therefore they should be watched very carefully but they are NOT the only ones. Even people who claim to be Christians do evil. We have people who claim to follow Jesus that bomb abortion clinics, that is horrible. Abortion is murder pure and simple, but that is NOT the way to deal with it, and it should be condemed by all christians, the same way that the muslim extremists should be harshly condemed by other muslims.
Robert Bennett
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And this is why things like the Tea Party seem to be able to gain momentum. What the heck does religion have anything to do with this topic?! The American people are quick to forget real issues and so easily distracted that Oh hey look a bouncing ball...
Charlie Mallow
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Tim, then we agree that a person's religion doesn't matter, there is good and bad on all sides.As for the President, he might not be your type of Christian but, he is a follower of Christ. That would make him a Christian.
Lorie Longhany
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I just wonder sometimes how Jesus would be received today by people espousing Tea Party view points. If he came back right now would we see him walking with signs to stop health care and carrying a pistol strapped to his leg? Anyone that has ever read the Beatitudes can easily decipher that Jesus preached a pretty liberal agenda. An agenda that sounds more like the opposite of the Tea Party movement where health care for the uninsured was one of the catalysts to the movement and carrying firearms does not quite describe "the meek". Peace: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. [Matthew 5:9] Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [Matthew 5:39] I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute you; [Matthew 5:44]Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. {Matthew 5:5} Crime and Punishment: If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone at her. [John 8:7] Do not judge, lest you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. [Matthew 7:1 & 2.] Justice: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. [Matthew 5:6] Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy [Matthew 5:7] But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [Matthew 6:15] Corporate greed and wealth: In the temple courts Jesus found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and other sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. [John 2:14 & 15.] Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. [Luke 12.15.] Truly, I say unto you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 19:23] You cannot serve both God and Money. [Matthew 6:24.] Paying Taxes & Separation of Church & State: Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. [Matthew 22:21] Community: Love your neighbor as yourself.[Matthew 22:39] So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.[Matthew 7:12.] If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. [Matthew 19:21] Equality & Social Programs: But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. [Luke 14:13 &14.] And would Jesus join in with the mocking and jeering of this Parkinson patient? Nah, I doubt it. Jesus was into that whole "healing" thing.
Bea McManis
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Lorie, Well put. We've talked abut this before and you put it into words far better than I ever could. Thanks.
Howard B. Owens
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Lorie, and the overriding message of the Gospels is one of a personal relationship with God, quite apart from the government. It was the individual who should care for the poor, not the Roman Empire. It was the individual who should treat the prostitutes and afflicted with compassion, not the government. Doing so was a service to God (render unto God, not unto Caesar). Rather than being a liberal/progressive agenda, it was really a quite libertarian agenda. Personal choice and responsibility without government involvement. I think many people on the right misuse religion for political purposes, so I'm not endorsing any of that sort of behavior; I'm just saying, it's hard to logically argue that the Gospels support government entitlements or redistribution of wealth. Jesus chased the money changers out of the Temple to emphasize the separation the marketplace of worldly possessions from spiritual faith. He said "hate your father and mother" to emphasize the personal choice followers should make to sacrifice the ways of the world. One must hate (but in context, not "hate" in the literal, emotional sense, but in the separation sense) all of the ways of the world to follow Jesus. That's hardly a message endorsing the government to push any political agenda (which is definitely "of this world"), either from the left or the right. The lesson of Judas is quite instructive: Judas wanted Jesus to throw off the Roman Empire by force. He betrayed Jesus because he wanted to hasten the day that Jesus would establish his kingdom. But Jesus wasn't on earth to use force or coercion. He was here to teach personal sacrifice and a change of heart, not a change of government. (I've always loved the line in the U2 song "Rejoice" -- "I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me.") Those who want to use the Gospels to preach government welfare and redistribution of wealth have as little to stand on as those on the right who want to use the Gospels to impose morality on society. Jesus stood apart from government and politics in all its aspects.
Charlie Mallow
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Justifying your personal politics through religious interpretations is a pretty dangerous thing. I wonder how many people have been killed by those who needed to feel that they were doing God's will?
Lorie Longhany
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Howard, never once in my comment did I mention the government. I was interpreting my own perception of how Jesus might perceive the Tea Party movement and how the Tea Party movement might perceive Him. Charlie, I am a firm believer in separation of church and state. For me, personally (and I emphasize that), faith probably did shape my political views and the message in the Beatitudes rang loudest for me. I guess it's just a matter of individual interpretations. My comment represents a dissenting opinion to Tim's. Genesee Counties own Amanda Terkle wrote this story about the merchandising of Psalm 109:8 http://thinkprogress.org/2009/11/21/cafe-press-pray-obama/ "While 109:8 reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office,” the next line is, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow,” suggesting far more violent rhetoric than simple criticism."
Dave Olsen
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Thanks Howard for articulating once again my thoughts better than I could. A personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, in my very humble opinion, is what truly matters. No mortal can say how a proper Christian should think and act. You can't force people to do things either by taxing and re-distributing wealth or legislating morality, it HAS to be a personal choice to do God's work.
Howard B. Owens
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Lorie, with respect, I was respondeding to your statement: "Jesus preached a pretty liberal agenda." If you had a different meaning with "liberal" than I interpreted, I apologize. But into today's vernacular, I equate "liberal" with "progressive." And progressive has always meant, going back to the progressive Republicans of the 1910s, looking to the government for reform, social justice, and that government should be used to solve society's problems, be they poverty or lack of affordable health care. Not to, in the scope of this comments, to pass judgment on any particular government program or liberal/progressive initiative, all I'm saying is the Gospels do not support a "liberal agenda." They support no political agenda at all.
C. M. Barons
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Two politically relevant texts stand out from the New Testament: Matthew 22- “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” ...and Luke 10- "When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town."
Howard B. Owens
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Explain to me how you see the Luke passage as political? I'm not taking "town" to mean government/political institution, but local attitude/culture. Though, in context of the time, where many towns had local gods, it might be relevant in that context. As for the Matthew passage, I've also took this to draw a clear distinction between the spiritual world and the political/material world. I think it also goes against Thoreau's idea of civil disobedience. I mean, in context, Jesus is saying, and he's speaking to Jews at the time, to be obedient to a government that essentially enslaved the Jews (only Roman's were citizens and could participate officially in governance).
Dave Olsen
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Alright, Mr. C M Barons, you made me actually open my Bible, been a while (sneeze). The context of the Luke 10 passage was Jesus sending an advance of disciples other than the 12, to towns he planned to visit to see if he would be welcome. It's about faith not politics. Nothing gets me more agitated than when people use passages or verses from the Bible outside of the context it belongs in. Now you are one of them.
C. M. Barons
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Matthew 22- “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” As I recall, a question had been put to Christ, an attempt to label him seditious, advocating that Jews not pay taxes to Rome. The reference to Roman coins stamped with the image of Caesar. The response is admittedly vague and has yielded multiple interpretations, notably that the secular and sacred worlds are separate. Literally, it debases the question. Paying taxes is merely giving back to Rome what belongs to Rome- an inconsequential act as it is outside the more prudent concern: achieving the kingdom of God. Since it addresses Roman taxes, directly, and church/state, metaphorically; it is essentially political. ...and Luke 10- "When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town." In the ancient world localities, though part of larger governing structures, remained autonomous in the sense that towns were far-flung and isolated by the limits of communication, travel time and lack of a tangible top-down presence. Aside from census, tax collection and military intervention, localities were fairly independent in terms of self-governing. Of course a religious authority filled that vacuum, but it would be ostensibly a local priest and local temple. When Christ sent his disciples to these locales to prepare for his ministering, he gauged the reception to his message by how his advance team was treated. Indeed he was distinguishing between those who would accept his ministering and those who would not. His ministry was one that valued certain behaviors, qualities of the righteous: mercy and generosity among those. In that sense he was judging communities (cultural units) on the hospitality offered to his representatives. I don't think it is such of a stretch to view His judgment as indicative of good/bad government. Admittedly the Bible is more concerned with the eternal than the temporal. Still Christ's parables often reflect on the relationship between (good) masters and (good) servants. As much as parables draw upon interpretation, the lessons can be applied to masters and servants, parents and children, rulers and subjects, etc. There is a history of such learning texts, especially in Ancient Egypt where rulers offered similar guidance to their sons. On another note from Genesis- following the expulsion from Eden (where secular government was obviously unnecessary), God presumed secular government to offset the disorder attendant to banishment from the garden. And when those governments failed to function by His laws- as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, He exercised his wrath. There can be no doubt that these references were intended to model civil ideals. _______________________ Dave, thank you for revealing your authority to apply "one of them" status. I've always wondered who made that determination.
Dave Olsen
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C M; I keep it hidden because it makes people uncomfortable once they know my power to label. However, I believe that I defy any label including hypocrite, so I hereby remove "one of them" from you, unless you'd like to keep it in which case it's yours. That was a good comeback by the way and I totally deserved it.

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