Conservative Colloquium

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Posts Tagged ‘the Poor’

The Gospel According to Marx

Posted by Tony Listi on August 13, 2008

In the beginning was the Government, and the Government was with God, and the Government was God. All things came to be through Government, and without Government nothing comes to be.

Now Mary was with child, though she was not married to Joseph. And it came to pass during the reign of Herod that Jesus Christ was born out of wedlock in a Bethlehem stable (for Planned Parenthood had not been established yet).  Poor Mary and Joseph had sought shelter in many places, but the greedy Jewish innkeepers would not let them in. Three travelers from afar, from the distant national capital of Rome, came bearing gifts of universal health care, housing, and education.  And so they prospered as Jesus grew in enlightenment and diversity sensitivity.

As Jesus grew into a man, he saw so much suffering and poverty among his fellow human beings. He decided to become a community activist, the only way he would ever make a difference. And so one day as he was walking beside the River Jordan, he happened upon some fishermen. He began to talk to them about their wages and stir in them a zeal for economic justice. “Fishermen of Judea unite!” cried Jesus.

He befriended tax collectors and Roman officials as well and made them his disciples, for they were doing God’s work in resisting the bourgeoisie. “Let the proletariat with no purse, sell his cloak and buy a sword,” Jesus said. His ministry grew far and wide as he and his naked disciples went door-to-door demanding money from the wealthiest of Jews. Those who refused were threatened by the swords of Rome and easily surrendered their ill-gotten gain. And thus Jesus went throughout the land performing all manner of miracles, redistributing wealth to the poorest of people. The multiplication of wealth continued until 12 baskets full of coins were left over.

Jesus gathered the people around him and began to preach: “Blessed are the poor, for they deserve to be the kings of the earth. Blessed are those who cry, for government will comfort them. Blessed are the meek, for no one should be stronger or better than anyone else. Blessed are the peacemakers, for war is evil and should be outlawed.” The peace of Christ reigned throughout the land.

He then told them a parable. “The master gave five talents to three servants – to each according to their need. When the master returned days later, he found inequality among his servants. One had made another five talents. One had managed to hold onto his five. One had squandered his five in dissolution. So the master took five from the servant with ten to give to the one who had none. For to everyone who has more, more will be taken away. To he who has little, he shall receive in abundance.”

Now the religious establishment in the region, the Pharisees, was not happy about the revolution Jesus had been leading. They were cold-hearted and increased their power and wealth through the lies they told to the poor about morality and an afterlife.  So this group of bigoted, reactionary, hypocritical religious fanatics plotted to destroy Jesus.

But Jesus was intelligent and sophisticated. A certain disciple of his, Nicodemus, had infiltrated the Pharisees and informed him of their treachery. And in the dark of night, the disciples of Jesus raided the homes of the Pharisees and dragged them and their families onto barges from which they were sent down river to re-education camps in the desert.

With the land cleansed of all iniquity, Jesus performed one last wondrous deed. He gave all his followers eternal life on this earth through the power of science.

And so Jesus was elected emperor of the world forever and ever. Amen.

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Posted in Budget, Spending, and Taxes, Christianity and Politics, Economics, Government and Politics, Just for Fun, Liberalism, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Poverty, Socialism, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Wealth, Work, and the Church

Posted by Tony Listi on March 6, 2008

WATCH THIS VIDEO: http://www.acton.org/media/20080214_wealth_work_church.php

The Christian tradition has always held an ambivalent position toward wealth. The Bible itself seems to condemn the rich and extol the poor, though Abraham, David, and Solomon were obviously very wealthy yet godly men. Recently, the “Prosperity Gospel” promoted in some Pentecostal Churches has argued that it is God’s will that all true believers should receive material blessings and that poverty is a curse. This lecture will explore the biblical foundations of work and wealth creation in light of the history of the Church to find the proper balance between these competing ideas of the place of earthly riches in Christianity.

This is just the best presentation I’ve ever seen of what the Bible really says about wealth, the rich, and economics in general! It cites Scripture and interprets them with clarity and authority.

Posted in Christianity and Politics, Economics, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Poverty, Religion and Theology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Christianity and Politics of the Poor

Posted by Tony Listi on November 18, 2007

Christianity is not meant to save society! I challenge anyone to show me a verse to support this crazed notion. This world and this life is not meant to be saved; a new world and new life is the promise of Christianity. “Salvation” for liberals is either extremely materialistic (Marxism) or of base feeling (self-esteem brought about by non-discrimination no matter what or approval of all Difference). There is nothing high-minded about it at all from a theological perspective. Marxism is a perverse caricature of Christianity!

Yet so many Christians mistake Marxism for the tenets of their own faith. It frustrates me to no end! (Perhaps this is Hillary’s problem.) Commitment to caring for the poor is miles apart from “economic justice” as conceived by liberals! Christian charity is a virtue and thus a free choice of the free will. “Economic justice” is coerced taxation and redistribution based on envy, a vice according to Christianity. It is not justice at all. Charity is a duty placed on individuals and the Church and commanded by God. This is something we render to God, not to Caesar! There is no contradiction between being economically conservative/libertarian and being a Christian. In fact it is just the opposite: liberal Christians abandon their Christian duty to care for the poor when they demand government do it for them.

Jesus sure did have a lot to say about the poor, including “”The poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11). Government cannot eliminate poverty! The War on Poverty was doomed to failure (and actually made things worse). Never once did Jesus say that the government should be the instrument by which Christians help the poor. His very example was one of personal service, not laying charitable duty at the feet of govt. Liberal Christians, Protestant and Catholic alike, are imposing their own political ideology onto the Scriptural text! ”We” as Christians, “we” as private individuals, “we” as civil society (as distinguished from govt) made up of a multitude of voluntary charitable and service organizations, “we the people,” should care for the poor. NOT “we” the govt.

Early Christians did NOT see their charitable work as a duty to the collective. They saw it as a duty to each child of God, to God himself. Christianity has social implications as does every religion, but they are secondary to the real message of the gospel that transcends earthly society. The economic justice of Marxism is nothing but legalized, yet still immoral, theft and thus no justice at all. Socialist solidarity is a perverse distortion of Christian love, which seeks the perfect balance between compassion and accountability. Social welfare is a perverse distortion of Christian charity.

As for Acts 4:32, it is a commune. But those Christians VOLUNTARILY joined the commune. It was not a political institution; it was a private religious organization. Moreover, I witnessed a Christian commune firsthand growing up: it is called a monastery. This biblical tradition is carried on in Catholicism, not Protestantism, as far as I can tell. Communism coercively reduces everybody to the lowly condition of a monk: poverty! But at least the monks get to voluntarily choose/vow poverty for the sake of God’s Kingdom. Sure, communism can work in America…if everyone is fine with being poor.

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Christianity and Politics, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, Poverty, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »