Tags: hillary | faith

Hillary Does Not Grasp Faith Fundamentals

Thursday, 27 Sep 2007 11:13 AM

By Paul Kengor

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“The real trouble is commercialism. The money taint has definitely entered the [healthcare] profession . . . The only cure is socialized medicine.”

— The Daily Worker, Nov. 29, 1959

The call by the left for socialized medicine is hardly new, even if loudest every four years as Democratic presidential contenders trip over one another to seize the issue as a wedge to get themselves elected.

All the bellyaching on healthcare would not be so bad if Democrats simply focused on the positive matter of ensuring more coverage for more people — but, of course, that’s not good enough. Instead, they use the issue to divide people among class, to rile up lower- and middle-class Americans by sowing hatred of those with more money.

They share that unsavory commonality that unites the entirety of the left, from communists to socialists to modern-day liberals: class hatred, or, at the least, the exploitation of class hatred.

This is painfully evident when Democrats try to sell their healthcare packages not with a dose of TLC but spoonfuls of class envy. The guilty this time around are not Dick Gephardt and Jesse Jackson but, first and foremost, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. My new book, "God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life," examines this tack, and explores what we can expect from Hillary's push for the presidency.

[Editor's Note: Get "God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life" — Go Here Now.]

Note how Hillary frames the issue on her campaign Web site: “America’s middle class is under siege . . . People are working harder and longer for less and less. Corporate profits are up. CEO pay is up . . . For six long years, it’s like America’s middle class and working families have been invisible to our president. He’s looked right through them.” Her rhetoric evokes battle lines, an attack, an affront — a literal “siege” mentality.

John Edwards particularly excels at this disreputable craft, peddling his notion of “two Americas.” As he said during the 2004 campaign, “Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one: One America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America that will do anything to leave its children a better life, another America that never has to do a thing because its children are already set for life.” Like Hillary, Edwards applies this nostrum to the healthcare debate: “The system in Washington has been hijacked for the benefit of corporate profits and the very wealthiest.”

Significantly, Edwards’ and Hillary’s plans depend upon class division not only to rally support but also for financing. Says Edwards: “My plan will cost $90 to $120 billion and I will pay for it by repealing George Bush’s tax cuts on the very wealthiest Americans.” Hillary’s health-care proposal relies on a $52-billion infusion taken from a repeal of the Bush tax cut on those earning over $250,000 annually.

None of this — in neither tone nor substance — is inspirational. It poisons the well, and appeals to and fosters resentment based on a false sense of “fairness.” It demonizes upper-class Americans who in fact pay far and away the most in taxes and subsidize the lion’s share of the welfare state. Rather than thanking these Americans, Edwards flat-out lies about their contribution and Hillary disingenuously insists they at long last “share responsibility” in paying for healthcare.

Yet, even then, there’s something even more insidious at work here.

First, this pitting of classes against one another is done for political self-aggrandizement and power, neither of which is noble; and, second, it is done by religious liberals who openly cite their faith as a central motivation in their policies.

On the second, it will shock readers to know that Hillary Clinton for years has literally cited Jesus Christ as a motivation for her government-based healthcare to children. “We know so well what Jesus said to his disciples, holding a small child in his arms, that whoever welcomes one such child in my name, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me, but the one who sends me,” said Hillary in April 1996. “Take the image we have of Jesus — of Jesus as the shepherd. Taking that face and transposing it onto the face of every child we see, then we would ask ourselves, ‘Would I turn that child away from the health care that child needs?’”

Hillary believes she is doing the Lord’s work — or, to borrow from a 1996 speech by her husband to a church in Newark: “God’s work must be our own.” A self-described “old-fashioned Methodist,” Hillary points to John Wesley’s credo that “the world is my parish.”

But which “world?” Or, as John Edwards would put it, which “America?”

Christ said the greatest of all commandments is love. We are to “love thy neighbor as thy self.” We are not to pit neighbors against one another based on which has more money, urging jealousy from the neighbor with less. Unfortunately, this is a defining element of the religious left, which in its pursuit of “social justice” never seems to recognize that helping the poor should not mean demonizing the rich. Sure, the Christian Gospel — and the Judeo-Christian tradition generally — calls upon believers to help the poor, but it is, in its essence, a call for private action, and does not prescribe government-led or government-forced collectivism and wealth redistribution. Liberal Christian politicians should work to inspire charitable activity not anger.

Religious liberals like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards either do not grasp this fundamental of the faith or, worse, do not want to grasp it because it would foil a golden opportunity to win votes by dividing people. As they invoke the virtue of justice, they should be mindful of a vice called envy.

[Editor's Note: Get "God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life" — Go Here Now.]

Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His new book, "God and Hillary Clinton," is published by HarperCollins.

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