April 8, 2006

"I will tell you, nowhere in there, nowhere, not in one page, not in one phrase uttered and reported by the Lord Jesus Christ..."

"... can you find anything that suggests that there is a virtue in cutting children from Medicaid and taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich," said Senator John Kerry, imbuing his politics with religion.
A Roman Catholic who has struggled at times to talk about his own faith, Mr. Kerry also told the group that he believed "deeply in my faith" and that the Koran, the Torah, the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles had influenced a social conscience that he exercised in politics.
The Koran? Come on!

It's always so painful when Kerry tries to show there's something more to him than politician. He only seems to be even more of a politician. Kerry laid on the Jesus because "the group" he was talking to was something organized by Rev. Al Sharpton. He then brought in the Torah and the Koran -- we can assume -- because it seemed politically unwise to lean toward the Christian religion. But who believes that the Koran has influenced his social conscience? I can believe reading the Old Testament affected how he thinks about the world, though his preference for the word "Torah" must stem from an urge to be inclusive. He wants to include the Muslims too, so he throws in the Koran. If he were really talking about sacred books that he's read, that had an impact on how he thinks about the world, it would be much more believable to cite Buddhist or Hindu texts, which those of us who were young in the 60s were wont to dip into.

54 comments:

Henry said...

"...can you find anything that suggests that there is a virtue in ... taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich..."

The parable of the talents. Just sayin'.

* * *

Not only did Kerry forget to mention Buddhist and Hindu texts, he elided the epistles of Paul! Maybe Paul is too evangelical for the man.

bearbee said...

" he believed "deeply in my faith" and that the Koran, the Torah, the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles had influenced a social conscience that he exercised in politics."

Please lead us by example and give every penny of your hard-earned billion + to the poor....

Frank Borger said...

"Please lead us by example and give every penny of your hard-earned billion + to the poor."

Twasn't 'hard-earned', he married into it.

SteveWe said...

Regardless of Kerry's religious reading, he seems to have failed to notice and incorporate an interesting virtue that all of the texts celebrate: humility.

tcd said...

OMG, does he really think he has any chance at the Democrat party's nomination in 2008?
And I'm deeply offended he excluded Buddhists. If you'll excuse me, I think there's a riot protest I need to organize.
"Death to rich politicians who pander to all religions except Buddhism!" Yeah, need to work on that chant...

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Twasn't 'hard-earned', he married into it.

Frank Borger: I beg to differ. Have you taken a look at Ta-RAY-za?

hygate said...

Politician panders; News at Ten!

Lots of black democratic voters are religious. Black ministers are still important sources of leadership for black democratic voters. All candidates for the democratic presidential nomination will need to make ritual obeisance. The interesting part is that citing the Koran as spiritual influence may cost him support with this group. They see Islam as a direct competitor. More blacks attending mosques means increased power for the Muslim groups and less for the Christians. (Not to mention their belief that Christianity is the one true religion.)

knoxgirl said...

Yikes!

That's on the order of, "Some of my best friends are Muslim!"

ShadyCharacter said...

The Koran?

That explains some of the odd, little-discussed positions Kerry staked out in the 2004 election.

Who can forget his call for the tipping of walls onto homosexuals? The killing of Muslim-apostates and his delightful ruminations on the division of the world into the "House of Islam" and the "House of War"?

It also explains why we only ever see Theresa's eyes these days...

Jacques Cuze said...

So if I understand your thesis, your social conscience stopped forming in 1969.

Is it possible that John Kerry's has continued to form up until this day? Is it possible that as a Senator for *all* of Massachusetts that he has interacted with, been invited to, and participated in various ceremonies involving the Massachusetts Muslim community?

Is it possible that during his involvment in halting the BCCI middle eastern bank and their money laundering, narco-trafficking, murder and terrorist funding activities that he came across the Koran and started learning more about it?

Is it possible that during his adult life his love of enlightenment and education has led him to read and learn more about the world's religions?

Is it possible that his experience in Vietnam and his interest in stopping unjust wars has led him to learn more about the world's religions?

Just what are you forming your opinions on? Factual knowledge of John Kerry? Your contextual understanding of his quote because you were present when he said it? A projection of your own inner biases and experiences?

As you chair your session about the Ten Commandments, you may wish to review these three:

"Do not testify as a false witness against your neighbor.

Do not be envious of your neighbor's house.

Do not be envious of your neighbor's wife, his slave, his maid, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that is your neighbor's.""

John(classic) said...

During the last election a friend complained that Bush had too much religion in his speeches. I pointed out that Kerry at the time had even more.

"Yeah', he replied,"But everybody knows Kerry doesn't mean it. It's just for the campaign."

Thorley Winston said...

Do not testify as a false witness against your neighbor.

Unless it’s “seared in your memory.”

Do not be envious of your neighbor's house. Do not be envious of your neighbor's wife, his slave, his maid, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that is your neighbor's.

There goes the progressive income tax and wealth redistribution.

Thorley Winston said...

can you find anything that suggests that there is a virtue in cutting children from Medicaid and taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich

Just out of curiosity how does not spending more of someone else’s money on a welfare program constitute “taking money from the poor” and allowing people to keep more of their own money constitute “giving it to the rich”?

Dave said...

Well, count me as one of those avaricious, heathen capitlists who sees no problem in cutting the wealthy's taxes.

Jacques Cuze said...

"Yeah', he replied,"But everybody knows Kerry doesn't mean it. It's just for the campaign."

Kerry attends mass every Sunday. Bush doesn't attend church in D.C. on a regular basis.

The Editors said...

Don't conservatives who talk about religion get called "theocrats", "akin to the Taliban", etc?

The Unalienable Right

Seven Machos said...

quxxo --

1. What does this have to do with Bush? At all?

2. Do you really think John Kerry has read the Koran? As Prof. George Anastaplo wrote (I paraphrase): "for most Western minds, the first encounter with the Koran is likely to be the last."

3. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to go to Mass every week and continue to be influenced by the Koran. It's a lot like rooting for Olkahoma and Texas in football. It's possible, but not done.

4. This attempt to be contrary, like most of your attempts, falls flat because it is just that: an attempt to be contrary. You don't really believe Kerry reads the Koran.

Thorley Winston said...

Don't conservatives who talk about religion get called "theocrats", "akin to the Taliban", etc?

Yes but that’s usually just projection much like the “don’t question my patriotism” smear.

Thorley Winston said...

Do you really think John Kerry has read the Koran?

My understanding is the he received a copy of it for Christmas in 1968 and read it in between covert missions for the CIA.

Goatwhacker said...

As you chair your session about the Ten Commandments, you may wish to review these three:

"Do not testify as a false witness against your neighbor.

Do not be envious of your neighbor's house.

Do not be envious of your neighbor's wife, his slave, his maid, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that is your neighbor's.""


I think your second and third commandments are generally considered as one, the "thou shalt not covet" commandment.

TWM said...

I would bet my capitalistic nestegg, which is not insignificant by the way, that Kerry has never opened a Koran.

Now, "The Koran for Dummies" he might have had Theresa read to him.

PatCA said...

Pathetic.

Jacques Cuze said...

[pause] These go to eleven.

Goatwhacker said...

Criticizing Kerry almost seems too easy sometimes, like criticizing Cynthia McKinney. He seems to come across as pompous and awkward most of the time. And in this case he probably did throw in the Torah and Koran as sops to other religions.

Personally though I think he may well have read the Torah or Koran at some point. He probably considers himself as a renaissance type guy and a passing knowledge of the tenets of other religions doesn't seem unreasonable.

What struck me is his tying government policy to religious policy. The government is not set up to be run by religious principles, though there is often some overlap. Whether Medicaid or taxation policy is mentioned in scriptures is really immaterial. I suspect he is trying to besmirch Bush by painting him as claiming to be religious while acting differently, almost as if they're competing on who's the more religious. In the first place this has little to do with government policy, and secondly is plain silly.

Jacques Cuze said...

Al Franken's version: George W. Bush famously said that Jesus was his favorite political philosopher. Frankly, I don’t get it. I’m Jewish. Thank you. I’m not an expert on the New Testament. But I know that if you cut out all the passages where Jesus talks about helping the poor, helping the least among us, if you literally took a pair of scissors and cut out all those passages, you’d have the perfect box to smuggle Rush Limbaugh’s drugs in.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Ann Althouse's "Lay on the Jesus" is my new favorite political expression. If you're a politician, when in doubt, lay on the Jesus. Then rhapsodize about the "working man". And pepper all your talks with the word "folks".

Johnny Nucleo said...

Actually, to be safe, change "working man" to "workers". And whatever you do, do not forget to mention single moms. Don't worry about single dads. People hate single dads. The reason there are single moms is because of floozy-chasing, child-abandoning single dads.

perry said...

Evidently while the whole world was talking about the 'Judas' gospel, Kerry found the other missing gospel where Jesus gave to his people the medicare drug bill, the bridge to nowhere in alaska and TEA-21 appropriations.

Awesome! I wonder when Dan Brown will write up the book?

TWM said...

"Floozy-chasing." The new Olympic sport.

Eh, it might improve the ratings.

Fitz said...

Look... John (the former "Alter Boy") Kerry, the first Catholic candidiate to run for presidential office since JFK....LOST THE CATHOLIC VOTE.

The entire Catholic vote as a whole (including laped Catholics) Amoung regular Church attending Catholics he lost by large margins!

Drew W said...

I really must applaud quxxo's rhetorical flourishes, opening four successive grafs with "Is it possible . . . ?"

It's too bad that I, and probably everybody else on this thread, found themselves responding to each of those thoughtful questions with "Naaahh . . ."

I realize that Kerry's comments were made at a highly partisan meeting (hosted by unreformed, unapologetic race-hustler Al Sharpton) but if Kerry really wanted to make a serious critique of the Bush administration, he might try to sound more like he had actual policies in mind, and less like he was running down a childish wish-list: "Tell the truth. Fire the incompetents. Find Osama bin Laden and secure our ports and our homeland. Bring our troops home from Iraq. Obey the law and protect our civil rights," Mr. Kerry said in ticking off his list, which also included supporting health care, education, lobbying reform and alternatives to oil, as well as reducing the deficit.

(Sen. Kerry was said to be clarifying his stands on Motherhood and Apple Pie, about which he's currently preparing a detailed position paper.)

The NY Times article ends with RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt's quip, "John Kerry deserves credit for continuing to take himself so seriously, despite the fact that no one else does."

Ordinarily, this would be an expected jab from Kerry's perpetual opponents, but in his case, it's strikingly -- and amusingly -- apt.

Goatwhacker said...

Al Franken's version: George W. Bush famously said that Jesus was his favorite political philosopher. Frankly, I don’t get it. I’m Jewish. Thank you. I’m not an expert on the New Testament. But I know that if you cut out all the passages where Jesus talks about helping the poor, helping the least among us, if you literally took a pair of scissors and cut out all those passages, you’d have the perfect box to smuggle Rush Limbaugh’s drugs in.

If Franken's talking about the quote from the 1999 GOP debates, the question was who was the philosopher or thinker that had the most influence on their lives, not who was their "favorite political philosopher". I'm not sure why Franken changed it, the joke would still have worked.

Pat Patterson said...

Maybe Senator Kerry meant to say that he drew inspiration from Tovah Feldshuh and Korn? Or at least that's what he thought the 3x5 cards said.

bearbee said...

Maybe Senator Kerry meant to say that he drew inspiration from Tovah Feldshuh and Korn?

funny....

Jesus's cryptic parables

wv- ozdgqgt - Ozians get it.

Robert said...

Kerry attends Mass every Sunday? Is he going to let on that he's listening at church, one of these days?

grape_crush said...

I'm liking the idea behind the "Lay on the Jesus" expression althousefan mentioned...It's hard for me to take any politician's public expression of faith seriously...It comes off as pandering or otherwise politically motivated.

Having said that; if you can manage to block out who the messenger is and focus on the message...It's a valid point; there is a discrepancy.

michael a litscher said...

"You shall not steal. Unless you are stealing from a rich person to buy the vote of a poor person."

"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Unless your neighbor objects to stealing from the rich to buy the votes of the poor, in which case it is permissible to slander your neighbor by suggesting that he is stealing from the poor."

Smilin' Jack said...

I'm an atheist, and even I recall the parable of the talents...it's one of the most famous passages in the Bible:

Matthew 25:28 "Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents." 29 For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

Forget the Koran and Torah...has Kerry ever even looked at a Bible?

Pamela Leavey said...

And, Ann Althouse questions here with a dose of snark, whether “the Koran, the Torah, the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles had influenced a social conscience” that Kerry exercised in politics. Evidently, she never read the interview with Kerry in Windsurfer Magazine where he discusses his interest in spirituality and how it plays into his life. Here’s a passage from the interview that sheds more light:

JK: Spirituality is a fundamental for us. I mean, it’s the-it is the overpowering, driving foundation of most of the struggles that we go through here on earth, in my judgement. I am a believer in the Supreme Being, in God. I believe, without any question in this force that is so much larger and more powerful than anything human beings can conceivably define.

I think the more we learn about the universe, the more we learn about black holes and the expansion of the universe and the more we learn what we don’t know about: our beginnings and-not just of us, but the universe itself, the more I find that people believe in this supreme being. I’m a Catholic and I practice but at the same time I have an open-mindedness to many other expressions of spirituality that come through different religions. I’m very respectful and am interested-I find it intriguing.

I went to Jerusalem a number of years ago on an official journey to Israel and I was absolutely fascinated by the 32 or so different branches of Catholicism that were there. That’s before you even get to the conflict between Arabs and Jews. I have spent a lot of time since then trying to understand these fundamental differences between religions in order to really better understand the politics that grow out of them. So much of the conflict on the face of this planet is rooted in religions and the belief systems they give rise to. The fundamentalism of one entity or another.

So I really wanted to try to learn more. I’ve spent some time reading and thinking about it and trying to study it and I’ve arrived at not so much a sense of the differences but a sense of the similarities in so many ways; the value system roots and the linkages between the Torah, the Koran and the Bible and the fundamental story that runs through all of this, that connects us-and really connects all of us.

And so I’ve also always been fascinated by the Transcendentalists and the Pantheists and others who found these great connections just in nature, in trees, the ponds, the ripples of the wind on the pond, the great feast of nature itself. I think it’s all an expression that grows out of this profound respect people have for those forces that human beings struggle to define and to explain. It’s all a matter of spirituality.

I find that even - even atheists and agnostics wind up with some kind of spirituality, maybe begrudgingly acknowledging it here and there, but it’s there. I think it’s really intriguing. For instance, thinking about China, the people and their policy-how do we respond to their view of us? And how do they arrive at that view of us and of the world and of life choices? I think we have to think about those things in the context of the spiritual to completely understand where they are coming from. So here are a people who, you know, by and large, have a nation that has no theory of creationism. Well, that has to effect how you approach things. And until we think through how that might effect how you approach things, it’s hard to figure out where you could find a meeting of the minds when approaching certain kinds of issues.

So, the exploration of all these things I find intriguing. Notwithstanding our separation between church and state, it is an essential ingredient of trying to piece together an approach to some of the great vexing questions we have internationally.

AW: Do you think that we are headed for more enlightened spirituality or are we doomed to crawl back to the caves?

JK: That’s the test! That’s exactly what the challenge of life is all about and some people find that. I mean, look at the Dalai Lama who I’ve spent some time with and who is absolutely intriguing. Extraordinary person. He is certainly telling us there is life from enlightenment-here and hereafter, but I think, whether or not we’re going to be [enlightened] is the great test that all of us are struggling with. That’s part of what makes life so challenging and so much fun.

http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=2576

hygate said...

Ann said "The reason there are single moms is because of floozy-chasing, child-abandoning single dads."

Who are practicing polygamy in an informal fashion, because they can. :>)

grape_crush said...

Smilin' Jack: I'm an atheist, and even I recall the parable of the talents...it's one of the most famous passages in the Bible..

If you could recall the entire parable, along eith a similar one in Luke, you'd remember that it's about the reward for good, bountiful stewardship and not a validation for the transfer of material wealth to or from any economic class.

Actually, the Christian attitude toward wealth is described by Matthew 6:19-20: Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth...But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven.

Again, if you can manage to block out who the messenger is and focus on the message...Kerry has a valid point.

Ann Althouse said...

hygate said...
Ann said "The reason there are single moms is because of floozy-chasing, child-abandoning single dads."

No, I didn't.

tjl said...

Pamela Leavey treated us to a lengthy quote from John Kerry's spiritual ramblings which originally appeared in "Windsurfer" Magazine.

What a unique convergence of subject matter, interviewee, and forum! How richly I would have relished seeing the article in its original context in the magazine! I am visualizing the photos of the ponderously philosophizing Kerry which no doubt acompanied the article, surrounded by ads for assorted multicolored windsurfing accessories.
Like so much else about Kerry, it would be impossible to make this stuff up.

Goatwhacker said...

Evidently, she never read the interview with Kerry in Windsurfer Magazine where he discusses his interest in spirituality and how it plays into his life.

Can't imagine how Ann missed that interview, I always consult American Windsurfer for candidates' spiritual histories.

Jacques Cuze said...

Ann's problem has I mentioned earlier, is her projecting her own issues on others, and in believing that asking herself what she believes is then representative of what the American people believe.

As I surmised, as Pamela so wonderfully demonstrated, it is Ann's social consciensce that was choked off by the end of the 60s, no one else's.

I would like to think that Ann was adult enough, moral enough, and ethical enough to update her blog post and apologize to John Kerry for her smear. And apology is definitely called for, and it would have the benefit of demonstrating that Ann is a serious part of the blogging conversation, and not just a partisan.

Ann Althouse said...

I just watched Kerry on "Meet the Press" and I want him to apologize to me.

Smilin' Jack said...

grape_crush said...
If you could recall the entire parable, along eith a similar one in Luke, you'd remember that it's about the reward for good, bountiful stewardship and not a validation for the transfer of material wealth to or from any economic class.


Maybe, maybe not...who knows what the Bible means? But no exegesis is required here, because my point is that Kerry said

"I will tell you, nowhere in there, nowhere, not in one page, not in one phrase uttered and reported by the Lord Jesus Christ can you find anything that suggests that there is a virtue in...taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich..."

But the parable of the talents clearly contains phrases (very well-known ones)that suggest exactly that, and no one having even a passing acquaintance with the Bible would say what Kerry said.

Simon said...

quxxo said...
"Ann's problem has I mentioned earlier, is her projecting her own issues on others, and in believing that asking herself what she believes is then representative of what the American people believe."

First rule of propaganda: accuse your enemy of doing what you're doing. In this case, presuming that one is representative of the mainstream, the classical delusion of the liberal in his native environment.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I guess it's time to change my handle. I chose Althousefan because it is simple and descriptive. Also, I think Ann Althouse's name is cool. It is alliterative, like a comic book name, and "Althouse" sounds like a place, an "Alternative House". That is cool. But since my handle seems to have caused some confusion, for future comments I shall use my real name: Johnny Nucleo.

Pat Patterson said...

"Look at the Dali Lama...". Which version, the sanitized UN version or the one where he sounds like a Buddhist Khomeni.

grape_crush said...

Smilin' Jack: Maybe, maybe not...who knows what the Bible means?

Absolutely. One of the both beautiful and problematic aspects of the Bible is the range of interpretations for its contents.

To the other point; I've heard so much 'laying on the Jesus' from politicians that I'm immediately skeptical of their sincerity.

inmypajamas said...

I'm one of those Catholics who saw nothing but pandering in Kerry and voted for Bush. My atheist, anti-Catholic brother felt eminently comfortable voting for Kerry.

Christians have a way of referring to those who sincerely try to follow their faith and those who do not as "walking the walk" vs. just "talking the talk". I'm sure all of you have been around enough of both types to be able to tell the difference. Bush is a walker, Kerry is a talker IMO (and a boring pompous blowhard one at that).

dave said...

Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
Matthew 19:21-22

Simon said...

Re Matthew 19:21-22, that's all well and good, but that doesn't amount to a prohibition on making money, only accumulating it for its own sake. God isn't anti-money; indeed, think about it: one is supposed to tithe one tenth of one's income to God (practically, to the church); the more income, the more one one tenth of it is, the more can be given. Moreover, the more money you have available, the greater use you can put it to. Habitat for Humanity can't build all those houses without money. All that missionary work doesn't come free - even the devout have to eat. Every church building cost money to build and costs money to maintain. So God isn't opposed to making money, and he isn't opposed to spending it; what he is opposed to, I think, is personal greed and aggrandizement. To spending money for oneself.