Thursday, May 3, 2012

If There Is A God, What Is She Thinking?

I’ve always thought that the world would be a better place if everyone practiced the ethics of whatever religion he (or she) claimed to follow. After all, don’t all religions adhere to the Golden Rule – Do unto others what you’d have them do unto you.

With this in mind, I was very interested to read a column by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post syndicated in the May 2nd Chicago Tribune. She reported that the budget passed by the House authored in large part by Rep. Paul Ryan (Rep-Wisconsin) was rebuked by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They said that they feel that any budget should help “the least of these” –the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the jobless. “A just spending bill cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor and vulnerable persons,” they said.

Representative Ryan has his rationale for shortchanging the poor – that they need initiative to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and the rich need to be able to donate to them more easily by having the current array of tax cuts and loopholes.

It’s somewhat dangerous to second guess which side of the argument God is on, but I’m glad that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops didn’t allow Paul Ryan to claim God as his ally in his quest to gut any social safety net that we have left. All those who believe in God want to feel that God is on their side, too.

In the future, however, I hope that we can leave our individual ideas of God’s thoughts out of this conversation that we’re trying unsuccessfully to have in America across regional, religious, ethnic, and ideological divides. It seems close to impossible to come to a consensus as it is. If we add “God says,” it makes it that much harder to come up with a response. “Well I disagree with God on this one” one might say. But then the other person might say, “How dare you disagree with God!” and walk away in a huff. Or one could say, “God didn’t say that!” And the other person could say, “He did so!” Either way, at that point, the conversation is over and any chance at finding a solution has eluded us once again. So now that we’ve all had our say about what we think God thinks, let’s just leave God out of this. I think we need to figure something out together without her.   


Susan said...

I'm with you on this one. With the variety of religious beliefs and customs in the US alone, it seems the height of arrogance to assume that anyone has cornered the market on what God wants. Even more so, in a country founded on the principle of religious freedom, I am disturbed by the increasing use of religion in politics.
Good observations. Thanks Lisa.

Lisa Sachs said...

Thanks ofr commenting Susan. We have to realize that we live in a pluralistic society. We all need to work harder at toning down the divisive rhetoric.