BY VERN TURNER
Many so-called conservatives align themselves with Christian ideals and values. One is, therefore, compelled to validate those passionate proclamations and how they apply to political or social discourse.
Note also that here in the Bible belt, where the buckle seems to span Texas and Oklahoma, many with a more liberal persuasion share good, solid, citizen-oriented values irrespective of their religious beliefs.
Why, there are even proclaimed atheists who share these values. So, who has a corner on these values and what are they, anyway?
To answer these and many other questions, let’s turn to some words attributed to the most famous liberal in all Christiandom.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; to set at liberty them that are bruised.
This is some job description. With this assigned task, what did he say and do about it.
Blessed be the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you and cast you out your name as evil …
Don’t we hear many, many so-called conservatives doing a lot of “casting out” and reproaching?
Woe unto you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full, for you shall hunger.
I guess my favorite liberal never attended a $50,000 per plate fund raiser. How did he know …? I’m guessing that my liberal friend actually tried getting the attention of the rich so they would show some compassion for the not so fortunate. He goes on to offer the rich some hope:
… and if you do good to them which do good to you, what thank have you for sinners …, and if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thanks have you for sinners … also lend to sinners to receive as much again. Love your enemies, and do good; lend hoping for nothing in return, and your reward shall be great. You shall be the children of the Highest. Be you therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful.
It sounds like my friend says it’s OK to share the wealth, or as the current lexicon has it: redistribute it. Why, then, do I hear conservative Christians/Republicans screaming bloody murder about redistribution? Who cares what you call it if you’re helping the poor, right? I wonder what my friend would say about the term entitlements.
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you shall be forgiven.
Give, and it shall be given unto you in good measure.
Wow. This sounds like investing in your fellow man results in great rewards. I wonder why more rich people who go to church don’t get this. I may be stretching the point, but don’t our social services attempt to share wealth on a large scale? Isn’t it better for everyone to pay a little so that the burden of expense is shared rather than borne by the least among us? Yes, there are those who will cheat and try to fiddle every system. That’s what the sinners do, isn’t it?
For those who fashion themselves as the earners and the makers, but are adamant about investing in those less fortunate, my friend has more, poignant words:
But he that has much and does nothing with it is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the Earth, against which a stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.
I hear and read much about cutting services to those who need it most. I hear and read much about how the deadbeats among us are destroying our economy and our society. But those who are yelling the loudest are those who have the most to give to responsible service systems. They are the ones who cry for tax breaks while hiding their money in foreign countries thus denying it to the people they so readily exploit.
The politics of greed without conscience, wealth without substance and cravenness without truth belong, primarily, to the political party wearing its religion on its sleeve. It is the religion of my favorite liberal they tout.
Somehow, I don’t think the Prince of Peace would understand the hypocrisy.
– Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through Amazon.com.