Sunday, February 06, 2011

Jesus and Democracy

Our government provides a lot of great benefits. I have convenient and safe roads to drive, and, although they are currently pock marked from the snow and salt, they will be dutifully patched when the weather clears. I can walk into the library and leave with more books than I can carry. On the mornings when I run, I see police officers patrolling in their cars to make sure I'm unmolested. My husband can ride the bus to work in the worst snowstorm. Our government helps sponsor medical research to try to cure diseases and it prevents foreign countries from invading. The politicians may make some crazy laws, but overall, the government is coming through for me. That's why I don't mind paying taxes.
Some people need extra help from the government. They don't have health care; they don't have a place to live; they don't have food to feed their children.
Then the question is, should the government help these people?
That's where Jesus comes in. For those who are Christians, Jesus told us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked.
The argument then is that individual people should take care of those duties, not the government. People pay tithes to their churches so they don't have to think about the poor. But mostly, the churches construct bigger buildings and buy the pastors Cadillacs.
Many Christians say the churches and charities are responsible for the needy.
But, wait. This is a democracy.
We are the government. Every single one of us.
In a democracy, where the majority religion is Christianity, shouldn't there be more support for programs that take care of the poor?
Yes, people should work; true, they shouldn't have children if they can't feed them. But our job is not to judge them. Jesus did not list that as one of the many things we should do for the poor: Feed them, clothe them, lecture them about having children and getting jobs. He admonished us to feed them and clothe them and comfort them.
Unless, as Stephen Colbert said, we just choose to ignore what Jesus said because we are really more interested in our money and our things.
I'm just saying: Jesus lived in a dictatorship, not a democracy.

1 comment:

Call Me Crazy said...

You are so funny.

I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read much of the Bible but even if I had I don't think I would take it literally. I can't even spell the word.

I happen to believe in the spirit of the idea. I believe in a society that makes sure all of its citizens have certain basic needs, traffic lights, basic health care, education, affordable housing and YES Social Security Insurance.

Thanks for your thoughts

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