I’m often asked by visitors to WND why I publish the views of commentators with whom I disagree.
My standard reply is that if I limited the commentary section to the views of only those with whom I agree, I would be the only regular columnist.
One of my goals as the founder of WND was to provide the broadest spectrum of political commentary to be found anywhere on planet Earth. And I think we’ve accomplished that for the last 15 years.
Find any other newspaper or Internet news source that offers uninhibited, unrestricted, uncensored commentary from personalities as politically and philosophically diverse as Bill Press and Alan Keyes.
Find any other newspaper or Internet news source that offers uninhibited, unrestricted, uncensored commentary from personalities as politically and philosophically diverse as Ellen Ratner and Pat Buchanan.
You won’t find it anywhere.
And to prove I’m the most tolerant publisher in the world, let me take it a step further. How many people in my position would continue to pay for and publish the views of a columnist who labeled the boss “a phony Christian,” a “swine” and a “publicity whore”?
I did that. Do you know anyone else who has?
I might not just be the most tolerant publisher in the world, I may also be the most tolerant person in the world. But I’ll leave that to others to judge.
I provide all this background to address the views of one of the aforementioned WND commentators – Bill Press.
Now, I like Bill Press. I think he’s a nice fellow – personally. But his views are abhorrent – despicable, repulsive, loathsome, revolting and sometimes, as in a recent case, laughably deceitful. I say all this with the deepest personal respect, of course. And please note that I am not calling Bill Press names. I’m rejecting and repudiating his views.
What’s the piece that has me so exercised?
Here’s the part that really stuck in my craw: “Republican opposition to food stamps is so mean-spirited, it’s difficult to comprehend. In many ways, the program works the way government benefits should. When the economy goes south, the number of people on food stamps increases; when the economy improves, the number goes down. And we’re not talking a lot of money. On average, a person on food stamps received $133.41 per month in 2012. Assuming three meals a day, that’s less than $1.50 per meal, per person, not exactly living high on the hog. It’s also hard to understand how Republicans can oppose food stamps and yet still call themselves Christians.” (Emphasis added.)
It’s rare to find so much misinformation packed into one short paragraph.
(And this is why so many question my decision to publish such drivel. Yet, I believe it is instructive to listen to and respond to the views of those with whom we disagree. It’s the basis of a civil and free society.)
I only wish Republicans opposed food stamps. They don’t. But I do – and I do so based on my very strong Christian worldview. I won’t even deal with the rest of the inaccurate and untruthful and highly judgmental and intolerant assumptions my friend Bill Press includes in his screed. I’m just going to focus on his smears against people who maintain a biblical view of the world and believe God is the author of life and the essence of truth and justice.
Do I believe we should help out neighbors in need? Of course. The Bible commands us to do that.
Do I believe that God suggests we should delegate our responsibility to do this to government? Emphatically no.
Is there any evidence in the scriptures or the words of Jesus that imply or hint that we should approve of government wealth-redistribution programs that create dependency and foster cycles of long-term poverty in the less fortunate? Emphatically no.
Let’s examine some scripture beginning with the one Press cited – Matthew 25. He quotes one verse, 42, apparently overlooking the context of the entire chapter.
This is a chapter that makes my point: It includes a parable that shows how God reveres individual initiative and what we call today “private enterprise.” I could cite many others, but I will limit myself to the one chapter misused and misinterpreted by Press.
Look at verses 14-30:
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
That might strike Press as a pretty tough judgment for a guy who simply didn’t follow his boss’ instructions and bring him a return on his investment – being cast into outer darkness! Maybe he missed that part of the chapter.
Meanwhile, those who put their boss’ money to work and brought him a profit were rewarded.
As to clothing the naked and feeding the hungry, that’s clearly an individual responsibility, not a collective one – and certainly not one that is fulfilled through government coercion.
By the way, is Press suggesting that church and state are inextricably linked now and that we should use the government to impose his religious views on others? Hhhhmmm. This might be a first.
Believers serve a big God – one bigger than phony government “largesse” and “compassion.”
Bill Press ought to know better.
But I’m still happy to offer him his space each week in WND – if for no other reasons than to dare us to think and, also, to demonstrate just how tolerant I truly am.