Joe Scarborough on Money and Ethics: Part 1
- Mary Naber
- 2000 1 Mar
This week we expand our view to our collective responsibilities as individuals who profess the Christian faith and citizens of the richest nation in the history of civilization.
Since his election in 1994, Congressman Joe Scarborough (First District, Florida) has remained committed to fighting for a nation that places ethics before materialism.
In 1995, President Clinton sought the removal of Sudan from the list of terrorist states to satisfy special interests groups who wanted to resume otherwise forbidden trade. Congressman Scarborough helped spearhead a successful movement to put Sudan back on the list, because of the country's mass slaughter of Christians and other people of faith. For the same reason, he continues to vocally oppose the renewal of a "most-favored trading" status with China.
On the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians in 1997, Scarborough addressed Omaha's Trinity Church-Interdenominational congregation on the importance of economic sanctions towards countries practicing religious intolerance and persecution: "An America only about money, finance, and profits is not an America worth living in . . . We must not close our eyes to fellow Christian brothers suffering overseas."
We must instead awaken to the election season and the knowledge that every individual vote begins us one step closer to world-wide freedom of worship and one step away from a world run by the profit motivations of corporate interests who will close their eyes to injustice in favor of slave labor and larger markets.
As you read our interview with Congressman Scarborough, consider our role as wealthy US neighbors and ways in which we can include other nations in our prayers.
What ethical direction has our country moved in since Sudan in 1995?
Well, we've been fighting the same battle on human rights -- not just for Christians but Buddhists and other religious minorities across the globe. And our policy, unfortunately, is very consistent.
If you have a lot of money, if you're a good trading partner, if you have goods that we can import cheaply, if you have slave labor that will make our goods cost less, if there's a possibility that you're going to be an export market in the twenty-first century, then you can do whatever you want -- not only to your religious dissidents -- but to your political dissidents and to anyone else inside the boundaries of your country.
And this is really underlined by what happened in Sudan. By this time, the Sudanese Muslim government had killed 2 million Christians. But the White House didn't care about the religious persecution. All they cared about was that a big contributor to the Democratic Party -- Occidental Petroleum -- wanted to build a pipeline, and wanted to get it from Sudan out of the country, so they could pump a lot of Sudanese oil though the Middle East.
What then came to pass for Sudan?
Well the White House kept working towards that end, and finally when the Sudanese awarded the contract to the French, all of a sudden the President became interested in human rights in Sudan. In fact as we saw last year, the poor Sudanese were on the other side of Bill Clinton's bombs and missiles that were dropped on the country, supposedly because there was a pharmaceutical plant. Others believed it had a lot more to do with the fact that it was the day of the President's testimony to the Grand Jury. So the President has shown no courage on the issue of Sudan.
What is your forecast for the human rights abuses and trade in China?
Republicans and Democrats alike have shown no courage on the issue of China. This year they're going to try to expand the Chinese power, basically thumb their nose at the world by admitting them into the NTO [National Trading Organization], and it's just a disgrace.
Everybody talks about sex, violence, abortion, all these other hot button issues that are supposedly going to be the downfall of American culture. Materialism is what is rotting the foundation of America.
What other "ethics before money" issues are you currently working on?
Well, the main issue this year is going to be China. They are at the center of any human rights debate that we can have here in Congress.
Many members of Congress continue to ignore the fact that the Chinese have killed up to 60 million of their own people. And that the very people who gunned down and killed students in Tienanmen Square in 1989 are running the country and are proud of what they did in 1989.
We also have American leaders who don't care that the Chinese stole our nuclear technology. These leaders don't care that China continues to steal our computer and software technology. And they don't care that Christians and Buddhists continue to be slaughtered, not only in China proper but also in Tibet.
So I think our singular focus has to be on China because the very people who have forgiven China for their murderous ways over the past twenty or thirty years continue to push the Chinese agenda. This year they are again trying to take a radical step forward by admitting them into the NTO.
When you suggest limiting trade rights, are you drawing upon the success of the South African Apartheid Movement, which employed divestment, boycotts, and sanctions to motivate change? Or do you simply move forward because you know it's right?
Obviously, you try to draw upon other strategies that have worked in the past. In the resolution that passed on Sudan, we quietly worked behind the scenes and got Republicans and Democrats working together to achieve something that, again, was an uphill battle. I think we almost shamed people into supporting it.
Will this direct approach work with China?
It's a little tougher with China, again because there is so much money involved. There are so many corporations.
Recognize that the Communist Chinese leaders or members of the Red Army don't come and lobby Congress in their little red hats with stars.
Instead, they have IBM, McDonalds, Xerox, and other major corporations coming in and lobbying saying, "Hey, we want to expand into China and you've got to help us out." So it's hard to really draw upon any recent model that was successful.
In South Africa, people with a social conscience joined together to change an evil. Mainstream media and institutions in America have always been very progressive when it's come to equal rights for minorities -- which is great. Yet while a lot of these institutions care about the plight of blacks, they don't appear to care how many Asians get killed.
In Part 2 of Mary's Interview with Congressman Scarborough, he will discuss the need for Christians to be proactive in order to influence the country's stance on economic sanctions.