Frank Pastore

I’m a big believer in full disclosure, truth in advertising, and getting what you pay for – especially when it comes to discussing my two favorite topics, politics and religion. I hate euphemisms, deceptive labeling, half-truths, and any bait and switch. People should be honest about who they are and what they believe. They should be as plain-speaking, clear, and direct as possible – especially when it comes to important issues.

I believe people are supporting organizations like the National Council of Churches and other groups on the religious Left, without knowing – in clear terms – what these groups believe. Beneath their soaring and winsome rhetoric lies poli-cies and positions that betray their professed compassion. They sound so sensitive, caring, and empathetic, but the poli-cies they support – if implemented – would be the proverbial “medicine worse than the disease.” Their solutions would only make matters worse. It is my contention that if people actually knew the views of these groups and the conse-quences of their policies they would withdraw their support.

See how many of these position statements listed below representative of the religious Left that you agree with.

On Theology

1. God is morally neutral with regards to religion – it’s the act of faith, not the object of faith, that counts. There are no false religions – all religions have some truth. Jesus is not the “only way” to heaven. The Bible is neither inerrant nor infallible, it is filled with many errors and must be properly interpreted by experts.

2. Man is not depraved, there is no original sin; man is innately good, it is society that is evil. To improve the world, it is better to create good social institutions than to waste time trying to create good men.

3. God grades on a curve, there is no Hell. Everybody goes to heaven, eventually, if there is an afterlife.

4. Terms like “good” and “evil” are offensive, polarizing, and non-productive. They should never be used to describe in-dividuals, groups, societies, governments, nations, or religions.

5. Since objective truth is unknowable, public policy cannot be deduced from theology. Theology can only be formed inductively from policy preferences. (E.g., Homosexuality is no longer a sin in our faith community.)

On Abortion, Homosexuality and Global Warming

6. Episcopal churches who still believe homosexuality is a sin – and who therefore refuse to honor the ordination of ac-tive homosexuals (e.g., Gene Robinson) – should have their church property seized by the denomination.

7. All K-12 curricula should embrace the full spectrum of families, and no longer honor just the stereotypical “mother and father” family. Motherhood and fatherhood are equally expendable. The gender – and number – of parents is ir-relevant, as long as they are loving.

8. Some humans are more valuable than others. The killing of a fetus is moral because it prevents the mother from suf-fering an unwanted pregnancy. Similarly, the killing of a human embryo is moral if it can prevent the suffering of an-other human being by advancing medical breakthroughs. Both abortion and embryonic stem cell research are morally acceptable practices.

9. Man is responsible for all temperature fluctuations on the planet. Dissent is prohibited.

On Politics

10. God is morally neutral with regards to politics and economics – She’s neither a Democrat nor a Republican; She doesn’t prefer capitalism over socialism, communism, or Marxism; nor does She favor democracy over aristocracy, monarchy, or tyranny. We suspect She may prefer freedom to slavery, however.

11. All cultures are morally equal, except for Western culture which has been largely immoral. Allowing displays of American patriotism to occur in public is counterproductive to world peace. Multiculturalism good, American excep-tionalism bad.

12. The United Nations is morally superior to the Congress of the United States, just as the World Court is morally supe-rior to the Supreme Court of the United States.

13. National boundaries and rights of citizenship are exclusive and offensive to non-citizens, and therefore immoral.

14. The purpose of the state is not to restrain evil or to secure rights, but to redistribute wealth and to administrate social services. Ending poverty, not national security, is the primary job of the state. No single state or nation has the moral authority to act in a sovereign manner, only the collective deliberation and moral weight of the United Nations should be entrusted with martial and judicial authority.

On Economics

15. Budgets are moral documents, forcing us to prioritize our collective value system through legislative debate. In this debate, we must emphasize that Americans always spend too much on defense, and too little on domestic social pro-grams and foreign aid. Raising taxes on “the rich” to expand the welfare state is always our primary political end.

16. Marxism is morally superior to capitalism. Capitalism is evil. Socialism is but an incremental step along our path to-ward the moral high ground of communism. It is better to have no rich and no poor, than few rich and many poor. As the progressive tax rate reveals, it is morally acceptable to steal from the rich and to give to the poor. Tax rates on the rich can never be too high, and those on the poor can never be too low.

17. Poverty causes both crime and terrorism. End poverty, and end both crime and terrorism.

On War and Peace

18. All violence is immoral, even in self-defense. Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor as our self. As pacifists, we be-lieve this love of neighbor never requires a use of force on the neighbor’s behalf – there’s always an alternative to violence, since violence only begets more violence. Peace is a higher value than justice. Better to live as a slave in peace, than to live free in war.

19. The United States has never been involved in a just war. All wars are immoral. Christians ought not volunteer for military service. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and peacemakers are pacifists. Our only hope in dealing with those who seek to do us harm is to participate in multilateral negotiations with them at the U.N. A truly moral and enlight-ened people prefer the path of appeasement that leads to surrender than the immoral path of military confrontation that leads to victory.

So, how’d you do on the quiz?

Good, well-meaning, pure-hearted, sincere, compassionate and loving people can be wrong – especially on the big things. Take poverty, for example.

What’s more loving, to empathetically feel someone’s pain or to actually implement policies that eliminate the pain?

Even if a doctor is well intended, he’s a bad doctor nonetheless if he doesn’t know the medicine he’s prescribing is what is keeping the patient sick. Doctors are supposed to know better.

Pretty words like “love, compassion, caring, and support” have their place. They’re nice. But, when it comes to actually doing something to solve problems rather than just talk about them, I’m far more interested in policies that actually work. Aren’t you?


Frank Pastore

The Frank Pastore Show is heard in Los Angeles weekday afternoons on 99.5 KKLA and on the web at kkla.com, and is the winner of the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters Talk Show of the Year. Frank is a former major league pitcher with graduate degrees in both philosophy of religion and political philosophy.
 
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