I hope to post more on this later, but there’s been a lot of talk about how Democrats have “got religion”, how they’re determined not to simply cede the “evangelical vote” to the Republican party, etc. In past years, of course, Democrats have looked, well, silly when talking about faith, whether that was Scream Machine Dean telling us that Job was his favorite New Testament book, or John Kerry looking very stiff when the subject was broached, or the First Felon singing in the choir at Immanuel Baptist, Little Rock, while chasing most anything in a skirt that breathed. Now, I’m not saying that all Republican presidential candidates are (or should be!) evangelical believers; that’s a topic for another time. But there are some evangelicals who believe that the Republican party is selective when it comes to the issues it chooses to focus on; oh, to be sure, there’s a pro-life plank in the Republican platform, and most Republicans aren’t keen on “gay marriage”, etc., but the argument goes that Democrats are concerned about the poor and the environment and Darfur and…well, that’s an argument for another time, one I intend to post about. But the subject for today is simply this: there are a lot of evangelicals who (should, at least) see through the phony-baloney rigmarole of people like Wonder Boy and Mrs. Bill when they talk about how deeply their faith is a part of their lives.
I’ll leave Mrs. Bill alone on this one, even though there’s plenty to mine there; her Methodist background is well known, but nobody who’s paying attention would consider her the poster child for genteel Methodist piety. No, let’s focus on the Wonder Boy, but I’m not going to take this down the Jeremiah Wright path. That one is well-known; it raises questions that the Wonder Boy has not been able to satisfactorily answer (nor will he); he chose an black liberation theology church in an ultra-left-wing denomination to be his home church for twenty-plus years. Fine. We know that’s a problem.
But what I want to talk about is what I’ll call the “Algore Problem”. Now stop laughing: yes, I know that Algore has a whole raft of problems, but the one that stands out in relationship to matters of faith with Gore is the same one that plagues the Wonder Boy, at least it should to anybody paying attention: when Algore’s tax returns were made public, there was one year when he served as Veep when he gave a grand total of $353 to charity (on an adjusted gross of nearly $200K). Three-hundred fifty-three dollars. That was only a shade over half what the average American–who made less than a third of Algore’s salary–gave to charity, and a pittance compared to what “religious” folks, who don’t give nearly as well as they should–gave. So here was this plastic banana crusader for social causes, who was supposed to be a good Southern Baptist, who was, what, about eight times as stingy as the average American, despite making a good deal more income?
Fast-forward to last week, when the Obama’s tax returns were made public (something that, of course, Mrs. Bill has been unwilling to do. Whatcha hiding, Mrs. Bill?).
In 2001, the Obamas racked up $272+K, and gave less than $1500.
In 2002, the Obamas made a tick under $260K in gross income, and gave…$1050. Pocket change, comparatively.
In 2005, the Obamas got religion! They gave over $77,000 to charitable causes! Of course, that was the year that the Wonder Boy’s books took off, and together they raked in $1,655,000 and change. Doing the math, that comes to less than 5%.
Bottom line: when Barack Obama says that Jesus makes a big difference in his life, that his faith is very important to him, I don’t believe him for one second. Because if your faith is important to you, it will be reflected in your giving. Oh, sure, it’ll be reflected in a lot more areas of your life; a committed Christian is characterized by a lot more than a willingness to give significantly/sacrificially, but he is never characterized by less.
What Barack Obama would rather do than give personally is to raise taxes so that all Americans will be forced to “give” to support government programs to provide for poor people, etc. Far better to do that than to ask me to voluntarily dip into my own money and give; that seems to be the philosophy. That may not be what the Wonder Boy would say if you asked him, but since his tax returns are public, we don’t have to ask him; we only have to look at the crystal-clear evidence.
Hey, Democrats, if you want the evangelical vote, and want to go after it based upon an ability to speak credibly about faith, you’d better get some better standard-bearers than phony-balonies like Algore, Mrs. Bill, and Barack the Wonder Boy.