Now there’s a title guaranteed to piss off a few people, but frankly, in my experience, it’s true.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all Christians do this all the time, or for that matter that all Christians are stupid, imbecilic, or otherwise lacking in the gray matter department, as I’m sure I’ll be accused of. There are a lot of Christians whose intellect I admire. But it seems that there is a subset of Christians – call them fundamentalists, evangelicals or simply the seriously devout – who choose willful ignorance over rational analysis every time. Why? I’m not sure, but I suspect it’s easy. A lot easier than tackling difficult questions of life, existence and morality.
I recently had the occasion to experience (again – it happens often) one of the prime indicators of my thesis, when I was alerted to a blog written by a woman who posted a little essay entitled Why I am Not a Democrat in which she attempted to explain how her understanding, reading and interpretation of Scripture (The Bible) mandated that she could never allow herself to vote for a Democrat. I added a comment, as did PhillyChief and the Exterminator, which she answered in kind. OK, so far so good.
Perhaps she views her purpose for blogging different than I do, for after the first round of comments, she stated:
Please note: I will remove any comment that focuses on insulting the person rather than the argument.
You can read the whole post, with comments, and perhaps you’ll disagree, but I didn’t see any reason why she needed to make that caveat, as I saw nothing, absolutely nothing, that looked even remotely like a personal insult directed at her. Apprently, however, she was insulted, and when I sent another comment to her first response, I noticed two things: She had turned moderation on, so that she could review the comments before they appeared, and she had changed the title of the post to Can a Christian Be A Democrat?, thereby changing the entire focus of the post from herself to all Christians in general.
As it turns out, my second comment never showed up with the rest of the comments, nor did a long one from PhillyChief. (Philly actually wrote his own post about this blog here.) I’m going to therefore set forth what I wrote here, along with PhillyChief’s, so my readers can decide whether they were personally insulting.
To Spanish Inquistor: I don’t expect nor demand that anyone “share their gains with me.” I don’t have a right to benefit from the hard work of others by “taking” their money away from them simply because they have it and I don’t. Thanks for pointing out so well why I am not a Democrat!
Oh, c’mon. That’s not what I said, and you know it. But thanks for twisting my words around and showing me why I am neither a Christian nor a Republican. In my experience, that’s a common debating tactic of both.
And I see you’ve now got moderation on. It wasn’t when I first posted. I guess it would now be reasonable for me to expect that this comment will not show up. Prove me wrong. I’ve had a lot a very reasonable comments (no ad hominems, no profanity) fail to show up on Christian’s blogs simply because they did not like what I had to say. Don’t disappoint me.
I also note that you’ve changed the title to the post, and hence the focus, from whether you can be a Democrat, to whether any Christian can be a Democrat. I assume the conclusion – no – is the same. While I’d agree that you personally, given your dependence on the words of one lonely book, (out of so many out there with ideas that could be useful in your decision making), could never be a Democrat, I’d have to disagree with the conclusion that NO Christian could be a Democrat. Jesus himself, with his emphasis on helping the poor (not just oneself), turning the other cheek, doing good for others while depriving yourself, etc, etc, etc, would probably have been a Democrat, not a Republican. He doesn’t talk about it in the New Testament, but he did reject many aspects of Old Testament law, and my guess is that given his overall message, he would have rejected Leviticus’s admonition against homosexuality, in favor of one of love for everyone, without bigotry or prejudice, because they are different than you. I’m sure he’s eating shellfish as we speak 😉
A Christian’s emphasis on such silly matters as homosexuality, guns and abortion as a basis for determining political decisions is somewhat … well…silly. Now, you don’t think they are silly, because you’ve cherry picked lines out of Scripture that confirm your particular personally held beliefs in those matters, and that’s your personal belief, and if that makes you a Republican, so be it. That’s the beauty of America, we get to think and believe and say what we want without recrimination. Go ahead, vote Republican. Just note that while those may be important personal reasons for you, there are many Democrats, indeed most of them, who are Christians, who would disagree with you. So the sheer weight of popular opinion is against you. That doesn’t make you wrong and them right, but it’s food for thought.
I see you’ve conveniently ignored the issues of businesses outsourcing jobs, moving plants overseas, and buying foreign parts and supplies. Also, you’ve ignored the issue of the rich not actually contributing to the economy due to buying foreign products, investing abroad and using foreign banks. Once again, history shows we can’t place faith in the altruism of the rich or business, yet that’s your argument. Your faith is misplaced, possibly due to your own selfish interests.
The infamous Limbaugh quote of “the top 50% of wage earners pay over 96% of taxes” misses some important points:
1) The clear disparity in income between the top 50% and the bottom 50%
2) The effect the taxes have on the respective halves
3) The rich pay only 1.45% on any salary that they receive and nothing on non-earned income, which is the supermajority of their income, while the poor pay 7.65% on every dollar they get and essentially have little to no non-earned income.
4) The poorest have little if any discretionary income, therefore, they pay a much higher rate on consumption taxes than do those with discretionary income
5) The rich benefit far more from taxpayer expenses like police, fire, infrastructure and so forth than the poor. Btw, ask the citizens of New Orleans how much of a return on their tax dollars they got after Katrina. Murphy Oil and other large corporations got healthy amounts of aid.
Your arguments are nothing more than excuses to silence your conscience. You paint the less fortunate as lazy and refusing to work and you write off scripture as being individual rules instead rules for government. The first point is simply ridiculous and absurd. Even the Bible shows there are four categories of causes for poverty:
• Oppression and fraud (Prov. 14:31; 22:7; 28:15)
• Misfortune, persecution, or judgment (Job 1:12-19, Ps. 109:16; Isa. 47:9; Lam. 5:3)
• The culture of poverty – Proverbs 10:15 says, “The ruin of the poor is their poverty.” Poverty breeds poverty, and the cycle is not easily broken. People who grow up in an impoverished culture usually lack the nutrition and the education that would enable them to be successful in the future.
• Laziness, neglect, or gluttony (I doubt if I have to cite passages for you since you no doubt at least have these committed to memory)
You can’t simply ignore 75% of the bible and focus only on the 25% which suits you. Is that what you think passes for Christianity? If you won’t delve into the depths of the Bible, then look into the depths of your own heart. Do you honestly believe all of the less fortunate, those on the other half of that 50% you cite, are all simply lazy and refuse to work?
For your second excuse, true, it is the responsibility of us individuals to help the less fortunate and work for peace, but casting a ballot is also an extension of that responsibility and not, as you would make it out to be, an excuse for not helping the marginalized. A vote is an act of furthering the work we should already be doing, and it’s a reminder to the legislators, each and every INDIVIDUAL legislator, to live up to their responsibilities to the less fortunate.
I suggest you revisit The Parable of the Sower. “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop”. Do not let your heart be hardened to the plight of your fellow men or to your responsibility to them. Do not try to assuage your guilt with selective reading of the Bible and visions of personal wealth, or place your faith in false idols.
Any reasonable person can see that while both comments criticize the blogger’s ideas, they are not personally insulting. The only conclusion one can reach, therefore, is that she did not want to see valid, oppositional, and presumably embarrassing comments on her blog, because it contradicted those preconceived notions that she had grasped to support her conclusion that Democrats were “evil” and not worthy of her vote, or for that matter, of any Christian.
The main thrust of our comments was that her reliance on Scripture to support her clear bigotry (against homosexuals, against people on welfare, among others) was misplaced, and she couldn’t handle it, so she simply ignored it. Out of sight, out of mind. And in a more general sense, this is what many Christians do to get through their days. They turn off their brains, ignore competing ideas and notions that contradict their pre-conceived prejudices, and use one, and only one, source to support their worldview. One single book, as I mentioned in my unpublished comment, out of literally millions of alternative and/or supplemental source materials at their disposal.
Can you imagine undertaking the study of any subject, be it scientific, historical or philosophical, and choosing one book, to the exclusion of all others, as the only source of knowledge on that subject? Could you consider yourself thoroughly educated? Obviously, not. But many Christians do use only one source for all of the answers to their questions on morality, life and science.
And I’m talking about people who use reason and logic every day of their lives, to make rational decisions about such things as “should I ignore this red light?” or “should I gulp down this bottle of Windex?”, answers to questions they’ll never find in the Bible. They use their brains by analyzing all the information at their disposal to make rational, oftentimes life-altering decisions. Yet, when it comes to their religion, they turn off their brains and read one book, written by unknown people who lived in the desert thousands of years ago, people who made their living — indeed eked out their very existence — by tending goats. They defer to anonymous ancient authors who fashioned a guidebook for life that made sense to their ignorant tribesmen, but that makes no sense in light of the amazing discoveries science has made over the millennia. Still, Christians accept only the truth of that one book, as they interpret it with the help of their knowledge-free pastor and friends.
I’m sure Kim is a wonderful person. She seems to have done a good job running her life, so far, and raising a family, at least by her own account. However, she is deluding herself if she believes that her book has all the answers, and furthermore, that it can be used to make decisions about who to vote for in a society that the authors of that book could not have envisioned in their wildest dreams. At the very least, she’s limiting her choices.
I hope she remembers the following, though. Not exactly apropos, but close:
Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. Matthew 22:21