On the Importance of Incarnation October 6, 2011Posted by Matt in church.
Tags: empathy, god, incarnation, Jesus
Paraphrase of my priest and good friend, Patrick:
In God’s infinite experience and knowledge there was one thing that God lacked: the experience of being human. So, desiring that experience, God came down as a man and learned what it was like to be tired and hungry, thirsty and horny, and it gave him some sense of empathy for humankind. And, in turn, we learned something about being God.
On Taxes and the Socialist Myth November 6, 2008Posted by Matt in Barack Obama.
Tags: Barack Obama, empathy, Socialism, spreading the wealth, taxes
I have several friends and acquaintances that were ardently in support of John McCain during the election cycle. Their reasons given for this presidential choice covered the spectrum from incredibly ignorant and false accusations (Obama is a terrorist-loving, homosexual, baby-eating, Black Panther Nazi) to reasonable concerns (will my taxes go up?). I’ve spent a lot of time making fun of the first group, but not as much on the second, whose feelings I would like to assuage a bit at this time.
Obama has stated repeatedly that taxes would not increase for those making less than $250,000 per year and, in addition to that, many small businesses exceeding that amount would also be exempt from the increase. While I have not read the president-elect’s (doesn’t it feel good to say that?) economic plan, nor would I most likely understand it if I did read it, I am prone to believe that it is his intention. Now the question must be asked, is it feasible to not increase taxes beyond that amount?
Today our national debt stands at $10.5 Trillion, a number that is nearly double what it was in 2000. Over the past eight years, we have fought (and are still fighting) two wars, during which taxes have been cut more than once. So, by increasing spending (and I realize that there are more issues than just the wars involved here) while decreasing income, our country has obviously dug the hole in which we now stand. Something must be done. Cutting wasteful spending will certainly be needed, but a plan like McCain’s that centered around the $18 Billion worth of earmarks would be like facing the eighth plague with a fly swatter. If Obama’s calculations are correct and the combination of ending the wars and increasing taxes on the wealthy will do it, then more power to him. If not, then I won’t be particularly surprised either and the need to cut back on the frivolous pleasures of life seems to be a small price to pay to help advance the common good.
The past few weeks of the presidential campaign were replete with accusations toward our new president, but perhaps none were as often repeated as that bane of all that is Republican, Socialism. Following Barack Obama’s comment to Joe the Plumber (sorry, Joe, the sixteenth minute has arrived), that we should, “spread the wealth,” the weeping and gnashing of teeth from the Right was nearly unbearable. But, what was president-elect Obama (it just sounds right, doesn’t it?) really meaning with that statement? Is he planning on taking away your hard earned money and giving it to lazy poor people as he was most blatantly alleged? Is his plan to really turn America into a Soviet-like Communist nation?
A trip deep into an American city may give you the answer for which you seek. Take a look at the substandard schools and crumbling infrastructure. Spreading the wealth may mean more than the assumed specter of Socialism. Maybe, just maybe, we should take some interest in the well-being of our fellow human beings and do what we can to help them achieve. It doesn’t need to be in the form of a welfare check (vulgarity of vulgarities!) as many of those on the Right of the spectrum often allege, rather, by spreading the wealth perhaps we could clean up the streets and improve schools and enhance the quality of health care for those less fortunate. It is time that we realize that empathy does not have to equal Socialism.
Then perhaps we will realize that spreading the wealth isn’t such a bad thing after all….