The church has been in an incestuous and rather evil relationship with the worship of wealth and unfettered capitalism for a long time. Unfettered capitalism has become a religion in its own right. Preachers promoting the health and wealth doctrine
and evangelical leaders attracted to Randians like Paul Ryan have abdicated their duty to humanity over wealth.
Pope Francis may turn out to be the loudest and most effective critic of unfettered capitalism with his stinging rebuke. One must wonder why it is taking so long for the Christian class as a whole to speak out.
Many evangelical pastors are attempting to validate capitalism as some God divined economic decree. Texas pastor of Word of Life Church David Hope is one of those. He wrote an essay in the Kingwood Observer that would give Pope Francis heartburn. The piece titled “Jesus is not a socialist” attempted to justify the severe inequities of unfettered capitalism as well as to promote it.
David Hope justifies a very unequal pie with the following.
Capitalism is like the kingdom of God. Everyone has an opportunity to make it to the top, but there won’t be equal outcomes. When government tries to manufacture equal outcomes, it brings everyone down. As people concentrate on the sizes of the pieces of the pie, the pie just keeps getting smaller. All the pieces get smaller and equal outcomes are still not achieved.
Hope’s simplistic statement does not take into account that those with inherited or ill-gained capital have a built in advantage. Barring redistribution through taxes or some other method, it is unsustainable.
The pastor then makes a very astonishingly false statement based on todays reality.
Capitalism is the most compassionate system. Capitalism is the best way to reduce poverty. It gives every man a chance to succeed, and it promotes wealth into the hands of those who serve others and have a heart to give to those less fortunate.
It increases individual wealth, thus allowing individuals to give out of their increase. God has designed the needs of the poor to be met by Christians, not by the government. Government’s bureaucratic shuffling of wealth accomplishes nothing.
This type of thinking can be found throughout the evangelical realm in the United States. It has taken too much long for the Christian class to speak up about the destruction unfettered capitalism has rendered on the poor, the environment, and the world as a whole. The beloved pope has blasted the door wide open with his justifiable attack.
Pope Francis released his 84 page apostolic exhortation in which he states that unfettered capitalism is “a new tyranny”. He implies that God demands that the wealthy share their wealth. He makes an important connection for those who profess to abide by the commandments. He uses the ‘Thou shalt not kill’ commandment in an ingeniously practical manner. If you promote an economy that is causing people to die, you are killing. This means you violate that commandment.
The pope illustrated how unfettered capitalism has become more important than caring for humanity. He says, "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
The pope is calling for a overhaul of the economic and financial system. He acknowledges that the unequal distribution of wealth will lead to violence. He makes a very important observation and statement are probative.
"As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems," he wrote.
Denying this was simple populism, he called for action "beyond a simple welfare mentality" and added: "I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor."
The words of Pope Francis on the current economic system should not be taken for granted. There is a buzz in the air. Americans are realizing that the instability around the world is not too far away. Its genesis has always had an economic component. It is now right at our front door banging. It won’t be long till it kicks the door wide open.
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