Many Christians ignore Jesus' teachings about poor

Nov 30 2011 - 5:48pm

The U.S. is polarized like never before. Both sides, conservative and progressive, believe they are right and the other side is wrong. The collapse of the super committee negotiations proves this point. There was no space for compromise. The conservatives believe that spending is out of control and must be reined in with absolutely no increases in taxation. Progressives believe the very wealthy have benefited from almost all government policy changes in recent history and should share in the sacrifice required to balance the nation's finances.

Most people, conservative or liberal, claim to be religious or spiritual in some fashion. In this country, the overwhelming majority of believers are Christian.

Jesus taught a canon of belief that requires believers to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, render to Caesar the things that belong to him, forgive enemies, help the poor and afflicted and above all else, love one another. Is it acceptable to help people by bringing them a meal when they are sick, but if they lose their jobs and have no health insurance, allow them to die? Such things do happen, and people without the ability to pay for medical treatment do die in the United States. Thousands die every year in the U.S. because they put off going to the doctor or hospital emergency room because they didn't have the means to pay. Is this the hallmark of a Christian society? Does this comport with Jesus' teachings? If we turn our backs on the indigent, the elderly, the handicapped, or harm the environment, are we doing the work of our master?

The New Testament book of Acts describes early Christians as having "all things common," the Book of Mormon, 4th Nephi, describes a new world society with essentially the same features. Early Mormon history describes believers living a "united order," other Mormon scripture describes an antediluvian society to egalitarian in which there are "no poor among them."

Contrast these societies with what we have today and you can see the disconnect between belief and practice.

If we just listen to our better angels, we will do better.

Larry Cisney



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