Alex Blaze

A real Savior-based economy

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 25, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Media, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Congress, economic policy, illness, Mark Sanford, radio show, recession, sick, south carolina, stimulus, unemployment insurance

South Carolina's governor, Mark Sanford (R), recently rejected stimulus money for his state's unemployment insurance fund. The funds are meant to alleviate the burden of state unemployment funds (since most states can't deficit spend), increase the amount of free money in the hands of people who will spend it and in turn increase demand and stimulate the economy, and alleviate the suffering of people who are taking the shortest end of the stick in this recession.

Well, someone in his state doesn't like the fact that the governor rejected money meant for him (to me, there's nothing altruistic about rejecting a gift, grant, or charity meant for someone else... in fact, it's rather dickish), and called him up when he was on a radio show and told him that he needed that help.

The governor reacted by saying that he'll pray for this man.

Text and more after the jump.

On C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning, Sanford received a call from a Charleston resident who said he lost his job because he has been taking care of mother and sister, both of whom have serious illnesses. The caller told Sanford he is "wrong" to decline the money. "A lot of people in South Carolina are hurting. And if this money can come and help us out we need it." In response, Sanford could offer him only his prayers:

CALLER: I hope you all are not playing politics with this. People in South Carolina are hurting. You know how unemployment rates are high right now and going up higher. We are running out of money in the unemployment bank -- we need money for that, the people that need help. And I'm one of them, I can't get no help. [...]

SANFORD: Well I'd say hello to Charleston because its home and I'd say hello to this fellow this morning and say that my prayers are going to be with him and his family because it sounds like he is in an awfully tough spot.

It's pretty bizarre, when you really think about it, that free-market fetishists and Christian fundamentalists allied for so long in the Republican Party. The ideal of the free market is no rules, which comes from their inability to see any value other than greed as worthy of being pursued by the government, or people at all. This would seem to be at odds with Christianity, which is laced with universal statements of value and morality. Other than the fact that both ideologies stem from a dogmatic, fundamentalist mentality (I'm referring to the Religious Right here, not Christians in general), there isn't much they have in common. And yet they've worked together in the GOP and continue to work together.

But this video makes one of the reasons all too clear - they know that free market absolutism means that lots and lots of people are going to suffer. And so they can just try to distract and rub away the suffering with Christianity, a cold, self-serving reading of Christianity that says that people who are poor deserve to be poor and that prayer will solve people's problems. If it doesn't, it means that you're just not praying hard enough.

As a sidenote, the unemployment insurance dollars that the governor rejected are by far one of the most stimulative provisions in Obama's economic recovery plan, far more stimulative than any tax cut:


It sure seems like Sanford is putting ideology ahead of the good of the people. Either that or he really just hates poor folks who have to take time off work to care for their sick mothers and sisters.

(The title comes from Sanford's statement earlier last week that we shouldn't move to a savior-based economy, which for him meant that people get helped by the government when times are tough. But it sure seems like he's counting on a different savior.)

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I think you hit the nail on the head by talking about self-serving readings of Christianity. The removal of the hear and now from theologies of salvation are pretty convenient for a politics that seeks impunity for ignoring the plight of others. Somehow I don't think scripture that assures that what you do to the least of these you do unto the father glorifies telling a drowning man you'll pray for him while using the life ring as a cocktail table.

Haha. That's a great way to put it. I'm going to have to remember that.

And I wouldn't put it past some of these folks to literally use someone's life ring as a cocktail table. I mean, this governor is using someone's else's unemployment insurance as a political pawn to advance his career in the GOP....

I hope the people of SC remember what he did here the next election.

I used to think living in John Boehner's district in Ohio was bad...but now I get to listen to THIS clown (Sanford) along with Joe Wilson, Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham. I don't know what's worse...that these clowns can't see whats right in front of their eyes (unemployment, poor health care,an education system ranked 49th out of 50) or that the people of South Carolina keep putting these guys back in office. Wait...why am I living here again???

Wow. The Guv's partisan politics vs this guys home, food and ability to take care of his ill relatives.

Yeah, when the good Guv is praying for him, I doubt God's going to feel generous to the Guv. Instead I imagine Her saying, "Then take the damn money I sent your way you freakin' idiot!"

Haha! I didn't think of it that way. God'll be all like, "I got the stimulus bill through the House and the Senate, and this jerk rejects it? Now he wants my help? You've gotta be kidding!"