Monday, September 19, 2011

Secular Politics Infiltrating the Church: Hell's Scheme to Bring Down Evangelicalism

From the discussion surrounding the unfortunate cancellation of George W. Bush's speech at a Tyndale event, it has become clear that many Tyndale students are in danger of being led astray into false doctrine by those for whom secular politics, rather than the Gospel, are the most important thing.

Between the time of Augustine and the French Revolution, politics in the West was developed within a basically Christian worldview. The Enlightenment and the revolutionary movements that emerged out of it constituted the rise of a new paganism. In part they were a return to pre-Christian paganism but they also constituted a new, distinctively post-Christian form of paganism. Insofar as these intellectual movements denied cardinal Christian doctrines and defined themselves over against Christianity, they are technically heresies. So the 19-20th centuries are the age of political heresies.

The most influential of these political heresies is Marxism. Marxism is best thought of as a Christian heresy in which key Christian doctrines are inverted like some sort of "Satanic Bible." For example, the idea of an eschatological kingdom of God in which heaven comes to earth is part of Marxism, but it happens through human effort according to the "iron laws" of history instead of happening through the great Divine intervention in history that the New Testament calls the Return of Christ.

Marxism views human nature as plastic and malleable and therefore denies the Biblical doctrine of original sin. Rejecting the Genesis accounts of Adam's fall and Paul's theological interpretation of the meaning of that event in Romans, Marxism views evil in the world as arising from inadequate social arrangements. Instead of seeing sin as inherent in us, it sees sin as inherent in social structures of oppression. This view of the problem also changes the nature of the solution. Instead of seeing individual salvation - redemption through the blood of Christ - as the solution, Marxism views social revolution and the common ownership of material goods as the solution.

Marxism is atheistic; it denies the existence of God and blames faith in God for the passivity of the masses who are slow to rise up in revolution at the urging of Marxist agitators. Religion, said Marx, is the opiate of the people.

Marxism urges the breaking of all of the Ten Commandments as part of its system. It urges us to covet our neighbour's goods and to rise up in a redistributive revolution to steal from the rich and give to the less rich. It worships material wealth and substitutes material wealth for God, thus breaking the first two commandments. Marxism despises the family and tradition and wants to see the family dissolved so that nothing remains except the individual and the all-Powerful State. (Even though Marx advocated the abolition of the State the depth of his sincerity can be gauged by the fact that in practice he wanted to use the State to abolish the State!)

By now you might be asking what this revolutionary, atheistic, anti-Christian system of thought could possibly have to do with Tyndale. Well, over the past century or more, Marxist ideas and Marxist apologists have gradually been worming their way into the heart of Christian institutions, churches, colleges and seminaries in order to corrupt pure doctrine and replace Christian thinking with Marxist thinking.

In the 19th century the German influence on North American Protestant theology was pronounced and it included higher criticism, evolution, idealism and socialism of various sorts. The resulting Social Gospel movement secularized Christianity by turning it from a religion that focuses on heaven and hell, sin and salvation, and Christ and the Bible into a religion that focuses on this life only, socialist politics and Marx and politics. The churches became social service agencies, theology was reduced to a vague humanism centered on tolerance and inclusion, pastors became social workers or community organizers and the enemy became big business, capitalism and the rich. The Bible is full of myths, the resurrection never happened, miracles are rejected and the real message of Jesus was simply "Love your neighbour." Since we are all good people there must not be any hell or judgment and salvation means adjusting the living conditions in this world so that there is equality of income.

In reaction to this horrifying perversion of the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, Christians who wanted to remain connected to the orthodox tradition of the Church took their stand on Scripture and continued to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again. They were called the Fundamentalists and they were hated, ostracized, mocked, despised and feared by the Social Gospel heretics. Fundamentalism flourished between the last decades of the 19th century and World War II.

After World War II, some Fundamentalist leaders decided to try to break out of their ghetto and re-engage the wider culture. They wanted to get involved in higher education, intellectual debate and socio-political affairs. But they wanted to do so without giving up their orthodox, biblical, fundamentalist theology.

It was at this time that institutions such as The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the National Association of Evangelicals, Christianity Today and Fuller Theological Seminary were founded. Leaders such as Billy Graham, Harold Ockenga, Bill Bright, John R. W. Stott, J. I. Packer, Carl F. H. Henry and Harold Lindsell were prominent.

Over the next 50 years Evangelicalism grew and flourished. Many seminaries, publishing companies, liberal arts colleges and mission agencies were founded and grew rapidly. Evangelical churches grew quickly while liberal Protestant ones emptied out. Evangelicals helped elect the first Evangelical president, Jimmy Carter, and when he disappointed with his liberal policies, they helped elect Ronald Reagan in 1980. Leaders like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell became politically influential as Evangelicals began to join with Catholics to resist the increasingly aggressive secularism being pushed from the Left, exemplified in the demonic practice of abortion.

In some ways, Evangelicalism became a victim of its own success. Its rapid growth in numbers meant that much of the movement was a mile wide and an inch deep. Apologetics was always a big part of Evangelicalism because evangelism was at the center of Evangelical concern. But as Evangelicalism became bigger and more successful, it began to seem to be mainstream. The despised Fundamentalists of yesteryear now had the biggest, newest churches in town and went to nice colleges to become professionals and live an upper middle-class lifestyle.

In this situation, false prophet arose who played on the guilt felt by Evangelicals who were materially well off (or whose parents were) and used this as an opening to insinuate Marxist ideas into the thinking of younger Evangelicals. Like all heresies, Marxism uses a germ of truth as bait. Jesus does call us to love our neighbours and God is concerned for the poor. These two biblical truths, however, do not justify violent revolution, income redistribution by government coercion and class warfare. But they provide an opening for Marxist ideas.

One of the main ways Marxism attempts to beguile Evangelicals is through its critique of capitalism. If they can convince you that capitalism is the problem (rather than sin) then you will be open to focusing your attention on fighting capitalism rather than preaching the Gospel. That is good for Marxism, since its goal is to overthrow the capitalist order, and it distracts Christians from preaching the Gospel.

Once the Marxists have convinced a group of Christians that capitalism is the enemy, they can work to encourage you to become ever more envious and covetous. But the brilliance of their strategy is revealed at this point: they don't get you to covet and envy for yourself, but rather, you do so on behalf of the oppressed poor! That seems unselfish and noble.

Next, the strategy is to get you to slowly but surely forget about evangelism and focus all your attention on "social justice ministry." This is a process in which you gradually get used to neglecting the well-being of the souls of the people you are reaching out to and concentrating on their material well-being in this life only. It begins by an innocent-looking theological move in which you are asked to accept the idea that mission includes both social service and evangelism as co-equal parts of the mission. But in practice one always is more prominent than the other and you will soon be told that to make evangelism the most important is unloving and unjust. Before long, evangelism drops out of sight altogether in many cases and Evangelical mission has been turned into a new, updated version of the Social Gospel.

One thing to remember is that practice precedes theory. The theological changes come later. First, we change the actual, on-the-ground way of doing mission that only later do we revise our theology to go along with the new way of doing it.

By the time the actual theological changes are made, it is almost too late because the whole meaning of Christian mission will have already been secualrized and theology grows out of mission.

Marxism is corrupting Evangelicalism today on many levels and in many ways. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear must be alert and understand the times.


S Masson said...

I think your analysis is pretty much spot on, Craig. Marxism is the political outworking of Romanticism, which forms its religious worldview. I see its signs everywhere in N. American culture, and it has now infiltrated evangelicalism too. Cultural Marxism's non-Biblical version of 'social justice' and 'culture' has rushed into the vacuum left to it by evangelical Pietism.

Biblical understandings of these things must be recovered in the university and the church, and the counterfeits exposed for what they are.

Anonymous said...

Of course no Christian can fully embrace Marxism. Likewise, no Christian can fully embrace Capitalism. What we need is to be able to think critically about both in light of the God who reveals himself in Christ Jesus. You reject Marxism, and rightly so. But you embrace Capitalism far too quickly as if we were forced into a decision between the two.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Craig: thanks for this post; I agree, and this whole thing worries me. The only thing you left out was that Marxism is a homicidal philosophy that has resulted in the murders of 100s of millions so far (in China, USSR, Cuba, North Korea, Cambodia, Viet Nam, etc.)Young Christians who follow Marxist philosophy are in the analysis of K. Bockmuehl (when Regent actually had a professor who knew something about Marxism) and in the words of Lenin, "useful idiots".

Craig Carter said...

Could you please define "Capitalism" and what about it Christians cannot embrace?

jbh said...

There was socialism before Marx. Many varieties of it were Christian and it had a large impact on 19th century evangelicalism and the social gospel movement. Various non-Marxist forms of socialism had an especially large impact on British and Canadian forms of evangelicalism. Moreover, even American evangelicals were not immune. I would suggest that you read the speeches of William Jennings Bryan and you will get the picture (even his closing argument in the Scope's trial.) Moreover, even as trenchant of a critic of the "social gospel" as Reinhold Niebuhr was ready to speak prophetically against the idol of American capitalism.

Craig Carter said...

E. Ingersoll, I am aware of the fact that there was so-called "Christian socialism" before Marx. I am also aware of the difference. Many Christian groups including monastic ones have practices "voluntary socialism," which is individuals freely entering into a socialist community. This is different from Marxian socialism in which socialism is imposed on all of society through revolutionary means.

Democratic socialism is a third variant in which the Marxian goal is achieved through the ballot box. But in such a case it is still imposed on everyone whether they like it or not. The only difference is that more people than just the violent revolutionaries are pushing it on the body politic as a whole.

It is the coercive, Marxian vision which is infiltrating the Church today.

Unknown said...

I'm not I'm not sure where to begin. This post is so propagandish and revisionist in its history, it's difficult to deconstruct. okay, first of all, let's start with your historical idea that between Augustine and the French revolution the world shared basically a Christian Worldview. And yet, by any measure, it is one thousand years of darkness and brutality and superstition. It is time where countries and fiefdoms expanded, forcing native populations, be it the Scottish or South Americans, to either "accept Christ or die". It was a time when a very few rich ruled the poor, and did so brutally. Have you even read a book on medieval life? Do you know what it was like? I won't even bother getting into the theology and its ties with governments and empires. So then, this is your world under a "Christian" worldview. Great. Just like Jesus would order it. Your next point is that the key heresy is Marxism. Right. Except Marxism isn’t a heresy, as it’s a political position. Marx’s point that religion was used as an opiate was actually true. Religion was used, as history has shown that it can be used and often is used, not to bring life to people, but to dominate and rule. Well, Marx was right about that, because that’s exactly what was happening. Marx saw people starving, unable to find work, and when they did, treated as animals. Would God want that? He felt all people should have a voice, which is, actually, a Christian position. The Soviet Union, as you point out as an example, came about from similar circumstances. An oppressive monarchy and aristocracy that left millions of people in abject poverty. The Communism that emerged later is not Marxism, even as it morphed into state fascism. And again, the atheism was a rejection of the church that was associated with the aristocracy and monarchy. I am not suggesting that Marxism works as political theory, but to call it heresy is to not even understand the difference between a reactionary political movement that arises out of extreme duress and poverty vs. some theological position that arises out of malevolent intent. In this case, what you’re doing is calling the poor evil. In grace,
Stephen Burns

Unknown said...

Marxism does not urge the breaking of the ten commandments, it urges equality, something you can’t seem to understand. If 2 million people are living on 2$ a day, at the whim of 200 people who live in mansions and fine homes, are you telling us that THAT is what God wants? You call it lusting for material wealth. THEY WEREN”T WEALTHY! THEY HAD NOTHING! It’s fine to type that from your suburban home, but these people were starving, they weren’t going shopping for new Gucci bags. If your kids were dying of hunger, wouldn’t you do something to distribute things more fairly? And yes, Marx (and Lennin) used the State to get things done, the failure of impatience, but understandable, right? If your people are dying, and you want change, you’re less likely to appoint a committee.
The irony here, is that you’re the one guilty of doing exactly what you accuse the left of doing. You say that by denying heaven and hell, the left supposedly then focuses merely on redistributing income. What does that even mean? That we should have more poor people and a greater disparity of income so people will what? Understand there’s a heaven and hell? Why are you advocating for the rich? Your entire piece seems to be advocating for the rich above the poor. And yet… throughout the ENTIRE GOSPELS JESUS TALKS ABOUT THE POOR. How important they are? Holy cow, he gives the rich people nothing but grief! And in Acts, the first thing the church does is REDISTRIBUTE THE WEALTH EVENLY? This revisionist history you paint seems to start at Augustine. But he’s not t he Saviour. Jesus is.
And your revisionist history of politics, oh my goodness. The Moral Majority, this marriage of politics and evangelicalism, fundamentalism and dominionism that began in the 80’s has morphed into the Tea Party. What does the Left argue for? The same things Jesus argued for? Help for the poor, grace for those without, mercy to all. And your modern, Right Wing conservatives… well, in the last debate, Ron Paul basically said it was fine for someone uninsured to die. He was cheered by his audience. Talk about demonic. One more thing, the goal of Marxism is not the “overthrow of capitalist order”. But I would be curious to know what you see as “Capitalist Order” Do you mean Darwinianism? Survival Of the Fittest? THAT capitalist order?
I’ll stop. And I welcome comments back. Here’s my challenge. One, to leave my comment up. I expect you to take it down. If you leave it up, I’ll be pleasantly surprised and encouraged. Two, my challenge will be to those commenting, understanding that this is an academic site, to keep your comments relatively academic. Or at least specific and verifiable. That’s my challenge.
In grace,
Stephen Burns

Gordon Hackman said...


I'm curious about your claims that Marxism actually arises from extreme duress and poverty. What are your sources for that claim? Marx himself was certainly not poor and his theories were not born from his own experience of poverty. They were and are abstract philosophical speculation and when they were actually attempted in real life they produced misery, oppression and poverty on a scale so vast it staggers imagination.

Also, I'm curious about the claim that later manifestations of communism had little or nothing in common with Marxism. I think you're mistaken about that. Certainly no less a thinker and heroic figure than Solzhenitsyn certainly did not believe this to be true. Do you actually know anything at all about Lenin and what sort of person he was? Your comments lead me to believe otherwise.

Lastly, your remarks concerning the “one thousand years of darkness and brutality” again come off as an unfair caricature. It's strange to me how you object so strongly to Marxism, as you see it, being misrepresented, but then misrepresent history in your own comments. How much have you actually read about the history of the west? I would guess not much.

Craig Carter said...

You seem to have learned everything you know about the pre-modern period from reading Christopher Hitchens.

In Acts, what we see is charity not coercive redistribution of wealth by governments. They did not redistribute the wealth evenly. Some people made contributions and the apostles made sure the poor had their basic needs met. It was all voluntary.

Can't you see that sharing by the rich (charity, which is enjoined all through Scripture) is completely different from a gang of people getting political power and systematically robbing the wealthy and redistributing the wealth to the favorites of the government (who often are not the ones in need - eg. the half billion Obama just "redistributed" to his buddies at Solyndra).

This whole "steal from whomever the government deems to be too rich" business is as open to corruption as capitalism is - with one difference. When the government legalizes theft in this way there is only one power center in society. At least in a free market society there are multiple power centers and government and corporate power can be a check on each other.

I understand equality. I am for equality of opportunity - a level playing field - but I oppose social engineering by Big Government to create artificial equality of incomes because it is incompatible with liberty and grossly inefficient. It leads to poverty and oppression. Why do you favor a system that does that?
My view of equality is compatible with freedom; yours is not.

As for Ron Paul. 1) He is not a conservative; he is a libertarian and he is barely a Republican. 2) He did not say let the uninsured person die. What a slanderous twisting of his words. He just said the government does not need to take over the entire health care system in order for the man to get help. No one, by law, is ever turned away from a hospital emergency room in the US.

The Left is for making Government into the omnipotent Deity who provides for our every need. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the message of Jesus that we need to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus.

As for Darwinism, your problem is that you can't understand that Government is not the solution to every problem as if the family, the church and civil society were helpless and useless. For you it is either Big Government to the rescue or Social Darwinism. You can't seem to grasp that Christianity teaches charity and charity requires citizens with material resources to share. Where do you think those material resources come from? We are the riches society in history and it is because of the wealth-creating power of free enterprise.

Even the Marxist Terry Eagleton admits in his book, "Why Marx was Right," that only free enterprise creates wealth and that all socialism can do is redistribute it. That should stand as a warning to people who want to destroy free enterprise and substitute a welfare state or full-blown socialist system. Just look at the way Europe is teetering under the mountain of debt caused by slow economic growth, an aging population grown fat on universal entitlement programs and increasing dependency on government. In order to have entrepreneurship, risk-taking, and economic growth you need a low tax, pro-business, sane regulatory environment. Europe does not have it and when it collapses the poor will be hurt the most.

Obama is trying to imitate Europe but when a Republican president is elected next year his anti-business, radical environmentalist, high tax and spend policies will be changed and unemployment will go down, economic growth will occur and the US will turn around.

When that happens, the poor will be much better off in a US controlled by us "bitter clingers" and "Tea Partiers" than they will be in a Europe controlled by a socialist bureaucracy of "experts."

Unknown said...

Hi Craig (and Gordon),
First, let me say thank you for the tone of your comments. many of your contemporaries (the Tea Party) engage in such divisive rhetoric, I am grateful for your considered comments. :) First, it is impossible to transfer Acts completely. The Jews were an occupied nation, much like Iraq is now. They had no power, and only a few, such as Paul, had citizenship. They were not an independent country. Therefore, your comment about their gov't not redistributing their wealth is unfounded. They had no gov't. And yes, every government is open to favoritism, be they progressives or conservatives. Haliburton, for example, has been well documented. Along with the 130,000 mercenaries who operate in Iraq on the gov't payroll, hired by Bush. (Blackwater) Social engineering, as you call it, is too broad a term for an academic. We are all guilty of 'social engineering'. Yes, even libertarians are guilty of social engineering. We are all trying to create or influence the society we live in, and that is a political catch phrase, not an academic one. Progressives are not trying to replace a deity through gov’t, as you suggest, but progressives do not believe in a theocracy. We believe that ended with Jesus. The gov't should meet the needs of all people, not just those who are wealthy or favoured by majority status. (Any history will tell you what it's like for a minority in a feudal like anarchy that you suggest would be preferable) In your comments, you inevitably link gov't and Christianity. Jesus never did that. Ever. The difficulty, I think, is that your frames themselves are too vague and pre-defined. You haven’t questioned the frames, therefore the narrative within them becomes muddled and incomprehensible, or at the very least, vague and presumptuous.
No one who is progressive argues for Marxism. We argue for Social Democracy. Your example of Europe is astute, except you ignore Sweden and Norway, who are both socialist democratic states, and who, like Canada, balance the power of state with the power of the individual. The redistribution of income is necessary for the redistribution of justice. If you can’t see this, you just need to take a closer look at history. I’m sure you’ve read John Rawls, who is perhaps the foremost authourity in this. When you have great disparity of income, you always have a disparity of justice. This is evident through a cursory glance at human history. The Tea Party are not only vain, but liars. (Except for perhaps Bachman, who is hammers ignorant) They do not argue for budget restraint, but a form of bastardized anarchy, which is its own kind of evil. (No taxes! Cut gov’t deficit! Um, how?) Dig a bit deeper, and you’ll find the narcissism so evident there.

Unknown said...

And for the record, Hitchens is an intellectually lazy writer, one who is in far over his head when he writes about theology. He writes about religion and theology in the broad strokes a real thinker despises. He has the nuance of a four-year-old, and is easily dismissed by those with a modicum of some theological background.

Peter W. Dunn said...

That's amazing Steve. You praise Craig and Gordon for civil tone of their responses to you, and then insult the Tea Party, libelling them as liars. Wow. An entire movement of people who want smaller government libelled as liars. You called Ron Paul demonic.

I think you should read my blog Steve: The Righteous Investor. You could start with this:

You wrote: "Progressives are not trying to replace a deity through gov’t, as you suggest, but progressives do not believe in a theocracy. We believe that ended with Jesus. The gov't should meet the needs of all people, not just those who are wealthy or favoured by majority status." Well with these lines you have proved Craig Carter's main point in the post. Because a god or an idol is what we have faith in to meet all our needs. You suggest that it is government. I suggest that Jesus is still alive and that it didn't end with Jesus but he still lives in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. I'm not advocating theocracy--like the progressives who believe in big government that meets all our needs--I believe in small government that doesn't suck up all the oxygen in the room and thus allows other institutions, like the family and the church, to breath a little too. But you advocate government as panacea and that ultimately is evil.

The socialists, of course, reject God as Jehoveh Jireh, because they believe in government-jireh, which provides everything we need. Who needs faith in a God who strictly prohibits in his Ten Commandments government enforced redistribution of wealth. Oh, you didn't think that because stealing was made legal through taxation that it was any less an abrogation of the Sixth Commandment, did you? The government, in its violation of the Sixth Commandment, will then violate the Fifth Commandment in order to enforce the violation of the Sixth Commandment.

As for redistribution resulting in social justice, I am a victim of that very scheme. You see, I've lost my birth right because of evil tax collectors who decided that about 5 million Americans abroad have to fork over a percentage of their life's fortunes to the government or face the confiscation of all their wealth and prison sentences. Why? So that they can redistribute wealth to people who don't work and too-big-to-fail banks on the verge of collapse, or failed solar energy firms. I believe if you want social justice, you'll just let me keep my hard earned money, thank you very much. Putting 5 million Americans overseas into poverty is not what I call social justice. This is the sort of the thing the Tea Party movement is against. And so I guess that makes me one of the lying, vain ignorant narcissists of the Tea Party! But the only way I can get social justice is if you let me keep what I've earned.

Craig Carter said...

I see that you have thoroughly internalized the Progressive Myth. Your view of history is totally colored by the need to portray contemporary society as the highest form of civilization ever and social democracy as the endpoint of history. But the EU shows that social democracy is unsustainable; it is more likely a way station on the road to fascism by way of anarchy caused by social breakdown.

1. Sweden - everybody brings up Sweden, which is the exception that proves the rule - so far. Sweden is a very small, homogeneous, wealthy country that has managed social democracy for several generations. But it can't last.

First, the birth rate is catastrophically low and within a century there will be no more Swedes. (There will be people living there but they will be recent immigrants.) BTW, a below-replacement birth rate is characteristic of all social democracies in the world. The only Western country with a birth rate of 2.1 (replacement rate) is the US, which is not a social democracy.

Second, Sweden's social solidarity is being severely tested by recent Muslim immigration. Read up on why Jews are fleeing Malmo. On the canary in the coal mine theory, Sweden is in for some rough waters as far as human rights are concerned.

2. John Rawls: Yes, I have read A Theory of Justice and I know that Rawls' attempt to reconcile Kantianism and Utilitarianism is an intellectual failure. Equality defined in the Marxist sense as relative income equality is incompatible with any system of ethics except a vulgar pragmatism which provides no check on the power of government. The problem is that the definition of equality I noted in an earlier comment (equality of opportunity) is compatible with freedom. We don't have to choose one or the other. But the concept of freedom you and Rawls want (equality of outcomes) is incompatible with freedom. Something has to give and for Rawls, in the end, freedom ends up subordinate to equality. If you can't see that the application of that philosophy to politics does not lead to tyranny, you are just not being logical.

A fine article that reveals the intellectual incoherence of contemporary liberalism is one by Louis Groarke called "What is Freedom? Why Christianity and Theoretical Liberalism Cannot Be Reconciled" which can be accessed here:

3. Jesus and Government: The irony of your position is that you simultaneously (1) criticize conservatives for making the Church an ally of Government and you also (2) propose a Christian theology you say is based on the Bible as the political program for social democracy. So, in truth, you think theocracy is just fine as long as left-leaning theologians are the theocrats. The precise word for this is hypocrisy.

The inconvenient truth is that it is conservatives who stand for the separation of church and state and progressives who wish to absorb the church into the state and make the program of the church (social democracy) the program of the state.

If you actually knew the real story of Medieval Christendom, you would know that this is the time when the doctrine of the separation of church and state (the Two) emerged - wait for it - for the first time in world history. Progressives, ironically, want to turn back the clock to theocratic empire. I say, no thanks: I'll keep my liberty and the separation of church and state.

Unknown said...

Sorry. That's a lie. Tea Partiers are not interested in separating church and state. As a broad example, if they were, they wouldn't be interested in Creationism, as an example, which they roll out as 'science', and which any real scientist knows is nothing more than religious bunk. Look, I can't tell you how shocked I am to find university professors, people who can ostensibly read and are also Christians, drinking down the narcissism kool aid being served up by the latest roll of Schaefer's domonionists. And where is the Rabbi in you discussion? Where is he in your pro-military, pro-gun movement? And the spearation of church and state did NOT occur during your fav. period of history. Wow. I mean, that's just a flat out lie. Either you're being taught incorrectly, or you just don't know. State(Monarchy) and the Church were both political powers, hence the back and forth between the two, which, incidentally, is why Luther was supported by the German princes. The concept of separation of powers did not occur until after Descartes. Democracy is impossible without it, something you can't seem to understand. And i'm sorry that Sweden and Norway haven't failed yet to prove your theory correctly, hopefully they will soon. And yes, the Tea Party as a movement is narcissistic, shows no concern for others (even chanted "die" "die" "die" when Ron Paul spoke last week about the uninsured man.), cares only for their own selfish ends, gravitates to violence, and is not interested in thoughtful discourse, and an example would be the Republicans inability to get aid through to victims of the latest hurricane, beause the Tea Partiers don't think the gov't (that big bad building in the sky that we progressives worship?!) should be helping anyone, although many of them are on welfare, or recieving some sort of gov't aid. So yes, the movement is anti-thetical to Christian ideas, certainly the original ideas of the Rabbi. Perhaps not the psychotically selfish and self-absorbed consumer conservatives who call themselves Christians, a group of people that I'm sure the first Century Jews would not recognize.

Unknown said...

A moment of vulnerability. Listen, we can talk at one another all day. It doesn't matter what I post here, because you'll say that I'm being 'led astray', and nothing I say, regardless of whether it's true or not, will convince you. When I was in my twenties, I would have agreed with you. I would have been fine with a movement that was racially tinged and patriarchal, because I would have told you that I thought that was God's natural order. Ann Coulter was my favorite columnist in 2001. I sued to print out her columns. However, as a writer, I was forced to read more widely, see things from the side of other people and other cultures, and I began to notice inconsistencies, lies, that crept into my conservative worldview. There will always be inconsistencies in our worldview, we're only human, but it was never presented that way. It was always presented as "fact" and as something closed. I think what really turned me, is the anger and hatred and fear I felt coming from and being stoked by the people I admired. That's what I see on this site. Anger and fear and hatred. What I don't see is love your enemy, or love your neighbour, and the challenge of doing that. Conservatives label that 'soft', I know I used to, but loving people, being unselfish, loving those other than us, is actually extremely difficult. Even with God's help, it is difficult. Too much of conservative thought, as various neurologists have mapped, comes from the amygdala, the place of anger and fear and anxiety. I'm sorry, but I can't get there any more. I believe in love, in God's love for all his Creation, and in finding a way to bring us together, not trumpet what makes us unique. The message of the gospel is not delineation between good people and bad people, or right ideas and wrong ideas, but the triumphant love of Christ through the Incarnation. That's my opinion, at least, and while I'm sure you disagree, I'm okay with that. :) Love always finds a way.
In grace

Peter W. Dunn said...

Steve: The biggest government in the world is the United States. I was born there. Now that government is so big and atrocious that I've had to renounce my US citizenship to keep the IRS from shaking me down, me and about 5 million Americans living abroad. I feel no love from government. I feel only greed and coercion. And that is what happens when people replace God (remember the first commandment) with government, and when they worship false messiahs.

You fail to deal with the substance of my objection to your idolatry. Social justice means that if I work, I get to keep what I earned. No government comes and shakes me down and steals from me. I'm just the little guy. I'm not rich bankster or an aristocrat. My grandparents were all born poor. My parents were hard working middle class. We work by the sweat of our brow for what we have and your socialist government comes and steals it from us to give to people who leech off the system, parasites that are about to kill the host in a political and economic system which is on the verge of financial collapse, so that Mises is proven right: socialism doesn't work, and it can't work. For if you are just going to take what I make, then I'll stop making, then no one will have anything.

You are not preaching love but theft in the name of love.

Gordon Hackman said...


Actually, the problem is that Dr. Carter has provided you with coherent arguments and verifiable history and you keep responding with assertions and dismissals that don't actually contain anything remotely approaching an argument. Just asserting that you can't believe that anyone who is academic would disagree with your outlook does not constitute a rebuttal. This is rather strange for someone who demands that everyone else be specific, verifiable, and academic.

Also, if you honestly believe that Schaeffer is a dominionist then you really are uninformed. That is a lie that has been spread by dishonest and sloppy journalism. Have you actually read any of Schaeffer's writings? I seriously doubt it.

Also, you never actually specifically responded to any of the things I said in my comments.

Gordon Hackman said...

Also, Steven, trying to dismiss conservative thought by utilizing condescending nuero-talk does not constitute an argument either. In fact, it is a sure sign that you really have no rational argument to offer and so you must resort to trying to explain away what others believe through other means. In any case, trying to explain away what others believe based on some non-rational cause is a sword that can cut both ways. I am surprised that you don't realize that.

The idea that conservatives are somehow driven by nuerotic anger but that liberals are driven by reason is simply ridiculous. In fact, your own comments, as compared to those of Dr. Carter make this apparent. His comments are well organized, coherent, specific and verifiable, while yours come off as disorganized, irrational rants. You don't even seem to know how to use a paragraph break.

Lastly, I'd like to say that I am a living counter-example to your claims about why people become conservative. I was attracted to conservatism precisely because the best conservative thinkers were able to articulate views that made rational sense to me and that had depth and beauty, something I just don't find in liberal thought. Your comments on this blog have only reinforced that perception.

Unknown said...

haha Gordon you're right! My comments are rants, and they aren't as organized and neat as they would be if I was presenting a paper. So good on you for finding a system of thought in which you find beauty in its organization. (I find beauty in other things) You are the perfect conservative. And if you have used my comments to justify your position, than wonderful! It's been a good day for you!

When I saw this link originally, which I felt was simply a bad piece of propaganda, I was certain that I'd be able to simply disemble the piece and provide some counterweight to the arguments presented here. Unfortunately, and after reading a few of the other columns, they became rants. I was upset. The hatred here on this site, the coldness of it, is something I've felt only one other time in my life. Researching a paper in grad. school I stumbled upon a white supremacist site. It was beautifully organized, with rational positions expressing a variety of arguments. And it felt cold and evil. That isn't to say this is a white supremacist site, of course. The feeling, however, is the same. At least, for me it is. The beauty of your belief system though, Gordon, is that you can dismiss those feelings as being irrelevant. Ten years ago that's what I would have done. :)

So here's my question for you. For everyone on this site. What is the perfect situation for you? What is your end game? Would it be a Christian president/prime minister? Would it be no regulations on the market at all? Would it be no taxes, so people keep everything they earn? Would it be a country declaring Christianity as its religion? Would you make consensual gay sex illegal? Would you convict those who have abortions as murderers? What would be the perfect world for you, Gordon? (and others) What are you fighting for?

You've said that there is beauty and depth in conservative thought. So here's your opportunity to tell a progressive what you see as beautiful. My feeling is that you do not know the difference, or haven't anticpated the difference, between anarchy, libertarianism, and conservatism. But hey, I'm a disorganized liberal. lol What do I know?

So that's my question for you. Articulate the perfect situation, the one which you are working towards by posting the articles you post on this site, and I'll sit back and listen. :)

(For the record, I don't mind the labels you throw around on this site. I am a hippy in many ways, although I shave my head and don't do drugs. I'm also a geek, that's what happens when you read a lot. lol)

Okay, my conservative friends, have at it...

Gordon Hackman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gordon Hackman said...

You've done it again Stephen. Instead of actually engaging a single real thing I've put forth so far, you've attempted to dismiss me and Dr. Carter by claiming that you "feel" hatred when you read this site. Now you purport to understand that I am driven by "hatred and coldness." I can assure you that no one who knows me would recognize me as a hateful person. In point of fact, I have many friends who don't share my views and they all recognize me as a gentle, friendly person.

I've intentionally avoided saying anything nasty or dismissive to you and have repeatedly attempted to offer precise responses to things you've said and you have responded by offering condescending psychoanalysis.

Your remarks are ugly and to be precise, they hurt. Does that matter to you at all? Or is it okay to say nasty things about me because you've determined based on your "feelings" that I'm a hateful person who is apparently little better than a white supremacist.

I'll be honest in saying that I don't really feel up to answering your challenge, especially being sick today, but perhaps at some point I would like to.
For now though, I just don't see the point in talking to someone who can't talk to me without making ugly and demeaning accusations.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Great comments Gordon. I agree with you whole-heartedly. Steve is just ignoring me--the elephant in the room. But then you have to ignore the victims if you want to the state to be a socialist control freak. He's right though. I have a deep hatred of big government--for I am a target of big government; I hate what I fear, because government has the power to destroy me. I am now an economic refugee in Canada, too fearful to return to my home country, lest Homeland or the State Department arrest me for pretended crimes, for they have threatened all US citizen abroad with fines and imprisonments for neglecting laws that Feds never enforced for 30 years, but now with the Obama regime, the IRS is enforcing them with renewed Kafkaesque vigour. Many citizens are afraid. So this is what socialism does. It causes ordinary citizens to fret, worry and sweat about whether the government is going to throw them in prison. We thought it couldn't happen in a free country, but thanks to the socialists, the US is no longer a free country, when the government can violate your all your rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

I am victim. Thank you socialists. Thank you statists. I have lost my birth right and it is your fault. Ron Paul didn't do this to me.

Eventually, the state becomes so powerful that the number one form of death is suicide. The German film, Lives of Others, is a parable of how statist governments and evil bureaucrats drive innocent people to commit suicide. The IRS does it every year. I haven't checked the stats on the CRA yet, but among working tax-paying business people, there is no love.

Unknown said...

Is this the victimization of conservatives again? You call me a socialist like it's a swear word, like I'm evil, and caricaturize me and my beliefs, and then you're hurt when someone does the same to you? C'mon now, you can do better than that. At least I qualified my statement simply by stating it's how I feel. That said, I apologize if my rhetoric was too harsh. I believe in the kingdom and kingdom values, and sometimes (too often) I fall short. :)

And I'm not answering precisely because I don't like your frame. Philosophically, I'm not going to accept your plausibility structure because I think it misses too much. It was my mistake for starting there. We can dance around the how many angels on the top of a pin, but I'm trying to understand what is driving you and Craig and the others, because I don't get it.

As for hate, I'm sorry, my gay friends could tell you a little bit about hate if they run some of those posts and the comments below. So too, could friends of mine who have had an abortion. The difficulty with the frames here is that they fail to see people. Everything is simply an issue. Again, that's just my opinion.

I'm friendly too, and I'm sure that if we met we'd get along fine, but this is a forum of ideas. That said, I will try to quell my rhetoric, which certainly isn't helpful. Fair?

Unknown said...

Hi Peter,
My apologies. I wasn't ignoring you. I'm sorry about your situation, but I don't understand the specifics of it. What is an economic refugee, if you don't mind me asking? Why were you forced to renounce your US citizenship? I mean, that really sucks, and I empathize, but without more information i can't understand how that happened. Let me address another point you made.

"We work by the sweat of our brow for what we have and your socialist government comes and steals it from us to give to people who leech off the system, parasites that are about to kill the host in a political and economic system which is on the verge of financial collapse, so that Mises is proven right"

Okay,so my question is, who are the parasites? Is it the poor? People on welfare? Look, in the US, the bottom 50% of the population control 2.5% of the country's wealth. The top 1% control roughly 80%. The parasites aren't the poor, Peter, the parasites are the rich, who hide their money in tax shelters and pay less than your hard working parents do. Warren Buffet recently wrote an article about how his secretary pays more in taxes than he does. And he's worth about what? 20$ billion?

As for the recession, we know why it happened. The bubble was created because, ultimately, people were selling mortgages to poor people who couldn't afford it, and then repackaging those investments and selling them again and again. It didn't happen in Canada because we have strict regulations about who can get a mortgage. In this case, if the US had a stronger centralized gov't, the recession probably wouldn't have happened.

Unknown said...

It seems to me that you're very angry, and though I don't know the details of your situation, you probably have a right to be. I guess I just don't get directing the anger at the poor and working poor. Why support tax breaks for the rich? Why support the very people who don't give a crap about you. I work with some very wealthy clients, and I can tell you that they do not care about you at all. They work very hard to get conservatives elected so they can keep screwing the little guys, and they're pretty open about it.

Gordon Hackman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gordon Hackman said...

Sorry Steve. I responded to your last comment to me but I changed my mind and deleted my remarks. I'm dropping out of this conversation. There's a lot I feel I could say but I just don't see anything to be gained by continuing this. I wish you well.

Unknown said...

By all means, my friend. Just let me know if you're going to chat about me in another forum. I'd be happy to join you there. :)

Your comment went through my email, and I respect your decision to leave, but I would happily answer specifics with you, one question at a time.

I asked Craig this in the other forum, for example. Do you support the Iraq occupation? (I can tell you that I did eight years ago, back when I was a conservative) So then, do you support the irq occupation? See, one question.

Anyway, don't worry about it. Like I said, i respect your decision. Get well. :)

Gordon Hackman said...

Thanks Steve. I will not be chatting about you in another forum. Honestly, I don't spend a lot of time commenting on blogs and I questioned from the beginning the decision to get into this back and forth.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Who said I was angry at the working poor? I said leeches. Those who live off government, sure. I have no bones to pick with the working poor.

First, Warren Buffet is also a hypocrite. If he wants to pay more taxes nothing is stopping him from paying the Berkshire Hathaway tax bill that he is challenging in court-- I mean he is still the CEO of that company. In Canada, tax freedom day is in June for household with $80,000 income, probably in July or August for people like my wife and me--people that own and run businesses--we pay a lot of stinkin' taxes.

Secondly, I support tax breaks for the rich because I'm rich and therefore you want to steal from me, the rich. For me to hate the rich like you do means hating myself. But the rich, those who have successful businesses are the ones who the socialists hurt the most--though in the end they hurt the whole society. But just because I'm rich by your standards doesn't mean that the tax laws don't make me into a victim. You hate me because I'm rich and because I'd prefer to chose to whom I will be charitable rather than have the government confiscate my wealth. You want the government to put me in jail because I'm selfish and I don't want to pay my taxes, so that you can give it to the poor. So beat me over the head and raid my accounts. The feds come to your door with guns. They shoot at you if you resist. They take the money out of your bank accounts using liens. If you disagree with their assessment, you have to fight it in court and spend a lot of money on lawyers protecting yourself, none of which will ever be reimbursed if you win. So you get divorced and/or you commit suicide. That's how it works when you are "rich". Look at how Conrad Black is in jail for moving boxes out of his office here in Canada. The jury acquitted him of all the other charges against him--except 4, 3 of which the Supreme Court found invalid. Now he is back in jail for taking boxes out of his office in Canada. That's the power of the Federal government. Meanwhile, the real criminals are running the government with their social security ponzi scheme and their handouts to their best friends like Solyndra and Soros.

How many millions of rich people did the socialists exterminate in USSR, China, Viet Nam, Cuba, etc.? The body count is in the hundreds of millions. That's because once you make the state your god, you've rejected the First Commandment, then the Fifth and Sixth Commandments are of no use to you.

Let me tell you something. If you take from the rich, they will leave and take their money with them. if you don't let them leave, they will go Galt. I know. I've been shrugging for the last 20 years. I intentionally don't do any real work that contributes to the GDP. So then everyone will be poor. Is that the goal of the socialists? So that everyone is poor? It has happened so many times. Look at Africa, which is socialist culture par excellence. Look at the major communist countries. Look at what is happening in Western Europe with the economy melting down. Poverty is coming big time in the world. It's actually already here with the food riots caused by dollar devaluation caused by bad leftist monetary policy.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Part two:

Finally, you seem unaware of the Community Reinvestment Act which forced banks to extend mortgages to the poor. Lack of Government regulation isn't the problem; the problem started with government regulation in a "feel sorry for the poor redistribute the wealth to the poor" scheme that made no sense. Who was it that fought to keep the Community Reinvestment Act during the Bush years? None other than the Black Congressional Caucus. If government would just let lenders and borrowers decide who gets loans and who doesn't things would have been a lot better. I know. I'm a victim of US government lending program to the poor (Small Business Adminstration) too. The local bank wouldn't lend to my brother, but the SBA guaranteed loan made it possible, and I lost 70K on that deal--because my brother can't afford to pay me back (he could afford the mortgage either). I'd be so much better if the Feds had stayed out of it. So much for socialism--which leads to malinvestment.
Finally, you say I'm angry. Well, don't you think that the rich have a right to be angry? When you steal from someone or even try to steal from someone, they get angry don't they?
So to conclude: I am rich. If I wasn't rich the socialists would ignore me. I, and the members of my family are not a parasites, but job providers--lots of people depend on us-- around 30 families. We pay a lot of tax, and I would prefer to pay a lot less. I go to the bank every 15th of the month to make my payments--have you ever done that???? How many people do you employ??? I don't have tax shelters except the ones allowed by government and available to everyone (RRSP, TFSA). Why do you have so much class envy? Why do you want to sock it to the job providers? Don't you know that that will result still in fewer jobs for working poor? Isn't envy still a sin?

Gordon Hackman said...


Don't know if you will even see this comment and I'm not really trying to start up debate/discussion on a large scale here, but one thing that has occurred to me as I have reflected on our exchange is that part of our conflict comes from our having differing understandings of the term "conservatism."

I initially missed your comment that you used to be a big fan of Anne Coulter and having taken it into consideration, I can see why you were confused when I said that I was attracted to conservatism, in part because of its beauty. I am under no illusion that we would agree on probably most things, but I think we are on the same wavelength in that if Anne Coulter was what I thought of when I thought of the term "conservatism," then I would reject conservatism along with you.

When I think of conservatism, however, I am thinking of writers and thinkers like G. K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Gregory Wolfe, Solzhenitsyn, and even people like David Bentley Hart, Peter Leithart, and Alan Jacobs. There is a thoughtfulness, depth, and beauty to their writings that really appeals to me and that I've never found anywhere else.

Anyway, hopefully that clears up at least some of the misunderstanding between us.

Peace to you,


Unknown said...


So you're an economic refugee, but you're rich? Not sure that makes makes you a 'refugee'. Apparently you hate Obama because the IRS is enforcing your social contract, then? I appreciate your honesty in that you simply don't want to pay more taxes, you want to keep your money, many of the rich clients I've worked with feel the same way.

And hey, by all means, protect your wealth. Look out for your own interests. I'm just not sure what that has to do with Christianity, as you'll be hard pressed to find Scripture to support you, considering our origins and who our Saviour is and when and where he was born, but go ahead. There are many, many Christians like you in North America, particularly in the US, who are letting their feelings being known. Someone like me would call it narcissism, but thank God for Sola Scriptura! Maybe the Bible really means it's about individual wealth?! Maybe us progressives have it all wrong. :)

Your comment is a bit stunning, as I didn't expect such brazen honesty about your love for money, but hey, honesty is a good thing, right. As for your comments about Africa, you should probably stick to commenting about your own situation. My wife grew up in Africa, the daughter of a missionary in Ethiopia, and since you don't know what the hell you're talking about your comment verges on racist and is completely ignorant. And for future reference, Africa is not a country, it's a continent filled with a diverse group of peoples and cultures. Just because they're black(except for places they've been colonized) doesn't mean that they're the same. Sigh.

And listen, Ayn Rand is not a christian. You do realize that her 'Objectivism" is anything but and anethemic to Christianity. You get that, right? In fact, she is in opposition to most things that Christians stand for, so the "Galt" reference is particularly jarring.

I love how you talk about the 'rich people' dying, as if they're somehow special. Throughout history, the poor have died and suffered a million times over, and you're worried about the rich people?! Good grief, you need to re-read the gospels. It sounds as though you believe you have been granted a certain privilege because you have money. NEWSFLASH: God loves people with nothing as much as He loves you. You aren't better than anyone. WAKE UP!

Unknown said...

Hi Gordon,

I certainly enjoy Chesterton and Lewis, and I do understand their appeal. They argued for their faith during a modernistic period using a modernistic approach, but there is no questioning their sincerity. My only hesitation would be that the culture has changed, and that we can expand our plausibility structures to fit the new fights agianst Christianity, particularly greed and consumerism and narcissism. (See Peter above) Where you have Christians defending the rich!?

It certainly isn't a sin to have money, but to defend the wealthy sugggests something else entirely. We are aliens here. What are the kingdom values?

Again, I do enjoy many of the writers you mentioned, my only thought would be that culture is not stagnant, and we should not be stagnant either. Jesus does, indeed, live. :)

Thanks for writing, Gordon. Blessings.


Peter W. Dunn said...

Part One To Steve:

Your accusations are knee-jerk and childish. You don't know me to accuse me of any of the mean and abusive things that you've written about me. I was right to suggest that you hate the rich and that you hate me because I'm rich.

What it has to do with Christianity is that state is a Satanic institution. The Prince of the power of the air is the default owner and controller of the state. Therefore, any true believer wants the state to be small so that the church and other Christian organizations which have a vision for the kingdom of God can grow and thrive. But when the state steals from the benefactors of the church, those who have something left over after paying for the cost of living (i.e., the rich whom you hate so much), the church and her influence must shrink. The state increases, while the family, the church and all other institutions must shrink. This is a pure form of evil and it is Satanic.

I didn't realize I was speaking to an expert on Africa, since your wife grew up there that makes you a specialist and me, I don't know what I'm talking about. Except perhaps you were unaware that sub-saharan African culture tends towards collectivism and not individualism. This leads to a type of socialist culture--that in some ways is very good but does have the effect of keeping the cultures from developing economically much beyond a subsistence level. I've heard the mantra that I'm racist because I have in the past generalized about African culture--even from Africans who have been the clear beneficiaries of my benevolence! So I guess that no one can give Africa a cold cup of water in Jesus name without being despised and called a racist!

The fact is that sub-Saharan Africans, while diverse, have many commonalities too. David Maranz has written a very helpful book on the matter called, African Friends and Money Matters. Calling the person who makes observations racist is not helpful and it is actually an ad hominem form of argument (that is not good). Thanks for informing me that Africa is a continent made up of many different countries and cultures. That is actually helpful information, that I couldn't possibly have known without a grade school education.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Part two to Steve:

You seem to have no feelings for my plight. Obviously progressives don't care about people; they only have their lofty social engineering which redesigns society to be fair. Yet what I'm trying to tell you is that it is not fair, it is pure evil and it makes victims out of people like me.

You think that I have a love for money: you've never met me and you assume that based on my aversion to taxes. Don't ever make that assumption! People who don't like to pay taxes are freedom lovers, to be sure, but not necessarily money lovers.

Finally, everyone who suffers at the hands of despotic government is poor. I've now personally been deprived of my citizenship--and I am afraid to return to my home country. You despise me because for now I am able to retain some of my wealth. But that's because I'm not a sheeple that stuck my neck out for them to slaughter me. I didn't volunteer to give my savings away, despite their threats of prison and fines.

Those who suffer at the hands of government are poor because it first over-taxes them; then it steals their money and their lands. Then, it sends them into the forest or the killing fields, and they run away on boats. Or they sneak out with whatever they can carry. And if they don't manage to sneak out (as I have from the USA), then the government throws them in a gulag or just kills them. So everyone who dies at the hands of government is poor. But you have no feelings for me--because I managed to escape with everything except my birth right. But now I have to contend with progressives in Canada. The abuse continues.

Going Galt is an expression. This does not mean that I espouse the philosophy of Ayn Rand. It does mean that if the government steals from me and I cannot enjoy the fruit of my labour, then I will go off the tax grid.

Unknown said...

I'll tell you what, Peter, despite the fact that your actions seem to indicate that you're a parasite and a criminal.

We will graciously support you.

We the working poor and middle class who pay our taxes. We'll support you, Peter.

We'll pay for the benefits that come from living in this country. We'll pay for the roads and cleanliness of our cities, the food inspectors and construction workers, the people who work on our infrastructure and the ones who set the regulations so that when we walk down the street, buildings don't suddenly collapse.

We'll pay for the ones who set and enforce the standards in restaurants, and those in the food industry, so that your meal, Peter, is not filled with poison or toxins or chemicals. We'll pay for the police who enforce the law so people can live in safety, the fire fighters and paramedics who'll come if you're injured and perhaps perform life saving techniques before taking you to the hospital.

We, the working poor and middle class, will pay for the ones who take your garbage, Peter, and clean the public parks, so you have a place to go with your family. We'll pay for the community programs you might use, the libraries in case there's a book you want to read or need access to a computer or some other program.

Don't worry, Peter. We'll pay for everything you enjoy in this foreign country. We who are not rich, not like you, but who believe that everyone deserves a chance at a better life. We who believe that democracy is about equality of opportunity, and that the goal of life is not to build an empire, but to create a safe place where people can grow and learn from one another, whatever their differences.

No, we'll pay for you, Peter.

We'll pay for your rants against the government, your hatred and ignorance of other peoples, and your selfish and deluded belief system.

And we'll pay for you, Peter, because we know that not everyone is going to get it. We know that for the thousands living and working and raising their families with an active conscience, there will always be a few who want only for themselves, and who will use religion or politics to excuse their behaviour.

I've been working poor my entire life, Peter, but I don't feel poor. I know what real poverty is, I've seen it up close. So I'll pay for you, too, not simply because I'm Canadian, but because my faith tells me that it is better to give than to receive, that I am to love my neighbour as myself, and perhaps in this case, to love my enemy as well.

No, I'll pay for you, Peter. We'll all pay for you...

In Grace

Dude said...

May I suggest Steve re-read the article and then come back into the discussion.

Unknown said...

Hey Dude,

Did you have a question for me? Or were you going to comment about the article in any way? Or are you just commenting about me? If you are, I'd be happy to answer your questions. You don't need the third person, fella, I'm right here. :)

(Why do people cower behind their laptops and refuse to address people directly.) Dude, I'm right here, and don't worry, I'm not coming over for dinner. lol I've been involved in the discussion all along, actually, answering questions and insults from people, giving and taking, trying to be gracious (and not always succeeding), trying to learn from people with whom I disagree. I haven't actually seen your name, however, so welcome to the fire, my friend. :) Pull up a log. And somebody grab some marshmallows!

In grace,

Andrew said...

Did I miss the part where Peter said he doesn't pay any of his taxes?

Unknown said...

Yes. He's not an "economic refugee", he's a rich dude from the US who didn't pay his taxes, came up to Canada, the IRS clamped down and now he can't return. In other words, he's a criminal.

You know what surprises me, and i know this post is older, but back when I was a conservative, I still would have said something. Being conservative did not excuse narcissism or racism or people making claims like "socialists killing rich people" and then claiming the poor were guilty of breaking the ten commandments because they wanted to feed their family. "Lusting after my wealth?!"

Holy crap, guys. I was conservative, but I still recognized the poor. I'm kind of disappointed in the few of you still following this post. Do you really detest progressives like me so much that you can't comment on people who are obviously bending the Scriptural view of the poor?

Andrew said...

Um, being an economic refugee from the US does not imply he pays no taxes. You're missing where he lives in Canada, and pays Canadian taxes.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Hi Steve:
Yes. I'm a criminal. I admit it. Stalin's chief of secret police once said to him, "Show me the man, I'll tell you the crime." When government can make unjust laws then innocent people are made into criminals. And this is one of the reason I hate statism.

But for your information, I've earned all my money in Canada and pay regular taxes, even excessive taxes; and the IRS could charge me fines well in excess of the amount I ever even earned. I've lived in Canada since 1994, before that in Europe, and before that in Canada since 1986--so I haven't lived in the US for a very long time. Yes, I am a economic refugee from the US because it is a predatory government trying to feast on unsuspecting citizens living abroad.

By the way the IRS in its recent crackdown is thus affecting about 1 million Americans living in Canada. Here are the rights in US Constitution that they are violating in their pursuit of American citizens living abroad: 4th (privacy of papers, presumption of innocence), 5th ( the right not to incriminate oneself-- and the depriving of life and property without due process), 6th (right of venue --i.e., the US government shouldn't have the right to haul an American obeying laws in Canada to a federal courts in the US--so if a person can't be tried for the crime except in Canada the US has no jurisdiction); 8th -- excessive fines; 9th--rights not enumerated, such as the right to live in Canada, to set up a business and to obey the laws in this country--all of which are jeopardized by a greedy US federal government. We are living in the Canada and receiving no benefits of the government in the United States, so essentially, expecting us to pay them is taxation without representation--i.e., a fundamental right in democracy is being violated by a country that began with a war to assure that very right!

Unknown said...

Hey, congratulations. You pay taxes in Canada. Great! My mistake.

So then, you're rich, you live in Canada, but you can't go back to the US because you won't pay your back taxes from the eighties? Do I understand that right. And now you're claiming to be an economic "refugee"... as a rich person living in Canada? You do realize that about 1/3 of the world's population lives on less than 2$ a day, right? You're not really a refugee, I mean, you do live in Canada and you are rich.

What's stunning is your comparison of the US gov't to Stalin, the mass murderer responsible for the deaths of 60 million people. That's not just hyperbole, that's freaking disgusting.

As for the rest of you still following along, is that all you got? No one else is going to say anything about the comment that the poor are breaking the ten commandments by "lusting after the wealth of the rich"? Nothing about the racial comments? Nothing at all? Wow. This is why I left conservatism.

It's gutless, and it produces cowardice in people. No wonder conservatives pick on gays. No wonder you war against the poor. Picking on those with little or no resources, picking on the ones with no power and who can't fight back. See, this is an opportunity to defend the poor, to advocate for them, and there is nothing but silence.

This is exactly how my city (Toronto) elected a bullying, racist, misogynist, wife-beater as mayor. It seems conservatives will not go after people with power unless they're politicans advocating for the minority. As long as you use 'conservative speak', no sin is sin.

I'm ashamed for you, but you can do better. I believe in you because ten years ago I WAS you. Hey, it's scary re-examining your beliefs. I know, I went through it.
And this doesn't mean becoming a liberal, it just means asking the question of whether my faith is based on my politics, and if so, what that means. And where, in all this mess, is the Rabbi.

In Grace

Andrew said...

Sorry, another question: where did anyone say the poor were breaking the commandments? Dr. Carter said ***Marxism*** advocates breaking the 10 commandments. Was there somewhere where the poor and Marxists were equated?

Unknown said...

Some quotes from commenters:

"I support tax breaks for the rich because I'm rich and therefore you want to steal from me, the rich. For me to hate the rich like you do means hating myself."
-Um, no, it just means you're greedy. Rich young ruler, anyone?

"If you take from the rich, they will leave and take their money with them. if you don't let them leave, they will go Galt. I know. I've been shrugging for the last 20 years. I intentionally don't do any real work that contributes to the GDP."

-Congratulations. Leave. A real sign of giving back what we've been given. Why is it conservatives think they have earned their wealth? Is not what they have a gift? Or is being poor a form of immorality and must therefore be punished? And how is this biblical?

"Look at Africa, which is socialist culture par excellence."

-95% of the economic difficulties within the continent can be tied directly to the rape of the continent by white colonialists and the influence of Western culture, but hey you read a book on "Africa". My wife's family has lived in Ethipioa for 3 generations, and my brother-in-law is Ethiopian, but you read a book. Your "benevolence" is duly noted.

"Democratic socialism is a third variant in which the Marxian goal is achieved through the ballot box."

-Right, so it's the 3rd variant on subtrack 4 of quadrant 5, section 3, part II of the Marxian Conspiracy Theory. Or, and I'm just spitballing here, it could be the search for balance in an unbalanced society. This is pretty basic, but if your parents are rich, and you're not a minority, and you're male, you'll have greater opportunities to be successful. That's been well documented. This is not a guarantee of outcome, just opportunity. That is, everyone gets to at least try out for the team.

Unknown said...

More comments:

" but now with the Obama regime, the IRS is enforcing them with renewed Kafkaesque vigour. Many citizens are afraid. So this is what socialism does. It causes ordinary citizens to fret, worry and sweat about whether the government is going to throw them in prison. We thought it couldn't happen in a free country, but thanks to the socialists, the US is no longer a free country"

-I have family in Western New York. They're not afraid. Life's pretty good, actually. And, they can pretty much do what they want, as long as they don't, you know, break the law. They haven't seen any of Obama's secret black helicopters, and unlike the state fascism/communism in Russia through the 20th Century or China no one is actually, you know, being killed.

"The inconvenient truth is that it is conservatives who stand for the separation of church and state and progressives who wish to absorb the church into the state and make the program of the church (social democracy) the program of the state"

-Government has a moral mission to meet the needs of everyone it represents, regardless of religion, but that mission is different than the function of religion. If church and state are separate, then it holds they have separate functions. Health care is not a function of religion, nor is law enforcement or roads or infrastructure or the myriad of services government provides. To put them under the mission of the Christian church would turn the US into what it opposed in its creation in the first place. (Monarch of England, head of the church of England, bloody civil war) In a diverse country, this is the only way you can achieve peace. This isn't that difficult to understand. State and religion have different moral missions.

"I understand equality. I am for equality of opportunity - a level playing field - but I oppose social engineering by Big Government to create artificial equality of incomes because it is incompatible with liberty and grossly inefficient. It leads to poverty and oppression. Why do you favor a system that does that?"

-You're white, male, and straight, and make a decent wage, Craig. You already have an advantage. So will your kids. I am forever staggered by people who claim to want equal opportunity, but assume everyone grows up with their advantages. Do you know what its like for families who don't have? Particularly minority families? For those kids, like the ones in my building, to even get to school is an accomplishment. So what do conservatives do? Well, here in TO they want to reduce the library. They want to defund public schools. And always, always, is the sense that being poor comes from being undisciplined. From bad choices. Um, actually, that's not true. Why is Rob Ford a rich millionaire? Oh, right, daddy was rich. And did you know that racism is real and avery much alive here in Canada? Or what it's like for a woman in many fields? You argue for equality of opportunity but fight against programs like affirmative action that would actually offer those opportunities.

And can we please stop equating Marxism with democratic socialism? We do understand the difference between the two, right? We're all smart enough to do that. We're not actually on a physically slippery slope. They are two completely different ideas. There's a pretty wide freaking gap between communist Russia and Sweden.

Unknown said...

Oh, as for "Social Engineering", we do know that's not a real thing, right? Conservatives don't want gays to be able to marry. That's "Social Engineering". It's none of your business, right? Or a woman's right to her own body. You want to control that, isn't that "social engineering"? Or is it different because it's a conservative idea? Hmmmm...

Peter W. Dunn said...

Steve: I did not say that the IRS was persecuting US citizens who live in the US--though it does that regularly. I said that they have been attacking the 5 million citizens who live abroad. If you don't believe me, just google something like: --five million US citizens abroad IRS taxes -- . Your statement that your relatives are living in peace is therefore specious and unhelpful.

You have fit into a stereotype of the legalistic progressive Christian that I've come to call the New Pharisees. Otherwise, how is it possible for you to judge me with such ugly sins as the love of money, greed, and racism--not to forget "freaking disgusting" because an alleged comparison of the US government with Stalinist Russia--I did not make the comparison--but the law as applied by the current IRS is indeed making victims out of innocent people and if you stand aloof in the manner that you do, who will protect you when they come to get you? You are callous and unfeeling toward my plight, and you prefer to judge me as a criminal. The fact is that nothing of what you could have gleaned from this dialogue would ever give sufficient data to judge me so severely in this manner--so that your progressive judgement of this old conservative is not unlike how the Pharisees judged Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. You claim to know God, but God does not appreciate when anyone, whether sanctioned by the laws and customs of men or not, steals from others. Jesus said this to them, and I say it to you now, "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!" Moses said, Thou shalt not steal. But you say if the government takes from the rich in order to redistribute wealth, then the greater good is accomplished. "Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that” (Cf. Mark 7.9-13). The Bible protects both the rich and poor alike from theft; it makes no distinction. Only in the screwed up unbiblical heresy of progressive Christians is ok to steal from the rich to give to poor, for you argue incorrectly that the rich became rich by taking from the poor in the first place. Well, I for one did not become rich by exploiting people. Indeed, we currently provide good paying jobs, in addition to entry level jobs, to about 30 families.

I suggested "African friends and money matters" because it would give you access to information that would show that I'm not just making stuff up, but that others have also made similar observations about Sub-Saharan Africa. I never said that David Maranz's book was the sum total of my knowledge and experience about Africa. You make way too many assumptions. It lowers the level of your rhetoric and makes you an ineffective debater. You seem very quick to judge and slow to understand.

Dude said...

Respectfully, I think I’ll stand by my comment.

You really haven’t been faithful to your own request “…to keep your comments relatively academic. Or at least specific and verifiable.” The replies to your comments have been precise, academic and even gracious only to be met with personal attacks, slander and hyperbole.

You also don’t seem to understand your own salutation “in grace”. Grace cannot be found. I recommend a more sincere and haughty “In me”. That would at least remove the pretence of Grace and disingenuous “seeking understanding”.

My comments will not help to encourage grace nor dialogue but it seems patently clear that your intent either. It is not to learn, but to 'edumicate' the unenlightened who won’t seem to surrender to your grueling rants. We get it.

We also get that you “used to be one of us” but have now seen the light. Well, you might have seen something, but may I suggest it was the radiance of your own self-glorification. Your heart betrays itself by your increasingly derogatory tone and irrational fury to an otherwise constructive conversation. Actually, I don’t think you left conservatism, I believe you simply yielded to what appeals to you most – to be a sheep in sheep’s clothing.

We all know it is difficult being rational, logical, longsuffering and even unpopular, but in a post-modern culture of herd-mentality, this is the price of conservatism. To be a Christian conservative is more dear. You don't even acknowledge the difference.

As Gordon has clearly pointed out, “…. the problem is that Dr. Carter has provided you with coherent arguments and verifiable history and you keep responding with assertions and dismissals that don't actually contain anything remotely approaching an argument.” To which you resorted to the playgroundish, “I'm not answering precisely because I don't like your frame.” Is this ‘the frame’ of addressing your own comments or ‘the frame’ of getting to the point or ‘the frame’ of humility in a weak argument?

As your formerly favorite author has said “The reason liberals have to engage in a belligerent manner is that their ideas collapse whenever exposed to the warm breeze of logic.”

In closing, I would recommend a careful biblical study of the gospel. It is not the gospel of 'redistribution', but the gospel of salvation by grace, through faith. As a missionary in Africa, I see first-hand the destruction of temporally-placed worship over a God-ward view of salvation. Ironically, some of the most contented and godly people I know live joy-filled and sacrificial lives despite their poverty. They don’t look to Jesus as a liberator, or cosmic vending machine, but as their God who condescended himself to save them for all eternity. Everything else is but a post-script.

Unknown said...

Hi Dude,
I'm sorry you feel that way. :) How about I answer your comments specifically.
"We all know it is difficult being rational, logical, longsuffering and even unpopular, but in a post-modern culture of herd-mentality, this is the price of conservatism."
-I think this is Conservative vicitimization. (I'm Canadian) We have the conservative party in power federally, our biggest city has a conservative mayor, and in about a week we'll elect a conservative party provincially here in Ontario. Where is the price of conservatism? And what longsuffering do you face as a conservative? Do people mock you when you walk down the street? Are you afraid for your life? Are you denied job opportunities because you're conservative? What long suffering are you talking about? I would ask for more specifics.
And "post-modern culture of herd mentality". Another statement that acts as code but doesn't mean anything. The "herd mentality" exists in every form of human culture because we are mimetic, social beings. It certainly exists on this site. (e.g. Someone can say that the State is Satanic and no one blinks, even though this site is frequented by theology students.) The question becomes then, were the modernists non-conformists? When did this great group of people with a non-herd mentality exist? I would suggest that it never actually existed at all. That humans are as they always were when it comes to ideas and how we respond to them.
"To which you resorted to the playgroundish, “I'm not answering precisely because I don't like your frame.” Is this ‘the frame’ of addressing your own comments or ‘the frame’ of getting to the point or ‘the frame’ of humility in a weak argument?"
-Frame is not a 'playgroundish' concept, dude, it refers to the meta-narrative established before any discussion or debate. That is, if you allow someone to set their "frame", then it doesn't matter how the argument goes, you've already lost. Here's an example: If I let you call the occupation of Iraq a "war", I've already lost, even if I can make strong points why the US shouldn't be involved. By allowing someone to set the 'frame' as "war", I've already conceded that it is, in fact, a "war", and not an illegal and immoral occupation.
"In closing, I would recommend a careful biblical study of the gospel."
-2 things. 1) "biblical study of the gospel" What does that mean? Listen, you're a missionary, so you have to explain to me precisely what that means? This sounds like evangelical code for their "literal" view of Scripture, which I reject. (An actual literal view is impossible.) Now see, you've set the frame though, Dude, by calling it a "biblical study". What other kind of study exists if you're reading the gospels, as they're only found in the Bible? What you're actually saying is "you need to read the Bible the way I read it, and then you'll understand." So then, you're actually doing what you accuse me of doing, of you seeing the light and me needing to see it by reading the Bible that you read it. The evangelical view of Scripture, in my opinion, is shallow and misses the depth and beauty of God's Story.
Now, I don't think I was belligerent, although I did disagree with you. I answered your comments as specifically as I could, did I not? Do those comments upset you as well, because if they do, than we should understand that it is my worldview that really bothers you, and not the tone of my words. I am not perfect, and I am trying to be respectful. I do not consider myself "enlightened" (another frame) or special. I’m just here to provide an alternative voice and learn along the way.
In Grace,

Peter W. Dunn said...

Steve: I am hoping that you had some time to do some google research to see that I am not a tax cheat and a criminal as you have libelled me. It would be good if you apologized formally for such accusations. I owe the US nothing, nor could I, since I have paid all my taxes owing here in Canada. I am not a criminal but being made into one by unjust laws.

As for your accusations that I am greedy and money loving, I will let God judge me, and the people who are close to me. But I don't see that you have the right. Is that what it means to be a progressive? Someone who is judgemental? A professional sliver-in-the-eye removal service?

Unknown said...


I have to laugh at your latest comment. A formal apology? lol It's a blog discussion, big guy. Now you're just being silly, or is this the conservative "I'm so hurt" card. Please.

And that's interesting coming from someone who calls the state "Satanic" and the laws "unjust", which is why it seems you don't want to pay your back taxes. Well, if the state is "satanic", pretty much every law would be unjust, yes? Does satan make good laws?

You've complained about the poor "lusting" after your money, although you've reiterated that you're rich, and used the term "benevolence" when dealing with Africans.

As for being judgemental, here is another accusation that means nothing. We all make judgements about people and situations, I would call that the human condition. It's certainly evident on this site. You judge gays as sinners, for example, and those who want to protect a woman's rights? Are those not "judgements"? You make the judgement that progressives are actually dangerous to the church, and that those who would like to see the poor have a bit more to be guilty of "lust" and "theft".

You see, we are all making judgements at all times, Peter, you just happen not to like mine. And I'm okay with that. :) You are absolutely right in that your view of wealth is between you and God, but that does not mean that others do not have a right to voice their opinion, especially if they think it counter to biblical teaching.

Might I suggest that if you were more certain of your own views on wealth and grace, the "judgement" from a stranger would not matter. I would also suggest a visit to some of the other forums on here and imagine what it's like to be gay or a woman and hear some of those comments. In my judgement, before you can ask for empathy, you need to show a little yourself. And I think that's what Jesus was talking about.

In grace,

Peter W. Dunn said...

No Steve. I'm not hurt at all. Defamation of character can happen on blogs, which is a very public forum. Libel is defamation of character in writing; slander in oral communication. Now if you call someone a tax cheat or a criminal, i.e., guilty of committing crimes, and if you can't prove it, you have committed defamation of character. That is the law. Now I want to know if you are willing to apologize, because that is often one of the redresses for public libel.

But obviously, you didn't do the research I asked you to do; otherwise, how do you explain your position when so many Canadians, including Canada's finance minister and an NDP MP (i.e., both the right and the left), have found the intentions and the actions of the IRS so egregious. You would seem to be lacking any sort of moral compass.

Finally, as regarding your judgment that I am greedy, it is based solely upon my hatred of law-enforced income redistribution. But then, what is a good socialist to think? It's not possible that a tax-hating conservative could possibly be generous, is it? But you haven't an inkling of whether I am generous because you don't know me from Adam.

By the way, homosexual acts are a sin (as are adultery, bestiality, and fornication). Abortion is murder. Murder, stealing and coveteousness are still violations of the commandments.

Peter W. Dunn said...

My statement that the state is satanic is related to a theology of the NT which sees the political realm as being under the dominion of Satan. See for example Matt 4.8-10; Eph 6.10-12; Col 2.15. It is true also that God give all authority and power--so there is a cosmic struggle between good and evil in the political realm. However, when a state becomes socialist and redistributes wealth, it is in my view fallen back into a default satanic position. But you are wrong about me and taxes. I pay my taxes. But I will not be shaken down.

Peter W. Dunn said...

Steve: from a recent article in a Canadian paper (italics indicate quoted material):
'Flaherty recently sent a letter to American newspapers and wrote that too many people fall under the IRS's broad scope.

'He said the move is creating fear among honest and law-abiding residents of Canada who generally owe no money to Uncle Sam.

'"These people are not the targets of a crackdown on tax evasion. These are not high rollers with offshore bank accounts. These are people who have made innocent errors of omission that deserve to be looked upon with leniency," Flaherty said in the letter.'

I am innocent. The IRS is trying to shake me down, along with about 5 million other innocent Americans living outside the US. Are you so stubborn and pig-headed that you are unwilling to apologize for calling me a tax criminal? I mean, I'm giving you chance to make a sober judgment, instead of prejudice and stupid one. If you are so incapable of just judgement then I guess that pretty much tells everyone reading this forum about your character.

Unknown said...

Still beating the drum, Peter? Bored or what? Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty writing a press release doesn't carry any weight with me, big guy. It seems to me that if you're guilty of tax evasion, you're guilty of tax evasion. It also seems like you've had a LONG time to make good, and you still haven't done so. Besides, you're the one who said you were rich. :)

But listen, if you want to continue along this narrative that you're somehow being persecuted and that you're being "shaken down", or that you're a rich "refugee", tell yourself whatever story you like. It's certainly far more interesting than the boring truth of unpaid taxes.

And as much as you want to insult me or assault MY character because you didn't pay your taxes, well, whatever makes you happy. I generally don't worry about the opinions of the rich, as they tend to be narcissistic. That's not always true, of course, but it seems like it might be the case here.

I care more about the opinions of those who don't know how they're going to last the year. The ones who worry about the next meal or next month's rent, or those with a handicapped child but no way to afford proper care. Those are the opinions that matter to me.

In grace,

Andrew said...

This post seems to provide further evidence that there is something reasonable in Peter's complaint here.

Unknown said...

This is the definition of "refugee".

Under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, a refugee is more narrowly defined (in Article 1A) as a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country".

Nothing there about, you know, unpaid taxes, and using a term that denotes starving and persecuted peoples in the same breath as someone who is rich and living in Canada is DISGUSTING. Get a grip and read the Gospels again.

Peter W. Dunn said...


You seem to be stuck on stupid. I am basing this on your responses and am not trying to defame your character as you seem to be trying to do to mine by characterizing me as a tax cheat--I have said it several times, that I owe no taxes.

Thanks to the Obama regime's implementation of the laws on the books that were never enforced and that few in Canada even knew about, my former government, if using the full measure of those laws against me, could fine me for over 300% of my wealth and imprison me. I have decided to become a Canadian and wait out events here, only returning for family emergencies. That makes me a refugee by the standards of the quote that you provided from the UN. You can be sure I have political differences with a regime which persecutes expatriates to the degree that the US is doing. I fear to go to the US on my Canadian passport because I don't know what they plan to do to me at the border.

This is a big issue, and your refusal to see it shows that you are callous and egocentric. Cover your eyes like the monkey that sees no evil; cover your ears so that you can hear no evil. But you are a credit to your socialistic, redistributionist liberationist friends. Yes. That all you all would come out and show how ugly your views are.

But the rest of Canada is not as intellectually incurious as you. Canadians should not be patsies of the IRS and the US government policy, as you seem to be. Many Canadians are complaining so much that the US ambassador to Canada has tried to reassure us:

“My message on this is to sit tight,” Mr. Jacobson said in a speech to the Canadian Club of Ottawa on Tuesday. “We are not unreasonable. We are not unsympathetic. We are not irresponsible.”

Yeah right. We are from the government. We are here to help you.

Since you are citing legal texts, I suggest that you read up on defamation of character. You have libelled me as a tax cheat. I asked for an apology to redress that. You refuse. Now I suggest you better be able to prove your accusation. Here is a website that you can read to learn about what defamation of character is: