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mazar
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« on: November 10, 2003, 08:48:33 PM »

Dear All,

I am a student at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York, and in my "Orthodoxy in America" class I will be giving a presentation on Orthodox Americans and their reaction to the Iraq war.  I will discuss the Orthodox Peace Fellowship (OPF), their statement against the war, and the criticism and praise they received for it.  Furthermore, I will explore what this debate may have to say about the state of the Orthodox Church in this country and the issues the Church may face in the future.  

I have formulated a list of questions directed toward Orthodox Americans (or Orthodox in the US), and, to those of you who have time, I would greatly appreciate it if you could respond.  More than a simple "yes or no" answer is preferred, but if that is all you have time to give, that will suffice.  For those of you that are not American, or do not live in the US, I still welcome any observations about the issues mentioned.  


1.  What was your position on the Iraq war before it started?  How do you believe the Orthodox Church informed your position on the war (i.e., what teachings caused you to support or oppose the war)?  If you did not support the war, what do you believe should have been done concerning Iraq (if anything), and how do the teachings of the Orthodox Church inform your position?  Has your position changed or become more informed since then?    

2.  Do you believe that the OPF statement against the war (found at http://www.incommunion.org/resources/iraq.asp ) was adequate, well worded, and, most importantly, faithful to the teachings of the Orthodox faith?  Was the criticism or praise received for the statement reasonable?  Would you have (or did you) sign your name to the statement?  Was there anything you would have changed in the statement?  

3.  What do you believe is the proper relationship between Orthodox Christianity (or Orthodox Christians) and political structures?  In other words, how directly should Orthodox Christians be involved in government decisions or actions?  

4.  Are you a member of a political party?  If so, which party and why?  Otherwise, why not?  How would you describe yourself politically (i.e. right, conservative, left, liberal, middle, etc...)?

5.  One could agree that the “conservative/liberal” debate has severely divided that Protestant churches in the US.  Do you believe Orthodox Americans face the same problem, especially as there is a push (rightly or wrongly so, this is not the issue at hand) to become the American Orthodox Church?  Why? Why not?

6.  What do you believe is the proper relationship between Orthodox Christianity and nationalism (here I use the dictionary definition for nationalism: "Devotion to the interests or culture of one's nation")?

7.  Is there anything else you would like to add regarding the issues alluded to above?


I would appreciate it if you could mention your name, church-related occupation (layperson, parish council member, any church organization member, deacon, priest, bishop, monastic, etc...), and home parish.  If you prefer to be referred to anonymously, please indicate so.  If you believe any other information about yourself is also relevant (such as holding political office), please indicate so.  Responses or any concerns can be sent directly to me at mazar@svots.edu.  Please respond as soon as you are able, preferably within the next week or two.  


With gratitude,

Michael Azar
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Ben
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2003, 08:59:37 PM »

Hey Michael...

I wish I could answer those questions because I have strong opinions on the war, but sadly I am not Orthodox. However I am on my way to Orthodoxy, praise God.

Anway...I was wondering if you had read PATRIARCH ALEXY II OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA statement reagarding the war, you porbably have but if not it is interesting and I suggest you read it:

http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru/ne303202.htm

In Christ,
           Ben
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2003, 09:06:17 PM »

Ben,

Please feel free to respond to the questions; the opinions of catechumens are just as important as those who finally had the hair cut....

Michael
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2003, 09:46:30 PM »

I sent mine to you Michael. Hope they are of help. They are strong opinions but I gave explanations for them.

Take Care!
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2003, 09:51:50 PM »

Thats a good statement by PATRIARCH ALEXY II, but he fails to say what are the alternatives. More sanctions? More talk? More empty threats? I'm not sure what is a good solution here. I'm against the war but not for the reasons on that peace fellowship thing. Also I served in the first one so I know what its like over there.
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2003, 10:36:57 PM »

I agree Innocent, PATRIARCH ALEXY II fails to give alternatives, but I thought it was a very interesting and powerful statement he made.
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2003, 11:16:11 PM »

Hi Mike,

I am going to make this a long reply. I hope it is worthwhile in some aspect, although it will probably be ignored.

Quote
1.  What was your position on the Iraq war before it started?  How do you believe the Orthodox Church informed your position on the war (i.e., what teachings caused you to support or oppose the war)?  If you did not support the war, what do you believe should have been done concerning Iraq (if anything), and how do the teachings of the Orthodox Church inform your position?  Has your position changed or become more informed since then?    

1) Initially, I was entirely 100% for the war in Iraq.  I stand by my country and my president, even if the decisions they sometimes make are a bit off color, or perhaps wrong. In addition, I realized the benefits of the war would be worthwhile in the long-run, even if the loss of life and money occured in the short-run.  Did the Orthodox Church help inform me on these things? No, instead I read a bunch of pacifist entirely anti-American propaganda coming out of the OPF.  Did I hear anything from the pulpit? Nothing at all. I understand priests are limited in their endorsement of politics, but they didn't say anything.  Now, I realize that Iraq has turned into, to quote a soldier, a quagmire. It is another Vietnam.  Get the men out of there, the men and women who are selflessly sacrificing their lives for their country.


Quote
3.  What do you believe is the proper relationship between Orthodox Christianity (or Orthodox Christians) and political structures?  In other words, how directly should Orthodox Christians be involved in government decisions or actions?  

I got news for Orthodoxy...we don't live in the Byzantine Empire anymore! Orthodoxy needs to stay out of politics.  If Orthodoxy wants to get involved then why can't these same hierarchs censure political figures who have no problem with supporting abortion?  It seems to be that the Orthodox church is setting up a double standard.  They should be for preserving life, and instead not be pushing a political agenda, as seems to be the case. (Metropolitan Philip, case in point)

Quote
4.  Are you a member of a political party?  If so, which party and why?  Otherwise, why not?  How would you describe yourself politically (i.e. right, conservative, left, liberal, middle, etc...)?


I am a registered republican. Do I support the Republican platform? Sometimes, although mainly for the pro-life stance. Do I vote? Yes. Although next election I will probably swing for General Clark. Politically, I consider myself paleoconservative.


Quote
5.  One could agree that the “conservative/liberal” debate has severely divided that Protestant churches in the US.  Do you believe Orthodox Americans face the same problem, especially as there is a push (rightly or wrongly so, this is not the issue at hand) to become the American Orthodox Church?  Why? Why not?

Orthodox aren't Protestants, nor should they be pigeonholed into that category. The push to be the American Orthodox Church is very VERY important. After all, it is the future of Orthodoxy in America that is at stake.  The Orthodox jurisidctions in America need to stop getting their panties in knots, and be part of a real effort to unify Orthodox in America.



Quote
6.  What do you believe is the proper relationship between Orthodox Christianity and nationalism (here I use the dictionary definition for nationalism: "Devotion to the interests or culture of one's nation")?

Well, it seems to me that the Orthodox want to be every nationality except American.  I'll believe it when I see a unified American Orthodox Church


If you need any more info, feel free to email me. I hope this helps!

Bobby
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2003, 12:13:03 AM »

I don't claim to speak for Eastern Orthodoxy but re: the war in Iraq the name and content of my blog say it all.

Quote
Politically, I consider myself paleoconservative.


Well, that's wonderful, but a paleocon wouldn't say:

Quote
I stand by my country and my president, even if the decisions they sometimes make are a bit off color, or perhaps wrong.
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2003, 12:56:09 AM »

Well Serge, to further clarify my political stance, I will say that regardless of my political affiliation, it is my duty to stand by my leadership and keep them in my prayers when in time of need.

Do I condone what Bush and his administration have wandered into? No, I certainly do not, and in fact, I feel the war on terror is a disaster. But this doesn't mean I wont keep my president and my country in my prayers.  The president of the United States, despite the cries of many, does not have an easy job.  For this country to stay together, it needs the support of all, even if we disagree.

Hope this clarifies a little.
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2003, 01:19:20 AM »

A visit to many towns in England will show you where 'my country right or wrong' (which is not Christian teaching) leads. So many places lost so many young men (right around your age) in World War I (an immoral war) that they have monuments like the Cenotaph to remember them. What Remembrance Sunday this past Sunday was about.

Lest we forget.

Peace.
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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2003, 08:44:21 AM »

A respectable opinion, Serge.

However, there is a fine line that is crossed by your statement.  Granted, wars are objectively wrong, however there is no way out of fighting them, as they need to be fought.  Are we supposed to sit on our pacifist hands while we get trampled over? Are we supposed to let innocent lives be taken away while we watch? Unfortunately, the people who usually fight these wars are in fact men my age.  Take Vietnam for instance.  There is an example of a true act of humility as these men obediently followed orders. A priest I once heard at a conference said the following: He stated that to serve one's country is a  true act of piety.
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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2003, 10:36:40 AM »

Quote
However, there is a fine line that is crossed by your statement.  Granted, wars are objectively wrong, however there is no way out of fighting them, as they need to be fought.
 

Some do, most don't. Iraq is the latter for the US and UK.

Quote
Are we supposed to sit on our pacifist hands while we get trampled over?


1. You know me and my blog well enough to know we are not pacifists. 2. Mr Hussein couldn't have 'trampled us over' even if he wanted to.

Quote
Are we supposed to let innocent lives be taken away while we watch?


Being the world's policeman is only a cover for building an empire, which is actually a liberal idea. The late-’60s antiwar people had a point. Remember, Vietnam-era Cold Warriorship was a liberal 'crusade for democracy', part of JFK/LBJ's policies along with the socialist Great Society. (And the real American Right, including the John Birch Society, was divided about Vietnam.)

Quote
Unfortunately, the people who usually fight these wars are in fact men my age.  Take Vietnam for instance.  There is an example of a true act of humility as these men obediently followed orders. A priest I once heard at a conference said the following: He stated that to serve one's country is a  true act of piety.
 

Yet I can sympathize re: Vietnam based on what American everyman thought he knew at the time re: a worldwide threat from Communism and the perceived need to contain it. (Everyman didn't know that the US government faked at least parts of the Tonkin Gulf incident to con Americans into that war.)
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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2003, 11:53:35 AM »

Unfortunately, I have to agree with you Serge. We have been duped once again by our "leaders". It is UNBELIEVABLE to me how Bush has blown this war on terrror. His HUGE ego and arrogance has become a real problem.

Here is a VERY good article from the Washington Post on Sunday written by Zbigniew Brzezinski. How this man ended up in the Carter administration I will never know.

----

Forty years ago, an important emissary was sent to France by a beleaguered president of the United States . It was during the Cuban missile crisis and the emissary was a tough-minded former secretary of state, Dean Acheson. His mission was to brief French President Charles de Gaulle and solicit his support in what could become a nuclear war involving not just the United States and the Soviet Union but the entire NATO alliance and the Warsaw Pact.

At the end of the briefing, Acheson said to de Gaulle, "I would now like to show you the evidence, the photographs that we have of Soviet missiles armed with nuclear weapons." The French president responded, "I do not wish to see the photographs. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me. Please tell him that France stands with America."

Would any foreign leader today react the same way to an American emissary sent abroad to say that country X is armed with weapons of mass destruction that threaten the United States? It is unlikely. The recent conduct of U.S. foreign policy, by distorting the threats facing America, has isolated the United States and undermined its credibility. It has damaged our ability to deal with issues in North Korea, Iran, Russia and the West Bank. If a case ever needs to be made for action against a truly imminent threat, will any nation take us seriously?

Fifty-three years ago, after the Soviet-sponsored assault by North Korea on South Korea, the Soviet Union boycotted a resolution in the U.N. Security Council for a collective response to North Korea's act. That left the Soviet Union alone in opposition, stamping it as a global pariah.

Today it is the United States that finds itself alone. In the last three weeks, there were two votes on the Middle East in the U.N. General Assembly. In one, the vote was 133 to 4, and in the other, it was 144 to 4 -- the United States, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. Japan and all of our NATO allies, including Great Britain and the so-called "new" Europe, voted with the majority.

The loss of U.S. international credibility and the growing U.S. isolation are aspects of a troubling paradox: American power worldwide is at its historic zenith, but American global political standing is at its nadir. Maybe we are resented because we are rich, and we are, or because we are powerful, and we certainly are. But I think anyone who thinks that this is the full explanation is taking the easy way out and engaging in a self-serving justification.

Since the tragedy of 9/11, our government has embraced a paranoiac view of the world summarized in a phrase President Bush used on Sept. 20, 2001: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." I suspect that officials who have adopted the "with us or against us" formulation don't know its historical origins. It was used by Lenin to attack the social democrats as anti-Bolshevik and to justify handling them accordingly. This phrase is part of our policymakers' defining focus, summed up by the words "war on terrorism." War on terrorism reflects, in my view, a rather narrow and extremist vision of foreign policy for a superpower and for a great democracy with genuinely idealistic traditions.

Our country suffers from another troubling condition, a fear that periodically verges on blind panic. As a result, we lack a clear perception of critical security issues such as the availability to our enemies of weapons of mass destruction. In recent months, we have experienced perhaps the most significant intelligence failure in American history. That failure was fueled by a demagogy that emphasizes worst-case scenarios, stimulates fear and induces a dichotomous view of world reality.

It is important to ask ourselves, as citizens, whether a world power can provide global leadership on the basis of fear and anxiety. Can we really mobilize support, even of friends, when we tell them that if you are not with us you are against us?

That calls for serious debate about America's role in the world, which is not served by an abstract, quasi-theological definition of the war on terrorism. That definition oversimplifies a complex set of challenges that needs to be addressed. It talks about a phenomenon, terrorism, as the enemy while overlooking the fact that terrorism is a technique for killing people. It doesn't tell us who the enemy is. It's as if we said that World War II was not fought against the Nazis but against blitzkrieg.

We need to ask who is the enemy. They are not, to quote the president again, people who "hate things," whereas "we love things." Or people who simply hate freedom. I think they do hate, but I don't think they sit there abstractly hating freedom. They hate some of us. They hate some countries. They hate some particular targets. But it's a lot more concrete than these vague quasi-theological formulations.

In the debate over the current direction of U.S. foreign policy, Democrats should not be naysayers only. But they certainly should not be cheerleaders as some were roughly a year ago. Democrats should insist that a pluralistic democracy such as ours rely on bipartisanship in formulating a foreign policy based on moderation and the nuances of the human condition.

Bipartisanship in the making of foreign policy has been the tradition from the days of President Harry Truman and Sen. Arthur Vandenberg until recent times. And it has led us not only to a triumph in the Cold War but to our emergence as the only global superpower with special responsibilities.

We should cooperate not only with each other at home, but with our allies abroad. While America is paramount, it isn't omnipotent. We need Europe, which shares our values and interests, even if it disagrees with us on specific policies. But we cannot have a relationship if we only dictate to or threaten those who disagree. Sometimes we may be right. Sometimes they may be right. But there is something transcendental about shared values that shouldn't be subordinated to tactical requirements.

We should strive to expand the zone of peace and prosperity to build a stable international system in which our leadership can be fruitfully exercised. That means supporting a larger European Union. It means drawing Russia closer while remaining unambiguous about the behavior that disqualifies Russia -- pursuing a policy of genocide against the Chechens, killing journalists and repressing the mass media -- from genuine membership in the community of democratic, law-abiding states.

We must also transform the world's zone of conflict into a zone of peace. That means, above all else, the Middle East. We must more clearly identify the United States with the pursuit of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinian terrorism has to be rejected and condemned, yes. But it should not be translated into support for Israel's increasingly brutal repression, colonial settlements and a new wall. Instead, America should help the majority of Israelis and Palestinians, who are ready to accept a viable peace.

In Iraq we must succeed. Failure is not an option. But we have to ask ourselves what is the definition of success. More killing, more repression, more effective counterinsurgency? The introduction of new technologies to crush the resistance? Or is success an effort to promote, by using force, a political solution?

If there's going to be a political solution in Iraq, two prerequisites have to be fulfilled as rapidly as feasible: the internationalization of the foreign presence in Iraq and the transfer of power as soon as possible to a sovereign Iraqi authority. Regarding the first, too much time has been lost already. As for the second, there's nothing to be lost by prematurely declaring an Iraqi authority as sovereign if that lends it political legitimacy in a country which is searching to define itself, which has been humiliated, and which remains ambivalent toward us.

What is the future for the doctrine of preemption against nations or groups with the potential to acquire weapons of mass destruction? It is important not to plunge headlong into the tempting notion that we will preempt unilaterally on suspicion, which is what the doctrine now amounts to. We simply do not know enough to be able to preempt with confidence.

For four years I was the principal channel of intelligence to the president of the United States. We had a good idea of the security challenge we faced. Today the problem is more elusive. We're not dealing with nuclear silos and military structures geared for an assault on American security. We could decipher and seek to paralyze those in the event of war. We were well-informed to a degree that cannot be matched in dealing with the new threats to our security.

These new challenges can only be addressed if we have what we do not have -- a really effective intelligence service. I find it appalling that when we went into Iraq we did not know if it had weapons of mass destruction. We thought it had such weapons based largely on extrapolation.

That means that our commanders in the field went into battle without knowledge of the Iraqi WMD order of battle. They did not know what units, brigades or divisions in the Iraqi armed forces were equipped with what kind of weapons of mass destruction. Were there chemical weapons on the battalion level, on the brigade level or with special units? Who had bacteriological weapons? At what stage of development was the allegedly reconstituted nuclear program?

All of this points to a fundamental shortcoming in our national security policy. If we want to lead, we have to have other countries trust us. When we speak, they have to think it is the truth. This is why de Gaulle said what he did. This is why others believed us prior to the war in Iraq.

They no longer do. To correct that, we need an intelligence service that speaks with authority. If preemption becomes necessary, it should be able to truly tell us that, as a last resort, preemption is necessary. Right now there's no way of knowing.

Ultimately at issue is the relationship between the new requirements of security and the traditions of American idealism. For decades, we have played a unique role in the world because we were viewed as a society that was generally committed to certain ideals, prepared to practice them at home and ready to defend them abroad. Today, for the first time, our commitment to idealism worldwide is challenged by a sense of vulnerability. We have to be careful not to become self-centered and subordinate everything else in the world to an exaggerated sense of insecurity.

We are going to live in an insecure world. It cannot be avoided. We have to learn to live in it with dignity, with idealism, with steadfastness.

Zbigniew Brzezinski was President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser. He is author of the forthcoming book, "The Choice" (Basic Books). This article is adapted from an Oct. 28 speech.





« Last Edit: November 11, 2003, 12:14:27 PM by TomS » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2003, 12:17:22 PM »

This is a very good article. I believe until we have the moral courage to say who the REAL enemy is our standing  with the world will continue to fall. The assumption by our leaders that the world is stupid enough not to see that we gave all the contracts to large American corporations hurts us. Also our continued support for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Turkey makes us look two faced.  Turkey has murdered far more people than Saddam ever thought of but still they are an ally.

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« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2003, 12:28:03 PM »

The political process in this country is in seroiuos jeapordy.

Why would anyone worth a damn put themselves and their family through the election process? You are ripped apart by the press and your competitors as soon as you step into the ring. The only people who will put themselves through this are egotistical power-hungry despots.

And if they DO get elected, they have had to sell themselves to somebody/something to get there.

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« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2003, 02:35:35 PM »

I'll try to keep this short.  I was against this war in Iraq from the very beginning.  Perhaps this is because I was a history major in college and have been taught to look for the underlying ECONOMIC INTERESTS involved when one country wages war on another.  There is ALWAYS more to a war that what your own country tells you.  This is NOT being anti-American, it is being realistic.  Bush never made a convincing enough case to me to persuade me that Iraq was a real threat to the US. In fact, I was horrified at the thought of a PRE-EMPTIVE strike against a nation that had not attacked the United States.  Now that we have found out all the lies about WMD, the "enriched uranium", Iraq's supposed nuclear weapons program, and the fact the it was not involved at all in the 9-11 attacks, I feel vindicated in my view.  I truly believe that the precious young men and women fighting in Iraq are dying for NOTHING.  That's right.  Dying for NOTHING, except maybe the profits of Halliburton.  While there willingness to serve at the demands of their country is honorable and to be respected the CAUSE they are engaged in is one that I cannot get enthused about.  I do not believe that the USA is the savior of the world, and  that it is our calling to solve all the world's problems and remove all the world's dictators.  I see this venture in Iraq much more as Empire Building following the vision of the Neo-Cons as they themselves have expressed in their organization called PNAC(Partnership for a New American Century).  Though some will bristle at this, I don't think the US had any more justification to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iraq than Hilter did to launch his pre-emptive strike against Poland in September 1939.   In fact, if you go back and read some of the rhetoric in the German newspapers right before the attack on Poland, they are REMARKABLY similar in tone and attitude to Bush's anti-Iraq tirades right before this current war began.
     I have been Orthodox for 8 years in the OCA.  I am a native born American.  I had a Lutheran background (LCMS) before I converted to Orthodoxy.  Politically I consider myself a pro-life democrat.
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« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2003, 03:58:16 PM »

I am just amazed how anyone thought it was going to be easy in Iraq or it was going to take 3 months or less. I remember even last year that Bush said, while campaigning for the war, that it would take *2* years to settle things in Iraq.  That he fought the war knowing it would possibly lead to his downfall shows his courage and lack of self-interest.

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« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2003, 04:38:23 PM »

As soon as Pat. Alex. condemns the Russian army for their atrocities and imperial colonialism in Chechnya, and orders that all Russian Army troops serving there be excommunicated for doing so, then I'll listen to his sermons on the U.S. and Iraq.
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« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2003, 04:49:40 PM »

Those Chechens did have autonomy and they invaded a neighbors and committed acts of terrorism. Comparing an army of terrorists next door (Chechens) to a conflict that is many miles from our shores is not a good comparison.

As soon as Pat. Alex. condemns the Russian army for their atrocities and imperial colonialism in Chechnya, and orders that all Russian Army troops serving there be excommunicated for doing so, then I'll listen to his sermons on the U.S. and Iraq.
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2003, 04:57:03 PM »

Personally, I was totally against us going into Iraq.  Yes, I don't like Saddam Hussein.  However, can you say that many innocent lives weren't taken during the war?  Does it matter whether you die at the hands of Hussein or by bombs?  Either way, you're still dead.  And, of course, now many soldiers are getting killed every day.  

Also, I don't think it's a coincidence that the president that took us into Iraq this time is the son of the president that took us in last time.  Also, I have problems with the fact that he keeps wanting to get us involved in more places.  It seems like everytime I turn around, he's talking about sending our troops more places.   In a way, I'm sorry that President Bush never fought in a war himself.  I think that leaders that have are much more wary about sending men (and women) off to fight because they know what it is to fight in a war.

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« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2003, 05:02:07 PM »

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Politically, I consider myself paleoconservative.

Bobby, what exactly is a "paleoconservative"?  How does that differ from a "neoconservative"?
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« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2003, 05:05:02 PM »

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I have been Orthodox for 8 years in the OCA.  I am a native born American.  I had a Lutheran background (LCMS) before I converted to Orthodoxy.  Politically I consider myself a pro-life democrat.  

Is there really such a thing as a "pro-life democrat"?  I've never heard of any Democrat even giving lip service to the Pro-Life cause.  :-";"xx
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« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2003, 05:07:33 PM »

Also, I have problems with the fact that he keeps wanting to get us involved in more places.  It seems like everytime I turn around, he's talking about sending our troops more places.   In a way, I'm sorry that President Bush never fought in a war himself.  I think that leaders that have are much more wary about sending men (and women) off to fight because they know what it is to fight in a war.




Yeah, just like that Abe Lincoln, himself not a veteran, but sending all those Union troops all over the place willy-nilly in order to kill all those sweet, innocent teenagers.*

Seriously, that kind of sentiment is highly detrimental to republican government, especially when you realize that there could be many periods in which a young man (aged 18-35ish) might not even have the opportunuity to fight in any war.
Insisting not just on military service, but on actual fighting action seen, is just about antithetical to everything the U.S. stands for. Sure, its a nice way to criticize Bush, but its logical consequences aren't that great.

* I realize that there are some who think Lincoln was a war criminal, blah blah blah. There are some people though who you just can't reason with.

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« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2003, 05:12:49 PM »

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Politically, I consider myself paleoconservative.

Bobby, what exactly is a "paleoconservative"?  How does that differ from a "neoconservative"?


According to paleoconservatives, a neocon is anyone who supported the war in Iraq, is a Protestant, supports the Bush administration generally, supports Israel, and either has real or tenous connections to Judaism (like Jewish friends and collegues).

In reality, a neo-conservative is/was a disillusioned liberal, usually an anti-Communist liberal, who moved to the right in the 1960s and 1970s. They are well known for being disillusioned with the Great Society, and the Western retreat from Communism during the 1970s. Most cast their first Republican ballot for Reagan in 1980, and have tried, mostly successfully, to integrate fully into the Republican Party/conservative movement.
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« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2003, 06:11:54 PM »

Sure there is such a thing as a pro-life Democrat! When I lived in Minnesota, I was a member of the local "Democrats for Life" chapter.  I know several Greek Orthodox politicians here in South Carolina where I live now who are pro-life Democrats.  We even had one, Nick Theodore, who was our lieutentant governor several years ago.  We might be rare, but we do exist.  Perhaps the Republican Party in other parts of the country is different, but here in South Carolina the Republicans are controlled 100% by the "Christian Right"/Pat Robertson crowd.  They have an almost Social Darwinist ethic toward the poor and the unemployed, and they constantly demonize the public schools to the point that it is very difficult to getting ANY funding anymore for public education in South Carolina. (Not that South Carolina has a great record in public education in the first place.)  As a former teacher, I am a public school man. and I'm not going to side with anybody that doesn't support decent public education. Honestly, if it weren't for the Democrats in South Carolina, I wonder if we'd even have any public schools here at all.

Tikhon
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« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2003, 06:16:58 PM »

Here is their page!
Democrats for life

They really have no power in the Democrate party but they are there. Give them credit they are fighting an uphill battle.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2003, 06:17:44 PM by Innocent » Logged
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« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2003, 12:20:05 AM »

. . . Politically I consider myself a pro-life democrat.  

Wouldn't that be like claiming to be a pro-democracy Soviet Communist, or an anti-Free-Market Republican?  No, I'm not claiming a moral equivalance between the Democratic party and the Stalinist regime (such a comparison would be both grotesque and unjust), but am trying to point out the fuzzy thinking about morality here.  To wit, whether a member of the Democratic party defines himself as "pro-life" or not, he is still supporting a platform which includes official support for the "pro-choice" position, i.e., a policy which permits the killing of the unborn in astonishing numbers each year, and the election of candidates to national office almost all of whom support that policy.  Not to mention the real possibility that that platform, in the near future, will officially support states' rights to decide whether to permit government-recognized "civil unions" for gay couples, euthanasia, etc.

Don't misunderstand me:  I see no reason at all that a Christian could not, on the grounds of strong Christian principles, embrace the Democratic party's traditional advocacy for using activist government to promote the interests of "the little guy," and to protect him from potential explaitation by big business, unrestrained market forces, etc.  And, of course, being Christian does not logically or morally necessitate being a member of the Republican party.

But, I agree with the editors of a recently published issue of Touchstone magazine that a serious case is to be made that the Democratic party has, in the course of the past few decades, come to embrace policies such that no Christian can escape the immorality of supporting their stated objectives in areas, at least, of reproductive and sexual morality, and of policies that would permit killing or facilitating the suicides of those judged to have a "quality of life" not quite up to snuff.

Now, I can anticipate the counter-argument:  "No Christian can escape the immorality of supporting the Republican party's stated policy of promoting big business at the expense of working folks, or of working against environmental protection," or something to that effect.  But, in fact, the Republican party does not have a stated policy to discourage environmental conservation (if one wants to focus on that issue), nor to work against the interests of working folks.  On the contrary, many Republicans believe they have a more reasonable and measured plan for stewarding the environment, and that their policies in support of free enterprise will ultimately work in the interest of all workers and their dependants, including the underpaid.  One may not agree that those policies will actually have those effects, but this is of a different nature than actually supporting a party which, as stated policy of the party at large, advocates that killing the unborn be allowed, and which appears well along the road toward advocating that governmentally-sanctioned and recognized "assisted suicides" and "civil unions" between homosexual couples be allowed.
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« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2003, 10:42:20 AM »

Obviously Boswell and I represent different brands of 'conservatism'.

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According to paleoconservatives, a neocon is anyone who supported the war in Iraq, is a Protestant, supports the Bush administration generally, supports Israel, and either has real or tenous connections to Judaism (like Jewish friends and collegues).

In reality, a neo-conservative is/was a disillusioned liberal, usually an anti-Communist liberal, who moved to the right in the 1960s and 1970s. They are well known for being disillusioned with the Great Society, and the Western retreat from Communism during the 1970s. Most cast their first Republican ballot for Reagan in 1980, and have tried, mostly successfully, to integrate fully into the Republican Party/conservative movement.


I don't see the contradiction between the two descriptions: all of this covers just about everybody in that movement.

As for prolife Democrats, that's not surprising at all, considering 1) one can be orthodox in his religion and wrong about economics*, like a lot of well-meaning Christians are ('the government can abolish poverty'), and 2) the longstanding immigrant Catholic worker-Democrat connection**, a connection that began to change when the Democrats became too culturally/socially liberal, going along with society's changes from the late 1960s on. Nixon's silent majority and the Reagan Democrats were signs that this was starting to change, but the connection isn't entirely gone.

*There's no such thing as 'Catholic/Christian economics' any more than there is such a kind of paleontology (a reference to the evolution vs. creationism thread - Robert Sungenis may be wrong scientifically but that doesn't make him a heretic) or physics.

**Dating to the late 19th century when immigrant workers had to strike to get basic necessities of life and reinforced in the 1930s when the Democrats offered them what seemed to be their only chance at survival. Few realized how wrongheaded the New Deal was.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 10:43:08 AM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2003, 10:57:46 AM »

LOL! Since there will always be poor and the government shall never get rid of them what should be done? Don't try at all? Let them die out in a sort of survival of the fittest?  I was a Registered republican (in my military days) and I just grew tired of this argument that there will always be poor so lets do nothing. I'm now not registered and vote on a case by case basis. I voted for GW last time but only because I felt he was the lesser of two evils.

Take Care!
Innocent

P.S. I tend to be Ultra-Conservative on Social issues and liberal on economic issues.


Obviously Boswell and I represent different brands of 'conservatism'.

Quote
According to paleoconservatives, a neocon is anyone who supported the war in Iraq, is a Protestant, supports the Bush administration generally, supports Israel, and either has real or tenous connections to Judaism (like Jewish friends and collegues).

In reality, a neo-conservative is/was a disillusioned liberal, usually an anti-Communist liberal, who moved to the right in the 1960s and 1970s. They are well known for being disillusioned with the Great Society, and the Western retreat from Communism during the 1970s. Most cast their first Republican ballot for Reagan in 1980, and have tried, mostly successfully, to integrate fully into the Republican Party/conservative movement.


I don't see the contradiction between the two descriptions: all of this covers just about everybody in that movement.

As for prolife Democrats, that's not surprising at all, considering 1) one can be orthodox in his religion and wrong about economics*, like a lot of well-meaning Christians are ('the government can abolish poverty'), and 2) the longstanding immigrant Catholic worker-Democrat connection**, a connection that began to change when the Democrats became too culturally/socially liberal, going along with society's changes from the late 1960s on. Nixon's silent majority and the Reagan Democrats were signs that this was starting to change, but the connection isn't entirely gone.

*There's no such thing as 'Catholic/Christian economics' any more than there is such a kind of paleontology (a reference to the evolution vs. creationism thread - Robert Sungenis may be wrong scientifically but that doesn't make him a heretic) or physics.

**Dating to the late 19th century when immigrant workers had to strike to get basic necessities of life and reinforced in the 1930s when the Democrats offered them what seemed to be their only chance at survival. Few realized how wrongheaded the New Deal was.
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« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2003, 11:36:26 AM »

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LOL! Since there will always be poor and the government shall never get rid of them what should be done? Don't try at all? Let them die out in a sort of survival of the fittest?  I was a Registered republican (in my military days) and I just grew tired of this argument that there will always be poor so lets do nothing.


I think that's setting up a strawman. Of course Christians have to do something to help - it's just that it isn't what the government is set up to do.

Quote
I'm now not registered and vote on a case by case basis. I voted for GW last time but only because I felt he was the lesser of two evils.

I'm like you in that. I learnt my lesson and shall never vote for those reasons again. (That and abortion are probably the only reasons I won't vote for Dean or whoever the Dem candidate is next year, just to stop the war.)

Except for abortion, frankly the US was better off - I know I was - with a booming economy and an amusing libidinous party animal in the Oval Office.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 11:40:51 AM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2003, 11:43:02 AM »

frankly the US was better off with a booming economy and an amusing libidinous party animal in the Oval Office.

C'mon Serge, you are intelligent enough to understand economic theory and that by and large economies run in cycles. The president's economic policies really don't have much affect on it. It's just too big.





« Last Edit: November 12, 2003, 11:44:27 AM by TomS » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2003, 12:41:49 PM »

frankly the US was better off with a booming economy and an amusing libidinous party animal in the Oval Office.

C'mon Serge, you are intelligent enough to understand economic theory and that by and large economies run in cycles. The president's economic policies really don't have much affect on it. It's just too big.







Exactly.  Anyone who thinks that the economy wouldn't be much different now than before the tech bubble burst is deluding themselves.
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« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2003, 05:56:23 PM »

LOL! Since there will always be poor and the government shall never get rid of them what should be done? Don't try at all? Let them die out in a sort of survival of the fittest?  I was a Registered republican (in my military days) and I just grew tired of this argument that there will always be poor so lets do nothing. I'm now not registered and vote on a case by case basis. I voted for GW last time but only because I felt he was the lesser of two evils.

Take Care!
Innocent

P.S. I tend to be Ultra-Conservative on Social issues and liberal on economic issues.

Hmm...I can see where you are coming from. I'm a conservative on social issues and more of a moderate on economic issues.  On one hand, I do think society should look out for the little guy.  OTOH, much of the government's "solutions" create even bigger problems.   I personally think the federal government is very inefficient and wasteful.  Still, some regulations are needed to keep big corporations in check and to provide some safety net for the little guy, assuming the little guy takes some responsibility.  

Let's see....
GOP--conservative on social and economic issues
Dem--liberal on both
Libertarian--ultra-conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues.

Perhaps there should be another party to fill the niche for those who are "ultra-conservative on social issues and liberal on economic issues."
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« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2003, 06:18:09 PM »

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Libertarian--ultra-conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues.

That's what I used to think. Libertarian doesn't necessarily mean libertine.
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« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2003, 06:21:51 PM »

I've seen people that call themselves Libertarian that are all over the political spectrum. I'm not sure if the have a set in stone platform or not.
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« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2003, 08:59:04 PM »

Michael,
I am an Orthodox Christian and am currently on active duty in the US Armed Forces.  Thanks be to God, I have not deployed to Iraq yet, but I can tell you of those whom I know who have returned from Iraq, the vast, vast majority of Iraqis are joyous that the US is there and that their former dictator is gone.  

Though I have mixed feelings about whether the US should be the "world's policeman" - and indeed, we don't have the manpower to successfully (or practically) do that, I think removing Mr Hussein was a good idea, especially in the wake of the attack on our nation on 11 Sep 01.  Though Iraq may not have been directly implicated in that attack, Mr. Hussein and his gov't are known to have been mass funders of Islamic terrorism worldwide, and removing him was a good pre-emptive strike on the part of our (American) gov't.  The fact that there hasn't been another terrorist attack on the USA since 9/11/01 is a miracle, and I think that the forceful message we sent to Islamic terrorists by removing Mr. Hussein is a major reason for this.

Michael, these of course are only my opinions.  I do not want to engage in "debate" over this topic, so please I pray that no one try to debate my comments as such.  I won't respond.
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« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2003, 02:28:45 AM »



Perhaps there should be another party to fill the niche for those who are "ultra-conservative on social issues and liberal on economic issues."


That sounds like the only type of political party of which I would ever become a member.
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« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2003, 01:09:48 AM »

I am from Mexico.

Some days before the war started I attended Church in Naucalpan (Mex City), and the sermons there were very anti-war and vehemenly nationalistic. I suppose that the Bishop, who resides in Panama and not in Mexico, took a more moderated attitude toward the war, but he also lived an invasion by the USA in Panama, so i suppose that He was also against the intervention in Iraq. I do not know about the Exarchate churches (part of the OCA) but people tell me that the anti-war feelings were quite the same (among the faithful).
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