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5 Questions for Chuck Norris about Faith and Politics

Image by Rem Norris

Image by Rem Norris

Few things annoy me more than election season. It’s too bad, really, because I generally enjoy political and historical discussion, and I take my civic responsibilities seriously. But the political season doesn’t cater to our highest ideals; it appeals to the absolute worst in us.

It’s funny, I have never voted for a democrat in a presidential election (that said, there are times I have voted for a third party). But many Christians write me off as a liberal when I defend our president from mean spirited and ignorant comments. You should have seen the hullabaloo at a recent family camp-out when I simply suggested that Obama wasn’t “evil.”

Political discussion (part of a civil societies most important dialogue) runs on inflammatory, stereotypical, and often bigoted generalities. And if we’re honest, it always has. The president of Yale once said that if Thomas Jefferson came into power, “we may see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution.” So we have to take into consideration that (1.) most people accept what they hear from an authority and (2.) authorities exploit that fact. This probably won’t change.

I just hate when the political machine exploits people’s faith (their most deeply held convictions) to encourage or discourage their behavior. Take this recent video for example:

After watching this video, here are 5 things I would like Mr. Norris to explain to me.

1. Who wrote this for you?

I really don’t want to be snide, but it’s just dumb. You lost me at, “If you look to history, our great country and freedom are under attack.” Seriously . . . what!? That makes as much sense as, “If you read the paper yesterday, I’m eating a bagel right now.”

But let’s set that aside a second. When I look at history, I see doomsayers trying to co-opt the votes of faithful people with all kinds of dumb rhetoric. John Adams said of Thomas Jefferson, “The only question to be asked by every American, laying his hand on his heart, is, ‘shall I continue in allegiance to GOD—AND A RELIGIOUS PRESIDENT; Or impiously declare for JEFFERSON—AND NO GOD!!!’” Adams warned that if that “infidel” Jefferson was elected, he would show his contempt for Christ by “shuttering” all the churches (he didn’t).

When I look to history, the only thing I see under attack is intelligent dialogue.

2. Why do you have such a low view of the American people?

This “tipping point,” “crossroads” language communicates exactly what I hate. The American people are insipid, weak, and spineless. They will all gladly give up their freedoms if we don’t protect them. We need to protect the American people from themselves.

Again, we are always being told that we’re at a crossroads and if we don’t act some terrible evil will befall us. It insults our political system which was set up with the potential for despotic leaders, it insults people who disagree with you on policy issues, and it insults all of our intelligence. We have been told we are at a dangerous crossroads in every election since Washington.

3. Why do you think people of faith avoided the polls in the last election?

You say that 30 million evangelical voters stayed home and Obama won the election by 10 million votes. It’s obvious this video intends to tap into those votes to overthrow Obama.

But you guys are really in a pickle. 30 million evangelicals stayed home four years ago when McCain was a war hero and Palin portrayed herself as the perfect Christian/right-wing candidate. It really should have been a slam dunk. So ask yourself, why did those evangelical republicans stay home? I really haven’t heard an explanation that I agree with.

It’s going to be more difficult this season. You have to convince them to all come out to vote for a Mormon, not a historical favorite among evangelicals. It’s going to be a much harder sell than the McCain/Palin ticket was—better ratchet up the hate speech.

4. Why do you lower yourself to using fear to manipulate us?

I love that Chuck Norris glare when he warns us of Socialism . . . or . . . something . . . worse. Are you threatening us with Expendables 3?

5. Did you forget the context for that Reagan quote?

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into 1,000 years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”—Ronald Reagan

This was from Reagan’s 1964 stump speech for Barry Goldwater. Barry didn’t win . . . that should put us about 48 years into our 1,000 years of darkness. This kind of rhetoric is so dramatic and overwrought, it’s hard to take it seriously.

I would love to hear you discuss your views in a thoughtful fashion. Political waters are murky enough without inflammatory nonsense like this. But seriously, don’t try and cajole me into voting your convictions while treating my with such disdain. Evangelicals aren’t as stupid as you assume.

Agree with Chuck? Have thoughts you’d like to share? Leave me a comment!

Image by Rem Norris

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. brettgee #

    Good points. As a Canadian, I really have a hard time grasping the election season in the US. It really does show just how divided the country is. Using beliefs as pawns in the game is never a pretty thing. That being said, a lot of people are sucked in by it, so I guess it’s a good strategy. And that’s what politics is, really; a game you can play if you are rich and can act like you will doing something about every single issue that is important to everyone. In short, if you can trick people enough to get their votes.

    I find that when I guy like Obama actually tries to do something monumental (like the health care thing) it is easier for me to believe his talk then if he was just going to do the safe/normal thing to do.

    September 5, 2012
    • Astute observations, Brett. There is definitely a political strategy in expressing concern for social ills without any intention to really implement solutions.

      September 6, 2012
  2. Really great observations Jayson. What angers me the most is, like you noted, the excessive use of nonsensical, inflammatory language meant to instill fear and paranoia. I wonder what Chuck had in mind when he warns us that “something worse” will happen. Throwing in words like “crossroads” and “great country” doesn’t make a moving speech. I hate election season. I confess that I’d rather stick my head in the sand than get involved. I’d rather avoid the political topics… and that is not a great tactic either. I am still wondering how to be involved in a healthy way…. At least I know what NOT to do, thank you Chuck.

    September 6, 2012
  3. Interestingly, I think the party who “wins” this election actually loses. Why? Because it’s very likely the 2008 meltdown was just a warm-up act. The next President could really have things come down on his head, thus setting things up for a FDR or Reagan type leader in 2016.

    And let’s face it, what would be different if McCain had won? The debt would be slightly less but *still* growing. Unemployment might be 1/2% off. We’d still be at war droning the shit out of people.

    September 18, 2012
  4. This is a great post, man. Really appreciate—and agree with—your thoughts.

    One of my favorite quotes is by Ed Stetzer. He says, “Remember, when you mix politics and religion you get… politics.”

    Religion is doctrinal, and politics is based on the idea of compromise. So they don’t make for a very healthy couple.

    Anyway. Good stuff!

    September 26, 2012
  5. Bruce Alan Niles #

    I have to admit the last Dem I voted for was JFK. I have had to hold my nose in voting for some GOPers but I just couldn’t bring myself to pull their lever. I would love a catagory for “None of the above.” Recon that is possible?.

    October 31, 2013
  6. I’m not suggesting we spend time talking about how “evil” Obama is. We need to spend time undoing his damage. But I can’t fathom spending a half a second defending him and shifting the attention to Mr. Norris.

    December 19, 2013

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