The richest 85 people in the world now have equal wealth to that of the bottom 3.5 billion.
What got me thinking, though, was how religious conservatives tend to be the most comfortable with this. They say things like,
Well, if they’re creating the value…
Sure, and by that rationale we can keep going. Why shouldn’t the richest man in the world make as much as the other 7 billion? Walk your theories to their conclusions.
I’m struck by Matthew 19:16-24:
Seems rather unambiguous. Let me help:
I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. ~ Jesus, Matthew 19:23
But I have religious conservative friends that I regularly talk to who have all sorts of jujitsu to get out this kind of stuff.
Well, you don’t know how to read the bible. He was actually talking within context there, which meant, in that time, Phonecian camel urine. He wasn’t talking about money wealth! Silly secular person. Jesus actually loved rich people. Here, let me find some other quotes for you…
Fair point, sir. I stand corrected. I guess it’s my fault for even bringing it up.
Anyway, my point is simple: Those who should be most angry about income and wealth disparity should be those following a man from heaven who said you should give your possessions away and help the poor.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. ~ Jesus, Matthew 23:27
This seems obvious to me. But instead the supposedly1 religious conservatives are the licensed and flag-waving proponents of this disparity.
How far are they taking it? Here are three ways from recent conservative politics:
- The religious conservative republicans just voted to stop unemployment benefits to millions of people (and their children)
- They’re fighting relentlessly to keep those who ARE working from a living wage
- And now, after crushing a bunch of unions that are there to prevent this type of abuse, Wisconsin republicans are proposing a 7-day work week.
I’m no New Testament scholar, but I think Jesus would be pissed.
- I say “supposedly” because I think there is a brand of religious conservatism that, quite apart from religious claims of the supernatural, is internally consistent (and moral) with regards to how it treats the poor and otherwise less fortunate. In other words, I don’t think that “religious conservatism” means “wrong” on this point. I think it’s quite possible to have moral views on this issue that come from religion. The problem is that the current flag bearers of religious politics are doing precisely the opposite.