Hypocricy

October 28, 2008 at 11:50 pm 1 comment

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being on a panel for a joint conference of the Indiana Muslim Alliance and the Islamic Society of North America. The topic of the panel was social justice from the perspective of the three Abrahamic faiths. My Muslim and Christian colleagues both gave eloquent, passionate speeches about our respective edicts to help the poor, feed the hungry, take care of widows and orphans, etc. All three Abrahamic faiths have strong social justice components – in both Islam and Judaism to do so is mandatory.

After our presentations we took some questions from the audience. The first question posed to us was ‘can you relate your faith’s social justice perspective to the war or politics?’ My colleagues were thoughtfully quiet, but I jumped t the chance to speak about something that’s been bothering me.

During this election season (which is thankfully almost over) I’ve heard much said about taxes – how both candidates will cut taxes for me (a middle classer). At the same time I hear the voices of supposed ‘people of faith’ saying we need to take care of others, but at the same time they refuse to pay more taxes. My question is, if we cut taxes, how do they suppose we take care of those who have less?

I admit, I’m a liberal, at least when it comes to social justice issues. My faith teaches me that it’s not an option to provide for those who are needy – it’s an obligation. I also understand that government is not always the most reputable source of aid and I agree with those who say we need to hold social programs accountable, both fiscally and programmatically. But what I cannot reconcile are those who purport to be ‘good people of faith,’ (especially in my own state) who uphold ‘family values’ and then flat out refuse to financially support programs that aid those in need.

Many say we need to rely on our faith communities to provide this aid. I agree. But the reality is they cannot do it and we have ample evidence of their lack of success. If churches, synagogues and mosques could provide all the aid necessary, we wouldn’t still need government programs. We do.  

The Republican principle of less government is not a bad idea except when it becomes exclusionary, particularly for those least able to advocate for themselves. When it does it is elitist, exclusive, self serving and discriminatory. If that’s what people want, I advocate their right to say so. But don’t call it an expression of any faith – it’s not.

I can hear conservatives labeling me a bleeding heart liberal. If that’s so, I gladly accept their critique and will paint myself pink. When did caring for others, doing the right thing, and loving justice become a weakness or a shortcoming?

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Entry filed under: Politics, Social Justice. Tags: , , , .

The Dark Rosa, Martin, Barack

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Molly  |  October 29, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    AMEN! I’ve heard more than one person say they resent paying taxes to help the poor. They’d rather donate to a charity of their choice than pay those taxes . . . and yet they don’t. If I had faith that they would actually do that, I might, MIGHT, be in favor of cutting taxes, but my faith resides elsewhere. So, let me pay my taxes in peace – and spread the wealth!

    Reply

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