Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Dear Christian conservatives,
I understand that you fear big, secular government and that you prefer, in general, limited government and less regulated economics. I do not wish to discuss how the Bible makes no mention of a laissez-faire republic (it tends to favor kings and prophets) or how Jesus said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” What I wish to discuss is the reasons our government has grown so much in the last century and what Christians could have done and can do to stop it.
Jesus commands his followers to be charitable. To those who follow this commandment he promises eternal salvation, saying, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:34-36,40).
When the Great Depression struck Christian groups gave aid, but they did not give enough to meet the needs of America’s poor. To meet this need the government had to step in and provide work and support for those who could find none.
Christian groups have done much to aid the elderly, who can no longer work or care for themselves, but again they have not done enough. To meet the needs of the elderly poor, the government instituted Medicare and Social Security.
As America’s poor continued to be unable to find work that would pay them enough to avoid eviction and to feed their families, government again stepped in where Christians had failed to provide and instituted various welfare and food stamp programs.
When Christians failed to heal the sick, as Christ commanded, the government stepped in to try and provide health care reform that would aid those who could not afford basic medical necessities.
Now, I make no arguments that these government programs are necessarily the best solution to the problems they address. I am not even arguing that they are always successful. Nor am I trying to denigrate the work of the many Christians who have worked hard and given of themselves to help those in need. Many have done good work and many will continue to.
What I am arguing is that the government steps in when the needs of the people are not met. The easiest way to prevent government from stepping into peoples lives is not to protest and carry signs. It is not to succumb, as many of us sometimes do, to unChristian hate and rage against the enemy. It is to heed the call of Christ and provide for the needy. More than two-thirds of Americans identify as Christians, yet at least 39 million Americans live in poverty right now. Those are 39 million hungry, desperate voices crying out for succor.
Instead of protesting the charitable actions of the American government, step up your own charity. Provide for the hungry, the thirsty, the strange, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. Employ those on welfare with good wages, so they won’t have to rely on the government. Open hospitals to provide free medical care for the elderly and the poor, so they will not need to rely on Medicare and the new health care reforms. Give money and food to the elderly so they will not need Social Security. Feed those who cannot afford to buy food so they will not need food stamps. If you want to stop big government, then you must step in and provide the services so many Americans rely on to survive. If you want to stop big government, you will have to act like a Christian, because if we perform our Christian duty, perhaps the government won’t have to.
I'm sorry, I usually don't post unoriginal pieces, but this was so good I had to share it! Originally and Brilliantly posted on http://guthriesmachine.wordpress.com
-Dead Pressed with BlogPress-
Monday, August 30, 2010
The (self)righteous Glenn Beck suggested that the Jews killed Jesus and that Jesus was against social justice on his Fox News show back in July. Beck’s claim occurred in the midst of a long monologue about religion. In it, Beck attacked, social justice, liberation theology, Jeremiah Wright and Rev. Jim Wallis. He singled out liberation theology as a “perversion” that is connected to Marxism and presents the poor as victims of injustice. Keep in mind that Beck is a Mormon (which many of his "Christian" sheep followers either forget or just don't know what a Mormon believes).
Beck went on to say:
“This is kind of complex, because Jesus did identify with the victims. But Jesus was not a victim. He was a conqueror…Jesus conquered death. He wasn’t victimized. He chose to give his life….If he was a victim, and this theology was true, then Jesus would’ve come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did. That’s an abomination.” What are the words “social justice” code for? Why, Nazism and Communism, says Beck: “Social justice was the rallying cry–economic justice and social justice–the rallying cry on both the communist front and the fascist front.” Beck even went so far as to cite Jesus Christ, saying, and I quote: “Nowhere does Jesus say, Hey, if somebody asks for your shirt, give your coat to the government and have the government give them a pair of slacks.” Well, Beck has me there. It is quite true that nowhere does Jesus say that. Nor, for that matter, does he ever say, A wop bop a lu bop, a wop bam boom!
There are so many reasons to criticize the Catholic Church — just ask my Catholic friends — but the “social justice thing” tends to work in its favor. Religions in general have social justice at the heart of their creeds; including The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (i.e., Mormonism), as demonstrated by their monumental relief efforts in New Orleans after the hurricane.
Indeed, you would think Beck would point out what a superior job religious charitable organizations did compared to the “heckuva” fumble performed by U.S. and Louisiana state governments. That would certainly play into his anti-government rant. But for Beck and the rest of his far right crowd, the whole point of opposing any government effort to help out the poor, the suffering and the unfortunate goes beyond anti-government libertarianism. At heart it is a lack of heart. It’s reflexive white supremacy, resentment against the imagined threats posed by “those people” to the dominant culture of passive suburban consumerism (ironically, given how easily immigrant cultures from all over the world assimilate to America’s shopping malls and ex-urban housing developments.) You hear it every time some yahoo says, “I don’t want my tax dollars going to those people.” The credo of Beck’s ilk can be summed up in two words, “F%k them.” That's why it blows my mind the this megalomaniac has the audacity to claim he's "taking the civil rights movement back!"
[info from colorline.com] Beck has spent the past several months needling today’s civil rights leaders with the charge that they screwed up King’s dream. He’s asserted that groups like the NAACP and, most menacingly, ACORN lost their way when they veered into the murky waters of “economic justice” and “social justice.” King’s vision, he has lectured, was about equal rights—about discarding racial markers of any kind so every individual can compete in the true American tradition. Blend in with the successful white men.
“Far too many have either gotten just lazy or they have purposely distorted Martin Luther King’s ideas of judge a man by the content of his character,” Beck said in June when defending the timing of his rally, was held on Saturday’s anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. “Lately, in the last 20 years, we’ve been told that character doesn’t matter. Well, if character doesn’t matter, then what was Martin Luther King asking people to judge people by?”
This is a very racist statement that King's speech was telling minorities to act like good white people and blend in!
All of this, of course, begs the question of what King, his movement and this iconic speech in fact stood for—and what reformers stand for today.
There are many things about King’s dream speech that Beck did NOT point out at last weekend’s gathering. Perhaps top among them: The 1963 March on Washington was the work of a war-resisting labor organizer, A. Philip Randolph, and an openly gay man, Bayard Rustin, who was himself a war-resisting socialist.
The event’s actual name was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. That moniker was a compromise between King, who wanted a more focused event, and Randolph, who helped broker the broad constituency that made the march the largest peacetime gathering in the nation’s history at the time. King’s iconic speech reflected the event’s dual focus on economic and political justice—and it included much, much more than a call to judge people by their character.
King began the speech by harking back to the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation as a “great beacon of light.” But he quickly pivoted to the ways in which that light had dimmed. “One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity,” King declared. “We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one,” he later added.
He talked about change-making in starkly radical terms, explicitly rejecting the purported pragmatism we’re now urged to accept on everything from immigration to jobs to health care. “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism,” he insisted. Before he got around to kids holding hands and singing about freedom, King talked about the “whirlwinds of revolt” that would make that moment possible, about the need to “shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”
Indeed, even when King finally arrived at his dream moment of childlike racial harmony, he set it up as the counter to cynical Southern politicians who refused to obey federal laws. “I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.”
Swap Arizona for Alabama and the refrain still works today.
But such language would likely get a racial justice leader catcalled out of Washington today. It’d be considered too divisive, too combative. It certainly wouldn’t poll well. No, King’s actual dream would likely render him the target of dismissive White House snark about unrealistic lefties.
Which is perhaps the lesson to take from these past 12 months of watching Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart and the Tea Party dominate the air waves—and set the boundaries for what’s politically reasonable on everything from immigration reform to job creation. If Beck’s the loudest national voice talking about King’s dream, he’ll be the one who defines how we make it manifest. It will become a nightmare!
Beck is the complete opposite of what both Kings stood for! Martin Luther King Jr. And our king Jesus Christ have spoken and no one can keep their message from changing the world!
Here are a few of many biblical verses that Beck either skipped or twisted:
Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" Jesus said to him, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Psalm 41:1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.
Proverbs 11:24-25 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Jeremiah 6:13 "That is because, from the least important to the most important of them, all of them are greedy for dishonest gain. Prophets and priests alike, all of them practice deceit. 14 They offer only superficial help for the harm my people have suffered. They say, 'Everything will be all right!' But everything is not all right! 15 Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things? No, they are not at all ashamed. They do not even know how to blush! So they will die, just like others have died. They will be brought to ruin when I punish them," says the LORD.
Matthew 23:25 "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too!
Isaiah 5:8 Those who accumulate houses are as good as dead, those who also accumulate landed property until there is no land left, and you are the only landowners remaining within the land.
Psalms 17:14 LORD, use your power to deliver me from these murderers, from the murderers of this world! They enjoy prosperity; you overwhelm them with the riches they desire. They have many children, and leave their wealth to their offspring.15 As for me, because I am innocent I will see your face; when I die you will reveal yourself to me.
2 Timothy 3:2 For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unequal
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.
Luke 3:14 Then some soldiers also asked him, "And as for us - what should we do?" He told them, "Take money from no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your pay."
Matthew 19:24 Again I say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God."
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of the laborer is pleasant - whether he eats little or much - but the wealth of the rich will not allow him to sleep.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 The one who loves money will never be satisfied with money, he who loves wealth will never be satisfied with his income. This also is futile.
Psalms 15:5 He does not charge interest when he lends his money. He does not take bribes to testify against the innocent. The one who lives like this will never be upended.
Nehemiah 5:10 Even I and my relatives and my associates are lending them money and grain. But let us abandon this practice of seizing collateral!
Leviticus 25:37 You must not lend the poor your money at interest and you must not sell the hungry food for profit.
Exodus 22:25 "If you lend money to any of my people who are needy among you, do not be like a moneylender to him; do not charge him interest.
Hebrews 13:5 Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you and I will never abandon you."
Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison as though you were in prison with them, and those ill-treated as though you too felt their torment.
Sounds like a "Socialist Agenda"! There's a lot more where that came from. The right-wing Christians push their bigoted and greedy agenda in the name of Christianity. They want their Taxes cut while taking away the programs that help the poor. Their even going after our social security. This country was founded on Religious freedom from persecution, but seeing their reaction to the Muslim community center in New York I guess it's only Christian freedom. They're prejudice against Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, progressives, facts and anyone else that intrudes into their picket fenced white America. Well they can have the "Religion", but they'll never take away my relationship with Jesus. There are still some "real" Christians out there. Don't lose your faith in us and please don't let an evil man like Glenn Beck become the voice for us. He certainly does NOT speak for me, the Dead Peasant!
-Dead Pressed with BlogPress-