It has been some time since I have written a piece on the intersection of theology and politics, but it has been on my mind so much (as, indeed, the whole of this country is engulfed in political conversation), I felt it worthwhile.
I was raised in a traditionalist evangelical church where the congregation actively encouraged everyone to vote Republican. I remember right-wing pamphlets being passed out after church services on occasion. The sermon never talked about politics, but every other conversation seemed to belittle liberals and rejoice in the free market.
I’ve been to Christian conferences that had aims, among others, to educate young people as to why free market capitalism is God’s ideal form of economic governance.
I mention these experiences because maybe not everyone sees Christianity this way. But, for many people, it is. The Religious Right got it’s name because of the number of religious (mostly Christian) citizens who vote Republican consistently.
It should be well known by now that the largest portion of wealth in the US is concentrated in the top 1% (or top 0.5%, more accurately). The right-wing governments have consistently fought to make immigration more difficult. They have consistently fought against environmental regulation in favor of generating more wealth for American corporations. They have consistently fought against any attempt to give basic needs to people who cannot afford them. They frequently fight against efforts to improve public infrastructure. All the while, they have consistently defended a class of citizens that has more wealth than the rest of the population combined, praising them as saints who took advantage of the American Dream.
This has gone on for a good half century now. Don’t be fooled by people who say that it was always this way or that America was founded on these principles. Inequality is the highest it has been since the Great Depression (even though Treasury bond yields are the lowest ever).
Do you think it is part of the ideal Christian society that the needs of the poor are ignored? Is it the ideal Christian society that calls the poor lazy and irresponsible while calling the rich virtuous?
Does the ideal Christian society turn a blind eye to companies destroying land, air, and water (drinking water!) Does it praise the income and stock value of the largest corporations as the highest goal?
Does the ideal Christian society tell the world’s poor that they should stay poor and remain in mortal danger just so we don’t have to let them into our neighborhoods?
Does the ideal Christian society engage itself in insulating the wealthiest citizens from any burden to their income?
Does the ideal Christian society always vote for candidates who are actively trading favors with corporations for campaign donations?
According to the religious right, it apparently does. Many people outside the church have already decided that the ideal society does not include these things. I think the Bible would agree with them. If you are a Christian and you think capitalism is the way to go, I beg you to reconsider.