In an earlier column, I discussed why the religious left is wrong on budgets, morality, and priorities (available here). Here, in Part II, I want to focus on what happened Monday night between the three Democrat frontrunners and the sponsor of the event, Jim Wallis of Sojourners.
First, some general impressions.
I found it both ironic and troubling that the top three Democrats talk more comfortably about their faith than do the top three Republicans. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise though—after all, they’ve been rehearsing for this performance since Bush’s reelection in 2004.
The actors knew the script. Director Wallis had coached them well. Real Christians care about poverty and global warming. No more of that sin-salvation-Jesus stuff for us. Don’t talk about heaven and hell, we’re for the Kingdom now! Let’s raise taxes and the minimum wage, grow government, start more unions, provide universal health care and child care, with free college for everybody–including illegals. And above all, let’s replace greedy-selfish capitalism with generous-loving socialism and truly achieve social justice. Vote out poverty now! Raise taxes on the rich!
Right. And Jesus was a big government Robin Hood socialist. And so they’ve created God in their own image.
Second, what did we learn about the candidates on Monday night?
John Edwards believes in theistic evolution, he is “personally against” gay marriage but for civil unions, believes the separation of church and state means a Christian president should violate his religion if it conflicts with his politics, and that poverty can be cut in half in the next ten years by starting more unions, raising the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour, providing free government housing to those who can’t afford their own place, and by having universal health care and day care, along with free college tuition for all students.
That sounds very expensive. And who’s going to pay for all this?
I wish he had said, “I personally oppose abortion and gay marriage on biblical grounds, and I support abstinence education and a Protection of Marriage Amendment. As President, I will take an oath to uphold the Constitution. And though no President can impose his will on the Congress, I will work to overturn all laws I believe to be immoral.” Again, that’s why it’s only a wish. (I hope Fred Thompson reads this.)
We learned that Jim Wallis believes poverty is a “gospel issue,” and that eliminating it is a “biblical priority” for the government.
Another wish: I wish Wallis cared about teaching the Bible to the poor and in our schools half as much as he cares about baptizing his schemes for the redistribution of wealth.
We learned from Barack Obama that he believes God doesn’t take sides in war, but that the Civil War and World War II were just wars fought against evil. When asked about this, he answered,
I always remember Abraham Lincoln, when, during the Civil War, he said, "We shouldn't be asking whose side God is on, but whether we're on his side." And I think that's the question that all of us have to ask ourselves during any battle that's taking place, whether it's political or military, is, are we following his dictates? Are we advancing the causes of justice and freedom? Are we our brother's keeper, our sister's keeper? And that's how I measure whether what we're doing is right.
I wonder if he thinks God was rooting for the South, or the Nazis—or today, if He’s for al Qaeda? If we’re supposed to be following God’s dictates in order to advance justice and freedom, I’m sure Ahmadinejad and Osama have a different opinion as to what Allah’s dictates are. Therein lies the root of the global war against radical Islam. I would have liked him to mention that.
Obama also opposed taking away educational programs in prisons in order to be tough on crime. If he was really concerned about reducing recidivism, he’d support the wonderful success of Prison Fellowship, they teach God’s dictates too. He also criticized the high salaries of corporate executives. He said, “I also would like to see executives recognize that when they're getting as much in one day as their average worker is getting in an entire year, that there is a moral element to that.”
Funny. He didn’t mention the salaries of rappers, athletes, Hollywood moguls or trial lawyers.
And lastly, we come to Hillary.
She wants abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare. And, by rare, I mean rare.” I wonder if she’ll be supporting the renewal of Title V funding for abstinence education or the increased distribution of condoms in high schools?
The scariest line of the night came at the very end when Hillary was asked about sacrifice and excessive individualism. She said:
And I think you can sense how we are attempting to try to inject faith into policy and also to elicit from people a sense of our common humanity and how we have to be in this together as a nation. We have to build a political consensus. And that requires people giving up a little bit of their own turf, in order to create this common ground. The same with energy—you know, we can't keep talking about our dependence on foreign oil, and the need to deal with global warming, and the challenge that it poses to our climate and to God's creation, and just let business as usual go on. And that means something has to be taken away from some people.
Let me translate. The “turf” and the “something” she wants to take away from you is your money.
Edwards, Obama, Hillary, and Wallis. Yes. Some Americans may have learned a lot about these Christians this past week.
Others of us knew what we needed to know long ago.
Remember, today’s Democrats always want to be generous with your money—whether they’re Christians or not. Economically, they’re socialists.
That’s why this cast of candidates are the new Socialist Christocrats.