Sunday, February 8, 2015

How the rich make Jesus's teachings meaningless

From Pope Francis Declares Oscar Romero a Martyr for the Faith—but Whose Faith?:
According to the National Catholic Reporter, there is unease with Romero’s case for sainthood among high-ranking prelates, including Benedict XVI, “because of Romero’s embrace of liberation theology, a type of Christian theology that posits that Christ did not just seek liberation from sin but every type of oppression.” In fact, there was an actual Vatican ban on Romero’s beatification, which the pope lifted with his declaration.
The unasked question: Why would Jesus want to preserve any type of oppression?

The rich have an answer that can't be found in the Bible: "Original sin", the notion that everyone has to suffer because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. But the idea that children suffer for their parents' sins is clearly refuted in the Bible. Deuteronomy 24:16 (King James Version) reads:
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
Now, there are passages in the Bible that suggest children suffer for the sins of their parents, but in context, they're using "sin" in the general sense of "mistake", and no one would deny that when parents screw up, kids often have to clean up. But even when the kids must deal with the consequences of their parents' deeds, the responsibility does not fall on the kids: the Bible's principle is that the one who did the crime should do the time.

And there's a card palmed in the notion that the majority must suffer in an unequal society because of original sin: it exempts the rich, turning them from fellow sufferers in Adam's fall to agents of God's punishment. That's a comforting theology for the rich, but it's entirely non-Biblical. The Bible's conclusion is simpler: The powerless, aka the meek, shall inherit the Earth.