I need to say a few words about the Occupy movement. The movement that started in New York City on Wall Street has spread to numerous cities throughout the world. It’s an outgrowth of how messed up our country is, due to the policies of the Bush Administration and the tax cuts given to the rich and the republican parties unwillingness to work With our president and raise the taxes on the rich. Everyone should pay an equal and rightful amount. Due to tax loops some CEO’s of certain companies pay less in taxes than their secretaries and the staff that cleans their buildings and houses.
Is this right?
Is this just?
I say no!
The Pope of the Catholic Church has called for a redistribution of wealth and has issued statements that support the Occupy Movement.
Let’s look and see what the Bible says:
Micah 6: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Zechariah 7: This is what the LORD Almighty said: Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.
Psalm 146: He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
Deuteronomy 10: For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.
Proverbs 31: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
If we are to follow God and let the Bible inform the way we live, we need to listen to what it says and take serious all the injunctions to treat the poor and the outcasts of our society with the care, love, and grace that God calls us to. We need to speak truth in tragedy and guide and protect our needy brothers and sisters to the living water of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Where would Jesus be? Would he be with the 1% or the 99%?
The more I study and enter deeply into the text of our Holy Scriptures the more I am convinced that Jesus would be the outcasts, the poor, the widow, orphan, and all those people who are society are not the right people, to put it in biblical language the unclean.
Jeremiah 22: This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
Job 31: If I have denied justice to any of my servants, whether male or female, when they had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless—but from my youth I reared them as a father would, and from my birth I guided the widow—if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or the needy without garments, and their hearts did not bless me for warming them with the fleece from my sheep, if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court, then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint. For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things. “If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained, if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor, so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
Presbyterian pastor and author, Timothy Keller in his excellent book Generous Justice writes, “This Just man does not use his economic position to exploit people who are in a weaker financial position. The implication is that if you do not actively and generously share your resources with the poor, you are a robber. You are living unjustly. It is not enough simply not to be a robber. The righteous person is actively generous.”
It’s not enough to be one who doesn’t harm anyone, we, as Christians need to be the ones who constantly extend good to others. We are blessed to be a blessing to others not for ourselves. So, when the billionaires say it’s so hard to be part of the 1%, my heart does not go out to them. Mt heart goes to the long-time unemployed, to those who have lost their house, their savings and the life they were working towards. No longer can we prayer ‘thy will be done’ be on Sunday mornings and then on Monday turn a blind eye and a hard heart on our needy brothers and sisters.
Isaiah 58: Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
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