Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Tough Question

I've not posted a reply on Dallas Morning News Texas Faith Forum for a few weeks. No problem in particular, just been busy and forgetful. This week's question has to d0 with whether or not we are our brother's keeper, in line with Genesis 4:9 and in light of the Obama administration's plan to help bail out people behind in their mortgages (a gross overstatement and oversimplification of the plan, as I understand it).

That's not an easy question to answer. On one hand the answer is a resounding 'Yes'. Especially when it comes to certain individual applications and to our response to people who are truly vulnerable. But as a collective, as a society, what obligation do we have to people whom we believe were either greedy or just plain gullible? Are we to simply let them 'stew in their own juices'? 'Lie in the bed they've made'? Is it easy to discern between those who were taken advantage of by unscrupulous lenders and brokers, and those who knew what they were doing, but thought that they had the business acumen to make astute decisions before it was too late?

I'll try how to 'officially' answer the question by Monday, but for now, let me say this: if it is true that the web of our economy is as intertwined as some experts say it is, being one's brothers keeper is not a matter of principle - and maybe not even a matter of faith - it may be a matter of self-defense!

If enough of our brothers (and sisters), don't have 'keepers', we all my find ourselves in circumstances nearly as, or just as dire and undesirable.

Dr. Martin E. Marty says, "...since the morality in question and prudence of pragmatism can be webbed, so it's time to note that in this case being generous through governmental social policy -- ouch! even when we weren't asked -- can leave the nation better off than if foreclosures, unemployment, stock losses, and setbacks occur only to people who were foolish. The economy is worse off than if we can figure out ways to use intelligence and vision and even a warm heart in efforts to keep citizens fiscally afloat and alive. The price of many going down can be that every one goes down. But as we sink, some will find pleasure in indiscriminately judging all whose investments went sour to be cheaters."

If those of us who through whatever means, escaped the fate of some of those whose home values have eroded because of bad choices or corruption, can step back from our self congratulation, maybe we could ask ourselves, "What would I want done for me, if I were in that situation?"

It has to do with another verse in the Bible, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

1 comment:

courtney said...

This is a problem I come back to again and again. And I always end with the same thought. We have to pick a side to err on. Either we help everyone (or provide help with few restrictions) and know that some people will take advantage; or we help no one (or provide help with many restrictions) and know that some people who need and deserve help will go without it.

I am not confident enough in my ability to determine who "deserves" help to place many restrictions myself. I'd rather get scammed sometimes than leave out someone truly deserving. Just my two cents.