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Fritz Feds

Monday, March 29, 2004

Preach it, brother John!

The Associated Press has this interesting piece about John Kerry preaching at a Baptist church in St. Louis about putting your faith into action.

John Kerry cited a Bible verse Sunday to criticize leaders who have "faith but has no deeds," prompting President Bush's spokesman to accuse Kerry of exploiting Scripture for a political attack.

Kerry never mentioned Bush by name during his speech at New North Side Baptist Church, but aimed his criticism at "our present national leadership." Kerry cited Scripture in his appeal for the worshippers, including James 2:14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"

"The Scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" Kerry said. "When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion?"

Isn't this guy from the party that doesn't think your religion shoulhid not influence your politics? Am I missing something here? How exactly does this square with his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman but being utterly unwilling to do anything about it?

The Associated Press writer even seems to catch how utterly ridiculous it is for John Kerry to be telling Bush that he isn't taking his faith seriously enough:

Kerry is Roman Catholic, but his support for abortion rights is at odds with Vatican teachings.

"I don't tell church officials what to do, and church officials shouldn't tell American politicians what to do in the context of our public life," Kerry said in an interview with Time posted on the magazine's Web site Sunday.

The response from the Bush campaign left something to be desired however:

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry's comment "was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack."

This seems a little overheated to me, and I'm not sure it was outside the bounds of political discourse. If Kerry really wants to make this campaign into a question of Christian values, I think the Bush folks should welcome the challenge. I think they should also relish the opportunity to show him playing both sides of the fence on the question of what role faith should play in politics.

UPDATE: I guess I wasn't the first person to realize how silly Kerry's comments were. Tim Graham makes a similar point on the Corner on NRO.

Who exactly is Kerry upbraiding? Is he suggesting that Bush does nothing privately for charity? (If so, how does he explain the year that his friend Al Gore gave about $350 to charity? Where are his tax returns?) In the most literal translation, he is suggesting there are no works of compassion in America today, indicting the whole country of failing God and man.

We know what he's trying to say: that Bush would be a better Christian by spending more of OUR money on government programs. (Funny, liberals usually hate people who try to suggest being a better Christian.) This seems exactly at odds with the Bush vision of compassion, which suggests that the needy in America are not best helped by the Social Security Administration or the Department of Health and Human Services, but by the individual care and attention of loving people. Don't just give in your paycheck and say "Done." Go out and find a need and meet it. Church groups could be doing more of this with federal grants today, but Kerry and his gang want to force religious groups to hire gay men and Buddhists before letting them feed the poor with money sent to Washington.

PS: Finally, Kerry the "Catholic" and his completely ultraliberal abortion politics. I find it odd that Kerry would tell the church to butt out of his public policy views. Who, here, is suggesting someone has faith, but no works? If he absolutely disagrees with the Catholic view of the dignity of the unborn child, why doesn't he go church-shopping like Wesley Clark? If anything, this abortion line completely undercuts his book-of-James critique of Bush. If you are going to go beyond your faith to making good works in the world, then Kerry and other Senate Democrats whose biographies suggest they are Catholic should show the sincerity of their faith in public decisions, not just private moments.


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