I am not the only person who wonders how right-wing self-described Christians can reconcile their opposition to social and economic justice with their ostensible faith in Jesus.

The Bible could not be more clear in the liberal values it promotes. The New Testament, at least — which is probably why so many evangelical right-wingers cite passages from the Old Testament much more often than they cite ones from the New Testament.

Reverend Crowder makes a very good point about economic justice from a Biblical standpoint in this piece.

Matthew 22:1-11: A Biblical Case of Class Warfare

by Reverend Doctor Stephanie Crowder

“In a recent town hall meeting, a former Google executive asked President Obama to raise his taxes. The attendee stated that he had done quite well at the company and has chosen not to work any more. Through his increased taxes, this individual wants the government to continue investing in Pell Grants, infrastructure and job training. This call for the rich to pay more taxes is similar to the one Warren Buffet heralds when declaring he should not pay the same or less taxes than his administrative assistant. Leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties are crying “foul” and vehemently accusing their respective opponents of engaging in class warfare. Both groups maintain that the other is pitting the small number of those who have against the larger number of those who have not. Thus with taxation as their primary artillery, the Right and the Left are doing battle over the Rich and the Poor.

Nothing New

This discussion, if one wants to call it that, over leveling the financial playing field is not new. Much in this country’s political landscape, from Populist ideology to New Deal praxis, has centered on equal access and opportunity for all. Yet, almost 2,000 years earlier than these movements, first century C.E. New Testament literature points to similar struggles. Particularly, the Gospel of Matthew speaks to the minuscule percent of the population controlling magnanimous wealth.

The Gospel writer records a king giving a wedding banquet for his son. This royal figure sends his slaves to invite the who’s who to the celebration. They decline. Too focused on their own wealth, the king’s peers disregard his request. However, more than merely discounting the message, his colleagues kill the king’s messengers. The biblical narrative maintains that the slaves die at the hands of the rich. The slaves die performing a duty for their rich, regal master. Perchance to avenge the loss of his “property,” the king sends his troops to destroy the murderers and burn their cities.

While Matthew’s Jesus speaks the parable as a means of addressing Roman imperialism and abuse of power, the passage is clearly a polemic highlighting social and class hierarchy. It is a verbal assault against a top-down society. There was no middle ground or middle class. The rich ruler uses those under his authority to advance his personal cause. His subjects lose their lives as a result of their subservience and submission. The slaves are fodder in a fight among the wealthy. They lose their being, perhaps all they have, because one person of means slights another one. Yes, there is the possibility that, in the king’s rage, he kills because he cared for his murdered slaves. However, one cannot discard the sense of honor and shame connected to having a royal invitation ignored. The king needed some means to recover from an embarrassing situation. Thus, he uses his power to kill and force “compliance.

Determined to have his cake and eat it too, Matthew records, the king as sending more slaves into the streets to invite any and every one to the wedding feast. Now there is no forethought of class standing or status on the social ladder. If a person is available, s/he can come. Yet, when it seems that there is a happy ending to a sad story, the king tosses one of the new attendees out of the banquet over a matter of attire. Class warfare is not a new phenomenon.

Same Old, Same Old

While there are indeed distinctions in the types of “invitations” the rich send out today, so much is still the same. There is something unique about this “invitation” by Buffet and others like him to pay more taxes. What is not so different from the first century to the 21st century is that such a small number of people in society control so much. Matthew’s polemic against Roman domination and imperial wealth rings true of this day and age. In the United States the richest 10 percent own more than two-thirds of the nation’s wealth. The Forbes Top 400 each had a net gain of about 12 percent whereas the average American only had a gain of 8 percent.

Like the slaves in the biblical text, Americans in the middle and lower classes live subordinate lives. Like those the king sent out, many struggle daily with doing the “king’s” bidding and begging just to survive and make ends meet. Many get caught in power “fisticuffs” and lose their homes, their jobs, their families and their lives. While Congress and the White House debate over the debt ceiling, their “subjects” risk losing unemployment benefits. As the oligarchs argue over the budget, federal workers “under their rule” face a possible furlough.

Political pundits and powerbrokers insist on arguing over terminology — whether it is “class warfare” or “socialism.” On the contrary, people at the bottom of the social ladder cannot afford to banter over such nomenclature. It does not matter what people call it. The bottom line is that this is a fight for survival. It is a fight for the right to own a home, to work, to eat, to educate our children and to have a secure future. This one is a battle where the executive with Google wealth must fight alongside the waitress who barely earns a living wage. This is a war for persons from all socio-economic classes. Yes, this is class warfare.”

Editor’s Note: ON Scripture is a series of Christian scripture commentaries produced in collaboration with Odyssey Networks. Each week pastors from around the country will approach the lectionary text of the week through the lens of current events, providing a religious voice that is both pastoral and prophetic.

Luke 6:20-21 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 4:16-19 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Mark 12:41-44 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 16:19-25 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.’

Luke 11:39-42 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you. “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God”

Luke 12:16-21 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

Original post on the Huffington Post

47 Responses to “The Bible and Class Warfare”

  1. connerton says:

    As if non-morons in the />
    The is a peasants crusade really. Where emotional manipulators stirred up the gullible angry masses to fight viciously against their own wellbeing, so that the rich can have more money.

    Sure, the belief their fighting for some nebulous freedom or to save their grandmother from slavering jaws or whatever the crap they believe, but not what their actually doing, eh?

  2. “Government regulation is far more interventionary for large businesses than small businesses which often run up against barriers to entry that large corporations do not have. Except I suppose if you count long-standing worker protections and insurance programs that apply to all employers, but these hallmarks of a social democracy are not something I want to give up just so that it is easier for small businesses to turn a profit in competition with corporations that benefit from economy of scale. Also if the rules you are talking about are environmental safety / pollution regulations, then most small businesses are not going to have to comply, but large-scale energy and industrial companies will have to comply. Also in the case of financial services regulation, how many banks and investment companies qualify as small businesses? Not very many, I would wager.”

  3. demauri urr says:

    Evangelical activists, Iowa’s most potent conservative voting bloc, are sharply divided barely 10 weeks away from the state’s leadoff presidential caucuses, and are weighing a number of GOP hopefuls competing hard to emerge as the more conservative alternative to early front-runner Mitt Romney.

  4. well, on my MXR micro chorus i have the rate around 7-8 o’clock, pretty low basically.. i’m not even really sure John uses chorus but it still sounds good haha. he deffo doesnt use it on verses

  5. Even in the Bible you have Samuel, Joseph, Josiah, Shadrach, Mesack & Abednego, The Virgin Mary… All Adolescents or Teenagers!!!

  6. courgorlak ottiegers says:

    Oh! I’m in the diocese of Lichfield. My place of worship is Evangelical (with a big e! ) but midweek i attend AC services & Cath Mass

  7. Not sure about the jumpsuit with attached braces look. But this Hindu makes up for it with his lightning reflexes a la Chuck Norris
    Also, check out his nervous and creepy “You goh” when she tellls him to “F**k off”.

  8. It’s in the Bible. Every time you seriously compare Occupy protests to the Arab uprisings, God kills a puppy. –

  9. I’m an “evangelical agnostic” to coin a term used by someone on the board and let me remind everyone here….its…

  10. burgialyer shi says:

    FACT: MUSLIMS JUST CAN NOT LIVE IN PEACE WITH ANY OTHER RELIGION. THEY FIGHT WHEREVER THEY GO. TAKE EXAMPLE OF ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. IN US AND UK THEY FIGHT WITH CHIRSTIANS, IN CHECHNYA THEY FIGHT FOR SEPERATION, IN ISRAEL THEY FIGHT WITH JEWS, IN INDIA THEY FIGHT WITH HINDUS, THEY KILL BUDDHIST MONKS, THE WHOLE WORLD IS SICK OF ISLAMIC JIHAD…ALL PEACE LOVING RELIGIONS AND ATHEISTS SHOULD COME TOGETHER TO FIGHT AGAINST THE EVIL ISLAMIC TERRORISM…UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL.

  11. The only thing more annoying than evangelical Christianity is evangelical atheism. Not sure which is more intolerant. Plague on both houses.

  12. rat almanne says:

    LGBT groups in the Philippines are calling on the government to address violence and other human rights violations against the LGBT community. In their formal demand, the alliance of groups reminded leaders that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had warned that U.S. aid would be tied to a country’s to protect LGBT individuals from persecution.

  13. bouthia ano says:

    Just wait until judgement day comes! I know who I will be with, GOD! You can believe what u want to but please do not interrupt my worship. Atheists have no place in our society.

  14. wim steffey says:

    don’t let the contrition in Christianity make you disbelief in God. I only advice you because I want good for you.

  15. tatja thurtchi says:

    what I have always thought falls under the ‘corporatism’ of the comments, I’ve never taken my brain outside of that. it’s hard

  16. jame holm says:

    I’m about as Tory as you can get, but that isn’t my ethos – more corporatism, which isn’t Tory, but selfish.

  17. quang lina says:

    100% Biker – February 2012 (UK)
    English | PDF | 84 pages | 27.3 Mb
    100% Biker is the leading grass-roots custom bike magazine in the UK. It is the Bible for all things custom bike in Britain, covering the best from the custom bike and biker event world. It features traditional choppers and bobbers, streetfighters, rats, cafe racers, cruisers and custom bikes that don’t easily fall into any definable category.

  18. sandona yah says:

    What the Bible Teaches: Romans v. 11 (Ritchie New Testament Commentaries S.) (Hardcover)
    By F.E. Stallan

    5 used and new from $25.00

    First tagged “christian” by Wendy Sparkes
    Customer tags: what the bible teaches, commentary, christianity, psalms, john ritchie, richie new testament commentaries

  19. MONEY IS FREE SPEECH – Welcome to Corporatism – good bye Middle Class – good bye Democracy – #ows –

  20. markov schuk says:

    Your Sweden 1.0.1
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  21. bowale wen says:

    Ron Paul has the courage to end the wars the bailouts & the corporatism restore end the fed elect Ron Paul President 2012

  22. dimann able says:

    “>We may single out subsidies, such as those relating to the cost of building the railroads and maintaining the interstate highway system, as Those subsidies favor national-market business models over regional- and local-market models by socializing costs. Yes – that’s true. But I’m glad I don’t have to take a horse and buggy into town every day over mud roads. I’m a big fan of the Big G sinking money into large infrastructure projects. Although I would have preferred high speed rail lines between the major cities over the national highway project.”

  23. newber ratzfel says:

    Either u want corporatism & profiteerism or u want a democracy tht makes sure everyone has healthcare and a decent paying job.

  24. Proverbs 32:1 And fair Snow White did eat the poison apple. And low she fell foul of the heinous old hag. Ooh Crumbs!

  25. You can only push people so far… Culture and cannot be treated like dog eat dog corporatism! It leads to bullets in mail and mugging

  26. gerakimbur madda says:

    the bible may say marriage is for guys n girls but it also says no sinning, lying, sex before marriage, greed, etc & we’ve all broken em..

  27. says here that it’s “absolutely no surprise that so many clauses in the Constitution are literal, direct quotations out of the Bible” and that “A Republican form of government’ … came directly out of Exodus 18:21, Deuteronomy 1:16, Deuteronomy 16:18.” But we could not find a single instance of the Constitution directly quoting the Bible. In Exodus 18:21, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, tells Moses to find judges to help him hear disputes brought by people. Elsewhere, Moses appoints judges, not lawmakers.

  28. Anxiously awaiting the bank scandal that is going to drop on us. About time if you ask me. Time to end corporatism.

  29. At every turn British state shows it is rotten at the core – corruption, nepotism, rampant corporatism. LabCons combine to promote it.

  30. I have to say, I’m actually thrilled Mitt & Ann Romney love “Modern Family”. I hope it sparks something in them! …

  31. Jeff Lutz: Growing up evangelical I thought I had to answer EVERY troublesome passage. Now I need to feel okay with them – –

  32. You have to keep at it if you want the sugary sweet prizes within. I want to taste the sweet, sweet flavor of victory mixed with the chewy, gooey, delicious caramel of equality. But I need YOUR help to break through the wrapper. So let’s take another whack at it shall we? Let’s get more women involved in science a …
    Lavera Liloia liked Surly Women Grants for TAM 2012 – Skepchick on 7 June 2012 (3 months ago).

  33. eaturbrainz on This week, the United Nations will consider criminalizing Blasphemy in response to growing pressure from the Muslim World. –

  34. someone asked me that since i was mormon if i was in a colt -.- its just a religion like Christianity is, you idiot

  35. Of all things I was most surprised to see Battlefield _attempt_ to be an attack on Corporatism. Also, YAY! for Future Flintpunk!

  36. A new University study of professors in STEM fields at top research universities across the country shows that bias against women is ingrained in the workforce, despite a societal desire to believe workplace equality exists.

  37. Thanks for replying. I make a to use the lower case adjective evangelical rather than the capitalized noun Evangelical. Why? I think evangelical should modify ecclesial traditions that have deeper roots than a late 19th century or early 20th century movement in America and Great Britain. If I in a non-denominational or independent church, then I would qualify as an Evangelical. Since I in Reformed and Anglican churches, I prefer to call myself evangelical Reformed or evangelical Anglican. Here, evangelical functions according to the biblical and theological definitions that Ryken mentions but not so much the historical definition.]]>

  38. “…wife, mother and administrative assistant”… I don’t care what the rest of it says, that alone would have lost me.

  39. lafontbrun says:

    He vetoed Marriage Equality. Dems are afraid to run against him. He’s nothing but a big bag of wind.He’s using Sandy to seem OK.

  40. really has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. It is an illegal alien in the Church. It should be immediately.

  41. Are you reading?
    Finished ‘s The Fifth Assassin, excellent!
    Thinking it’s time for a non-fiction book.
    Corporatism by J. Grupp

  42. shiko her says:

    Downloads The conduct of the first to christianity, considered and applied, in a sermon, preached at on the tenth of July, 1788, at the ordination of the Rev. Thomas Howe.

  43. So long as people are violating Church & State separation I would hardly think of Christianity as something that is dealt with.

  44. You were awesome, you’re so good to me, you’re the kind of man I’ve been looking for..its just that…I can’t give up my

  45. A bit behind the cultural curve: “In 1995, the [Southern Baptist] Convention voted to adopt a resolution renouncing its racist roots and apologizing for its past defense of slavery, segregation, and white supremacism. This marked the denomination’s first formal acknowledgment that racism had a profound role in its early and modern history.” 1995?

  46. It helps to have family members in his evangelical audience. I think of how helpful the book could be to them, despite my issues

  47. polla velikawang says:

    There are a lot of splits in the Southern Baptist Churches……bascially now of a 50/50 split among Southern Baptist…. Pres. Jimmy for instance renounced his membership in one wing of the Southern Baptist because it had become too ‘political and radical and moved away from Jesus’s teachings” according to him. renounces Southern Baptist group Letters says convention creed too rigid.” It’s like the Evangelical split –some that are included in the Evangelical umbrella are christo -zios, some are the exact opposite. Bascially some Southern Baptist churches have gone whacko and about half their members now affiliate with the *Conventional or Conviction Baptist,* forgot what they are called, but you can get the gist of what it’s about at the link.
    .

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