Daily Archives: August 31, 2022

Something I do not understand

I try to keep abreast of important world news as best I can. This is especially true with regard to what is happening in the United States. There are two main reasons for this. I studied in the US and later lived there for a few years. And over the years I have been there often (and have enjoyed my visits). But in addition, there is another aspect: The church to which I belong originated in America, and whether we like it or not, Adventism has remained in many ways an American movement.

There are many things in the U.S. which I admire and there are quite a few Americans among my friends. But from time to time there are also things that I absolutely don’t understand. The continued adoration by millions of ex-President Trump is absolutely incomprehensible to me. The more we learn about him, the harder I find it to understand that there are still people who would like to see him back in the White House in 2024. Another thing I absolutely do not understand is why it is so easy to get guns in the United States. Compared to other Western countries, there are far more fatal shootings in the country than anywhere else, and all indications are that the huge amount of guns in circulation is directly related to that. The invocation of an amendment in the constitution to guarantee the right of self-defense dates back to a very different time with completely different circumstances.

And yes, there are a few more things that I definitely don’t understand. But something incomprehensible has now been added to that: the broad opposition to a new law that will ensure that Americans with study debt see their debt reduced by $10,000. For certain groups, the reduction will be even a little more. You would think that this decision would be received as good news, because student loans in the U.S. can be of such a magnitude that it can sometimes be a major financial burden for decades. But it appears that this plan is meeting with enormous opposition from large groups of the population. The main argument is that it would be unfair. After all, millions of Americans are missing out. They have been working very hard to pay off their student loans and now suddenly there is a large group that is going to get a huge gift from the government. Why should they get that benefit while the people who studied earlier didn’t? I saw a Facebook post by Ben Carson (a Christian-yes, even a Seventh-day Adventist) who emphasizes how he himself started from a disadvantaged background and had to work hard, and how it only made him stronger. And that is why he is totally against the plan. I really don’t understand this at all. It is frequently the case (fortunately) that there are things from which people can benefit now and in the future, while earlier generations could not, and that is something to be grateful for, isn’t it?

Like Ben Carson, I come from a family where poverty was the order of the day. I had to work very hard to pay for my studies. When I studied theology at Newbold College and later at Andrews University, there was not a penny of subsidy from the church or anywhere else. Today that is very different. Those who now want to become a pastor in the Adventist Church can count on very generous financial support. In some countries the study of theology has recently even become completely free. Should that frustrate me because I didn’t have this benefit at the time? On the contrary. I am glad that the situation has become very different now.

No, I really can’t understand why the plan to help people with their study debt meets with so much resistance. Or is it mainly the fact that it is a plan of the Democrats and that, therefore, Republicans by definition must be against it? But then, can’t Christians at least react positively, if there is relief for many fellow-citizens who would have to carry a financial burden for many years? After all, assisting one’s neighbor remains a Christian principle, and this should also be a guiding principle when dealing with social issues, regardless of the political party they prefer.