Is it somehow okay for a Christian to be selfless in the missions committee meeting and selfish at the political party meeting?

From Jay Guin at One in Jesus

One of the biggest problems facing sub-Saharan Africa (south of the Sahara) is the inability of the countries to export food and cotton for a profit because of crop subsidies the Europeans and Americans provide their farmers.

You see, for poorer countries, the easiest way to earn a profit and gain foreign currency is through agriculture, but the US and European farm lobbies manage to squeeze the taxpayers for subsidies that create artificially low prices for Western-grown food — which keep the poorest of the poor from being able to export food more cheaply than the West can despite its much higher production costs.

This is a problem for both political parties, because both have powerful senators from farm states who protect the pocketbooks of their constituents. And it never occurs to them that this violates the Bible.

You see, I think American Christians are free to compete on a level playing field with anyone. But using our wealth to freeze the poor out of international markets is sin.

And it violates the Democratic Party’s principles opposing government welfare for the rich; and it violates Republican Party’s principles favoring free trade. There are numerous farmers who grow unsubsidized crops and do just fine competing with the rest of the world. But Washington lacks the will to cut subsidies that indirectly subsidize re-election campaigns. And no one complains much because, well, our allegiance is to ourselves, rather than to all of God’s children.

Just so, the serious problem of illegal immigration in the United States is debated by Christians in terms of legality and expense and which party the immigrants will support. Never have I heard Christians debate the question in terms of what is best for the Mexicans — not even as a factor to be considered. Indeed, mention the Golden Rule or “love your neighbor” in such a conversation, and you’ll sometimes be viewed with bemusement or scorn by your fellow Christians.

I don’t pretend to know the answers to the illegal immigration problem, but this much I’ve figured out: Christians are not allowed to argue in terms of selfishness. And I wonder what would happen if we seriously talked about how we might deal with the problem by helping Mexico rather than how we can help ourselves with no regard for the consequences to the Mexicans.

As my friend Harvey Schultz says, “Something to think about.”

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