Sunday, February 14, 2010

Godly Economics


Pastor Bob has more to say on the subject here: "Economic Principles: Gleanings from Genesis"

I know a lot of folks don’t think God belongs in any discussion of economics and that’s fine, but we live in a country where snake-oil salesmen (and women) peddle a bastardized version of Christianity in which we all worship Free Market Jesus, and they think this is appropriate public policy.

You know, people like crackpot Gary North (let’s hope he knows more about economics than he does theology). Or Ralph Reed and his “Faith & Freedom Coalition,” which touts free markets right along side limited government, lower taxes, aid to Israel and oh, yeah, helping the poor among its founding principles. Dude, that don’t ad up.

(And why are these groups always coalitions? Coalitions of what? Idiots?)

Indeed as some astute observers have noted, the GOP’s sole idea for pulling us out of the economic abyss they placed us in seems to be prayer for Divine intervention.

Excuse me for calling these phonies out by name, but it just seems to me that so few of these people have actually read the Bible--and I mean the whole thing, not just the parts that conveniently support their politics. So for this I turn to my friend the reverend, aka Pastor Bob, for a look at what a Biblical economic plan really looks like.

Do read the whole post for an education on what the Bible says about how nations should run their economies. And then look at our supposed "Christian nation," and the policies that right wing Christians have espoused for decades, and see if you don't notice a wee bit of an inconsistency. I do:
First of all, the entire land belonged to God: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” Pious, empty-sounding religious words? No, an economic principle: All land, and its produce, belong to God. No property is private. It was God who made sure each family had an inheritance on it. In acknowledgement of this, they were called upon to offer tithes. Not only that, they were forbidden to fence off their lands, and were not allowed to go over their fields a second time after harvesting, and the same was true of the grape vines: “you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: for you were aliens in Egypt.”

Wonder what Sarah Palin or Ralph Reed would say to a Washington economic policy which looked like that? They’d cry “wall of separation” so fast your head would spin.

Pastor Bob goes on:

Next came the matter of debt, and here the rule was very simple: All debts were to be forgiven every seven years. Period.

Many years and much watering down later, we now begrudgingly allow some debts to be released, maybe once in a person’s lifetime, with that event a blot on their economic record that lasts at least seven years. And I am willing to bet that a lot of “Bible-believing” Christians are pretty sure that anyone who takes advantage of this provision is a victim of his or her own moral failure, and ought to be ashamed.

Now, along with requiring all creditors to release the obligations of all debtors once every seven years, without exception, the biblical law also expressly prohibited the accumulation of extreme wealth:
“Woe to those who add house to house, and field to field!”

Christian America, are you listening? To implement this, there was a provision that once every fifty years (seven periods of seven) any family who had sold their own homestead to pay off debts would have that property returned to them, free and clear. This was expressly to prevent the accumulation of wealth by some at the cost of the permanent impoverishment of others.

Wow, we sure don’t hear that economic policy espoused by the so-called Christians in the Republican party.

Gee, I wonder why.

As Pastor Bob says, he’s just reading his Bible. Maybe some other folks who claim to espouse Biblical beliefs should do so as well.