Thoughts on “We Want America Back”

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I don’t think I’ve ever done so little to start so much of a conversation, and I’ve a good mind to just stay out of it, but of course I won’t. And before going in any further, I want to say (again) how delightful it’s been to be the host of such a civil conversation. I guess it’s a kind of backhanded compliment in a way (”Look, evangelicals can talk about politics without having a bloody brawl!”) but alas evangelicals DO have a bit of difficulty talking about politics without scorching the earth and anyone who they perceive as their enemies. Which makes this conversation all the more noble. I really do think this is a model of discourse and exchange that a whole lot of the world could copy. Thank you. That said, I am going to limit my remarks to southern gospel and politicized lyrics and only touch indirectly on some of the larger political issues circulating around this topic. This blog is about southern gospel, and not contemporary politics, after all.

Perhaps not surprisingly I’ve been thinking a lot and writing some about this topic in my day job, which was the source of the original post in the first place. And/but I’m not entirely sure what I think about it yet. Consider, then, what follows as so many promissary notes toward a more fully formed and thoughtful (as well as thought-out) opinion in the future.

On the one hand, I have no reason to think that Jeff Steele doesn’t believe what he’s writing and singing about when he proclaims himself and other Christians victimized by a pervasive culture of immorality and recklessness. Thus I think we are obliged to take lyrics like these seriously, even though in my own case I find them somewhat crude, more than a little opportunistic, and deeply uncomfortable to listen to. On the other hand, it’s difficult to see any direct evidence that evangelicals suffer as mightily as the lyrics of “We Want America Back” would have us believe.

A song like “We Want America Back” works by encouraging audiences to convince themselves emotionally, in the experience of the music and its polemical, rousing recitation of anti-Christian bias in the world, that evangelicals suffer real pain through symbolic or legal actions. Courts banning the display of the ten commandments in government buildings or prohibiting formally sanctioned prayer in public schools, same-sex marriage and abortion – these are issues about which conservative Christians have strong emotional and political feelings but usually very little at stake personally: few evangelicals are, I would wager, in a position to want or seek an abortion, want or seek to marry someone of the same sex, nor are these same people likely to experience any kind of irreversible pain or suffering from the absence of the ten commandments in a courthouse or public prayer in school. “We Want America Back” – and songs like it – exploits the emotional investment evangelicals have in these issues, whipping up conservative audiences into a good thoroughgoing ideological froth over hot-button issues and then inviting audiences to consider that ideological outrage proof of the purity of their faith.

In some ways, this makes a certain kind of sense. White evangelicals are among the most powerful and coveted bloc of Americans in contemporary politics these days. Most laws and policies that have direct impact on quality of life and ordinary living are written with these peoples’ interest foremost in mind. There just aren’t that many instances in ordinary American life when evangelicals are going to be penalized or forced to suffer severely for their beliefs. And yet evangelical theology is founded in large part on the belief of the centrality of sanctified suffering for Christ and his cause. Thus the primary opportunities for white, middle-class evangelicals in middle and southern America to suffer for Christ are probably going to have to be ideologically, politically, and to some extent, imaginatively, in the kind of constructed crisis of Christianity and culture that a song like “We Want America Back” attempts to call forth lyrically. Christian faith and commitment are affirmed through an intensity of feeling and immensity of affect generated by, say, a concert in which “We Want America Back” is the centerpiece.

In a different context, the literary critic I. A. Richards called this form of religious feeling “emotional belief” – a way of believing that another critic, Robert Milder, has described as “aris[ing] from and fulfill[ing] a psychological need without … making claims on practical behavior.” This is exactly what’s happening, I think, in a song like “We Want America Back.” With apologies to Ruby Thewes, a song like this creates its own emotional weather pattern and then says “aren’t we brave and noble Christians for standing out in the rain.”

I want to be clear that though I am deeply ambivalent about the kind of belief and action in the world that ideological music like this gives rise to, I’m not trying to demean the song. What I’m more interested in as a student of gospel music is the song’s misrepresentation of reality as mainly anti-Christian (that evangelical Christians don’t always get their way is not the same thing as the world being out to get them) and the way that that distortion speaks to the volatility or paradoxes of evangelical identity. The popularity of polemic songs like this suggests that evangelicalism today relies an awfully lot, though not entirely, on narratives of victimization to energize the faithful. It speaks to one important function of southern gospel music in evangelical life, it seems to me, that so many evangelicals find a song like “We Want America Back” an essential distillation of their feelings about their Christianity and the experience of religious living.

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  1. www.southerngospelblog.com » This blog loses a reader on 20 Nov 2006 at 12:14 pm

    […] Well, this blog has lost a reader. So I find in this thread on Averyfineline.com. Doug Harrison, the author of the blog, had written a post on the Steeles’ song “We Want America Back.” Harrison was criticizing the simple-minded evangelicals who “wanted America back” because society is moving away from God and from Christian standards. Essentially, his argument was that gay marriage, abortion, no prayer in schools, and other liberal panaceas should not bother Christians because they do not affect us personally. He stated: “There just aren’t that many instances in ordinary American life when evangelicals are going to be penalized or forced to suffer severely for their beliefs.” […]

Comments

  1. Bob wrote:

    Dude, you are really digging for something on this aren’t you?

    Why can’t we all just get along?

    Is it not true that abortion is putting a serious dent in the future of our great nation?

    Is it not true that taking God out of our schools (not just prayer, but humanism, secularism, evolution, etc…) has created a lawless environment where teachers and students are free to behave in whatever way ‘feels good’ and leads our young folk into adult life in a consequence free environment which results in a lawless, Godless and reckless society?

    Why is it that you so heartedly disagree with the ’stirring’ lyrics of this song? Are the lyrics inaccurate? Nope.

    As far as this comment goes: “inviting audiences to consider that ideological outrage proof of the purity of their faith” I am appalled. I see nowehere in the lyrics of this song any implication that if you agree with this song you are a true Christian while everyone else isn’t.

    The truth of the matter is that many Christians are of the opinion that, biblically speaking, there is nothing that can be done about the declination of our society. Therefore, taking a stand is pointless. Those would rather hear milquetoast ramblings in music than lyrics that are poignant and striking. Why be challenged by music, it is just entertainment, right?

    Same thing happened in country music post 9/11. Did it not? Toby and some of the other guys were villified for writing songs about waking the sleeping giant and that we’d put a boot in the enemys’ a**, because not everyone believed like that. Same thing went for the Dixie Chicks, just in reverse ideals.

    In the end, this song might give a few self-righteous folks a buzz, but the lyrics are true, correct and frankly unoffensive. It might not be a song you WANT to hear, but you probably NEED to hear it.

  2. Trent wrote:

    “White evangelicals are among the most powerful and coveted bloc of Americans in contemporary politics these days. Most laws and policies that have direct impact on quality of life and ordinary living are written with these peoples’ interest foremost in mind.”

    The power of the white evangelical has always been at the forefront. This is nothing new. This bloc of voters may not have been called “white evangelicals” 50 years ago, but they were then, and have always been, the most powerful element of the voting public in the U.S.

    The reason so much attention has been given to the power of the “white evangelical” over the course of the last 10 years or so is that this bloc is offensive to the media. The media today is more on the left than it has ever been, and with the increased freedoms to editorialize the news and to slant the news to the left, the media paints and taints the “evangelical white” as much as possible in a negative light. In a nutshell, overall the media is mainly pro-Democratic Party and liberal and furious that who they would like to call the “Bible-thumping, right-wing, extremist, fundamentalist, evangelical white” crowd still holds the power of the vote.

    Or, at least they did until this month’s election.

  3. Melanie C. wrote:

    Bob, I could not have said it better! I agree wholeheartedly with what you said.

  4. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    Doug,

    You said: “There just aren’t that many instances in ordinary American life when evangelicals are going to be penalized or forced to suffer severely for their beliefs.”

    This is true to an extent. So why are Christians getting worked up, if you will?

    A good part of the reason we care is that, in several arenas, we are only one step away from where we could be forced to suffer severely for our beliefs. Let me give just one example: Gay rights.

    In Canada and several European nations, it is a criminal action to read certain sections of the Bible aloud, because those sections state quite clearly that homosexuality is a sin. The gay lobby in this country is pushing for similar legislation, making speaking against homosexuality a hate crime. Such legislation has been considered by the U.S. Congress, but since we [i]had[/i] a Republican majority to date, it has been voted down.

    If Christians could be imprisoned for reading certain sections of their Bibles in public, would you not agree that we would then be “forced to suffer severely for our beliefs”?

  5. leslie wrote:

    Trent,
    I especially agree with you comments regarding the media being leftist and slanting their coverage that way. Personally, though I tend to vote Republican, I feel that most of the media (and Hollywood), give the Democratic Party a bad name. There was a day when most of us sat in the middle, Republicans and Democrats alike, and Bob Jones and BarbraStriessand did not speak for the majority of us. However, we are still so blessed to live in a country where Cindy Sheehan can camp out in Crawford, TX relatively unscathed and be the poster child of the week for the far left, and where songs such as this one by the Steeles, can stir the masses on the far right.

  6. Tom wrote:

    Avery, I concur with your analysis of what’s going in with the Steeles’ song as well as how it plays to evangelicals. I have no idea where Jeff Steele got his inspiration, but his song pulls exactly the same strings that Carman did three years earlier (1993) in his song “America Again.” Everything you said about the Steeles song could also be said about that Carman song, with lines like:

    “In the ’40’s and ’50’s student problems were chewing gum and talking.
    In the ’90’s, rape and murder are the trend.
    The only way this nation can even hope to last this decade
    Is put God in America again.”

    Carman and Jeff Steele are both able to hustle up pretty much an identical list of evils that prevail in the modern, anti-God America.

    But Carman also declares explicitly (I think it’s implicit in Jeff Steele’s song, but not stated nearly so clearly as Carman does it) the common myth (prevalent among evangelicals, alas) that the United States was originally a Christian nation and that it has strayed from its founders’ intents. For example:

    “James Madison said, ‘We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow
    The Ten Commandments with all our heart.’
    These men believed you couldn’t even call yourself an American
    If you subvert the Word of God.”

    Tom

  7. Canuck wrote:

    In Canada…..it is a criminal action to read certain sections of the Bible aloud, because those sections state quite clearly that homosexuality is a sin.

    FALSE!

  8. shanjenkins wrote:

    I think we need to remember that our country is built around freedom of speech. Legislation to make speaking against homosexuality a hate crime? Are you sure? I would like to read that article or be directed toward some proof of that. Even the Ku Klux Klan (Ayrian nation or whatever they are called in present day America) can speak and say whatever they want about black and Jewish citizens in this country no matter how offensive it is.

    “…that evangelical Christians don’t always get their way is not the same thing as the world being out to get them…” Thank you, Avery, for making that point. I am a Christian, I consider myself pretty conservative in my political beliefs, but I think that Avery is pretty much on target with this post.

  9. Chrystal wrote:

    We are living in the times of the end. The church is falling away, and morality is sliding down a slippery slope into depravity. There is no questioning this. The Word of God warned us that these days would come…and it will get worse. Taking prayer out of schools, and restricting God in the American public arena are a couple of the things that can be considered as the pebbles that have begun the coming avalanche.

    Now we have homosexuality permeating our airwaves. Turn on the television during prime time, and your children are exposed to people of the same gender kissing and fondling while openly glorifying their sin. Society tells our children this behavior is an alternative lifestyle, but the Word of God calls it abomination. Yet, these same people want to indoctrinate our children with the belief that homosexuality is normal and acceptable behavior. Who is right? God or society?

    No longer is sex before marriage looked at as a shameful thing by society… they don’t preach abstinence, they preach “safety” by handing out condoms, and telling us that our children just need to be educated about sex; after all, if they’re not educated, they may have unprotected sex instead of safe sex, and may contract a disease - it’s just not responsible of us! However, we teach our young ones that God teaches sexual purity, abstinence outside of marriage, and the need to live a life of holiness before the Lord, and we’re called intolerant, close-minded zealots.

    Now we have churches ordaining openly gay clergy, and performing gay weddings. We have emerging church movements that are very, very Americanized in the gimicks and ploys of evangelization. We have money-grubbing “ministers” whose message goes out globally who are biblically illiterate in the truth of God’s Word, and they are spiritually and doctrinally poisoning people with their heresy. These are just a couple of things going on right now.

    We’ve lost our ability to blush. When I see frontal nudity on primetime channels, or erectile dysfunction commercials airing during hours when children are constantly being exposed to it, then I see a trend where not only the church is being desensitized, but children are being so indoctrinated with this culture, it will eventually seem normal to them. It doesn’t seem like much of a shock when you’ve seen it so often that you become used to it, and don’t even bat an eye at it any more. Can you hear that? It’s the sounds of hearts hardening and consciences being seared all over the nation. The pot has begun to boil so gradually that we didn’t realize it was getting too hot before we had our chance to leap out of it.

    I’m saying that, as Christians, we should be shocked at these things; yet, at the same time, we shouldn’t be shocked because the Lord said these times would come. I know, it’s a paradox that should drive us to our knees.

    All of the above, and then some, is the message that I perceived Mr. Steele as attempting to convey. But are we in America suffering persecution? Hmmm, we are still free to leave our homes on Sunday and attend the church of our choice. We are free to even serve the God of our choice. While they are removing that from the public arena, we still have the right to exercise private religious freedom in this country. We aren’t being removed from our homes in the night by armed soldiers, and beheaded. Our families are not being taken out of their beds, shot in the head, and thrown into mass graves. Our children aren’t being kidnapped on their way to school by Muslim zealots and raped and beheaded. We see some of our religious liberties being stripped away and we sing songs and whine. If we truly want to stand up and be heard regarding this, as well as the moral depravity our children are being deluged with, then stand and march if you must, it might grab a few headlines, but it would be better if you were to hit where your voice is the most powerful — your congressmen and women. No, they may not listen, but if that group of holy outraged Christians would focus their energy on letting their elected officials hear their voice as well as expending their energy marching and shouting their outrage in the public streets, then it would be more effective. I’m not naive…I know that this won’t help either, but it will get our voices on the record. If our politicians don’t listen, then we have a vote on election day.

    Instead I hear a deafening silence throughout the churches. Oh, we have a few leaders who speak out on behalf of their flocks, but the silence is astounding in the pews.

    We also have hypocrisy to deal with as well. How, you say? We teach our children that you should not commit adultery, but then take them to the theater and pay for tickets so they can watch others do it on screen. We don’t do it, so why watch others who are? And why financially support them? We teach them not to kill, but then rent them movies where murder is the main plot, and buy them video games where they can simulate murdering another human being for entertainment.

    We can scream that society is indoctrinating our children, but we are PAYING them to do it. The lines between the world and the church have been successfully blurred in many areas.

    As for persecution of the church in America…no, sorry. We know nothing about persecution. We should see ourselves as the church in persecuted countries see us. Churches that know nothing of gimicks and “Americanized” Christianity. It should humble us to know that the persecuted church in China prays for us…the fat, happy, and lazy church in America. They, who are being thrown in prison, and shot for their faith worldwide see us clearly. What a shame.

    It will get worse. Spiritual decay is progressive, especially in these last days.

    Come soon, Lord Jesus.

  10. Mandy wrote:

    Avery, you are way off base with this latest post. If you don’t think that homosexuality/gay marriage and taking God out of everything is a problem, then I would like to know what you would call it. Surely you don’t approve of these things. As long as we show complacency about these and other issues, moral decay will continue throughout our country. And it seems (according to your post) that you think that is perfectly fine. Should we all just sit back and let it all happen so that we won’t be perceived as radical Christians? I think not.

  11. Anonymous wrote:

    Well, Avery, so much for the intelligent, civil conversation. Daniel Mount’s post really blew my mind. Absolutely ridiculous. Guess there goes another blog off of my list. And poor Chrystal really needs help. I also have read several responses from time to time from shanejenkins and have appreciated them.

  12. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    Another anonymous Christian. How fitting and perfectly timed. Case in point.

  13. Chrystal wrote:

    Hmm, well, Anonymous seems to find fault with Daniel Mount’s post, as well as my own. The main thrust of our posts is moral decay, and the sin of homosexuality. So, I’m guessing that “Anonymous” takes offense at that.

  14. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    I am not ashamed of being a conservative Christian.

    To the poster who said “FALSE!” to my post: Check Canada’s laws more carefully. You will be surprised at what you find.

  15. Alan wrote:

    “We want America back?” Shouldn’t that be sung by the native indians?

  16. shanjenkins wrote:

    Alan, I am laughing out loud at your clever post. It’s clever, and it’s oh so true.

  17. Lacey wrote:

    You know, one of these days when I work myself into a fine lyrical fit, I’m going to write a song about who I want Southern Gospel back from! If I get really inspired I’m going to expand it to include all types of “Christian” music. Oh Yeah, first up is going to be ones like those groups that make the congregation sing the same chorus 16 times in an effort to “warm them up” (yes, I counted) when I know there are verses to even that song and surely other songs to sing! Or I could go after the people who write and sing those “songs” that do not seem to have any real melody at all, just whatever vocal inflection the singer comes up with at the time. Oh and I have definitely been persecuted by all those singers who can’t carry a tune in a bucket so they are in for it too.
    Seriously though, while I agree that the song is one designed to stir up the emotions, it is interesting to note what was going on when the project by the same name was released. I went looking and the top news story listed on CNN for 1998 was the Clinton scandal. So if you introduce a song like that into a climate like that…Wheeee! Now perhaps there is no association between the two since I couldn’t find when the song was written and there is nothing in it pointing a finger at “naughty” presidents but it does seem like a very opportune time to release such a song and expect it to go over very well with an outraged conservative audience. I’d say a brilliant marketing move at the very least. Did the song make anyone, like politicians, “sit up and take notice”? Who knows?! But if it sparks people to think and discuss these type issues, hasn’t it done its duty?
    However, before Mr. Steele is attacked any farther for writing and singing this type of “political” song, his might have attracted a lot of attention but he’s not alone. If we went looking I’m sure we could find many “social conscience” type songs. I know that when I worked at a SG radio station at the same time the song came out there were songs that the general manager didn’t want played on the air because they were about abortion. The reason? The station’s motto was “Nothing but the good news” and those songs crossed the line and didn’t fall in that category.
    So my question to everyone is this: Is there supposed to BE a line and where are we supposed to draw it? Are we as Christians supposed to only have songs that talk only about Calvary, Heaven and such and leave anything smacking of being “political” to the politicians? Or is it acceptable to be like the prophets of old who were ignored, laughed at, tortured and sometimes killed for telling a sinful nation and it’s leaders that they were doing wrong? Just how much influence should we as Christians expect to have?

  18. Tom wrote:

    Lacey, the Steeles’ “We Want America Back” CD came out in 1996, well before the Lewinsky scandal.

  19. Dean Conklin wrote:

    Avery, you made me laugh when I read this sentence of yours:
    “I want to be clear that though I am deeply ambivalent about the kind of belief and action in the world that ideological music like this gives rise to, I’m not trying to demean the song.”
    I didn’t know if I was reading Tiny Tim tip-toeing through the tulips, or Pistol Pete plopping through the pasture … trying to avoid the cowpies. Keep taking those succinct unambivalent stands, and don’t demean the songs.

  20. Elisabeth wrote:

    I’m still mulling over all this stuff…and i do mean STUFF! But once again, i’ve gotten some food for thought here. Some i consider to not be very nutritious, but hey…junk food gives you energy, too!! Nice post about the Indians, Alan…made me laugh. Chrystal, interesting topics brought up. Not to say that i completely agree w/ anyone on here (b/c i’m sure i dont’!!)…but i do appreciate certain topics being brought to the light.

    Which brings me to one of my pet peeves. You don’t have to agree w/ me…i’m not even really asking you to. But please tell me how in the world people (NOTE: i’m not referring to ANYONE in particular…seriously!) can complain about their kids & what they do when they’ve used a TV for a babysitter for years?! I grew up in a home w/out a TV (I’m 20 years old), and I can honestly say that I don’t feel I have missed very much. Wait a second…I have missed A LOT!! Thanks to my parents, I didn’t get hooked on sexed-up “teen” shows, soap operas, raunchy talk shows, or cartoons that push it to the limit. Thanks to my parents, I didn’t develop an addiction to seeing violence, hearing cursing, and imitating those vices. Call me sheltered if you want…this is one chick who sees enough of junk just going to Wal-Mart! So, people, WHOEVER you may be…don’t complain about ANY of the immorality if you have it sitting in your living room. Or especially if you have it sitting in your child’s bedroom. There’s a rant for the day. Thanks, guys, for listening! :)

  21. Elisabeth wrote:

    One more thought:

    Avery, notice how the conversation went “uncivil” after you stated your thoughts? It’s all YOUR FAULT!!! Just kidding…i enjoy hearing your side of it, too! :)

  22. Mark wrote:

    All I can say is “Thanks”, I have always felt that songs like this are a play on emotions to sell more CD’s. If you want to make a change take all your profits and donate them to orginization attempting to change things, dont just write elementary lyrics that pull on peoples guilt and give an automatic standing ovation.

  23. Elisabeth wrote:

    Yay, Mark…summed one of my primary objections to the song!!

  24. Lacey wrote:

    Ok, sorry Tom. Blame it on Yahoo shopping. I did a quick search on their site and I swear it said 1998 yesterday, but today it says 1988. I give up. Of course, 1996 was an election year…

  25. Lacey wrote:

    Um, Elisabeth? Just a question. Do you have a radio, computer, or get the paper at your house? To me a tv is just like any other tool that brings information of any kind into your house, it can be used for good and bad. Personally, since I have lived in two different areas that are prone to extremely bad weather I would not want to be without one. Yes, there are NOAA radios but having seen that the alert for a massive tornado came into the radio station’s emergency broadcast system only AFTER it had cut a path through the town (and mowed down my house while I hid in a basement) and had moved off, I just have reservations about relying on just one thing for information. If there hadn’t been a tv at the mall that day and at my house…
    I guess since the media is so screwed up it was just a story they came up with the get everyone stirred up and hiding in closets and basement? lol
    Yes, tv can be for bad things but it can be used for good too.
    WAAAAIIIITTT, you have to be using the internet in some way…you’re posting here…but there’s porn and all sorts of evil on the world wide web? :)

  26. Elisabeth wrote:

    Hi, Lacey…

    I figured somebody would bring that up. As i said, i’m not asking anybody to agree with me. I understand that some people feel that television is a vital part of their lives; i happen to not feel that way. I do not have internet at home because our modem freaked out, but i do use it elsewhere, quite obviously. To me, newspaper, internet, & radio are more controllable than TV. Since there’s never been one in my home, i can’t say that for certain. But, it’s just one way that i/my parents choose to limit evil influences in our home. Does that make sense to you? Also, when i have my own home, i’m not entirely certain that i will have internet at home if i can access it somewhere else, as i do now. Too big of a time waster for me…i get addicted to reading blogs & commenting on them…lol!! Anyhow, you are the only one that can make the decision on how important television is to you. As for me, i’ve lived 20 years without it, and i can’t say as i’ve missed it. I hear the news on Christian radio, i read the headlines in the paper, and i occasionally check up on things on the web. Seems like i’ve got it covered! If anyone wants to call me sheltered, let them go ahead; my life works well!! Oh and did i mention that my parents replaced TV time with reading wholesome books at an early age; in addition, I, at the ripe old age of 20, will graduate in May from Southern Wesleyan University with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting. My current GPA is 3.91. No TV works for me!! :)

  27. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    Sorry Lacey, for once I have to agree with Elisabeth. The problem with television is that you never know what the godless networks are going to throw at you and your family. Many of the commercials are disgusting and continually shove sex into every product imaginable. I did my own research a few years ago and channel surfed for one hour and wrote down everything that was not profitable for a Christian to watch. It was an unbelievable number of murders, adulteries, vulgar jokes, nudity, violence and promotion of homosexuality including two men kissing.

    My parents chose to raise me and my four siblings without it for which we are very grateful. I’ve continued that tradition with my six children and we all agree that we are better off without it. Television could have been a wonderful thing but today it is about 80% worthless trash and I don’t have the time or patience to pick through it to find a few palatable viewings to offer to my family. Neither am I willing to sacrifice the minds of my children for the few times that it would be profitable during a disaster. The internet and radio stations give live coverage to those events and if necessary I can pull an old set out of the closet and plug it in. With the internet you have more control of the choices and you can block most of the commercials. I know this may seem to have wandered somewhat off of the subject but it’s another example of the slow cooking frog. The Christian family is shocked at what is being shown in their living rooms but become desensitized through the years and never revolt or draw line in the sand. My parents were considered oddball to have made that decision in the 60’s but 40 years later the family has grown to 48 members and every one of them serve God. The anti-television stance played a big part of that blessing but few are brave enough to attempt it.

    So we are shocked when our courts one by one pick off the trappings of our Christian heritage but we shrink back because we don’t want to be classed with the wild-eyed, Bible thumping fundamentalists. And puhleeze…let’s not start up the ridiculous “it never was ours” argument. Anyone who believes that has been glued to the TV too long. This generation knows more about Britney Spears and Tom Cruise than they ever knew about Thomas Jefferson or George Washington.

    True, Mr. Avery, we may not be persecuted in a physical sense but if we continue to lose the battles in our courts and public schools, it will eventually follow. If you would have told the German people in 1925 about the atrocities that would occur in the early 40’s they would have shook their heads and laughed.

    The reason America has broken all longevity records for a Christian nation is because enough people have stood up through the years and drew a line. Jeff Steele may have crafted it rather crudely but it is a line in the sand none the less.

  28. CVH wrote:

    I hadn’t followed this thread until today. I thought the conversation had moved on but apparently not. These posts are strikingly similar to the first thread, which, while civil and interesting to a point, only served to prolong a polarized conversation that has no resolution.

    Those who subscribe to extreme views will continue to point fingers and engage in arguments that are based in supposition rather than reason, while those of us who may be somewhat comfortably described as more ‘in the middle’ tend to tire of the charade. At some point, extremists only end up talking to themselves. And their ability to convince people like us, failed but forgiven humans who seek to use intellect, conscience and good will to process life and our part in it, is lost in the din of their own pointless rhetoric.

  29. Mandy wrote:

    Well, CVH, I am thankful that I am not as “intellectual” as you seem to think you are. Apparently you are fine with the fact that atheists and the ACLU (although I’m not sure they are two different things) want to take God out of everything, and homosexuals want to flaunt their abomination everywhere, and mothers are killing their babies (yes, babies) everyday because they won’t take responsibility for their actions. Maybe that’s okay with you, but not me. You can call me “extreme” for standing up for Biblical principles if you wish. I wonder what God would call it? And I wonder what he would say about “Christians” who just don’t care about what happens in the world around them?

  30. Jim E. Davis wrote:

    Welcome back CVH. Your lofty and clever ramblings make me smile.

    No, the conversation will never move on as long as there are two extremes. At the moment, one extreme has had their way for 40 years. Why is it so hard for some Christians to admit that this “live and let live” philosophy has not produced success?

    Where is the supposition? Check out the statistics and read your local newspapers. Reason all day long but the facts are the facts.

    Jesus was an extremist. Why else would they have crucified him?

    God prefers us to be either hot or cold. His disdain for the lukewarm (the comfortable ones who love to piously float in the middle and look down their condescending noses at both sides) is very apparent according to the book of Revelation.

    Evidently this pointless rhetoric is neither pointless or rhetoric. Seventy-five posts convince me that there is an important issue at the forefront that should be addressed. How far should the church venture into the political fray? I don’t know, but if it doesn’t….nobody will.

  31. CVH wrote:

    Mandy,

    If you make a careful and objective examination of all the work the ACLU has done and continues to do, you will find that they have been working in favor of religious/evangelical/Christian causes in many cases around the country. I don’t support their position in everything but to categorize them as you have only proves my point about more eloquently than I could have.

    Jim,

    You make me smile too. Have a great Thanksgiving and I’ll see you at the Rapture. That is, assuming you’re a pre-millenial dispensationalist.

  32. Andrew wrote:

    I have noticed quite a great deal of discussion going on with the song.I must agree with Elisabeth completely because not only is she right,but she’s my sister…;)By the way-if prayer was allowed in schools-what kind of prayer would they allow.The way Mr. Davis talks-it would most likely be the prayers of Hindus and Muslims.I just can’t find a way to agree with Mr. Davis-I can’t understand what you’re trying to say.(not trying to be offensive though)

  33. Lacey wrote:

    Hahahahahahahahaha. Elisabeth and Jim E Davis, my reply to your reply to my question about Elisabeth’s pet peeve that lumped everyone with TV’s in the same basket. Ok, how did this go from my saying that a TV is a tool like any other means of communication to it being a “vital” part of life like breathing or something? You are correct, with the internet there is MUCH more control… and privacy. Which is why there are a lot of people who would NEVER visit an adult bookstore or visit a motel for the afternoon because someone might see them but DO find porn and engage in affairs online. Hmmmm, talk about inviting evil into your household.
    (Just for the record, I do not have cable and I don’t sit around glued to my TV 24 hours a day. Amazingly, even with having a TWO TV’s in the house, I manage to spend quite a bit of time enjoying other things like reading, painting/drawing, crocheting, sewing, knitting, doing wood burning, cross stitch, and making jewelry. Somehow I find the time to do Bible Studies, write, keep up with my friends, listen to music and get on the computer to debate with you fine folks. And gasp, I even manage to leave my house and work, go to church and gospel singings, and live away from the all-consuming draw of a television on occasion!)
    I am of course, speaking from my own experiences and being shown exactly where the tornado was and what direction it was heading by the TV Meteorologist was a very helpful warning to many others and myself so we could take cover long before any emergency sirens went off. At that time, I did live in an area that offered live weather on the radio stations but didn’t have a computer. Now, I live in an area that plays prerecorded weather forecasts during hurricanes, doesn’t have emergency sirens, and have a computer that might not connect to the internet if it doesn’t want to. All I am saying is that it is a useful tool just like the others listed. If you haven’t had an F-5 tornado destroy your house and waited out hurricanes, perhaps you have a different viewpoint.
    Perhaps you have never seen a bed ridden loved one watch gospel music videos because they were a blessing and encouragement.
    There are many different ways to look at this subject.
    However, since this has drifted a ways from the actual topic of this thread, I will only quote my grandmother, “You can make a sin out of anything” and request that you read Romans 14. IF having a TV in your home seems wrong to you, then by all means DO NOT have one. If you ever would happen to come to my house I would gladly throw a blanket over mine so you wouldn’t be offended by it’s presence.