Jesus and Wall Street

I am curious as to how George W. Bush, a very right wing conservative literalist Christian can rationalize his present scheme to assit Wall Street. He has seaid before that he is on a mission from God Almighty. This has been an interesting few days when you take that approach to his governance into account.

While the United States Congress is mired down at present in a soap opera which includes, John McCain, George W. Bush and Barak Obama all arguing about finding 700 BILLION dollars for banks on Wall Street the issues of the world march on. It is shocking to me really that in our recent history the West has had countless opportunities to take on the AIDS crises and poverty in Africa and in other stressed regions. There is always a political obstacle – i.e. excuse for not doing so. This week the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York spoke out and gave food for thought as we all watch this financial soap opera unfold.   

In his speech to bankers the Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu said,   "One of the ironies about this financial crisis is that it makes action on poverty look utterly achievable. It would cost $5 billion to save six million children’s lives. World leaders could find 140 times that amount for the banking system in a week. How can they tell us that action for the poorest is too expensive?" To that I say AMEN! It is unimaginable in a way that we can sit by and watch this happen. Westerners are prepared to payout for Wall Street but not to those who have not even a Main Street. Today’s National Post says that  “Wall Street’s five biggest firms paid more than US$3-billion in the last five years to their top executives, while they presided over the packaging and sale of loans that helped bring down the investment-banking system.” All of this cooked up by a president who has lived by the doctrine of trickle down economics that assert when a person is down he/she should “pull him/her self up by his/her own bootstraps.” If it were not so sad, it would be laughable.

On Christianity Today’s Webpage we read today that key evangelical leaders have joined the Archbishops in sounding an alarm at the hypocrisy of this proposed bailout. The Rev Joel Edwards is International Director-Designate of Micah Challenge International. He said in a statement that, “Archbishop Sentamu’s challenge goes to the heart of the issue. It’s well known that our ability to deal effectively with human suffering and global poverty is little to do with our financial resources and everything to do with our political will.”  

These are no doubt very interesting times. To see the very people who have decried government handouts seeking them is bizarre. To see the policy makers who would refuse to over large scale overseas aid because it is “too costly” or “too irresponsible” now planning a multibillion dollar rescue for their richest friends in the land seems almost crazy.    

Should the powers that be bailout Wall Street? I can’t say – but I will say that I agree with our religious leaders. If they do bail out Wall Street in the face of what is needed in our world, they need to be prepared to answer the questions that will follow. How can we continue to assist the richest of those in our world and watch while the poorest stave to death and die from disease when the wealth is available to us to make it better?

The words of Jesus are clear;

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV, Matthew 6:24-25, 31-33)

Leaves me with a lot of questions?

Anyone watching the debate tonight? Or is there one?




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