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A Little Politics, A Lot of Political Rhetoric

The Coming Revolution by Dr. Richard G. Lee is a book which aims to alert the American people to the past founders of this country and their beliefs but a calls people to do something about their present frustration with reigning administration in Washington. Instead of just providing some critical remarks about the book, I want to delineate the positive information in the book and at the end look at some criticisms.




Positive-

Lee goes to great measures to bring about the specific religous character of the founders and their beliefs. At one point he quotes from Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and member of the Continental Congress saying, "Let the children what are sent to those schools be taught to read and write and above all, let both sexes be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion" (18). Even in the life of Benjamin Franklin, we find not an explicit Christian faith, but a resonance with christian morals and prayer. Later in the book Lee quotes from Franklin in asking for prayer by saying, "I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service" (120). Lee goes onto mention the rogue like character of Franklin all the while maintaining that he held prayer and religion with high regard. To Lee's credit, he goes a long way in painting the religious landscape of America as having been profoundly influenced by the Great Awakening preachers (men like Whitefield, Edwards, and Wesley).



Secondly, I thought Dr. Lee was right in connecting the Pilgrims and their plight to America due to their desire to worship God freely apart from royal rule. The Pilgrims upon leaving England envisioned a society that would be "a city upon a hill" in America being goverened by order but being concerned to live after the example of Christ. There were differences in the views of the organiziation of rule between Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony, but they both were committed to living out the principles of the Christian religion in every phase of life.



Lastly, I thought that although vitriolic and fist-pounding as it was, Dr. Lee delieneated clearly some of the concerns the Republica Party (and Tea Party) affiliate have with the present Obama administration. Education, healthcare, issues of human life and the family are issues that all of us have an opinion about or have heard of the opinions of others. Outlining these major discussion points is another way to get people talking about the issues and what solutions are both viable and realistic. I seemed to resonate with many of his concerns with government getting too big and investing itself too much in the lives of its citizens.



Criticism-

Although I agree that Dr. Lee is right to commend many of the founders for their faith in God (many their faith in Christ), I think there is a difference between many of the founders having faith and America being a Christian nation. Guiding principles are one thing, but calling America a Christian nation is quite another. I think we have to be careful in how we talk about America's founders and their faith. I don't believe the founders ever decided as a whole group that America would uniquely consist as a Christian nation without regard for other faith groups. Secondly, some of the founders like Franklin and Jefferson were able to support religious practices and morals without themselves being committed to a particular Protestant faith.



Lee makes the right claim that "Without respect for human life at all stages, from conception to natural death, any claim of decency and morality is meaningless" (163). Yet, the problem here is the application of this principle. Many in the conservative camp want to promote the dignity of life for all people but only commit to support pro-life movements or support for the unborn. If Lee believes it to be true that the dignity of life issue is for all stages, why is there no discussion about end of life issues (aged and elderly abuse, end of life care, etc.). I resonate with his passion for protecting the unborn, but I also want to be faithful to all stages of life by talking about the stages of life after being born.



I realize that Lee in this book is basically connecting Obama's administration with the socialism of the past, which is a common thread of conservative rants against Washington. In some ways the book might have better been called The Coming Revolution for The Tea Party and Politically Conservative. Yet, in all the discussion of liberalism (159ff) I wonder if there might be a better way to promote one's political commitments than just lambasting one another with pet slogans. Secondly, I thought Dr. Lee's sources were very weak. He quotes primarily from internet sources, including such figures as Glen Beck in his discussion as well. A discussion with scholarly and academic resources alongside some primary source material would have aided his points and discussion concerning the founders, the political climate we are in, and the way forward.



Dr. Lee mentions some points of involvement that the American people can do to get invovled in a better America. I felt after readint this list that it was just another way he was trying to get voters to vote for conservative an Republican leaders. Although this is one route many will follow, what are some other ways the he missed. One, we can pray for the president and his family (for their good and for wisdom), we can even love our neighbor in such a way that we encourage political discussion.



I think this book will be another book of support for Replicans and conservative voters and another rallying cry for those in the Tea Party. For others, I think this book will be another scathing book by another conservative.



Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Book Sneeze for the review copy of this book.

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