In recent weeks I’ve become increasingly interested in political attitudes, but not because I have any hope in political solutions. My interest is in the way that clear political injustices are increasingly, (and sometimes unknowingly) supported by professing Christians, who have been seduced into endorsing ideologies that in various ways can be inconsistent with the gospel of the Kingdom.
Firstly there are policies that favour the ultra-rich over the poor.
In an earlier post I gave links to information about the changes in taxation rates that Ronald Regan introduced in the 1980s that reduced Tax on the richest by around two thirds. The resulting shortfall in revenue was recouped through cutting welfare expenditure.
Unsurprisingly, and not coincidentally, those massive tax and welfare cuts were followed by a skyrocketing rate of homeless rate within the USA.
Regan’s practices were echoed after the 2008 economic crash. The financial catastrophe created by unethical and immoral banking practices led the US and other governments around the world to pay 100s of billions of dollars to bail out the offending banks, while the victims of the bank’s immoral practices continued to be made homeless through foreclosures.
[One only has to google “home foreclosures” to see how the heartbreak of many families is still being exploited as a profit-making exercise by opportunistic business people].
Ultimately THAT is the kind of political practice that many Christians are endorsing when they offer support to the right wing political parties they seem to favour.
A second example is the incredible support given to gun ownership by many American Christians. That’s something else I’ve recently addressed with a link to a video interview with a minister whose ministry lost support when he spoke out against the American love affair with guns.
One only has to see some of the gun-supporting arguments raised by Christians to see how quickly irrationality can strike in relation to this issue.
A third concern is the overwhelming denial of Climate change within the political ideology supported by so many Christians. It’s a denial that Christians have often echoed without giving the matter much thought for themselves.
I’ve read remarks from a few people recently who point out that the denial doesn’t come from an assessment of the available evidence; it comes from an unwillingness to accept the essential political changes that will be required to address the implications of climate change.
As Christian climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has said: “We are being told things by people who don’t like the solutions to climate change and have decided that it’s a lot better and a lot smarter to deny the reality of the problem than to acknowledge it exists but say you don’t want to do anything about it.”
Again I’ve posted a video interview with Hayhoe in a previous post.
I’m concerned that these things (and similar issues) undermine the credibility of Christians and the gospel they may try to promote. Some of the policies associated with these issues directly contravene central aspects of the gospel: exploitation of the vulnerable, trusting in violence and denial of the truth when the truth becomes costly.
When I’ve considered all of these things, I’ve come to a conclusion that in summary illustrates a choice between two paths – a choice that at heart is related to a warning Jesus gave; something about the impossibility of serving two masters.