Democrats Still Don’t Get That Ole-Time Religion

Ever since the re-election of President Bush and the robust Republican showing, liberals and Democrats have been talking of their need to “court” the religious vote and speak to religious/moral issues.

Listening to liberal strategists, it’s evident that liberals will advance causes that, while in their mind constitute values, are nonetheless not the religious/moral issues animating voters concerned by religion and morality: those rooted and explicit in the Bible itself.

Marriage between two men is openly forbidden in Leviticus and Deuteronomy (“When a man shall take a woman for a wife.”) and partial-birth abortion is forbidden in Exodus as well as Genesis. The promiscuous climate and expressions of vulgarity so often exhibited by Hollywood-types are equally denounced throughout its pages.

God is a loving God but proffers standards, which He sets forth and states. The Scriptual person knows that open-ended tolerance for everything is not found in his Scripture.

What we hear from liberal precincts, however, is simply the retention of its age-old liberal political agenda couched, now, in religious vocabulary. For people serious not simply by religion but by Scripture itself, the new Democrat push will not wash.

The National Council of Churches, for example, wishes to promote – as a religious value – national health care. Nowhere in the Bible, however, is there any explicit or implied reference to national health insurance.

To be sure, the Bible is the fount for attitudes and activities in behalf of social justice. Liberals, however, confuse socialism with social justice. Yet socialism is not a biblical prescription.

Liberals continue to ascribe to themselves moral superiority based on their adherence to socialism. However, socialism is a political category, not a moral category.

Similarly, they say, that in the name of religion they will press their “agenda regarding the economy, poverty, war, and the environment.” And every form of tolerance.

Redistribution of wealth has never been a scriptural paradigm. Only 10% of farm products were appropriated – not 50% — and that went directly to the Levites who forfeited their right to earn a living so as to serve the people in the Temple. It was not an entitlement based on mere citizenship but a payment for services rendered; government employees, if you will.

Gleanings in the field left for the poor, i.e., that which remained after a thorough harvesting, was a form of charity and a display of gratitude to God for supplying a healthy crop. In fact, gleanings were not distributed nor delivered to the poor; the poor had to arise early in the morning to personally collect them. It was the Bible’s way of enshrining the work-ethic concept even among those on the receiving end.
Nor were grain gleanings open to the national population, rather locals only.

Poverty was partially alleviated through private giving – charity—under the one-on-one context of a donor/recipient relationship, not by a faceless national pooling and redistribution, bureaucracy.

Poverty was further relieved by encouraging loans, thereby cultivating the habit of thrift over dependency; and by, as Maimonides wrote, teaching a man a craft in order to make a living and be independent.

Again, the Bible emphasizes not the national but local: “And thou shalt first provide for the poor in your city” – one-on-one. Perhaps that is why personal charity from individuals in the Red States is greater than that of those in the Blue States peppered by a “it’s-the-government’s-responsibility” crowd.

The centrality of work as opposed to entitlement and guilt is redolent in the oft-repeated verses: “Six days shall ye work,” and “When your work has been completed,” reflecting its value and the definition of “human created in the image of God.”

A childish mistake often made is that since the Bible is good and “concern for peace and the environment is good” that Scripture is somehow absolutist in eschewing war and sublimating mankind to a purist, untouchable forever “green” cosmos. Not so: the Bible is a far more nuanced and sophisticated document. If it was simply a predictable, feel-good earlier version of Barney and Sesame Street, it would hardly have been necessary.

Deuteronomy is replete with references to “And when you shall go out to war,” and thrice commands to “destroy the evil outside and within your midst.” National subscription, the draft, is delineated.

One of its salient moral messages was for the soldier to be swelled with the courage to wage war when necessary so as to check the periodic outbursts of aggressive evil. “Be strong and resolute in your battle, steadfast, and I will be with you,” God tells Moses, Joshua, the Judges and later kings.

Absolutist pacifism was never an ideal but considered a shirking of responsibility, an acceptance of evil, and a failure to make the discriminating, informed hard choices indicative of a man who has grown, an adult.

While man is to protect the Garden, he is equally in Genesis called upon to cultivate and husband its resources for his well-being. After coronating man as a creative being, God speaks of our relationship to our surroundings. In other words, our creativity is manifest precisely in how we use Nature’s gifts for the reasonable benefit of mankind.

Nature is not itself God, but a treasure-house where the balance must be tipped in favor of man’s survival and necessary comfort, since mankind is the highest priority in God’s earthly hierarchy.

Absolutism against war is simplistic; worship of the environment to the detriment of man’s essential needs is paganism.

No, this is simply warmed-over socialism and faddish liberal dogma masquerading in the garb of the latest tracking poll: religion. It is a politics of religion, not religiosity. To some, it may feel good, but that does not make it Scripture.

Liberals will never change their core agenda for it is their identity, as well as the matrix used in their goal to transform America from capitalism to socialism and morph us into Europeans. Not to detect this in them is, as one English newspaper headlined, “Stupid.”

Posted in ARTICLES, Politics, Religion and tagged , .
Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Rabbi Spero, who also served as a pulpit rabbi, has been invited to inform policy-makers, candidates, and elected officials in the halls of Congress, and in the Executive, regarding the moral and religious dimensions of policies and legislation under consideration.

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