Saturday, June 23, 2018

Policy debates should be about helping Americans, not declaring others un-Christian

    “It’s the Christian thing to do.”
    This was the pronouncement of a top Democrat who insisted that Hillary Clinton return refund $1.65 million that the Democratic National Committee paid for Clinton’s email list just over a year ago. Such arrangements are not uncommon, as politicians carefully guard their mailing lists as one of their most valuable assets. Barrack Obama eventually donated his email list to the DNC, but not until 2015.
    Since purchasing the mailing list the DNC has used it to raise more than $30 million for the party. So the purchase was a great deal. But the Republican party has been far outraising Democrats. While individual Democrats have been very successful in fund-raising, the RNC has far outpaced them in both fund-raising and hoarding cash. The RNC currently has about $43 million in cash on hand with no debt; the DNC has about $10 million in cash coupled with $6 million in debt.
    And so the Democrats want their money back, and one spokesman has said their demand is ordained by Jesus Christ, and should Hillary not comply with it she is a apparently a bad Christian.
    Nowhere in the Bible is there a command to give money to either the Republican or Democrat party. Choosing to abide by the terms of a mutually beneficial contract doesn’t make one a bad Christian. But the far-left has taken to declaring anything they don’t like un-Christian, so it’s not surprising that one would hear such a ridiculous statement concerning Hillary’s email list.
    The Left adopted a policy some years back of infiltrating Christian churches in an effort to hijack the Christian faith. They have been remarkably successful in tying left-wing social policy to Christianity. Thus we are told that tax cuts are un-Christian; cuts in social spending are un-Christian; failure to support an open-borders policy which will destroy our nation is un-Christian; and so forth, ad nauseam, to the point that now failure to give millions to the DNC is un-Christian.
    If tax cuts are un-Christian then leftists should be able to tell us exactly what level of taxation is Christian. If cuts in social spending are un-Christian then exactly what level of social spending is Christian? If support for immigration control is un-Christian, they why do God and Jesus suggest otherwise in the Bible? Why would Jesus advocate policies which are certain to destroy America when the Bible insists that good rulers protect their subjects?
    As a nation the people of the United States have generally shared civic values that have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible. It’s possible to support good or bad public policy without being a good or bad Christian.
    Our federal system of government is one of dual sovereignty: our first duty is to our federal government to the extent such duties are spelled out in our Constitution; our second duty is to our states (actually our first duty is to our states, but since they have ceded authority to the federal government we are bound to honor this concession). We likewise have a duty of dual moral fealty; first to God, for those things specifically spelled out in the Bible, and then to our civic polity for everything else. Most things we as Americans support or oppose have nothing to do with Christianity; they are instead arguments about civic values and how to best implement them.
    Three years ago Southern Baptists voted to condemn the Confederate flag, with no allowance made for the fact that the flag might mean different things to different people. At the same meeting the denomination elected Steve Gaines as its president. As pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church Gaines allowed an associate pastor credibly accused of pressuring his teenage son to engage in sexual activity with him for more than a year to continue in his job for more than six months after learning of the abuse. Even more appalling, the associate pastor’s job was to counsel victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
    To suggest that the display of the Confederate flag is un-Christian is heresy. Whether or not such display is right or wrong is determined by one’s personal motivation for such display. If to honor one’s ancestral parents, then such display is ordained by the Ten Commandments; if displayed out of a sense of hate for others then it is a sin.
    The decision to elect Steve Gaines as SBC president is another matter. For most his tolerance for incestuous child abuse violates both our sense of civic morality and our sense of Christian morality, not to mention the law. How can an organization that would elect such a man deem itself worthy to lecture the rest of us on what Christians should or should not do?
    Civic polity requires us to support laws and policies that operate to the benefit of our fellow citizens. Such a view is in concordance with the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. However, absent bad or evil intentions, no public policy decision is either Christian nor un-Christian.
    There is no such thing as corporate Christianity. Taxation of the wealthy to support the poor may very well be good public policy; but support for such taxation is neither Christian nor un-Christian. Only personal action taken with one’s own effort or assets allow one to meet Christ’s mandate to help the poor. Those who donate their time, energy, and money to help the poor are engaged in Christian behavior. Mere support for government spending to help the poor is not Christian at all.
    Our motivations for supporting various public policies can be Christian or un-Christian, but the policies themselves simply can’t be. To simply label a policy decision as un-Christian is to bear false witness against another, a violation of the Ten Commandments which is, in fact, un-Christian.
    As a general rule a Christian argument can be made for or against almost any public policy, which is why I think such debates should focus not on religion, but what is best for the American people and nation.

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