TODAY'S POOR: Out of sight, out of mind.
The difference between today's depression and the depression of the 1930s (i.e., the "Great Depression") is that today's depression is largely out of sight -- and that means OUT OF MIND, at least to those who still hold a job.
During the 1930s, the depression was there for everyone to see.
That's not so today. Those suffering the effects of today's depression are hidden below freeway under-passes and in poverty-stricken neighborhoods these same freeways bypass; or they are "buried" in the basements of a relative's home. Moreover, those receiving food assistance have been "secreted away" in plain sight in grocery check-out lines holding food stamps that most "ordinary" people pretend not to see.
This kind of "studied" and very "purposeful" blindness allows Christians today to "buy into" the same belief system that President George Bush (II) annunciated while still governor of Texas:
Now stop for a moment and take notice of what Bush was saying here. Note the clever way Bush intermingled MORAL failure and words that connote unethical lifestyles (e.g., "crime," "prisons," "blame," etc.) with FINANCIAL failure (e.g., phrases like, "... the new culture said: if people are poor, the government should feed them. If someone has no house, the government should provide one," etc.) as if the two were one and the same thing; as if financial failure (i.e., poverty) equals MORAL failure.
THIS IS NO ACCIDENT! It is a shrewdly designed stratagem that has been used over the years again and again by the rich to inculcate into the minds of average people the thought that FINANCIAL failure (i.e., poverty - which the rich presume is tantamount to financial failure) results from a MORAL breakdown; and that FINANCIAL success results from MORAL integrity.
HOW CONVENIENT FOR THE RICH! - and it goes a long way in justifying the harsh changes in the bankruptcy laws that Bush proposed in 2001, changes that have had the effect of REDUCING A GREAT PORTION OF OUR POPULATION TO A CONDITION APPROACHING "INDENTURED SERVITUDE" TO COMPANIES LIKE VISA, MASTER CARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, AND BANKS LIKE WELLS FARGO, BANK OF AMERICA, CITICORP, CHASE, etc.
Think about it! - if financial failure can be successfully linked to moral turpitude in the eyes of the public, then it makes it all the easier for the elites to impose the austere measures they feel are necessary to bring the debtor class "to heel." And if the Bible can be brought to bear on these scofflaws, so much the better. The truth is, if Christians can be enlisted to bash in the heads of the poor, the banks and credit card companies can seize the moral "high ground" in their uncharitable, hard-hearted efforts at "debt collection."
Wow! - who said it was impossible to squeeze blood out of a turnip? With the help of the Christian community, a "miracle" in this direction may not be all that impossible! Wow! What a marvelous religion - and so much more comfortable and self-assuring than the old biblical kind of Christianity that so RUDELY insisted that -
Think about it: a religion that so elegantly contradicts (or at least neutralizes) verses like Matthew 6:24, and by doing so, saying that, "You can have your cake and eat it too;" a religion that justifies the rich in their wealth, and excuses them in the miserable way they treat the poor. NOW THAT IS THE KIND OF RELIGION THAT CAN MAKE THE MOGULS OF WALL STREET AND THEIR "TOADIES" IN THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT SIT UP AND NOTICE.
But Christians who participate in such a religion, those who misuse the Scriptures for their own selfish ambitions and purposes, will someday pay a heavy price. Life doesn't go on forever. There comes an end, and after that, the judgment. It's not without reason, therefore, that the Bible warns:
Christians today would be well advised to beware of such an evil form of Christianity. Sadly, this is EXACTLY the kind of Christianity from which my twin brother refuses to break in any kind of MEANINGFUL way; and this is EXACTLY the kind of Christianity that many of the churches and ministries that Richard Paradise advertises on his News Tract website. Moreover, the Christians who subscribe to this mindset are EXACTLY the kind of Christians to whom Dene McGriff is peddling his "get-rich-quick" MLM scams.
The numbers are staggering, 31.8 million Americans receiving food stamps and 697,000 individuals added to the unemployment lines; these numbers have not been seen since the Great Depression. In the 1930s the foods line extended for blocks in most urban areas; today, the food lines are part of the grocery lines in every neighborhood across America.
According to Reuters, "The previous record for food stamp enrollment was 31.6 million last September, which included "disaster" stamps for states hit by hurricanes and floods." Today that number has been surpassed; even with government bailouts totaling close to $3 trillion, the U.S. economy is in freefall and the lines for food stamps and unemployment benefits continue to climb.
The nation may not see the food lines that were seen in the 1930s; however, the numbers are there. In Los Angeles County, 2.2 million people are receiving public assistance payments or benefits; one out of every five people living in the county. Texas had the largest enrollment for food stamps at 3.5 million, and Ohio had a 3.4 percent increase with 1.26 million people receiving food stamps.
In the 1930s huge food lines were "out in the open" where everyone could see (top two pictures); today the food lines are almost as big - but they are no longer "out in the open" where everyone can see, but they are in grocery-store check out lines and at "hidden away" food pantries run by charitable organizations. All this gives the appearance that things are not as bad as in the 1930s, but that's merely a contrived deception.
Americans have not seen such a demand for public assistance since the 1930s. Today, the number of those that are unemployed and under-employed nationwide could well exceed 60 million Americans - which approaches the numbers seen during the Great Depression - BUT ALL THIS IS HIDDEN FROM THE "PUBLIC EYE." OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND insofar as those who still have a job.
Riverside County and San Bernardino County, two counties east of Los Angeles, may well be in a mild depression. Both counties have unemployment exceeding 10.2 percent [24 percent in real numbers - please see our article, "A Permanent 30% Unemployment Rate for the United States."]
Moreover, the lines for public assistance continue to grow as both counties are impacted by the downturn in the building and construction industry. Presently hundreds of thousands of jobs seekers remain out of work and many are traveling to neighboring counties to take low paying jobs or part-time employment. Just to make ends meet, many residents are seeking public assistance.
The recent government bailouts have failed to jump start the economy and has failed to create jobs and many economic experts believe any benefits from the bailouts may not be seen for many years. In February, the government told the nation that things would get worse before getting better; for millions of working class people, things are getting worse by the day.
Nonetheless, the government is optimistic that the U.S. economy will rebound by the end of 2010; however, most economists believe that the country is headed towards more misery and poverty.
Brothers and sisters, there is no escaping this dynamic. IT IS WRITTEN INTO THE PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES, and - hence - written in stone.
Make no mistake about it! - Economic catastrophe is coming. And it is aimed at you; the Bible does not leave us in the dark with regard to this matter. Revelation 6:5-6 reads:
Again I say, YOU CANNOT ESCAPE THIS DYNAMIC; the only question is, How will you react to it? Will you be able to say with the prophet Habakkuk -
Do you love Jesus in this way? - or do you love Him because he secures you from poverty, he provides you with a spouse who loves you, a house to live in, a visa and a master card, a new car to drive around in, and so forth. You say no! - that you love Him in the same way that the Prophet Habakkuk loved God. Oh, really? - we'll see! We'll see. It's not what you say that counts, but what you do!