Friday, October 24, 2008
Book Review: Churches that Make a Difference
By Ronald J. Sider, Philip N. Olson, and Heidi Rolland
Reviewed by Flynn Cratty
“Fourth, the authors betray a lack of discernment about the place of political advocacy in the life of the church. In recent years, many evangelicals have expressed a desire to talk about more than abortion and marriage. The authors of Churches That Make a Difference take this several steps further, highlighting churches that advocate for improved public transportation, more favorable zoning laws, and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit. These policy proposals may all have merit, but there is no biblical position on the Earned Income Tax Credit. Churches should speak publicly on political issues only when they can speak with the authority of the Scriptures, because that's the only authority Christ has given the church.”
As you can see, this is part of a book review. The book being reviewed is co-authored by Ronald Sider. As such, you can be almost sure that it will have problems, since Sider is given to a sort of watered-down North American version of liberation theology - which, we should note, is not a truly Christian theology.
Our reviewer also disagrees with important points in the book he is reviewing. But he takes an approach in his critique that is both too common, and very misguided. The reviewer’s response to “political advocacy” on the part of churches is to claim that much of such advocacy is misplaced because, for many issues, “there is no biblical position.”
While in some cases this might be true, his example is not a good one. He claims “there is no biblical position on the Earned Income Tax Credit.”
This is false. Here is why. Biblical teaching prohibits all kinds of theft. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a form of theft. Therefore, Biblical teaching does have something to say about the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Some would dispute that this policy is a form of theft. But whenever it involves forced wealth redistribution, it crosses the boarder into theft. While it might be legal for me to get a ‘refund’ check from the government even when I have paid no taxes, that ‘refund’ is taken from by neighbors by force and delivered to me. That is a classic case of theft, and the fact that it is legal does not change the moral case, nor the Biblical teaching about such moral cases.
Christians who fail to point this out are not ‘salt’ or ‘light.’ They are just dupes of our immoral culture.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
- Barack H. Obama
Besides revealing that Obama is an economic moron, this statement tells us something else about BHO. That something is hiding in the phrase, “the wealth.”
Whose wealth is “the wealth?” If I own something, then it is certainly morally acceptable for me to “spread it around.”
If I am the rightful owner of ten shiny silver dimes and I decide to give one each of them to ten of my neighbors, then I am a good and generous fellow. But suppose I find some fellow fortunate enough to own twenty shiny silver dimes, and threaten him with harm if he doesn’t fork over ten of those dimes to me. Even if I distribute those to ten of my neighbors, I am still a despicable thief.
Suppose, instead of doing this on my own, I enlist the power of the government to help me in my immoral project. Now I am not just a thief, but a cowardly one at that.
If it is my wealth, I am at liberty to spread it around anywhere I wish. But if “the wealth” belongs to someone else and I want to “spread it around” then I am Barack H. Obama - a coward and a would-be thief.
Back at Barack's 'church' in Chicago, did they have an Eighth Commandment? Perhaps they had a special, edited version of the Bible.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
[From Christian History, a publication of Christianity Today.]
Martyrs of Free Speech
In the face of resurgent Islam, the blood of the ninth-century Cordoban martyrs poses a pressing question to Christians.
For many, the word persecution has become almost synonymous with the experience of Christians suffering for their faith in Muslim lands. Just last year, several cases reached the attention of the public . . . A recent article in the Wall Street Journal pointed out the growing international problem of radical Muslim attempts to ban and severely punish any criticism of Muhammad or Islam, even in Western lands.
[The article dwells on events in medieval Spain. It then concludes as follows.]
If Muslims forbid Christians (or anyone else) to criticize their religion, is this persecution? How should Christians respond?
Just as the Christians of Cordoba wrestled with how to respond to Islamic power and the limitations Islam placed on them, so must we consider what it is that we should be about as Christians when faced with a resurgent Islam. Does our faith compel us to be publicly critical of Islam? If we are attacked for such criticism, is that indeed persecution? Does criticizing Islam advance the kingdom of Christ, or are we needlessly putting fellow believers at risk? The blood of the Cordoban martyrs—and many other Christians who have died for attacking Islam—continues to cry out for answers to these questions.
As you can see, this is from a Christianity Today publication. It is a good example of why this generation of Christendom, and the western society founded upon it, is in danger of collapse.
Are these questions really so difficult to answer? Perhaps, if you are a part of the ‘weenie’ version of Christianity. Let’s not criticize Islam. Let’s not criticize anything. All Christians should just keep the Christian faith to themselves. Mentioning it to others might offend someone, and if those "someones" are intolerant bullies, they might become violent.
Should those malcontents, like Stephen in the Book of Acts, have spoken out publicly against some of the Jewish leaders? They did stone him, as you might remember. Just stirring up trouble, he was.
Christendom in certain times and places went through stages in which some of its adherents behaved in this way. On further review, we saw the error of our ways, and - more consistent with the Christian faith - became advocates of social-political freedom.
Islam is a false religion overall, even if there are pieces of truth within it. In free societies, people should be able to believe - and criticize - anything they wish.
But if ‘Islamic power’ - or any other power, for that matter - attempts to squelch the freedom to state a view of religion in public, it shows itself to be an illegitimate ‘power.’ That kind of ‘power’ must be opposed by the force of free people everywhere, to whatever extent is necessary to maintain freedom.
That an article in Christianity Today would be so ambiguous on such points shows just how impotent Christianity has become today.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Anatomy of the Mortgage Meltdown
Sloppy press coverage about the financial crisis has spawned a host of widely believed myths. Take, for example, one of the popular names for it--the subprime mortgage meltdown. This is a misnomer: houses financed by subprime and prime mortgages were foreclosed upon at equal rates and at the same time. Instead, the crucial distinction is between adjustable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages, according to University of Texas at Dallas economist and Independent Institute Research Fellow Stan J. Liebowitz.
"The main driver of foreclosures was adjustable-rate mortgages, both prime and subprime" writes Liebowitz in his new Independent Policy Report, "Anatomy of a Train Wreck: Causes of the Mortgage Meltdown," an adaptation of his chapter in a forthcoming book on housing in the United States.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (and mortgages requiring very low or no down payments and no income verification--so-called "no doc" loans and "liar loans") were the highly combustible raw ingredients that served as kindling for a financial meltdown ignited by the end of the housing price surge. Lenders promoted these "innovative" loans ceaselessly--but not without a big push from the federal government. At the behest of Congress, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conducted a profitable but risky scheme to promote increased homeownership. Unsurprisingly, the status of Fannie and Freddie as government-sponsored enterprises sent a false signal to borrowers, lenders, and investors that these loans were safe, and so the usual precautions were tossed out the window.
"Since the housing and regulatory establishment consisted of mighty government agencies and highly educated academics," continues Liebowitz, "it was not unreasonable for the lenders to assume that the claims made for flexible underwriting standards were correct. Unfortunately, the claims were not correct although most of the housing and regulatory establishment continue to argue otherwise."
"Anatomy of a Train Wreck: Causes of the Mortgage Meltdown," by Stan J. Liebowitz (10/3/08)
And to add some moral perseptive, this is another example of the immorality of governmental attempts at social engineering. The government wanted to loan money to people who couldn't afford to buy a house. Now those who paid their house bills are expected to pay to clean up the mess made by those governmental social engineers. It was the long way around to something that is best met with the cry "Stop, thief!"
Monday, October 6, 2008
Preach and Reach
Despite his liberal record, Barack Obama is making a lot of evangelicals think twice.
John W. Kennedy | posted 10/06/2008 09:29AM
Find the compelte article at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/october/18.26.html
Below are some excerpts from the article above. While the article is about what various evangelicals thinks of Obama, I have gleaned some revealing sections below. Find my comments in bold red after each section.
As the junior U.S. senator from Chicago, Obama has for years been beholden to working-class voters, African Americans, feminists, gay-rights groups, and pro-choice advocates. But for the first time since Jimmy Carter ran in 1976, a presidential candidate from the Democratic Party is enthusiastically courting evangelicals and Catholics.
How do you “court” people who are presumably Christians when your real sympathies lie with these groups? Even though some of these groups might sound neutral, they are not.
What, exactly, are “working-class voters”? Just how many people, besides some who are on the government’s dole, do no work? If someone works very diligently and makes a small fortune, is he then booted out of the ‘working class’? Unfortunately, ‘working class’ has become a code word for those who lean toward Marxist ideas, even though they may not know that name.
Likewise with “African Americans.” That is not just a racial description. It has become a class description, and it is a ‘class’ that American Marxists and liberation theologians have long used to try to drive a wedge between people.
The rest of those categories need no comment. With these groups as your friends, you are no friend of Christians. So I must conclude that any ‘evangelicals’ or ‘Catholics’ who allow themselves to be courted by Obama are not Christians.
Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, says . . . he found Obama reflective and willing to bridge divisions. Cizik told CT, "He's willing to tackle problems that the Bush administration hasn't, like health care and climate change."
Obama is willing to bridge divisions. He is very willing to build a bridge from right to wrong. He then stands on the shore of wrong and beacons us to join him on the wrong side. While I don’t have much sympathy with the Bush administration, I must at least give them credit for trying to keep the government - to some extent at least - out of areas where it does not belong: areas like health care and ‘climate change.’
Here is a snapshot of Obama's voting record:
* He voted three times in the Illinois Legislature to stymie legislation designed to keep alive newborn survivors of abortions.
* He voted in the U.S. Senate to block a bill to require that at least one parent be notified if a minor had an abortion in another state.
* He declared his first act as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would again legalize "partial-birth" abortion and would use tax funds to pay for abortions.
So what then, exactly, should Christians support here - the “let’s kill some more babies” position, or the “let’s make it easier to kill more babies” position? Just make sure babies can easily be killed, and Obama will be happy. But what kind of Christian can even imagine supporting this?
In August, the Obama campaign launched an outreach designed to harness the energy of supportive evangelicals via low-profile house meetings and community-service projects. Among the political action committees stoking young pro-Obama advocates is the Matthew 25 Network, founded by 33-year-old Mara Vanderslice. The organization debuted on the Web in July, calling voters to back Obama because he, like Jesus, "cares for the least of these."
As far as I can tell, Obama does not personally “care for the least of these.” The Obama family has sufficient money to help a lot of needy people. It appears that their perverted substitute for that is lobbying for government programs that will waste much to help very few. And if that is what the “Matthew 25 Network” is all about, then it appears to be paying homage to The State Almighty rather than the God of the Bible and the Christian faith.
"There's no question Obama is a Christian, but he is definitely of a postmodern, liberal, and, to some small extent, black liberation theology perspective," says Stephen Mansfield, author of The Faith of Barack Obama.
Here we have an excellent and concise example of double-talk. Postmodern, liberal, and black liberation theologies are something, but that something is definitely not Christian. So if Obama is any of all of those - and it seems clear that he is - then he is not a Christian. These things are all perversions of the Christian faith, not the Christian faith itself.
Obama noted [in a speech at a Call to Renewal conference] the pluralistic reality of society. "Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers," Obama said. "And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's?"
First, who said anything about expelling anyone from the United States of America? The genius of the United States is a nation that has a foundation in some of the ideas of the Christian faith, but that is tolerant of anyone who would like to join in the fun. By ‘tolerant’ here I mean not the recent idea that all of these religions can be equally true, but the idea that you are free to hold religious views in the U.S. - even false ones.
I don’t advocate teaching the Christian faith in government schools, because I am opposed to the very existence of government schools. Obama seems to assume that James Dobson’s ‘Christianity’ and Al Sharpton’s ‘Christianity’ are just two very different views, the truth of which we can not assess. In that, he proves himself a postmodern, and thus NOT a Christian.
But after securing enough delegates to ensure the Democratic nomination, Obama moved toward the political center. This has exposed him to charges of pandering to conservatives. "A good candidate listens to arguments pro and con and sometimes changes his mind," [Tony] Campolo argues.
Tony Campolo is a prime example of someone who has managed to slide out of the Christian way of thinking, while still deceiving himself into thinking he is on the side of Jesus. I don’t think Tony Campolo is stupid enough to believe that Obama has just “changed his mind.” Obama will not change his mind about any important position. I think Campolo knows this. So draw your own conclusions about Tony Campolo.
"There is no doubt that if Obama is elected the first African American president, it will be a huge step toward racial reconciliation in this country," [Ronald] Sider says. "It will show that the majority of white people have moved beyond racism."
Ronald Sider, himself a North American liberation theologian, is also doing a bit of race-baiting here. People who vote for Obama will have moved beyond many things, none of which are racism. They will have moved beyond the Christian faith, beyond common sense, and beyond human rights of life and liberty.
Obama repeatedly mentioned his faith during the talk, which at times resembled a revival meeting more than a political speech. "Our faith cannot be an idle faith," Obama declared. "It requires more of us than Sundays at church. It must be an active faith, rooted in that most fundamental of all truths: that I am my brother's keeper, that I am my sister's keeper.
Well then, Barack, start “keeping.” Open your wallet, head off to the slums of Chicago, and start doling out your own dough. When you have unloaded at least 90% of it, come back and let us know how things went.
For those who had doubts, Obama recited his salvation testimony from his days as a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s. "I let Jesus Christ into my life," Obama declared. "I learned that my sins could be redeemed and if I placed my trust in Jesus, that he could set me on a path to eternal life."
This quotation tells us something very important about the Obama confession of faith. Notice the second sentence quoted here. Obama says he learned that his “sins could be redeemed.” That is close, but significantly, and revealing, different from the Christian faith. In the Bible, people are redeemed, lives are redeemed, and bodies are redeemed, but not sins. While redemption is parallel to “the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7), sins are not redeemed. This hints that Obama, while attempting to parrot the Christian faith, is not really familiar with it. He is supposed to be a brilliant man who has spent many years in the Christian faith. Yet he gets this strikingly wrong.
Also, notice Obama thinks Jesus “could set me on a path to eternal life.” Not ‘the’ path, but ‘a’ path. Was that just a slip? Perhaps, but remember that Obama is a postmodern ‘Christian’ - which is to say, no Christian at all. That makes the difference between ‘a’ and ‘the’ very significant, and also very revealing.
Carbon-Offset Sales Brisk Despite Financial Crisis
By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 6, 2008; A01
This is strange territory. The Dow is down. Wall Street needs a bailout. But in the Washington area and across the country, there is still a bull market in environmental guilt. Sales of carbon offsets -- whose buyers pay hard cash to make amends for their sins against the climate -- are up. Still. In some cases, the prices have actually been climbing. . .
But there is also a cultural factor, the legacy of a complicated decade defined by a "green" awakening . . . many people have learned to pay to lessen their climate shame -- and, at least for now, they don't think of it as a luxury purchase.
"I was feeling really guilty because I was basically traveling to three continents in the last month: 'I've spent basically six days on an airplane. I've got to fix this,' " said Michael Sheets, 27, who lives in the District's Logan Circle neighborhood.
So a few days ago, Sheets paid $240 to a Silver Spring-based vendor, Carbonfund.org, choosing its offsets because they were more than $100 cheaper than a comparable package from another offset seller. He got back an e-mail saying that the 52,920 pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions attributable to him for the entire year . . . "I feel much better about it," said Sheets, human resources director for an online-education company in Northern Virginia. "I don't feel as guilty about flying to Vegas tomorrow for the weekend."
Find the whole, sad story at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/05/AR2008100502518.html?wpisrc=newsletter
This is why we are doomed.
It’s not terrorism. It’s not the economy. It’s the stupidity.
If people want to give away money rather randomly, that is fine. That they can be so easily convinced to give it away for this reason reveals an underlying ignorance - and some truly perverse stupidity - that will spell the end of western civilization.
Of course, many of those who push the “environmental” hysteria and it’s associated pseudo-guilt want just that - the destruction of western civilization. Anything as beneficial as western civilization (I know it’s not perfect, but it is so much better than so many alternatives) is bound to have enemies among those who hate humanity, as so many environmentalists do.
But the fact that there is a “bull market for environmental guilt” means that far too many people have accepted the faulty premises of environmentalism. That fact points to an underlying ignorance and stupidity that I think will make the survival of western civilization impossible.
This underlying problem seems to resist any educational remedy. Environmental stupidity has become a brand of unfalsifiable hypothesis, which shows just how far away from science it has moved. Yet it is rapidly becoming the orthodoxy in the ‘education’ establishment and the domain of politics.
At this point these ‘carbon offsets’ are just the pointless foolishness of many willing victims. You will know the end is near when these foolish victims add power to their own personal foolishness and require us all to become practicing fools. Without some rather drastic changes and decisive action, that time seems close at hand.
That is why we are all doomed.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Recently I attended a church, the motto of which seems to consist of this trinity of ‘Rs.’ It is a new congregation, or an attempt at one. I know this is supposed to be a formula that will “Reach” people - yet another ‘R’ - so I was not surprised to see the formula.
I was a bit surprised to see what some apparently think these words should mean in a church context.
It was relaxed. Relaxed, that is, until a bad attempt at a rock bank took the stage in the front of a fairly small room and began to make enough noise to damage your hearing. Then it was a little tense - at least for those of us not already hearing impaired.
As I said, it wasn’t even a decent rock concert. The lead singer seemed to have no idea how to get his voice to move to any note near what should have been the melody. He had a side-kick female singer who appeared to have a fairly good voice, but was so eager to sound like her version of a rock star that she distorted and contorted her voice into a very unpleasant sound.
The drummer was good at his craft, but in the small room, far too loud for “relaxed.”
At one point the band attempted to sing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” What came out was an almost unrecognizable bit of musical gibberish instead of that grand old song.
Although you could sing along if you wished, this was clearly a performance band. There was no chance to hear the congregation singing over the ruckus of the instruments. Perhaps it was a good thing that the minister reminded us that we didn’t need to attempt to sing along during these “worship sets.” We were granted permission to engage in other worshipful activities around the room. I considered the worshipful activity of “plugging my ears for God” but decided otherwise.
I suppose that was all an attempt at musical relevance. The band apparently tried to dress in a “relevant” manner. What came out of the attempt was something that looked hauntingly like the 1970's. I didn’t know that was particularly relevant today - maybe I just don’t know REL when I see it.
The minister was a nice young fellow wearing sandals and no socks. I suppose he was shooting for the first-century “walking with Jesus” look. His sermon was not bad, but it was one of those let’s-not-get-overly-theological sermons which focus on how we feel. I know, I know - theology isn’t relevant, while feelings are very relevant. But I think the REAL Christian faith has much more to offer than that.
The little new congregation did have one interesting idea. The congregation - what there was of one - was invited to ask questions about the sermon. But strangely, the only way we were invited to do this was by sending a text message to the minister’s cell phone during the sermon. We were not invited to write our question on paper, or to raise our hands at some appropriate time.
I kept wanting to ask, “How difficult would it be to let one of us twenty people in the audience just ask you a question?” The room was small. I didn’t quite understand that, but I suspect that it would be somehow unreal or irrelevant to ask a question with my voice rather than by “texting” it. “Texting” is all the rage, you know.
Then came the time of communion via the Lord’s Supper. After the announcement that this was about to take place, over the sound system came a very strange sound. At first I thought it a CD that was skipping, or a faulty digital music file. A few odd notes tumbled out, and then repeated. It was not exactly music - more of a serious of random notes with random rhythm. Much to my dismay, this little sound began to repeat. It repeated during the whole communion time. Music that expresses beauty can be appropriate during communion. These weird sounds were not beautiful. They were not even in the neighborhood of beautiful. And they were very annoying.
We were invited to a table in the front of the small room. There, awaiting us, was a large stemmed glass full of “the fruit of the vine.” Beside it was what appeared to be some broken-into-pieces very stale dinner rolls.
We were supposed to partake via “intinction” - dipping the bread into the fruit of the vine. This is something that has popped up in the history of the church, in the past mostly as a way of serving communion to those who are sick. Again, not a big deal, but what’s the point? Is this somehow more real, relaxed, or relevant?
My problem was with the leavened bread. With the background of the Lord’s Supper in the Passover, where all leavening had to be removed from the premises, there is good reason based in symbolism to use unleavened bread for the time of communion. I think that is relevant, and fairly real, though it might not be relaxed - I’m not sure.
Just how “relaxed” are we supposed to be in the presence of God Almighty, Who is, as the Hebrew writer says, “a consuming fire”? That’s real, but it’s not very relaxing, it seems to me.
Overall, the experience was disappointing. It was clear that this church was designed for a certain subset of the twenty-somethings. The problem is that the vast majority of the area around this church is not composed of that certain subset of twenty-somethings.
Perhaps this group, and others like it, should ditch the somewhat phoney “relevant” and the out-of-place “relaxed” and stick with the real - real, heavy-duty Christianity that should make people uncomfortable and awestruck - not just relevant and relaxed.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
What's in It for Me?
The Defeat of the Rescue Plan
[Breakpoint by Charles Colson]
October 1, 2008
On Monday, the House of Representatives surprised its leaders, the administration, and, most of all, the financial community by rejecting the agreed-upon financial rescue plan. The bill will be debated again tomorrow.
Two-thirds of all Republicans and two-fifths of all Democrats voted against the plan, with predictable results. The markets tanked around the world. We saw a record 777-point drop in the Dow Jones and the worst one-day loss in the S&P 500 since the 1930s. The market recovered somewhat yesterday, but the credit crisis remains.
I don’t want to minimize this one-day stock market drop, but this is a logical fallacy that Colson should know better than to employ. While it was the largest point drop of the Dow, it was no where near the largest percentage drop - not even close. This attempt to make a bad situation sound worse makes me wonder, right here at the beginning, about Colson’s whole approach to this matter.
The explanation of why 228 representatives risked a meltdown in financial markets could be expressed in another set of numbers: Phone calls and emails from their constituents opposed the measure by a 100-to-1 margin.
Now to be sure, some, like my friend Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana, opposed the rescue measure on principle. But many who voted against the bill merely reflected the will of their constituents, who wondered why their money should be used to take other people off the hook.
A very telling poll revealed that 25 percent of those polled favored the measure, 25 percent had no opinion, and the rest opposed it, largely on the grounds that it didn't affect them or wasn't their fault. And given what we saw on the television news, for once I believe the polls. The typical man-on-the-street interview went something like this: "The bailout won't help me! You bet I'm against it."
Those men-on-the-street are often not very articulate, and polls often depend upon how the question is asked. Colson does not cite the poll he has in mind, so I can’t comment about that. But it is not unreasonable for people to balk at paying - heavily - for problems they did not cause. Perhaps those men-on-the-street, and some of the rest of us not-on-the-street just now, are worried about the government creating an additional 700 thousand millions of money-credit. It is a legitimate concern. Why? Because when the government makes more money, the value of the money we have decreases.
Frankly, I was appalled. I can't help but think that these results illustrate how far we've gone down the path of viewing all politics and all of life as "what's in it for me."
As many have tried to explain, what is happening on Wall Street affects what happens on Main Street. As I record this, millions of Americans, living far from Manhattan, are measurably poorer as a result of what has been happening in financial markets.
So instead of asking "how is the common good best served?" we look to our own interest, even at the risk of a "decade of little or no economic growth" and a meltdown of the global financial system.
Frankly, I’m more appalled than Colson by his lack of depth here. This proposal before Congress is not the only approach to solving this problem. There are many others (for example, see the previous post on this blog) put forth by very knowledgeable people that just might be better. Without reviewing all those here, here are some alternative suggestions that have come from many quarters: cut government spending dramatically - very dramatically. Eliminate all corporate income taxes, and all taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains. Allow financial firms to price the assets in ways that reflect underlying values - especially when connected to real estate - rather than just what it might bring on the market today.
These kinds of things would send the economy into a dramatic upward spiral starting the day after they became law.
The proposed bailout would not serve the “common good” - it would serve the good of the political class. The fact that Congress won’t seriously consider better solutions to this problem is no reason for the rest of us to succumb to their fifth-rate proposals. Shame on you, Chuck!
It isn't only our lack of concern of the common good that disturbs me. It's also our lack of accountability. I spoke with a very intelligent young banker recently who told me that he encounters it all the time. During his time in risk management, he never heard anybody in foreclosure say, "I made a mistake taking that mortgage. It was too big."
Instead of acknowledging their accountability—their responsibility to pay the debt—they just shrugged it off, merely mailing the key back to the mortgage holder. Contrast that with a biblical sense of responsibility, of paying your debts.
Yes, this is a problem. But remember that, in the name of social engineering, in the last few decades the government has insisted that people get loans whether they can afford them or not. Whose fault is it that people responded to that? (Hint - it begins with “g”.)
Consider a broader point. I am 56 years old. During most of my lifetime our government has been involved in a never-ending race to spend more - by borrowing - than it could ever repay. The U.S. government carries a “revolving balance” that makes all the credit card debit in the U.S. seem paltry by comparison. In other words, our government, for many decades now, has set a wonderful example for us all. That example screams, “You can borrow your way to prosperity.” People have just been following the example of their Uncle Sam. Should anyone be surprised?
Why does Mr. Colson fail to mention this?
And as for accountability: where is the accountability on the part of politicians - most of them of the modern ‘liberal’ (liberal with other people’s money, that is) stripe - who bear the real responsibility for this mess?
But this isn't just about finances. No great civilization has ever been built, or maintained, on the basis "what's in for me?" That idea cannot demand, much less inspire, the necessary sacrifices to keep a civilization great, or even healthy—there's nothing to aspire to apart from fleeting self-satisfaction.
As I said, I respect the principled opposition to the rescue plan by some members. But the fate of the economy is hanging in the balance. If the American people can't look beyond the "me" and see the "we" with this much at stake, then much more than our retirement funds and our bank accounts are at risk.
If the fate of the economy hangs in the balance, how stupid is it to do more of what got us here as a supposed answer to the problem? Yes, “we” need to look beyond retirement funds and bank accounts. “We” need to stop whining and insisting that the government take care of us. We need to demand that Congress stop spending money they can only take from us, and that we don’t have. We need to remember that government is usually the problem, not the solution.
I am very disappointed that Charles Colson would make such shallow comments. He doesn’t even attempt to answer that principled opposition to this bailout that he claims to know about. If the fate of the economy hangs in the balance, is it really wise to trust the first plan proposed in Congress - the very body that set the stage for this whole problem in the first place?