“A ruler who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food.” (Proverbs 28:3)
“As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasures of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-18)
Economics has always played a role in religion. To put it another way, God in the Bible takes a deep, abiding interest in economics: the distribution of wealth and power among God’s people.
In a complex economy like ours today, the sharing that God desires is best accomplished by redistribution of wealth through taxation. Government (the ruler to the wise one of Proverbs) has always been the primary mechanism to bring the rich and the poor into balance. It needs to do this job now too.
The compassionate conservative dream that the rich will be generous out of the goodness of their hearts was destroyed in the flames of the economic bubble and bust of the Clinton-Bush years. And while those who have become rich off the hard work of so many others may laugh and drink champagne as they fly off to their private gated community, God is very clear in Scripture: The rich shall have their reward. Real life will win out in the end.
Jesus is consistent and clear that the tables will be turned on the rich. He may have absorbed this at His mother’s table, for she says, most eloquently, “God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53)
Progressive Christians have, for a generation, been a booming voice crying in the wilderness for God’s economic justice. As we journey through this period of tough economic strain and poverty begins to spread throughout the middle class, conservatives who proudly claim to be Christian have a stark choice before them: They can bow at the altar of money as power by joining with the Social Darwinists who see the poor as failures who are best kicked to the side of the road, or we can join together – and work together – to make sure our government isn’t that beating rain that leaves no food for any of us.
Redistribution of wealth is God’s economy. The test is laid out before us as to whether it is in God we trust in this country or not. If we trust in God then we tax the rich to help the poor. Would that all the rich join Warren Buffett and joyfully lead the way to this!
In God’s real life, the last shall be first and the first last. This is life that really is life.
Janet Edwards | Sep 29, 2011 12:32 PM