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Christianity, Politics

Is Rick Perry Like Abraham Lincoln?

I’ve been stewing for a couple of days over John Hagee’s comparison of Rick Perry to Abraham Lincoln.  It’s just one sentence, but it’s a very dangerous one:

“We pray for our governor Rick Perry who has had the courage today to call this time of fasting and prayer just as Abraham Lincoln did in the darkest days of the civil war.”  (LINK)

To begin with, this is one of those sentences with “weasel words.”  If you’re not familiar with weasel words, they’re something salesmen, politicians, and con artists use to great effect.  They’re powerful words designed to change people’s emotions regardless of the content of the sentence in which they’re used.  Any great salesman will tell you the truth of this concept:  It’s not what you say.  It’s what people hear.

On the surface, this sentence is relatively innocuous.  Abraham Lincoln did call for a national day of prayer.  Perry did institute a statewide day of prayer.  The country is in economic crisis today.  The country was in economic crisis in Lincoln’s day.  Valid comparison.

But that’s not all there was to Hagee’s comment.  Not by a long shot.  Abraham Lincoln represents far more than just another president who signed a day of prayer into being.  George Washington and John Adams established the precedent, not Lincoln.  Hagee wanted the faithful to remember the Civil War.  And in comparing Perry to Lincoln, he wanted the audience to picture Perry as a modern-day Lincoln — the much beloved “good guy.”  The one fighting for the sovereignty of the godly nation against those uppity rebels, intent on spreading their moral turpitude to every state in the nation.

The image of Lincoln also reinforces a prevalent Christian belief.  Many evangelicals really do see Christian life as an ongoing war — a cosmic struggle between good and evil.  They see the agents of Satan working to subvert the will of God.  Demons and angels are fighting it out in the spiritual trenches, and the hearts and souls of humans are the battleground.  The drought, the economic crisis, the debate over abortion?  These are not the main issues.  They are side-effects of the greater conflagration occuring in our country’s collective spiritual well being.

READ THE REST ON EXAMINER.COMhttp://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-atlanta/abraham-lincoln-vs-rick-perry-a-valid-comparison

Discussion

23 thoughts on “Is Rick Perry Like Abraham Lincoln?

  1. Considering Lincoln called a national day of prayer, I’ll go with him being Christian.

    But it’s a good point that many great American leaders [most if not all of them Christian] would detest what Rick Perry has done.

    Posted by Alison | August 10, 2011, 6:01 pm
  2. He’s like Abraham Lincoln in the same way that Ann Coulter is a gay icon. It makes no fucking sense, but it’s good enough for conservatives.

    Posted by Ian | August 11, 2011, 5:38 pm
  3. Alison, I suspect (after reading the evidence from both sides) that Lincoln was strongly drawn to the faith of his childhood, which was Christian. However, there is good evidence that his religious beliefs (or lack thereof) did not inform his practical decisions, including those made in office. Whatever his religion was or was not, it was extremely private… to the point of causing so much debate today.

    His own words seem to indicate that he trusted reason above faith, and that he was what we could call a pre-darwinian rationalist. That is, he didn’t have any plausible explanations for life other than god, so it was reasonable to believe in a creator. But there is little evidence that he was down with the whole religious zealot thing. And he definitely believed in Jefferson’s ideal of church-state separation.

    It has been suggested (and I agree) that his national day of prayer was not so much an indication of his belief in prayer, but rather a considered political maneuver designed to get people to reflect on their own faith and think twice about all the hatred.

    That’s… you know… pretty much the opposite of what Perry does.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | August 11, 2011, 6:11 pm
  4. He’s like Abraham Lincoln in the same way that Ann Coulter is a gay icon. It makes no fucking sense, but it’s good enough for conservatives.

    I’ve never understood how so called “conservatives” want the government to bud out of people’ lives and then insist on the government making gay marriage illegal.

    I also never understood how people can think Ann Coulter is straight.

    Posted by Alison | August 11, 2011, 8:56 pm
  5. Conservatives in America are insane. That’s really the only logical answer.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | August 11, 2011, 10:20 pm
  6. LOL you know I’m a conservative right?

    Posted by Alison | August 11, 2011, 11:00 pm
  7. Yes. And insofar as your views on sex, abortion, alcohol/drugs, and dating go… you’re right there with a lot of Americans in the crazy box. Thankfully, that Canadian nor’easter that blows through from time to time has cold blasted some of the crazy out of your worldview. Either that, or growing up in a country where “Conservative” wasn’t synonymous with “fascist, bloodthirsty religious nutjob.”

    While we’re on the subject, you know that in the majority of the first world, I’d be a moderate… not a liberal, right?

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | August 12, 2011, 1:47 pm
  8. In Canada, the Conservatives are in charge and won a significant victory in the last election going from minority to majority. The Liberals lost the majority of their seats in the last election, and the far-left socialist NDP is the official opposition.

    While we’re on the subject, you know that in the majority of the first world, I’d be a moderate… not a liberal, right?

    LOL I wouldn’t qualify you as an official Liberal Douche [http://www.quickmeme.com/Liberal-Douche-Garofalo/?upcoming]

    But I do notice you tend to take a liberal stance on a lot of issues.

    Posted by Alison | August 12, 2011, 6:34 pm
  9. Mostly social issues. On that front, yes I am a liberal. But economically, I fall squarely in the center. I’m not anti-capitalism. I’m anti-EXCLUSIVE-capitalism. I believe in a mixed state with socialist elements and private competition working both with and against each other.

    That’s a very moderate position in the First World.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | August 12, 2011, 7:14 pm
  10. I read your blog and your examiner posts, and I notice you have much of the same views that I think are…..bad and are signs of becoming a Liberal douche.

    It may not even be the views themselves, it’s your view of those with opposing views.

    Posted by Alison | August 12, 2011, 8:20 pm
  11. Well… yeah. I know you think that. And I’ve noticed that the only group which seems to share your view of my views is Conservative Christians. So… I’m not rushing out to try to change my opinions based on one Canuck atheist with a case of Conservative Crankies.

    But take some comfort in this, Alison: Remember that it was largely your input that changed my mind about religion and suicide bombings. Or at the least, it was you pointing me in the direction of evidence I found compelling. You and I have helped change each others’ minds on pretty big issues. We may be stubborn, but neither of us is beyond admitting we’re wrong when we see enough evidence.

    So please… if you find evidence that my approach is empirically a bad idea, let me see it. My goal is to help people, not to be right about any particular issue. If you can show me enough evidence that there’s a better way than what I’m doing… I’d be happy to know it.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | August 13, 2011, 4:16 pm
  12. I’ve never understood how so called “conservatives” want the government to bud out of people’ lives and then insist on the government making gay marriage illegal.

    The explanation I favor is that conservatism (at least in America) isn’t a coherent ideology–it’s a loose set of principles that unify several different political factions. Among these are the libertarians, who favor small government, laissez faire capitalism, decriminalizing some or all drugs, and support gay marraige. Neil Boortz exemplifies this view. By themselves they’re not strong enough to set U.S. policy, however, so they’ve allied with the traditionalists, who are happy to go along with libertarian economic policy so long as the libertarians support their social values.

    Posted by Ian | August 13, 2011, 4:48 pm
  13. I’ve never understood how so called “conservatives” want the government to bud out of people’ lives and then insist on the government making gay marriage illegal.

    It isn’t a question of “making gay marriage illegal” because it was never “legal” to begin with, and that is the crux. “Making gay marriage illegal” is misleading and dishonest rhetoric. The question is whether two men or women have the “right” to marry each other, and on a someone more abstract level, where “rights” come from in the first place. If you believe that “rights” come from Government, then perhaps you can argue that gay marriage is indeed a right, but that simply isn’t in line with American belief and viewpoint. The Declaration of Independence states that rights come NOT from Government, but from the “Creator” of all men (and women). Now, whether that “Creator” is the Christian God may be grounds for debate, but the point is that rights do NOT come from Government, but from something higher.

    The DoI also refers to “the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them”, so if you want to argue a purely secular argument, you could claim that “rights” come from nature. Therefore, if you could point to an example in nature where two males or two females of a given species bond for life, you would have a fairly powerful argument for gay marriage. However, from the purely neo-Darwinian perspective, such behavior would be selected against, since a same-sex bonding would fail to produce offspring, and would therefore fail to inject the proclivity into the next generation. However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that same-sex life-long bondings can occur.

    Conservatives in America are insane.

    No, making such sweeping and irrational statements is insane.

    Posted by CB | August 15, 2011, 7:22 am
  14. it was never “legal” to begin with

    Of course, what I mean by that is that is was never legal in American society to begin with, so pointing to other cultures or other periods of history has no bearing.

    Posted by CB | August 15, 2011, 7:27 am
  15. rights come NOT from Government, but from the “Creator” of all men (and women)

    Posted by Alison | August 15, 2011, 8:06 pm
  16. Um, Alison, perhaps you can provide some substantiation for a welcome change? Screaming “wrong” is not an argument, no matter how “cleverly” done. I quoted the Declaration of Independence. It says what it says. It is what it is.

    If you think you can actually refute Thomas Jefferson, feel free to give it a try at your earliest convenience. Like it or lump it, the idea that rights do not come from Government is foundational to the USA, and frankly, your hiding behind YouTube videos is getting old….

    Posted by CB | August 16, 2011, 12:01 am
  17. From the DoI (emphasis added):

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That TO SECURE THESE RIGHTS, GOVERNMENTS ARE INSTITUTED among men, deriving their just powers from the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.

    So, rights COME FROM A “CREATOR” and are SECURED by Government. THEY DO NOT “COME FROM” GOVERNMENT.

    Posted by CB | August 16, 2011, 10:49 am
  18. CB, what was wrong is that our rights come from a creator. They don’t. Rights come from our own evolutionary backround.

    Homosexuality isn’t sexually selected against, you do know the difference between a dominant gene and a recessive one right? That’s how other genetic makeups that prevent us from reproducing, [such as killing us] occur and weren’t weeded out from evolution?

    And that video is funny because Dr Cox is implying that Carla’s statement is not the correct one.

    Posted by Alison | August 16, 2011, 6:44 pm
  19. CB, what was wrong is that our rights come from a creator. They don’t. Rights come from our own evolutionary background.

    That is your personal opinion, not established fact. How many times to we have to go over this?

    Whether you like it or not, the American system of Government is predicated on the concepts Thomas Jefferson wrote down in the DoI, and it ultimately doesn’t matter a whit whether some random person disagrees with him.

    As far as the rest of it goes, I think you missed the point. If you are going to claim that rights come from “nature” or “evolution” or whatever, fine. Show me an example of life-long same-sex bonding in nature before you tell me that same-sex marriage is a “right”. Not just homosexuality, but a life-long monogamous pairing, within a species that does indeed have male and female genders, not some asexual or hermaphrodite species, and in the wild, not in captivity.

    Posted by CB | August 16, 2011, 11:01 pm
  20. Oh, and an explanation as to how a life-long same-sex bonding provides a selective advantage would seem appropriate, as well.

    Posted by CB | August 16, 2011, 11:10 pm
  21. That there’s some keen insight into another person’s thinking and true motives based on sub-textual ‘weasel words’ like ‘Lincoln,’ (instead of the more neutral and clearly obvious choice of Washington, who reminds no one of war or being a good guy).
    Good call. We must all stew and push back against those who see life as war and believe in good and evil, unseen, unverifiable forces like angels, demons, subtext, and hidden, unconscious agendas or meanings until they are defeated once and for all.

    Posted by wotwotwot | December 2, 2011, 7:36 pm
  22. Abraham Lincoln & Craig Ferguson look sooo much alike it is almost scary!

    Posted by Rose | July 3, 2012, 3:02 am

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