God is Not a Republican

(published Circleville Herald 12 Oct. 2011)

 

Judging by the actions and positions taken by Ken Blackwell, Ralph Reed and Herman Cain, all scheduled to speak at Ohio Christian University’s “Faith and Freedom Rally,” Republican politics are more in line with the moneychangers, dove-sellers and the Temple Priests than with the wandering poor preacher Jesus , who, in cleansing the Temple of such perfidy, committed the act of civil disobedience that led to his death as a dangerous community organizer.

 

Ken Blackwell in 2004 invalidated tens of thousands of voter registration forms as they were not on paper thick enough for his fancy. Ralph Reed assisted in placing anti-gay rights legislation on the Ohio ballot in 2004. Ralph T. Bennett,  then Chair of the Ohio Republican  Party, admitted that this bit of anti-gay bigotry carried Ohio for George Bush in 2004. Jesus on the other hand, was all-inclusive, scandalously sitting down and eating meals with everyone, noting that those commonly held to first shall be last, while all the poor and abandoned will be first. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a tale in which a hated and heretical Samaritan (for today read gay, secularist Democrat) was closer to the will of God than the  esteemed Priest and the Levite. I can’t see Jesus throwing out anyone’s right to vote, or passing legislation against anyone. Jesus was kind. The Republican version of Jesus is not in the Gospels I read.

 

Herman Cain claimed this week that he survived cancer only because of our private U.S. healthcare system, that he would have died in the single payer systems that take excellent care of the rest of the civilized world. I urge Mr. Cain to check his facts. U.S. survival rates of cancer overall are lower than other nations—If you figure only insured persons we are about equal—but the fact that we lock 1/6 of us outside the city gates without insurance to die drives our statistics down. Mr. Cain spoke at the “Values Voters” summit in Washington D.C this past week, he never questioned the “values” of a profit based health insurance system that sentences 45,000 Americans to death yearly. I don’t recall Jesus demanding of Jairus proof of insurance before saving his daughter.

 

Mr. Cain completely jumped the shark, or perhaps revealed his real judgment of  Americans trashed by failed “trickle down” economics ,  when, speaking of the Occupy Wall Street  protestors, the candidate said  ”Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the banks. If you’re unemployed and you’re not rich, it’s your own fault.” I invite Mr. Cain , as I have invited so many other Republicans, to put down their corporate campaign contributions long enough, spend a shift with me in the emergency department and feel the pain of real Americans, unemployed through no fault of their own while his party threatens Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Candidate Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan is regressive, the poorer one is, the higher percentage of your income goes to taxes.

 

The income, in adjusted dollars, of 98% of Americans has been declining since the 1980’s.  Our economy was crashed, not by us, but by Wall Street investment bankers, freed by Republican politics of the safeguard regulations passed in the 1930’s , creating fanciful and fraudulent, not to mention  worthless, collateralized debt obligations, leveraged buyouts , that provided not one iota of real benefit to anyone except lining the pockets of hedge fund managers. Now the “too big to fail” banks are even bigger, the profits of the banks and health insurance companies at record levels. Catholic economist Angus Sibley writes in “The Poisoned Spring of Economic Libertarianism- Menger, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard: A Critique from Catholic Social Teaching of the Austrian School of Economics” that our belief in the unregulated free market condemns many to suffering and death, it is in fact idolatry. So many faith groups; Sojourners, the American Friends (aka Quakers) Service Committee, The Methodist Board of Church and Society, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Interfaith Worker Justice, Tikkun, Faithful Reform in Healthcare, have noted in alarm the denial of economic justice to so many.

 

I should like to ask the Christian Mr. Cain, in light of his comments about the poor being responsible for their suffering to comment on the following  from the Prophet Jeremiah, speaking  of the economically unjust King Jehoiakim:

Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness / And his upper rooms by injustice / Who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing /And does not give him wages… …/Did not your father eat and drink /And do justice and righteousness?/Then it was well with him./He judged the cause of the poor and needy;/ Then it was well./ Is this not to know me?/ Says the Lord./ But you have eyes and heart / Only for dishonest gain./….  … With the burial of an ass he shall be buried,/ Dragged and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem. ( Jeremiah excerpts 22:13-19)

 

The Lord says to know Him is to know economic justice. The Scriptural message is clear, distinct and prophetic. The Church is to call out our idolatrous market culture—not accommodate to it.

 - - - - Brad Cotton