Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Your Money or Your Life?

Have you ever watched a "western" film where the highwaymen overtake the coach and demand of the driver or passengers, "Your money or your life?"  In reality, the phrase is known to date back to the 17th century at least, and generally followed the demand, "Stand and deliver!"  The victims, surprised and stunned, almost always handed over their possessions in order to preserve their lives.

In 1948, comedian Jack Benny presented what would arguably become his most famous "joke" using the line.  Benny is accosted by a mugger who first asks for a match to light a cigarette.  The mugger then demands, "Don't make a move, this is a stickup. Now, come on. Your money or your life."  There's a pause. Benny says nothing.  The agitated mugger now exclaims, "Look, bud! I said your money or your life!"  As soon as the words are out of the mugger's mouth, Benny quips back, "I'm thinking it over!"

I see the same thing happening in our country today.  Only, we are the victims, and the highwaymen and muggers are much more difficult to detect because we don't always see them for what and who they are.

Most of the issues currently being debated in our country are being done so within the realm of politics.  And in my opinion that is exactly what presents a problem for many Christians.  We have been "caught up" into this cloud of going "all in" for one group because of the danger we see in another.  What happens is that we allow others to shape the debate.  Usually that means money.  Oh, it's an important issue, but is it the most important issue for Christians?

"George, morality and religious freedom have been at the forefront of political discussions recently.  What in the world are you talking about?"

In the past few days, I have seen a "flood" of political discussion. Unscientifically, it's been about 95% about money.  And then there's this from Mary K. Ham at Hot Air (emphasis mine):
"the debate should no longer be about contraception and the deferred cancer-causing capabilities of Bain investments. It will be about the budget and the $16-trillion debt, the unsustainable trajectory of the federal government and the promises it’s already breaking to generations to come. It will be about Simpson-Bowles and a federal government that hasn’t even bothered to pass a budget since before the iPad existed. It will be about how four years of grossly increased spending has stimulated us into the worst recovery in American history, unless you happen to be an Obama donor or crony. It will be about how creating new entitlement programs cannot possibly fix the ones that are already broken. And, it will be about whether we value an ever more dependent society or an ever more successful one." (Mary K. Ham)
These are important issues, but it scares me to think that they will become the most important or worse, the only ones in the debate.  We have a duty to help others think about whether it will be "money or life".  We need to keep the issues of morality, religious freedom, and the protection of unborn children from abortion (Hello America!) in this debate.  We need to have honest discussions about how to care for those who truly need help.  We need to have honest discussions about what our country's role is around the world and domestically with regards to the dignity of persons.

Yes, we need to talk about money, but it better be about more than money friends.

The demand has been presented, "Your money or your life!"  The victims of the highwaymen were quick to protect their lives.  Will you be as quick to protect the lives of others and your eternal life?

Will our witness "stand and deliver" the Truth of the Gospel, helping others to at least pause and say, "I'm thinking it over"?

God bless.

* Thanks to Lisa at Catholic Bandita for calling attention to the article mentioned in this post.

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