The Ticking Time Bomb of Economic Inequality and the Teachings of Jesus Christ
Economic Inequality and Jesus Christ
by Minister Paul J. Bern
I have always vigorously maintained that the gap between the rich and poor is a moral problem as well as a socioeconomic problem in desperate need of a solution. Yes, it’s a religious problem too, and religious people are causing it. They come to church faithfully every Sunday, dressed like fashion models, and go through all the motions of worship and praise. Sometimes there will even be some tears or some healing that takes place. But, as the Bible says, if we do all that and even more without compassion for all humankind, none of those church services I just mentioned will mean one stinking thing. Neither will the people at church, particularly the rich or comfortably well off who do nothing to help those less fortunate than themselves. All their praising, worshiping, preaching and their exclamations of, “Thank you, Jesus!!” will be meaningless. So will the weekly ceremony of tithing that magical 10 percent. Regarding this the apostle Paul wrote, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1st Corinthians 13, verses 3–7)
So we can see that at least part of the reason for inequality is people who keep all they own and all they earn completely to themselves. They won’t share anything — nothing! Despite near-record levels of economic inequality, many politicians and pundits still don’t think this widening chasm is much of a problem in a country supposedly dedicated to egalitarian ideals. Inequality, the logic goes, is a natural result of different degrees of work and creativity. Some people strive harder and have better ideas, as well as take more risks, and giving them out-sized rewards is a good thing, since it encourages others to emulate this behavior and makes us all wealthier in the end.
The only problem with this story, of course, is that it’s persistently contradicted by the actual facts about inequality today. In truth, inequality in America tracks more closely with a classic Marxist analysis whereby the owners of capital…