Wednesday, October 12, 2011

God & the People vs Wall Street

One day, Jesus found himself up against a bunch of Pharisees, that's the Evangelical Right wing of the New Testament. They also tried to mess up Moses long before this by making a Golden Calf, but more about that another time. These Pharisees gave Jesus a coin and, to set him up, said: "Is it lawful to pay your taxes or not?" They thought they had him dead to rights on this one. After all, if Jesus said it was lawful to pay taxes, he would be putting his followers in a pickle because they were seeking to build a kingdom, not of this world. But, if he said it was not lawful to pay taxes, he would get himself arrested and that would effectively put him out of the way, which was the Fox Network wanted anyway. After all, Jesus had this thing for poor people, outcasts, prisoners, foreigners, eunuchs, etc. In other words Jesus put people first in all his teachings, particularly those people the Right Wing didn't particularly like.
So Jesus, true to form, took the coin they gave him and asked them whose image was on that coin. The answer: Caesar! Well then, quoth Jesus; "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are God's."
So what belong's to Caesar? Obviously, all that money and all those coins. The Empire had assembled quite a sphere of influence for itself and its symbol was the coin of the realm.
Now look what happened! What with inflation and the like, the coin of the realm looks like this now (see left). We call it the Almighty Dollar. It has become our God! It is a symbol of the Greed that has put the Global markets into a tailspin. Through a very sophisticated series of undercapitalized investment instruments, we found ourselves exposed to a downturn in the real estate markets from which we have yet to recover.
To try and save the economy, both the Bush and Obama administrations poured billions upon billions into financial institutions, banks and corporations. It was the hope and trust of the government (that's us by the way), that these folks would take our tax money and invest it in business so that the money would "prime" a recovery. Millions of us would be hired and put to work. What happened instead was that these very institutions kept that money, tightened up on it and the recession continues to this day. Worse still Bank of America laid off 30,000 MORE people and gouged its debit card holders by assessing a $5/month service fee. And, they paid their executives at rate that can be called nothing less than CONSPICUOUS OUTRAGE!
So Jesus teaches us to give to Caesar those thing that belong to the Caesar (aka Government), and give to God the things that are God's.
What belongs to God? Let me venture provide a good guess at an answer; People belong to God. In the very first chapter of Genesis, the biblical tradition teaches that we are all created in God's image whether male or female.
That does not mean that God looks like us, by the way. It means that we have the potential to act like God by loving one another, which is what Leviticus and Jesus both taught. We have the potential to organize our common life around human suffering and injustice. We can make things right if we want to. We can care for one another.
Instead, we've got it dead wrong. We created a graven image to Greed and called it our God. We've amassed wealth and greed in so few hands that the suffering and injustice we the people face is growing day by day. In the 70's and 80's, 80% of us had almost 20% of the wealth. Now we have less than 8%. Meanwhile those at the top of this pyramid scheme, have so much wealth that they threaten to collapse the entire system.
So addicted are they to this wealth that they will sooner see the destruction of our entire national experience than to share that wealth with us even in a more reasonable 80/20 split with which we were willing to live with in former decades.
That's why we have taken to the streets Mr & Mrs America. And we are going to STAY THERE until you fix this problem.
We want jobs for every American now. You saved the financial institutions with billions upon billions because they were too big to fail. You did that over a weekend! Now you MUST save us, because we are too many to fail. This is just as urgent a matter as the salvation of a bank. The salvation of the people is what we stand for in solidarity with Jesus!
Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but to God the things that are God. Use the Almighty Dollar to serve the will of THE ALMIGHTY!
Then we can save the economy from the bottom up. Because once you give us some work to do, and a decent pay check, we can pay our bills, get caught up on our mortgages, and buy some durable goods and trinkets for the kids.
For God's sake America, wake up before its too late.
And a blessing on us all,
Fr. Paul


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to see the deletion of opposing views on this page. Amen.