Is it Christ-like to oppose system that relieves suffering of poor?
I can still picture Garret Morris in African garb with his straight man look telling us to “send us your fondue pots” to the newly formed country of Namibia. The skit was very funny mainly because the last thing Namibians had use for was fondue pots and anybody who could read the paper in 1976 understood that fact.
Now perhaps I was covering too much ground for Mr. Trapaga, the self-proclaimed “Backpack King of Peachtree City.” Yes, I had an attention grabber [headline] so farcical that only an idiot would take it seriously.
At the same time I tried to throw a few facts from personal experience concerning another country’s ability to provide quality healthcare for everybody while 50 million of our citizens go without.
So perhaps I ought to have phrased it as a simple binary: If it is the goal of every Christian to be “Christ-like,” why would a Christ-like person make it their primary political goal to oppose a system which will relieve the suffering of the poor?”
Mr. Trapaga knows of Christians who do good work; who give generously of their resources and time. Good. Good on them. And I propose to you that many of them (around here) then smugly return to their homes, turn on Fox News, and deride the poor for their laziness and their seeming inability to not be poor.
The hypocrisy of which Trapaga speaks resides in the bosom of these so-called Christians; slaves to right wing “free market” ideology while the innocent children of our poor, who have done nothing to merit their situation except to be born, start their life without proper medical care and proceed through life without its comfort.
Meanwhile men accumulate such vast fortunes that their net worth exceeds other countries’ GDP. They control the GOP and consequently the backpack robots.
Mr. Trapaga may truly believe the answer lies in backpacks or fondue pots but his mindless dogma in the end is not Christ-like.
When a guy asked Jesus how he would get to heaven, he was given an answer and it ought to send shivers up the spine of us all who cannot measure up (and that includes me).
He didn’t say: Collect a few backpacks and some canned crap and give it away. He didn’t say: Ensure the U.S. health system operates as a free market so that enormous profits can flow to the governor of Florida while people without means have access only in the emergency room when they have an emergency. He didn’t say Ayn Rand was going to heaven (although he gave us a lot of hints she was going the other way).
Jesus said this: “Yet lack you one thing: sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.”
Timothy J. Parker
Peachtree City, Ga.
[The editor replies:
Mr. Parker, this Fox robot can’t resist a logical refutation.
What Jesus did NOT say or even imply: “If you choose NOT to be charitable, then I command Caesar and his government to send his swordsmen to take away whatever you have and distribute it as Caesar desires, including to pay for healthcare.”
If you are going to wield Jesus as a rhetorical weapon, then do so in context.
The King was recommending a voluntary contribution (with a plainly stated spiritual reward and implied spiritual penalties). When the young man walked away without dumping his gold into the hands of the nearest beggar (or more to your point, the nearest tax collector), Jesus did NOT send Peter after him with a sword and impound his money in the name of the Kingdom of God, as your argument logically would have him do.
Mr. Obama and the U.S. Government are not Jesus’s surrogate charity collectors and dispensers on earth. Charity, by its nature a voluntary act beginning in one individual, is manifestly NOT charity when it is coerced by force or at IRS sword-point.
However much you or I may think it is desirable, even praiseworthy, for us taxpayers to involuntarily fork over untold billions to wasteful bureaucrats who then dispense at their regulatory whim to those 50 million unfortunates, it is simply one political viewpoint forcing its confiscatory desires upon supposedly free individuals (at the point of a gun, should one refuse to be thus involuntarily “charitable”).
The original, post Revolutionary American government you have studied extensively and all its Founders would be aghast at what is being perpetrated in the name of “fairness,” as if the forced administration of economic “fairness” (“fair” according to whose judgment and based on what rulebook?) — including healthcare — were any “proper” role of government in the first place.
While you often accuse Christians of hypocrisy, might there not be some of that smelly stuff in your camp as well?
To turn your own phrase slightly: “And I propose to you that many of them [liberals] (around here) pay the minimum amount they can get away with in taxes, then smugly return to their homes, turn on MSNBC, expect the government to do ALL the charitable work for them (that’s what we pay taxes for, isn’t it?) and deride the Foxbats for their abysmal lack of true intellect and their seeming inability to not be as great in spirit as Mr. Obama and his progressive disciples.”
In other words, let the poor eat government love.
To answer the question posed in my headline (editorial perogative): Depends on whose system and whether such relief is individually voluntary or extorted upon penalty of loss of freedom.
Surely you are not arguing that our U.S. Government has or should become Christ’s sword to enforce charity upon this fallen earth (“You will pay for that poor guy’s healthcare if I have to kill you to make you pay!”) — are you?
That would be a very illiberal, unprogressive religion, sort of like what you deride in Christians.]