Christianity, Republicanism And The Role Of Government.

Someone posted this in a blog:

“Rush was really good today in his talk about how liberalism seduces so much of the church with so called charity, which is income redistribution, and other ideals.  This is one of the most insidious mixings of church and state there is. Social equality becomes confused with Christian belief.”

To which I replied:

“Yeah, those sinister evil liberals, helping the poor and healing the sick like jesus – just to trick christians into liking them!

You claim to follow the philosophy of a homeless man, but listen to a man with multiple mansions instead.

American christianity is insane.”

To which he replied:

“Since when is redistribution charity. I am all for giving money to the poor and helping those less fortunate but governmenb taking hard earned cash  and giving it to the poor is all too often  more robbery than charity. The end does not justify the means. Christ will not likely bless something which comes out of an evil system.”

To which I replied:

“When jesus was asked if they should pay taxes, he said render unto cesar what it cesar’s and unto god what is god’s. He also had nothing but contempt for the rich.

American culture worships wealth and greed and sneers at the notion of taking care of the poor or helping those less fortunate. It couldn’t be less christian.

And I would be all for having charity do everything if it actually worked. If you took every penny given to every charity in the US every year and put it toward just one cause – providing healthcare to seniors – it would leave 1 in 4 seniors covered by medicare without healthcare and screw every starving american, kid with cancer, rape victim, abused spouse etc, etc out of any assistance.

A penny of sales tax does more good than the largest charity in the world. And even what charities do is largely from the government. I found out recently that “catholic charities” one of the largest and most respected charities in the US – 2.9 percent of their funds come from catholic churches, 35% come from investments and other non-church donations, and 62% of their funds come from the federal government.

Not to mention that people aren’t going to give until it hurts when they’re terrified they or their loved ones might get sick and need a $40,000 surgery some day. They’re going to sit on their money “in case”. If they know they will be able to get help or cover their medical costs they will be more charitable.”

To which he said:

“People give all the time out of charity. The church gives and organizations give some out of love and some out of selfish reasons but to say that no one gives unless forced is simply not true. As for paying Taxes to Ceaser this has nothing to do with giving the government what it needs. The government essentially has three functions, defence, upholding the law,and facilitating individual freedom. It does not need to have the economically retarding taxes to do this. Finally it is the rich who employ people and most of them have earned there wealth.”

To which I said:

“When did I say no one ever gives to charity? I said the opposite.

And the word “welfare” comes from the constitution, it’s in both the preamble and the text as one of the fundamental functions of government. Abraham Lincoln defined the role of government thus:

“The legitimate object
of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to
have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for
themselves in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the
people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not
to interfere. The desirable things which the individuals of a people can
not do, or can not well do, for themselves, fall into two classes:
those which have relation to wrongs, and those which have not. Each of
these branch off into an infinite variety of subdivisions. The first that
in relation to wrongs embraces all crimes, misdemeanors, and
nonperformance of contracts. The other embraces all which, in its
nature, and without wrong, requires combined action, as public roads and
highways, public schools, charities, pauperism, orphanage, estates of
the deceased, and the machinery of government itself. From this it
appears that if all men were just, there still would be some, though not
so much, need for government.”

The notion that the government should just build bombs maintain prisons and that any other use of tax dollars is treason or theft is a notion invented recently by the republican party.

And as far as taxes retarding the economy, many countries have significantly higher tax rates and pretty much all of them to my knowledge maintain a similar gross domestic product. If a corporation spends a dollar it stimulates the economy but if the government spends a dollar it doesn’t? Again, new (and bizarre) republican economic ideology.”

To which he said:

“What people can do for themselves. you say? our standard of living is such that even the poor here live better than in other countries.  Charity of individuals and private institutions should be the primary means of supporting the poor. Occassionally the government may have a role, but it should withdraw itself to a large extent because of ineficiency, waste, and entitlement mentality it feeds. This is true whatever the motives of those in office whether benevolent or malevolent and wishing to maintain power.”

To which I said:

“”What people can do for themselves. you say? our standard of living is such that even the poor here live better than in other countries.”

And that is in no small part due to government intervention. Get rid of the government safety net for the poor and that standard of living will plummet.

“Charity of individuals and private institutions should be the primary means of supporting the poor.”

In a perfect world maybe – not the one we live in.

“Occassionally the government may have a role, but it should withdraw itself to a large extent because of ineficiency, waste, and entitlement mentality it feeds. This is true whatever the motives of those in office whether benevolent or malevolent and wishing to maintain power.”

There is inefficiency and waste in government to be sure, but the adminsitrative cost of the food stamp program for instance is 3 and a half percent of it’s budget, far below that of most charities. Catholic charities for instance has administrative costs around 10%. I don’t see how you can really argue with the figures though – google stats on the total amount donated to charity in a year and compare that to the cost of the government safety net. Charitable donations don’t even begin to cut it. So yeah maybe in a perfect world charities would run everything, but that is a fantasy world.”

To which he said:

“3% I will have to look into such claims especially since the government loves working figures such as its “seasonal adjustments” a whole other topic. However  Waste and abuse tend to be atttracted by government beauracracy because often times those running the program have jobs dependant on the handouts. This blurs the line far more than in private charities. I definitely agree we do not live in a perfect world but that does not mean we should not try to love up to the laws instilled in creation through our conscience.

People being forced to give will not be near as productive as those who do so willingly. Indeed the base nature of man is the very reason we must not force him into charity for if he discovers that others in his view, whether true or not, are simply living off of his labor through the governments benevolence why should he strive for excellence. In its extreme forms this is why socialism when it turns to  communism is such a verifiable failure.”

To which I said:

“3% I will have to look into such claims especially since the government loves working figures such as its “seasonal adjustments” a whole other topic.”

http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/SNAPsummary.htm

Their total budget minus the amount given out in benefits = 3 1/2%.

“However Waste and abuse tend to be atttracted by government beauracracy because often times those running the program have jobs dependant on the handouts. This blurs the line far more than in private charities.”

There is waste, fraud and abuse in every sector of everything, public and private. People complain about social security fraud as if no one every defrauds private insurance companies or complain about welfare fraud driving up the cost of a program as if no one ever shoplifts or steals office supplies or commits fraud in or against private companies and drives your costs at the checkout counter up. People bitch about having to buy “obamacare” when the reason for the reforms is that our wonderful healthcare system costs double that of every other industrialized country on the planet (including those that have universal coverage for every citizen) and was still rising rapidly. It was an attempt to save money and lives and reign in the national debt and was twisted into an attempt to kill grandma and destroy the economy.

And while there is waste in government we should make government better, not get rid of it. Republicans say the public school system doesn’t work because government can’t do anything – but the public school system works really well in all the countries that are doing better than us. So how much of it is government not being able to do something and how much of it is self-fulfilling prophecy? And politicians trying to look good instead of doing their job. They lower the passing grades so on paper more students pass and it looks like they’ve improved things (when they’re really screwing us) and private schools do no better by selectively only letting the best and brightest, kids from good neighborhoods etc attend their school while the public schools have to take kids with learning and mental disabilities, psych problems, criminal records etc. So while on paper private schools have more graduates and better test scores it’s not exactly because they’re necessarily doing a better job or deal with remotely similar challenges.

“I definitely agree we do not live in a perfect world but that does not mean we should not try to love up to the laws instilled in creation through our conscience.”

You think republican economic philosophy was instilled in creation? Capitalism, socialism, communism etc are modern constructs, the bible doesn’t talk about them. And if we want to read them into the bible there are many passages where the apostles “socialize” their property etc.

“People being forced to give will not be near as productive as those who do so willingly.”

I’ve already established that the opposite is true. Look up the figures if you don’t believe me, every dollar given to charity in the US doesn’t even amount to the annal medicare budget, ignoring everything else the government does charity-wise. Your statement that taxes do less good than willful giving is simply not the case. The waste in the worst welfare program is probably a few percent, but it would have to be like 80 or 90% waste across the board for your statement to be accurate.

“Indeed the base nature of man is the very reason we must not force him into charity for if he discovers that others in his view, whether true or not, are simply living off of his labor through the governments benevolence why should he strive for excellence.”

Because as the bible says, man does not live on bread alone. The welfare system helps people survive, not thrive. I assume our hypothetical man would like to see a movie or drive a car or have a romantic relationship at some point. People settle for poverty when they’re beaten down by the world and give up – not because it’s a sweet gig.

“In its extreme forms this is why socialism when it turns to communism is such a verifiable failure.”

There is an ocean of difference between the US variety of socialism and communism. The first step toward a communist state (according to marx) is the abolition of all private property. Having public property is not communism, it’s socialism. Communism is an absolute form of socialism, but socialism is not necessarily communism. 8 out of 10 of the amendments in the bill of rights refer to socialized government institutions the founders intended us to have. ALL governments are socialist, not nearly all are communist.

To quote the movie “clue”, communism is just a red herring.”

I may update this if he responds, but I thought it post-worthy.

Advertisements

About agnophilo

Nerd.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Christianity, Republicanism And The Role Of Government.

  1. Christian “charity” never get’s to the people because over 90% of the cash goes to the administration costs. Building (electricity, phone etc).

  2. galadrial says:

    You missed a point…though I found your arguments remarkably tight and solid. “Charities” tend to give to their own. So the largesse is based on being in “good” with the primary religion doing the giving. With Mormons, for instance, running afoul with the clergy can be downright unhealthy for a family financially. Piss off the LDS, and you could find your kid getting no college money, your mortgage getting called in for “full payment”, and be out of a job PDQ.  Your need for charity at that point could be profound…but since you are on the “bad” list, don’t hold your breath. One group called themselves 1-800-KARS-FOR-KIDS, and claimed to benefit “children in need.” Turns out their “need” was instruction in the Torah. That suggests to me that no one was getting a cent unless they were Jewish…and worse…only Jewish BOYS…since the Torah is not generally taught to girls. They had to change their ad wording, because a DA found it deceptive…but they are still singing the same song, last time I checked. And there really is no way to make sure any charity is spending the boodle on what they claim. I would not contribute to most religious charities because I was raised catholic…and I have wondered for years how much of their funding ended up as hush money for pedophile priests….or just the Vatican Art collection.

  3. I just thought about something after reading your post. If you consider how the inside of a church operates, it is pure socialism. So if a Christian republican was consistent with there politics they would be preaching individualism. But the Christian minister hates individualism because a country filled with strong minded individualists is very bad for his business and would not support his living off the people like a leach. 

  4. whyzat says:

    What is it when a church demands a tithe from their parishoners. Isn’t that like a tax? I think that’s something that drives people away from church or explains the proliferation of offshoot denominations (not cults, just people who are dissaffected by big religion). I never give to religiouse charities.

  5. In the interest of what I hope is nonpartisan POV from an unbiased source, and in the sprit of trust but verification, I googled “states with highest per capita charity”.http://www.american.com/archive/2008/march-april-magazine-contents/a-nation-of-givers It’s interesting.  Americans are more charitable than any other developed nation in the world.  Tax deductibility is not a predominant factor.  People who give in money also give in other ways (like time, and to the blood bank).  The religious have a slight giving edge over the secularists.  Two-thirds of giving is to nonreligious areas; education, art, and welfare.  The article also hints that private donation works better in this country than the European style of government disbursement would.Is the article “religious”?  No.  Is the source unimpeachable?  Probably not.  Do unimpeachable sources exist?  It’s like life on other planets; a matter of speculation.  The Greek philosopher Diogenes used to search for an honest man by lantern in the daylight.

  6. YouToMe says:

    Yes, postworthy. With rec after rec detox completed

  7. sleekpeek says:

    I want to live in a country where I am proud of the minimum standard of living; where people strive for pride of ownership. If a person belongs to a church/charitable organisation, the person is proud to support the community. The same goes for a government. The idea of fund raising rallies has its purpose and should not be confused with good will. Nevertheless, good will does mean one will be giving. Giving does not automatically mean one has good will. It’s not simple, I suppose, and I see only one heavy thing about Rush Limbaugh.

  8. YouToMe says:

    you must be outside working. So I figured youd check this before email. Lol. Just wanted to say I called to see how things coming. Going to try to take lil rest before spawn arrives. Check w/ ya later or call me when on break.

  9. explorer9360 says:

    Excellent article! I would like to point out that in moving to communism all private property is abolished. In moving to a plutarchy/oligarchy all private property isn’t abolished but is owned by a few individuals… which is where the economics of the US is heading (and in many cases, is already there).

  10. There is a battle going on right now for the soul of the Republican Party. We can see it going on in the primary. There is the Ruling Class led by Romney and the true conservatives led by Rick Santorum. At least he is the latest primary candidate to try and win that banner.Ruling Class Republicans are just the go-along-to-get-along wing of the Democrat Party. George Bush was one of them and so was John McCain. The major difference among the Ruling Class is their love of country. Democrats hate America. Republicans tend to love it.

  11. agnophilo says:

    @LadyboyRevolution – True, of churches at least.  Though they would consider evangelism/maintaining peoples’ beliefs charity.@galadrial – True dat.  I know you don’t have to be catholic to go to catholic charities, but it’s probably a requirement of them accepting tax money.@LadyboyRevolution – True.  It amazes me how people are fanatically devoted to economic individualism and political and religious herding.@whyzat – There used to be a literal church tax actually : )  Now they just bilk people out of money by selling them magic water and crackers, guilt etc.@wrybreadspread – This like many other similar articles I’ve seen is based not on actual hard data, but on opinion polling.  They call people up and ask them how much they’ve given to charity and christians on average claim to give 25% more than secular people.  When asked if they’ve attended church in the past week around 40% of americans say yes.  But when you do the math of how much actual room there is in every church in america it’s physically impossible for them all to attend church.  So people started going around to churches and doing headcounts and found that fifty percent of the people who say yes are lying.  Social expectation to answer a certain way skews the results, sometimes drastically so.  Similarly if every religious person who claims to donate their time to charity in a year was telling the truth, only religious people would ever donate their time to charity, since it amounts to everyone who has donated time to charity according to the department of labor’s statistics.  All these polls show is that christians on average claim to give more to charity.  When someone does a study based on IRS records or hard data I’ll give it some credence, until then these “studies” are BS.According to that poll 90% of “religious” people give to charity and they average 2,210 dollars a year in charitable donations.  Even if we only count christians as “religious” then 78.4% of america is christian.  There are just over 300 million americans, so 78.4% of that is 235,200,000, and 90% of that (because it says 90% of them give to charity) is 211,680,000.  If 211,680,000 christians gave $2,210 to charity every year and no one else gave a penny, that would be 467,812,800,000 a year.  According to every statistic I can find americans give around 290 billion dollars a year to charity.  So yeah, christians don’t give more to charity – but they do lie to pollsters more on average.@YouToMe – You don’t have to if you don’t want to.@sleekpeek – I normally would frown at a weight pun, but it’s limbaugh so who cares : )@YouToMe – Already replied to this.

  12. agnophilo says:

    @explorer9360 – True.  And I mentioned the first point in the blog.

  13. explorer9360 says:

    @agnophilo – I don’t understand what the sentence means, I might just be sleepy. Anyways, part of the problem is people only listen to ‘authoritative sources’ which are unfortunately controlled by a few people. Thus the ‘liberal’ – ‘conservative’ split. Bill Moyers explains here = http://explorer9360.xanga.com/759190701/what-occupy-wall-street-and-the-tea-party-have-in-common/

  14. misuriver says:

    @wrybreadspread – Of course the religious have an edge over giving. The majority in America are religious. Not attacking. Just saying.

  15. PPhilip says:

    @agnophilo – you saved me the trouble to respond to wrybreadspread. I find that various folks are hospitable to workers (me I install televisions). Hospitality could be the tip of the iceberg to how truly people are generous.Charity is in someways like hospitality. People see your need and respond to it. Other folks have had their hearts so harden that they wouldn’t offer you a drop of water on a hot day. Basically people need to take care of the small details out of love and a bit of obligation.The bitter folks will tell you “Why don’t you take in a homeless into your home?” While the real folks do size up the situation and offer folks a chance to help themselves.Here is the final proof: When the class gap is too great, where the wealthy are so filfthy rich and unconcern and the sizeable majority start to suffer in unemployment and discontent the conditions are ripe for revolution…….

  16. agnophilo says:

    @explorer9360 – I agree, and I just got done watching him on tv – I like him.  It’s a breath of fresh air to hear a moderate voice.  The so-called far left radical commie liberals used to actually be very centrist, now at least as far as pundits are going they’re looking more like fox news every day.  Anything for a buck I suppose.And the first sentence was me saying that your first point (“I would like to point out that in moving to communism all private property is abolished.”) I had said explicitly in the blog [“The first step toward a communist state (according to marx) is the abolition of all private property.”]@misuriver – Actually his statistics are per capita… and totally inaccurate.  See my response to him, if “religious” people gave as much as his source claims, they would give almost twice what all americans combined actually give.@PPhilip – I agree, the little things are a really good indicator of character – I always pick the brain of anyone who comes into my house to do something for me.  I had really interesting conversations with the phone company dude and the gas company dude when I moved to my new apartment.  Both ended up being atheists and highly intellectual/philosophical.  People who work with their hands (especially in jobs that involve problem solving) tend to be very intelligent in my (albeit limited) experience.But yeah, a job like that really would give you a good vantage point for sizing up the human race.  Outside of extreme situations of course.  Thanks for commenting : )

  17. explorer9360 says:

    @agnophilo – Ah! I was actually referring to what you had explicitly said , I should have phrased it like this…  “I would like to point out that though you state that in moving to communism all private property is abolished our current situation is the opposite. Large tracts of lands are now in very few private hands, this is also a bad sign for democracy. So what we have now is an oligarchy i.e. In moving to a plutarchy/oligarchy all private property isn’t abolished but is owned by a few individuals… which is where the economics of the US is heading (and in many cases, is already there).” Sorry for the lack of clarity, doing allot of things at once right now.

  18. misuriver says:

    @agnophilo – Ah.. I stand corrected.

  19. @wrybreadspread – Not sure how a conservative think tank is an unbiased source…

  20. @agnophilo –  As neutrally as I can, I will inquire: can you present any corroboration for your rebuttal?

  21. @twotothefightingeighthpower –  I kinda tried to address that with the caveat about the “unimpeachable source.”  My honorable fellow Xangan presented his post in the format of a dialogue.  And I felt impelled to respond. For my money, there’s entirely too much assertion being made on both sides off the top of one’s head.  Granted, I didn’t dig too deep.  But I’m responsible only for my own assertions.  It’s up to others to subject their own opinions to the cold light of scrunity.

  22. agnophilo says:

    @explorer9360 – Don’t worry about it : )@twotothefightingeighthpower – I proved his figures mathematically impossible above.@wrybreadspread – I proved your figures mathematically impossible – did you read my response at all?@Tallman – Thanks.

  23. @agnophilo – I phrased it poorly.  I was inquiring after the source of your info (whether it’s from one source or diverse sources)

  24. agnophilo says:

    @wrybreadspread – If you mean the figures on charitable giving, they’re from numerous sources.  I can’t find a source that’s even close to 467 billion a year from all americans, let alone “religious” americans.  Google “charitable giving in the US” and see if you can find a statistic that high.  The 290 billion figure includes corporate donations, religious tithes and individual donations, etc.  Here is a breakdown of it.

  25. Stanelle says:

    I hate to admit it,..but you make a lot of good points here.

  26. agnophilo says:

    @Stanelle – I try to make those on occasion.

Speak yer mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s