I was shocked, on many levels, to read the guest commentary printed in the Sept. 4 issue of the Standard-Examiner titled "Republicans, religious right, ignore what Jesus said" by Jack E. Allen.
I was shocked and dismayed to read the idiotic, irrelevant arguments made by the author. Have Americans' perceptions and intellect, today, deteriorated to such a level that credence may be given to such irrational, erroneous arguments? Are rational arguments becoming a thing of the past, in favor of polemics-arguing, just for the sake of arguing?
Allen begins his arguments by seemingly knowing something of history, but quickly becomes sidetracked, entering the murky waters of his own delusional mind and biases, which become apparent as his diatribe builds. Sadly, the reader then has to endure his own personal "ideological interests, bigotry," and prejudices manifest in his warped sense of political reality.
Yes, America's history and Constitution were built on protestant ethics; however, and fortunately, this Constitution and government has been more successful and has endured longer than any other in man's recorded history. Only more recently, as the Constitution's foundation has been slowly eroding through distorted application and legal and political interpretation away from the founders' deliberate meaning and crafting of this profound document has our nation begun to flounder on so many levels. Allen would have us believe that continuing down this "socialist" path is the cure for all that ills man and his society; in reality, it will only continue to make matters worse. Because of the effort of "conservatives'" to turn this trend around, Allen characterizes, what he calls, church-going, conservative Republicans as "cold, insensitive, cruel," and even un-Christ-like.
Allen's two basic premises are erroneous. What he calls "Evangelical fundamentalists" (two terms thrown together, which refer to two very different groups with two different meanings) -- what I can only assume he is trying to describe as very conservative protestants--are actually the most charitable and giving people, not only in America, but the world -- according to numerous studies (visit www.hoover.org/publications/policy-review/article/6577 for the result of one of many on the subject). Since the beginning of such studies on the charitable contributions and volunteer habits of religious versus secular people, the religious consistently win out by a wide margin when it comes to being generous--perhaps even Christ-like! In a recent study, the average annual giving among the religious is noted as $2,210, whereas it is $642 among the secular. The study continues, "Similarly, religious people volunteer an average of 12 times per year, while secular people volunteer an average of 5.8 times;" thus, religious people are 33 percent of the population, but make 52 percent of donations and 45 percent of times volunteered."
Another article points out that red states are more generous than blue. For example, in 2008's presidential election, the eight states where residents gave the highest share of income to charity voted for John McCain. The seven-lowest ranking states supported Obama. Also, confirming the earlier stated research, the article states that "regions of the country that are deeply religious are more generous than those that are not. Two of the top nine states--Utah and Idaho--have high numbers of Mormon residents who have a tradition of tithing at least 10 percent of their income to the church. The remaining states in the top nine are in the Bible Belt (see http://philanthropy.com).
Allen's second major fallacy tries to convince the reader to believe that it is the so-called scurrilous un-Christ-like, right-wing Americans who are aiming to marginalize and overpower the "masses" (Allen sounds so much like Marx or Gramsci!) because of their efforts to curb government's redistribution of wealth--to curb the ever-growing reliance on government assistance. However, Allen fails to understand that this is not a modern conspiracy by evangelical Republicans, but a fundamental premise consistently conveyed by our country's (protestant!) founding fathers, which they wove into the fabric of the Constitution they adopted. Samuel Adams stated, "The utopian schemes of leveling [redistributing wealth], and a community of goods, are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional (See William Wells, "Life of Samuel Adams").
Vast numbers of quotes, letters, and other writings of America's founders, and the writers they studied and built much of their ideology upon, such as John Locke, provide clear and unequivocal evidence regarding their negative views regarding the redistribution of wealth by government. Another such quote by James Madison is noted, "Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. ... This being the end of government, that alone is not a just government, ... nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest."
If our "Weber County Coffee Party" member continues conveying fallacies and erroneous innuendos, trying to impose his agenda on society; and if his audience and, thus, potential new "party" members swallow it, we should be prepared to live under "a cold, insensitive, and cruel social order comparable to what existed throughout history," that is, before the American Constitution was adopted and upheld!
Francis is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying political science at the University of Utah, and editor and co-owner of The Ogden Valley News.