Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Of the 535 members of Congress, we know there are one Muslim and a number of Jews. The vast majority call themselves Christians and there is not a single atheist in the bunch. At least there is no one who will admit to it. Many of the most regressive members, Bachman...DeMint...Ryan...Boehner...Shelby...wear their religion on their sleeves and claim it helps to inform and direct them when they are faced with moral decisions. It is their religious beliefs, which lead them to oppose abortion and most forms of contraception. Their reading of the Bible leads them to want to break down the wall, which separates church and state. I take them at their word and thus I can see a solution to the current budget deficit/debt ceiling impasse...Matthew 25:31-46.

It's the end time and all the nations have been gathered before God. They are separated with one side getting paradise and the other eternal damnation. The criteria are quite simple. "I was naked and you gave me clothing, hungry and you gave me something to eat, thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and you healed me, in prison and you visited me. Whenever you did this for the least of your brothers and sisters, you did it for me." If you helped the least of society you were in. If not, God called you accursed and rejected you. Since so many members of Congress claim to follow Jesus, read the Bible and live by its precepts, how does this help solve the latest boondoggle?

Congress and the President have to accomplish a number of tasks. They have to raise the debt ceiling to maintain full faith and credit in our treasury notes. They have to set budget priorities to bring our fiscal house into order. They have to create jobs and grow the economy. They have to promote the general welfare.

It's why I'm baffled by the Christian regressives. If they have their way, the social safety net of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid go away. (I'm not being histrionic they have said its their goal). They would end Head Start and food stamps as they now exist. They want to eliminate the earned income tax credit for the working poor and job training for workers whose jobs were taken overseas. They oppose expanding Pell grants for poor students. At the same time, they refuse to raise taxes on the rich even though tax rates haven't been this low since 1950. They want to cut taxes for corporations, many of who pay no taxes now. They continue to support an ever-increasing budget for the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and the DEA. I'm confused. Matthew 25 says the key to salvation is providing for the least of our brothers and sisters. Do you sense some kind of disconnect? Could it be these are cultural Christians, people who claim to believe to fit in, rather than people of faith? How would rich or privileged atheists differ with their "Christian" members of Congress on these matters?

What would a fiscal plan look like if it were proposed by the sheep rather than the goats? It would raise the debt ceiling in order to keep our word and pay our debts. It would look forward and return tax rates back to their level in 1992. The Pentagon would see a smaller budget even as the Veterans Administration budget would have to grow to handle all those hurt and damaged over the last 10 years. Social Security would increase its eligibility age to 68 over 10-15 years. There would be no income limit on how much you have to contribute. Medicare would also increase its eligibility age and costs brought under control through comprehensive health care reform. Health care reform would reduce the demand for Medicaid. Between Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Pentagon and along with interest on the national debt, you have covered 3/4 of the entire budget. As for the rest, it's simple. Programs which help the least of our brothers and sisters get funded. Educational opportunities are expanded. Vocational training expanded. Basic research, the key to innovation and jobs, is funded. Budgets for the EPA would increase. (How could improving our health and environment be un-Christian?) Anything, which ignores or abandons the stranger, the naked, the hungry or those in prison, is anathema. Imagine the impact these Christians and their gospel could have in the immigration debate and the issues of surrounding the poor and strangers pouring into this nation.

No one has to be a Christian. There is no religious litmus test to be a member of Congress is there? (Ok, ok my tongue is firmly inserted into my cheek.) How can you claim to follow the little Jewish carpenter and yet ignore one of the key tenets of salvation? Imagine if our budget debates and our discussion of national priorities started with the criteria laid out in Matthew 25. Imagine our country with health care and education and jobs and food available to all. Imagine national policy based on what is best for the least of our citizens rather than a policy designed to help the haves have more.

Of course such policies would be condemned as socialism or communism or some ism and the condemnations would come on Sundays from pulpits and congregations all across the land...and when it's time for reckoning they will say, "When did we see you naked or hungry? When did we see you thirsty or sick, a stranger or in prison? (If we had seen you we would have helped!) Whatever you didn't do for the least of your brothers and sisters you didn't do for ME."

Should we be a nation of sheep or goats?


  1. We should be a nation of laws, that allows freedom of religion as well as freedom to be either a "sheep or goat". We should have the freedom to choose when to be charitable, and when to be self serving. When the government takes it upon themselves outside the constitution to be so charitable that they spend us in to 14+ trillion in debt, the smart thing is NOT to let them do more. Yes, it would be great if we could all just take care of one another, but to force it upon each other?

    No one forced you to commit the acts that led you to prison. You and only you are responsible, and you pleaded guilty for whatever reason. Good on you, saving the government more money. But you aren't there to be rehabilitated, seen and pitied, empathized with, or thought of as a victim. You are there to be punished.

    The only thing that surprises me is that federal dollars somehow allow you to blog from prison opinions that serve only to paint yourself as something more than you are.

    John Kerry sure knows how to pick his most ardent supporters. As a retired military officer with 7.5 years in combat, it shames me to think of someone as decorated as you committing acts so unbecoming of your commission. They stripped you of your Silver Star, did they strip you of your retirement and commission as well? One can only home, as even in small amounts it might help the debt crisis.

  2. Amen, Bernie, amen. I totally agree with you. This is the part of the New Testament that I try to follow in my daily life.

  3. Anonymous said...
    "read your own headline perv"

    If Bernie's blog bothers both you and Jamie so much, may I ask who's holding a gun to your heads to make you read them? You two have so little life and so little else to worry about that you have to be here and get your bowels in an uproar? Well, whatever floats your boat, I guess.

    Jamie, your last 3 paragraphs indicate to me your lack of compassion and I would like to address that lack in the wake of your first paragraph. You know, the one that says we should be able to choose to give or keep the things we have.

    You make a lot of noise about choosing. I hear this often and I know some people love to use that word "choose" because they think it makes them look so good when bad things are happening to other people. Well, I'm here to tell you that the world doesn't always care about you and your right choices. Bad luck, bad health, or a bad economy can hit anyone, anywhere, anytime, and everything you own could be gone in an instant. After that, your wonderful me attitude isn't worth a spit in the ocean. This is a hard lesson to learn and when it comes, the higher up you put yourself, the farther down you fall and the harder you hit bottom. All you can hope for when that happens is that someone will show you more compassion than you are now showing to others.

    Here is a quote I found not long back that applies to you and people like you - I wish I had gotten the author's name, because this really does say it all:

    "You would like to live in a world where people in white hats bring people in black hats to justice, but you don’t. Deep down, you want to believe hard work and virtue will lead to success, and laziness, evil and manipulation will lead to ruin, so you go ahead and edit the world to match those expectations. You want the world to be fair, so you pretend it is."

    Take this one to heart, Jamie, because you can only pretend for so long and then you have to take off your rose colored glasses and see the world for what it really is. Bad things happen to good people sometimes for no good reason and they might happen to you too. The bottom line is, when you lose everything, all you have left is character. Have you traded your character and compassion so you don't have to give up either your money or your caring?

    Caring about the less fortunate in our society makes us human. What are you?

  4. The first anonymous poster and Jamie can argue with the words of Jesus, if they wish. Others of us will heed what the Lion says...

  5. Jamie and the first commenter, who is such a coward that he or she won't even self-identify, are pathetic excuses for human beings. If they have children, I pity them. And I pity the children of self-professed Christian "conservatives" who spit in the face of Matt 25.

  6. Well 2/3rds of the nation is obese, and the poor have a higher rate of obesity than the rich.

    Not too much hunger going on in the USA, Bernie. In addition, this country is the first to aid other countries in times of crisis.

    But using a new credit card to pay interest payments on the old credit cards will lead to ruin. Many Americans have recent experience doing this in their personal lives, and you would have the country continue to do this? Have you not been paying attention to the troubled indebted Euro nations?

  7. I wasn't going to post again, but I can't let go the first part of what you said, Muckdog. Believe it or not, there is a lot of hunger going on in the US. Yes, our nation is obese and yes, the poor are more obese than anyone else and yes, there are times when the poor don't eat healthy when they can. But seriously....I went to the store two days ago. Hamburger was $3.49/lb but I could get two boxes of macaroni and cheese for a buck. Now if I'm on a tight budget, which do you think I'd get. And have you priced seafood and fruit lately?

    And while we're on the subject of food and ruin, I get what you're saying about our country and your analogy of credit cards. But my own analogy feels something like this: we are being told we have to cut out spending and make sacrifices. The way it comes across makes it sound like we need to quit eating to save money. So my question is, at what point do we decide food is actually a necessity for life?

  8. Sometime around 1834 or 1835, the United States had one day in which all the debts of the nation were paid. Up to then, there was a national debt. After that, there was a national debt. I am uncertain if we ever did pay on the debt for WWII.

    You, muckdog, may have no outstanding debt, but that does not mean you are debt free. You have a debt to all around you, no matter how great or little cash you owe. You owe your existence to all those who have come before. Are you going to pay back that debt by denying help to others?

    What solution do you offer to settle the problems of the world. Not owing anything to anybody? Stop helping those in need? Stop the world spinning on its axis?

  9. Why are we afraid to talk about the Mother of all Issues - the real crimes of 9/11/2001?
    We have for the most part accepted the myth of 'war on terror'. That has replaced a real forensic examination of the crime scenes in NY and at the Pentagon. There is an apprehension that if three buildings at the World Trade Center were really shown to have been brought down the way they did by some cause other than mere fires from jet fuel, then the implictations are vast, unimaginable.
    So keep your heads in the sand, my fellow ostriches, and keep believing that individual leaders [and that 'other' group] are the problem. Don't let yourselves notice there is a man behind the curtain ... and WE DON'T KNOW WHO HE IS.
    Are you open enough to examine some evidence? You can visit the Architects and Engineers website: AE911truth.org and click on the Evidence tab.
    Most who read this will dismiss this asthe rvings of an outrageous conspiracy theorist -- exactly as G W Bush programmed you...
    "Beware of outrageous ... "
    "If you are not with us then you are with the terrorists."
    [This is mind control of the first order.] Americans have made great progress in the art of propaganda, the Herr Goebbels variety.

  10. Until you know the real story, don't rush to judgment.