Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


Jesus is a Liberal Democrat! (this is awesome..)

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> March to Keep Fear Alive

So awesome and funny! But a lot of truth, too…
Thank you Kristin!



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Andy

posted December 17, 2010 at 8:29 am


Best quote from the video, for easy copy/paste for everyone:

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”



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    Jay

    posted December 17, 2010 at 9:14 am


    Unfortunately, loving the poor and serving the needy for many goes something like this: “Oh I support such and such a government program and you don’t. Why do you hate Jesus?”

    I could stand on a pedestal and say, “Matthew. I think every penny you receive from sales of your books should go to serve the poor and the needy. If not, then you must not love Jesus.”

    How is that any different from those who pound their chests when they say to support a government program? I guess what bothers me more than anything is more often than not, the people on their pedestals calling for more government spending do so largely because they’re not the ones paying for it. It’s extremely easy to be holier than thou with somebody else’s money.

    You want to serve the poor? Sell that MacBook Pro and buy yourself a Dell or an HP. Give the rest to a food pantry. Don’t buy Ed Hardy jeans. Get yourself some jeans at Walmart and give the difference to a rescue mission. When the new iPhone comes around, stick with your current one and spend the $200 on a donation to World Vision or Compassion Intl.

    It’s hard for me to count the number of Christians who claim they don’t have a pot to piss in but certainly have enough for designer clothes, an iPad, Dre Beats headphones, cable television with every premium channel and a DVR, Mac computers, smartphones and $16 a day for coffee.

    But they don’t have enough to tithe to their local church and they don’t have any money to give to charity or to serve the poor.

    But they do have their self righteousness.

    And Andy, my comments are not directed directly at you. These are just overall thoughts.



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      kristinherdy

      posted December 17, 2010 at 9:51 am


      I call Shenanigans – Christian liberal without a savings account, typing this on an old HP, in my Target jeans, covered in a homemade quilt because I can’t afford to turn on my heat. I work part-time (and my only real luxury – the internet, but not cable – is for that part-time job), but can’t find full-time employment, even with a Master’s degree. I still give at church, volunteer, donate to others and it’s completely self-serving, you’re right about that – I’m serving my own soul, giving out of my abundance.

      I could have it worse. It could always be worse. but if it helps you to sleep at night to imagine all us undeserving poor eating on your dime, I tip my ratty old baseball hat to you.



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        Jay

        posted December 17, 2010 at 10:13 am


        You seemed to entirely miss the point. It’s interesting that nobody has a problem with a stereotype until they become the stereotype. Then it’s a problem.

        I’m no upper crust person with gobs of money staring down my nose at those less fortunate that I am. Undeserving? I’ve got news for you. We’re ALL undeserving.

        My overall point is that a principled opposition to spending on something – particular if it is billions and billions of dollars which has proven to have not worked in the past – is not cause for questioning whether or not somebody adhere’s to the Gospel of Christ.



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          kristinherdy

          posted December 17, 2010 at 10:20 am


          then I’m not sure you made your point very well. try writing it more clearly.



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          brandontmilan

          posted December 17, 2010 at 12:17 pm


          From rereading your initial post, your point seemed to be this: “Everyone who claims to want to help the poor via government spending and programs actually spends ridiculous amounts of money on unnecessary luxuries.”

          In all honesty, the $500 one would save by buying an HP instead of a Macbook would probably pay for about a month of health insurance for a family. Unless one of them has a preexisting condition. Add up the iphone and the designer jeans, and you’ve probably got another two or three months of insurance.

          Sure, somebody could save some money here or there and help the poor get a meal or two. But me holding off on my iPhone may buy a family food for a week. But what about next week?

          Me not buying a Macbook would probably pay for health insurance for a family for a month, but what about next month?

          On the other hand, wiser spending on social programs, especially those geared towards healthcare and training, would help a heck of a lot more people than me selling my macbook and buying a computer at walmart.



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      joel k

      posted December 17, 2010 at 9:56 am


      I don’t wear designer jeans. I don’t have a MacBook Pro (My business computer, which is the only one I own was the least expensive one I could find at WalMart). I don’t have an iPhone (okay, but I do have a first gen ipod nano that was given to me as a gift in 2005). I do have a smartphone, which was free when I signed up for cell service, also a business necessity). I don’t have cable. All in all, I do have a handful of luxuries, but by the standard you are setting, I live substantially less than most.

      I do tithe to my local church, and I do give additional time and money to serve the poor. And, I would likely have many more luxuries in my life if I didn’t, but frankly I don’t want them. And, I do support many government programs that serve the poor, and I believe that Christians who strongly oppose said programs are misguided in their understanding of the Gospel.

      I say all this to point out that your stereotype of us bleeding hearts is not entirely based on truth. In fact, most of the people I know who strongly support the types of programs we are talking about are also the people who are most likely to give of their own money to help the poor. I don’t mean to pour a guilt trip, but seriously don’t resort in disgusting stereotypes to support your own political ideas. If they can’t stand on their, then they aren’t worth holding onto.



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        Jay

        posted December 17, 2010 at 10:27 am


        and I believe that Christians who strongly oppose said programs are misguided in their understanding of the Gospel.

        Nonsense. It strongly depends upon the reason for the opposition. If one is opposed because they think those in need are so because they’re freeloading losers that don’t want to work, then yes. I support many government support programs and 13 years ago my family was a recipient of such assistance (WIC). But more spending for the sake of more spending is wrong. And using Jesus Christ as a political bludgeon is wrong. It’s wrong when conservative pro-life advocates do it and it’s wrong when liberals do it in support of social programs.

        I say all this to point out that your stereotype of us bleeding hearts is not entirely based on truth.

        No stereotype is Joel. That was my point.



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      Orange

      posted December 17, 2010 at 10:15 am


      Jay… I love your comments. Anytime I want to remember the stereotypical American “evangelical” answer, I come to MPT’s blog and read your comments.



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        Jay

        posted December 17, 2010 at 10:42 am


        Thanks Orange. I peruse the comments section too anytime I want a good dose of, “Ooh look at me being cool making fun of those silly ‘American evangelicals.’



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          Grant

          posted December 18, 2010 at 5:28 am


          Thanks for keeping it classy, Jay. I would not have given the same courtesy aftering hearing all that ignorant horseshit. The commenters were quick to point out how little they had and how generous they were with it, but that was just a pathetic excuse to ignore what you had to say and avoid the issue. Also, Orange made an ass out of himself/herself with that asshole comment. However, if you two know each other and that was just repartee then I apologize. Wait. No I don’t. That comment still pisses me off. Whoops! There goes classy right out the window.



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Justin

posted December 17, 2010 at 8:32 am


That last statement Stephen says can be pretty convicting.



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Travis Henderson

posted December 17, 2010 at 8:53 am


While Stephen’s last statement was quite convicting, I’d have to disagree with most everything else that he said. The wholesale giving of handouts doesn’t help anyone. In fact, it can create more problems… like Bill O’Reilly said, it can be self destructive. I do believe that we are called to be a generous people, and that we are to give to widows and orphans. That is what James calls pure and undefiled religion. However, what about the statements of Jesus where He says if a man doesn’t work He doesn’t eat? What about how the Proverbs condemning laziness and sloth? I like the way O’Reilly put it when he said helping those who through no fault of their own are in need. I believe we are to give to those who are in need, but I think we must be careful in giving so that we are not enabling a person’s laziness.



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    Scott Morizot

    posted December 17, 2010 at 10:17 am


    I’ll note that Jesus never said that if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat. That’s actually an out of context quote from Paul writing to the Church in Thessaloniki. In that letter Paul was addressing a specific problem where some people had decided that since Jesus was returning any minute, they would quit doing anything and just wait for him, not engaging in any activities and living off the church. As much as anything else, it was a kick in the pants (metaphorically speaking, of course) to bring them back to reality.

    Jesus actually said many other very uncomfortable things, like Luke 6:30. I’ll let you look it up.



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Toby

posted December 17, 2010 at 9:01 am


Awesomely and hilariously true!



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Aran

posted December 17, 2010 at 9:03 am


I watched this last night when it aired and was blown away . . . and I was also pretty sure MPT would have it on his blog by this morning!!!

love it

Love It

LOVE IT



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bman

posted December 17, 2010 at 9:30 am


It’s kind of sad when secular satirists get it and so many of us don’t.



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    Leanne

    posted December 17, 2010 at 10:38 am


    I would argue that Colbert is not a secular satirist but actually a strong Catholic. He teaches religious classes at times at his church.
    And I think his position as a satirist allows him to preach the Gospel in a very unique and powerful way that preachers cannot.
    We wish to go to Paul and other Scriptures to often times tone down Christ. But the OT and the epistles all point to Christ. We need to hear these words and then interpret the Scriptures of Paul and the OT in light of Christ rather than the other way around. Colbert does an amazing job in confronting us with the extreme-ness of Christ and his teachings.



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      Silica

      posted December 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm


      In interviews with Colbert where he’s not in character, he has spoken about how significant his faith is to him. As a Catholic with similar political views, I really get a lot out of his segments on religion. It’s amazing to me that so many people think his character is “really” him.

      I read an op-ed in my local paper a few months ago (I can’t recall if it was syndicated or not) that discussed Colbert as one of the only truly feminist people on mainstream TV today. His style of show definitely turns a lot of people off (probably because it can get so close to the “real thing” – sometimes his character’s arguments sound so much like my father’s that I have to turn it off), but you’re right that it opens him up to make some really powerful commentary.



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Jason

posted December 17, 2010 at 9:50 am


Colbert is certainly a very gifted comedian.



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Tamara Out Loud

posted December 17, 2010 at 10:00 am


“Flagrant injection of charity into the Christmas season.” Oh, Stephen Colbert, how I love thee.



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DT

posted December 17, 2010 at 10:24 am


@Jay: You said:
“My overall point is that a principled opposition to spending on something – particularly if it is billions and billions of dollars which has proven to have not worked in the past…”
Giving to the poor never “works.” Taking care of the needy never “works.” By definition, charity is about giving a man a fish, not teaching him to fish. Jesus said we would always have the poor with us. Charity is a money pit. But we are still commanded to do it.
The reason we will always have the poor is because 1) mental and physical chronic illnesses and 2) fundamental economic injustice, and only in a minor way 3) lazy scammers who buy Ferraris on their panhandling money. #3 gets the most press, but, like airplane crashes, is sensational but not representative of the whole. #2 is probably 85% of the reason why charity will never “work.”
Too often, “principled opposition” is a euphemism for “stubborn arrogance.”



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    Leanne

    posted December 17, 2010 at 10:42 am


    Amen. We often run to Paul and to other Scriptures outside the Gospel to justify our comfort. But truth is, Christ called us to die, to pick up our cross. This is not a religion about what works economically. It is a belief system about God giving everything for Creation and inviting us to do the same.
    As I stated above, we shouldn’t run to Paul to explain Christ. We should run to Christ to explain Paul. As Bishop N.T.Wright states, read Paul first and the Gospels second, you’ll get Paul all wrong. Read Gospels first and Paul second, you’ll understand Paul in a whole new way.



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    Jay

    posted December 17, 2010 at 10:51 am


    DT, do me a favor. Define “fundamental economic injustice” for me. Such phrases make for good political fodder, but for the most part are rather empty in meaning.

    Too often, “principled opposition” is a euphemism for “stubborn arrogance.”

    For some people, sure. For me. Not so much.



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      DT

      posted December 17, 2010 at 11:13 am


      The thought in my mind as I wrote that phrase was the cunning rich, those who have the money and disregard human, national, and environmental tragedy in the pursuit of wealth and power.
      The classic understanding of economic injustice builds on this, and calls for regulation and redistribution as a check and penalty on such destructive greed.
      There is a reason why Christ said it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God then to go through the eye of a needle. You typically don’t get too extremely rich without walking over someone; if you became rich and took care of others then you wouldn’t be so rich -in comparison-. It is why Christ told the rich young ruler to sell all he had, exposing his priority of wealth over souls.



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Derrick

posted December 17, 2010 at 10:56 am


I always wonder how people (I include myself in this because I’ve done it and still sometimes do) decide that they have the right to determine who is deserving and who is not. Politically conservative Christians (which I was, but am not) tend to reserve their “right” to decide who is worthy and who is not worthy of their help. I can’t help but think that Jesus wouldn’t support that. The parable of the workers shows everyone getting the same pay when some workers did much more work than the others. If that is the kingdom of God…do we subvert it by applying our own standards of merit in helping others?



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    Jay

    posted December 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm


    Derrick, actually nobody is deserving of anything. It’s really about mercy and grace. If I give $5 to the guy standing near the stoplight on the highway exit, I shouldn’t concern myself with what his motives are for asking. Could it be for booze? But it could also be for him buy himself something to eat. Whatever it is, it’s not my concern. I am merely showing mercy as Jesus talked about in the beatitudes.

    What irks me is the cavalier attitude people have with government programs and advocating for more of the same, when they themselves are not paying for it.

    As a middle class person, my tax federal tax liability each year is nearly zero. The home mortgage deduction, charitable deductions, child credits, property tax deduction, etc. all bring my tax liability way down. So it would be easy for me to say, “Yeah, I support this new government program being offered up.” And why not? With my situation, I’m not the one that will be footing the bill.”

    It is akin to me going to Compassion International’s website, signing up to sponsor 5 kids and then saying, “Oh by the way. Send the bills to Derrick. He’ll pay for it.”

    Even if you could afford it, I’m sure you would be taken aback by my arrogance, would you not? And how would you feel if I responded to your negative response by saying, “But Derrick. Who are you to decide who is deserving and who is not?”

    My overall gripe is being told by those who support such programs that opposition would not come from a “real” Christian or like Joel says above, that my understanding of the Gospel is misguided because I’m opposed to it. That’s just absurd.



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      DT

      posted December 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm


      @Jay: You said:
      “It is akin to me going to Compassion International’s website, signing up to sponsor 5 kids and then saying, ‘Oh by the way. Send the bills to Derrick. He’ll pay for it.’”

      Apples and oranges. Compassion Int’l is a private charity. The government is the government. Everybody pays taxes, and everybody knows that how they get spent is out of their hands. You are complaining about a legitimate function of government. Let me put it this way. I don’t like the war in Afghanistan. I demand that my tax dollars NOT be used to support it! Well obviously I can’t do that; I have no say so except to petition and vote for/against the congress critters in question. Let’s say I don’t feel like the federal government should be building a particular interstate extension. I demand my tax dollars not be used to support that! Again, I can’t make that call, but NO ONE would say that it is unjust or improper for MY tax dollars to used for war and interstates that I oppose.
      Yet when my tax dollars are used to give food stamps to a black family in the ghetto, or some poor white family in the south, then you’ll gladly say that I have a right not to be forced to support that with my tax money. It’s robbery you say!
      If the federal government passed budgets by popular consensus, only spending your tax dollars on what you thought was cool, many gaping holes would appear in necessary government programs and departments. It just isn’t feasible.
      This quickly devolves into endless debates on what exactly the functions are government are. Our constitution provides that the government is to provide for the general welfare of its people. That’s a rather broad mandate, and welfare and social programs fit cleanly into it. You don’t have to like it, but your taxes WILL go to support these as a legitimate function of our government.

      You said:
      “My overall gripe is being told by those who support such programs that opposition would not come from a ‘real’ Christian or like Joel says above, that my understanding of the Gospel is misguided because I’m opposed to it.”

      Well it wouldn’t. As I have already mentioned here and elsewhere, redistribution is a legitimate means of addressing economic injustice, which is rooted in greed and covetousness. Christ told you to give to him that asks everything you have. So then what right do YOU have to complain about part of your taxes going for the poor? Christianity is a religion of sacrifice that is diametrically opposed to the “evil eye” of today’s GOP, especially the Tea Party.
      You certainly wouldn’t have fit in ancient Israel, where your tithe not ONLY went to provide for the Levitical priesthood, but also for the poor.



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        Jay

        posted December 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm


        DT your retort is filled with so many logical fallacies it’s hard to know where to start.

        Apples and oranges. Compassion Int’l is a private charity. The government is the government. Everybody pays taxes, and everybody knows that how they get spent is out of their hands.

        It is not apples and oranges because:

        A. Not everybody does pay taxes. Depending upon income, deductions, credits and other areas there are people that pay ZERO taxes and some that actually get a check from the government against taxes they haven’t paid (that would be any refundable tax credit).

        B. Everybody does not pay the same amount of taxes nor do they pay the same percentage of taxes.

        You are complaining about a legitimate function of government.

        I’m not complaining about the government at all. I am shining on a light on the attitudes of those who think that because they support ever expanding government growth that they’re more in line with Jesus than those who do not.

        Yet when my tax dollars are used to give food stamps to a black family in the ghetto, or some poor white family in the south, then you’ll gladly say that I have a right not to be forced to support that with my tax money. It’s robbery you say!
        If the federal government passed budgets by popular consensus, only spending your tax dollars on what you thought was cool, many gaping holes would appear in necessary government programs and departments. It just isn’t feasible.
        This quickly devolves into endless debates on what exactly the functions are government are. Our constitution provides that the government is to provide for the general welfare of its people. That’s a rather broad mandate, and welfare and social programs fit cleanly into it. You don’t have to like it, but your taxes WILL go to support these as a legitimate function of our government.

        This is a total straw man because you’re arguing against a point I never made. I completely understand the legitimate functions of government so please stop acting like I am opposed to any forms of government assistance, ok? Stick to the points I am making instead of building up bogus arguments, knocking them down and claiming victory. You’re completely missing the overall point either on purpose or you’re reading comprehension needs improvement. I am talking about attitudes here, not application.

        Well it wouldn’t. As I have already mentioned here and elsewhere, redistribution is a legitimate means of addressing economic injustice, which is rooted in greed and covetousness.

        Yeah you have mentioned it and you’re wrong. Do you think greed and covetousness are only applicable to those who have wealth? Have you seen what has happened in countries in Europe where proposals are offered up that make citizens contribute more to their own livelihoods? They have riots. They’ve essentially become slaves to government largess. Government assistance is about just that: assistance. Helping people. Not solution to some kind of injustice perpetrated against others. You’ve got it 100% wrong.

        Christ told you to give to him that asks everything you have. So then what right do YOU have to complain about part of your taxes going for the poor?

        If you’re going to argue theology, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Jesus told people to give away all they had as a test to see where their hearts really were. The poor and indigent found it easy to follow Jesus. They had nothing. People who had money however….well that is where Jesus was able to truly see where their hearts were at.

        Christianity is a religion of sacrifice that is diametrically opposed to the “evil eye” of today’s GOP, especially the Tea Party.

        And who is sacrificing? This is my point. The ones standing on the sidelines saying, “The government should pay for everybody’s healthcare. The government should pay for everybody to go to college. The government should pay ________” I can go on and on. But the ones advocating this are not the ones sacrificing. They’re saying the other people over there should sacrifice. And it isn’t sacrifice when you’re told you have to pay staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.

        You certainly wouldn’t have fit in ancient Israel, where your tithe not ONLY went to provide for the Levitical priesthood, but also for the poor.

        Don’t question me as a person DT. You don’t know me so to do so is really lame. You have no clue as to what my feelings are about serving the poor and needy and what I have done in Christ’s name for that. This is the problem with the average modern American leftist Christian. They conflate Christian faith with left wing tax and spend policies and its actually quite sad.



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          DT

          posted December 17, 2010 at 4:46 pm


          1. “It is not apples and oranges because:”

          Yes everybody pays taxes. Income tax, gas tax, sales tax, property tax, myriad fees. Trust me, we all pay the govt in some way. It doesn’t make a difference in our argument whether it is state or fed, they work together anyway.

          2. “I’m not complaining about the government at all.”

          You said:
          ““Yeah, I support this new government program being offered up.” And why not? With my situation, I’m not the one that will be footing the bill.”

          In your hypothetic scenario, a government assistance program is in force, and you say that those supporting it are hypocrites. The fact is, you are complaining about the government, because the program wouldn’t EXIST if the government wasn’t offering it, and it wouldn’t be offered unless the constitution of our government allowed for it be voted into being. Complaining about the SUPPORTERS is pointless.

          3. “I completely understand the legitimate functions of government so please stop acting like I am opposed to any forms of government assistance, ok?”

          Answer is a combination of 1 and 2. You evidently have a problem with the government offering programs for people who don’t pay income taxes.

          4. “Do you think greed and covetousness are only applicable to those who have wealth?”

          No, economic injustice can go both ways. But economic injustice from the poor is not the problem in the USA right now.

          5. “Jesus told people to give away all they had as a test to see where their hearts really were.”

          So Jesus didn’t mean what He said, he just wanted to see how people would react? I am not comfortable with that.

          6. “And it isn’t sacrifice when you’re told you have to pay staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.”

          And yet Christ payed taxes from the mouth of a fish when he didn’t actually owe them. The loaded gun only gets pointed in your face when you fight.

          7. “This is the problem with the average modern American leftist Christian. They conflate Christian faith with left wing tax and spend policies and its actually quite sad.”

          Really? The average American Christian is GOP, AFAIK. I actually feel a bit left out in the cold. But you misunderstand, I think. I support more social programs in the sense that I want to help the unfortunate and I am willing to pay more should congress vote to increase my taxes. But this is not so much indicative of solidarity with classic liberalism as much as it is an attitude of “however I can help, I will,” which to me seems thoroughly Christian.
          And what’s up with the “tax and spend” moniker? Isn’t that the reason the government taxes, in order to spend?



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Brittney

posted December 17, 2010 at 11:45 am


Giving sacrificially is something Christ modeled and this is something both Christians and non-Christians (as well as those from both ends of the political spectrum do fairly well.) Giving of your personal wealth to help others is not something I can imagine anyone arguing about. The reason many people choose to vote Republicans as followers of Jesus Christ has little to do with this issue. It has more to do with a desire to have righteous laws- since we (unlike in Jesus’ time)are blessed to live in a country where we can vote. Christian Republicans desire to protect the value of life, uphold the value of faith in society, and preserve Biblical marriage, among other things. These Republicans are giving to their churches, sponsoring children through World Vision and volunteering at the rescue mission. O’Reilly was wrong, but then Colbert was wrong as well… once again Christians are not one issue people as much as society wants to paint us as such.



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    kristinherdy

    posted December 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm


    Biblical marriage – could you give me an example? is that when Solomon had multiple wives? Abraham married his handmaidens? Would you support that at the federal level?

    you’re right, some things dont translate well into a voting booth.



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    LRA

    posted December 17, 2010 at 12:49 pm


    “Christian Republicans desire to protect the value of life, uphold the value of faith in society, and preserve Biblical marriage, among other things. ”

    In other words, they want to live in a theocracy and deny everyone else our proper and Constitutional freedoms.



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    DT

    posted December 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm


    @Brittney:
    You’re missing the malicious aspect of economic injustice. Greed perpetuates swindling and fraud and irresponsibility towards others. The GOP not only minimizes the importance of the safety net but passes on full, proper regulation necessary to deal with these crimes. But that’s ok as long as gays aren’t allowed to get married?



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    JLL

    posted December 17, 2010 at 4:38 pm


    “Righteous laws?” So it’s ok for Republicans/conservatives to try to remake American law in the image of their particular holy book, but when other nations try to do the same with their holy book it’s some horrible thing? I thought laws in this country were for everyone, not just the Christians. And if you’re going to focus on “righteous laws” where do you draw the line? Gonna get all Levitical on us? Shut down all the Red Lobsters–’cause that’s an abomination, my friend.

    I visited a church this past week and noticed that they had a koi pond. A man-made pond with decorative stones and koi fish in it. I couldn’t figure out how that glorified God, and I wondered if the cost of that pond could have fed a hungry child…



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brandontmilan

posted December 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Charlie's Church of Christ

posted December 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm


man a lot of people heard some Jesus on tv last night, kinda crazy.



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LRA

posted December 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm


Take that Republican Religious Right!!! You got called out!
:D

Boo-ya!



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Carole Turner

posted December 17, 2010 at 12:55 pm


Helping the poor is a commitment of time, work, and money, that most of the people in this country are not willing to give. Christian’s really do a lot for the poor, but they have long since been great at hand-outs but not at hand-ups. I believe they must go together. In recent years there has been a move toward more holistic, long term outreaches, that meet a need but also provides services for advancement and a way out if they want it.

See the problem is working against two mind sets, you have the people who are privileged, if not wealthy even, middle class, hard working, but most of them only want to help from a distance, mainly out of fear and lack of understanding, but seeing life from the side of the poor is essential to helping them long term I believe. The only way this is undone is to spend time with the poor in a non judgmental way, go with eyes wide open, heart open and determined to love and learn.

The other side is the poverty mentality that comes from generations of dependency, fighting this in an impoverished environment is very hard. This is what takes time and commitment. They need encouragement, opportunity and assistance with a goal in sight. And even then, you may only see one out of 20 actually make real progress away from poverty.

The truth is that some people in both camps, do not want to change, so people in both camps rely on government programs to do poorly what we as believers and so called followers of Christ could do well-because we have the love of Jesus in us and Jesus told us very clearly, many times how to treat the poor.

I’ve worked with families that don’t work, drink what little money they get and have children running around with no shoes in the cold because they cant pay their electric bill. Those kids didn’t do anything to be in that position other then being born. We do what we can for those kids and we work with the family, always providing a hand out with a hand up.

The problem is there are to few of us. We burn out and get jaded by going to Mega churches and listening to people talk about their new cars and designer bags when what they spend on useless crap could fund our after school program that teaches dance, art, cooking, etc. The money to really help at risk and impoverished communities get out of the cycle, is here, in the U.S. body of Christ, we just don’t care enough to spend it where it’s needed. Then we go to tea party meetings mad at the “socialist government” for implementing more programs. Well at least someone is.

Sorry, for the tangent.



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    LRA

    posted December 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm


    This comment is absolute WIN!!!

    I would add that as a secular humanist, I also believe that a call to help the poor in the terms you have listed here is imperative because secularists believe that this life is the only one there is (no promise of paradise later). These people are our fellow human beings and deserve to be heard and understood and not treated like “undeserving freeloaders” when things are so, so, so much more complicated than that.



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Ian

posted December 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm


Conservatives = Pharisees. I get it now. Thanks ;)



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Smitty

posted December 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm


What all the government programs miss is that these are mandated. Jesus doesn’t want or need your money. He wants you to have His heart for the poor, and to help them out of that love, not because you are made to. Government programs substitute involvement. PAy taxes, and someone else can take on the “problem” of the poor. My understanding of the acts of giving brought about by faith is that I do this out of my own desire.

Forced “community service” is the same thing. It’s not service if it is mandated. It is slave labor. Forcing me to support a program that may or may not truly compassionately assist those who need it removed my involvement, and thus, my understanding of the actual plight of the poor. Swing a hammer with someone building their house, clean a poor widow’s yard and have her fix you milk and cookies, and you’re then being involved with the recipient of your donation.

Jesus was “God with us” (That’s the literal meaning of Emmanuel. God didn’t send an agency, He sent His Son on a voluntary mission.



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Dianna

posted December 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm


I posted this on my facebook page, and it devolved into the same sort of argument.

I’d like to offer up an alternative take.

Maybe, just maybe, especially with his last statement, the satirist Colbert isn’t advocating government involvement in assistance programs. Maybe Colbert isn’t advocating for either side here. Maybe he’s calling out that particular sect of the conservative right who would call for “a Christian nation” in Jesus’ name, and then ignore what he has to say about the poor. For example, when O’Reilly talks about private charity, and then says that Jesus wouldn’t have been self-destructive, and closes with the heretical idea that “God helps those who help themselves.” (I actually read O’Reilly’s article a few days ago. It’s a steaming pile.)

So, it’s possible here that Colbert is calling out his fellow Christians (as already said, he’s a devout Catholic) in saying “If you’re going to call for a Christian nation, if you’re going to insist that Jesusland is what America is, then maybe, just maybe, you should reconsider what Jesus had to say about the poor, and not spend your time calling them lazy, not spend your money on a big house in the suburbs, and instead give something of yourself up and not whine about government programs doing it when you won’t.”

The claim at the end is particularly relevant: If we’re going to claim that this is a Christian nation inspired by God, guided by God and blessed by God – as so many on the right are fond of doing (coughbecko’reillyhannitycough) – then our attitude on the poor (no government assistance, they’re lazy freeloaders, private charity is all we need even though we don’t donate to it) is in conflict with Jesus’ attitude toward the poor, which was, indeed, self-destructive.

If we’re going to claim the government as a valid implementation of “righteous laws,” then we cannot ignore Jesus’ attitude to the poor either. Jesus had very, very little to say on the issues of abortion, gay (excuse me, “Biblical”) marriage, prayer in schools, etc. American Christians seem to be just FINE with using his name to advocate for those things, and to claim the supposed Christianity and blessedness of America. But the instant it is suggested that we use the government for advocating for other stuff that Jesus actually talked about – like, “Hey, take care of the poor” – we balk, we take a step back, we claim that those “righteous laws” belong in the private sphere and it’s not the government’s job.

THAT is what Colbert is calling out – that contradiction. It’s a function in the negative – he is not so much advocating FOR something (ie, government assistance) as he is saying that the current position on the right on both Jesus and government assistance is totally, and completely untenable. A subtle distinction, but an important one.



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    LRA

    posted December 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm


    That is a most excellent point and full of WIN!



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    Leanne

    posted December 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm


    Well said, Dianna. I posted the vid on my fb also. And it is easy to get pulled into a debate about the size of government and if Colbert is simply advocating handouts. But I find when I go into the political debate it is to alleviate the conviction I am having hearing the words of Christ. Colbert is confronting us with Christ’s words and the contradiction of our politics and lifestyles. Christ’s words should really sting both Democrat and Republican and Tea Partier equally.



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      gymmie

      posted December 17, 2010 at 11:32 pm


      That’s how I understood it as well Dianna & Leanne.



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    Jason D

    posted January 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm


    100% Win, Dianna. You hit it on the head and then kicked it through the goalpost.

    Colbert and Jon Stewart are similar in one way that I think passes over the heads of people on the left, right, middle, and everywhere else.

    Stewart and Colbert rarely advocate for one thing or the other. A good deal of their commentary, their satire, their mockery is to point out the inconsistencies in what a person, organization, company, or government SAYS and what they DO. They’re both adept at showcasing (and honestly the comedy writes itself) how group X doesn’t even follow their own rules.

    This is the perfect example and I’m glad you got it, as I said, many people (even folks who love Stewart and Colbert) don’t.

    You’re right, Colbert was advocating for one side or the other, he was pointing out how certain Christian political activists do things in Jesus name except the things he actually told them to do.



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Dion Evans

posted December 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm


Wow! Very funny with that ringing truth aftertaste. :-)



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Lauren

posted December 20, 2010 at 7:10 pm


This video is my favorite…if I weren’t Lutheran I’ve give it a big “Amen!”
I’ve always thought that Jesus leans a little to the left, politically.



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Jason

posted December 25, 2010 at 9:03 am


Standing Ovation man….RIGHT ON



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