Sunday 1st February 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Who Is Acting More Christ-Like… The Koch Brothers Or Hillary Clinton?

July 14, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

Whom would Jesus call upon us to emulate in economic matters? Hillary Clinton or the Koch brothers? I am not sure. Speaking for our Lord is beyond my pay grade. But I insist that Hillary is not the self-evident answer, even though liberal Democrats regularly argue that support for the big government programs aimed at “social justice” that Hillary favors are the correct application of Jesus’ call for us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
(For those who don’t pay attention to the press releases of the modern American left, the Koch — pronounced “Coke” — brothers are Kansas entrepreneurs regularly denounced by liberal Democrats for their role in promoting conservative, free-market principles, and the politicians who back policies based upon them.)
The liberal Democrats I have in mind are not the people you would find on the editorial boards of publications such as Commonweal and America. The editors of those publications are too sophisticated and politically savvy for such simplifications. They know that the social encyclicals make clear that the Church does not require us to support any particular political solution to economic injustice, leaving the nuts and bolts of economic policy to our prudential judgment. I would argue, however, that these magazines are edited to lead their readers to the conclusion that a Christian response to the economic dislocations of our time require big government activism without actually saying it in specific language.
But we can leave America and Commonweal out of the discussion for the purposes of this article. There are Catholics on the left who do not beat around the bush in this matter, people who agree with Cesar Chavez, when he told Tim Padgett, an editor at WLRN, the National Public Radio outlet in Miami, as reported by Padgett in the June 23 issue of America, “If you really look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ, who I think was the first socialist, only socialism can really create a genuine society.”
Charles J. Reid, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, writing on the Huffington Post on June 27, is a case in point. He calls the “nuns on the bus,” the left-wing activists who can be counted on to back the wealth redistribution promoted by the Democratic Party, “the most visible and vibrant voice of socially responsible Catholicism active in the world today.” Why does he say that? Because they have “begun a campaign to raise the minimum wage,” and support Obama’s Affordable Care Act and call for “adequate food and shelter and health care” for the immigrants pouring across the Rio Grande in recent weeks. “Jesus would expect no less,” writes Reid.
Reid does not mention Hillary Clinton and the Koch brothers in his column, but when says “Jesus would expect no less” of us, he means that Catholics have a moral obligation to reject the Koch brothers’ free-market views, in favor of those of liberal Democrats, such as Hillary. Which is hogwash. We have no way of knowing the state of the Koch brothers’ consciences. But I would argue that a strong case can be made that they are acting exactly as Jesus would want businessmen to act. They make enormous profits with their various enterprises, but Jesus used the Parable of the Talents to commend such entrepreneurship.
You will remember the parable, where a master, before departing on a long journey, gives three of his servants a portion of his money to manage. When he returns, he commends the two stewards who grew his wealth. “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” But he condemns the servant who let the money sit unused, returning to the master only the amount originally given to him, calling him a “wicked and lazy servant!” (Matt. 25:21).
To be sure, the parable refers to how Jesus expects us to cultivate and expand our spiritual gifts, not our bank accounts. But it would be a stretch to hold that Jesus would have made no mention of the dangers of being a conscientious businessman and entrepreneur in making His larger point, if He had thought that was the case. There is not a hint in the parable that Jesus thinks business acumen and wise financial planning are intrinsically evil. There is no reason to think that Jesus does not accept that a businessman can be both worldly wise and virtuous, both frugal and concerned for the least of his brethren.
And the Koch brothers appear to be precisely that. Hillary Clinton tells us she has accumulated her great wealth by “dint of hard work.” OK. But the “hard work” has been making speeches and cultivating the political connections she made while her husband was president and she was on the public payroll as U.S. senator from New York and U.S. secretary of state. The Koch brothers’ fortune is greater than hers. But they built businesses, and created approximately 100,000 jobs. Hillary has done nothing comparable.
I have not seen Hillary’s tax returns, but I’ll bet anyone from James Carville to the talking heads on MSNBC that her charitable giving does not come close to the Koch brothers’ giving. The Charles Koch Foundation supports university research programs, with grants of over $100 million to Brown, the University of Wisconsin, Vassar, and some 245 other colleges. David Koch has donated $506 million in medical philanthropy, including $100 million to cancer research at MIT. The Kochs also support the arts, with $15 million going to the Smithsonian Institute, $35 million to the American Museum of Natural History, and $100 million to Manhattan’s Lincoln Center, home of the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera. This list only scratches the surface.
Fair enough: Hillary Clinton cannot be expected to match this charitable giving. She has spent almost all of her adult life working for the government. And there is nothing wrong with a life devoted to government service. It is not only the Clintons who have done that. So do FBI agents and career military officers. Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur come to mind.
Our obligation is to bloom where we are planted. It can be argued that Hillary has done that. But so have the Koch brothers. They were wise and faithful stewards. They built a fortune, and then gave generously from that fortune to help the needy and advance good causes. I repeat: It is not my point that they have been better Christians than Hillary Clinton. Only the Lord can know if that is the case. But only someone with an ideological axe to grind against the free-market system would deny — absent some information of which we are unaware — that a case can be made that they have behaved precisely as Jesus would instruct men and women in their state of life to behave.
One other thing: Jesus would not be fooled by the public protestations of piety and concern for the downtrodden made by Washington wheelers and dealers who spend their lives behind closed doors doing favors for wealthy political donors, from whom they expect favors in return, often in the form of extravagant and economically unjustifiable speakers’ fees, book contracts, and jobs for less than accomplished relatives on the make.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

New Congressional Bill Declares Homosexual Love as a Basic Human Right

U.S. lawmakers in both houses of Congress introduced on Thursday a bill to protect and promote the rights of the international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The International Human Rights Defense Act, spearheaded by Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and…Continue Reading

STUDENTS AT CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OFFERED CREDIT THROUGH INTERNSHIP AT NOW

SAINT PAUL, MN. – Administrators at the University of St. Thomas, a private Catholic liberal arts school, are standing firm behind their controversial decision to allow students to gain academic credit by interning at the Minnesota-based NOW chapter. Doug Hennes,…Continue Reading

S.F. Catholic Church priest bans girls as altar servers

A Catholic priest, new to San Francisco and no stranger to controversy, has banned girls from acting as altar servers at Mass, a decision that sets his parish apart from all others in the archdiocese. The Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor…Continue Reading

Notre Dame theologian known for books, liberal stands, dies

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The Rev. Richard McBrien, a University of Notre Dame theologian known for his unabashed liberal stands on various church teachings and his popular books on Catholicism, died Sunday in his native Connecticut, according to the…Continue Reading

Bankruptcy case brings financial fears for Catholic schools

As president of an inner-city Catholic grade school that depends critically on donations, Helen Dahlman admits to an unconventional fundraising strategy. “We believe in miracles, so we pray a lot,” said Dahlman, who leads Risen Christ School in south Minneapolis,…Continue Reading

Cardinal: No pro-life victory without reaching the marginalized

Washington D.C., Jan 22, 2015 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For the pro-life movement to truly succeed, it must fight not only abortion, but also the broader “throwaway culture” wherever life is being discarded, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston…Continue Reading

70 Churches Destroyed in ‘Anti-Charlie Hebdo’ Protests

The Christian community in Niger says it is in shock in the wake of weekend violence that has claimed the lives of 10 people and led to the destruction of dozens of places of worship and Christian homes. The protest,…Continue Reading

ITALY: Muslims smash, urinate on statue of Mary

A man was kneeling in prayer before the statue of the revered Madonna, with the photograph of a loved one in hand, in the small chapel of St. Barnabas in Perugia (Italy), when he was attacked by five “immigrants.” The…Continue Reading

At new in-flight press conference Francis says good Catholics are not required ‘to be like rabbits’

Catholics fail to practise “responsible parenthood” when they have too many children, Pope Francis has said during an in-flight press conference on the way home from Manila. He also denounced the teaching of “gender theory” in schools, likening it to…Continue Reading

CRUX’s “spirituality columnist” is “devastated” the Pope upholds Catholic teaching

Margery Eagan appears to be angling for a job as editor of National “Catholic” Reporter. Or perhaps spokesman for the LCWR: The news that Pope Francis has strongly defended the Church’s ban on artificial birth control left me, in a word, devastated. Goodness. Even…Continue Reading

St. Paul-Mpls. archdiocese declares bankruptcy in response to abuse lawsuits

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday, saying it cannot meet its financial obligations from an unprecedented wave of clergy sex abuse lawsuits. The move freezes lawsuits against the church, protecting the archdiocese…Continue Reading

Pope Francis strongly defends church teaching against contraception

Pope Francis issued his strongest defense yet of church teaching opposing artificial contraception on Friday, using a rally in Asia’s largest Catholic nation to urge families to be “sanctuaries of respect for life.” Francis also denounced the corruption that has plagued…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: cultivate and preserve Mother Earth

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday received members of  Italy’s National Federation of Farmers, who are this year celebrating the 70th anniversary of their foundation. Pope Francis told the farmers present in the Clementine Hall  that there is no humanity without the cultivation of the earth, as there is also no life without good food that is produced for men and…Continue Reading

Pope: No To Ecclesial Elites Who Privatize The Faith

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis says ecclesial elites who form cliques and scorn others are privatizing the faith and not following the way of Jesus.  His words came during his homily at morning Mass on Thursday (29th January) celebrated in the Santa Marta residence. The Pope’s homily was a reflection on the need for Christians to follow Jesus in the way…Continue Reading

Pope tells Dads to spend time with their children

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called on fathers to be present in the lives of their children pointing out that the absence of a ‘father figure’ can have grave consequences. Speaking on Wednesday during the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued in his catechesis on the family, choosing to focus on the dignity and role of fathers. He said that teaching…Continue Reading

General Audience: Pope Focuses On Role Of Father In Family Life

pope7115

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called on fathers to be present in the lives of their children pointing out that the absence of a ‘father figure’ can have grave consequences. Speaking on Wednesday during the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued in his catechesis on the family, choosing to focus on the dignity and role of fathers. He said that teaching…Continue Reading

The Danger Of An Open Mind

By DONALD DeMARCO Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most eccentric philosophers of the modern world, in a field that has more than its share of eccentrics, argued, to the consternation of Bertrand Russell, that it could not be proven that there was not a rhinoceros in the room. Russell thought his young associate in logic…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Hitler And Physics

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Ball, Philip. Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics Under Hitler. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2014. Pp ix +303. Available on amazon.com. With access to reams of correspondence, other archival material, and public records, Philip Ball provides a valuable account of how German scientists related to the Third…Continue Reading

Complementarity As Hendiadys

By DONALD DeMARCO Hendiadys is a figure of speech in which two words are used to intensify the meaning of one thing. It is an ingenious form of cognitive amplification. As a Greek word, hendiadys means “one through two” (hen-dia-dys). Short and sweet are two words that, when in tandem, give added strength and clarity…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary . . . Pontmain Apparition, France, January 1871

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY The Franco-Prussian War, which began in 1870, was the backdrop to this silent apparition of Our Lady at Pontmain in northwestern France. By January 1871, the country was in a very serious position militarily, with the Prussians controlling two-thirds of the country and Paris besieged. It seemed to be only a…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Should Catholic Hospitals Use The Morning-After Pill For Rape Victims?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For a compact disc with more than 320 patient information pamphlets for all of the different types of abortifacients, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Even with all of the different contraceptives and abortifacients…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity… The “Other Mary” And St. Joseph’s “Other Children”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 7 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joseph, Jude, and Simon? And are not also his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3). So, after all, Jesus appears to have had four brothers, named James, Joseph, Jude, and Simon, as well as…Continue Reading

The Creeds

By DON FIER In last week’s column, we laid the groundwork to begin an in-depth exposition of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that we, as Catholic Christians, are called to believe: the one, true faith we profess in the Creeds of the Church. For it is in the formulas of the Creeds that, “through the centuries,…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: From time to time, readers want to know how to respond to the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura (“Scripture alone”). This is the notion that the Bible alone is the only authority on matters of faith and practice; if it’s not in the Bible, the theory goes, it isn’t true. This theory rejects Catholic belief in an infallible…Continue Reading

The Path To Joy And Fulfillment

By Fr. ROBERT ALTIER Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Job 7:1-4, 6-7 1 Cor. 9:16-19; 22-23 Mark 1:29-39 When I looked at the first reading today, I was tempted to check the source and make sure that this was really from 3,500 years ago and not from last week. We hear Job whining and complaining about his…Continue Reading

Pope’s Address At Meeting Of Families In Manila… Set Out On The Path The Lord Sets For Each Of You

MANILA (ZENIT) — Here is a translation of the Holy Father’s January 16 address at a Meeting With Families at the “Mall of Asia Arena” in Manila. In his text, Pope Francis praised the courage of Pope Paul VI in writing Humanae Vitae. ZENIT News Agency provided the text; all rights reserved. + + + The angel of the Lord…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Mutien Marie Wiaux

By CAROLE BRESLIN A few decades ago, when Catholic schools taught religion from the Baltimore Catechism, one of the first questions children learned was, “Why did God make you?” The answer was, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.” The Catechism…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds our finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading