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Class Warfare? No. Class Consciousness? Yes!

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A recent poll by the New York Times and CBS showed that two thirds of Americans think that it’s time for income to be distributed more evenly.  This same proportion object to tax cuts for corporations and favor higher taxes for millionaires.  When sentiments such as these intensify, critics on the right ring the alarm of “class warfare,” and insinuate that such criticism derives from Marxist ideology.  This scare tactic makes some politicians with a social conscience back down, for who wants to be associated with America’s bogeymen?  But there is a difference between class warfare and class consciousness.  Let me explain.

The prophetic ethos which I as a Christian have inherited from Biblical prophets such as Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah affirms that God has a special love for the poor, and that God insists  they be treated justly, with the same compassion God extends to all people, rich and poor alike.  In the time of Amos there was a growing gulf between rich and poor, such as we now see in America.  The rich of his time had become completely selfish and callous toward the suffering of have-nots.  As wealthy American investment bankers recently faced congressional interrogators and TV cameras, many of them also refused to acknowledge any responsibility or remorse for the immense economic suffering which their predatory lending practices have caused.

Warfare is about killing.  Critics of the present status quo, such as the mostly young, disappointed, and dispossessed citizens of the Occupy Wall Street movement, are not thirsty for blood.  Occupiers are peace loving.  We are not given to class warfare, but we are justifiably devoted to raising the class consciousness of our fellow citizens, for we are convinced that there can be no cure for our nation’s intolerable injustices unless the ninety nine percent awaken to the insidious effects of big money in our political system.

“Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country. . . God swears it . . . Never will I forget a single thing you have done.” Amos 8: 4,7

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. . . He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart.  He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.  The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.” Mary’s song in Luke: 1: 46 ff.

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  1. BrianWGray BrianWGray

    Excellent article, and the words of the prophet Amos never rang truer than they do today. As with any addiction, the addict will always find ways to justify keeping the addiction, and with the extremely wealthy, money has become their addiction. Therefore, to expect them to understand the need for change without an intervention is like expecting a heroin addict to go completely clean with no desire for change. Sadly, the ultra-wealthy see no need for change, and they blindly wonder why the poor don’t leave them alone. They do not see how they are setting the stage for a major historical confrontation, and history has always shown us that the distressed masses, pushed to crisis stage, have once and again left those who were the source of the distress, with a major loss of what they held so dear.
    What’s past is prologue. “Let them eat cake,” isn’t that how it goes?

    • Thanks for the comment, Brian. In this morning’s News Journal I read that conservatives are criticizing Perry’s attack on Romney for his days at Bain Capital, for being a “vulture captitalist.” The defenders of Romney say that this approach undermines the GOP’s identity. Well, they got that right!

      • BrianWGray BrianWGray

        What I find most intriguing is that the Republican party wraps itself in a public display of its devotion to Christianity, all while telling the poor to go away and fend for themselves. Then, they condemn the Democrats for following the Christian ethic by trying to help those in need, because, as the Republicans love to say, “We worked for our money, and we shouldn’t have to give it to those who didn’t work like us. Let them go find a job and earn their own money.” I think this hypocrisy is best addressed by Jesus, Himself, when He said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
        By their works, ye shall know them.

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