Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Moral Bankruptcy of Fundamentalism - Do So-called 'Bible-believers' Ever Read the Bible?

Sean Gonsalves - Cape Cod Times

04.22.05 - In light of the Bush bankruptcy bill and his repeal of the estate tax, let's examine the phrase "Bible-believing Christians," who we can thank for giving Bush his "mandate."

Supposedly, a "Bible-believing Christian" is a Christian who believes the Bible to be the inerrant and infallible word of God.

It's redundant to call a Christian a Bible believer (all Christianity is Bible-centered). However, in popular dialogue, when someone is identified as such, they mean to indicate they are a particular type of Christian -- a fundamentalist. And though the phrase is a religious one, "Bible believer" is also meant to imply a politically, socially and economically conservative Christian.

But to honor conservative Christians with the title of being "Bible believing" is off the mark. They're fundamentalists all right -- market (not Christian) fundamentalists, obsessed with sexual ethics.

Given "Bible-believers'" deafening silence over a bankruptcy bill that subjects the working-poor to market discipline while doing nothing to hold unethical lending institutions accountable, and their low-key support for the permanent repeal of the estate tax, is blasphemy against the spirit embodied in the very Bible they claim as their guide.

Exodus 22:25-27 speaks of a divine ordinance prohibiting interest charges on money lending. Hebrew and Semitic Language Professor John Gray points out: "The prohibition against interest refers, not to commercial investment, where the interest is simply a share of the borrower's profit, but to exploitation of a poor man's need."

There are 46 million Americans without health insurance, and one of every five children in America are born into poverty. But, under the new bankruptcy laws, if you're one of the millions of working Americans who use credit cards to pay medical bills or food because charity isn't enough, credit card companies can charge usurious interest rates, turning people into debt-slaves.

Wouldn't a Bible-believing Christian call for legislation that, at the very least, outlaws usury?

Exodus 23:10-19 calls for the fields to "lie fallow" every seven years to feed the poor with surplus food. Leviticus 25:8-34 proclaims the "Jubilee year," which called for the cancellation of all debt based on the biblical pronouncement that God is the absolute owner of all property and even though people "own" possessions they're actually mere stewards over God's property.

So while these passages are anti-Communist insofar as private property is acknowledged by the God of the Bible, the scripture advocates for periodic, massive redistribution of wealth to even out the playing field, recognizing the human propensity to use the power wealth affords to exploit the poor, as the book of Proverbs discusses in scripture after scripture.

Speaking of Proverbs, in that collection of wisdom sayings, you'll find several warnings such as: "rob not the poor because he is poor; neither oppress the afflicted in the public square" (Proverbs 22:22).

The thematic focus of all the books of the prophets, from Isaiah to Micah, is God's displeasure with idolatry and oppressing the poor, and the two are often linked.

In the Christian New Testament, Jesus says he came "to preach the gospel to the poor..." and that the nations would be judged according to how "the least of these" have been treated. And don't forget what Jesus told the young rich man who asked how to get into heaven. Sell all your possessions, Jesus told him, and give the proceeds to the poor.

Jesus' eldest brother, James, one of the "pillar" apostles and leader of the Jerusalem Church -- the first Christian Church to ever exist -- sent the apostle Paul out to collect money for the poor (Acts 15) and, in his epistle, he speaks on this issue with real moral clarity.

"Go now, you rich men, weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted...."

None of this is to say that God is a Marxist or that capitalism has been divinely rebuked, but it does point to an ethical spirit that is being mocked today by the very people who claim to be "Bible believers."

Though such social sin is a cause for lamentation, true Bible believers have faith that justice will eventually "roll down like waters" because "whoever blocks his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry, but will not be heard" (Proverbs 21:13).

"Bible-believing" market fundamentalists, consider yourselves warned.

(c) 2005, Cape Cod Times



Sean is only scratching the surface. The number of times the Bible commands us to feed the poor, help the poor, care for the oppressed, etc. is staggering. The number of policies that the Bush Administration has implemented that violate the commands of God should be a red flag to anyone who is a true Christian that the President is a thorn bush masquerading as a grape vine or a thistle masquerading as fig tree (see Jesus’ words in Mat 7:16-23 for more information on knowing others by their fruit rather than by what they say in public about being Christian).


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