[back to part 9: Education]
“And other issues to consider”
“Issues I may not care less about, but am squeezing together for time’s sake”
“Ok, Caleb Coy, let’s hurry up and wrap this thing up—I gotta vote in like 3 days.”
So, remember how I’ve been going on about Ron Paul because I’m writing his name in even though he’s not running? In this post I will get into things I disagree with him on, or am unsure about. This post will also cover other issues I have yet to mention. After this, I plan on having a final post to reflect on the whole experience before we all go and jump in those booths. It may be that I have a post after that to reflect on the results, and I already know that no matter what I will be reminding us all not to panic, because Christ will still be King when it’s all over.
I want to say that I am not a Libertarian. I do not belong to any party, nor will I ever, because Christ owns me (and, to follow the wisdom of Kid President, I seek to “be a party”). I know some people who are, and that’s fine. But one critique I have heard from others is that American Libertarianism, and the ticket Ron Paul has tended to run on, does not believe that the government should legislate “morality”, meaning a very Right wing definition of morality: sex stuff, cussing, drinking and other drugs, saying God’s name in vain—a very narrow view of morality. So often we divide morality into different kinds for the sake of understanding these differences. For example, social morality, fiscal morality, etc. It has been said that the Bible says more about money than any other topic, and thought that depends on how you count the data, it’s clear that money stewardship is a big deal. So if you ever think money and greed is not an important issue to God, you have demonstrated your lack of familiarity with the Word, and must refrain from speaking until you have graduated to meat.
When Christians think of earthly government, we need to differentiate morality that intrudes on others and morality that affects only those involved in their own moral decisions. The law of Christ is sufficient for Christians, and for those who are not Christians a law based in a covenant they have not made may not be effective for them. If our behavior as Christians does not persuade them to enter that covenant, we must be prepared for the unlikeliness that a mandate we force on them will.
Because here’s the thing about legislating Christian morality: I bet you already don’t believe that the Federal government should mandate Christianity, and you know it. You likely haven’t thought about making laws restricting divorce, banning profanity everywhere, making people go to church, or requiring baptism to hold a public office. So you yourself already concede that there are lines you would draw as to what you want the Federal government of this great Babylon we live under to reflect for you. And you have to start thinking about why. Here are some remaining issues, not because they are less important, but because I have less to say about them this year.
Sure, a country has a right to monitor it’s borders, making it illegal to cross them without permission. But even if we were so crazy as to build a huge wall, we would still have 12 million people who are here illegally. They are not “illegals”—they are people who have immigrated outside the sanction of US law. I don’t think we should use the US army to round them up, nor do I think we should reward lawbreaking with immediate amnesty without penalty.
“Most immigrants do not come for handouts,” says Ron Paul. “Rather, they come for survival reasons and have a work ethic superior to many of our own citizens who have grown dependent on welfare and unemployment benefits.” For those suggesting mass deportation efforts, Paul reminds us that “if each case is looked at separately, we would find ourselves splitting up families and deporting some who have lived here for decades, if not their entire life, and who never lived for any length of time in Mexico.”
I know a man who works for VT and was stuck in Africa while his children were here at home had to wait for him to come home, all because one single file needed to maintain his citizenship was not delivered to him on time. It arrived on his desk after he flew out of the country. I know of a woman who was born in Columbia, smuggled here as a child, bounced from caregiver to caregiver, turned drug dealer and thrown into prison, released and hospitalized, who is now handicapped and disfigured without a birth certificate or passport. It has been a tremendous ordeal for her to gain full citizenship and be able to have surgery, get an apartment, and get a job. When I think about immigration law, I need to think about them, not me.
Ron Paul suggests that instead of deporting illegally-residing immigrants, we grant them “status with an asterisk” that includes a possible route to legal citizenship. Though it borders on second-class citizenship, it is better than the alternative of deportation for a lot of immigrants, and it could be argued that this actually gives illegal immigrants a chance to work their way out of what is already an unofficial second-class status, since residing here illegally prevents them from receiving a lot of the benefits they are not paying taxes for, not to mention the below-minimum wage pay they receive when they work.
However, I disagree with Ron Paul’s desire to end birthright citizenship. I’m not sure why he supports it. I understand that he wants to do so merely to deter illegal immigrants from coming over to have their children here, but a person cannot help where they are born. Nonetheless, judging by his rhetoric (and comparing it to that of many right-wing and Tea Party voices), I have full confidence that Ron Paul’s stances are based on the Constitution, and not on racist or nationalist prejudices.
On Marriage Regulation:
It’s not the Federal government’s job to define marriage. It’s not even the states’. Keep the Fed out of the chuppah. If we hold marriage to be sanctimonious, then it is up to society’s “institutions” of sanctimony (i.e. churches) to honor marriages as they believe marriages should be honored. Under the government any legal contract is binding between two people (according to contract law), and always has been. But churches (and churches alone) have the right and the responsibility to honor the contracts they choose to honor, drawing from their faith. The first amendment protects that right in this country. Besides, the government’s current legal definition of marriage across the country acknowledges adulterous unions of all kinds without regulation. So if you believe that the sanctity of marriage is only recently “under attack” in this generation, you are speaking from cesspool of ignorance and hypocrisy.
On energy and the environment:
I believe in Creation stewardship. Genesis is the story of God creating a giant temple and then resting and taking up residence and letting his spirit fill it. He creates creatures charged with both the “great power and great responsibility” of inheriting that earth. And we know that the meek inherit the earth. When you look at the two accounts of the creation in Genesis, you see between them a language that balances two approaches to creation. The first narrative focuses on Adam being charged with filling and subduing the earth, the second on cultivating and keeping the earth. On the one hand, we are to practice invention and mastery over creation to provide for us, the pinnacle of the Creation. On the other hand, we are to responsibly conserve creation. When someone says, “God’s gonna burn up the world one day anyway,” remind them that if the same is true for our bodies, why would we trash our bodies? We know to care for our body because it is God’s temple. Yet all of creation sings out to God as a temple also, and we must honor God by respecting his creation.
When the Hebrews came to the promised land, they weren’t told to just “dig in”. They were not allowed to eat of the food they planted for three years, but instead had to exercise sustainability and become flexible with the seasons. The year of Jubilee, among other things, was a rest for the land to allow it to rejuvenate. They were forbidden from chopping down trees to make siege weapons. They watched the signs for the seasons. They fasted, they had sabbath, they rested. As God rested.
Ron Paul on the issue: “Regardless of whether one believes global warming is real, I seriously doubt the capacity of a global body made up of bureaucrats and scientists on the public payroll, when given the power to attempt a global climate manipulation, to cook up a workable plan with effects that cannot be discerned for twenty or more years. I’ve seen how government programs work. They aren’t designed to last more than a single election cycle. The idea that government can plan weather patterns for decades strikes me as the height of absurdity.”
However, I’m not sure how I feel about Ron Paul wanting to lift restrictions on drilling for oil and using coal. He wants to eliminate the EPA, but it’s not because he doesn’t believe in clean, affordable energy. He wants corporations to answer to communities through communication and state law rather than through Washington. If a power plant or factory harms your land or your drinking water, he wants the power to fight it to be in your hands. I am worried about this because if the government isn’t strong enough it can’t help me fight. If the government’s task is to protect it’s citizens, it can be argued that part of that task is to regulate industries that potentially pollute the environment. I’m sure the EPA does a number of controsversially unnecessary things, but I want protection, for example, from mercury-poisoned products, from smog out of nearby factories. No matter how you feel about global warming, it is scientifically proven that local atmospheres are affected by emissions. The EPA’s purpose is to perform the function of providing protections from potential harms.
But perhaps that is me underestimating the power of communities. And communities can be powerful when they unite. Paul doesn’t want to protect corporations, but consumers, who pay too much for gas today. He wants our drilling to be at home on our soil, not in countries we occupy or take advantage of.
On torture: No Christian could in good conscious endorse such a thing. “The real tragedy is that sadistic cruelty is contagious and dehumanizes those who employ torture. Sadism begets sadism. The ‘need’ for torture and the acceptance of it comes from unabashed fear, insecurity, and ignorance.”-Ron Paul
[Also unconstitutional: assassination, indefinite detention, withholding habeas corpus, The President engaging in warfare without Congress declaring war, and The Patriot Act]
On Guns: I almost didn’t mention this one because it’s a distracting issue from what really should matter to Christians. Since Christ died for all the freedom I’ll ever need I have no intention of ever killing someone for a freedom I don’t need. I don’t believe the basic individual right to own a weapon will be taken away any time soon because it’s in the 2nd amendment (even though the interpretation is disputable—whether it applied to a standing militia). “Gun control” is not synonymous with “gun ban” anyway.
And even though I believe in the peacemaking taught by Christ, I know that weapons are needed for hunting, and hunting should be a right for everyone. Regardless, Ron Paul will stand for your right to own a weapon. Because the Constitution says so. And he wants to be consistent. But what Christians need to stop doing is touting all this “lookey I have a gun and it’s my right” nonsense. Because it shames Christ.
Well, I’ve about run out of issues. It’s a lot to think about, I know. And no doubt someone will un-friend me because of it. So it goes.
Let’s just keep our conversations civil and try to see the humanity in those who disagree with us.
[On to the conclusion]