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