breaking news: Hauerwas to vote for Obama

Stanley Hauerwas is one of my favorite theologians for a number of reasons, not least of which is his small-town sensibility and profuse cursing (to great effect, I might add). He is the professor of theological ethics at Duke University and was once selected as America's Greatest Theologian by Time Magazine, much to his chagrin. His thoughts on politics are enlightening. Hint: he is a "church-first" kind of guy :)

The Man spoke at a church recently and the both the transcript and the audio are available to hear/read over at the blog. I know nothing about the church or blog, but it's classic Hauerwas (emphasis added):
“I do find it hard to vote, but I’m a yellow dog Democrat from Texas. So that is, you know, ‘Democrats from Texas would rather vote for a yellow dog than a Republican.’ So I tend to vote, but I try not to take it too seriously. I regard it basically as the Roman circus where you’re given entertainment to stop the American people from concentrating on … what really should be at the heart of the political process. Namely, such as, why is it that no one is angry at the inequality of income in this country? I mean, the inequality of income is unbelievable. Unbelievable. Why isn’t that ever an issue of politics? Because you don’t live in a democracy. You live in a plutocracy. Money rules.


  1. Inequality of income is kinda an issue, but maybe not so much. The problem may be more about people's greediness instead of generosity. I think it was Jesus who told the story about how (the implied) God gave 3 people different number of talents and what people chose to do with that. 2 out of 3 were "faithful" and used those talents (akin to income, if you will) and multiplied them. So is Hauerwas blaming God for inequality?

  2. But the disparity of income means something. I distrust looking only at the "heart issue" of generosity that churches so frequently do. It leaves it too abstract, too easy to conveniently forget how much scripture denounces wealth and greed. Income for the poor is accountability. Churches "feel" generous in the US, and yet we are unphased by the our staggering wealth. Why do the janitors at AIG get laid off while the exec's get multi-million dollar bonuses for tanking our banking system? It is a grossly unequal system in which a janitor can't afford a home, retirement or healthcare and I don't believe this is a "given" by God., I think it is fallen. The disparity of income is the result of the greed the prophets spoke against, and the quote reflects Hauerwas' practical efforts I think. More income for the poor, less for the rich is direct accountability for generosity.

    It also seems like a misuse of Matt 25 to find in it a rationale for income disparity when the point seems to be just the opposite: Jesus rebukes the pharisees by describing how the Kingdom of God is different, and they should not be withholding the things they are entrusted with from other people, be it money or religion. But all rhetoric aside, I think we may agree at root. It's a delight to see you here, DJ and I look forward to hearing all the amazing adventures God sets you on! :)


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