Robison: Where's the Christian social-welfare money catapult?
He is the same Bill Ratliff, the unassuming engineer from Mount Pleasant who, in a radical departure from prevailing attitudes, tried to govern with a conscience.
And he is promoting what he attempted to practice as a lawmaker, a Christianity not intended simply to comfort the comfortable and lock their religious views into the law of the land — high priorities of the controlling GOP faction — but a Christianity that also attempts to comfort the afflicted and help the sick and the down-and-out.The latter goal has been mostly skirted by the hand-washing Republican leadership in Austin.
"Up to now, the application of religious principles in political debate has been mainly applied to social mores, such as abortion rights, same-sex marriage, intelligent design vs. Darwinism and other similar social issues," Ratliff pointed out in a speech several weeks ago to the Austin Project, a group dedicated to helping at-risk youth.
His remarks later were reprinted in the Longview News-Journal and have received attention elsewhere.
"But all too often," he added, "those Christians who take strong stands on such issues based on moral or biblical teachings do not then continue the application of such teachings to other issues."
What about, Ratliff asked, Christ's admonishment to "suffer the little children to come unto me"?
He didn't name names, but it was obvious that state leaders conveniently forgot that verse of Scripture when they attacked the budget a few years ago, cutting thousands of low-income children from public health care so they could brag — as Gov. Rick Perry is doing in his reelection campaign — about holding the line against higher state taxes.
Joseph Knippenberg addressed arguments that Christianity requires expansion of the social welfare state effectively a few weeks ago:
Let me repeat what I’ve said before on the subject of poverty and religion. There are reasonable disagreements about how best to assist the poor. That we have a duty to do so doesn’t mean that we have [a] duty to support large government programs.
That's as far as I care to go substantively on that topic.
From time to time, though, it is useful to note Robison's political views and characterizations of those with whom he disagrees, as expressed on the editorial page every Sunday. Six other days of the week, he serves as the Chronicle's Austin bureau chief, putting aside his lefty political views to ensure that the Chronicle delivers Houstonians objective, balanced coverage of the goings on in the capital.