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In this article, I will deal with a few more of the issues that have convinced me that Quiet Christians, such as myself, need to speak out. I will try to be brief with each issue. Some of them may warrant their own article in a later post.
In our national conversation, I see a lot of Them and Us attitudes, which serve only to divide us while we should be uniting for the common good. Let’s look at some of them.
“Tax the rich – they are not paying their fair share.” This argument always sounds good, especially to the majority of folks who don’t have much wealth. I agree that our tax laws need to be overhauled, with the intent to make them more fair. However, the common rhetoric on this subject talks of income tax percentages and not of the total tax amounts that wealthy people often pay. It fosters a “class warfare” type of attitude. The truth is, in order to have a vibrant and resilient economy, we need some percentage of wealthy people. They are the ones who can start and expand companies, their investment dollars do a tremendous amount of good in the economy, many of them provide a substantial part of the income of charitable organizations, and they spread their money around with their purchases. We should not get so greedy that we tax the wealthy out of existence. If anything, we need more of them. An important part of the American Dream, which built this country, is the desire, through hard work and enterprise, to become wealthy. We should encourage savings, investment and the American Dream, not snuff it out. We do need to re-balance our tax system, but we should be careful not to stifle the growth of wealth.
“Big corporations are evil.” Too many of the business leaders in our country have brought this attitude on themselves. There is a certain amount of truth to it. Decisions are often made for short-term gain by those in the top of the company’s pyramid, and not for the long-term benefit of the company, its workers, or even its stockholders. The people at the top, with their exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other compensation, are probably more to blame for this variety of Them and Us attitude than the workers at the bottom. For our economy to prosper, we need the big corporations and we need them to be healthy. For any company, big or small, to survive, top management needs to make decisions that are in the best interest of the company and its people. The people are a company’s most important asset. Adapting from the Golden Rule, management should say “I will treat my employees as well as I would like to be treated, if they were my boss.” If managers would take that to heart, a lot of problems could be solved. We need everyone in the company, from top to bottom to realize that “We all are part of the company. If the company succeeds, we all succeed.” Fortunately for me, I work in a company that has just that kind of attitude.
“Union workers are good, management is bad.” This one overlaps with the preceding paragraph about corporations. However, the dynamics of union contracts, negotiations and strikes tends to magnify the severity of the damage this attitude causes. Another factor, which I have experienced, is forcing union membership, or “fair share” payments by public sector employees. This is morally wrong, but our weak politicians have caved to the demands of the unions. Maine is one of many states where the choice of union membership or making such payments is forced on state employees. The unions are very political organizations and much of the money they collect goes to support the campaigns that they favor. The unions claim that is not where the “fair share” payments go, but I do not trust them.
I’m sure there are other examples of Them and Us attitudes that we could talk about, but I’ll close this discussion with one of my favorite quotes, which speaks to the issue. During Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, a book, Quotations from Chairman LBJ, was published, which was a spoof on the “Little Red Book,” Quotations from Chairman Mao, of Communist China. The Little Red Book was distributed widely to Chinese citizens at the time. I have a copy of the LBJ book, packed away somewhere. The opening quote in the LBJ book was “Don’t spit in the soup. We’ve all got to eat.” Perhaps you have to be old enough to remember LBJ (as I do) to fully appreciate it, but to me, this quote says a lot.
In Maine, especially, there seems to be quite an increase in burglaries and theft. Vandalism seems to be on the rise, as well. There are all too many people out there, who have no respect for others, and for their property. In the small town, where I grew up, folks almost never locked their houses or their cars. If a neighbor needed something while you were away, he might come in to your shed or your barn and borrow it, but he would always return it. Neighbors were considered almost the same as family anyway. Now, things have changed. While building my house a few years ago, the crew and I had a few hundred dollars worth of tools stolen. We often hear of theft of tools and building materials at construction sites. The increase in drug addiction accounts for some of this. (We later learned that the thief at my house was a drug addict, who was working for a subcontractor.) However, part of it is due to the declining moral integrity of the population.
In Maine, notably in the Augusta area where I live, we have had a number of drug dealers come up from the more urban states to our south. Some of them set up shop in a cheap motel. Others shack up with a local woman who often uses drugs herself and becomes a partner in the distribution. Our Governor has been accused of being a racist for truthfully identifying who the majority of these people are. Regardless of who they are, we have too many customers for their wares in Maine. The growing tendency and willingness for people to use heroin, cocaine, and other harmful drugs, is another sign of the decay in our society.
Maine has had legal medical marijuana for a while. In the recent election, Maine, and several other states, passed a referendum to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. In my opinion, this is not a good development. Marijuana will be regarded as more acceptable and will be more available to under age kids. It has been established that marijuana damages brain cells. We will be further dumbing down a population that is too dumb already! How can that be a good thing?
I still have more problem issues in my list to talk about, but I think I have covered enough for this time.
As these things pile up, and the decay in the moral structure of our society continues, I am beginning to understand that Satan is at work in the world. Many otherwise good people have been deceived into doing or advocating things that advance Satan’s plan, and not God’s plan. Much of the current society’s system of Political Correctness, and how it is used, is the result of Satan’s deception.
We Christians are in a dilemma. On one hand, we should warn others of the deceptions and advocate for the value system inspired by God in the Bible. However, when we do that, Political Correctness is thrown in our faces and we are called bigots, haters, etc. Too often, these critics of Christian beliefs exaggerate what we may have said about a situation, in order to make us appear worse. Meanwhile, Christianity’s reputation among the general population sinks as a result of these accusations.
We must be strong in our faith, and we do need to speak out. When we speak, we must be kind and gentle, even when we are riled up (as I often am). The approach taken by the Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kansas, does us tremendous harm. We must approach our adversaries in a calm and loving manner, while speaking truthfully at all times.
Have faith that God will put things right some day. More on that in a later post.