Whited Sepulchres on a Sunday

Sunday mornings are usually peaceful times for me. I wake when I wake, listen to “Breakfast with the Beatles” on LSUG, and catch up on e-mail and the like. But that last was my mistake this morning.

I was cruising down the facebook page, looking at various baby and travel pictures, it being vacation season, when I saw someone had posted a link to an old blogpost called “Why Voting Republican is a Sin.” The article is a collection of Biblical passages exhorting believers to care for the poor and needy, not to worry about earthly riches, and the like.

I really hadn’t wanted a scrap this early in the day, but neither had I asked an English professor from a city known as an enclave of wealth to mine the blogosphere for harassment fodder. So I replied.

“I’m sorry — I missed the part where it says to let a government agency do all that widow-visiting and orphan-tending by proxy, and feel self-righteous about it later.” That, after all, can be read as the unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge approach (“Are there no prisons? No workhouses?” — government programs both in his day), rather than the Christian one. Meanwhile, there is evidence that Republicans tend to be more charitable than Democrats. In point of fact, I would suggest that voting for either major party is a choice between evils, as we live in a postlapsarian world. The fact is that we’re sinners regardless of our voting choices.

So where does that leave folks like my former classmate and the blogger to whom she linked? Well, either they’re aware of their own side’s failings and choose to ignore them for the sake of cheap snark and “gotchas”, or they genuinely believe that their side is utterly on the side of the angels, that to render unto Caesar is to render unto God, which in turn ignores Psalm 146:3 (and verges on idolatry — “Lightworkers“, anyone?) Perhaps worst is the possibility that they think simply holding the “correct” view eliminates the necessity for them to do anything themselves — at that point, we’re in Matt. 23:27 territory.

But I would have preferred simply to listen to the Beatles.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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3 Responses to Whited Sepulchres on a Sunday

  1. Alpheus says:

    Robin Hanson just had a post on the possibility you mention in your last paragraph — the likelihood that feeling like we’re part of a morally superior group weakens our inclination to do good as individuals. It appears there’s some empirical evidence for this.

    I think your point about Ebenezer Scrooge is brilliant. (Also, which side in contemporary politics is more likely to talk seriously about the desirability of decreasing “the surplus population”?)

  2. ricki says:

    THIS. (As the cool kids say). It seems to me that so often those in favor of redistributing wealth via the government seem to see no other option, they can’t seem to see that people voluntarily donate. (And that, IMHO, the smaller, more grassroots groups are actually BETTER at getting the aid to those who need it, than the government is).

    It used to be that one didn’t talk about religion or politics in polite society. Now it seems to be that they have to be all mashed up and talked about. And not mashed up very well, either.

  3. Pingback: The Government and the Nation: Thinking Out Loud | Professor Mondo

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