Monday, December 12, 2011

Ron Paul's Clear Expression of Faith

Dr. Paul has a statement of faith on his campaign website which reads in part:
My faith is a deeply private issue to me, and I don’t speak on it in great detail during my speeches because I want to avoid any appearance of exploiting it for political gain. Let me be very clear here: I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate.
Many voters really don't care about a candidates religious convictions. I think that indifference to a candidate's faith is in keeping with America's pluralist civics and is borne out of a respect for the creeds that candidates may choose to follow. Dr. Paul captures that sentiment well in the opening words of his statement of faith: "My faith is a deeply private issue to me..." Nonetheless, there is a sort of litmus test among Christians and, one presumes, other beliefs, to gauge the religious sincerity and convictions of a candidate. My intention in this post is to allay any uncertainty about Dr. Paul's Christian convictions on behalf of a man who would rather keep those convictions private.

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In late October the PatriotPost posted a score card of the Republican presidential candidates. In addition to a numeric "Patriot Rating", PatriotPost has a list of pros and cons for each candidate. Ron Paul's list of cons was heavy on ad hominem attacks ending with the truly absurd lie: "no clear expression of faith."

I have concerns about some of Ron Paul's policy preferences, but I know that his Christian faith is an integral part of his life. I know that because I heard him speak about it at the Values Voter Summit (VVS) in early October. To a greater degree than any of the other presidential candidates who spoke to an overwhelmingly Christian audience, Dr. Paul illustrated how his Christian faith informs and shapes his policy views.

Unlike the other candidates who spoke, Dr. Paul's speech was structured to illustrate the Biblical basis for his policy preferences. In talking about his faith implicitly, he bore witness to his core Christian convictions in a manner that is both humble and engaging. Many Christians may question his policy choices, but to refute those policies it is upon Dr. Paul's Christian detractors to provide Biblical counterpoints and refutations based in scripture.

Dr. Paul's speech at VVS is available in two parts on YouTube (embedded above). There's also a transcript available online. Below, I provide some quotations from that transcript to illustrate Dr. Paul's clear expression of faith.

Ron Paul on the Kingdom of the American Presidency:
...there’s one reference to the family that I thought was very important. That was in Samuel, 1 Samuel, chapter eight. And this is when the people, not the elders, came to Samuel when he was very old and they knew he would be passing on, so the people came and said to Samuel, what we need is a king. We need a king to take care of us. We want to be safe and secure. 
And Samuel, although he knew he wasn’t going to be around long, he advised the people of Israel not to accept the king, because the king, he warned, would not be generous. He would undermine their liberties. There would be more wars. There would be more taxes. And besides, accepting the notion of a king would reject the notion that, up until that time, since they had left Egypt, their true king was their God and the guidance from their God. 
... And I think a lot of that has happened to us in this country. We have too often relied on our king in Washington, and we have to change that.
...on sound money:
...we also had the breakdown of our monetary system, the rejection of the biblical admonition that we have honest weights and measures and honest money. And not to have honest weights and measures meant we were counterfeiting the money and destroying the value of the money, which implies, even in biblical times, they weren’t looking for a central bank that was going to counterfeit our currency.
...on the compromised morality of social security:
Certainly the 10th commandment tells us something about honoring our parents and caring for them. It didn’t say work out a system where the government will take care of us from cradle to grave. No, it was an admonition for us to honor our parents and be responsible for them, not put them into a nursing home and say the federal government can take care of them.
...on peace, war, and the UN and NATO:
In the Bible, in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, Christ was recognized to be the prince of peace. He was never to be recognized as the promoter of war. And he even said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be the children of God.” He never said blessed are the war makers. It was the peacemakers that we must honor and protect.
Christ was very, very clear on how we should treat our enemies. And some days I think we quite frequently forget about that. Early in the history of Christianity, they struggled with the issue of war and peace, because Christ taught about peace. Did that mean Christ was advocating pacifism? The early church struggled with this and came to the conclusion, at least in those early years, that Christ was not a pacifist, but he was not a war promoter. 
And this is when they came up with the just-war principles, saying, yes, war could be necessary, but only under dire circumstances, and it should be done with great caution. All other efforts should be exhausted before we go to war, and always under the proper authority. And today I think the proper authority is not the U.N. or the NATO forces to take us to war.
...on caring for the poor and out of control laws:
We are taught in the New Testament about caring for the poor and caring for our families and our neighbors and friends. But never did Christ say, you know, let’s go and lobby Rome to make sure we’re taken care of. It was a personal responsibility for us. Christ was confronted at one time by a prostitute, but he didn’t call for the centurions. He didn’t call for more laws. But he was very direct and thought that stoning was not the solution to the problem of prostitution. 
So do laws take care of these things, or do we need a better understanding of our Christian values and our moral principles?
...on the toll war takes on families, additional debt, and high divorce rates (for military personnel):
There were great dreams by Isaiah in the Old Testament about the time that would come when the swords would be bent into plowshares and spears into pruning forks, the dream of ending the wars and to the point where peace is prosperous. And I have come to a strong conviction that one of the most greatest threats to the family is war. It undermines the family.
Just in our last decade, an undeclared war that we’re dealing with, we’ve lost over 80,000 – 8,500 men and women in our armed services. We have 40,000 who have returned, many of them with severe amputations. And it’s, in essence, forgotten by the general population of this country. We have literally hundreds of thousands begging and pleading for help.
I talked to a young man the other day and he was telling me about losing all his buddies and his frustration with the war and not having a goal of winning the war and not knowing when it would end. And yet his conclusion was – almost in tears he said to me, he says, I lost my buddies over there, but now I’m losing many of them to suicide. 
And when you think of this, of what the consequences of war, the death and destruction, what does it do to the families? What does it do to the husbands and the wives and the mothers and the daughters who have to deal with these problems? So, yes, it is very, very damaging. War costs a lot of money. It causes a lot of poverty. Poverty and the economic crisis in this country is undermining the family. But $4 trillion of debt has been added in the last 10 years to fight a war that seems to have no end.
Wars generally lead to inflation, the destruction of money. We don’t honor the biblical principles of honest money. We invite this idea that we can spend endlessly and we can print the money, and literally it undermines the family and undermines the economic system. When you lose a job, it’s harder to keep the family together. 
Divorce rates are very, very high among the military, because these young men are being sent back two and three and four times. And there was one story told me about a little boy, a little boy who was 10 years old, and his dad was getting ready to go back again. He was screaming, I hate you, daddy, I hate you, daddy, because he was leaving him. 
So this is why, in the early church, they talk about being very careful about going into war, and also to be thinking about the admonition that peace is far superior to war. That should be our goal.
...on debt:
We have been blessed in this country by having the freest and the most prosperous. We’ve had a good Constitution, far from perfect. But today we are living way beyond our means. We are living in debt. And debt is not a biblical principle, whether it’s personal debt or whether it’s a national debt. We owe $3 trillion to people overseas. We are suffering from a mountain of debt because we have accepted this idea that we have this responsibility to mold the world, mold the people and mold the economy.
...on the American "Kingdom" and our need to return to God:
The people – the early Israelites demanded the king to be taken care of. But we have too, and we have accepted this notion as a country and as a whole that the king will take care of us. 
But I prefer the different king, the original king, the instruction that comes from our creator, not from our government. Our government should be strictly limited to the protection of the liberties that allow us to thrive. And our liberties and our economy, they are under attack today. There is no doubt about it.
I encourage Christian primary voters and caucus goers to carefully consider Dr. Paul's policies and the clear Biblical basis for those policies. I am not sold on Ron Paul or any of the remaining Republican presidential candidates for that matter. We are in a campaign and Dr. Paul's detractors will dissemble and even lie about him to advance their own preferred candidate. Hopefully, this will help illuminate the truth about Ron Paul.


M Theory said...

Wow! I never knew these things about Ron Paul. This makes me love (and trust) him even more.

Thanks for posting.

dsm said...

Sure thing!

It really was great speech.