Russell and Duenes

Let’s all just shut up about it and preach the gospel!

with 2 comments

In my previous post about the lies involved by the Social Democrats in the passage of health care, I don’t think I mentioned the word “robbery,” as one of my commentors did. So at this point it’s a red herring. I would be willing to argue the point, but it nowhere appears in my post or my argument.

My opposition to government-run health care is one that many seem to miss, namely, that I don’t believe it will make things more equal for poor Americans. I’m no longer willing to accept the ideas of people who want to make public policy based on “good intentions.” What really irks me is the reductionism by those who imply that our only two options on health care are a) have government take over (“reform”) health care so that “poor Americans can have equal access” or b) stay with the cold-hearted, careless, selfish keeping of the status quo that excludes people from health care. This is the way the Democrats constantly portrayed the issue, and it is and out-and-out lie and should be rejected by all thoughtful people. I can no longer say that “it seems never to occur to some that people like me want everyone to have access to health care just as much as the statists, but I think that free-market policies are the best way to achieve that.” It does occur to them, but they want to get their way, and admission of my alternative view (and that of millions of others) is simply not convenient to their purposes. So they lie about the options. I take my lessons from history. Americans wanted to solve the housing crisis by subsidizing housing and enacting rent-control, and what did we get? Housing shortages. We will get the same thing from government-run health care.

And how would it be “pro-life” for us to support government-sponsored funding of abortion, which this bill will surely do?

To the issue of Republican lies: Politicians who lie about military operations and why we’re engaging in them deserve just as strong, if not even stronger condemnation. So no one is holding one party to a “higher standard.” What has grown tiresome to me is the moral equivocation that comes up every time a proper argument is made. It goes like this: “Democrats lie about healthcare. Oh yeah? Well Republicans lie about the military. Oh yeah, well we all lie about everything. Oh well, I guess let’s all just shut up about it since we’re all equally liars.” How about we use our minds properly and discuss lies about health care when they come up and then discuss lies about military intervention when they come up? I wasn’t blogging when Bush was president. But I certainly think that the lies, distortions and stonewalling that characterized his administration were brazen and inexcusable as well.

I don’t really know what we can do on the federal level to change our politics. My colleague and I actually discuss this issue quite a bit, and hopefully will be able to write something intelligent about it in the future.  Unfortunately, so much power has been drained from local politics and gone to federal and state politics that it is hard to make changes. The problems are systemic. I would say that what has to happen, and what I’m attempting to make happen, is that we must begin at the familial and local level, with my own family, with education and in our churches, to help people think once again from a biblical standpoint about government and what its purposes are. Then we can have people who will be engaging and voting with much more wisdom and discernment. This is why I think truly Christian education is so important and why I advocate for it so strongly.

What would be needed to actually change our political system would be widespread repentance in the church, starting with me and mine, so that we turn from our idolatry of having “democracy,” elections, the government and government-sponsored education as our saviors, have more faithfulness in the allocation of our material resources, begin the establishment of biblical education and a return to living as though Jesus is Lord of everything, including politics, economics, education and public policy. That would be the place to start.

But let me try to be as honest as possible. When I think about this, I realize that my own involvement in Christian community falls woefully short. I don’t believe I am in a position communally to see these changes happen on a sufficient level. That’s the big hurdle, in my view. I don’t think I’m alone. How do we become people who are living in Christian community as the Bible holds out to us such that we can become an agent cultural transformation, in the power and grace of Christ? That’s a conversation worth having, and I think we would agree on that.


Written by Michael Duenes

March 28, 2010 at 6:14 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I do agree with much of what you’re saying. Obviously, we might still find ourselves working at cross-purposes, but if we’re walking with Christ and talking together we’d figure those things out.

    One of my first inspirations along these lines was Stanley Hauerwas’ book, Resident Aliens. You might actually like it. That is where I read a line that has always stuck in my mind, that Niehbur and Falwell are just two sides of the same coin: both invested in the system and both ultimately balancing and thus supporting the status quo. Hauerwas calls for the Christian community to be a new polis that visibly demonstrates a new way. I agree with that, although I might diverge with Hauerwas on the role of religion itself.

    We also both (probably) agree with Chesterton that the problem with the world is “me” (and “us”).

    Now I think the solution is knowing the grace we’ve received, because this grace is transforming. I don’t believe at all in the power of a moral code to transform people or society. In fact, I think one of the things harming America is Christian religion, which has envisioned itself as a moral religion, returned to “law,” and lost the vision of grace in Christ. The reason why America is “Christian” and arguably one of the most immoral societies in the world is because, as Paul says in Romans 6-7, when you live under the law it’s inevitable that you’ll fall into all kinds of sin. Living under the law compels us to sin. So change, I think, will come from Christians walking away from a religious identity if you will) into a Christ following, grace enabled identity (and walking alongside those who don’t know Jesus, not fighting with them). I could unpack this more, but it would be a very long comment then. I just thought I’d share my thoughts for a moment.


    March 29, 2010 at 12:10 am

    • Well said, Andy! I think Hauerwas has many things to teach us. And I certainly agree that “religion” won’t get us anywhere. “For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, GOD DID by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as an offering for sin He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom.8:3-4). Can’t say it better than that.



      March 29, 2010 at 5:28 am

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