Why I’m Giving Up My American Citizenship

This might have been a better post for the Fourth of July, but most readers were probably out watching the fireworks and wouldn’t have seen it. So perhaps it is better to write it and post it today.

Yes, it’s true. Soon I will no longer be an American citizen.  Don’t worry, I won’t be a British citizen either. I’m giving up both citizenships. But then again, so are you. Whichever one you have. The reason is very simple. I’ll be dead and so will you. Heaven doesn’t take passports. Hell doesn’t either for that matter. (And if you are one of my atheist friends who doesn’t believe in either and thinks you will just cease to exist, annihilation brings loss of citizenship, too. But I’m going to continue in a Christian perspective…)

I say soon, because this life is but a moment, whether you live one year or one hundred. Kerry Livgren described us as dust in the wind. Moses, in Psalm 90, says were are like grass that grows up in the morning and in the evening whithers away.

Even in that moment, it will have mattered very little. If there was pride to be had in American citizenship, I think I could have it. I could sound like St Paul in Philippians 3:5 describing his Jewishness. I am of the stock of the United States, of the state of Texas, an American of the Americans; concerning the law a Strict Constructionist; concerning zeal, persecuting the liberals; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, a law-abiding citizen. I can trace my lineage in North America to before the American Revolution several times over.

If God has so chosen, I may be an American for another 46 years, maybe even a bit longer. I’m going to be stateless for eternity. In between is the Judgement Seat of Christ. As far as I know, the relative zeal of my flag waving will not be mentioned. My committment to national sovereignty probably won’t be challenged. There may not even be a query about whether I supported and defended the Constitution. Now I don’t know all the questions that Jesus is going to ask me or you, so you may dismiss this as pure speculation. However, I believe there is a practice exam with the correct answers in Matthew 25.

For as long as I’m an American and living inside the United States, I will participate in civic activities, including voting in elections for those candidates I think will best preserve the good things about the United States for future generations of blown dust and whithering grass. After all, living in the US provides one of the best opportunities for a life of relative ease and safety and modern conveniences. And liberty and justice for all, of course.

Now as I understand it, this life of relative ease and safety and modern convenience is a scare commodity and can’t be spread too thin, or people start to suffer. Well, not suffer, exactly, but their quantum of relative ease and modern convenience could be marginally reduced. Therefore if anyone is going to be allowed come along and enjoy it (along with that liberty and justice for all, of course), they need to prove that they will be net contributors, and we’ve set up rules to make sure that’s the case.

People who arrive with needs will only be a drain on the whole system of relative ease and modern convenience (though not necessarily on liberty and justice for all, but that’s secondary, really). So as it has been explained to me by those with minds greater and sharper than my own, it is my civic duty to keep them out. An example of drain is having to print things in other languages. (I’m guessing this causes massive demands on both the ink and paper industries, with a domino effect on the rest of the economy.) A country needs to have everyone speak and write one language. Otherwise we end up like Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and the UK. Where would we be then? Even if some people get in who have needs, but I’m sure Jesus is going to understand if we insisted that they learn English first.

Real Americans don’t like socialism. Except for Social Security. Even the most conservative Republicans will not touch the socialist/ponzi scheme that is Social Security. It is possible that those who come here to drain the system will end up getting a Social Security number, working forty quarters, paying in, and drawing benefits. Benefits that are for American citizens who worked forty quarters and paid in. There’s no actual legislation pending that would give the drainers a chance to do this, but all good Americans are upset that it could happen, and I’m sure Jesus understands that.

Social Security is one thing, but health care is another. While we tolerate providing minimal health care to the poorest of the poor, people who arrive with needs have been known to receive health care this way. Once again, they are putting a drain on the relative ease of those born here or invited here because they are net contributors.  Jesus understands this.

I hope so, because after I give up my American citizenship, I will have to answer for how I used it. No, there won’t be questions on the flag, sovereignty and the Constitution, but there is an awful lot covered on that practice exam in Matthew 25.

In sermons, my father often quotes a couplet from his childhood for which the source is unknown, but the sentiment entirely biblical:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last

What’s done for Christ?

Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.

Standing before Christ, it may be possible to plead that while being personally supportive of those in need, volunteering at the soup kitchen, putting change in the poor box at church, and sending a check to the charity of your choice (those people who look after other people for a living so as not to interfere with your relative ease and convenience), as a voting member of the State, your civic duty was to look after the relative ease and modern convenience of your former fellow citizens and keep others away from liberty and justice for all, at the point of a gun or the barbed wire of a fence if necessary.

You go ahead and try that approach. I’ll have enough on my plate that I won’t have a chance to look over, give you that Sarah Palin wink and say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

Closing the Gap: Commandment Breakers on the Christian Left

I received my usual email bulletin from a UK based left-leaning Christian think-tank and once again I see that they are concerned with the gap between the rich and the poor, this time as exacerbated by the worldwide recession. Closing the gap is one of the mantras of the Left, whether their economics is cloaked with Christian buzz words and bad theology or not.

Why are we supposed to close this gap? Jesus said, “you have the poor with you always.” The story of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 makes it clear that it is imperative for us to care for the poor and it is an indication of our eternal destination. That’s pretty serious business. The Holy Scriptures are replete with the words spoken through the prophets concerning God’s concern about our care of the poor.

However, it does not necessarily follow that the poor are better off by making the rich less well off. This is simply bad economics. It assumes that there is a fixed pie of world-wide wealth and it can only be sliced so many ways. According to this model, if some people get big pieces then other people are forced to have small pieces, even to the point that if some people get huge pieces, then some will be left with none.

It is not surprising that some politicians fall into this fallacy, because they confuse “wealth” with “government budget”. It is true that the government should only have a fixed amount of money to divvy up. After all, they have to get it from those who have created it. This confuses a lot of politicians, too. They have somehow gotten the idea that they are, or should be, or even can be, wealth creators. Once again, this comes from the inability to grasp simple economic concepts, and if you have heard some members of Congress speak to the press or to their colleagues during the legislative process, this incompetence shouldn’t surprise you.

Once we get past the fixed pie false paradigm, the source of wealth gap economics is clear. It is nothing more than the politics of envy. This is the root of Marxist and redistributionist ideology. It is a violation of the Tenth Commandment. The giving to someone else of something belonging to you is called charity. The taking of something belonging to you to give to someone else is called theft. That’s a violation of the Eighth Commandment. Governments that do this turn the less fortunate into receivers of stolen goods.

Now while matters of commandment breaking have no bearing on your average atheist Marxist, they should be relevant to the Christians that have co-opted the socialist ideology and attempted to baptise it. While the Commandments are in the Bible, the idea of making sure everyone has the same wealth, oppotunities, or advantages – closing the gap between rich and poor – is not.

Stealing From the Poor

You would think that a socialist Labour government would stick it to the rich and go easy on the poor. After all, that’s the point of socialism , isn’t it? Yeah, but Gordon Brown isn’t your dad’s socialist. This is New Labour, remember?

Gordon tried to impress everyone by lowering the main rate of income tax from 22% to 20%. Somebody has to pay for this, though. Gordon’s chosen the poor. The UK doesn’t have as many tax brackets as the US. In the US there are six brackets, ranging from 10% to 35%. Before April 1, the UK had three: 10%, 22%, and 40%. Now it has two. The 10% bracket has been taken away. Tax is payable at 20% from the first pound. At £36,000 ($72,000) it jumps to 40%. By contrast, an American at that income is still at 25%, $5,000 away from paying 28% on anything else he makes.

The 10% only covered the first £2,230 ($4,460). That is admittedly less than the $7,825 covered by the same bracket in the US, though as the Unnamed Women pointed out to me, it will still hit women working part time or students working their way through university the hardest. Obviously the lower the income, the greater the proportion of tax increase.

The Government are planning on a £6 to £8 billion increase in revenue from the change. To raise that money, it is estimated that 5 million households will be worse off. That would be the 5 million poorest households.

Just to re-emphasise the point I have made in the past about an elective dictatorship . . . After the Commons Treasury Committee condemns the changes tomorrow, they will be debated in the House of Commons in two weeks. It doesn’t really matter. They have already gone into effect. Despite the opposition from large numbers of his own party, the Prime Minister said there is no plan to change the policy. Not much point in having a Parliament, is there?

Missing the Point of Lent

I sat down to write something else, but I checked my email and an saw one of the most ridiculous things in the history of Christianity. I say that realising that there have been some pretty ridiculous things.

The Anglican bishops of Liverpool and London have decided that it is not enough to give up chocolate for Lent. That Anglicans give up chocolate for Lent should tell you something about how far they’ve drifted from Holy Tradition, but I suppose they’re a step better than those who have given up Lent altogether. So maybe you are thinking the good bishops are moving in a positive direction. Wrong.

The Rt Revs James Jones and Richard Chartres want us to give up carbon. Not all carbon, mind you, given that we are carbon-based life-forms. And not actually the eating of carbon – or anything else for that matter. No, it’s much more convoluted than that. They want us to give up a light bulb. Here’s how it works: Light bulbs require electricty; electricity has to be produced; producing eletricity result in the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; Al Gore says that’s bad.

Put differently, the Bishop of Liverpool’s logic is this, “It is the poor who are already suffering the effects of climate change. To carry on regardless of their plight is to fly in the face of Christian teaching.” The poor are suffering the effect of climate change? Seems to me the warmer weather makes it easier to sleep rough. People in substandard housing with poor insulation are paying less for heating. How are the poor suffering?

I’m not particular good at doing Lent (which for Orthodox Christians doesn’t start until March 10), but I won’t be using it for making a political statement based upon specious science. I hope you won’t either.