Speaking in a black church yesterday (time to rethink that tax-exempt status), John Kerry implied that "our present national leadership" is lacking in compassion because some people don't have jobs and teenagers are killed in drive-by shootings.
"The scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion," preached Kerry.
James gives guidance on how individuals, not governments, can evaluate their faith to determine whether it's living or dead. It is the personal works of believers that James has in mind in this passage. It wasn't addressed to Caesar.
If Kerry were a Christian, he'd know that the biblical standard of the test of faith doesn't rest on whether poor people exist or teenagers are killed in the streets. Using taxpayers' money isn't a work of faith.
She rightly points out that Kerry's confusing personal responsibility with government responsibility. This is something I've pointed out before, in the post "Christianity and the Nanny State." Compassion on the part of the government is not only inefficient and rarely able to relieve the sense of being unwanted, it also lets us Christians off the hook, discouraging us from compassion. The more the government does, the more caring for the poor is left to professionals, the more Christians fail to live up to Christ's call to care for the poor and downtrodden. Considering Bush's many personal acts of compassion, which aren't well publicized but aren't really hidden either (see here and here (scroll to the March 25th 8:36 pm entry)), Kerry's charge shows such little understanding of what the Christian faith lived out looks like that it's depressing.
As I've said before, I think Bush should contact that church and ask if he can speak before it. I'm optimistic enough to believe the church members would recognize true Christian faith when they see it.
La Shawn got an Instalanche for her post, by the way. I've been trying for weeks to get one without success. If she has any advice she'd like to share, I'm listening.