Morality And Government

Morality And Government

Should Morality Stop At The State House Steps?

To get elected, candidates are increasingly talking about their faith. A judge here in Alabama a few years ago ran campaign ads saying he would “go by the book,” and it showed his hand on the Bible. Recently, Harold Ford campaigned for the U.S. Senate with ads showing him in a church.

But do their policies really reflect Biblical values?

Exhibit A:

This was an actual ad.

What Would Jesus Do? Somehow I don’t think it would involve spending $5,000,000,000,000 on war and harsher penalties on illegalimmigrants.

Above all, any philosophy that involves harming the poor and disabled cannot be justified with scripture. Scripture is uncompromising in its demand to care for the poor; it highlights exceptionally bad situations and comes out in favor of the poor and the underdog every time. It repeatedly castigates the rich who ignore or withhold from the poor. Part of the underpinning mythology of the conservative movement, the lie that reducing aid for the poor will lead to increased aid to the poor from the nonprofit sector, has devastated the poor and disabled in the South, leading to tragic consequences. The cruel irony is, the voters who prop up the perpetrators of this are often Christians, lured to the polls with Christian rhetoric.

George W. Bush has been pontificating from the pulpit while pursuing an unjust war (see, just war theory) and economic injustice at home and abroad. In the case of the Tennessee pols, Harold Ford and Governor Breseden were Jesusing it up while simultaneously ignoring / perpetuating medical deaths after 323,000 people were cut off of Tennessee Medicaid.

Morality can’t be left at the state house steps. If we’re going to prosper, we need a government that acts with fairness and justice in mind. If we’re going to prosper, wealth has to be shared with the poor and vulnerable, not only held by the elite few.

Maybe not all the politicians “let’s talk about faith” is hypocritical BS, because Representative Ted Strickland, a former Methodist minister just elected Governor of Ohio, has called out the false theology dominating today’s politics.

“There are those in Columbus and elsewhere who argue that the biblical mandates to love your neighbor and to work for justice are meant only for individuals and have no application to the political sphere. They dismiss the Democrats and those religious leaders who claim that our faith requires us to insist that governments and government leaders — not just private citizens — seek justice, love, mercy, and humbly work to help the least, the last and the lost in our society.”

I wish more of our leaders would speak the truth like that.

Regardless, my feverish commitment to social justice will never cool.

Smash the false idols of greed!