Skip to main content

Conservative Christian American’s believe that God blesses these United States, an exceptional nation that stands as Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill to the rest of the world. Because free enterprise is the American Way, most right wing Christians presume that the liberty of unhindered capitalism and low taxes must be the godliest economic arrangement available to humankind. And because the Bible is God’s word, scripture has to describe private enterprise as His gift to the world. The belief that the one God is procapital has become a key weapon the right deploys to oppose that which is not in accord with the libertarianism advocated by Ayn Rand --who has become a favorite of leading right-wingers despite her being a convinced atheist. If the perfect creator of the universe is for unrestrained free markets, how dare any decent American be for anything that smacks of ungodly socialism? Conversely, only god free atheists could concoct socialist systems that demand the death of those who refuse to comply with the evil that is communalism. This is a favorite theme of many Tea Partiers as they furiously denounce the Democrats, liberals and progressives as them secular collectivists who hate the individual liberty the Lord gave us.

In order to understand the problems with the faith that the Christian God is on the side of capital, we have to look at the Bible. The Hebrew Testaments do not discuss modern capitalism, which did not exist at the time. The economics such as they are described are feudalistic, with forced labor playing such a key role in God’s system that how to treat and punish slaves is detailed at length. Wealth is sometimes praised as the result of God’s favor among the worthy, other passages warn of the dangers to piety posed by the secular enticements of prosperity. A particular passage, in Exodus, makes God sound Marxian; "This is what the Lord has commanded: Gather of it.... as much as you can eat.... And the people of Israel did so; they gathered some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to what he could eat." In any case the Old Testaments apply particularly to the Jewish peoples. For the views of the Christian deity described in the Bible we must refer to the New Testaments. Capitalist Christians must try to infer that their scriptures promote capitalism because they do not do so directly. In the Gospels Christ does not detail any economic scheme, he does put emphasis on helping the poor, reinforces the difficulties that the rich face in accessing heaven, and instruct followers to pay their taxes.

It is in the post-Gospel testaments that the ideal Christian economic system is described. Immediately following the life and death of Jesus, Acts is an account of the earliest Christian community. The chapter states that "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had... There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Joseph... sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles feet." The passages make it clear that the God of the Christian Testaments has not the slightest opposition to full blown socialism. This is one reason why the Catholic Church – check out Benedict’s new encyclical Caritas in Veritate -- as well liberal Christians, cast a skeptical eye upon capital. How do theoconservatives who want all to think God is dead set against collectivism cope with Acts? One method is to not mention the passages, counting on believers to be ignorant of what the Bible actually says as surveys show many are (while surveys show that atheists know it better), or that many read the Bible in a selective manner that arbitrarily dismisses uncomfortable passages. Others pretend that Biblical socialism is voluntary, so it is fine to be a Christian libertarian. Not only does this tactic fail to render socialism ungodly as many on the right want it to be, it ignores certain passages that leave no doubt that the God of the Christian Bible is head over heels for socialism. Passages so unambiguous – and so chilling – that I have yet to find an example of a Christian conservative who cites them.

Acts goes on to detail how a married couple that fails to turn over all their property to the church are instantly killed, instilling compliance through terror, "Great fear seized the whole church and those had heard about these events." Far from allowing that Christians can be anti-socialists if they so choose, the Christian Testament God considers Christians who do not fully participate in the love of socialism worthy of death, and presumably hell -- the book never has God killing followers for failing to be good entrepreneurs. This rather Leninist Biblical world view should not be surprising because collectivist action is integral to Christian salvation -- all true believers are compelled by the Great Commission to actively recruit new members in order to increase the masses who ascend to heaven. If we are to really take the Bible seriously then a Good Christian is a Socialist Christian, and those who deny this scriptural truth are heretics. Also contradictory to the opinion that the Christian part of the Bible is all for economic liberty, or for progressive policies for that matter, is how it endorses slavery. Jesus never objects to the institution but does say disobedient slaves are cut to pieces, a whole chapter (Philemon) is about Paul returning a Christian slave to his rightful master, and the New Testaments repeatedly instruct slaves to obey and fear their masters as they would God.

It is not just scripture that demands that followers of Jesus keep their distance from capital, the real world is proving that Christians who embrace the economics of Adam Smith are not doing their faith a favor. Christianity is imploding in the 1st world, with majorities in some western democracies being atheists and agnostics. Although America remains the most Christian 1st world country, survey data indicates that nontheists have tripled since the 1960s, and may make up a fifth of the population, while Christians are down to three quarters of the population, and major conservative denominations begin the shed numbers (Bible literalism has sunk from four to three in ten in a few decades while scripture skeptics have more than doubled). Sociological research I am contributing to shows that the corporate-consumer popular culture is playing an important role in secularizing America ( Prior to World War I the mainstream popular culture was owned by the religious right that imposed strict social and moral codes via a combination of cultural pressure and draconian laws. Today the right has been driven into a subculture that is chronically unable to regain the highly secularized and culturally tolerant majority. Capitalism is a socially radicalizing, Darwinistic survival of the fittest affair that wrecks traditionalism -- it being the priority of profit focused capitalists and entrepreneurs to transform the culture by converting citizens from frugal, pious, church going traditionalists to free spending, materialistic, sex, sports, violence and celebrity obsessed consumers who go into interest paying debt to sustain their hedonistic lifestyles, and spend Sundays shopping rather than observing the Sabbath (thus the repeal of the Puritanical Blue Laws at the behest of the retailers). The vast irreligious entertainment complex that has found traditional religion to be ratings poison is a corporate project.

The larger problem with the American Exceptionalism that the likes of Palin, Beck, O’Reilly and Coulter adore is that it is too often exceptional in the wrong way ( No other advanced democracy has homicide or incarceration rates anywhere close to ours, or cities so riven with crime. The US now has the highest adult and juvenile mortality rates in the 1st world, partly because lifespans are actually decreasing in parts of the Bible belt -- a frightening development similar to that seen in Russia. Nor are Americans the tallest anymore. A new study in Health Affairs finds that the superior health of other first worlders cannot be attributed to lower levels of obesity, smoking, homicide and accidents, but is largely due to their universal care systems that cost far less per person that does ours. Levels of abortion, teen pregnancy and some STD infections are exceptionally high, sometimes spectacularly so. Few other westerners divorce more rapidly than Americans, or use illicit drugs as often. Levels of mental health are poor. The least religious part of America, the northeast, has the least social ills. In the online Evolutionary Psychology I published statistical analyses that show America’s poor social performance cannot be attributed to unusual levels of ethnic diversity or immigration -- something is wrong at a more fundamental level. Nor is America financially healthy, this low tax nation has higher personal and public debt loads than some progressive regions, such as Germany and Scandinavia, and it is no longer the upper mobility job generator it used to be. Even the World Economic Forum no longer ranks the U.S. as the most competitive (; one of the socialistic countries that ranks higher is, well, Sweden, which like some other Euronations still has a vibrant industrial base.

What this nation needs to do is stop making empty right wing boasts about our superiority, realize we have grievous problems, and understand what has gone wrong and why. A large and growing body of socioeconomic research explains the why. Basically, America is too socioeconomically Darwinistic compared to other 1st world democracies. One of the most extraordinary – yet little noted – contradictions of modern times is how the religious right that vehemently opposes the evolutionary science initiated by Darwin has embraced the extreme and Darwinian financial theories advocated by Ayn Rand (whose adoring protégé was Alan Greenspan). Hello all you ant-Socialist anti-Darwin theoconservatives, Darwinian economics is anti-socialist! When capital is let loose to do whatever those with capital want, the system quickly devolves into an enormous complex of legal but unsustainable pyramid schemes designed to transfer wealth from the lower and especially middles classes up to the elites. The resulting concentration of wealth in the small upper class, the large portion of the population with inadequate financial resources, and the lack of low cost, universal health care are undermining the social and physical health of Americans, while severely damaging the economy and industrial base. Theoconservative social policies are also backfiring. The abstinence only sex education they favor suppresses the use of protection with adverse results.

The Christian right is in a terrible theopolitical bind. They are blasphemously anti-Biblical when they claim that the God of the New Testaments hates socialism and adores capital, and the alliance between theoconservatives and corporate interests has proven to be a deal with a corporate devil that is helping secularize societies as it pours lucre into the accounts of the wealthy elite that worships at the alter of the gods of money. But what are conservative Christians to do? If they adopt the socialism of the Christian Bible then they will reject the American Way they so love and admire -- the last thing modern Christians conservatives want to do is live communal, property free lives like the early Christians in full accord with the socialist friendly Christian God. And if the religious right breaks its collaboration with capital then the theocon minority will lose what political power they have. So they cannot and will not admit the error of their ways. What Americans who are not libertarian Christians -- from more liberal followers of Jesus to atheists -- need to do is to denounce their claim that the God of the Bible wants us all to be libertarian capitalists is a heretical ploy intended to control the debate by invoking the authority of a God that is not found even in the Bible.

As for who to blame for the crimes of communism, let us realize that the first description of socialism enforced by death is found in the Bible, the basic scheme is an invention of Judeo-Christianity. May well be that’s where Marx go the idea in the first place. So knock blaming secularists for that turkey idea. And when a ConservoChristian does blame secularism throw the Bible right back at them.  

Now, here’s what I don’t get. Why are progressives not every day and in every way making a big deal of how your average theoconservative procapitalist antisocialist, antievolution Christian is rejecting the very socialism his or her Bible demands she or he follow, while he or she demands all accept Darwinian economics? It is the super contradiction of the right to beat all contradictions of the right. It should be standard fare on Olbermann and Maddow on so forth. Lawrence O’Donnell, for instance, is trying to relegitimize the term by pointing out that America is already socialist in the way is runs its military, police force, fire departments, Social Security/Medicare ( e-police-and-fire-departments). So Rachel, Keith, Lawrence, get to it and regularly debunk conservative opposition to socialism by pointing out that it is the Biblical, Christian way.  

Originally posted to Gregory Paul on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 07:15 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Anything under the sun can be supported (6+ / 0-)

    or refuted using the Bible.  Monarchy, slavery, capitalism, socialism, war, peace, domestic abuse, child abuse, polygamy, monogamy, racism, anti-semitism, anything.  

    The problem with True Believers is that they believe that God supports their particular prejudices and beliefs because of "evidence" in the Bible, despite rational argument and even contradictory Biblical "evidence."  

    "Right wing freak machine" General Wes Clark

    by Tracker on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 07:20:47 AM PST

  •  Where I grew up (4+ / 0-)

    the debate was always is it possible to be both a Conservative and a Christian.

    There was never any doubt that Jesus, as portrayed in the Bible, was left of center on just about everything.

    The rise of the Christian Right in this country is symptomatic of just how critical analysis skills and the resultant healthy skepticism have all but disappeared from American life.

    This errosion is, of course, no accident, but that is a diary on its own.

    Sanctimonious, Self Satisfied, Liberal and Proud.

    by stevej on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 07:21:27 AM PST

  •  my response to these people (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lcrp, wayoutinthestix, ahumbleopinion

    no matter what they are yapping about is this:

    "Why do you hate Jesus? Why do you make a point of ignoring what He told you to do? You refuse His teachings, then you refuse Christ. Don't argue with me, all you're doing is arguing with the words of Christ that are written in the Bible. I'm just telling you what's there. There is no argument or rationalizing. Period. If you are going to claim to be a Christian, then treat you fellow man like Jesus told you to do. Walk the talk."

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 07:29:14 AM PST

  •  The short answer: They aren't Christians (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, allergywoman

    Andrew Sullivan calls them "Christianists".  I don't think that capitalization is appropriate in this case.

    If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.

    Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

    by godwhataklutz on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 07:30:21 AM PST

  •  I think you conflate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Christian charity with a governmental system(socialism).

    One is voluntary based on love, the other compelled using the force of law.

    & Ananias died not for failure to be a good socialist, but for lying to God.

    why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.  

    And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

    It has been observed that socialism leads to less private charity. Europe is far less charitable than the US despite similar wealth.

    A mentality arises of, Why should i help my neighbor out in need when i know the government has a program to do it.

    •  and for just that reason (laws not charity) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tristan57, Larsstephens, allergywoman

      the poor are MUCH better off in Europe than in the US.

      Ici s´arrète la loi.

      by marsanges on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 07:54:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I imagine you have evidence (0+ / 0-)

        And not all charity stays within national borders. As my foster children in Kenya and the Philippines can attest.

        •  Yes, there is ample evidence. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tristan57, Larsstephens, allergywoman

          Start with infant mortality rate comparisons.

          The community of fools might be small if it were not such an accomplished proselytizer.

          by ZedMont on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:04:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Those are problematic (0+ / 0-)

            as different countries use different definitions.


            The exclusion of any high-risk infants from the denominator or numerator in reported IMRs can be problematic for comparisons. Many countries, including the United States, Sweden or Germany, count an infant exhibiting any sign of life as alive, no matter the month of gestation or the size, but according to United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) researchers,[6] some other countries differ in these practices.

            And of course reflects many differences, dietary environmental, age, abortion rates. Are all countries equally likely to attempt to bring a problematic pregnancy to term?

            Plenty of confounding factors there.

    •  Tipped, not for agreement, but (0+ / 0-)

      for contribution to keeping conversation active.

    •  Do you think that all the social laws (3+ / 0-)

      in the Old Testament are about private charity, and not about a 'governmental system'? I don't think so. Admittedly, comparisons can be difficult, because the 'state' was so much more rudimentary in early Israel than it is today. But consider:

      Exodus 23:6 Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

      Exodus 23:11 ...but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

      Leviticus 19:15 Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.

      Leviticus 23:22 When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.

      Deuteronomy 24:15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.

      Psalm 35:10 My whole being will exclaim,
        "Who is like you, LORD?
      You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
        the poor and needy from those who rob them."

      Proverbs 22:22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court,

      Isaiah 3:14 The LORD enters into judgment
        against the elders and leaders of his people:
      "It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
        the plunder from the poor is in your houses.

      None of these things sound to me like 'private charity'. This is the law.

      •  Now, you may say: (3+ / 0-)

        "Christians are no longer bound under the Old Testament law". Three comments:

        1. Jesus tells us to go beyond the law in love towards our neighbor
        1. The fact that Christians are not judged by the God's law in Christ does not mean that they are not subject to ordinary civil law.
        1. If such poor laws as I cite above were good enough for God's people in ancient Israel, it is hard to argue that their modern analogs are anti-Christian today.
  •  Are there teachings from Christ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That says the people should be required to pay money to their government (at that time the Roman Empire) so the government could help those in need?

    The parts I am familiar with are individual voluntary acts of charity.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 07:38:43 AM PST

    •  It was voluntary in the same sense as being (0+ / 0-)

      Christian was voluntary.  They were one and the same.  And these were not token acts of charity, they were life-altering, for both the giver and the recipient.

      The community of fools might be small if it were not such an accomplished proselytizer.

      by ZedMont on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:07:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's the saying (0+ / 0-)

      render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's, which has generally been read as an endorsement of paying taxes to the Roman Empire.

      More recent scholarship, however, has located the saying in light of the discourses of colonized people, where you say things that sound one way to the colonizer, and another way to the colonized.  In that light, the saying actually establishes the illegitimacy of Caesar, by highlighting that everything properly belongs to God, and nothing properly belongs to Caesar.

  •  It was not always so (6+ / 0-)

    There was a time in this country when Christian conservatives were more likely than not to be pro-labor and anti-capitalist.  From the late 1800s right up until the 1920s, the Democrats were the party of labor, the (white) poor, social (overwhelmingly Christian) conservatism.  The Republicans were the pro-business party, then as now, but they were also the socially liberal party, as well as the party that was much friendlier to minorities.  Indeed, most blacks voted Republican right up until the election of FDR.  The three-time Democratic candidate for president, William Jennings Bryan, would almost certainly be a Republican today based on his social views (recall that he was the prosecutor arguing against evolution in the Scopes Monkey Trial).

    The civil rights movement, of course, changed all that, and the Republicans were able to co-opt the conservative Christian vote.  Now the party is run by a coalition of corporatists and Christian fundamentalists.  The question is how long that coalition can last?  Sooner or later the agendas of these two groups are likely to collide, and what then?

    There is an excellent book about the conservative Christian takeover of the Republican party called Republican Gomorrah.  I highly recommend it.

    By the way, there remains in this country a small subset of Christian socialists.  I myself know two, both of whom are ardent in both their faith and in their belief that capitalism is inherently evil.  Although I am an atheist, and dismiss their religious beliefs as superstitious nonsense, still it is somewhat heartening to know that not every Christian buys into the party line.

    "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." - Kodos

    by Jon Stafford on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 07:39:49 AM PST

  •  Recently an atheist group in Texas bought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirkster42, ahumbleopinion

    an ad that was placed on the side of city buses and which said "Millions of Americans are Good without God."

    Of course there was bible belt outrage at the very thought.  

    The bus company decided they would permit no more religious advertising on their buses, pro or con.  

    oops.  The atheist group could not be happier.  Their ad succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.  From now on, public transportation in Fort Worth will be secular.

    That seems counterintuitive, doesn't it?

    Here's what would REALLY do some good - or damage - depending on your viewpoint.  Buy billboard ads that contain nothing more than "inconvenient" scriptures such as are mentioned here.  Nothing more.

    The schadenfreude will be excruciatingly sweet as the religious right tries to squirm their way around them.

    And some people, for the first time, will be exposed to the religion as it was intended to be.

    The community of fools might be small if it were not such an accomplished proselytizer.

    by ZedMont on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:02:25 AM PST

  •  I get your point (0+ / 0-)

    without having to read much of the diary. Since the Bible was written, capitalism came along and a lot of people found that they liked the idea; true to form, the more successful among them used whatever means they could find to justify their success.

    The next time manna falls from heaven, though, I'll definitely share it with everybody who doesn't have enough.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:08:47 AM PST

  •  In Texas, in the 1970s... (4+ / 0-)

    Evangelicals on college campuses were preached at by big congregation podium pounders on the wayward trend that the progressive reforms of the sixties were creating.  When impressionable kids went down front to become born again, they were then pulled into a long series of discussions which created a lifetime mission, which was to use the family fortune for The Work, which was to get America back from the clutches of Liberalism and put it on the Righteous Path.

    These people have no been at it for some 40 years.  Family fortunes are not inconsiderable.  We are talking oil millionaires and billionaires, as well as plastics and chemical companies from places like Houston.  There is enough money to sustain the careers of whole armies of PR professionals and think tank academics.

    The marriage of convenience between evangelical true believers and big money corporate agenda promoters works because they are on different levels.  Big money is completely amoral.  True Believers are willing to bend according to the Agenda.

    Thus, Christianity, in this marriage of convenience is twisted into something that is not in the Bible.  It is in the minds of the Bible thumpers and is really the Gospel According to Rove.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:10:13 AM PST

  •  The sociological approach (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, DrTerwilliker

    to these doctrinal questions was elegantly laid out a little over a century ago with Max Weber's the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he argues that the rise of Protestantism--and, in particular, Calvinist theology--and capitalism in transition from an agriculture-based economy to an industrial one complemented each other.  

    If salvation is no longer assured through the agency of a middleman priest, how can one know that one's everyday activity comports with God's will?  Why, through the accumulation of wealth while here on earth, of course.  This also anticipates what is today termed the "prosperity gospel", e.g., Joyce Meyer, et. al.  I highly recommend Weber's book to anyone interested in these questions.

    A petty criminal is someone with predatory instincts but insufficient capital to form a corporation.

    by stlsophos on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:10:59 AM PST

    •  This is the Source for a lot of this... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DrTerwilliker, stlsophos

      There have been for some time, preachers who raise money by going to the deathbeds of the most wealthy oil barons and telling them that they reason that their hard scrabble dry land farm becamse a source of great wealth was that God considered them to be among the Elect.  This made them an instrument of God's will on earth.  Thus, bequests of many millions have founded conservative missions directed by these preachers.

      More of it at the service of Calvinistic concepts, such as the idea that the poor are the poor because they deserve to be and money should not be wasted interfering in God's plan.  It should be given to the Elect, who are instruments of God's Will and are Righteous and therefore have judgement that shouldn't be subject to question.  

      If this begins to sound like the Republican platform, it isn't a coincidence.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:16:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A few points (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    memiller, ahumbleopinion

    This is simply innaccurate:

    Prior to World War I the mainstream popular culture was owned by the religious right that imposed strict social and moral codes via a combination of cultural pressure and draconian laws.

    For example, Prohibition is probably the best example of what you're talking about.  However, the motivation for Prohibition wasn't simply "cultural conservatism."  The most important driving force for temperance was Methodist women, who identified alcohol as the prime culprit in domestic violence.  For nineteenth-century temperance activists, the prohibition of alcohol was generally seen as part of a larger fabric that was explicitly feminist and socialist.  You can see the radical demands mainstream churches advocated in the platform of the Methodist Episcopal Church from 1908:

       The Methodist Episcopal Church stands

           * For equal righs and complete justice for all men in all stations of life.
           * For the principle of conciliation and arbitration in industrial dissensions.
           * For the protection of the worker from dangerous machinery, occupational diseases, injuries and mortality.
           * For the abolition of child labor.
           * For such regulation of the conditions of labor for women as shall safeguard the physical and moral health of the community.
           * For the suppression of the "sweating system."
           * For the gradual and reasonable reduction of the hours of labor to the lowest practical point, with work for all, and for that degree of leisure for all which is the condition of the highest human life.
           * For a release from employment one week in seven. [!!!]
           * For a living wage in every industry.
           * For the highest wage that each industry can afford, and for the most equitable division of the products of industry that can ultimately be devised.
           * For the recognition of the Golden Rule and the mind of Christ as the supreme law of society and the sure remedy for all social ills.

       Quoted by Rosemary Radford Ruether, The Radical Kingdom: The Western Experience of Messianic Hope, diaried here

    Also, the second you say this

    the Christian God

    or this

    For the views of the Christian deity

    or even this

    the Christian part of the Bible

    you sound like you're arguing from hypotheticals, not a shared faith, which will lose you some of your desired audience members.  The core idea of monotheism is that God isn't reducible to human constructions, so that the idea of "the Christian deity" is a non-starter.  From a faith perspective, you can offer a Christian or Jewish or Hindu witness to the only deity (most Hindus would agree that the diversity of Gods relates back to a primordial unity), but to place God in the box circumscribed by human religions is literal idolatry.

    The direct answer to your question is that biblical scholars have long recognized that all interpretations of the Bible involve an interaction between the text and the reader, who inevitably has interpretive filters.  This is one of the reasons for group Bible study - which at its worst forces the party line on everyone, but at its best lets different vantage points shed different insights on the text.  That the conservative interpretive filters are butting up against what the text actually says is evident in the conservative Bible project, which simply excises anything radical from the Bible.  For some good accounts of the reader as integral to the meaning of the Bible, see J. Severino Croatto, Biblical Hermeneutics: Toward a Theory of Reading as the Production of Meaning and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation.

    Finally, the most forceful argument along the lines your advocating has been made by Jose Porfiro Miranda in Marx and the Bible: A Critique of the Philosophy of Oppression and Communism in the Bible.

  •  Tipped and Rec'd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I like the arguments of this diary, as I've been making them in my personal encounters for quite some time.  Keep at it :)

  •  Taking a guess here - because theyre douchbags? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Who hide behind a smattering of out of context Bible verses they read on quilting samplers that give them  excuses for cruel, selfish, racist behavior and make them feel all special and annointed at the same time?
    Hows that?

  •  Easy Answer. They are Hypocrits! (0+ / 0-)

    Not to mention a bunch of Rules-obsessed Pharisees.

    These people assert that they are "Filled with The Spirit" of God-sounds like blasphemy to me.

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 08:34:21 AM PST

  •  But you aren't quoting the right Bible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The new far-Right ConservaBible(tm) has all that leftist, commie, pinko stuff edited out. Jesus rode a raptor and carried an M-16 to kill liberals with!

    Didn't you get the memo?

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

    by QuestionAuthority on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 09:00:22 AM PST

  •  Where in the Bible would (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they find support for the idea that the needs of the poor and sick should be denied until the rich have had their fill? That the rich should receive the first fruits of the harvest?

    Against logic there is no armor like ignorance. - Dr. Laurence J. Peter

    by ahumbleopinion on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 09:05:39 AM PST

  •  Considering they're willing to rewrite (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Bible to support their economic theories, they don't really believe in it.

    On Sara Palin: "That an Idiot." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 10:22:18 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site