Did Jesus advocate political separatism for his followers?
I'm not sure what you mean by "political separatism"; it's not a phrase that has a clear or definite meaning.It may answer your question to point out that, when asked by the Roman prefect of Judea, Jesus responded this his kingdom was not of this world:"So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”(John 18:33-36 ESV)This is pretty much the attitude you find through out the New Testament. The author of Hebrews writes, when describing the lives of those held up as examples of faith, that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)That said, the Bible does not teach that Christians cannot be involved in politics; rather it teaches that they must not think that politics, no matter how wise or well-ordered, will never provide more than an temporary and local improvement in conditions, and can do almost nothing to resolve people's real problems.Of course, various elements of the Church have forgotten this, again and again, throughout its history. Dante's Inferno places one ambitious pope, Pope Nicholas III, in hell. Nicholas informs Dante (the poem is something of a self-insert) that at least two more are on their way. This student paper at Boston University covers the issue in more detail: Popes in Hell: Political Ambition is a Cardinal Sin in InfernoMore recently, a movement by conservative Presbyterians, often called Christian Reconstructionism, has advocated that all would be well with the world, if only a sort of Christian "jihad" could be carried out, and if, instead of the imposition of Islamic Sharia, a legal system based on Old Testament law could be imposed.So while the Church as wavered, the predominant teaching (not always their action!) of church has followed the New Testament and instructed that politics could never be more than a "Band-Aid", and could never address the real problems all men face.
Should 16–17 year olds be allowed to vote as some political groups are advocating for currently, Charles Allen being one of those advocates?
My upfront opinion on the matter:No.At the age of 16/17, teenagers are not considered legally sovereign from their parents. They are not full citizens, are not considered under the same judicial precedent, and are not granted their full constitutional rights as Americans.“So what?”Well, the problem with allowing dependent persons voting privileges is that the controlling citizens, typically parents, may abuse their child’s right to vote for their own purposes.You see, many teens are perfectly capable of making an informed decision, at least, capable of making a similarly informed decision to any other American citizen. In fact, I would argue that plenty of 16 and 17 year-olds are better informed than their older counterparts. However, they are at the mercy of their parents, and parental influence can be a huge factor in a child’s life. Unless you make teens of said age group full citizens, you are allowing said age group to be manipulated and controlled by their parents.Now, some might say that plenty of people could be manipulated to vote a certain way, and I don’t refute it. People are manipulated and misinformed many times over surrounding voting. But, these people have the legal capacity to guide themselves, sustain themselves, and think for themselves. They are, or should be, at the steering wheel of their own life, for they’ve been given the legal power to do so.Sixteen and seventeen year-olds are not on the same legal footing as eighteen year old voters. Although this does not mean 18+ voters are less prone to foul play, they have the power to reject it and retain their own rights in a way that children do not (unless they are emancipated).So, the simple answer to all this is no, because parents cannot be trusted not to abuse their kids’ voting rights.EDIT: Looking at all of these other answers, I felt obligated to pose a question: we really think that our youth are that despairingly underdeveloped, un-engaged, and or unintelligent when it comes to politics compared to the average American? And, if so, I’d like to pose a statement: most children are reflections of their parents, whether it be an opposing or supporting one. American society is far from flawless with 18+ votes only, and I honestly doubt it would be any worse or more problematic with additional teen votes (most uninformed, uninterested teens who feel little civil responsibility won’t bother to vote anyway). That said, my answer above still stands.
Media: the new form of terrorism?
You can try to defend that proposition, but I don't think you're going to have much success. Please pick up a copy of any major metropolitan newspaper. Look at a story that you consider to be bad news, or that makes people fearful. Then ask yourself: "Is this something that people need to know about?" Answer honestly. I bet your answer will be yes. Maybe a reluctant yes. There's bad news in the world. Not reporting it, and not reading about it, doesn't make it go away. It's important, on many levels, to be a well-informed citizen, and one doesn't become well-informed without the media.
At what point in recent American history did being a Liberal become bad and NeoCon good?
I remember a time when being called a Conservative was nearly as slanderous as being called a Liberal is today. When you look up the definitions of both terms... Conservatives resisted change, went by the rules and were generally thought of as stodgy old men smoking cigars at 'the club'. Liberals, on the otherhand, were "for the people", hippy-generation types. Always looking to change the world. When I look at the news and political terrain of today, I see that Liberals are about on par with calling someone a Communist in the McCarthy Era. The Conservatives of today seem quite a bit more militant and bent of rewriting history and our constitution in one fell swoop. I do not consider myself either. I like to think I'm like the American Majority...being a Middle of the Road type of guy. I dont agree with either side and it disturbs me that the system is so far out of balance.
Why are patriotic organizations important today?
Because people need to know what they believe in and why. They have to understand that patriotism does not mean that you support the president, or his policies. It means that you stand by the Constitution. You support government leaders only so long as they follow the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution says that only Congress can declare war, and yet, several presidents have sent American troops into battle without a Declaration of War. The First Amendment says that we have Freedom of Religion, and yet the Supreme Court has outlawed school prayer. It also says that Congress shall establish no (official) religion, and yet, it has done exactly that: the teaching of evolution in the public (government) schools is really the preaching of our official religion (under the guise of science. Evolution is not science: it has never been observed, repeated and is not falsifiable. Congress is trying to disarm the American people, in defiance of the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms). Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act which invalidates the Fourth (unreasonable search) and Fifth (open public trials) Amendments. We have an Attorney General who admitted breaking the law, and violating the rights of the American people. When can we expect to see him in jail? Patriotic organizations are important because they put the issues into focus, and give the individual a rating system for judging our politicians. My recommendation is to check out the John Birch Society (www.jbs.org). This is the most well-informed patriotic, educational organization that I know of.