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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Friday, October 15, 2021

A Window To The Past

 Realizing that the terms 'conservative' and 'liberal' are relative to where one lives and what ideological groups one associates with, the most prevalent error committed by conservatives is that they rely too much on the past to interpret and react to the present.

BTW, terms 'conservative' and 'liberal' are relative because the tenets taught by each depends on their setting. For example, back in the Cold War days, what American conservatives believed should be practiced by the government was vastly different from what Soviet Union conservatives believed. Why? It was because the context for the the beliefs and practices that American conservatives wanted to be preserved was Capitalism and Democracy while the context for what Soviet Union conservatives wanted to see from their government was "Communism" and totalitarian rule. The word 'Communism' was put in double quotes because what was practiced by the Soviet Union barely resembled, if at all, what Marx taught. But the point here is that what is conservative and what is liberal depends on one's location and the groups one belongs to.

Franklin Graham (click here for a bio), the son of the well known evangelist Billy Graham, just wrote a Facebook post that called into question and expressed extreme concern for both the course being pursued by the Biden Administration and what has been happening to our country (click here). And his questions seem to stem from an old conservative view of America that existed in his father's heyday. So at this point, we need to remember the major flaw of conservatives is that they rely too heavily on the past to interpret and respond to what is happening in the present. BTW, I am not sure if you have to be logged into your Facebook account to read the post.

Before commenting on his post, we should note two things about Graham. He is the President of the organization called Samaritan's Purse (click here), which is a charitable organization that travels around the world to help those who are in need caused by disasters and such, and he was a strong supporter of Donald Trump's candidacy and presidency. So even if one starts with having a jaundiced eye in looking at Graham because of his support for Trump, we must realize that he and his organization has provided significant help to people in need.

Graham's concerns include political concerns, economic concerns, social concerns, and foreign affairs. Graham's political concerns include the government using the pandemic to grab more power and spending bills that will harm us because they will increase the national debt to a dangerous level, and increasing taxes on the wealthy. Graham's economic concerns include an increase in the unemployment rate (click here to see that the unemployment rate has been dropping ) and inflation. We should note that the current inflation is at least a partial result of an increase in the demand of goods, especially in the demand for gas, and a renewed dependency on foreign oil. Regarding the last claim, it has both false and misleading information. As of late August, we have been importing less oil from the Middle East and that we have been importing most of our foreign oil from Canada. However, the EIA reports that the US will be importing more oil in 2021 and 2022 than it exports. But that same report did not attribute that change to Biden's policies (click here for source).

We should also note that Trump cut regulations in order to tweak the nation's economic output. But some of those regulations were environmental regulations the cutting of which may not only hurt our future due to climate change, it can hurt our present in terms of environmental pollution.

Graham also expressed concern that the government was exploiting the current pandemic by making mandates at whim which may not be supported by science. But the problem here is that we haven't seen any national mandates let alone mandates by whim that are not supported by science. The majority of mandates are being enacted by the private sector or by institutions like schools. Biden's vaccine mandate covers federal employees and contractors only and thus it resembles a private sector employer mandate.

Graham complained about the proposed increase taxes on the wealthy claiming that its purpose was to make everyone 'economically equal.' But when one looks at the increased tax rate that Biden proposed, can one honestly say that that was the purpose. We should note that Trump decreased taxes on the wealthy while sharply increasing military spending causing a spike in the deficit. I don't remember Graham expressing any concerns about that spike in the deficit.

Graham criticized Biden's withdraw of troops from Afghanistan. But Graham neglected to mention that Biden's withdrawal of troops, though deserving legitimate criticism for how it was done, was in line with an agreement that Trump made with the Taliban. So where was Graham's expressions of concern when Trump made that agreement?

Graham complained about censorship on social media. But the only example he provided was President Trump being banned on social media. Graham attributed that censorship to the socialist left even though that censorship was in response to misinformation being spread by President Trump and that this "censorship" was practiced not by the government nor influenced by the socialists and communists who are in our universities, but by the private sector.

Graham complained about CRT being divisive and pitting blacks and whites against each other instead of building patriotism. But this complaint seems to have come from a disbelief in the systemic racism that still exists in our nation that has already pitted blacks and whites against each other. In fact, we should note that despite the 400 years of white supremacy being practiced in this nation to varying but significant degrees, we haven't seen a violent backlash by blacks against whites that we pretty much deserve. And if Graham thinks that it is CRT that interferes with building patriotism, he should remember what Jackie Robinson, the first black player who played in MLB, wrote in his autobiography (click here for source):

I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.

It is tough to read Graham's post as being serious. Why? It is because his complaints indicate that either he has extreme sensitivities to changes that easily trigger a hyper vigilance that cause him to anticipate that the sky is falling when it isn't or he is acting like a political operative. His conservative upbringing would indicate the former while his employment of double standards and failure to include the contexts of the some of the pursuits by the Biden Administration would cause one to believe the latter. Of course, it could be a mix.

If Graham is demonstrating a super sensitivity to changes he disagrees with causing a hyper vigilance in him, then realize that his expectations of what will result from Biden's current decisions are quite in line with what many religiously conservative American Christians believe. He is simply echoing their concerns as well.

If Graham's criticisms here are motivated by politics, then realize that this is simply another example of the predominant branch of the Church supporting those with wealth and power as has been occurring for the last few centuries. We should note that the vast majority of Christians in the US are evangelicals and the vast majority of evangelicals have supported Trump in the last two elections. And Trump's policies strongly favored those with wealth which is followed by power. We should also note here that power is not necessarily measured in the level of governmental authority one has but in one's ability to influence others.

Whether out of being oversensitive or out of  being political, we must not forget the good that Graham's Samaritan Purse organization does. And that only shows that all of us are mixed bags when it comes to doing what is wrong and what is right. And we must always remember that and remind ourselves of what the mirrors in our lives reflect back to us as we criticize Graham.

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