The United Methodist Church: Preaching Left-Wing Propaganda to the Choir
Before I begin, I would like to make one thing clear. My criticism of the UMC is leveled directly at the elites in the UMC and not at local pastors, congregation members, etc. I fully understand that United Methodists can have differing opinions on issues. This isn't really the purpose of this post.
I have three points: One being that the ideology espoused by the UMC is left-wing, two, they promote left-wing causes and three, they don't practice what they preach (haha).
The "Social Principles" of the United Methodist Church can be found in the UMC Book of Discipline. These principles "serve as a guide to official church action and our individual witness." I would like to highlight a few of these principles.
From the heading of Economic Community, we find the following:
"Therefore, we recognize the responsibility of governments to develop and implement sound fiscal and monetary policies that provide for the economic life of individuals and corporate entities and that ensure full employment and adequate incomes with a minimum of inflation."
Right off the bat the UMC claims that the government should be responsible for ensuring "adequate incomes." How exactly can the government do this? Wealth redistribution. Taking the property that one earns and giving it to another.
"We support measures that would reduce the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.."
This sounds like something straight out of Marx, and I'm not talking about Groucho. I guess the UMC doesn't realize that the top 1% of income earners pay 40% of the income tax but only earn 20% of the adjusted gross income. Remember this Social Principle. It will come in handy later.
Now, I believe that the protection of private property rights is one of the most important things a government should do. There can be no liberty in a society that does not value private property rights. Unsurprisingly, the UMC sees it differently:
"We believe private ownership of property is a trusteeship under God, both in those societies where it is encouraged and where it is discouraged, but is limited by the overriding needs of society."
And who exactly determines what the needs of society are? Politicians? Church leaders? Me? You? Should the government enforce this?
"We support the right of all public and private employees and employers to organize for collective bargaining into unions and other groups of their own choosing."
Two things to notice about this statement. First, there is no "right" to collectively bargain, especially in the public sector. Second, they mention nothing about the "right" not to be in a union. Right to Work laws anyone?
"Every person has the right to a job at a living wage. Where the private sector cannot or does not provide jobs for all who seek and need them, it is the responsibility of government to provide for the creation of such jobs."
This is such nonsense. Have any of these people ever had an economics lesson? So many things wrong here. First, the "living wage" aka the minimum wage is such a destructive economic policy (which of course means it is favored by liberals.) The minimum wage ensures that people whose skills do not justify being paid whatever the government says they must be remain unemployed. In fact, "Each 10% increase in the minimum wage [since 2007] was accompanied by a decrease in employment of 1.2% for Hispanic males, 2.5% for white males and 6.5% for black males." This policy leads exactly to the next statement about the private sector not being able to provide jobs. The living wage they want causes the problem that they condemn. I wonder if they realize how incoherent this is.
Second, notice how they phrase part of the second sentence: "where the private sector cannot or does not provide jobs.." Is it really the position of the UMC that business owners actually need to hire people but they do not simply as a means to screw people over? These people have no clue how/why jobs are created. I know this might come as a shock to the UMC elites, but here it goes: Businesses have no obligation to hire anyone. Period. Businesses hire people because they need them. Not because some elite do-gooder thinks they should.
Lastly, exactly where is the government going to get the money to pay for all of these jobs that the government "creates?" The only three places where they can get the money: tax, borrow, or print. All three have negative economic outcomes. Haven't we had enough "government created jobs" to know that it never works?
"We call upon governments and all employers to ensure for foreign workers the same economic, educational, and social benefits enjoyed by other citizens."
And of course by "foreign workers" they mean illegal aliens. More on this later.
Promote left-wing causes
After just a quick visit to the UMC homepage, it is obvious that they promote left-wing viewpoints. Consider the following headlines:
Church leaders defend collective bargaining
Clergy fear Alabama [immigration] law imperils ministry
Deportations leave teen alone
Religious tolerance urged in 9/11 discourse
Faithful urged to contact Congress about debt
Here is a quote from Jim Winkler, top executive of the United Methodist Church’s social action agency. "Some people were saying everything needs to be on the table. We said ‘No, that is not the case at all.’ Tax cuts for the wealthy need to be on the table, reduction in bloated military apparatus needs to be on the table, but we don’t need to put programs that assist those in need on the table.”
Why can't the UMC and other churches join together and take care of these people? Why must the government do it?
By the way, Mr. Winkler was arrested for "demonstrating within a U.S. Capitol building."
While I'm on left-wing causes, guess which new movement the UMC apparently supports? Yep. Occupy.
Occupy 'astonishing opportunity for clegy' proclaims a headline of an atilce on the UMC homepage.
Here's a taste of the article:
“Every time I go [to the camps], I come back full. I’m astonished how bright these people are. This is an opportunity to build relationships and open conversations.”- Rev. Rich Lang
"The church has much to offer the Occupy movement," Lang said.
“We have experience, wisdom, a larger perspective of building partnerships and what it means to be a partner,” he said. “We can see certain things. The movement needs clergy to be present for everybody.
The madness doesn't end there.
"...the protests are a statement about the spiritual bankruptcy of materialism as well as a call to transform the world." Is that what Occupy is really about? Really?
"This movement articulates [our call] for a more just society,” said the Rev. Sandy Gess, pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Vacaville, Calif., and a long-time resident of Oakland.
From the aforementioned Jim Winkler, "Though Winkler does not suggest Occupy Wall Street is motivated by Wesleyan teachings, he does find many similarities between the United Methodist Social Principles and the protestors’ grievances..."
“If you read the gospels carefully, you see that Jesus had more to say about money than almost anything else,” he said. “And most of what he said is closer to what the Occupy movement is talking about than to the way we talk about money in most of our churches.”
The delusion continues..
Donning her clerical collar, the Rev. Vicki Flippen, pastor at the Church of the Village United Methodist Church in New York, went to the encampment at Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Plaza by the movement.
“If God is doing something in your backyard, you should go check it out,” she said.
Left-wing causes aren't the only thing that the UMC actively promotes but also left-wing bloggers. The UMC has a link to a Huffington Post (of all places) piece by self-described "progressive Christian" Bruce Reyes-Chow. (You can find the full story here. )
On the homepage, the title of the piece looks like it is "Faith vs Action." However, if you read it on the Huffington Post, it is entitled, "Jesus Christ, Michelle Bachmann and Other Lunatics." Chow says that "Far too often in day-to-day and political conversations, well-meaning people dismiss the arguments of the other by calling their belief system, whatever that may be, radical, fringe or extreme...... When we do this and/or allow it to happen, not only do we fail to see the complexities of the larger Body of Christ, but we advocate a litmus testing of what it means to be a "real" Christian, a tact used often by those with whom I would love to label as "right-wing zealots."
He accuses the "right-wing zealots" of using this tactic when in fact the right suffers from this tactic all the time. Has he never listened to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden or any of the blowhards on BSNBC? Just add racist and terrorist in there and you have all the adjectives the left uses to describe the Tea Party day in and day out. Yet, Chow just calls out the "ring-wing zealots."
Chow goes on, adding, "Locking people into one-dimensional caricatures, liberal or conservative, or vilifying people who hold different beliefs is no more Christlike or faithful if it comes from a friend with whom I find great ideological affinity or from someone that I would rather eat glass than share a meal with." This comes right after he admits that it would "feel really good" to call people he disagrees with "right-wing zealots."
To cap it all off, he closes his piece by vilifying people he disagrees with by saying, "So, if my treatment of and response to Bachman [sic], Perry and all the other fundamentalist, fringe, nut-job, radical politicians out there causes the same words to be spoken my way, I will not feel vindicated or persecuted, but I will know that I have been faithful and I have genuinely tried to see and treat my bother or sister with dignity and care."
Let's not forget that this blog post was linked to from the UMC homepage. Unbelievable.
(On a side note, I noticed that there are several pictures on the UMC website that has been used with permission from Common Cause. Common Cause is a left-wing advocacy group that is funded partly by none other than George Soros. I'm not exactly sure what the connection is between the UMC and Common Cause except that the president of Common Cause, Rev. Bob Edgar, is ...get ready for this...a UMC elder.)
Anyway, back to the subject. The UMC is also very involved with getting youth on board with their leftist dogma. The International Association of Methodist-related Schools, Colleges, & Universities and the National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of The United Methodist Church, held a conference in Washington, D.C., for international students and faculty from 25 different Methodist schools. And what was discussed at this conference you ask? Well, the attendees had the opportunity to attend a program on "social justice." This is, of course, a liberal code word for wealth redistribution. Who would have guessed....
This conference also featured a 1960's Freedom Rider and John Seigenthaler, special assistant to the Kennedy administration, to discuss the civil right's movement. Here is the angle that the UMC took on this: For several Latino students, these presentations hit close to home. Here we go....
"There are a lot of similarities to our struggle as Latinos in the United States talking about discrimination when it comes to immigration issues and race issues in general,” said Jorge Granados, a 24-year-old student at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth."
Are you kidding me? Black Americans were attacked with hoses and dogs. They were abused by their governments. The "Latinos," aka illegal aliens, come here illegally, are given in-state tuition, protected by sanctuary cities, attend school and use every other government service. If these people are so concerned about "immigration issues," why don't they criticize Mexico's immigration policies which are stricter than ours? Or better yet, if they are so oppressed, why not just go back to their home country where they can be free from all of the xenophobes?
As an added bonus, "Seigenthaler compared the 1960s civil rights movement to modern-day struggles like gay rights and Muslim relations. "
Don't practice what they preach
After reading all of the class warfare rhetoric in the Book of Discipline, you would think that the UMC would have the most equitable payment system on earth for pastors, bishops, etc. No one would make more than anyone else. Men and women, whites and minorities would all earn the same salary. You would think that they would be a role model for the type of governmental system they so steadfastly support....
In a report called "Salaries for United Methodist Clergy in the US Context," the UMC's General Board of Higher Education and Ministry studied the salaries of UM clergy from 1997-2008. What did they find? Perfect equality I bet. I mean, they even said in the second sentence of the publication that "they strive to create a culture of equity for all." So how'd they do?
In 2008, the average salary for a full-time pastor not living in a parsonage was $55,000.
"Without taking other factors into account, there are substantial differences between male
and female pastors (13%), and white and non-white pastors (9–15%)."
And what are these "other factors?"
"The gender gap is due largely to differences in seniority between male and female pastors, and can be expected to decrease over time as female pastors gain seniority.
The race gap results from the assignment of non-white pastors to congregations that pay lower salaries."
If we are striving for a culture of equity, why should someone's salary be tied to how long someone has been a pastor? What difference does that make? Why should someone who has been a pastor for 20 years receive more money than a person who has been a pastor for 2 years? This isn't very equitable.
The second factor is a jaw dropper. It appears that the UMC sends non-white pastors to congregations that pay lower salaries. This doesn't seem very equitable either. Minorities should have the same access to high paying congregations as whites. How could the UMC let such an injustice happen?
Imagine if a company did this. Let's suppose that it was leaked to the public that a McDonald's chose a non-white person to manage a store because that store didn't make that much money so the new manager would be paid less. (This is of course assuming that the manager's salary is tied to the dollar amount that the store brings in but you get the point.) How would people react to this? How would the UMC react to this?
Honestly, why would they even have to strive for equity? Just figure out what the total dollar amount that will be paid for salaries, divide by the number of pastors, and bingo! Instant equality!
The fun doesn't end here. Now, let's look at the 50 bishops of the UMC. A bishop is one of the highest positions in the church and is a "general superintendent of the church for a geographical area."
Is their average salary the same as the average salary for pastors? Hardly. The salary for a bishop in 2008 was $120,942. They are also provided with an "episcopal residence." This means that in 2008, 50 people were paid $6,047,100 by the UMC. Hmmm. I seem to recall something about wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few or something like that.
Just think of how many more jobs could be created in the church if the bishops made the same as the average full-time pastor. If my calculations are correct, if bishops made $55,000 a year, the church could pay 60 more people $55,000 a year! Wow! Talk about a job creating machine...
Or if they didn't want to do this, the bishops could give a large majority of their salary to female and minority pastors who do not make as much as their white male counterparts. This would go a long way in creating a culture of equity.
The motto of the United Methodist Church is "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." They should change it to "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors. Open hands of government to take and redistribute other people's wealth to reduce income inequality while we promote income inequality."