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Thoughts and ideas on current events from an California evangelical perspective.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

From Christianity Today's interview with Ted Haggart, president of the National Association of Evangelicals:

Are you pro-business and conservative out of pragmatism or out of theological conviction?

I am pro-business and pro-free market because we have 6.4 billion people on the face of the earth, and that is the only way we're going to be able to create enough wealth, provide enough goods and services and meet the needs of enough poor people.

I disagree. What happens if you give business free reign? Their goal is the bottom line, not feeding everyone. We've seen in recent corporate scandals what can occur if companies are given free reign.

It's a pragmatic approach. We have a responsibility to the poor and needy. There is no way we can give enough cans of peas and give away enough toys at Christmas time to meet everybody's need. We have to stimulate wealth. We know from the 20th century which government policies and economic policies create poverty and which government and economic policies create wealth. And so, all we have to do is apply those.

In my recent discussions with Prime Minister Tony Blair, we had an in-depth discussion about how the West can implement policies in poverty-stricken areas like portions of Africa, so they can start creating wealth. Hong Kong and South Korea and Singapore and Australia and New Zealand and the United States are not wealthy countries because we took wealth from somebody else. We're wealthy countries because we learned how to create wealth.

I disagree. Australia and the US both benefitted from slave labor. But we also provided food for people by implementing certain socialistic principles: welfare, social security.

And so, we want that exported all over the world, and I think Christians should be pro-free market and pro-free trade because we have an obligation to help poor people have their needs met.

I agree on our obligaion. I disagree on how we get there. Theologically, we have to recognize that our sinfulness, our fallenness, if it exists in individuals, will exist in groups of individuals as well. That is why we need balancing force, checks on power. Whether that is the three branches within the government, or intervention of government in business, we have to address our propensity for error.

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