Monday, February 04, 2008

The Parable of the Elephants and the Donkeys

I wrote a parable for the Jesus Manifesto webzine that seems particularly relevant for Super Tuesday. Check it out at www.jesusmanifesto.com.

8 Comments:

At 6:15 PM, Blogger pmPilgrim said...

I read it. Wow- you are beginning to sound like, well, like a radical. And a Christian! What a concept. Thanks for the challenge before I head to the caucus tomorrow evening.

 
At 8:27 PM, Blogger Pastorboy said...

Good comment....

There is none righteous, not even one...

There is no salvation in politics. Lets reclaim our responsibility as the church to seek and save that which is lost.

 
At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is terrible on so many levels that I’m not quite sure where to begin. For starters, it implies that all Democrats and Republicans are under God’s curse because of their political beliefs and how they view the role of government. Apparently, anyone who believes that God ordained civil government to be a ministry of justice and not a tool to redistribute wealth (such as myself) is going straight to hell. It doesn’t matter if we gave sacrificially to the poor from our own personal wealth; if we ever voted against government programs to tax others for the benefit of the poor, we are cursed by God. In addition, anyone who has ever built a fence around his house, for whatever reason, is under God’s curse. Likewise, if I ask immigrants to obey the laws of the land and obtain legal entry into this country, I am cursed.

This “parable” is filled with judgment and condemnation. It assumes that because someone has voted against tax increases for the rich, that person has no regard for the poor. It obviously never occurred to the writer that since it is the rich who provide jobs for the poor, it may not be in the best interest of the poor to tax the rich into poverty. Do the math: if a wealthy business owner is unable to pay ever-increasing taxes on his business, his business will shut down and he will have to fire his working-class employees. I know of cases where this has happened, and it sure doesn’t help the poor or bring glory to God.

Perhaps the most obnoxious part of this parable is where the writer assumes that all Republicans want to torture prisoners. As a registered Republican, I have written many e-mails to President Bush condemning the use of torture against any prisoners, even if they are suspected terrorists. Who are you to judge what is in my heart simply because I am a Republican?

It is utterly unfair to assume that believers who are affiliated with a particular political party have rejected God’s Kingdom and are trusting in “democracy.” I have known many devout believers who truly felt called by God to be salt and light in their societies through their involvement in the political process, including my husband. As an area coordinator for The American Jury Institute, he has fought for the rights of the poor and the downtrodden, who rarely receive justice in our corrupt court system. While serving as a delegate and a committee man for the Republican Party, he was passionate about doing whatever he could to restore justice and righteousness to our nation’s political institutions, even while realizing that ultimately, the only salvation for this nation rests in Jesus. But I suppose you would say my husband is under God’s curse for his involvement in politics.

There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that would preclude believers from serving the Lord through involvement in the political process. If you have such a problem with the two major political parties, why not start one that is more aligned with God’s Word instead of cursing those who belong to those parties?

 
At 12:26 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Come on, Julie...at least use your name!!

 
At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Corey--when I tried to sign in, Google wouldn't accept my password so the only way to post was anonymously. I figured you'd know it was me anyway, and I was right!

For the record, I am not all that happy with the Republican Party as a whole, especially at the national level (I'm much closer to being Libertarian but don't completely align with that party, either). But to accuse all Republicans of being in favor of torturing prisoners is beyond ridiculous, don't you think? That would be like saying all Democrats are baby killers because many are pro-choice (but I guess you kind of said that, too).

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Julie,
I guess the point of the story was not to condemn or cast judgment upon every person who aligns with a particular party. Certainly there is broad disagreement even among people in the same party (or denomination for that matter).

The point was more that both parties are deeply flawed. You might not agree on the issues I chose to highlight, but certainly we agree in principle that calling either party 'righteous' would be silly. Both parties are about power, control, and serving their own self-interest.

By having Jesus 'condemn' the parties, the idea was less about condemning individuals and more to urge the church away from political salvation and instead to go out and do acts of mercy as representative of Christ and his Kingdom, not as representatives of the United States and its political system.

 
At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Julie again. Thanks for clarifying that, Corey. I definitely agree with you that both parties are deeply flawed. The biggest gripe I have with the Republican Party is its tendency to view government as a moral policeman. Many evangelicals in the Republican Party seek to use the power of the state to force unredeemed people to behave in redeemed ways (through laws against gambling, censorship of TV/Internet, the War on Drugs. etc.).

On the other hand, the Democratic Party tends to look to civil government as the provider of basic needs such as food, housing, education, health care, etc. But in order to meet those needs, government must take from others. In many ways, it seems that the leadership of both parties sees government as a secular god that either provides for basic needs or regulates moral behavior.

I agree that calling either party "righteous" is silly. But it is also wrong to make false assumptions about people based on their political affiliation. I realize that was not your intention, but that is how your parable came across. For instance, your parable assumes that Republicans want to take from the poor, yet research shows that Republicans give more to charity than their Democratic counterparts.

 
At 2:52 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Julie - that's fair...you'll note that I also critiqued the democrats for throwing more money at programs aimed to help the poor but not really doing anything themselves to help the situation!

 

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