Iowa Presidential Watch
Holding the Democrats accountable


June 30, 2006  


J U S T   P O L I T I C S


Dean’s Christianity

Editorial by: Roger Wm. Hughes

Reports have come in on Howard Dean’s recent outreach to the Christian community. Randy Hall reported in about Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's address at a religious conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. Besides his divination that we are about to relive the 60’s, he also showed his deep commitment to Marxist Liberation Theology.

Dean said, "…[W]e need to come together around moral principles, and I'm talking about moral principles like making sure no child goes to bed hungry at night."

"I'm talking about moral principles like making sure everybody in America has health insurance just like 36 other countries in the world," he added. "This is a moral nation, and we want it to be a moral nation again."

Liberation Theology originated in Latin America amidst the Catholic community there. It was inserted at the end of the Second Vatican as the publication in Humanism and Social Issues. “Anthology of Essays. M. Hillar and H.R. Leuchtag, eds., American Humanist Association, Houston, 1993, pp. 35-52.” offers this citation:

"Authentic socialism is Christianity lived to the full, in basic equality and with a fair distribution of goods" (7). Father Camilo Torres exemplifies this new attitude. He realized the need for a United Front linking together peasants, workers, slum dwellers, and professionals for basic changes. He expressed the need of revolution for implementing the fundamental changes in the economic, social and political structures. The essence of revolution was the removal of power from the privileged to the poor majorities. Revolution could be peaceful if the privileged elites did not put up a violent resistance, and the Christians should become involved.

There is no doubt that Dean was delivering the message of a 60’ song, “Everybody come together over me.” He stated to the conference, "…everybody's in it together. We know that no one person can succeed unless everybody else succeeds."

The fallacy of that statement seems obvious on the face of it. However, frequently it is necessary to point out where the fallacy begins. Dean’s Liberation Theology begins with the false base premise that a Christian Society is a 'just' society. In fact, Christianity begins with the base premise that evil exists and therefore a just and fair society is impossible.

Yet there arises the question of how Christianity allowed this false premise into modern theological thinking and the Second Vatican. Not to mention, most mainline Protestant Christian denominations have also inculcated this theology as well.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger offered “Preliminary Notes” on Liberation Theology that preceded the Instruction of Fall 1984. In these “Preliminary Notes,” the now Bishop of Rome made careful mention of Rudolph Bultman:

Another key word made Bultmann important for future developments. He had reinstated the old concept "hermeneutics" and given it a new thrust. The word hermeneutics expresses the insight that a real understanding of historical texts does not come about by mere historical interpretation and, indeed, that every historical interpretation already includes certain prior decisions. Once the historical material has been established, it is the task of hermeneutics to "actualize" Scripture. In classical terminology, it is to "dissolve the horizon" between then and now. It asks the question: what significance have these past events for today? Bultmann himself had answered this question with the help of Heidegger's philosophy and had interpreted the Bible in a correspondingly existentialist manner. This answer attracted no interest then, nor does it now; to that extent Bultmann has been superseded in the exegesis currently acceptable. Yet what has remained is the abstraction of the figure of Jesus from the classical tradition as well as the idea that, using a new hermeneutics, we can and must bring this figure into the present in a new way.

At this point we come to the second element of our situation to which we have already referred: the new philosophical climate of the late sixties. In the meantime the marxist analysis of history and society was largely accepted as the only "scientific" one. This means that the world must be interpreted in terms of the class struggle and that the only choice is between capitalism and marxism. It also means that all reality is political and has to justify itself politically. The biblical concept of the 'poor" provides a starting point for fusing the Bible's view of history with marxist dialectic; it is interpreted by the idea of the proletariat in the marxist sense and thus justifies marxism as the legitimate hermeneutics for understanding the Bible.

Dean in his prophetic hope that America is returning to the 60’s is hoping for a time when humanity, in  Ratzinger’s words, “…by giving life to those who are crucified in history. Man has taken over God's gesture — this manifests the whole transformation of the biblical message in an almost tragic way, when one thinks how this attempted imitation of God has worked out in practice and continues to do so.”

Even Dean acknowledges in his speech to the Christian conference the tragic way that this Christian theology has existentially manifested itself in the most powerful and rich nation in the world:

Later in his speech Tuesday, Dean appeared to backtrack. "I'm not asking to go back to the '60s; we made some mistakes in the '60s," he said. "If you look at how we did public housing, we essentially created ghettoes for poor people" instead of using today's method of mixed-income housing.

Another mistake Democrats made in the '60s, Dean acknowledged, was that "we did give things away for free, and that's a huge mistake because that does create a culture of dependence, and that's not good for anybody, either," he noted, a reference to the Great Society welfare programs created by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in the mid-1960s.

Even though Dean is ready to admit the errors of his party’s planks he is not ready to admit the errors of his party’s theology and philosophy:

"Those mistakes were not the downfall of our program," Dean added. "They helped a lot more people than they hurt. But we can do better, and we will do better and our time is coming."

The Democrat Party cannot seem to get past the error of the First Commandment. They view themselves as the Benevolent All Knowing who will make the world better for all if they can just steal enough money (taxes) from everyone else.

They do not understand that the “Fatal Conceit” of Socialism is that no one person or any group of people can ever know enough to create an economic political system (socialism) greater or better than the free and open market system. They also fail to understand that at the root of every socialist system is a totalitarian society as F. A. Hayek so adequately stated and reasoned.

The Democrat Party is still stuck on one of the two greatly dispelled myths of the Twentieth Century. The first myth was that race matters. The second myth was that money matters.

With the collapse of the Marxists state of the Soviet Socialist Republic and Bill Clinton pronouncing that we are going to end Welfare as we know it, we have living proof that the concept of redistribution of wealth does not matter. Any society that seeks to redistribute wealth on the pretext that it will in some way recreate Heaven on Earth are not following Christ’s teachings nor sound existential policy.

To use Rudolph Bultman’s own words,  “…Until one has appropriated the grace of God manifested in Christ’s work, he is "alienated from his own true nature, alienated from life, enslaved under hostile powers and in bondage to death."

Until Howard Dean and the Humanists and professing Christians of the theological basis of Liberation Theology become liberated from their enslavement to Marxists philosophy, they are on a doomed path.


-- Roger Hughes is chairman of Iowa Presidential Watch PAC







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