March 31, 2004
Doing good works
There's been some good discussion of the theological implications of John Kerry's use of Scripture and Team Bush's fierce response to it. In particular, I suggest you check out Lean Left, Political Aims (Happy Blogiversary, Amy, by the way), Slacktivist, and The Talent Show, who makes use of a Jack Chick tract to illustrate the point of contention. Those of you not familiar with Chick might not realize that the "millions of people who are trusting in their good works" yet are doomed to hell are Catholics - Kevin at Lean Left picked up on the Catholicism of Kerry's remarks, and as a one-time nice Catholic boy myself, they made perfect sense to me as well.
Anyway, some good reading there, so check it out.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 31, 2004 to Society and cultcha
Being Catholic, I feel the same way. There are a lot of Catholics I know that share a contempt for Bush. The way they use religion as strategy really rubs me the wrong way. Reagan never had to appease religious people. The fact is that Bush would never have gotten elected without the support of the religious right. Anytime I hear Bush mention God, I think to myself, "Does he really believe it, or is he just reading from notes?" Conservatives do not own the copyright on scripture. Most people have been brainwashed into thinking that liberalism is synonymous with evil. I am a liberal Catholic, I can quote scripture too.
Both parties can point to Judeo-Christian scripture to buttress arguements on certain policies but come now, let's not avoid the elephant in the room - abortion. There are tons of voters for which this is the single issue that matters or at least the most important...and those most strongly committed pro-lifers are also some of the most committed and active Christian voters.
Abortion is a polarizing issue. Neither Kerry nor Bush is going to persuade someone who votes solely on this issue to change camps, so there's not much point in "discussing" abortion in connection with this.
Besides, I think it is much more important to look at the whole "faith vs. works" issue. Isn't how we treat each other, decently or poorly, the basis for all morality, religious or otherwise? It's easy for a rich man like Bush to claim faith, when he doesn't have to do any works that actually display charity or love of the less-fortunate.
DocG, I don't disagree with your assessment about the abortion and the voting camps with this election. My point is more to explain why the GOP has the "religious party" reputation. By and large the voters in the "pro-life" camp are strongly identified with "Christian" groups while "pro-choice" are more likely to be identified with "women's rights" groups.
This is not to say that athiests will always be pro-choice, Christians MUST be pro-life or a member of NOW will always be pro-choice. But there is definitely a perception that associates conservative and evangelical Christians with "Pro-Life" and by extension politically with the GOP.
Besides, I think it is much more important to look at the whole "faith vs. works" issue. Isn't how we treat each other, decently or poorly, the basis for all morality, religious or otherwise?
I whole-heartedly agree. I am reminded of a hymn with a lyric "They will know we are Christians by our love." That love was an active love that manifested its in action. It is a reminder to me that what you are is what you do. And without getting into the subject of religious dogmas, God or eternal damnation, treating people with respect and that active love is the basis for true peace.
As for the candidates, I don't know enough about what they actually do to comment. But I don't doubt that both men having strengths and failings in this area.
Thanks for the link, and I had completely forgotten how vile Chick tracts could be.