God's Politics

God's Politics


Voice of the Day: David Lim

posted by gp_editor

The measure of a society’s progress is not whether it can give more to those who have more, but whether it can provide enough to those who have less.
–David Lim
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jurisnaturalist

posted June 20, 2007 at 2:14 pm


The use of the word “society” here is of crucial importance. The only acceptable application of this term is to a group of individuals who share certain goals in common. But only one group of individuals has a rational ethical mandate to care for the poor: the Church. To attempt to impose this ethic on the rest of the individuals we are surrounded by is both futile and devoid of virtue.
The church must assume full and exclusive responsibility for caring for the least of these.



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JimII

posted June 20, 2007 at 3:59 pm


The Christian Church must care for the poor because Jesus Christ requires it. As Christians, we must care for the poor because Jesus Christ requires it. As voting Americans, we must vote in a manner that is best for the poor, because that is a part of our actions, and we cannot suspend our moral obligations in any human endeavor.
If you think it is bad for the poor to have a minimum wage, food stamps, government subsidized housing, reduced lunches, etc., you should vote against these things or the people who support them. But, if you know that these things are good, you cannot oppose them because you think it would be better if the church did it.
Love,
JimII
BTW, I’ve posted on my blogabout supporting the outcasts in our society who face physical violence because of who they are.



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Eric

posted June 21, 2007 at 2:01 pm


Jim – I disagree. I can imagine an instance where government action would help the poor yet it would be unjust to others and, as a Christian, I would not feel compelled to support it. What if the government wanted to raise income tax rates on the rich to astronomical levels (back to 90% or so) and use that money to help the poor even if I believed those social programs were “good?” I don’t think it’s just to take 90% of someone’s income and redistribute it. And as a Christian there is nothing I can think of that would compel me to support such a policy.
Obviously, I’m using an extreme example, but I’m trying to show you were your logic doesn’t work. Simply saying that if food stamps and other government programs are proven to help the poor than Christians “cannot” oppose them is not logical.



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JimII

posted June 22, 2007 at 11:46 am


I can imagine an instance where government action would help the poor yet it would be unjust to others and, as a Christian, I would not feel compelled to support it. . . . Simply saying that if food stamps and other government programs are proven to help the poor than Christians “cannot” oppose them is not logical.

So, you are proposing a scenario in which it would be unjust to take money from the rich to help the poor. The example you gave is an extremely high income tax.
This is a tricy idea for me, because nothing in Jesus’ teachings talk about being careful not to do too much for the poor, or to help the poor only to the extent it doesn’t cause an injustice for the rich. I think if Jesus were alive in the 1970′s when the tax rate incomes above a certain threshold were in the 90′s (remember, when you enter a new tax bracket you only pay at that rate for the income above the threshold, not your entire income) he would not look around and see injustice for the rich.
I guess I understand the idea that a policy that helped the poor could be unjust to the rich, but I don’t think we’ve every come anywhere close to it.
I still believe it is our Christian duty to support the poor in our voting. Of course, in spite of my complete certainty of that obligation, I recognize it is derived from my faith experience and am thus capable of respecting others with a different faith experience.
Love,
JimII



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