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This Month's Scripture Verse:

Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless -- Ecclesiastes 5:10


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For July 15, 2015

July 6

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost consisting of the audio broadcasts of an interview with Robert Godfrey over the same-sex marriage issue. This appeared in heidelblog.

Some points need to be made here. First, Godfrey makes a good point in criticizing the current emphasis on individualism in society. And yet, the individual is always implied, if not explicitly referenced, in each of the amendments to the Constitution. So there is a certain libertarian bend in The Constitution.

The next point to be made is a more thorough examination of how Christians should interact with society. One solution never mentioned is that perhaps we should work to share society with others as equals rather than as part of a privileged group.

Finally, citing the freedom of religion in a way that implies that it only supports the Christian view forgets that some who argue for equal rights for those in the LGBT community do so because their religious views are at odds with that of the Church. And so we must deal with the issue of how to resolve a collision between the religious liberties of multiple groups. In addition, the Jim Crow era has taught us that we need to recognize and oppose the use of religious views that are used to deny equal rights for others.

Also, we need to consider how the Church has reacted so strongly to the changing of sexual mores but has been quiet about the economic exploitation that has been so much a part of our nation's economy, the destruction of the environment our way of life has caused, and war/militarism in the name of patriotism. Outsiders see us being obsessed with sexual sins and cold system and societal sins.


July 8

To Raleigh Sadler and his blogpost on how to care for those who are trafficked workers who also go to church. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

There is another way by which we can hep trafficked people. We can work for economic justice. It isn't just manipulation through relationships that causes people to be trafficked, it is poverty and the lack of good paying jobs. Poverty is a driving force in prostitution and pornography. And in an economic system where recovery from collapse goes predominantly to the wealthiest and where many decent paying jobs have left for other countries and where some corporations and banks pay such low wages, many of their low-skilled and not so low-skilled employees must apply for government assistance to live, it is not difficult to see how some see prostitution and pornography as ways of escaping poverty. In fact, poverty among some college students is causing them to use prostitution and drug dealing to escape their financial difficulties.

If churches are to better address the problem of trafficked labor, they need to address issues revolving around economic exploitation as well as do what was suggested above. Certainly it is important to pray and be aware of both the people around us and the issue of trafficked labor. But to focus so much on that while ignoring a driving force for why people engage in sex-work and are vulnerable to trafficking is to partially sabotage one's efforts at addressing the problem of exploiting people through trafficked labor.


July 14

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on what he wants the Pope to know about free economies. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

What I wish advocates for a free economy would realize is that a free economy is like freedom itself in the  sense that it is not free. The price of both freedom and a free economy has had to be paid by some and many who belong to the group some are not enjoying the benefits of a free economy, just the costs.

Why a free economy is not free is because of two reasons. First, the necessary structures that support a free economy are not free. These structures include both physical, legal, and societal infrastructures. For access to these infrastructures to be public, government must play a leading role in providing for them. That means that taxes must be paid. However, advocates of a free economy want the tax burden to be either neglected or shifted to another segment of society. The shifting of that tax burden provides greater freedom the elites in the free market.

Another reason why a free economy is not free is because a nation's economy has as its primary responsibility that of providing for the people as a whole. But advocates of a free economy believe that the purpose of a free economy is not that of fulfilling any social responsibilities, but that of providing opportunities to make as much as one can. Now advocates, like the writer of this blogpost, believe because the latter approach, that of emphasizing the provision of opportunity and the denial of responsibility, is most effective at providing for all. And to sugarcoat that, redefinitions of a free economy, such as the one Carter provides here:

A free economy is not a laissez-faire, each-to-his-own system of consumerism. It’s a system in which people are allowed to use their resources and abilities most effectively to serve others.

are used to sell the idea of a free economy. The problem with the redefinition of a free economy is that it is euphemistic. That people are allowed to use their resources to serve others does not imply that any adequate percentage of people will. In addition, the boast that a free economy does the most to alleviate poverty is misleading. First, look at the definition of extreme poverty $1.25 per day. One could move people such as Americans closer to that goal through economic schemes and rightfully claim that they did not create any more extreme poverty. At the same time, the country with the tightest controls on its economy, China, has contributed the most to the statistics being bragged about here and its economy is not exactly free. But in the freedom that it has allowed. progress has been achieved at a tremendous cost to both the environment and workers' conditions. And as for India, while some have benefited from the free economy, hundreds of thousands of farmers have committed suicide because of the debts they incurred from their free economy.

So we have to ask this question: Is the free economy being preached here designed to be a kind of new California Gold Rush or is it designed to meet its responsibilities at serving all of the people?


To Joe Carter and his blogpost on how Greece's current and America's coming economic problems are a result of paying for items like pensions. This appeared in Acton's blog.

Odd that what is not cited here are what banks did to contribute to Greece's economic policies. Neither is the corruption that exists in Greek government and society. Neither is the notion that avoiding paying taxes has also contributed to Greece's problems. Why haven't these factors been mentioned here? It is because of those who want financial elites to be free from social responsibilities.

Here is a fact. That the current Greek problem came about from the combination of heavy borrowing, which was turned into growth, and the global financial collapse of 2008--remember that our economic collapse which was due to private sector corruption and public sector negligence/impotence (see http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/the-corrupt-economics-behind-greeces-fiscal-problems ).

Here is another fact. The money from the first bailout of Greece's economy primarily went to banks that had loaned Greece the money. It was like preventing a foreclosure on a country. In return for that bailout, austerity measures were put in that hurt the economy, what else would one expect when one further consolidates wealth, along with conditions of new austerity measures that not only furthered Greece's recession, they were punitive and used unrealistic expectations (see http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/29/joseph-stiglitz-how-i-would-vote-in-the-greek-referendum and http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/the-corrupt-economics-behind-greeces-fiscal-problems and http://blogs.lclark.edu/hart-landsberg/2012/10/28/the-role-of-government-in-the-economy/ )

Here is another fact. There is corruption in Greece's government and it revolves around schemes invented to make money. In addition, many of the loans made to Greece was more about how to make money off of them than to help (see http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/06/30/eurozone-profiteers-how-german-and-french-banks-helped-bankrupt-greece ).

Now we add to that the Greek aversion to paying taxes, you have part of Greece's problem. And instead of bringing up those items, we are being told that Greece cannot afford to pay its pensions and be fiscally responsible. And we are being told that so that this dilemma projected on to Greece should serve as a precedent for all others including us in the US.

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