Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why People Think Christians are Stupid - Part 2,385,278

On the anniversary of hurricane Katrina, the New York Times did a feature on Rep. Mike Pence - an Indiana Republican who leads the Republican Study Group - a subgroup to the right of the majority of Republicans in the House. I'm interested in him because he defines himself as "...a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order".

Last year at this time, Pence gained notoriety for Operation Offset - a proposal to cut $500 million over ten years on federal spending for the poor. It seems that Pence saw the momentum Katrina was generating for a role for the government in taking care of its poor and troubled citizens and wanted to make sure that the net amount of spending wouldn't go up. I'm not sure which aspect of the Gospel is honored by saying, in essence, "OK, if you're gonna spend money getting people out of their attics and rebuilding there homes, you better make sure there's some AIDS patient who is gonna have to pay more for her drugs, or you better cancel the program that gets that isolated old man his meals." But hey, Rep. Pence is sitting in Congress and I'm sitting at my kitchen table, so what do I know.

But that's not what has roused me from my blogging slumber. Further evidence of syncretism between Christianity and the values of white, conservative Americans is not news. This is: lower down in the Times article, Pence gives his support for the massive tax cuts of recent years, which were overwhelmingly targeted at the wealthy:

Mr. Pence argued that tax cuts help the poor by revving the economy. That may eventually prove true, but despite large tax cuts the poverty rate has risen in each of the last four years.

“That’s anecdotal,” Mr. Pence said in an interview last fall. Then he offered an anecdote — a story President Reagan told about a pipe fitter pleased to see the rich prosper, “because I’ve never been hired by a poor man.”

Wow. I mean, wow!

"Anecdotal". I don't that word means what you think it means, Rep. Pence.

And Christians wonder why people think we're stupid.

(HT: Henry at Crooked Timber) And for what's actually happening with poverty, go here.

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