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07 August 2012

Reader Response to "To Whom Would Jesus Contribute?"

A reader at Revelife.com (which occasionally reposts things I write here) sent me a message with a wonderfully thought-out and graciously-worded rebuttal to my post "To Whom Would Jesus Contribute?" I wanted to share it with you. He punches me in the teeth at the end, and I'll bet the same fist will punch you.

My post had expressed frustration with the two main presidential candidates' campaigns and their use of massive, massive contributions they'd received as of the end of March (I might throw a tantrum if I looked at the amounts today). I opined that that campaign money -- being used for television ads, cross-country trips, smear campaigns, etc. -- would be better used giving someone a hot meal or clean water.

The reply below comes courtesy (and with the permission) of AnyasFriendMe. You may find that what he says makes more sense than what I wrote. I encourage you to read the second part of my ramblings, "When Necessary, Use Money," though, at some point. It may express my conclusions better than the first post.

Here's the response (I put a number of phrases in bold for emphasis):

Hmm... it's hard to put big numbers in perspective. Given that there are some 313 million people in America, even if Obama spends a billion, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/30/us-usa-campaign-spending-idUSTRE77T3ZX20110830 -- that works out to about $3 per person. I'm sure many non-profits spend that much money mailing and phoning their average supporters to get them to support their campaigns, since it takes money to get people to act. It's sort of a necessary overhead. It adds up to a lot of money because there are lots of people in our country.

Well, is it worth it? That's hard to say. Obama and Romney each advocate numerous policies that they might be able to implement. Many policies have impacts of many billions of dollars. If there have been 50 or so million abortions since Roe vs. Wade, and if an additional billion dollars would have changed elections that would have changed who the Supreme Court Justices were, then for a pro-lifer the question would be, "Is it worth about $20 to stop an abortion?"

From this perspective spending a billion dollars to stop 50 million deaths could be considered pocket change.

Or in other terms that may be easier to relate to: outlawing abortion could save two babies every minute in America. For those who don't care for a pro-life argument, feel free to switch it. For example, money spent to elect a candidate who was concerned about global warming (or whatever your pet issue is) might save the lives of many people.

There are a billion plus people who need clean water. I'm not sure how many wells would be needed to save as many people, but I'm guessing it would be a lot, and I doubt that it would be cheap to provide them all with clean water.

In short, there are a lot of uncertainties, but there are big bucks spent on politics because politicians have a lot of influence on a lot of big issues that have big impacts on many people. Do we get our priorities perfect? Of course not.But it may be possible that many Christians have spent too little money supporting candidates that shared their concerns.

Then again, how many of us invest time praying for our leaders? Hmm... could that have an influence on the decisions that they make? Maybe asking how we spend our money isn't the only or even the best way to change the world. Maybe we need to ask how we spend our prayer time.

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