“We have laws that aren’t being properly enforced. We need to make sure we enforce these laws. But the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities, to bring opportunity in the inner cities, to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society. That’s what charities, and civic groups, and churches do to help one another make sure they can realize the value in one another.”
This is what a certain Wisconsin congressman told a reporter just before walking off the stage after the reporter confronted him about his tax cuts. This is what the reporter should have asked, “The US already has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prison population. We are enforcing the laws. “Are people in prison biologically inferior, or is there something wrong with our society.” Question two; “You said, “Churches should pick up the tab for training these people in “Good Discipline.” Which church do you have in mind?
Here are some figures: Charitable giving by denomination and income group:
|Assemblies of God||5.5%|
|Low income population||4.5%|
|The Congressman’s denomination||1.9%|
Does this congressman believe this refers to the Assemblies of God and the Baptists who live in the inner cities, or does this refer to all religious? If the former, they are already giving twice what his religious denomination gives. If the latter, there is the story of Legion. We must ask why a crazy person in Galilee would name himself Legion. The Hebrew and Aramaic for “Many” is, “Arbah.” In Greek, it is “Hoi Polloi.” The Latin word for a multitude is “Multitude.”
Legion only refers to the Roman Legions. As the story continues, Legion runs into a herd of pigs that then run down a creek bank and drown. Pigs are not kosher. St. Mark tells the story to remind us that to get rid of Legion/Big Government, we must first get rid of our pigs. The denomination of this congressman must cease giving the least, and start giving the most.
This congressman believes the responsible church is the inner city church, the church already giving the most. Those giving the least yell at those already giving the most to give more? Religious” people, those attending their houses of worship at least once per week are only 33% of the population. How is it fair to tax 33% of the population to pay for people who are not members of their congregations?
He tells the poor to find a way to set up your own society in the inner city, or die. This makes us not one nation but two, those in the suburbs, and those in the cities. He asks them to set up their own businesses, be their own employers, set up their own autonomous society distinct from America.
One last chart, this one showing how much has to be donated each Sunday Mass to make that 3% quota the rich pay as a percentage of their income. The poor pay 4.5% of their income to charity. If you pay less than the figure in the red on the chart, do not tell me the church should take over charitable giving. If we do not give at even the 3% level, how can we expect the poor to? If our parish has a hard time financially, how can we expect other communities to be otherwise?
The only difference between the liberals and the conservatives is not if, or who is going to die. It is the how, when and where of their dying. For the 4,000 preborn who die because of a lack of pre-natal care, the two groups are not even debating the when. Logic has a rule, nothing can be more important than itself. The choice between Social Justice and anti-abortion is a terrible choice, an immoral choice. This loss of life is a grave matter, willingly agreed to, and with full consent. The Eucharist from Luke 22 calls us to better.
St. Augustine discusses how a republic is about a community of interest. “Republic” calls us to help our neighbor in his pursuit of happiness. “Nation” is a fancy Latin for people born as one, by heritage if not by blood. The flag symbolizes this republic, its nation, and its government. When we say government does not have a role in promoting what it means to be a republic or a nation, we make that oath a vain oath. With God’s name in it, we take God’s name in vain.
In Mark 12:29 Jesus commands, “You will love God with all your hearts, with all of your animate being, with all of your measure.” “Hearts,” is plural. How do we love God? What do we give someone literally having everything? We love him by respecting his garden, by taking care of what he made in his image, each other.
“Hearts” is plural because it refers to the community. It does not command that we love God with all of our measure, except our government. We use everything at our disposal to promote life for everything made in God’s image, including government.
As Charles gives his material, I ask you to listen for any material different from what we heard during the last forty-four years. I ask you to listen; does he argue for a simple winner and loser in this debate, the same old talking points, or does he argue for real solutions? The truth is that neither side, conservative or liberal is serious.
Humanae Vitae came forty-four years ago. So long as we throw out the same talking points neither side addresses the real issues. Neither Liberals nor Conservatives deal with Social Justice or pro-life solutions. It is time to get back to our Catholic roots. While we engage in another forty-four years of talking points, God’s children are dying, and God is angry.
This is part 4. Please click here for part 1