At times I shake my head at the determination to misinterpret the message of Jesus and want to growl back at the radio. NPR had a report this morning on many Fundie churches pushing the idea that yeah, Jesus said to take care of the poor, but not through the government. They say such things as the Bible is about freedom, one of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shall not steal," and "the Bible tells us that socialism and neosocialism never worked." Huh? I'll let you read the full report, including the spirited response from progressive Christians.
In yesterday's Sunday Free Press the cover story took up half the front page and four interior pages. It is about how the huge number (tens of thousands) of abandoned homes in Detroit, 33,000 of them classified as dangerous, threatens students walking to and from school. The students walk because the bus service is too unreliable. Their trek frequently starts before sunrise and ends after sunset. A third of the streetlights don't work. Abandoned homes shield criminals and gang members who have attacked, robbed, and raped students. The city can't afford enough police to deter attacks. There aren't enough neighborhood watch volunteers. The city must spend $8 thousand to demolish a home and fill in the hole. The city simply does not have the millions of dollars demolition on this scale would take. If the mayor can scrounge the money he might be able to deal with 1% of the problem buildings this year.
Last Sunday's paper had a feature about the old churches in the city facing closure due to declining membership and money (alas, no link).
That leads to the question: If the government doesn't deal with this problem, who does?
I don't see churches in the rich suburbs donating any money to help with demolition, never mind getting street lights functioning and cops into the area. I don't see any charitable foundations stepping into the breach either. And considering the animosity between Detroit and suburban leaders, I'm not surprised. They can't even agree on one bus system to service the whole metro area.
Besides government, who has resources on the scale that could tackle the problem?
One of the comments about trying to claim that solutions should not come through government was about freedom. I understand what is going on there. The speaker is saying I do not want anybody telling me what I must do and especially I don't want the government telling me because they can force me to comply. I'll gladly contribute -- a tiny bit -- to help the poor, but it will be on my own terms. And if that doesn't solve the problem, hey, it isn't my problem.
Well, actually, according to the Bible, it is your problem. Mine too. It is the concept of being my brother's keeper. Back in January I wrote about the intentionally underfunded school systems in Alabama and the frequent pronouncements in the Bible about the rich should not take from the poor but should take care of the poor.
This claim to freedom sounds a lot like what corporations are saying. A big reason to take over the government is so the gov't can't tell them what they can and cannot do to make a profit.
It has been a long time since I've written about Dominionism, the Christian sect that declares a goal of imposing its values on everyone else. They plan to do this by taking over the "Seven Mountains" of civilization. When that happens they can't be opposed. (No, I'm not linking. Search for "Seven Mountains" if you want details.) These mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, religion, and family.
I don't see much threat from the Dominionist Christian cult these days, though they are definitely still out there. However, I see corporations taking over the seven mountains and doing a pretty good job of it. By my count they have infiltrated five of the seven. The article above shows their efforts in taking over religion. They may not take over education, but they are doing all they can to gut it. Media and gov't appear firmly in their grasp. And, of course, they are business.