Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Would Jesus Do (continued)

So, as I was saying yesterday, I’m a little confused by these Christian bumper stickers. What exactly is up with that? But as I promised… here’s my point.

What I’m REALLY confused about is the dichotomy surrounding the apparent Christian adherence to the Republican Party. Now I understand certain fundamental tenets that would appeal to the average Christian. The rights of the unborn, prayer in school, the preaching of family values (although hypocritical it does seem to be discussed more among conservatives than liberals… at least publicly). But what about feeding the poor? Insuring that everyone is medically cared for? Cleaning up after Katrina? The “golden rule”? Granted, I’m just a casual observer but aren’t these things better addressed by Democrats?

If we examine the general opinion on welfare (feeding the poor), which party seems more supportive? Welfare requires taxes. Plus, I’m sure I don’t have to get into the myriad of emails that circulate about illegal aliens, community activism, and “redistribution of wealth”. And a quick aside on this redistribution of wealth issue. Whenever we see this we assume it’s redistribution from those who have to those who have not. But if you think about it, what do we have now? A twenty five percent tax on a person who makes twenty grand a year is going to hurt that person a lot more than that same tax on a person who makes a million. Now, throw in the tax deductions (which the average person making 20 grand doesn’t have) and suddenly an argument can be made that we are redistributing from the have nots to the haves. Sure, taxes go to things that the rich might not feel like supporting (unless of course they are into that golden rule thing) but they also go into schools, roads, assorted public works, etc. We all benefit from those. So is it fair that the poor shovel twenty five percent of their incomes into this fund while the rich shovel in less? But back to my point. Which party really seems to have a higher desire to actually feed and care for the have nots?

How about health care? We are currently locked in a horrific debate about the pros and cons of a public health care option. I think we all agree that under the current system there are a lot of our own citizens who don’t have access to adequate health care. Which party seems more inclined to give it to them? Shouldn’t a real Christian jump on the chance to do whatever it takes to get insurance and health care to everyone regardless of any perceived imperfections in the proposed system? Should the priority be what is the positive effect on the have nots or what is the negative effect on the haves?

Which party was in power when Katrina destroyed New Orleans? Do we really think the response was adequate? There is another one of “those” emails out there that tries to brush off Katrina by raising comparisons with the democratic response to the mid-west floods. It’s filled with blatant lies. Do the research. I think two or three people died in those floods. The dollar damage was astronomically less than that of Katrina. Many of those victims were able to return to their homes when the waters receded. The mid-west floods were nothing like Katrina.

And let’s talk about that golden rule as it applies to War. War is a necessary evil. I know it and you should too. Sometimes it’s necessary and appropriate. Sometimes it’s not. If we were to poll both parties regarding support for Iraq, which party do you think would be more inclined to approve? And for what? We never found WMDs. It’s been established that Saddam Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with 9-11. Yes, he was a bad man. There are a lot of bad men in the world. And there are a lot who are far worse than Saddam Hussein ever was. If we are inclined to go kick ass based solely on the fact that leaders are “bad men” might I suggest we start in Africa where people are being killed or starving to death if they are lucky enough to avoid a bullet. How did we, as a country, allow our focus to be taken off of Osama Bin Laden and placed on Iraq?

Now, just to show my “centrist” side (and prove I’m not a far left nut job) I fully support our actions in Afghanistan. THAT is where the Taliban was based. Here’s something to ponder. During the debates, Obama took some shit from the right when he said he might support action in Pakistan if we didn’t get the cooperation we needed from that government. He also recognized that our actions in Afghanistan were justified. It was Iraq he had a problem with. Well, I for one agree completely. And I also recognize that by invading Iraq, we were forced to dilute our presence in Afghanistan. I also find it interesting that we are suddenly reading about the Pakistanis killing a few Taliban here and there now when we didn’t before. I used to rant and rave about our so called alliance with this country when they were basically harboring terrorists along their border with Afghanistan. Now the guy who said he would consider action in Pakistan is in charge over here and they suddenly seem willing to do something about that. Amazing isn’t it? I’m hopeful that Obama won’t be swayed by those of us too liberal to see the Taliban as an enemy worth eradicating.

But here’s my point. What would Jesus do? My wife goes to church. I don’t. But she came home a year or so ago with a fascinating story about the sermon. I really don’t remember all the details but the gist was that it seemed to be a little political. She left with the impression that the preacher man was at least asking for more tolerance for the left from the right, and might have even been indicating the left had more going for it! The quote that I remember and which obviously had the most impact on me was “What would Jesus do? He’d FEED THE POOR”. It is the second time in my life that something coming out of a religion made total sense to me. Of course he would feed the poor! In anticipation of the question, the other instance was the response I got to the age old question of if there is a God, why do good people die way before their time? The answer was that maybe they were so good that God decided to call them to their “reward” early. If you believe that there is a reward of sorts waiting for us after we die, then that answer makes sense. I’m certainly hopeful there is something going on after our stint on earth. The thought of “eternal sleep” doesn’t excite me in the least. Hey, I love to sleep. But my love of sleep is based on how great it feels when you wake up!

So when you are contemplating your politics, you might do well to look at ALL aspects of the party line. Do we NEED prayer in school? You can pray at home. Should abortion be legal or illegal? Personally, I’m totally against abortion. I look at a baby and can’t imagine destroying it before it has a chance to see the world. But frankly, I’m far more against imposing my own moral beliefs on someone else. Especially when that someone is biologically equipped to be pregnant and I’m not. I’ll never get an abortion. But I’m not going to tell you what to do either. And how can you be against abortion but support killing people in other countries and being responsible for the deaths of our own brave soldiers for reasons that aren’t clear or may not be present at all?

Before you dig your heels in the sand and proclaim yourself a Republican, ask yourself “What would Jesus do… besides blow them all to hell”? Of course the obvious answer remains “HE’D FEED THE POOR!”

Common Sense


  1. Jesus taught that when you feed the poor, care for the sick, and seek justice for the oppressed, you are also doing these things to Him/God. He never said that about paying taxes. Although he said you also need to do that ("render unto Caeser what is Caeser's") it does not absolve you of the obligation to serve the less fortunate directly. He would probably call any "Christian", whether Republican, Democrat or of any political persuasion, a hypocrite if they relied on the government to do their work and still expected to be "saved" because they went to church and followed all the rules. And I'm pretty sure a bumper sticker won't cut it either.

    Good blog.

  2. I agree completely. And I didn't mean to imply that allowing the government to do it would absolve you of responsibility. But would Jesus want you to lobby against it?

    Thanks for reading.