Saturday, April 9, 2011

Guest post: Plutocracy

As the communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center, my religious beliefs aren't relevant.

Granted, my faith informs my political ideology, but the TAC principle - follow the Constitution every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses - stands regardless of your faith in God or lack thereof.

But as a Christian, I am always interested in how faith and government do and do not work together. I came across a blog post by a friend, Tom Baker. I think he makes a poignant observation for those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ. For those of you who don't, I think his observation on the current state of our government bears consideration.

I can see God in socialism. Now, don't get mad about that. Hear me out before you label me some crazy pinko. I can see a lot of grace in socialism, or the ideal of socialism. After all, what is grace if not inherently socialistic? In grace we are all made equal regardless of who we are or what we have done. What is grace if not socialistic? In grace there is no inequity. In grace we are rewarded not based on who we are or what we have done but instead we are rewarded based on God's love for us, for all of us. In grace we are all equal and loved equally based on our inherent worth to God as God's children. This does seem a bit socialistic, doesn't it?

But I can also see God in capitalism. After all, God is a Liberator. In grace Christ sets us free. Capitalism ideally guarantees freedom to pursue economic interest without interference from an oppressive regime. God is nothing if not for freedom and against oppression. Sure, we should be concerned for others. Sure, we should be concerned for the poor. And in fact, in Christ we have been set free in order to do that. Grace frees us from the mandate of the law and binds us in freedom and love. We are free to love our neighbors and care for the needs of those less fortunate without any oppressive force dictating what we must do and how.

Where I do not see God is in plutocracy. A government of the rich and powerful, by the rich and powerful, and for the rich and powerful is antithetical to righteousness, justice, and freedom. A government where money and power buys influence and preferential treatment is as far removed from God as anything imaginable.

The Right fears that we will lose our freedom if we have a more socialistic safety net to provide for the needs of the poor and the powerless. The Left fears that we will lose concern for the poor and for righteousness and justice if we do not have a system in place that ensures some measure of equality. While both sides fight each other over these concerns we have become a plutocracy.

And God is nowhere to be found there.

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