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Broaden understanding of ‘moral values’

Kristine Boeke | Wednesday, November 10, 2004

It appears that it was the “moral values” folks who were the swing voters and not the youth vote. I asked several evangelicals what the most important issue in the campaign was to them: gay marriage. They also said Sen. John Kerry was not a man of moral conviction.

I issue a challenge to my conservative Catholic and evangelical friends.

I challenge you to pay more attention to other moral values that are reflected in the Bible. For instance, in Isaiah, the prophet is very angry at the Israelites for not being concerned about “the orphan and the widow,” about the “usurers” (i.e. bankers) charging high interest rates. In other words, he was angry at the priorities of making too much money at others’ expense and for not being very concerned about the less fortunate.

The election is over, and I am not trying to win your vote, but I am hoping you will broaden your understanding of “moral values” as reflected in the Bible. Bush’s policies, such as the tax cuts, favored the wealthy and not the poor/working/middle class. You may say – the wealthy pay higher taxes so they should get higher benefits. But doesn’t the Bible argue that the wealthy have a greater social responsibility to society because God has entrusted them with greater wealth? Many wealthy people such as steel magnate Andrew Carnegie believed they have a greater social responsibility. Carnegie gave away his entire fortune.

People complain about paying taxes, but don’t we all benefit from paved roads, the public school system, fire/police departments, electricity and homeland security? They have to be paid for somehow. Freedom isn’t free, but neither are all these things. Besides, Jesus gave unto Caesar what was Caesar’s, and he never complained about it.

He also gave away everything he had. His goal wasn’t to make as much money as possible. He had more lofty goals. Perhaps we as a society could begin to promote more lofty vocational goals besides making as much money as possible, and paying as little taxes as possible. Why not take pride in paying taxes as part of one’s civic duty to improve society instead of pocketing as much as possible? Why not teach one’s children to choose a profession that betters society or brings personal satisfaction, not one that brings in as much money as possible? Are these not moral values? Some argue they would rather give through faith-based initiatives than taxes, but that would remove the burden from non-Christians who wouldn’t have to pay anything. Most churches I’ve been to couldn’t afford such a burden anyway.

The Bush administration also won’t allow the federal government to buy prescription drugs from Canada because they are “unsafe.” Hmmm. Canada? Could it be that the pharmaceutical companies that make huge contributions to the Republican party have something to do with it? Several states already have this program and buy drugs for half the cost, and no one is dying. Is this policy valuing the rich or the average person?

Also, China forbids its citizens from having more than one child and will then sterilize women. If a woman does become pregnant a second time, she is forced to have an abortion, even in the eighth month. Christians in China are also persecuted. Why isn’t Bush protesting or removing favored nation status? Again, he doesn’t want to jeopardize all the money made in trade. Mammon over moral values.

I applaud you for having moral values and believing in them strongly. My favorite theologian says, “the worst kind of evil is indifference to evil,” i.e., apathy. So kudos to you. But I also challenge you not to be indifferent or apathetic to other moral problems. God is not. Let’s not have him return and say, “I came to you when I was naked, and couldn’t pay for my insulin, but you told me that your taxes were too high and that arguing about gay marriage was more important.”

Kristine Boeke

graduate student

Nov. 9