Moral Contradictions

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why isn't this a "moral value"?

That "liberal" sociology class in college had the effect that so many right-wingers fear - it opened my eyes to reality. The reality is in the last thirty years, the richer are getting insanely rich - and the rest are, well... not.

Some strawmen argue that everyone's getting richer once you look at the numbers. In my class three years ago, which used numbers from 2000, that was true. The bottom 1/5 overall were making more than they were in decades past, although not by much.

The top 10 percent of households saw their net worth rise by 6.1 percent to an average of $3.11 million while the bottom 25 percent suffered a decline from a net worth in which their assets equaled their liabilities in 2001 to owing $1,400 more than their total assets in 2004.

I understand how statistics can be manipulated... however with this issue, no matter how the numbers are spun, the richer are always getting richer.

"This report shows a race between factors boosting net worth such as home ownership and factors pushing the other way such as weak wage growth," said Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank. "Unless we start to see better income growth from jobs and wages, it is hard to see major gains in net worth for the typical family."

The article does not mention rising health or transportation costs that impact every family. I know I'm lucky to not be with the over 90 million people who either rely on Medicaid or go without health insurance. The only reason I hesitate going to the doctor when I'm sick is not because I can't afford it - I just don't like doctors.

I would like to add that minimum wage hasn't gone up in almost 9 years. I organized a movement at the library I worked at 4 years ago to increase wages for Pages. We were ineligible for raises only because the administration considered it a privilege for us to work at the library at all. The short version is that we got the raise, we earned respect, we took even more pride in our jobs, and the library did not anywhere close to going bankrupt.

What happened to Christians standing up for the poor and for the unprivileged? Have we completely conceded God's Word for that of our increasingly big-business religious and political leaders? Millions fight for unborn babies, yet who will fight for the baby once its born at a cost of $10,000 to its parents because they don't have health insurance? Who will fight for single mothers barely making ends meet? Who will fight for families with a disabled parent who can't work for months, years... never again? What about the families who work hard - over 50 hours a week, yet get nowhere?

Yes there a lot of heart-warming stories of those who made it out of the lowest neighborhoods and situations, but what about those heart-wrenching situations where folks couldn't escape the vicious poverty cycle? They couldn't get out of their ghetto or their Appalachian town... they couldn't finish high school because they had to work... they didn't have a chance.

I often hear something like "the government shouldn't be giving out handouts.". Well, if the government is "ordained by God" and is to be used to further God's Kingdom on this earth by outlawing abortion and gay marriage etc, then there is no excuse for the church from ignoring Matthew 25. There's a reason why Jesus said it's harder for a rich man to go to heaven then a camel through the eye of a needle.

That notwithstanding, Christians should be moved and compelled to help those types of people who fall in the bottom financial categories described by the article. We should question the means and motive of the $10 billion quarterly profits of the oil companies. We should question those who ignore the part of the Bible's teaching against greed. We should question churches who ignore the surrounding community that suffers around them. We should question ourselves.

God is bigger than this government, God is bigger than this world... God doesn't need capitalism or the American government to further His Kingdom, He's gone without them longer than with. I'm not a socialist of liberal at all, I'm just calling for balance.

I'm tired of certain religious leaders ignoring key portions of the Bible that just happen to go against their personal agenda. I'm tired of this society and government being hijacked by the powerful and wealthy, running roughshod over the very people Jesus hung out with and ministered to. I'm tired of our Christian leaders turning a blind eye to these sins in order to have their pet issues addressed by Washington. I'm tired of seeing God's Word being perverted for selfish reasons while the down and out struggle day-to-day to make ends meet. I'm tired of Christians ignoring our Bible and our Lord.

God is love.... are we?


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