Do you remember when GOOD FRIDAY Observance meant that many churches of all traditions marked the “Three Hours” from noon to 3PM when recalling the words being spoken by the dying Christ on his Cross ?
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
These words from scripture have relevance today … on one hand, these words evoke the importance of forgiveness and our failing humanity … while at the same time promoting hope … that we can fulfill a basic human need for a better meaning for our lives.
These words also have relevance for our elected officials.
Many politicians wrap themselves in the American Flag and wear their religion on their sleeve … but do their votes and policies truly reflect the teachings of Jesus ?
Surely, they are familiar with Jesus’ response when the rich man asked him :
“Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
And Jesus responded by citing the Ten Commandments adding “give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven” Later, Jesus said to his followers, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Interestingly, this camel/needle concept is not unique to Christianity, as is also cited in the Koran and Jewish proverbs.
Thus, it is a universal concept that we should help one another especially those less fortunate.
Yet, even this concept seems to being misapplied within religion and being accepted by politicians. Case in point, David Barton is promoting that US tax policy is anti-biblical … for example the estate tax (or as the Republicans call it the Death Tax), capital gains taxes and even the concept of a progressive income tax — And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord — as such, to Mr. Barton if the Lord takes a flat 10% then the government should not take anymore (or I suppose any less.)
Mr. Barton even states that Jesus has an entire teaching against the minimum wage (although he fails to cite a Biblical passage.)
Mr. Barton has his fans … earning Newt Gingrich’s praise:
“I never listen to David Barton without learning a whole lot of new things. It’s amazing how much he knows and how consistently he applies that knowledge.”
Thus, we now have a better understanding of the concept of separation between Church and State … government should not be used to help the poor, which should be left to those that want to help … but don’t forget to “tithe” to the Lord.
So what does it mean when someone profess that America is a Christian nation … that it stops at helping the poor … even denying people a minimum wage ?
No doubt that you have seen the flyer at your local grocery store alerting people that a fundraiser will be held at a local Church for a member of the congregation that is experiencing a problem … and even if you don’t know the person, you’re glad that people are helping them … thinking that’s the Christian thing to do.
Then while waiting at the checkout station, you notice that the person ahead of you is paying with food stamps …
do you think “Good, I am glad that the government is helping out”
or do you think “there goes my tax dollars” …
never realizing that that person paying with food stamps could be the same person mentioned in the flyer ?
Well, if you are in the group that think that America’s budget problems are because of food stamps, you may appreciate that the Ryan Budget (which the House Republicans overwhelmingly enacted) contains cuts of $127 billion — almost 20 percent — over the next ten years (2012-2021), which could throw millions of low-income families off the rolls, cut benefits by thousands of dollars a year, or some combination of the two.
The irony is that food stamps program is actually called “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” … thus this is a program to ensure people receive the nutrution they need to be healthy … failing to maintain proper nutrution can lead to other health problems that too often end up taxing the medical system … thus raising health insurance costs … and possibly producing more Church fundraisers.
Whether America is a Christian nation can be debated, but if you believe in the Christian principles that I was taught, you must be disappointed with the elected officials that support the Ryan budget.
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” but we do … and we need to remind them of two passages
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”