Politics, the poor and you and me

0
19

Match the statement with the ideology/politics:

1. “Mind your business, obey the laws, show respect and don’t hurt other people.”

2. “Mind your own business, don’t tell me what to do, and we’ll get along just fine.”

3. “I’m a better, more moral person than you. Therefore you should do as I say.”

4. “I’m a better, smarter person than you. Therefore you must do as I say.”

5. “I’m a better, more just, smarter person than you. Therefore you shall do as I say, or receive condemnation, retribution, loss of income, livelihood or liberties, as I see fit.”

6. “I’m bigger, stronger and better armed than you. Therefore, you shall do as I say, or lose your liberty or your life, whichever I determine.”

Conservative.

Libertarian.

Classic liberal.

Current day liberal.

Progressive.

Tyrant.

Simplistic? Of course. But descriptive — and I think — accurate. Which ones shade into the next?

Just for fun, read this letter to the editor, and rank it on the simplistic scale above.

Which are the telltale sentences that provide clues? Do we have the letter-writer’s number? He certainly thinks he has the sorry number of a large group of American citizens who happen to believe in both a God and a book that he uses to condemn those very followers without ever signaling whether he himself gives allegiance to either that God or that book or much understands either except as useful debate tools. To what standard shall we hold him?

Since I am one of those contemptible “evangelicals,” I acknowledge the specific accuracy of Mr. Parker’s charge of widespread evangelical hypocrisy in that we fail to obey God and his son’s central command that we should love one another as we love ourselves.

In the church I attend, every Sunday we confess to exactly that sin. And it is by definition a grave sin, one that requires the death of the sinner, were it not for the atoning death of that very Jesus, whom we acknowlege as our saviour, the one who saves us from the penalty of the sins that we seem hell-bent on committing on a daily basis.

Yes, indeed, we are our brother’s keeper. Yes, indeed, Jesus did say, when you visit the one who is sick, you visit Jesus himself. When you don’t, well … there’s the human condition again. Not just mine, not just evangelicals, but every human’s condition: Sinful and lost. Except for Jesus.

Long before Mr. Parker or me or Democrats or Republicans, that body of people known as the Church took the concept of caring for the sick and expanded it into a system. Beginning in 325 A.D., hospitals were constructed in every town in which there was a cathedral. While other cultures had some degree of care for the sick among them, “in-patient medical care in the sense of what we today consider a hospital, was an invention driven by Christian mercy and Byzantine innovation,” according to a scholars’ quotation in Wikipedia.

Mr. Parker, in essence, charges that those who say they follow Jesus have failed to provide funds to help the poor, especially the poor who are also sick and in need of care. Because of that failure, Mr. Parker charges, the obvious necessary successor to the Church in providing that care is the Government, with a capital G.

He switches his previous argument that such care, financed by a mandatory tax levy on every citizen (or at least on those who actually pay taxes), is a “Right,” with a capital R. Instead, he writes, “call it an enjoinder from God … call it basic human decency ….” He and like-minded others are determined to help the poor “with public funds forcibly extracted from individuals,” his paraphrase of my argument last week.

I suggest that Mr. Parker will have to persuade God to pay for the resulting bill, because us human citizens of the U.S.A. cannot.

The current national debt is something over $19.8 trillion (with a T). That works out to an individual debt of $61,207 per citizen of the U.S.A., or $165,653 per taxpayer. Debts come due, even healthcare debts.

The current largest federal budget item is just that: healthcare paid for by Medicare/Medicaid. Social Security is next and Mr. Parker’s loathed defense expenditures are third in line, dwarfed by the social spending.

Unless Mr. Parker can miraculously produce a lot of loaves and fishes and pharmaceuticals out of thin air, his assertion — “There is no reason why this country cannot provide healthcare for all” — amounts to magical thinking or a mountain of faith in Government (big G) to commandeer much more of our paychecks than it now does.

Take heart, progressives. A (failed) candidate in the recent French elections proposed an income tax rate of 100 percent for moderately high income earners. That’s not a typo. One hundred percent.

I suggest that if Government (big G) asserts its power to take nearly everything you earn, we have reached the end of democracy, even liberty itself. Mr. Parker may be moving from Number 4 into Number 5 above, but to get to where he wants to go, it may require a move into Number 6. Once that happens, all “rights” are subject to the whims of tyrants.

As to Mr. Parker’s charge that the Church as an institution (especially evangelicals) has failed in one of its primary missions (in addition to the Great Commission), I agree with him: Many churches fail to care for their own people, much less the world.

Those of us who pray to God in the name of Jesus are responsible for that failure. And we need to repent and change our behavior to show mercy using individual money and individual visible deeds to the least among us whom we see and come into contact with, that we ourselves might be shown mercy on that last day.

Government (big G or little g) and higher taxes cannot save us from that responsibility or that judgment.

[Cal Beverly is editor and publisher of The Citizen.]