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Monday, July 17, 2006 

Why Politicians Shouldn't Be Theologians

Dr. Mark Osterloh, "a Tucson physician and unsuccessful 2002 Democratic gubernatorial candidate," is leading the charge for a bill (likely now to be decided on by Arizona voters in the November elections) which would, in essence, guarantee one lucky voter per election of a $1 million dollar prize just for casting a ballot. Yes, that is right. In order to bolster voter turnout, Osterloh is proposing the adoption of a "voter lottery" whereby one random voter who casts a ballot each election is selected to receive a $1 million dollar prize. It's an incentive that Osterloh says not only makes sense, but is Biblical. From the Arizona Daily Star on May 19th:

"People don't always do what they should do," he said.

Anyway, he said, it's little different from religion, which he also said is based on incentives.

"What does God say? Do what you're supposed to do and I will reward you with eternal life in heaven," Osterloh said. "The only thing that we're saying is do what you're supposed to do and vote and we'll reward you with $1 million."

And from the Daily Star again on June 30th:
Osterloh said the concept of rewards is not so odd. He said it actually comes from the Bible — that if you do the right thing, you get into heaven.

"If incentives are good enough for God, they're good enough for Arizona," he said.
So, there you have it. Good reason why politicians shouldn't be theologians -- because they apparently don't understand the Bible. Osterloh's works-based scenario, besides being unethical, is just a cheap way of garnering support from religious conservatives. Unfortunately, it will probably work, since most Christians don't understand theology either.

Perhaps this post should be titled "Why Every Person is a Theologian." And maybe the subtitle could be "Why Christians Need to be Biblical Theologians."

Seriously, who does this guy think he's fooling? I suppose he's fooling himself and most every other "Christian" in America who believes that "blessed is the man who pulls himself up by his own boot straps" was taught by Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount.

Perhaps he should re-read the Gospels. Yeah, thanks, Jesus, for "a sword to divide brother from brother and father from son". Thanks for my daily cross and daily dying to myself to live for you!!

Oh, and I wonder what Sunday attendance would look like if we offered 1 million dollars to some random parishioner?

If they think a one in a million chance is reason enough to vote, they not only don't understand theology, they don't understand math...

I largely agree with you here, DR. Poor theology and questionable politics.

Now...as to a-8s suggestion about $1 million to a random parishioner...THAT's got potential!

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About me

Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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