Jesus Christ Supersocialist

A commenter on my post, “The Socialist Capital Of Missouri: Joplin,” wrote:

I would submit the idea that Christ would be in favor of socialism!

It so happens that Gregory Paul, who knows a little something about sociological research, wrote a piece for The Washington Post a few days ago that addressed the Jesus-as-socialist idea.

In fact, Paul went further and questioned “a set of profound contradictions” that “have developed within modern conservative Christianity.” If that critique sounds familiar to readers of this blog, it is because I, a former conservative, evangelical Christian, have offered the same criticisms.

Paul wrote:

Many conservative Christians, mostly Protestant but also a number of Catholics, have come to believe and proudly proclaim that the creator of the universe favors free wheeling, deregulated, union busting, minimal taxes especially for wealthy investors, plutocrat-boosting capitalism as the ideal earthly scheme for his human creations. And many of these Christian capitalists are ardent followers of Ayn Rand, who was one of – and many of whose followers are — the most hard-line anti-Christian atheist/s you can get. Meanwhile many Christians who support the capitalist policies associated with social Darwinistic strenuously denounce Darwin’s evolutionary science because it supposedly leads to, well, social Darwinism!

He then goes on to discuss chapters 2 and 4 of the book of Acts in the New Testament, especially:

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

Paul comments:

Now folks, that’s outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx—who likely got the general idea from the gospels.

The pro-capitalist Christians who are aware of these passages wave them away even though it is the only explicit description of Christian economics in the Bible.

Mr. Paul also comments on the odd affection that a lot of Bible-toting evangelicals and fundamentalists have for the rabid atheist Ayn Rand:

…many influential conservative Christians have embraced her expressly atheistic theory of Objectivism that in her books such as The Virtue of Selfishness, they propose that government must be shrunk to a bare minimum so socially Darwinist that it dances with anarchy. Only then can entrepreneurial greed have the free run that liberty demands…

In the Randian hyper-materialistic world those who are on the financial make are the exalted makers, the impoverished that accept tax payer assistance are parasitic takers who need to fend for themselves. A radical modernist ideology in greater antithesis to the traditional scriptural favoring of the poor over the rich can hardly be imagined. Yet the economics of the plutocratic Republican Party that embraces the Christian, anti-Darwinist creationist right are essentially those of the uberatheist, anti-creationist, Darwin-adoring Christianity-loathing Ayn Rand. So we have Christian creationists like Jay Richards writing books titled Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem. Can a stranger amalgam of opposing opinions be devised?

Can a stranger amalgam of opposing opinions be devised?” No.  And I experienced that strange amalgam first-hand here in Joplin at the April Tea Party rally.  A state legislator from Springfield, Eric Burlison, spoke to those gathered and mentioned his enthusiasm for Ayn Rand. I wrote at the time:

I can’t be the only one who finds irony in the fact that a man like Eric Burlison—a “pro-life” Christian who advertises that he gives back to the community by “serving” and “volunteering“—is behind a podium at a Tea Party event extolling the philosophy of a godless “baby-killer,” who would openly ridicule and scorn Mr. Burlison’s work on behalf of Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Ronald McDonald House.

I can’t be the only one.”  No, as it turns out.

And thank God for that.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 620 other followers

%d bloggers like this: