Thursday, February 23, 2012

Do Liberals Really "Care More" about the Poor than Conservatives? What Would Jesus Do?

When Mitt Romney so badly worded his recent speech stating he wasn’t concerned about the poor, liberals had a new reason to repeat their war cry, “conservatives only care about the rich.”

But is this liberal mantra true? In her Feb. 10 column for Townhall.com, Mona Charen cites evidence that it’s a false claim. She points to statistics in a book, “Who Really Cares – The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservativism,” by Albert C. Brooks.

I looked up Brooks’ book. It blows the liberal claim to smithereens. In a very large sampling at Amazon.com, Brooks scrutinizes surveys about the charitable practices of both religious and secular conservatives and liberals.

Brooks wrote the book in 2006, during the Bush administration when liberals began slamming conservatives for “not caring about the poor.” His evidence is very much to the contrary. For example:

-In one survey, secular liberals were 19 percent less likely to give to charity than religious conservatives, and religious liberals were 10 percent less likely than the conservatives (p. 50).

-In another, religious people (usually considered “conservatives” by secularists) were 25 percent more likely to give money, and 23 percent more likely to volunteer time (p. 34).

-Here’s a shocker - of the 25 states that had higher than average charitable giving, 24 were “red states” where the majority voted for George W. Bush in 2004! Only one was a “blue state” won by John Kerry (p. 23).

-People living in red states were also 51 percent more likely to do volunteer work than those in blue states (p. 24).

-Brooks states that religious conservatives were more charitable than liberals in every measurable way (p. 38).

-Brooks says government spending isn’t the same as charity (p. 20) - i.e., it doesn’t matter if more liberals than conservatives in Congress vote to give government money to the needy, or if more liberal citizens approve of government subsidies. It’s no skin off their personal backs; it’s no sacrificial money out of their personal bank accounts.

Caring and giving are about what we do as individuals. The stereotype that "conservatives only favor the rich" is an outrageous, unfounded generalization.

What Would Jesus Do?
In the last few months, the phrase "What Would Jesus Do" gained new life for being used in the Occupy Wall Street movement. It seems liberals assumed that Jesus wanted the government and the wealthy to take care of everybody.

But, when asked if people should pay taxes, Jesus said "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" (Matthew 22:21). When he saw people caring too much about earthly things, he said “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).

Jesus never suggested that the government or the wealthy should be required to provide for everyone. He instructed people to love their neighbors and care for others on an individual volunteer basis, from the heart. And He told people to put God first. The new believers shared their goods voluntarily; it wasn't government-mandated. There's a big difference.

Liberals love quoting Jesus on one thing, but not the other. The last thing many liberals want is for our country to put God and Bible first.

2 comments:

JoeinCanada September 25, 2012 at 6:54 AM  

Go read your bible again. Read the Story of Jesus and the rich young man, whom he tells " If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me". Likewise, the other famous statement: "How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." This whole "you can be a Christian and still have all the material things you want" ideology is a modern invention, not a biblical truth. The entire New Testament is a call to abandon materialism and wealth and to live simply and with the least concern for worldly goods. However the vast majority of people who claim to be Christians have simply made up their own religion and are not actually Christians and certainly don't live their lives as Christ commanded them to. It would require such a large lifestyle change they couldn't do it because the practice outlined by Jesus would be too hard for them. Likewise, this whole idea that Jesus support's free market economics and capitalism is just another modern idea. Jesus was a true socialist who believed in a communal life of sharing and caring. This is why the worship of Jesus is called in many churches a communion. When Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes, he didn't charge any money for them. Nor did he charge for healing the sick. Time to ask "What would Jesus Do" when it comes to issues like access to medicine, social housing, justice and war. I don't think privatization, chronic homelessness, a huge jailed population and stockpiling nuclear weapons are part of his commandments.

Sheryl Young September 26, 2012 at 6:01 AM  

Thanks, Joe, for taking time to write this, but my article didn't address the angle you seem to be correcting me on. I never state that we should get everything we want; in fact, in the 3rd to last paragraph, I state that Jesus saw people caring too much about earthly things and said to seek God first. In my 2nd to last paragraph, I say He instructed people to love their neighbors, care for others on a volunteer basis, and to put God first. The rich young ruler being told to give up everything is a typical citing, but Jesus knew that the man's riches meant more to him than anything. It was an example of what people might idolize. The example of socialism in Acts, where everybody came and shared everything, was because some people came from different areas to see Jesus, had left everything behind, and didn't know they were going to stay as long as they did. So the people of that area's churches got together and gave the new people sustenance out of their own goods. This was a voluntary act - it wasn't demanded by the government. We're supposed to do that out of our Christian hearts, not by government command. That's the difference.

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