August 14th, 2009

cat quilt painting

Who's in charge here?

This has generated some discussion since I first published it on my other blog. 

On whether taxpayers have responsibility for the well-being of their neighbors, by means of government programs:

In the theocratic state envisioned by the Hebrew prophets (or even, in their critique of every nation) the responsibilities of kings was clear:  plead the cause of the fatherless and widow, demand justice for the poor.  See, for example, Psalm 82:3-4:  Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.  Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Nations were judged by how well their rulers implemented these simple principles.

In the United States of America, "we the people" (the voters and, yes, the taxpayers) are sovereign.  Therefore "we, the people" are under divine judgment if we fail to use our sovereign power to take care of the elderly, the disabled, the orphan and widows of our world.  "We, the people" as sovereign refers to our corporate role as king, which is to say, the government.  It is laudable for individual persons to do what they can by means of "charity," but "we, the people" are not just an aggregate of individual persons.  We, together, are king, and as such are answerable to God for how well we rule.

Been meaning to say this for quite a while, but I think it is well worth bearing in mind this August as "we" (in the royal sense) debate with ourselves about health care.

cat quilt painting

False Prophets

I feel the need to quote myself again.  Consider whether this commentary on Jesus' warning against false prophets, penned by me back in 1998, resonates with anything concerning current news accounts surrounding "town hall" meetings this August.
Consider a preacher or politician who sets out to raise the alarm about some threat to the comfort or values of his audience. He tells stories of horror or atrocity designed to arouse fear or revulsion. He identifies as dangerous some individual or group that is clearly foreign to the persons to whom he speaks, whether it is a racial group, or an ideology, or an opposition political party, or a religious movement, or a foreign political or military leader. He calls his hearers neither to repentance nor to reconciliation, but instead seeks to arouse anger and indignation against the identified source of threat. He proposes ways his audience can protect themselves, warn their friends, and counterattack against the threat described. Note that the content of this type of preaching could be almost anything. The individual may be denouncing religion, or atheism, or big government, or liberalism, or conservatism, or Satanism, or pornography, or fundamentalism, or communism, or capitalism, or sexism, or feminism, or homosexuality, or homophobia, or militarism, or pacifism. The fruit he produces, however, is the same in all cases: fear, mistrust, alienation and ultimately hatred.

Or, in this instance, health care reform.