Sunday, May 09, 2010

Jesus loves Mexicans, and wants us to help poor people

I am weary. Many of the people I otherwise respect and love can't understand how I can call myself a Christian and hold so many politically liberal positions. Could it be that I don't believe it's right to give special preferences to huge corporations? Could it be that I believe that health and education are things that should be considered rights, and not luxuries? Public services and not commodities?

The right wing says that it is immoral to help people, offering welfare, medicare/medicaid, any kind of government support to poor people, they say teaches them to be irresponsible and to become dependent on the government. Tell that to the 40 year old who had a brain tumor when they were a child and have been in assisted living ever since.

I believe that Lincoln was right, that ours is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people- not of the partisan by the lobbyists and for the corporations. Accuse me of not separating church-and state if you want to. My religion tells me to help the less fortunate, the best tool I have for doing that is the federal government, since as a citizen I am part of it. The right sees it as an evil that they want to shrink or get rid of. I see it as an implement for helping others.

Here is a list of Bible verses that influence my politics. Funny how conservatives like to admonish that we can't pick-and-choose which parts of the Bible we believe in when it comes to their issues- but it sure looks like they don't believe many of these.

Frankly, I found most of these by doing a concordance search of the word "alien," because I've been so frustrated by recent debate about the new Arizona immigration law. Funny, weren't the people on the Mayflower immigrants? Were they legal? They were supposed to settle in Virginia, not Massachusetts- not that King James asked permission from the Iroquois Confederacy first anyway.

I would love to win over my neighbors, friends and relatives who seem so worried by the shouts of socialism made by modern day cable TV news and AM radio demagogues, but I realize that that's unlikely. So for them, I just hope and keep praying that they will at least recognize that I'm not a malevolent anti-American, terrorist sympathizer but that my intellectual, philosophical, political, and even my theological positions are well thought out and not irrational.

For the rest of you, maybe you can use some of these verses the next time a right-winger accuses you of not having well-reasoned positions or of not being true to your (their) faith traditions.

Exodus 22:25
"If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.

Leviticus 25:37
You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.

Ezekiel 18:13
He lends at usury and takes excessive interest. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head.

Numbers 15:15-16
The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD : 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.' "

Deuteronomy 10:18-19
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.
And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were once aliens.

Deuteronomy 23:7
Do not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. Do not abhor an Egyptian, because you lived as an alien in his country.

Deuteronomy 24:14
Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns.

Deuteronomy 24:17
Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.

Deuteronomy 24:19
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Deuteronomy 26:12
When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. (Gee, that ones kinda sounds like a requirement, like a tax, not just a suggested donation. Hmmmm.)

Deuteronomy 27:19
"Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!" (Yikes, I wouldn't want to be Glenn Beck or Sheriff Joe)

Deuteronomy 28:43
The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. (this has ALWAYS been a nation of immigrants. Like it or not, Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the US- I'd be careful how you treat them because they're on their way up)

Zechariah 7:10
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'

Malachi 3:5
"So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.

Ephesians 2:19
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,

Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 25:40
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

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