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"What the Most Influential Religions Say Regarding Treatment of the Poor"

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  • Strongly Liberal
    Seattle, WA
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    The following is the introduction to an article titled What the Most Influential Religions Say Regarding Treatment of the Poor:

    In most religious traditions, charitable alms or almsgiving, which is giving materially and/or financially to those in need, is an act of virtue, charity, empathy, compassion, and love. And, it is even an obligation.

    This issue is crucial especially because for the last three decades since the "Religious Right" gained political power colluding with Ronald Reagan, they have been preaching the Reaganite "Gospel of Prosperity" that turns Christianity up-side-down. For example, it claims that the rich are blessed and the poor deserve their lot because they are "not self-reliant." And in fact, that misleading right-wing partisan ideology actually blames the victims of poverty.

    One of the terrible consequences of Reaganism is that about 23 percent of American children live in poverty, giving the United States the second highest rate of child poverty out of 35 developed countries. About 20 million Americans live on less than half of the outdated federal poverty level. And of all the children in poverty, about 97 percent of them live in households in which at least one adult works full time.

    The truth is that the main causes of the problems around poverty, hunger and homelessness is the greed and selfishness of some of the wealthiest few who hold 95 percent of the nation's wealth, and the main related problem is insufficient wages for the working poor.

    That is why it is important to understand the real truth, especially about the intent of Jesus of Nazareth, but of all other great spiritual teachers and founders and developers of religion, because they all not only rebuked the greedy and the selfish who lust for unjust financial gain. They called upon all of us to be just and fair, and to help and care for the elderly, the disabled, the disadvantaged, and the needy.

    That, by the way, is in fact why the Founders of the U.S.A. intended for government to "promote the general welfare" to ensure domestic tranquility and justice for all.


    It goes on to point out what Judaism, Christianity and Islam say about how we should treat the poor, and also mentions what other religions say about it, which is much the same thing: "Treat all other as you would want to be treated if you were them."
  • Liberal Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    This was one of Guy Dwyer's last posts before he had to drop off the website for personal reasons. I am replying to it because as I watch the Michele Bachmann and others in the "religious right" cheering the shutdown and the misery it is causing so many Americans, especially the poor and children in need of help, I just have to call her and her fellow "God invoking" Tea Partiers out for what they really are: hypocrites.

    As Dwyer points out in his post and link, all the world's main religions cater to the poor, but somehow Michele Bachman and her ilk have lost sight of what her own religion teaches.

    I certainly support the efforts of all good Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and others to make life better for the poor and sick. Michele Bachman is not one of them. She is nothing more than a selfish demagogue.
  • Center Left Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    Like you, I miss Guy Dwyer's thoughtful comments, and hope that he would be able to enlighten all of us at some point in the future.

    I'm no longer a fan of Reagan, even though a compilation of political polls ranks him 17th, out of a total of 42 Presidents, which was almost as good as Barack Obama, the best President that we have had in the last 50 years:

    Reagan earned the distinction of having a landslide victory in 1984, when he captured almost 59% of the vote, as well as 49 out of 50 states. If you dig a little deeper , though, you'll discover that Reagan only captured 31% of the Voting Age Population in 1984.,_1984
  • Liberal Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Arizona --

    I meant to reply to your post, but once it got pushed off the front page I forgot. It's interesting how these presidential rankings have the presidents ranked. With a couple of exceptions, I think they got the top and the bottom about right. I would disagree with the high rankings of both Reagan and Bush.

    George Bush's mentality was revealed in a Meet the Press interview: "I'm a war president." Bush somehow perceived that war time presidents were remembered more affectionately, which perhaps played into his decision to go into Iraq. That didn't turn out well for him.

    SFGate, February 9, 2004: Bush defends record: 'I'm a war president' / He takes the offensive in Oval Office interview

    "Bush's strategy in the interview (taped Saturday and broadcast Sunday) was underscored by his repeated emphasis on war, terrorism and national security -- issues that he said have shaped his presidency and his leadership. He mentioned the word "war" no less than two dozen times and said, "I'm a war president."

    "There is going to be ample time for the American people to assess whether or not I made ... good calls, whether or not I used good judgment," he said.

    So one of the worst decisions by a President in American history, taking America to war in Iraq, with a concocted story about mushroom clouds, cost some half million civilians their lives deaths in addition to American casualties. For that I would put Bush in the bottom four or five of presidents. Gallop Polls showed his approval rating averaging around 30 percent in his last year of office, but his approval rating has jumped up since. I ask for what? Unlike Carter and Clinton, he hasn't done a f**kin thing since leaving office, except maybe keep his mouth shut. We have short memories.

    Huffington Post, October 17, 2013: The Cost of a Lie: Half a Million Dead in Iraq

    Likewise Reagan I would put in the bottom half or third for how he accelerated the inequality in America.

    One thing that doesn't show up or is really appreciated is what a president did to avert a war or an economic disaster. I believe, along with some noted economists, that Barack Obama averted another Depression. What people don't appreciate is that whatever Obama has been able to accomplish, he has done it without the help of Republicans in Congress, some of which worked every day to sabotage his presidency. If Obama had a Congress like FDR, he would have been able to accomplish even greater things.

    Obama is still to early to judge.
  • Independent
    Bunnlevel, NC
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    Obama's mentality: " im getting good at killing people" and as far as those saying gop'ers are hypoctites( I ma not sold on either party btw) would you like to look up the information for yourself( or I can do it for you on here if to much work) on how many ' liberal" democrats tout about gay right and actually vote against them? or liberal groups against gays etc etc? or how they call one side war mongerers but if you take all the wars since the turn of the century, ww1, ww2, korea, Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan war democrats own ww1, ww2, korea Vietnam.lets not mention lbj proven to have lied about the gulf of Tonkin incident just to justify full scale deployment of troops to Vietnam ( and vientam cost us 10 times as many as died in Iraq and afghanistgan combines) but hey he needed that income from brown&root, bell, and general; dynamics right? so looks to me they war more the war mongerers. they say one side is racist, ( again if to much work to look on Wikipedia at leading segregationists during the civil rights era) if you look it up you will see the number of democrats for segregation to republicans for it is like 7 to quote lbj:"ill have those ni@@ers voting Democrat for the next 200 years" Lyndon Johnson to two governors aboard Air Force One. yeah great example of the democrat party. let us not even talk about mr byrd. so its ok to say Obama inherit4d this fiasco, he didn't cause it, but no mention of regan walking into the swamp carter left , and him cutting inflation by half then again later by another half. and you call the other side hypocrites. if one was actually honest, owned up to its mistakes, and its facts, didn't skew them, cover up the dirt and only point fingers while negating the dirt on their own hands, it would be a lot easier to pick a side. but when I see things like this, it really steers me away from democrats and liberals. btw promote general welfare is not to promote government welfare ( foodstamps)
  • Liberal
    Durham, NH
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    Someone left the gate open and another one slithered in!