Posts Tagged: justice

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We need to pay more attention to the real cost of our purchases.

(via political-cartoons)

Source: editorialcartoonists.com
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A post for the anonymous religious fellow as a response to his this-is-not-about-politics political message in my mailbox today.

I received in the mail today a word from the Lord on the only issue Christians are to use in determining who to vote for this year.  Anonymous said,

"Why argue over taxes and immigration and the like while we stand aside and watch as Satan and his army storm by as we do nothing to stop him, but welcome him in. [sic] Where will you stand?  Shall we vote for sin?  This really becomes the question."

The issue, you ask, that is the same as Satan’s armies marching in?

"One of the things we must understand is that, taxes, Social Security, healthcare, green energy, immigrations, etc. are not moral issues. [sic] …But abortion, homosexuality, and same sex marriage are moral issues and absolutely sin."

And as a result of this logic Anonymous says,

"How could any Christian vote for those who support such?"

Anonymous’ not-so-veiled attempt to tell me who to and not to vote for seems to have a reductionistic and highly selective reading of Scripture.

A quick comparison:

  • Homosexuality is prohibited by less than 10 verses in the Bible.
  • The word for immigrant is found 92 times in the Old Testament alone, and most of these references are a call to care for the immigrant.  Jesus makes welcoming immigrants a salvation issue (Mt 25:43).
  • Jesus said nothing about homosexuality but did spend most of his days providing healthcare for the sick and diseased.
  • The biblical account of the origin of all things (i.e. Creation), which I am certain Anonymous would defend, also celebrates the goodness of the earth and our role to care for it.
  • There are over 2,000 passages that discuss wealth, poverty, and justice.  Most of these are a call to God’s people to care for the vulnerable.  The Bible repeated shows that God has preferential interest in the poor.
  • Caring for the vulnerable, according to the brother of Jesus, is the heart of religion.  Jesus Himself, again, made our treatment of the poor a salvation issue
I do not write this to say that our opinion on same sex marriage or abortion are not moral issue or that the conversation is irrelevant.  It matters!  I do not write this to offer a not-so-veiled counter-attempt at telling you who to vote for.  I am convinced and deep-thinking Christians who embrace a more robust view of the Bible will vote in differing directions.  I put this here to say:
  1. I am sorry to any non-Jesus-follower who has come to think that all Christians think that how tax codes get written, how immigrants are treated, and what happens to the planet are insignificant but preventing two men from marrying is core to our faith.
  2. All citizens from every religion (or lack thereof) need an expansive understanding of “moral issues.”  Maybe since tax codes and immigration polices and energy laws are more complex than a “yes” or a “no” to a marriage contract, some want to act like they are “matters of opinion” rather than matters of morality.  This is not true.  The Bible has a lot to say about what immoral standards we have accepted, and they are likely speaking more loudly about how we are treating immigrants and the poor than the two women who want to commit to a life-long covenant to one another.
Finally, Anonymous went over the top (even more than the Satan’s armies thing) in saying this:

"Generations ago would never have stood by and watched the abominations we are witnessing."

Which generations are you referring to, exactly?

  • The Christians that landed here and killed and stole from the indigenous tribes?
  • The Founding Fathers who owned slaves?
  • Those churchmen who fought against giving equal voice to women and actively supported racial segregation?
Whichever generation of righteous Christians to which Anonymous is referring were culpable for just as much or even greater evil that we are witnessing today.

I am disappointed that a follower of Jesus could write this and that a church that carries the same name as my own tradition would willingly print this in its weekly mailing.

The article ended with (emphasis original): “Make your vote count for righteousness.

On that point we agree.  I just hope he can come to understand that righteousness according to Scripture is bigger than a few handpicked verses about one issue, and that there are many great Christians who will vote in different ways because they are doing just what he says… just in a more theologically robust way.

Some may ask why bother posting a response to Anonymous since he represents a simplistic view.  I respond partially because I fear this way of thinking is not as uncommon as I would like for it to be.  See Billy Graham’s recent full-page ad in the WSJ.  More so, though, I respond as an effort to remind myself and others that the moral of voice of Scripture rests primarily on the side of the marginalized, oppressed, the poor, the alien, and widow, and the orphan.  No single issue, even one of biblical import, should be allowed to turn the weighty matters of justice (Mt 23:23) into “matters of opinion.”  Whether I am voting, speaking, spending, or acting it needs to, as Anonymous reminds me, “count for righteousness.”