By Tom Quiner

What do you think of this e-mail I received:

“A Christian is a person who behaves as Christ behaved and recommended for others. It has nothing to do with some sort of hocus-pocus salvation. And if Roman Catholics (I’m a Catholic) believe that good works are necessary we have a long ways to go. Conclusion?  It is impossible to be both a Christian and a Republican.”

The writer was responding to my recent essay published in the Des Moines Register: (“Chick-fil-A supporters have had their fill of liberal bullies.”)

Can’t say I agree with anything he says.

Being a Christian means more than cultivating Christ-like habits and attitudes. It’s all about belief in His Divinity and the promise of salvation through faith in Him.

For Catholics, true faith cultivates good works. Otherwise, our faith is meaningless.

The writer’s conclusion doesn’t exactly flow from his set-up, that it is impossible to be a Republican and a Christian. Where do people come up with these notions? On the other hand, the writer worked in academia which may explain his warped, stereotypical view of the world.

Of course, he’s wrong.

Religious conservatives, who tend to vote for the Republican Party, are more likely to look out for the little guy than liberals. They value human life from conception and fight relentless legal and legislative battles to reinstate human rights for the baby in the womb. As Christians, that’s what we’re called to do. Jesus told us as much in Matthew 19:14 …

But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Jesus suggested that the stakes were high if we were to harm these little ones:

” … but whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Democrats view these little one as being disposable. They have a single “non-negotiable” in their belief system: a woman’s “right” to unfettered human abortion.

That doesn’t seem very Christian to me. Does it to you?

Democrats go beyond being mere proponents of human abortion rights. They want taxpayers to collaborate in the killing of the pre-born by funding human abortion both at home and abroad. Yes, they actually take real Christian’s money and use it to fund human abortion all over the world, especially in third world countries.

That doesn’t seem very Christian to me. Does it to you?

And if you disagree with this radical position, they say you hate women.

Why do they make such outlandish claims? Because they have no humane, logical, or uplifting reasons to rationalize the mounting death toll they encourage through the expansion of human abortion. So they resort to name calling like little children.

I suppose the writer above is critical of Republicans for encouraging a more sustainable budget than Democrats. Perhaps he sees that as his “proof” that Republicans can’t be Christians. Perhaps he simply equates increased welfare spending as proof of compassion.

I think not. There’s a big difference between the average conservative and the average liberal. Liberals are more stingy with their time and money when it comes to serving the less fortunate.

Syracuse professor, Arthur Brooks, agreed with mainstream thought, that liberals were probably more generous than conservatives. He set out to research and quantify the results. What he discovered astounded him:

• Liberals make more money than conservatives.

• Despite this income gap, conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than liberals.

• Religious conservatives give an average of $2367 per year to charity compared to $1347 for the rest of the country.

• Religious conservatives give more to secular charities than everyone else.

• Conservatives donate more blood, sweat, and tears than everyone else as measured by blood given to blood banks and personal time devoted to directly helping others.

• Brooks looked at attitudes of folks concerning distribution of income and religion. Folks who do not believe in income redistribution schemes and attend church services gives away a hundred times more than folks who do believe in income redistribution schemes and don’t attend religious services.

• Secular liberals are the “whitest” and richest of the four groups Mr. Brooks identified. Nonetheless, they give 19% less to charity than religious conservatives.

In other words, being a self-proclaimed conservative Christian is a pretty good indicator that someone is more likely to put their faith into action.

Mr. Brooks said “I had no option but to change my views.” Read more about his study in his book, “Who Really Cares?”

If the amount of blood, time, and money given to others is a good gauge of compassion, religious conservatives are quantifiably more compassionate than secular liberals.

Liberals are more compassionate than conservatives. Good works aren’t an indication of true Christianity. Republicans can’t be Christians.  That’s the real “hocus-pocus” at work here. Data and doctrine refute these premises.

17 Comments

  1. J on August 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I don’t agree with the email sender’s conclusion either. However, conservatism does not equal Republicanism. I just view the Republican party as the lesser of two evils — thoroughly corrupted by the system, but at least they aren’t gung-ho idealogues for killing children like Democrats are.

  2. Bob Vance on August 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Does the figure $2367 per year to charity include money given to churches?

    • quinersdiner on August 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Gotta check.

    • Bob Vance on August 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      Belonging to a church is like belonging to the Elks or the Moose. You have to pay your monthly dues. Unlike the other organizations though, Church dues can be written off as a charitable donation.

      • quinersdiner on August 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm

        There’s no comparison, Bob. Don’t be so cynical.

      • Bob Vance on August 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

        Not being cynical. Just speaking from a monetary viewpoint in response to why people who go to church donate more. Fiftytwo times a year, they are expected to donate. It is part of belonging to the church.

        Are you denying there is not a social aspect to belonging to a church? Are you denying that groups such as the Elks or the Moose don’t raise money for charity? I think there are alot of comparisons if you look at it from a non-religious viewpoint.

        • quinersdiner on August 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm

          Depends on the church and the person.

  3. Bob Vance on August 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF or the Gates Foundation) is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates”. So far, they have donated $33.5 billion dollars as of September 2011.

    Top 5 most generous individuals according to Forbes:
    Margaret Cargill – $6 billion to charity
    William S. Dietrich II – $500 million to charity
    Paul G. Allen – $372.6 million to charity
    George Soros – $335 million to charity
    Michael R. Bloomberg – $311.3 million to charity

    None of the above are considered religious conservatives.

    • Lisa Bourne on August 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Define “charity” in the case of the recipients of Bill and Melinda Gates and those top 5.

      • Bob Vance on August 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

        They are involved in more than I can list here. Lots of scholarships, help for the poor, etc. Feel free to Google any of them.

        Your question makes me curious. What do you define “charity” as?

      • Bob Vance on August 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm

        You may find it interesting if you compare these people with Rupert Murdock, the billionaire owner of Fox News. Everything I read, he doesn’t believe in charity.

  4. Bob Vance on August 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    #6 seems to apply to alot of people here. I hope you find it informative.

    “20 Common Misconceptions Theists Have About Atheism

    By Doubting Thomas

    Here are presented 20 common misconceptions that theists tend to have about atheists and atheism. While this article tends to be targeted toward Christians, it also is good reading for people of all religions who don’t fully understand atheism and may have some of these erroneous beliefs about what atheism is or is not.

    1. Atheism is a religion.

    Atheism is simply being without belief in a god or gods. Atheism is not a religion any more than not playing golf is a sport. There are no atheist churches or services to attend.

    2. Atheists worship science & logic.

    Atheists use science & logic to make determinations about the world & universe around them, but they do not “worship” science. The scientific process is simply a way to determine what’s most likely true and what’s not.

    3. Atheists worship themselves/atheists see themselves as gods.

    Atheists do not think of themselves as gods. Atheists do tend to put a higher priority on quality of life than theists do, since atheists view this life as the only one they get. So they tend to enjoy the pursuit of happiness. However, they do not believe that they are gods themselves or worship themselves. There are many meek and non-egoist atheists.

    4. Atheists worship material possessions instead of God.

    While there may be many atheists who are materialists, this is not a requirement of being an atheist. There are many secular humanist charities. If this were a valid argument, one could easily make the case that since there are so many rich preachers like Pat Robertson, Orel Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart & the like, that all Christians worship money.

    The idea that atheists have to worship something is a misconception of theists who can’t seem to understand that it is possible to get through life without doing so. The idea that atheists have simply replaced something else for God is silly, but it continually persists.

    5. Atheists are unhappy people.

    Not true. Atheists are just as happy as theists, and some atheists who used to be religious are far happier as atheists. If an atheist is unhappy, it’s usually because a theist is trying to force their religious views upon them.

    6. Atheists just want to remove God from society.

    While there are a number of hard core atheists who believe we would be far better without religion than with it, most atheists simply want to live their lives without being persecuted or denigrated because of not having religious beliefs. Atheists will fight for the right to be free from religion whenever theists try to instill religion into government. Unfortunately in the US, most Christians see this as an attack on Christianity.

    7. Atheists never tried to find God. If atheists only read & studied the bible, they’d be Christians.

    Not so. Many atheists have read & studied the bible, but what they see is a book of superstition which is filled with factual errors and contradictions. In fact, many atheists used to be religious at one time, but after seriously taking a look at their religious beliefs and studying the bible, they decided that religion was made up by man. In fact, there are many atheists who are more familiar with the bible than many Christians. It seems that many fervent Christians have never actually read through the bible.

    8. If we didn’t have religion, there would be no morality. People would just run around killing & stealing.

    Atheists are decent people just like theists are. They want the same things out of life (except for an afterlife) and understand that to make life better they have to live by the same set of moral rules and laws of the land that theists do. A basic tenet of Secular Humanism is to treat your fellow man well, the way you want to be treated. Atheists gain nothing by lying, cheating, stealing, or murdering. Religion does not have a monopoly on moral values, and in fact the vast majority of people in prison in the US believe in and practice some form of religion or another. Only about 1% or less of the prison population is agnostic or atheist, compared to about 10-15% in the general population.

    9. Atheists are just angry at or rebelling against God.

    Atheists do not believe in any gods, so there’s nothing there for them to be angry at. This tends to be a Christian misconception that everyone really does believe in god, but some people called atheists pretend not to. But this is like saying that anyone who does not believe in Bigfoot is angry at Bigfoot.

    10. It’s better to believe in God just in case he is real rather than risk going to Hell.

    This is known as Pascal’s Wager, and is a false argument. If this were a valid argument, then you’d have to follow every different religion that ever existed and worship every different god that was ever worshipped, just to make sure you’re worshipping the right one. Since many religions have conflicting beliefs, this is impossible. One would have had to commit suicide with the Jim Jones cult, the Branch Davidians, and the Heaven’s Gate cult to make sure they were the right religion to follow.

    Furthermore, if God is all-knowing, he would know when someone was believing in him just to be on the safe side, and probably would be angrier at that person than if they were honest and said they didn’t believe. Believing just in case is kind of like believing in aliens from other planets in case they are coming to take all the good people back to their planet to live in paradise forever. It’s silly and absurd. And believing just in case does not make God any more real.

    11. Atheists are trying to use science to disprove God’s existence.

    Science is a series of questions and answers to investigate the world & universe around us. Scientists are simply trying to learn about our world, and the fact that scientific discoveries reveal facts that contradict what’s written in the bible are incidental. It’s a silly notion that scientists are conducting experiments to try to disprove God exists. It’s just that in all our scientific discovery, no trace of any gods has been found.

    12. Atheists claim that God doesn’t exist, but they can’t prove it.

    First of all, not all atheists make the outright claim that God doesn’t exist. Some, known as agnostic atheists, claim not to know whether or not a god exists, but don’t believe in any. Most atheists look at the lack of evidence for his existence and the evidence that stories about God were made by man, they simply don’t find reason to believe in him. There are a vocal few who do make the claim that there are no gods, and it is correct that they cannot prove it. However, it’s not their place to disprove the existence of any gods, it’s up to the believers in the gods to prove that they do exist before requiring others to believe in them.

    13. Atheists always turn to God on their deathbed.

    This is false because there have been many atheists who have died who did not suddenly ask to be baptized & become Christian because they were scared of death.

    14. There are no atheists in foxholes.

    This claim states that when someone is faced with immediate or possible termination of their life, they will become religious to avoid dying. There have been many atheist soldiers who have gone through wars without becoming Christians. The underlying theme of this argument, however, is that the best use of religion is as a crutch to get through rough times, which people do tend to do. This is why prison ministries are so successful, because they take someone who is at a low point in their life and preach to them.

    15. Atheists can’t be patriotic Americans. America is a Christian nation.

    America was never founded as a Christian nation. Some of the founding fathers were Deists, that is, they believed in a higher power such as a god but didn’t believe that this god meddled in human affairs. The US Constitution, the document which gives us our freedoms and our national identity, does not make any mention of God or Jesus. Regarding religion, the First Amendment states that “Congress shall pass no law… respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This means that there will not be any established religion, including Christianity, nor can the government prohibit anyone from practicing any particular religion. If the United States were set up as a Christian nation, this passage would not be in the First Amendment. The United States is not a theocracy, and was never designed to be. The only statement in any founding US document possibly referencing a god is in the Declaration of Independence, which makes reference to a “creator,” not calling God by name and certainly not making reference to Jesus.

    American atheists are just as patriotic as American theists. Many atheists have served honorably in the armed forces. To say that they are second-class citizens is to go against all the freedoms that this country was founded upon. As an aside, the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, not by the founding fathers. And the motto “In God We Trust” did not become an official national motto until 1956.

    16. Without religion, atheists must think that life has no meaning.

    Atheists may think that there is no cosmic meaning to life, as in a purpose for humankind’s existence on Earth. However, to say that life has no meaning without religion is just absurd, since atheists give their own lives meaning. They are not sitting around waiting for a god-man to return from a mystical place called heaven, nor are they structuring their lives in order to spend all eternity with this god-man. Atheists tend to believe that meaning in life is what you make out of it. But most don’t believe there is any divine purpose or meaning to our existence, but rather we are either an accident of nature or a result of natural evolutionary forces.

    17. Atheists worship the devil.

    Atheists no more believe in a devil figure any more than they believe in a god. If atheists don’t believe in an invisible sky fairy, why would they believe in an invisible boogeyman?

    18. Atheism is based on faith that God doesn’t exist.

    Not really. This is a theist argument which tries to turn the burden of proof around and put it upon the atheist. Atheism is based on any lack of evidence that a god exists, so one doesn’t have to have faith, just an ability to think for themselves. If any solid, factual evidence for God’s existence was found, then they would not be atheists any longer. However, no evidence has ever been found. This is why religions are based on faith, because they believe even though there’s no proof that God exists. But an atheist doesn’t have to prove that God doesn’t exist, he just has to see that there is no evidence which shows otherwise.

    It tends to be a Christian belief that everyone has to have faith in something, just like they tend to believe that everyone worships something. However this is not true, and is evident that Christians who tend to think this way have not yet understood how to see things from others’ points of view.

    19. Atheists pretend to not believe in God because they’re afraid of going to Hell.

    Atheists tend to not believe in any afterlife, neither Heaven nor Hell, so this argument is false. There may be some Christians who fit this description, but if they’re afraid of Hell they are not really atheists. Most atheists believe that the moment a person dies, that is the end of their conscious existence. No afterlife is waiting for them, neither good nor bad.

    20. Atheists are communists.

    This is a silly holdover from the cold war when people erroneously thought that all communist Russians were atheists, so everyone in the US who is atheist must also be communist. Atheists hold a wide variety of political beliefs, from conservative to liberal. Painting everyone who doesn’t believe in a god with the brush of communism shows a lack of understanding. “

    • Karen Quiner on August 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Very interesting Bob. I don’t have any doubt you are a good guy.

      I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I hope that when you come face to face with God someday, and I am certain you will, that you aren’t too proud to admit you were wrong.

      Can you promise me that you won’t be if that happens? Believe it or not, I care.

      • Bob Vance on August 10, 2012 at 3:48 am

        If I do come face to face with God someday, I will try to put in a good word for you and yours, because in my heart, I believe that Jesus would not be happy with people who discriminate in His Name. Perhaps I am wrong, but that is how I feel.

        More than once now you have accused me of being prideful as if that was the root of all my problems. Could you elaborate on that please? Am I being prideful because I disagree with you?

      • Karen Quiner on August 10, 2012 at 6:54 am

        Please do put a good word in for me if you get there first, I know I will need it.

        But one thing I know I won’t need it for is discrimination in His name. I have not discriminated against you or anyone in His name. That is not my particular sin.

        No, I am not accusing you of being prideful because you disagree with me. I just don’t want you to be so sure that when you come face to face with God someday, that you can’t admit you were wrong. It is a rare human being that isn’t guilty of the sin of pride at times and I think it is especially a problem for people with a good intellect (like you) and to be honest, I think it is often a special weakness for men. (women have their own common weaknesses)

        I am just so certain that God exists and I want you to experience the wonder and joy of that knowledge. There is evidence in the natural world for one. Look at St. Thomas Aquinas’ proof of God’s existence sometime. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/aquinas3.asp

        But I have also encountered Him in my life and in prayer. This is not something I can prove or even explain. Is faith involved? Absolutely. But it isn’t just faith. I have the evidence in my own life and experience.

        All I am saying to you is to open yourself to the possibility. You are missing out on a REALLY good thing. God is so anxious to have you know Him that all you have to do is say that maybe, just maybe you could be wrong, and mean it, and He will reveal Himself to you.

        I am sure that there are plenty of things I have wrong, plenty of things, and I am absolutely certain that my understanding of God is incomplete, but there truly isn’t anything you can say that can convince me he doesn’t exist because I have experienced Him.

        P.S. You will find that I am most likely to respond in the morning and at night because I am busy at work these days. But anyone is free to jump in and respond at any time before I do.

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