This is not a public journal. There is no theme, agenda, or overall purpose. I need a reason to write and it needs to be well informed. I consider myself an expert in only one subject, my own thoughts. I am reflecting my experiences onto the internet because this seems to make them more beautiful to me, especially when they are idealized and inaccurate. This is not a mirror for me to see myself looking back, nor is it a mirror that reflects a detailed image of myself to others. This page is but a jumble of letters, words, and ideas that will be interpreted differently for each person, including myself. There are no mirrors because these thoughts are directionless, inaccurate, and fuzzy; a vague, splotchy reflection of McKinley.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christianity and Capitalism Are Inconsistent, Yet Politically Linked

Political trends observed in exit polls (pew, christian adc) show that Christians are more likely to support conservative candidates, especially if they frequently attend church. Mormons stand out as “more Republican than any other religious tradition.” This is largely because most Christians feel represented by a conservative stance on issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Why then do many Christians and Mormons who are conservative for moral reasons consider part of their moral crusade a defense of free market capitalism, attacking welfare and health care reform? Free markets and capitalist ideals are rooted in conservative ideology, but they are not representative of Christianity. Not only are Christ and capitalism not associated, but free market capitalism is inconsistent with Christianity.

Partisan debates have become rather heated in dealing with Obama’s health care reform. A major bill in health care reform is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Effective September 22, 2010, this bill eliminates an insurance company’s ability to deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions. An estimated 72,000 children who had previously been denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions (chronic illnesses, leukemia, etc) will be covered. Also included in the bill was the inability of insurance companies to drop sick, or “costly,” patients due to technical mistakes in their application or lifetime caps. The bill in its entirety can be found online through the New York Times.

Republican minority leader John Boehner objected to these reforms claiming that they will raise health care costs and increase the deficit. When it comes to health care a conservative’s greatest fear is federal over-expansion, increase in costs, and loss of profits and efficiency; all of which imply market failure. Why do many christian conservatives feel threatened by increased cost and lost profits? Profit can drive exploitation of children, profit can deny coverage to children and patients with chronic illnesses, profit can justify paying low wages to slaves or other low skill workers. Profit is in no way a christian motivation.

Somehow corporations and businesses have bought Christ’s approval for conservative economic policy through association to conservative ideals like opposing abortion and gay marriage. Conservative Christians should be just as alarmed at the exploitation of the poor and weak apparent with free market capitalism as they are when threatened on issues of gay marriage and abortion.

With all the partisan policy matters aside, Christians should not care how “costly” a person is, nor how much insurance company’s profits may suffer, all people (especially children) deserve coverage. What type of moral crusade are Christians on? One that denies health coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions? What we typically label “moral” issues in contemporary politics should deal with a whole slate of issues, not just abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research.

Jesus Christ was not a business man, nor a capitalist. He didn’t care about efficiency and profitability but encouraged all to give what they had, regardless of circumstance (Mosiah 4). Christ reminds us that we must love our neighbor as ourselves (Lev 19:18, Matt 19:19, Matt 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, James 2: 8). Why shouldn't we then value our neighbor's health care as much as our own regardless of their circumstance?

It is not wrong for Christians to be conservative in defense of moral issues like abortion and gay marriage. However, conservative Christians should question their opposition to health care reform and support of free market policies in the United States government. It is in no way a part of the same moral crusade. Conservative economic ideas are associated with conservative moral issues by party identification, yet there is no direct link between Christ and capitalism. Health care should not be an issue that divides conservative Christians and Christian liberals, it should unite Christian Americans in an effort to provide the best care for our fellow citizens, whom we are commanded to love as ourselves.

2 comments:

  1. Well said my man. Too many conservative people do not understand this concept.

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  2. Very cool Mckinley. I think exposing the inconsistencies between free market ideology and Christianity is indeed an important project. However, I think there is a danger in over-Christianizing Democratic policies. This quote from Nietzsche seems to apply everywhere I turn nowadays: "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster."

    Don't rely too heavily on Christian/Mormon philosophy in policy analysis - I think it ends up tainting both one's policy analysis and one's faith. I think Karl Rove and his Christian Coalition have done more to damage my perception of mainstream Christianity than just about anything. I think there's some wisdom at keeping some distance between politics and religion - but don't worry. I don't think you've crossed over into Rovian obfuscation.

    You're analysis is legit.

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