Re: Fwd: [asa] Creation Care Magazine

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue Jan 22 2008 - 19:49:02 EST

On Jan 22, 2008 12:00 PM, David Opderbeck <> wrote:

> I argue that, contra *Lochner*, these limitations can include
> democratically enacted economic regulation -- e.g., labor and
> environmental laws.

Or civil rights laws. Here the employer must make reasonable accommodation
of the Sabbath observance of their employees. This is also the case where
some Christians go through moral gymnastics to get around this. A member of
my previous church was brought in as a manager of a Christian book store.
This store moved into a mall. The mall threatened to fine the store $500 per
Sunday that they were closed. (Since this was a small business it didn't
have the clout of a Chick Fil a.) The owner who was a charismatic got a
"message from the Lord" that he should be open on Sundays. The manager went
round and round before he was able to not work on Sundays. Other employees
were not given this "generous" of an option. Eventually he moved on and
went to other employment. Following Janice's logic, it was within the
employer's right to use his "resources" as he sees fit and the government
shouldn't interfere. On the other hand, the mean old secular government
said, no, there are limitations on what you can do. So, I ask who was being
more Biblical, the Christian bookseller or the secular government?

In my mind, Scripture is clear that the resources whether they be human,
animal, or environment are to be allowed a rest. It is also clear that a
legitimate goal of a civil government is protect the abuse of "resources" by
the strong against the weak. This is one of the reasons why corruption is so
roundly condemned in Scripture. Many businesses look at bribery as just
another expense, but it corrupts justice and the government is failing to do
its protective duty. Even a cursory reading of the prophets show how dimly
God looks at this situation.

Within the context of environmental protection -- and as we have discussed
extensively in the past -- the role government can play falls
waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay short. The public policy options of Pigovian taxes or
cap and trade are not sufficient to cover the necessary amount of mitigation
nor do they cover adaptation costs of unavoidable climate change. This means
there needs to be another institution that God has set up, the Church, to
address the issue. What I am thinking here is voluntary aid for the
adaptation costs of the poor. As Christians we need to go above and beyond
what the government might mandate. But as long as there is a significant
climate denialism that hardens the hearts of people, it will be far more
difficult for a dialog between Christians to do the necessary pricking of
the conscience. If it is necessary for the government to force me to help
the poor the emotion I feel ought to be contrition, and not anger. If, for
example, the welfare state angers you, ask the question where was the
Church -- as Marvin Olasky chronicled -- as it was involved in the 19th
Century? In my opinion, the Compassionate C onservatism that Olasky
championed died on 9/11/2001. That being said, the next generation of this
is very much alive and we are starting to see it grow not only in the area
of climate change but other areas, also.

Rich Blinne (Member ASA)

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Received on Tue Jan 22 19:50:17 2008

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