Religion and Politics

Religion and Politics July 4, 2012

It is somewhat dis-spiriting to find that my posts on healthcare (and therefore politics) elicit far more comments and stimulate far more discussion and controversy than any of my religious posts. This is probably because I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to politics and simply throw my own opinion and experience out there. As such, I don’t really mind at all if people disagree with me. However, to say that I’m evil, that I have a poorly formed conscience and to imply that I’m in bed with the devil and leading souls to hell just because I opine that a modest, civic-organized health insurance plan for everyone might be an option is rather much.

Here’s what gets my goat–and I’ll allow myself a little moan here–I can’t understand why so many right wing Catholic Americans think they have to wrap themselves in the flag and pretend that right wing politics and economics are also part of the Catholic religion. Catholicism transcends all that. Maybe it’s the Mennonite in me, but right wing politics and economics seems to me to be just as stupid in their extreme views as the left wing are in their extreme views. Why can’t people see that when there’s an argument both sides are right and both sides are wrong. If there wasn’t some truth in both sides of the argument then there would be nothing to argue about. If there wasn’t some error in both sides of the argument there would be nothing to argue about.

The left are in favor of helping the poor and overcoming the huge inequalities, unfairness and injustice of the present health care/insurance system in the USA. Good for them. Let’s do something about it. The right are concerned about personal freedom, fear the over reach of the federal government, dislike the waste, corruption, huge cost and inefficiency of government run programs. Good for them. Let’s avoid those problems if we can. The left are in favor of making the world a better place. The right fear that the world, which is a pretty bad place, will only get worse. They’re both right and they’re both wrong.

That’s why this preacher keeps going back to repeat again and again that all the systems, all the good ideas, all the political solutions, all the forms of government, all the economic solutions–all of them are only as good as the people in them. It’s all about personal virtue.

Think it through. I’d argue that any political system or economic system could work just fine if the people within it were loving, kind, generous, spiritual, caring and good people. Shucks, even democracy could work if people were like that. But given that people are venal, suspicious, greedy, violent, lazy and selfish, any system you have needs to have effective checks and balances. If you have checks and balances in place, and a society is built on strong faith, clear moral principles and personal responsibility you might just live in peace and prosperity for a time.

Here endeth the rant…

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