Christian Burridge's Scriptural Interpretation Misses the Mark

It has essentially always been the stock in trade of Republicans to quote scripture when it suits their purposes or when they can find an interpretation of it that so suits. It's now becoming more de rigueur among Democrats to quote scripture.

Although his containing article brought up a good point, a recent attempt at scriptural interpretation by Salt Lake County Democrat Party Chairman Christian Burridge flew wildly wide of its mark.

Mr. Burridge was frustrated by the fact that President Bush vetoed--and several members of Utah's delegation had voted against--increasing the amount of federal funding for health care for children in poverty. Here's what he had to say in a letter to the Deseret News that appeared a few days ago:
I was astounded to hear that members of Utah's congressional delegation voted against SCHIP. Shame on President Bush for vetoing the same bill. Again, these GOP actions reveal that Cannon, Bishop and Bennett value perverse ideological priorities — based on esoteric economic theories that favor the rich — at the expense of the most vulnerable members of our republic. The scriptures should remind our representatives that "whoso shall offend one of these little ones ... it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matt. 18: 6)

Instead, these stiff-necked GOP philosophies should be cast to the bottom of the sea and offend our children no more.

I agree and disagree.

Agree: Heavy-Handed Rich People in High Places

I actually agree with part of his sentiments. There are policies in place in America today that do allow members of the establishment, large corporations, and other ultra-rich people to get get even richer on the backs of everyday Americans. The party--and the administration--of George W. Bush is largely to blame for this. But this is a problem that has been ongoing for several years.

Multi-national corporations have for some time benefited greatly from US policies that allow them to move their operations offshore to profit handsomely from 'slave labor' in such places as Asia. The lack of government desire to stop illegal immigration is only a feigned concern for allowing immigrants to perform jobs that ordinary Americans won't do. This is an allegation similar to the one made by white plantation owners in the antebellum south as justification for continuing to own and abuse black slaves.

This is a problem created by government, and which must be solved by government. Real free trade is fair, and what we have now is not fair, but oppressive--both to the majority of Americans and to those who provide multi-national slave labor around the globe. It may require a substantial cleaning out of our currently elected officials before we garner the national willingness to fix this calamitous problem. Restoring the balance of fair trade--and thus fair wages--would go a long way toward financially empowering families to be able to afford health care for themselves and their children.

Disagree: The Federal Government is NOT the Solution to the Children's Health Care Problems

The second problem Mr. Burridge writes of is one which the federal government not only can't solve, but which it has caused in the first place. Any apparent solving of the problem by government, as FDR's socialist policies are clearly beginning to show, are only temporary and only cause worse problems in the long run. Burridges interpretation of the scripture that he uses is, therefore, very inaccurate.

It is heinous to offend a little child, yes, but Christ was not talking primarily about economics. He was talking about spiritual matters. The greatest offense we can cause to children is to abuse them emotionally and spiritually, with such devices as pornography, as well as verbal, physical, and sexual abuse.

In some cases today, families who don't take care of their children's health fail to do so because they are abusive parents. But in most cases, families unable to take care of their children's health are unable to do so because the federal government has gotten in their way and fostered unfair advantages for the rich.

I would like to provide a different interpretation, in a general sense, of the scripture that Mr. Burridge quoted.

I shall raise my voice as long as God gives me sound or ability, against the communistic idea that the government will take care of of us all, and that everything belongs to the government...

It is wrong! No wonder, in trying to perpetuate that idea, that men become anti-Christ, because those teachings strike directly at the doctrines of the Savior.

No government owes you a living. You get it yourself by your own acts--never by trespassing upon the rights of your neighbor, never by cheating him. You put a blemish upon your character the moment you do.

--David O. Mckay, March 14, 1953 as quoted in Prophets, Principles, and National Survival p. 347)
So on one thing we agree: government is providing an unfair living to the super-rich. This must be stopped. But where our opinions diverge is that I think government can only solve the health care problem by otherwise getting out of the way. It is likely within the purview of the state governments to solve these problems, but the feds have proven woefully and consistently inept at finding such solutions.

I am concerned about our children much like Mr. Burridge is. I will concede that perhaps he is more concerned about them and actively engaged in solutions than I am. But his means of solving the problem is the wrong means and will only cause greater problems than the ones he is intending to solve, not to mention that it will not, unless temporarily, solve the actual problem at hand.

If we are quoting scripture, we should do it correctly. We should not use it to further socialist aims, which take away the very foundation of our liberty that is behind every one of Christ's teachings. If we teach them that they can solve their own problems, they will learn how important it is to help other people when they fall into indigent circumstances. If we don't, it would be better that a millstone were hanged about our neck and we were thrown into the depths of the sea.

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  1. Frank,

    You are way off base here buddy.

    Christian was right on target.

  2. I know you are, but what am I?

    Neener, neener, neener!!! ;-)

    Would you mind elaborating? Am I way off base when I agreed with him or when I disagreed with him?

  3. Minor correction - SCHIP is not for children in poverty. It's for kids who don't qualify for Medicare or Medicaid or whatever. Part of the debate now is whether families at up to 300% of the poverty level should be eligible for SCHIP.

  4. Thanks for the clarification. I got reading about that somewhere after I wrote this article, and I thought, wow! I could qualify for this!

  5. I think I probably qualify for it too, but nothing on earth could get me to come close to consider using it...

    I have a brother though who threw a fit a few months back because the post office lost his son's CHIP application. This is the same guy who just got back from a family trip to South Africa, a luxury my kids won't come close to experiencing for many years and a winning lottery ticket.

    Yes, we need to watch out for out kids, but that responsibility lies with the kids parents, not you and me.

    Totally off topic... Not sure were you stand on Global Warming, (Personally I feel it is a political ploy to pass further bogus legislation) but the coverage of the Governor's Task Force findings is just downright disturbing. I included some of the articles in my blog this morning.

  6. Here's another anecdote I came across that shows how out of kilter the welfare state is, again with regard to health care.

    With regard to Global Warming, I think it is occurring, but that it is a cyclical event, and that man has virtually no effect on it, although I am for cleaner energy sources and keeping the environment clean. Here is a link to articles I've written about global warming.

  7. Doh!!! Having read most of those, you'd think I'd know where you stand...

  8. That's okay. I thought you may have read some of them, but I wasn't sure how long you've been a member of the "SUMP community". ;-)

  9. You bring up good points, but I'd be interested in what you think the solution is. Too much of politics is about bashing the way it is without offering up the way it "should be".

    We can both agree that it is unfortunate that many children are without insurance. I think we can also agree that this is no fault of their own and the responsibility rests in the parent.

    However, what do we do when parents can't or won't insure their children? Urban Koda, I'd love your response as well. While I agree government aid is not the best solution, at least it helps the innocent children.

  10. Oh I agree wholeheartedly with Jesse: Urban Koda, why do people like your brother with the bucks (obviously) still refuse to buy health insurance for their kids? And why should the innocent children have to suffer because their stupid parents (sorry, no offense intended) spend money on vacation trips instead of health insurance?

    Would you rather see a draconian solution like taking kids away from unworthy parents and putting them in foster care?

    Just wondering...

  11. I'm a little late getting back on this one, but a question was posed to me that I should probably answer...

    Why do people like my brother refuse to buy health insurance? Well, for a number of reasons, but perhaps the biggest is that there is no need, the government provides it, and he has been told by political and religious leaders that it's OK to accept it.

    I'm not in favor of punishing kids whose parents can't afford coverage, but there used to be a time when a man would take responsibility for his family. I've worked 2 and 3 jobs in the past to make ends meet, because I had to. Nowadays, you just hold out your hand and beg, and sometime you don't even need the second thing.


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