Religion and Politics: 10 questions for 2016
by J | Aug 24, 2015 | Charity, Compassion, Family, Featured, Homosexuality, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Politics, Racism, Savior, scripture, Service, Truth, unity |
I believe that we all have an obligation to make sure our moral and ethical beliefs inform our politics. The Christian magazine Sojourners says it well
We envision a future in which Christians put their faith into action in the passionate pursuit of social justice, peace, and environmental stewardship, working in partnership with people of other perspectives, for the common good of communities, families and individuals.
If we say we [hold one opinion] in our personal life but [a different one] in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God’s servants have defined as serious . . . . I urge Latter-day Saints who have taken that position to ask themselves which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled on by the law due to this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices.
With this in mind I’ve drafted 10 questions for all current presidential candidates. These questions are informed by my prayerful understanding of Mormon scripture and doctrine:
- The Bible teaches that we are to love our brothers and sisters, and that the way we treat them is the way we would treat Jesus Christ. In what scenario would you feel comfortable deporting Mary, Joseph, and little Jesus?
- Racism, condemned by every major religion in the world, is nonetheless a staple of American history. After hundreds of years of American oppression of black children of God, where do you think the nation is in the repentance process? Has there been full restitution? It has been 50 whole years since the Civil Rights Movement after all, and a black man is President. So . . . are we all done?
- In your efforts to defend the sanctity of all human life, where do you draw the line on racial epithets? Are you okay referring to newborns as devious “anchors” or your brothers and sisters as “illegals” or “aliens”?
- Since the fundamental premise of Christianity is that no one who ever lived could hack it—we all have to mooch on a single successful person—who in your opinion can cast stones at anyone else for mooching?
- In Article III of the US Constitution the US Supreme Court is tasked with interpreting that Constitution. In 2015 it found that restricting marriage rights to a certain population was unconstitutional. Many of you have suggested that this is an immoral decision. As President, would you expect the Court to make decisions based on your religious morality or on the Justices’ best interpretation of the Constitution?
- The Bible teaches that love of money is the root of all evil. Milton Friedman teaches that unrestrained greed is the invisible hand of capitalism. Which philosophy will guide your presidency?
- One definition of the term “patriotism” is “loyalty to one’s country.” Does loyalty toward an ideology trump loyalty toward America? If patriotism is more important than partisanship, then what is your stance on compromise with your political opponents?
- Many of you have made emphatic public statements about the importance of religious freedom. As President, what would you do to protect the religious freedom of Muslims in America?
- The Bible teaches that Jesus spent a lot of His precious time with poor people. Today, some blame the poor for their poverty—they should’ve worked harder, they just aren’t educated enough, they are too lazy, they made bad choices. Which of those accusations do you think the Savior made to the poor people He knew?
- Many experts argue that access to affordable high quality health care benefits families. Many also argue that passionately fighting racist police practices, establishing laws to protect the environment for future generations, fighting systemic economic injustice, guaranteeing adequate maternity leave, and holding corporations accountable for their failures and their taxes would also benefit families. In your opinion, which is more important: defending the definition of the family or defending actual families?
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Wish I had time to comment fully, but these questions you have concocted are just silly (to be nice). Would Jesus use the derogatory term for our brothers and sisters like "Alien" or "Anchor"? I don't know, he was pretty quick to call his brothers and sisters "vipers, hypocrites, theives, whited seplecures, fools", you name it. Those are a lot meaner than Alien and Anchor. Jesus was not into political correctness or speach last time I read his words. Here are some fun questions to add to your list, Would Jesus FORCE us into a health plan and penalize us for not getting into one? Would he FORCE us to say kind words to our brothers and sisters and set up laws to penalize us when we didn't say kind words?
And as for your Loaded question (bogus) about capitalism, its is far from a perfect system, but best we have for incentivizing sweat and work. Lets certainly add a question here, did Jesus teach that he would bless the people with more talents who went out and made more from what they were given and did he punish the one that didn't use the one he was given to make more? Sounds pretty Friedman there!
Could really have fun, but have to go make some filthy lucre to pay the bills and provide jobs to my employees so they can buy food, shelter and water for their children who are here in the country legally!
I agree with you that Jesus called his brothers and sisters out for being hypocrites, but remember that those were the religious folks who were being uncharitable toward those on the margins of their society. He never called those on the margins of society mean names (as far as I can see–maybe you can point me in the right direction).
And I’m 100% with you on frustration with the ACA. You are bothered that it’s enforced by law, I’m bothered that it doesn’t provide insurance for everyone who needs it. Last time I checked, every law “forces” us to do one thing or another, so I’m not opposed in principle to legal mandates for things. I’m rather fond of speed limits and pollution caps and a whole host of other regulations that “force” us. This all reminds me of commandments, actually.
Many people like to pretend that the parable of the talents is an economic parable just like people like to pretend the same about the parable of the laborers. Thing is, they’re all wrong. Those are spiritual parables, not public policy parables.
I think there are legitimate responses to many of these questions, and I’d welcome substantive debate or disagreement about any and all of them.
Would Jesus be in favor of obeying laws that FORCE us to pay taxes to Caesar? Would Jesus be in favor of obeying laws that FORCE us to obey a centurion’s command to carry his stuff for a mile? Would Jesus be in favor of obeying laws that FORCE us to give away our stuff when we get sued and lose?
Jeff Swift The way I read it…He didn't just call them out for being hypocrites, he called them names. Viper is a derogatory name, they weren't actually snakes last time I checked. I think Anchor is descriptive, not derogatory. Viper was descriptive and derogatory. Illegal Alien is a legal term. Deal with it. It too is descriptive. I think the redskins is a fine name for a football team, i never thought a bad thought growing up about that name and the confederate flag is a unique piece of history that meant nothing but southern pride until overly sensitive people followed the media like sheep and all the sudden got offended when they were just fine for the 20 years leading up to the outcry! So I guess your point is that some people deserve name calling, like the pharisees, but others don't like the people that break the law and move here illegally? For some it is ok, for others not? maybe you could send a list of the people we can call names to that you believe Jesus would agree is ok? I hope lawyers are on your list, been looking for some rationalization there for a while.
I'm not fond of how weak of spirit we have become as a society. I'm not fond of how sensitive everyone has become to words. Instead of sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt you. Which is what I grew up with, now we have something along the lines of everything hurts everybody so don't say a word for fear you will offend. I wish we moved more toward the men of sparta where not even sticks and stones would break their bones, let alone words!!! Men used to have backbones and nuts, now they are neutered little weaklings who have to watch everything they say and are offended far too easily.
Of course it (the parable of the talents) is a spiritual principle my friend, but he used a capitalistic physical metaphor to teach a captilistic spiritual truth. Try on the socialistic opposite for size that you espouse, he penalizes the men who made more money (talents) by taking it from them and giving the money (Talents) to the lazy dude? Is that the Jesus you worship? We are spiritual beings place into a physical world not the opposite and people that work will see a benefit over those that don't. Then the guys who have talents (money or spiritual gifts) can bless the lives of others because they have more to give….
My wife donates time at a women's shelter every week. The whole family takes time to work at a food pantry every thursday, we give a whole lot more than tithing of our income to those in need. We live and breathe Matt. 25 about the sheep and goats, another spiritual metaphor that I guess you would argue was not public policy so I shouldn't take it that way! Well deal with it, my brother. I can do these things because I choose to work. And if there were less taxes and less government red tape and fees and obstruction, I could do more and provide more jobs for families. And I get joy from doing it without being commanded or dictated to do so. And I did all that without force or a law telling me to do so.
I am very strongly opposed to legal mandates! We will have to disagree here. I prefer Freedom. you know, title of liberty type thing, unless that was spiritual and not public policy? I desire no man to Force his will on me or my brothers and sisters. I believe all insurance is a pure unadulterated legal ponzi scheme. If your product is attractive enough, people will find a way to buy it, don't force me to buy it. If I want to take responsibility for my health by eating correctly and working my physical body into awesome shape and so I don't need "sick care" that should be my choice. If I don't get health care and break my leg and it costs me 20K, I should pay for it because it is my leg. Why should other peoples money pay for my broken leg? I like responsibility! I agree with Christ when he said the first two commandments if lived, take care of it all. I like that minimalistic cmmandment approach. You probably like seat belt laws, I think it is ridiculous. We are preventing a simple thinning of the herd. If we let people who think it is wise to wear them wear them and people who don't see the value to not wear them, the wise would survive. I'm not suggesting we don't need guidelines for roads, I'm saying we have too many laws, and too many I mandates and it kills freedom and I'm opposed to that. Last time I checked, the key part of God's plan was agency, you know, here are my commandments, but I'm not going to "FORCE" you to follow them, you can choose to or not. However, as a side note, you will be happier if you follow them, just sayin, oh and the world will be a much better place if you follow them and you encourage others to follow them…just sayin…you you are free to choose.
1. I need more information here. Did Mary and Joseph enter my country illegally? Assuming they did, I’d deport them the same way I would anyone else. To do otherwise would violate God’s principle of being no respecter of persons. Also, to grant preferential treatment would violate the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the law to everyone. As for Jesus, I’d of course send him with his parents. I wouldn’t want to separate a baby from his parents. Would you?
2. Racism isn’t condemned by every major religion. Read the Qur’an, where it speaks of how to treat your slaves. So does the Old Testament, but it was replaced with the New Testament. Regardless, if “America” was racist, why did we fight the Civil War and pass all those anti-discrimination laws? Isn’t it more accurate to say most of America wasn’t racist in the first place, and the non-racists won? What should the majority non-racists be repenting of? Do you believe in taking money from nonracists by force of law and giving it to the descendants of slaves, just because they’re black? Would blacks also be forced to pay reparations, or just whites? Whatever “repentance” process you might come up with, wouldn’t it necessarily be blatantly racist, as well as create a presumption against certain people regardless of their lact of guilt?
3. Look up the meaning of the word “epithet” before you misuse it in another tendentious question. Calling something illegal when it’s illegal isn’t using an epithet. Also, figure out that “illegal” has no racial referent. Neither does “anchor” or “alien”. Remember too that God teaches us not to make each other “an offender for a word” 2 Ne. 27:32. Aren’t you doing this?
4. Moochers can, and should, be corrected. They’re not mooching off Christ, they’re mooching off people who could otherwise be better able to voluntarily provide for the people who are unable, instead of unwilling, to provide for themselves.
5. I would expect Supreme Court Justices to interpret what the Constituion actually says, instead of inventing new ideas not contained within it. When those justices legislate from the bench, which the Constitution forbids through the separation of powers doctrine, I would expect them to be honest in admitting that that’s what they’re doing. By the way, as a Democrat yourself, what expectations do you think Pres. Obama has of his appointees to the court? Can you name any justices appointed by him who disagree with him on any social issues?
6. I will rely on the “love of money is the root of all evil” idea to rein in government taxation and overspending, and I will help hardworking taxpayers retain more of their own money so they can decide for themselves whether their use of money is evil or not. Also,as president, I would set a good example by not taking numerous lavish vacations on taxpayer dimes, and I wouldn’t scold the middle class on such topics from the steps of my huge mansion.
7. What ideology are we talking about in this vague question? If both sides are right, we can compromise. If only one side is right, we shouldn’t compromise. How much compromise is shown by the statement “No unclean thing can enter into the presence of God”? Does God approve of the philosophy of compromising for the sake of compromising, regardless of what we’re giving up? Is that patriotic? Should we have compromised with the slaveholder states to keep the peace? Does “compromise” mean anything more to you than “do it my way because I’m morally superior to you”?
8. I’d do nothing at all. It’s already been done. And judging from the number of mosques around the country currently operating and being built, Muslims completely agree with me.
9. Who said, “The laborer is worthy of his hire”? Jesus. Who said, “The wicked and slothful servant is worthy of his hire”? No one. Jesus cared for the poor, which I appreciate, having grown up relatively poor myself. But Jesus didn’t live in a system where the government was providing for the poor by taking money from the Jews. Money taxed from the Jews went to Rome to run the empire, but wasn’t given to the poor. Jesus taught to give to the poor because the government wasn’t doing it, and his followers needed to exercise their agency to look out for their fellow man. Today, we aren’t given any choice as to whether to give to the poor, or to decide how much to give. That decision is made for us by the government. The poor in Jesus’ time were in danger of starving or dying from exposure. The “poor” today are those who go a few days without a cell phone before the government replaces it free of charge, or who have maxed out their food stamp credit card before the end of the month. As president, I would let the taxed keep more of their money so they have a better prerogative of being charitable.
10. An excellent way of protecting families is to teach them the devastation caused by mandatory socialism, and the idea that every person has a right to the earnings of others. Families are best protected when they’re taught that they themselves are responsible for paying their own bills, and that damage is done to their character by a system of unearned entitlements. Families are also protected by teaching children to think carefully enough so that they don’t ask nonsensical questions. Thinking carefully will allow them to realize that they can defend any definition of family they think is appropriate, and AT THE SAME TIME defend their actual family.
Thank you for asking.
So Well Said Mr. Mitchell! Amen!