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Letters to the Editor

November 17, 2021 at 5:24 a.m.

Socialism and Communism versus Social Democracy

Socialism and Communism is a fallacious label of hate and fear mongering used to denigrate liberal democrats in America.

During the "cold war" between the Soviet Union and the U.S. that followed the end of WW II, many innocent leftist Americans had their reputations and livelihoods destroyed by false accusations of being potential communist spies. McCarthyism exacerbated this, named after Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was ruthless in fabricating lies of promoting socialist and communist propaganda by Hollywood elites.

Ignorant and depraved republicans and right-wing extremist Christians still paint liberal democrats with the "Red Scare" brush for allegedly promoting socialism and communism. It is a tactic of hate and fear mongering to turn voters away from the Democratic Party.

What Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are advocating is "Social Democracy."

We often use social democracy and democratic socialism as synonyms; however, there are differences. Social democracy has a mostly capitalistic economy (i.e.: a less-regulated market and fewer rules against private ownership of land, utilities, etc.), than democratic socialism, but also with large-scale social welfare programs.

Social Democracy Governments have interventions and control over the citizens, yet all the freedom of choice, freedom of trade and freedom of ideology.

The top 10 happiest countries in the world include the fundamentals of Social Democracy, they are from 1 to 10, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and Austria. (World Happiness Report-United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.)

The WHR has listed these countries among the top 10 since 2012. The U.S. ranks #19.

The Legatum Prosperity Index ranked these countries in the top 13 most prosperous countries. The U.S. is #20.

These countries are included in the top 13 advanced economies and highest wealth equality, the U.S. is ranked #23. {World Economic Forum Inclusive Development Index (IDI)}.

The Republican Party, having now become the Trumplican Party, empowered by an unholy alliance of White MAGA Christians, KKK Christians, Neo-Nazi Christians, illegal Christian Militias, and other White Supremacist hate groups, are frantically moving America toward a "Democracy" in the style of Russia.

Trump hopes to be a lifetime president, like Putin, whom he admires, with a merry band of wealthy oligarch minions at his side.

The Democratic Party hopes to move us more toward a Social Democracy patterned after the happiest, most prosperous, and most egalitarian countries in the world.

Pray for that?

Oren Piper

Siloam Springs

Clarifying the Commands of God

In his letter dated Nov. 3, 2021, Oren Piper asked a reasonable question regarding the relationship between the commands found in the Old Testament for Israel to destroy her enemies and Jesus' command for Christians to love their enemies. Although he phrased his question as asking how the texts containing both commands can be true, I understand him to mean, "How can we be responsible to obey both commands?" (I may have misunderstood Piper here; if so, he may correct me.)

The answer is that we aren't responsible to obey both commands. The commands of the Old Testament may be divided into ceremonial (concerning worship), civil (concerning the government of Israel), and moral (concerning the behavior of all human beings). The civil and ceremonial commands were no longer necessary following the destruction of the kingdom of Israel. The command of utter destruction was a civil command, given only for the three generations after Moses when Israel was a theocracy. (In fact, one Hebrew lexicon defines the word for "things devoted to destruction" as "things hostile to theocracy," and once Israel was no longer a theocracy, this command was no longer necessary.)

Therefore, Christians are only responsible to obey the moral commands, and only those which are repeated in the New Testament, since this ceremonial law has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ (see Matthew 5:17). It is the command of Jesus to love our enemies which is currently in force, and which will not be repealed.

It's noteworthy that the biblical passages Piper cites describe two different kinds of devotion. In Leviticus 27:28-29 ESV, a person is being dedicated to God and "devote to destruction" is a mistranslation. The word in question can also mean "consecrate" or "declare sacred," and as the context deals with vows, this is the likely meaning. In Deuteronomy 7:2 the focus is on the destruction of people. The reason is because they were enemies of God, and the enemies of any king are a threat to the peace and safety of his subjects. The enemies are best considered as invaders, and eliminating them preserves peace. Defensive war is the idea.

I don't see the point of Piper mentioning the Trump-led Republican Party at the end of his letter. If Piper has questions about a Christian view of politics, I am happy to answer.

Jonathan Marks

Siloam Springs

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