Tag Archives: Keith Drury

How Could A Christian Vote Democrat, Part 3

How much wage is enough?

Start with part 1.

Then read part 2.

In our continuing review of Professor Keith Drury‘s arguments outlining how he as a Christian finds his faith informs his decision to vote Democrat, we now approach the topic of…

Minimum Wage

What is a Christian argument for why minimum wage ought to be higher?

I wish my students could earn (adjusted for inflation) the minimum wage I did when I went to college.  They’d almost be able to “work their way through college” like I did.  But its not [mostly middle class] college kids I care most about—it is the poor workers that serve my hamburgers.  They have no hope of making a living without college. They are doomed to marginal living as the “working poor.”

First off, I’ve had a little bit of college. Not a Bachelor degree’s worth. And I do not live high on the hog, but the bills get paid and we’re not hurting or starving. The argument that people must have a college education to succeed is a straw man. A Professor ought to know that.

Besides which, there is so much “free” money floating around, especially for people who are poor, to go to college that is even less of an excuse.

And wouldn’t raising minimum wage just make everything cost more? The Professor may build straw men, but he’s anticipated this one at least:

I know, I know—if we raise the minimum wage my hamburger will cost more. Good! I should pay enough for my hamburgers to enable the server to make a living and feed their family—to pay less is wrong in my doctrine—I am stealing from the worker their wages, and their [unpaid] wages will cry out against me at the judgment. (James 5)

I’m afraid you’re missing the point Professor, and making a major blunder here at the same time. I don’t care that you’re going to pay more for a hamburger, I care that the poor person whose wage has been raised will have to pay more for a hamburger. And in all likelihood, the percentage increase in the wage will be less than the percentage increase in the cost of the product.

Further, because labor costs more, greater pressure will be exerted to minimize the cost of labor as the real value of each dollar will be decreasing, more people will be laid off of jobs they were previously relatively secure in, even at or just above minimum wage. And I’m pretty if you ask those poor people you’re so very concerned about whether they’d rather make a little less and have a job or have the potential to make a little more and not have a job where they made even that, they’d take the smaller paycheck.

The road to hell, it is said, is paved with good intentions. Those unemployed due to massive stagnation of the economy will be crying out against you at the judgment, Professor.

God says His people perish for lack of knowledge. Professor, your short-sighted, feel-good ideas have been tried before, and have resulted in the most horrifying poverty and human destruction ever witnessed in modern times. Those who dreamt of a paradise on earth where every one had what they needed created the hell called the USSR before it crumbled under the weight of it’s own evil.

You are are morally responsible and your actions are as morally reprehensible as the communist apparatchiks when your intentions for good result in such destruction of the human soul.

Your understanding of the Bible did not send you there. It was your ignorance of where real redemption comes from and of basic economics.

And in fact, supporting the Democrats in this respect is a double failure of your sense, Professor. Look at the cities and states that have been run by Democrats and their ilk for the longest time and you’ll find the highest poverty rates, the most despair, the largest slums, the most disregard for decency and life. There is more to this than the support of a higher minimum wage, but that is for another time.

Handguns

It would be unchristian to prevent this woman from protecting herself

Apparently, the admonition to “turn the other cheek” means personal defense using firearms is wrong.

I do not hold my own life precious enough to give up another’s life to preserve my own. But I will demand no such sacrifice of my wife, my children, my neighbors, friends, or family.

A pistol is a great equalizer. It gives strength to the weak, and protection to the vulnerable. The woman walking the city streets to that minimum wage job late in the evening can be as secure as if she were Arnold Schwarzenegger in an armored car.

To be against handguns is to be for the strong, the violent, the takers, and rapists and murderers in the same way that being for raising the minimum wage means being for the destruction of jobs and the harming of lives.

Not that our cowboy nation need be any more cowboy. But in those places where the cowboy motif is strongest and the personal responsibility of self and community defense most anchored, crime is lowest.

I’m for crime being low. That’s a Christian position.

Taxes

And here we get to a particularly telling argument.

Professor Drury believes that the rich ought to have more of their money taken.

I don’t want to redistribute all income, but I’d be happy to redistribute more of it.

And he continues:

Republicans might say that rich Christians ought to give their money personally to the poor and not through the government but somehow if a person is serious about the Old and New Testament’s teaching you’ve got to redistribute resources. I wish people did it personally. It is a nice idea.  But, have you seen this happening much?

Actually Keith, yes, I do see this happening much. The Democrats you aspire to be like are a singularly stingy lot when it comes to their own money. Perhaps that’s your problem. Spending time only with Scrooge you assume all are likewise skin-flints. Perhaps you ought to get out and about a bit more and meet people besides those who think like yourself. You’d probably be a bit surprised.

David Horowitz makes an eye-opening point which can apply to this and the argument on the minimum wage: Leftists always seem to know what to do with wealth of others, but they really haven’t the slighted idea how to create it. Which is why socialism created the most uniformly destitute societies ever experienced in the history of the world despite significant initial riches and incredible natural resources.

But then Professor Drury launches into a singularly odd argument involving government-enforced giving, the final reward, and fish ponds:

If we did away with all taxes would you give your taxes to the poor?  Really?  Since churches are not taxed do you see the church giving generously to the poor?  Really?  I personally think rich people will always figure out ways to make money.  I always do.  The church ought to urge us to do the right thing, but if we don’t, then government ought to figure out a way to make us do it.  We should share with those less fortunate than we are.  If it is through generous personal giving we get a reward in heaven.  If it through taxes taken from us by force and without complaints we may get no reward in heaven but at least the people are helped. The Democrats are closer to Biblical values as I see them on this point.  Sure I would rather “teach a poor person to fish than give them a fish.”  But teaching fishing is a far more expensive welfare program than distributing fish—so I’m willing to spend even more to enable the poor to get off their backs and take over the fishing ponds.

If we did away with all the taxes (which nobody is saying, straw man alert!) I’d have more money to spend on the charities I think are doing the most efficient, worthwhile work. Work that would please God. Yes, I’d do it to get a pat on the head from God.

And yes, churches I’ve been a part of do give generously to those in need. But let us make a significant separation between the deserving poor and the undeserving poor. I’m not into free lunches for the sake of free lunches. I will support and participate in the alleviation of the suffering of those who are trying with what they have and yet still need. That is why I’m incredibly grateful that my church requires counseling and accountability of any who seeks alms from them. The smelly dirt-bag on the corner across the street from my office who I see once or twice a week yelling the most obscenely vulgar and racist epithets at the various black people who walk by him is undeserving. He is not seeking to get out of his condition, and therefore is not deserving to be lifted out of his condition.

It is not a case of “the Lord helps them that help themselves”. It’s a case of this person will use the talent I give them to grow and multiply and achieve, and this one will spend it on booze and drugs. I will not be party, even indirectly, to the destruction of a human soul through such uncareful giving.

School Prayer

I’m with the Professor on this, to this extent: The government has no place writing or administering prayers in the public schools. But the government also has no place limiting in any way the free practice of the religious expression of the students in those schools so long as it is not disruptive  or destructive. This is a right held by the individuals, not a privilege administered by the state. As such, it is both a restriction upon the actions of the state to limit such speech and a requirement that reasonable steps be taken to allow such speech.

Congress shall make no law (The government has no right to) respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,

Stay tuned for more and a wrap up.

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How Could A Christian Vote Democrat, Part 2

Strong Woman

Part 1 is here.

In responses to the previous article, comments were made that while Democrats are obviously not a good choice for support by Christians, the Republicans fare little better. Two friends in particular spoke to the fact they could not in good conscience support the Republicans any more than they could Democrats.

Professor Keith Drury, whose article I am commenting on here, finds much the same in a couple different issues in particular.

My own feelings on this are that I tend to stand with the Republicans because of what they say, to a large extent, and to a lesser extent because of what they do. And just as the rank and file Democrats may hold many of the same ideas as the Democrat leadership but for radically different (and possibly better) reasons or even may hold radically different opinions, evidenced by the fact that many Democrat successes in more mainstream areas of our country have been achieved by running to the right of the local Republican challenger, the rank and file Republicans tend to not agree with the master plan of the leadership of the party.

Regardless, ideologically conservative people who primarily inhabit the Republican party have been on the right side of the vast majority of issues for nearly 4 decades now, and with the principles written in the official platform of the Republican party of limited government, constitutionally defined freedoms, protections for all (including the unborn), and other points, I find it is necessary to support this side of the political spectrum.

Even better is the fact that the Tea Party movement has created a massive wave of pressure against the entrenched and now befuddled Republican leadership who have no more idea where this came from nor any more love for it’s outcome than the Democrats, because it is their party this groundswell is mostly affecting. Gone are the fat-cat lards of largesse, the caricatures of statesmen that have taken the name Republican and have been no better than common fleas (but that would unfair to fleas) once elected. Now it is the young and vibrant, the fresh and energized and ideological and impassioned people standing up and running for office and surmounting the odds.

Can you tell I’m excited?

Yes, the Democrats will likely experience extensive losses during the elections next month. But the winners will not be the old guard Republicans, they’re no more loved than the Dems.

Digressions aside, though, let’s resume the commentary.

Healthcare

Professor Drury’s next topic on which he finds himself more closely aligned with Democrats is healthcare.

His main argument? Doctors should not be getting rich healing the poor. Fair enough.

But what is the logic supporting a structure of punishment for those who do? And can we penalize all doctors for the greed of some?

No. A principle of basic human justice is that justice is never served if, while punishing the guilty, the innocent are willfully harmed.

Keith uses the evidence of Christ healing the sick constantly during his earthly life to show the value God places on caring for the health needs of people. This is all very well and good, but we are called to be wise, to be stewards. In human economic terms, this means efficient allocation of resources.

In fact, it is the money involved in the profession that attracts so many incredibly talented people into this field. And for every person who is in it for the money, there are likely others who are not. Look at all the free and cheap clinics that are sprouting up all over the place. Walgreens, then CVS, Walmart, and now even Target super stores have clinics where you can get standard preventative medicine for pennies on the dollar. And at the upper end of the health care system, all that money funds amazing research providing cures we’d have trouble distinguishing from dark magic even 10 years ago.

The health care issue is fraught with peril, incredibly complex, and nothing I can solve here in this column. Suffice it to say, the federal government taking over health care will no more solve the issue than federal government taking over primary education has created a system embodying quality and equality.

Feminism

Professor Drury does not spend much time on this, except to note that while Republicans have talked the talk, they’ve not walked the walk.

The problem here is once again that it is not justice to harm the innocent.

Just as I cannot and should not under and law or logic known to God or man be held responsible for crimes committed by my Grandfather, so no man should or can be held responsible for a system they have not created or unjustly taken advantage of.

And yet, the prescription for the cure to the female condition is the unnatural hampering of males.

Would not a better solution be the removal of any and all barriers to equalize potential rather than outcome?

In so many social justice issues, the measure is always the outcome. Is the number of women making widgets equal to the number of men making widgets? Do they get paid the same? The problem is that there is no reasonable logical support for a system that guarantees equality of outcome. The only way to guarantee equality of outcome is to limit the potential of everybody until some unnecessary and destruct least common denominator is achieved. This is what the USSR tried and achieved. That is the socialist ideal. It’s the best you get when you look for real equality.

This is one reason why the American experiment has been such a rousing success. America, in it’s social and governmental systems never attempted to guarantee equality of outcome. Our founders recognized the moral folly of such an goal. Instead, there is equality of opportunity. All people are equal under the law. What one does with that inherent equality is their own. They can truly blame none but themselves if they fail to achieve all they could.

Continue with part 3.

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How Could A Christian Vote Democrat

christian communism
Christian Democrat

Professor Keith Drury, of Indiana Wesleyan University, penned an article in 2008 explaining his reasons for voting primarily for the Democrat ticket. He has several specific points which he believes show that a traditional Christian belief system will tend to support the Democrat ideology more so than the Republican.

I disagree. (Well, that’s the news today, folks!)

The Caveats

Keith begins with the points where he agrees more with the Right:

Free trade

I believe in free trade because I do not worry about what is “best for America” but what is best for all of the world’s people—that is the Christian view I think.  On this issue I often fall in with the Republicans, and disagree with the protectionist inclinations of many Democrats.

Fiscal conservatism

I see this stance based on a doctrine of stewardship…  I believe it is unwise to go into debt to live high now then make future generations pay the bill—whether to pay for welfare, for a war in Iraq, or for a tax cut giveaway to the wealthy (or even middle class). Generations ought to pay our own bills—I think that’s biblical, or at least good Christian sense.

Opposition to special rights for homosexuals

I believe it is wrong to deprive gay Americans (or Americans who commit adultery, get divorced or otherwise sin) of their civil rights—such a fair access to housing or jobs. But I reserve the right of religious organizations and churches to hire whomever they want to based on whatever lifestyle issues they consistently practice.

Opposition to abortion

If I was a one-issue voter and abortion was the only issue I’d vote Republican.  But I have other issues to consider, and I honestly don’t think the Republicans actually deliver much on this issue…what they deliver most is rhetoric.

The Argument

Then Keith gets into the meat of his argument, the points where he believes the Democrat party more closely aligns with his understanding of Christianity and the instructions of the Scriptures.

First up is the environment.

…if we truly believe God created the snail darter and spotted owl how could we be so casual about the death of something God purposely put on earth?  Can I so lightly destroy the Creator’s creation?  And this does not even get into the pro-life aspect of the environment—pollution kills people…slowly but they are just as dead as a fetus when it does its work. I am a radical environmentalist because I believe God is creator of everything we have and we should to care for it like a gift. On this issue I have much affinity with the Democrats—my only complaint is they don’t go far enough.

There problems here are several. First it is private ownership of property that best protects and preserves the environment.  This is an immutable fact, that people care for and practice stewardship of that which has value to them, personally. It is not selfishness or slavish allegiance to the almighty corporation to speak the facts. In societies where people have not owned property, there has always been excessive waste, extreme pollution, and all the attending problems. In societies where people own property and have sovereign right over that land you find sustainable forestry, attempts to prevent natural disasters such as wildfires, gardens and preserves and protected wilderness.

Second, the leadership of the Democrat party is no more environmentally minded than your opinion of the leadership of the Republican party. It is a historical fact that those leading the environmentalist movement are socialists who have found a group they can champion who cannot protest. The goal of modern environmentalism is the enforced government control of the means of production and the enslavement of any and all people under the heel of communist master minds in the hope of creating a worker’s paradise. The Nazis were incredibly environmentally conscious in their propaganda, turning being green into a religious paradigm. The goal is the enslavement of people, rationalized, this time, by the plight of the spotted owl.

Next, the poor.

Caring for the poor is not an option for anyone who takes a serious reading of the Bible—it is a demand and even a test of whether I am really a Christian… I still don’t want the church to do it all. Why?  I think rich non-Christians ought to pay their fair share too.  When I pay my taxes I pay them like I pay my tithe—some of that money fulfills Christ’s command to care for the poor.   Democrats help me fulfill this command of Christ far better than most Republicans do…

The problem here is one of responsibility and internal consistency. First, all God’s commands regarding are to the Church and to Christians. He does speak to the political nation of Israel regarding treatment of the poor, but this is during the time of their Theocracy, when they were directly ruled by God, and something Keith says earlier in his argument may help clarify this distinction. “In my tradition (the holiness movement) we don’t expect unsaved people to live holy lives,” Keith says. This is perfectly acceptable. The world is not to be expected to think or act like Christians are commanded to act. It would be the height of folly on our part to expect the unrepentant and the unredeemed to act as thought repentant and redeemed.

Second, Keith, you can’t have it both ways. Either it is the church’s responsibility or it is not. Or it is individual responsibility or it is not. I don’t pretend that non-Christians cannot be generous and well-intentioned. Many of them are, and in ways that would put many Christians to shame. But the commands of the Bible are directly applicable to individual Christians and the Church. Any shirking or enforced sharing of that responsibility is wrong.

Third, doesn’t Keith sound a little selfish there? “I think rich non-Christians ought to pay their fair share too.” Are rich non-Christians directly and personally responsible for the poor among us? And if God did not exempt the Christian poor from the command to give, and in fact clearly and explicitly praises and encourages the giving from want more than the giving from ‘got’, why should we exempt the non-Christian poor from such a responsibility? After all, the poor in America are only relatively so, and are in fact wildly wealthy relative to their counterparts the world over.

Finally, a distinct difference between a politically-Right view of alms and a politically-Left view of alms is the source of the responsibility. I am responsible for doing what I can to alleviate the condition of those God has called me to serve. To the best of my ability and with appropriate and applicable due diligence to ensure wise use of those resources I have. This gives me two sub-responsibilities, that I produce resources I can share of, and that I do so wisely, with the stewardship Keith praises in his fiscal conservatism. A politically-Left person, such as Keith, sees alsm as a responsibility of the Government. God will not judge governments before His eternal throne. He judges people, their hearts, intentions, and actions. You, Keith, are responsible before God for how you gather and spend your resources for the benefit of your fellow man. You are not responsible for how you spend your neighbor’s resources to help his fellow man.

Read part 2.

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