Monday, March 29, 2004

The Culture: Kerry's Sermon

Beware of politicians making sermons.

John Kerry cited a Bible verse Sunday to criticize leaders who have "faith but has no deeds," prompting President Bush?s spokesman to accuse Kerry of exploiting Scripture for a political attack.

Kerry never mentioned Bush by name during his speech at New North Side Baptist Church, but aimed his criticism at "our present national leadership." Kerry cited Scripture in his appeal for the worshippers, including James 2:14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?"

"The Scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" Kerry said. "When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion?"

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry's comment "was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack."

Kerry told worshippers in the largely black congregation that the country's leadership has served the privileged while ignoring people across America who live in neighborhoods like theirs.

"Today we are told that, after 3 million lost jobs and so many lost hopes, America is now turning a corner," the pending Democratic presidential nominee said. "But those who say that, they're not standing on the corner of Highland Street, where two 15-year-old teenagers were hit in a drive-by shooting last week." [AP]
Kerry is attacking Bush's defense of markets in the name of the meek and his sermon reflects his deep altruistic premise. Yet if Kerry made the charge that the market was responsible for a drive by shooting to an Objectivist, the Objectivist would stand up for justice, freedom and the market. Bush's spokesman can only condemn the politicizing of the Bible. How pathetic.

For all the commentary on the flaws of the religious right, we must not forget that the religious left is a culturally significant force in America too. Yet Christianity, both left and right, damns man against all proof, hamstrings his means of living on earth, perverts justice so as to make the son guilty for the sins of the father, and demands the sacrifice of the good to the undeserving. Christianity or any other faith has no place in the public square, yet as we all know, its presence and negative impact is undeniable. It is disheartening that in a republic founded upon the rational identification of the principle of individual rights that both serious contenders for the presidency are animated by faith.

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