Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Commentary on Left-wing and Right-Wing Populism

I have said this all along for so long, I am afraid of a Trump’s presidency that would bring right-wing fascistic populism.

Trump hasn’t started his presidency yet, there is enough irrational populism, if not outright fascism going around in this country already. The president-elect’s silence on these emboldened racists, will equate to or be perceived as an endorsement. He had been reluctant during his presidential campaign to denounce the likes of David Duke and the KKK, white supremacists who endorsed his candidacy. As the President-elect and the president, what you say or do not say, mean a lot. Welcome to the presidency, Mr. Trump. Can you handle it?

This is not to say that racial problems under a leftist president was any better, Black Lives Matter or BLM while promoting their political agenda, has turned into a kind of racist movement as well, as “only black lives matter” and no other lives matter? Racism against Asians in the United States largely go unaddressed, with a rapper YG releasing a video encouraging those in the black community to rob and hunt Asian business owners. It’s just entertainment they say, treating it as no big deal. In a last few months, several such incidents occurred (there were so many more such cases). I have not seen any left-wing big-name politicians or so-called “civil rights leaders” address this issue, leaving many Asian American business owners to arm and fend for themselves (1992 LA riot, sounds familiar?). What you say or do not say, mean a lot. Mr. Obama, Mr. Al Sharpton, Mr. Jesse Jackson, you couldn’t handle it, or did you care?

As a Reformed Christian, I harbor no illusion that social ills can be cured by government public policy alone. It is only in Christ, with the power of the Gospel through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, can the wall of hostility be destroyed between groups (Ephesians 2). But, still, as a Christian citizen, I, we, have a responsibility to keep our political leaders accountable for their actions and inactions, when they do not faithfully fulfill their mandate and duty to carry out justice (Rom 13). They too, have a duty before God.

Advertisements

死與復活:退伍軍人節有感

arlington大選過後三天,今日是退伍軍人節。今年拜訪了兩處埋葬退伍軍人的地方。一處是阿靈頓國家公墓,一處在維吉尼亞州的漢姆頓市。這兩處公墓壯麗宏偉,特別是阿靈頓國家公墓,一望無際的,盡都是白色整潔的墓碑,整齊地排列著。大部份墓碑上頭刻著十字架,還有些上頭刻著大衛星,也有些上頭有象徵穆斯林的半月。美國的墓園一點都不陰森,綠草茵茵,風景優美,倒像是座美麗的公園。

在公墓中徘徊遊走,有種特別的感受,難以形容。藍天白雲之下,微風輕拂,樹影婆娑。壯麗之餘,有一份孤寂。他們長埋於此,無聲無息。無論各人生前如何,無論是曾經擁有豐功偉業貴為總統將軍的,還是默默無名的普通士兵一介平民,死亡是最平等的。我們或許不愛思考死亡,但我們都無法逃避死亡,在墓園中,無法避免『死亡』這個字眼,縱然阿靈頓公墓美景如斯。有一天,我也會無聲無息地棲息於這地球的某處。嗯,這足以讓人安靜沉思。

聖經中少不了談到死亡。第一次談到死,是始祖亞當夏娃犯罪墮落悖逆得罪上帝的下場,是『必定死』(創2)。罪與死亡彼此相連,自起初如此。上帝與人立約,而亞當是人類的代表,亞當犯罪了墮落了,眾人也都在亞當裡墮落,死也臨到眾人(羅5:12)。墮落之後的人類,被罪纏累,在罪之權勢之下,無法自拔,喜愛犯罪得罪上帝,也不得不犯罪,人是『死』在過犯罪惡之中(弗2:1)。上帝卻差其聖子耶穌基督代替罪人贖罪而『死』;不但為我等而死,更在三日之後從『死裡復活』,也讓祂所救贖的百姓與基督『一同復活』(弗2)。上帝的救恩不但使罪人在救贖的法律意義上『稱義』—不再被定罪跟承受刑罰;也賜罪人能力一生過『成聖』的生活,不斷成長,治死己罪,在今世活著就已經擺脫罪的權勢與轄制,開始能夠過討上帝喜悅的生活(弗2-3;羅5-6)。不但如此,基督徒更有在未來身體復活的盼望。基督是人類的第二個代表,基督死了,我們也向罪死了;基督身體復活了,我們有日也會身體復活,並且生活在新天新地裡,有基督治理我們(羅5;林前15;啟21-22)。

是的,死亡很可怕。但是以信心信靠基督的基督徒不必懼怕死亡,因為我們擁有榮耀真實的復活盼望,奠基在基督的死與復活之上,奠基在上帝偉大智慧的救贖計劃之上。

我們一家今日要驅車去位於賓州的蓋德斯堡(Gettysburg),這是美國內戰時期北方聯軍打贏南方的一場決定性戰役之處。退伍軍人節快樂。作為美國人,我們紀念為自由而戰為國捐軀的軍人們。作為天國之民,也紀念耶穌基督的死與復活,為我們負上的代價,我們也當我祂的榮耀而活。


奧巴馬不是雷根

兩黨政治是個無盡的輪替。多數選民選了甲黨執政,過幾年厭倦了該黨,再選乙黨。乙黨執政若干年,選民又厭倦該黨,又再選甲黨。如此循環不息,周而復始。美國政黨一般最多執政八年,就會有一次輪替。美國近代史上只有共和黨英雄雷根總統因其政績豐碩,使得另一個共和黨人接續連任四年,即老布希總統;共和黨執政12年結束。接下來克林頓八年,小布希八年,奧巴馬又八年。政黨輪替的邏輯奧巴馬沒有打破,他的繼任者不是希拉里克林頓,而是卑劣不堪,遭眾人撻伐的共和黨候選人川普。

奧巴馬總統不久前還自信滿滿地說,他是民主黨的雷根,而希拉里 克林頓是老布希,會接續他連任。這個預言,現在已經灰飛煙滅。我的總統先生,你實在太高估自己。奧總閣下八年一無多少外交功績,二無多少內政建樹,怎好厚顏自大稱自己是『民主黨的雷根』?

在奧巴馬總統任內,『重返亞洲』的滔滔大略,八年後一事無成淪為笑柄。中共南海屢屢生事,如入無人之境。亞洲盟國離心離德,要么開始向中共靠攏,要么擔心美國無力保護而自危,如南韓者,其國內各黨派人士紛紛倡導要擁有核武以求自保。重返什麼亞洲?奧總貿貿然自伊拉克撤軍,在所謂伊斯蘭國ISIS這群屠夫尚未成氣候之前,不把這群屠夫當一回事,稱其為『JV Team』蝦兵蟹將,使得ISIS有機可乘,進駐伊拉克與敘利亞,導致百萬人生靈塗炭。奧總面對羅剎國獨裁者普亭侵略鄰國,除了動動嘴皮子,竟也無可奈何。若是雷根在世,豈會讓此等鳥事發生?奧總對待國際上流氓國家的人權問題置若罔聞,說是要尊重這些國家的文化與政治體系。奧總到了非洲國家肯尼亞,卻轉頭不尊重肯國的文化與政治,竟訓斥跟要求肯國總統與人民要賦予同性戀者『權利』。聯合國各公約框架下的普世價值,不是奧巴馬外交政策的首要關注議題。

再論內政,大傢伙或許已經忘記,奧巴馬引以為傲的ObamaCare全民健保,尚未出爐,就胎死腹中,充滿期待的民眾無法上網購買數十日之久。此外,奧總稱民眾可保持他們原有的健保,這亦非事實,許多民眾的健保計劃被取消。如此重大政策,怎會如此疏忽?豈非無能?全民健保法的名稱是Affordable Care Act, 即『可負擔的醫療保險法案』。奧總卸任之前,眾多醫保公司因無法獲利而紛紛退出市場。奧總卸任之後預計保費即要上漲25%,民眾如何afford負擔?奧總8年前競選期間,聲稱要促進黨派合作(reaching across the isle),而其任內與共和黨爭鬥不斷,毫不妥協,聯邦政府也曾因黨派紛爭而關閉17日。此外,奧巴馬任內分化族群,引致對抗,種族矛盾加劇;還極力推動毫無憲法根據的同性戀婚姻與在全國範圍內公校中男女同廁政策,荒唐至極。

眼下川普贏得總統大選,共和黨即將統一聯邦政府三部,ObamaCare全民健保與其他奧巴馬任內的內政政策被推翻指日可待。奧總引以為傲的左派內政政策,頓時灰飛煙滅。除了奧總作為第一位黑人總統的歷史性定位之外,奧巴馬或將是美國歷史上最為平庸,最無建樹的總統之一。

雷根是偉大的美國總統,奧巴馬仍然是奧巴馬,奧巴馬不是雷根。

2016年11月10日

華客子


世上的光與鹽 salt and light of the world

Some friends look at Trump’s win as a revival of a Christian nation. America is not a Christian nation. It is a nation historically influenced by christianity. This is not our new heaven and earth. Don’t misplace our hope. Long for the return of Christ, not looking to Donald Trump and any one else as Savior and Lord. We are nevertheless called to be the salt and light of the world, we have work to do while here, for his glory. According to the Bible, we are in the world, but not of this world (John 17). This tension will continue to exist until Christ returns.

有朋友誤以為川普之勝利是美國作為基督教國家的復興。但美國不是“基督教”國家。她不過是歷史上深受基督教文明影響的國家。這裡不是我們的新天新地。別錯置我們的盼望。我們的盼望是基督再臨,別把川普或任何政客看作救主。但我們畢竟是世上的光與鹽,要繼續努力,為祂的榮耀。聖經教導,我們在世界中,卻不屬於這世界 (约17)。這張力將持久存在,直到基督再來的日子。


Final thoughts before the Nov. 8th Election

Just a couple of days to go for the 2016 presidential election. This is arguably the most divisive presidential election I personally have experienced. There have been lots of debates, arguments, and even name calling that I have witnessed, in person and on social media. Even within the Christian community in general, and Reformed community in particular, there are different viewpoints as to who is the better candidate (or the lesser of two evils) to vote for.

Despite Trump’s unconventional candidacy, some in the Reformed community are opting to vote for Trump, in an obvious disapproval against Hilary Clinton and the liberal policies she advocates for. Although these folks are not necessarily pleased about Trump’s personal character, they will vote for Trump thinking Trump’s presidency and policy agendas at least will be more in line with conservative values.

There are also some of Reformed Christian background who have made up their minds to vote for Hilary Clinton, citing various reasons, including issues related to immigration and refugees, deep disapproval of Trump’s misogynist rhetoric, and a longing to see a female president elected, among others.

There are still others, myself included, who have strong disapproval against both candidates, and are disappointed with the choices we have. We trust neither Hilary Clinton nor Donald Trump. I believe Hilary Clinton is a disaster for the future of the United States with her liberal policies. I also believe Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States, he is not a principled conservative, he’s a flip flopper at best, and have already openly advocated for positions that are not traditionally conservative.

It doesn’t matter which one of these two characters assumes the presidency, I expect more divisions and controversies would ensue. If Hilary Clinton becomes the president, it is almost certain that she would appoint a liberal justice to the Supreme Court (if it so happens that democrats also control the Senate after the election that would allow her to get her appointments passed), which could have legal and policy implications for many years to come that Christians do not wish to see. Some GOP conservatives have vowed to fight against Hilary Clinton starting from day one of her presidency. If Donald Trump becomes the president, there is no guarantee that he would adopt conservative policies, and his presidency would doubtlessly be so problematic that, it will undermine the abilities of the Republican Party to govern as an effective opposition party for many years to come. I also worry Trump’s populist appeal in some ways resembling Hilter and Mussolini, and the possibility of a constitutional crisis that comes with his presidency.

I thought through the pros and cons  of voting for these two candidates, and I examined my conscience as a Christian and determined that I can’t vote for either of them, considering both as detrimental to this nation and their views as a whole not in line with my values. Therefore, I’m voting for an independent candidate Evan McMullin, who at least is a conservative, though his chance of winning the white house is slim, though not entirely impossible. This is my last-ditch fight, this is my decision, as I can’t violate my Christian conscience by voting for someone who I disagree with so much.

While I disagree with my friends who are voting for Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton, I respect their decisions, so long as Christians they have thought through their decisions and their consciences are at peace with these decisions. In fact, in my conservation with a well-respected Reformed scholar who supports Trump, we agreed to disagree as to our respective choices for president, we even agreed that our differences would not tear us apart, but will pull us closer as Reformed Christians. After all, our respective voting decisions stem from the same set of motivations and theological and biblical commitments, but we arrived at different political decisions. Christ has broken down the wall of hostility between the Jews and the gentiles; let us not erect a wall of hostility based on a presidential choice in a liberal democracy.

I only urge my friends not to vote for a candidate based on just one single particular policy position, but should evaluate holistically policies that these two candidates are advocating for. For example, while Donald Trump had said that he’s pro-life which is important to many evangelicals (but who knows what he would say in a few days, weeks, and months), he at the same time, appears to be for so-called “LGBT rights,” particularly related to the issue of trans-gender bathrooms, a policy does not sit well with evangelicals. In terms of foreign policy, Donald Trump called for the dissolution of NATO, removing of US troops from Japan and Korea, and letting these two countries possess nuclear weapons. These foreign policy proposals have confused US allies in the Asia pacific, at a time when a nuclear North Korea is becoming more and more erratic by the day. A destabilized East Asia, and the possibility of a war in the Korean peninsula could result in civilian deaths in the tens of thousands, if not millions. We have seen the disastrous outcome of Obama’s inaction in foreign and military policies that had resulted in the rise of ISIS. I had criticized Obama for his policy, which in the end did create instability and sectarian violence and let terror group ISIS fill the vacuum, afflicting the lives of millions of civilians living in Iraq and Syria. Donald Trump’s military and foreign policies would cause further problems, as the US retreats and rogue regimes make aggressive moves militarily. A genuine pro-life person should care not only the lives of unborn children, but should take into consideration the lives of these innocent civilians. Donald Trump would be a disastrous commander-in-chief, whose foreign and military policy decision will impact us all.

Some in the Christian community, including those of the Reformed persuasion had resorted to nasty name calling in this emotionally charged election cycle, going so far as to insinuate that those who disagree with him/her, in not supporting Trump (or in supporting Trump), as unchristian, and therefore unacceptable to God. Some of these folks accuse others as such often based on one particular issue they care about the most, without taking into consideration other policy issues that should receive equal weight. Furthermore, our votes for a particular political candidate should not be a pre-requisite for God’s salvation. The saying that suggests that Christians must vote for a particular political candidate as a precondition for God’s acceptance and salvation has no place in Reformed soteriology, it is outright heresy.

 

In the end of day, as a Reformed Christian, I must trust God’s sovereignty in all of these. No matter what happens, we as Reformed Christians can take comfort in His sovereignty and trust that his will ultimately prevail.