Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Keep Jesus Out of Your Socialism
The headline of the full-page ad asks, "What Would Jesus Cut?—A budget is a moral document." The text continues, "Our faith tells us that the moral test of a society is how it treats the poor."
The ad was produced by Sojourners, a self-described "evangelical" organization whose slogan is "Faith in Action for Social Justice." The ad was signed by Sojourners president Jim Wallis and more than two dozen Religious Left pastors, theologians, and activists. They urge our legislators to ask themselves, "What would Jesus cut?" from the federal budget.
How would you answer that question? My answer would be, "It's a nonsense question. Your premise is faulty. Your priorities are not His priorities."
Jesus had many opportunities to confront the Roman government about its spending priorities. It was, after all, one of the most brutal regimes in history. If the question "What would Jesus cut?" has any biblical relevance, we should be able to cite instances where Jesus lectured the Roman oppressors the same way the Religious Left lectures America.
Just compare ancient Rome with America today. Rome sent its armies out to conquer; America sends its soldiers out to liberate. Rome demanded tribute from other nations; America sends aid and emergency relief around the world. Rome enslaved nations; America rebuilds nations.
If the federal budget is a "moral document," what does it say about America? It suggests to me that America may be the most moral nation on earth! Name one other country that has spent $15 billion fighting AIDS in Africa. Name one other country that has provided more disaster relief, that has built more schools and water treatment plants, that has supplied more food aid around the world, that has sent more doctors, teachers, and technical advisers to developing nations.
Even America's military budget—much of which is being spent to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan—reflects the basic compassion and unselfishness of the American people. Clearly, America hardly deserves any scolding from the Sojourners soapbox.
Did Jesus ever lecture the Roman Empire about its budget priorities? In Matthew 8, when the Roman centurion approached Jesus in Capernaum, our Lord could have said, "How dare you, a Roman warmonger, come to Me asking favors? Change your priorities! Tell your bosses in Rome to stop buying chariots and start funding welfare programs!" But Jesus didn't lecture the centurion. He said, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith!"
In Matthew 22, when the Pharisees asked if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar, the Lord could have thundered against Caesar's misplaced budget priorities. Instead, He said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
In John 18, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect, a friend of Caesar. Why didn't He give Pilate an earful about the injustice of Roman rule? If ever there was a time for Jesus to "speak truth to power" and become the "social justice Messiah," that was it!
But Jesus didn't preach the social gospel to Pontius Pilate. Oh, he spoke truth to power, all right. He delivered a profound message to Pontius Pilate—and to you and me: "My kingdom is not of this world."
Now, I'm not saying that Christians are never called to confront their government. God bless Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church for standing against Nazi genocide. But that's not the situation here.
And I'm not saying there isn't a social and compassionate dimension to the Christian gospel. There certainly is! Jesus had great compassion for the poor.
He preached in Nazareth, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor." He sent word to John the Baptist, "The deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." Jesus presented the obligation to help the poor as an individual responsibility, a Kingdom responsibility—not the duty of the secular government.
Both the religious and secular Left in America seem to want government to replace the church in ministering to the poor and needy. One of Barack Obama's first proposals as president was a plan to slash tax deductions for charitable donations by high-income taxpayers. President Obama reasoned that a tax deduction "shouldn't be a determining factor as to whether you're giving that hundred dollars to the homeless shelter." Maybe so—but since private charities do so much good for the poor, why eliminate incentives for charitable giving? Could it be that liberals see private charities as competing with the big government welfare state?
In Romans 13, Paul tells us that we pay our taxes and support the government so that we will have a just, orderly society in which law-abiding citizens are protected from wrongdoers. But the responsibility for mercy and compassion belongs to the church—not the government.
What would Jesus cut? When He stood before the Roman Empire, He didn't suggest cuts. He received cuts. His flesh was cut by Roman nails and a Roman spear. He was bruised for our transgressions, and with His cuts we are healed. That's the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Honesty and Trust
By Walter E. Williams
Dishonesty, lying and cheating are not treated with the right amount of opprobrium in today's society. To gain an appreciation for the significance of honesty and trust, consider what our day-to-day lives would be like if we couldn't trust anyone.
When we purchase a bottle of 100 pills from our pharmacist, how many of us bother to count the pills? We pull in to a gasoline station and pay $35 for 10 gallons of gasoline. How do we know for sure whether we in fact received 10 gallons instead of 9 3/4? You pay $7 for a 1-pound package of filet mignon. Do you ever independently verify that you in fact received 1 pound? In each of those cases, and thousands more, we simply trust the seller.
There are thousands of cases in which the seller trusts the buyer. Having worked 40 hours, I trust that George Mason University, my employer, will pay me. People place an order with their stockbroker to purchase 100 shares of AT&T stock, and the stockbroker trusts that he'll be paid. Companies purchase 5 tons of aluminum with payment due 30 days later.
Examples of honesty and trust abound, but imagine the cost and inconvenience if we couldn't trust anyone. We would have to lug around measuring instruments to make sure that it was in fact 10 gallons of gas and 1 pound of steak that we purchased. Imagine the hassle of having to count out the number of pills in a bottle. If we couldn't trust, we'd have to bear the costly burden of writing contracts instead of relying on a buyer's or a seller's word. We'd have to bear the monitoring costs to ensure compliance in the simplest of transactions. It's safe to say that whatever undermines honesty and trust raises the costs of transactions, reduces the value of exchange and makes us poorer.
Honesty and trust come into play in ways that few of us even contemplate. In my neighborhood, workers for FedEx, UPS and other delivery companies routinely leave packages that contain valuable merchandise on the doorstep if no one answers the door.
The local supermarket leaves plants, fertilizer and other home and garden items outdoors overnight unattended. What's more, the supermarket displays loads of merchandise at entryways and exits. In neighborhoods where there's less honesty, deliverymen leaving merchandise on doorsteps and stores leaving merchandise outdoors unattended or at entryways and exits would be equivalent to economic suicide.
Dishonesty is costly. Delivery companies cannot leave packages when the customer is not home. The company must bear the costs of making return trips, or the customer has to bear the costs of going to pick up the package. If a supermarket places merchandise outside, it must bear the costs of hiring an attendant - plus retrieve the merchandise at the close of business; that's if it can risk having merchandise outdoors in the first place.
Honesty affects stores such as supermarkets in another way. A supermarket manager's goal is to maximize the rate of merchandise turnover per square foot of leased space. When theft is relatively low, the manager can use all of the space he leases, including outdoor and entryway space, thereby raising his profit potential. That opportunity is denied to supermarkets in localities where there's less honesty. That in turn means a higher cost of doing business, which translates into higher prices, less profit and fewer customer amenities.
Crime, distrust and dishonesty impose huge losses that go beyond those suffered directly. Much of the cost of crime and dishonesty is borne by people who can least afford it - poor people. It's poor people who have fewer choices and pay higher prices or must bear the transportation costs of going to suburban malls to shop. It's poor people in high-crime neighborhoods who are refused pizza delivery and taxi pickups.
The fact that honesty and trust are so vital should make us rethink just how much tolerance we should have for criminals and dishonest people.
The Nobel peace prize -- discredited again
Comment by Larry Pickering, an Australian conservative cartoonist
No person has ever been more deserving of a peace prize than little Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai. The world shed a tear as she bravely recovered from the Taliban’s cowardly attempts to kill her and her dream that little Pakistani girls might be educated.
She also gave the Norwegian Nobel Committee of academics one last chance at legitimacy, but again they blew it.
Oh well, we can't expect too much, after all, the Nobel Committee did see fit to award a Nobel Peace Prize to one of the world’s most notorious terrorists, Yasser Arafat. Arafat pioneered the art of suicide bombings and murdered thousands
Amid charges of bribery and corruption the Nobel Committee has awarded many prizes of dubious merit. A laureate among them was Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai, who famously claimed HIV/AIDS was developed by Western scientists specifically to depopulate Africa.
Another recipient, Linus Pauling, won multiple Nobels. He blazed a trail as one of the world’s leading chemists working on chemical weapons projects for the U.S. military.
The list is long... but one is my favourite: Failed rock star and three-time Nobel nominated, Bob Geldof. He was awarded the Nobel Man of Peace for his “feed the world” campaign. But Geldof caused many hundreds of thousands to starve to death. Please explain, you demand?
Okay you have heard it before, it goes like this: “Please don’t give me a fish, teach me how to fish.” But teaching starving people how to catch or grow food wasn’t in Geldof’s self-promotion manual.
All creatures, including indigenous humans, breed in marginal areas when conditions allow. Some animals can even prolong gestation until conditions improve.
Australia’s kangaroos have learnt to survive the most severe of droughts and are masters of this technique.
They have figured out how to lactate an embryo at the same time as carry a joey in the pouch and another in the uterus. The whole regenerating process can be slowed to a stop during droughts and booted back up when food is plentiful.
Bob Geldoff, in pursuit of propping up his failed rock star career, and armed with $150 million in donations, fed the world. But only once! Yes… just once!
It gave him notoriety and a lucrative job as a presenter on cable television, but it killed a million innocent children. How did this happen?
Simply because when artificial conditions are imposed on a people who have adapted to extreme drought conditions over millennia, they breed according to what is available to eat. A starving mother will have no milk.
An inevitable higher birth rate will occur when food is freely available. And in this case, it was Geldof’s artificial food. And what about the next cyclical drought? Of course it arrives, but where is Bob Geldoff now?
Well, Bob is swanning around the world describing his wondrous philanthropic nature to paying audiences while starving parents describe the great meal they once had to their starving children.A starving nation cannot be fed just once!
“Get rich, get famous, and get laid,” was Bob’s stated ambition. It was a costly one, but not to him.
The Poms gave him a knighthood so now we need to call him Sir Robert Geldof.
I wonder what the starving children would call him, if they understood what he had done to them. I would just like 15 minutes in a locked room with him.
Never mind little Malala darling, if you were my daughter I would cry with pride... you will be rewarded in far better ways than with a discredited Nobel Prize.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc
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Posted by JR at 1:40 AM