"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell
"Someone who lacks independent wealth has no claim to even the SMALLEST portion of food ..."
- David Ricardo
"And he (i.e., the "false prophet") causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: "AND THAT NO MAN MIGHT BUY OR SELL, SAVE HE THAT HAD THE MARK or the name of the beast (i.e., the Antichrist), or the number of his name." (Rev. 13:16-17)
Wow! What a reaction our last newsletter ("The Deceitfulness of Riches and the Marxist Paradigm") generated! It seems that whenever we touch the matter of "money" and the "rich," people - especially our American readers - appear as if out of nowhere to assail and denounce us. [Note: this doesn't happen with our readers in Bulgaria, or in Russia, or in Botswana, or in Zambia, or in Kenya, or in Brazil, or in Egypt, or in Abu Dubai, or in Costa Rica, or in Peru, etc. (and yes, we do have readers in all these places).] You would think that we had blasphemed God - and maybe, insofar as the god they apparently serve is concerned (i.e., money), we have. I wonder if these same people would respond with such vehemence and fury if we had attacked the poor, the displaced, the homeless, the outcasts, the friendless, etc. I doubt it!
We are called "Marxists," "ner-do-wells," "hypocrites," and other things too hateful and odious to be mentioned here. It seems that nothing draws the ire and outrage of Christians in America (not all of them, for sure, but certainly a lot of them) against us more than when we touch the matter of wealth.
Most of the people who attack us start out with a broad and sometimes even magnanimous comment about the "general truth" of what we are saying, but that usually "peters off" into an attack against our "bias" insofar as the rich are concerned. Typical of this kind of letter is the following:
"... (Your article) is indeed full of truth and I applaud that. However ... there seems to be a hostile thread toward those who have money and that's sad ... In your dissertation on the dangers of having money, you seem to elevate those with little or no money to a more wholesome, pure and honest level of servitude, implying that those who have been "blessed" with poverty have a less difficult path to God than those with financial substance. I must disagree ... Blessings to you guys as you follow the leading of our Lord - as controversial as it may become.
A second letter reads as follows:
"I didn't subscribe to your Newsletter. It was sent to me by a friend. I read your letter on Money and you have many Bible passages that pertain to money and its relationship to sin. I would like to say that generally speaking what you are saying about money in your letter (i.e., article) is true ... However, the real problem lies in the depraved heart of man ... Sure the love of money is the root of all evil, but what about the wealthy man who uses his wealth to support missions, gospel ministries and such ..."
A third person writes:
"There is a consistent substance to Steven's [i.e., Stevan (S.R. Shearer's) - editor] writings that I have trouble with. I have tried to rationalize it away as there is a lot about Antipas that I like. A couple of weeks ago someone posted a message that struck a cord with me ... As I read it my thoughts were, " taking the words right out of my mouth". [Note: we quoted from this letter in our last article; this is the letter from "R" that referred to us as "Marxists" - editor.] I don't want to get into a debate about this, so I am reluctant to mention anything, but I will tell you one of the things that has consistently bothered me. The notion that it is more spiritual to be poor ... (In) one of Steven's newsletters he characterized the enemy as someone reading his Wall Street Journal, driving his SUV and talking on his cell phone. This poor vs. rich theme is in all of what he writes."
It seems that money is the "third rail of America's form of Christianity" - touch it (i.e., "diss it," as they say where we live) and you die.
All of these people are evidently concerned at our lack of "equity" insofar as the rich vis a vis the poor are concerned. They complain that we seem to favor the poor over the rich - that we seem to think that "... it is," as the first letter writer above acerbically puts it, "more spiritual to be poor" than it is to be rich; that - as the third letter writer above sarcastically suggests we say - "... those who have been 'blessed' with poverty have a less difficult path to God than those with financial substance."
But that's what the Bible indicates! That's exactly what the Bible suggests: for example, Jesus didn't say "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a poor man to enter into the kingdom of God;" but He did say that about the rich:
"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a RICH man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matt. 19:24)
And He said this not once, but twice in the same passage of Scripture:
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a RICH man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 19:23)
Moreover, the Bible doesn't speak about the "deceitfulness of poverty," it does say that, however, about wealth and riches (Matt. 13:22 and Mark 4:19), specifically, it suggests that riches choke the efficacy of the Word of God in our hearts -
"Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
"When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
"Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. (Matt. 13:18-22)
The Bible doesn't tell the poor "woe unto you that are poor." Nowhere does it say that! Nowhere! But it does say that to the rich:
"But woe unto you that are RICH! for ye have received your consolation.
"Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep." (Luke 6:24-25)
The Bible doesn't say, "Go to now, ye poor men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your poverty has corrupted you ..." But it does say that about the rich:
"Go to now, ye RICH men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
"Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
"Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. (James 5:1-3)
The Bible doesn't say, "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye rich: for yours is the kingdom of God." But it does say that about the poor:
"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye POOR: for yours is the kingdom of God." (Luke 6:20)
The Scriptures don't say, "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the rich." But it does say that about the poor:
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God CHOSEN the POOR of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (James 2:5)
What are we to say about all this? - Yes, the Bible very evidently does favor the poor over the rich - VERY CLEARLY IT DOES!! And, moreover, it doesn't beat around the bush about its favoritism; it says it very plainly and openly:
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that NOT MANY WISE MEN AFTER THE FLESH, NOT MANY MIGHTY, NOT MANY NOBLE, are called:
"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
"And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are." (1 Cor. 1:26-28)
Obviously, rich Americans will find this offensive. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE RICH! - at least in comparison to those living in the rest of the world. Obviously, they would be offended by our comments concerning SUVs. It's not the poor who parade around in them pretending to be on Safari in Kruger National Park or in the jungles of the Amazon - it's the rich! They're the ones who read the Wall Street Journal; not the poor; the poor aren't following the stock market, it's the rich who are. They're the ones who talk on cell phones and the ones who live in Yuppie Land. They are the ones who invest their money in the stock of companies who treat their employees like slaves in Indonesia, El Salvador, Thailand, etc. - maybe not so much the ones who subscribe to our website, but certainly the ones who attend the services at Crystal Cathedral in Southern California, or at Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, California, or at Thomas Roads Baptist Church in Lynchberg, Virginia, or at James Robison's church in Texas, or at James Kennedy's church in Florida, or at Tim LaHaye's church, etc., or who tune in to Paul Crouch at TBN and Pat Robertson at CBN.
Naturally, all these people will reject what the Bible has to say about the rich; of course they will complain bitterly that "This poor vs. rich theme is in all of what he (i.e., S.R. Shearer) writes." But the very real fact of the matter is, THIS IS ONE OF THE GREAT THEMES OF THE BIBLE: THE OPPRESSION OF THE POOR BY THE RICH:
"Do not RICH men OPPRESS you, and draw you before the judgment seats?" (James 2:6)
Moreover - and much more ominously - the Bible says that in making such an ostentatious display of their wealth and in oppressing the poor, they (i.e., the rich) are storing up God's wrath against themselves (Rom. 2:5). That's the truth of the matter - and only Western Christianity (and especially the Christianity of America) would miss this point.
Again - why do the rich rage against all this? Why do they call this "class warfare?" BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ONES AGAINST WHOM ALL THIS IS DIRECTED! Duh! (to put it in the vernacular) - what else would one expect from those against whom these verses are directed? This is how the Pharisees (i.e., the religious establishment of Christ's day) reacted to Christ when He spoke against them and called them "serpents," "vipers," "poisonous snakes" (Matt. 23:33), and "whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matt. 23:27).
Moreover, this is precisely how they (again, the "religious establishment") reacted to Christ when He asked them, "HOW CAN YE ESCAPE THE DAMNATION OF HELL?" (Matt. 23:33):
"And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
"But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.
"But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
"This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
"For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
"And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
"BUT THE PHARISEES AND LAWYERS REJECTED THE COUNSEL OF GOD AGAINST THEMSELVES, being not baptized of him. (Luke 7:24-30)
It is only natural for people to reject criticism that is directed against themselves. But I implore you - especially those of you who have money, i.e., who "drive the SUVs," who "talk on cell phones," and who "read the Wall Street Journal," please do not take offense at what we are saying; please don't reject it as simply the blather of Marxist ideology. I can tell you that our intention in discussing money has not been to purposefully offend you or anyone else. THERE CERTAINLY IS NO GAIN IN THAT FOR US! Indeed, every time we discuss the issue of money, it seems to drive people away from our website. What's in that for us? One brother writes:
"I think highly of ... the brothers ... at Antipas. I just can't support this ministry (financially) any longer for the reasons I have mentioned (i.e., our stance with regard to the rich and money - editor). I hope its clear that I agree with much of the message you are spreading, but I have very serious concerns about a few things I have mentioned."
Again, I ask you, what's in it for us if we drive people like this away? - and this particular brother has actually supported the ministry. What do we get out of offending supporters like that? If money is what we cared about, we would never mention it again! - that's for sure! But that's not what we care about. What we care about is YOU!! We would rather have you angry at us now and, as a result, suffer the loss of your support in this present life, than "water down" our message to you in order to gain your financial backing, and have you offended at us in eternity because we failed to preach to you an unadulterated Gospel. The very real fact of the matter is, that's what the "end of days" is all about - MONEY! That's what Rev. 13:16-17 very clearly indicates. Unless we come to grips with the hold money has on our lives, and quit kidding ourselves about it, we'll never make it through the "Deception of the End of Days." It's unbelievable how blind we are to the matter of wealth! How utterly hypocritical we are when it comes to our money.
For example, why is it so difficult for Christians in America to see the incongruity of being "right" insofar as abortion, homosexuality, militant feminism and so forth are concerned while all the while refusing to acknowledge the rapacious, greedy and even predatory character of the corporate allies they have chosen to ally themselves with in their battle to "take America back for Christ," to say nothing of the money-grubbing and avaricious life-styles many of them have adopted on a personal level? And all this in contravention to the lifestyle of Christ - the Lord of all the universe, the One who dwells in "unapproachable light" - who chose a life of poverty in His sojourn on this earth, and so much so that He could say of Himself:
"... Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." (Luke 9:58)
Is it so difficult to see the utter hypocrisy of speaking out against the SLAVERY of drug addiction, while all the while investing money in the "high-return" stock of corporations that enslave poor peasants in virtual "SLAVE-labor camps" in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, El Salvador, Guatemala, etc. in order to make the products that make life comfortable in the United States and Western Europe.
This is what drives ordinary people on the Left crazy! This is what makes the Christianity of the Western World out to be the sham it has become. THE RELIGION OF THE RICH! The religion of the "Master Race" (i.e., the whites of the so-called "First World")! Yes, abortion, homosexuality and all the rest are wrong! - very wrong! But so are the predatory economic policies that the "Christian West" perpetrates on the poor of the world. Jesus said:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
"Ye blind guides, WHICH STRAIN AT A GNAT, AND SWALLOW A CAMEL (Matt. 23:23-24)
And isn't that exactly what the Religious Right is doing here in America? They harangue Americans about abortion, about gays and lesbians, about sexual sin, about "family values," and all the while statistics by the Gallup and Roper polling organizations - to say nothing about any number of other studies on the subject, many of them commissioned by Christian organizations and published in journals like Christianity Today - reveal that there is as much drug addiction, divorce, and sexual sin among so-called "born-again" Christians as there is in the general population. Jesus said:
"... why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
"Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
"THOU HYPOCRITE, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Mark 7:3-5)
"Thou HYPOCRITE!" That's what Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees. You say one thing, and do another! - isn't that what the Religious Right is doing when they condemn the Left for the very same kind of immorality that they practice? - only the Left does it out in the open and boasts about it, while the Religious Right does it under the table and tries (mostly unsuccessfully) to keep it a secret.
Isn't that what Newt Gingrich - who was for a very long period of time the "darling" of the Religious Right - was doing during the Monica Lewinski affair: condemning Clinton for his sexual dalliance with Lewinski while all the while he was carrying on the same kind of sordid affair with one of his secretaries in the offices of the Speaker of the House of Representatives? This is to say nothing of the shameful way Gingrich dumped his first wife, Jackie, in 1980. According to insiders, Gingrich came to his wife of 18 years while she was hospitalized for cancer. He announced that he wanted a divorce, and handed her a yellow legal pad with a list of provisions for handling the split up; he then badgered her to sign the hand-drafted document; and after she did so, walked out on her never to see her again. And what was it that she had done to deserve this kind of treatment? Lee Howell, a former friend who had asked Gingrich to be the best man at his wedding in 1979 offered an explanation. According to Howell, "Jackie was kind of frumpy in Washington, and she was seven years older than he was. And I guess Newt thought, 'Well, it doesn't look good for an articulate, young, aggressive, attractive Congressman to have a frumpy old wife'."
And then there is the matter of Rep. John Livingston (R) of Louisiana - the former Speaker designate of the House of Representatives and the author of the federal "Three-strikes law." Livingston was "outed" for having a "love child." Livingston's supporters claim that his sexual indiscretions were "ancient history," but the fact of the matter is, reporter Allan MacDonell appeared on the syndicated television news show Extra and charged that Livingston's "indiscretions" had continued well into the present.
And that's not the end of it. Take Rep. Henry Hyde (R) of Illinois. Hyde, another favorite of the Religious Right, called his sexual faux-pas a "youthful indiscretion." Trouble was, Hyde was 46 at the time he took up with Cherie Snodgrass - a married woman half Hyde's age who had three children - often keeping her up all night and away from her children "nightclubbing." Fred Snodgrass, Cherie's ex-husband, said of Hyde's seduction of his wife, "All I can think of is, Here is this hypocrite who broke up my family."
And what about Rep. Dan Burton (R) of Indiana, another Religious Right favorite who had a long-lasting sexual fling with an ex-model named Claudia Keller whom he set up in an apartment and paid $40,000 a year?
Then there is Tom Delay (R) of Texas, another "dear" insofar as the Religious Right is concerned, who is alleged to have had countless numbers of sexual encounters with prostitutes (in fact, Newsweek Magazine is reputed to have in its possession a picture of Delay locked in a sexual embrace with a Mexican prostitute), and who is also to be rumored to have a grown daughter not by his wife.
And did any of these men come clean on their own accord? No! - not one of them! They were all "outed" by Hustler Magazine's Larry Flynt. In other words, they were "forced out into the open." Their professed shame resulted not so much from their sexual peccadilloes, as it did from being caught. AND MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, NONE OF THESE MEN ARE OBSCURE "NOBODIES!" THEY ARE ALL EXTREMELY PROMINENT POLITICAL FIGURES STRONGLY SUPPORTED BY THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT! Moreover, every single one of them has campaigned on a platform of "moral values."
And what about those in the Religious Right itself? What about Jimmy Swaggert? What about David Hocking? What about Ralph Wilkerson? - well, you know all of them. It's a shame to even name them, and not just the leaders of the Religious Right, but the congregates and the "pew sitters" as well? Don't you think that unbelievers and the Left notice these things? These inconsistencies? Of course they do! - and it is precisely for this reason that the name of Christ is blasphemed among the gentiles (i.e., the unbelievers). The Bible says:
"Behold, thou art called a Jew (in our case, a Christian) ... and makest thy boast of God,
"And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
"And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
"An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
"THOU THEREFORE WHICH TEACHEST ANOTHER, TEACHEST THOU NOT THYSELF? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
"Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
"Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
"FOR THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES THROUGH (i.e., because of) YOU ... " (Rom. 2:17-24)
All this is to say nothing about the way the Religious Right slavishly mimics its corporate sponsors in its obvious disdain for the poor; for example, the manner in which the Religious Right begrudges the poor any kind of real welfare assistance while all the while saying nothing about the billions and billions and billions of dollars of "corporate welfare" that its secular allies in the corporate world receive, which is many, many times greater than the total of all the welfare programs of the poor combined. IT SEEMS THAT WHILE WELFARE IS OKAY FOR THE RICH, IT ISN'T FOR THE POOR. And what about the support the Religious Right lends to the "free trade" economic policies of its rich corporate sponsors which ship millions and millions of American jobs out of the United States to the "slave-labor camps" they have set up in the Third World? - policies that, incidentally, are largely responsible for the poverty of today's "working poor" in this country.
And then there is the matter of today's "workfare" programs that the Religious Right supports at the behest of Corporate America, programs that in "temperament and philosophy" resemble the hideous "workfare" programs that the Rev. William Wilberforce and his Calvinist-like cohorts in England forced on the starving Irish during the Great Potato famine of the mid-1830s, and which forever earned the enmity of the Catholic Irish over and against the Protestant English; "workfare" programs which today force poor, single mothers up at 5:00 am to leave their children with "whomsoever," while they embark on a two and sometimes three hour bus ride across town to work at minimum wage jobs that pay no benefits and not enough money to pay for rent, utilities, food and a cheap car.
These are the kind of Christians who want to live safely in their gated communities, preach to the Left a Puritan moral ethic (that they themselves don't even keep), and blame the poor for their own poverty while they - whether they realize it or not - support elite economic policies that strip the poor of the very "living wage" jobs they need to support themselves with. Is it really that difficult to see the utter hypocrisy in all this? Is it really that impossible to recognize the shallow display of virtue in a kind of Christianity that seeks to enforce personal morality on the poor while all the time it pushes mean-spirited, selfish, and sordid economic policies designed to grind the poor into the dirt?
And this is not a new phenomenon in the so-called "Christian West" of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It's been going on for a long time.
Take Charles Fuller, for example; Fuller was a great Christian philanthropist of the 1930s and 40s, and underwrote many Christian projects of that era including Cam Townsend's Wycliffe Bible Translators, Lewis Sperry Chafer's Dallas Theological Seminary, Bill Bright's Campus Crusade, and a myriad of Henrietta Mears' evangelistic projects at UCLA. He was also the founder of Fuller Theological Seminary in Southern California (to which he gave his name), and the prime mover behind the establishment of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is held up today as a model for all good Christian businessmen to shape their lives after. But a closer examination of Fuller's life might lead to another conclusion. The fact is, Fuller's philanthropy RESTED ON A FOUNDATION OF HUMAN MISERY of the worst kind! - the kind that was forever immortalized in John Steinbeck's heart-rending novel, The Grapes of Wrath.
Fuller's wealth derived from his immense citrus grove holdings in Southern California. He was director and leader of the California Orange Growers Association in the 1930s, a group of farmers whose neat white-fenced farms and Christian churches rested on a foundation of CHEAP LABOR. Fuller also owned a chain of department stores in Santa Ana and Riverside. During the Great Depression, a steady stream of displaced farmers from the impoverished "dustbowl" states of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas (known derisively as "Oakies" and "Arkies") trekked across the deserts of west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to find work as "day-laborers" in the citrus groves of Southern California and California's San Juaquin and Sacramento Valleys.
There they ran smack into the "slave labor camps" of the California Orange Growers Association and other assorted grower organizations. The camps the growers provided their workers with - and for which they charged a small fortune, sometimes up to half their worker's paychecks - often had no toilet facilities (laborers were forced to dig holes in the ground) or if they did, they were totally inadequate to the number of laborers who had to use them. In addition, the camps often had no running water (laborers had to get their water from polluted creeks in the area), and no electricity of any kind. All the workers received from the growers was a patch of empty ground - all that for half their paycheck! In other words, Fuller and his cohorts were charging workers for a plot of dirt to put their tents on - and that's all. Laborers who gave the growers trouble or who complained were labeled "communists" and "black-listed."
In June 1936, 2,500 of Fuller's citrus workers went on strike in Orange County for a wage increase. They wanted to increase their wages from twenty-five cents to forty-cents an hour [and here one needs to be clear, the actual wage many of Fuller's workers received was only half this amount (i.e., about 15 cents) - the other half Fuller deducted from their paychecks for the little bit of ground the workers pitched their tents on]. The California Orange Growers Association, which Fuller headed, refused to bargain.
Supported by local Protestant clergy and the Associated Farmers of California - a grower's organization financially backed by Standard Oil of California - the growers instead pointed to the supposed presence of Communist party members among the organizers of the farm-workers' union. That was all Fuller needed to justify calling in the Orange County sheriff. Four hundred armed deputies descended on the farm-workers' shantytowns with tear gas and clubs. Men, women and children were mercilessly beaten and gassed. Santa Ana, the quiet town where Cam Townsend had biked to high school as a child, was transformed into the site of a "concentration camp," where hundreds and hundreds of workers were herded into a stockade that Fuller had built BEFORE the strike commenced. Fuller, it seems, had actually planned for his use of clubs, guns, tear gas, and his use of concentration camp-like detention centers. The strikers were then marched into court and summarily found guilty by judges and juries who had been "bought and sold" by the growers. They were then jailed: husbands were separated from their wives, and children torn from the arms of their mothers and placed in "receiving homes" where many of them were later "adopted out," despite the anguished cries of their mothers and fathers who had no one to turn to for help.
Fuller repeated this process throughout the 1930s and '40s, not only in his citrus groves, but in his chain of department stores in Santa Ana and Riverside. For example, in the late 1940s Fuller ruthlessly put down a strike at one of his department stores, and after successfully winning the strike against the workers, he sent that portion of the strike fund (about $3,000) that he had not used to Wycliffe as a "Thank-Offering" to God for his success against the workers.
Christian philanthropy founded on the bashed heads of workers - many, if not most of them, fellow-Christians? What an unbelievable disgrace and shame to the NAME of Christ! And this is not some process that ended in the 1930s and '40s - this heartless and cruel system is presently going on now in the "slave-labor camps" established by the corporate elites (and supported by their minions in the Religious Right as well as Protestant missionary groups like WYAM and Wycliffe) in the Philippines, Thailand, Saipan, El Salvador, etc.
Is that where our form of Christianity has taken us? Is that what we are engaged in? - building up the Kingdom of God based on the misery and anguish of the poor? Many CHRISTIANS TODAY SEEM TO FIND NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS - THEY BELIEVE THAT IT'S OKAY TO BASH PEOPLE'S HEADS IN FOR THE SAKE OF CORPORATE PROFITS SO LONG AS THE ONE DOING THE BASHING IS NOT A HOMOSEXUAL, IS AGAINST ABORTION, AND IS FOR "FAMILY VALUES." God help us all if that's the kind of Christianity that we are involved in today!!
The Religious Right claims, and their secular allies in the corporate elites similarly believe, that capitalism is God's ordained economic system for this world - almost as if Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Thomas Malthus were Biblical figures on a par with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, and so forth; and that the system they devised - i.e., capitalism - finds its origins in the Bible and should be adhered to with as much ardor and ebullience as one would adhere to the injunctions of Holy Writ.
But that's utter nonsense! No where in the Bible can one find even the smallest suggestion that the "Dismal Science" of Adam Smith, or the dreary and gloomy economic system that Malthus and Ricardo contrived are biblically based.
This evil and pernicious world of Oliver Twist that Smith, Ricardo and Malthus conceived is entirely a man-made system; it has NOTHING to do with God or the Bible! NOTHING!
The repugnant and even vulgar thought - central to the system of capitalism - that the world should be divided into a management class of "haves" (i.e., the rich) and a laboring class of "have nots" (i.e., the poor) simply does not exist in the Bible. The very real fact of the matter is, the severe and cold "Calvinistic" economic system of Ricardo, Smith and Malthus - based as it is on the Darwinian maxim of "survival of the fittest" in which the most productive are supposed to rise to the top of the economic pecking order and the least productive are supposed to fall to the bottom - is utterly repudiated by the Scripture.
How you say? - through the device of the "Jubilee," a God-ordained mechanism aimed at preventing the untoward accumulation of wealth - central to the system of capitalism - in Old Testament Israeli society. You never heard of this? - well, I'm not surprised! It's not something that the elites of this world or their "toadies" in the Religious Right would find it convenient to talk about too much.
In the Old Testament (in the Book of Leviticus) the land of Israel was to be divided EQUALLY in perpetual allotments to its citizenry. Each family was to receive a roughly equal share of the land. Now the Bible envisioned that in the course of time, some would not do as well as others and, as a result, would have to sell their land and their houses. But every fifty years, the Bible established a "Year of Jubilee" in which everything had to be restored to its original owner:
"And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee (i.e., a time of rejoicing") unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession ... (in other words, everyman in Israel would have his former possessions returned to him).
"A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
"In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession.
"IN THE YEAR OF THE JUBILEE THE FIELD SHALL RETURN UNTO HIM OF WHOM IT WAS BOUGHT, EVEN TO HIM TO WHOM THE POSSESSION OF THE LAND OF THE LAND DID BELONG originally)." (Lev. 25:10-11, 13, 24)
Hardly a system of things that would be approved today by Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and by the "Captains of Industry." How long do you suppose modern capitalism would survive under this kind of system? Not very long I should imagine. And be clear here, this is the only "system of economics" (so to speak) that the Bible ever actually set up - and it's certainly not a capitalist system or a system that would be very much approved by the Rockefellers, the Fords, and the DuPonts of this world. Where is there here any chance for the massive accumulation of wealth by the few at the expense of the many upon which the system of capitalism is so entirely dependent? It doesn't exist! THE PURPOSE OF THESE REGULATIONS WAS TO PREVENT THE ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH BY THE FEW AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MANY - even on a legitimate basis!! That was the spirit behind these regulations and ordinances! - and that is precisely what the SUV Christians of today would no doubt call "Marxist!" Pretty hard to justify the accumulation of wealth that makes possible the gated communities of Yuppie Land-Christians under that system of things, isn't it?
Where is there here the opportunity for the conquest of Africa by the European colonial powers if at the end of fifty years, the British, the Belgians, the French, and the Spanish would have been forced to give back to the original inhabitants of the land the possessions they had stolen, or even legitimately bought - after all, the Bible admitted to no difference here! The land had to be returned! Where is the possibility that Exxon, Shell, BP, etc. could have raped the Iranians, the Iraqis, the Arabians, the Nigerians, etc. of their wealth under such a system. This is definitely not a system the World Bank or the WTO would very much approve of! Certainly not Ford, or GM! Certainly not General Electric or Microsoft! SO MUCH FOR THE THOUGHT THAT THE CAPITALISM PRACTICED BY TODAY'S SECULAR ELITES AND APPROVED OF BY THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT IS SANCTIONED BY THE BIBLE!
Now this is certainly not to say that Marxism is God-ordained either. BUT THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND CHRISTIANS IN GENERAL ARE NOT "DUPED" OR ENTANGLED IN THIS SYSTEM OF ECONOMICS. AND, MOREOVER, AS WE SAID AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS ARTICLE, THE MARXISTS AND THE SOCIALISTS DON'T SPREAD THEIR MISERY IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. BUT THE CAPITALISTS DO.
But if capitalism is not God-ordained, then where did it come from? How did it get so established in the minds of Christians today - especially the stingy and mean-spirited form of it that the Republicans are involved with.
Next time - an answer! Until then, please bear in mind what the "End of the Age" is all about; to a very large extent, it's about MONEY. Specifically, it's about our relationship with it. That's why we are spending so much time on this issue. Our purpose here is not to get you angry with us, but to enlighten you about things you may not want to know about, but which, nonetheless, you need to know as the "end of days" draws near. The Bible says:
"And he (i.e., the "false prophet") causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
"AND THAT NO MAN MIGHT BUY OR SELL, SAVE HE THAT HAD THE MARK or the name of the beast (i.e., the Antichrist), or the number of his name." (Rev. 13:16-17)
Listen, brothers and sisters, these verses are about money, don't let anyone tell you differently!
God bless all of you.