One thing I am always struck by when listening to supposed morally virtuous Christian Republican types stridently defend the general environment of rampant greed and the specific, supposed virtues of the people engaging in recklessly greedy behavior is: How do they reconcile their vision of Christianity with a hearty defense of greed?*

I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that many so-called conservative Christians defend so virulently the notion that Americans should be given free reign to covet and amass hugely disproportionate fortunes in finance by gaming the system, especially in the face of so much Biblical scripture and doctrine that speaks forcefully about the evils of unchecked greed and avarice. These are the same conservative Christians that are able to turn on a dime and spend huge amounts of time and anger frothing at the mouth about sins like homosexuality, which Jesus himself never even bothered to mention.

As a random blogger I came across noted:

When Jesus tossed over tables in the temple, he hadn’t just stumbled into an abortion clinic. He didn’t happen upon a homosexual tryst. He reacted in holy anger because he had walked into a cesspool of greed.

In fact, you can make a strong argument based on the full context of the Biblical narrative that Jesus was far more gracious and compassionate toward the woman caught in adultery than to the Pharisees and Sadducees whom he once called “vipers” or toward the money changers he saw cashing in on the floor of His father’s temple.

Say what you will about the fundamentally ludicrous tenets of religion, the thing that really gets to me about all of this is the cafeteria approach to the beliefs they claim to hold (i.e. “Well, today I’ll have the anti-gay-marriage salad, stem-cell parfait and a diet coke, but please hold the deadly-sin-of-greed garnish, sex-before-marriage breadsticks and bearing-false-witness lemon squares.”). It would be one thing if they actually believed in what their religion taught, but it’s quite another when they choose what to defend or get worked up about based on where their darts happened to end up on the Pick Your Christian Beliefs(TM) dartboard.

* When I say “greed”, I don’t generally mean enjoying the rewards that come along with hard, productive work. What I mean is the rampant, obsessive, predatory avarice that came to dominate Wall Street, which Matt Yglesias describes so well in his post, The Value of Finance.

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  1. Pat Tully, Jr. says:

    Amen.

  2. Justin Tyme says:

    Their religious "convictions" are merely a fig leaf designed to cover their avarice and consolidate political power. Duh!

  3. mike mcfadden says:

    A lot of this is the medias' fault. They extend credibility to some of the worse offenders (Newt on the Sunday shows) even after they have proven to have no moral grounding. God, Stevie Wonder can see the things they claim they can not. The media used to be called the 4th Estate. They use to serve a vital function in our democray, now Jon Stewart serves that function. Any idiot can stand in the public square and say anything they want, that doesn't mean anyone has to listen or report on their rant! The media is really hurting America, and oh yeah, Obama isn't sufficiently bi-partisan (said karl Rove)!

    • Metavirus says:

      you're so right. check out this article I wrote on Sunday on the topic of how horrible our national media has become http://www.librarygrape.com/2009/04/above-all-els

      it is absolutely shameful that repudiated, braindead failures like Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove are still treated like megastars by the media and given a megaphone for their discredited views. it's the fox-ification of all media.

  4. Metavirus says:

    Write your comment here…[polldaddy 1535378 http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1535378/ polldaddy] Here's a poll for you.

    • Timothy says:

      On your poll I picked "Bearing false witness." It has been my experience that Christians believe any deception in the name of their God is virtuous.

  5. Big Time Patriot says:

    Well, it's related to the fact that somehow Christian conservatives are totally Darwinian when it comes to business (survival of the fittest, economic warfare weeds out the week companies), yet they don't believe in evolution.

    They believe that God "managed" the creation of mankind to form it in the best image, but they also believe the "Un-Godly" idea that mankind should NOT "manage" businesses and the economy to form it in the manner that best benefits mankind.

    I have to admit, this seems to me to be cognitive dissonance of the highest order..

    • Metavirus says:

      it all really just makes one wonder if they are (a) capable of rational thought and/or (b) ever embarrassed by the metric ton of contradictions weighing down everything they say or do.

  6. Melissa says:

    They certainly aren't troubled by their inconsistencies are they? What amazes me more though is the mass of also self-proclaimed Christians who BUY this BS from them. As comedian Bill Hicks so brilliantly put it, Jesus didn't have much to say about smokin' and drinkin', but he sure did have a WHOLE lot to say about HYPOCRISY.

    • Metavirus says:

      so true — whodathunk that emphasizing blind, unthinking faith would make people… unable to think!

    • Schu says:

      Most of the so called Christians that support them are not in reality Christians. If they would their deeds would show their beliefs, Instead their deeps show a hedonistic bunch of greedy people who are trying to make you believe what they do.

  7. kaybee says:

    The bible is like a buffet with many optional servings. You can pick the teachings you like and ignore the rest.

  8. Brian says:

    FTA: When Jesus tossed over tables in the temple, he hadn’t just stumbled into an abortion clinic. He didn’t happen upon a homosexual tryst. He reacted in holy anger because he had walked into a cesspool of greed.

    Nope. Read the next verse. It was because the money-changers had turned the temple grounds into a place of business. It wasn't just because of sheer greed. An often misquoted statement by Paul states that the "love of money is the root of all evil". Not money, not too much money, jut the love of money. There is a difference between collecting lots of money and being greedy. If someone works for money, they should be able to keep it.

    Yes, many people "game the system", but that's all it is. Just like any business practice, there is risk involved. How many fortunes have people like Donald Trump and Warren Buffett won _and lost_ whilst "gaming the system"?

    • Captain America says:

      Thanks for the clarification Brian. Maybe they should change the slogan on U.S. Currency to "In God We Game"? I mean, it's all fun and games only until someone loses a weenie right?

  9. Connie says:

    First of all, republicans are the biggest donors to charitable orginizations. Second, why shouldn't the wealthy keep their money if they earned it? That is America. You want to spread the wealth, go to a social ist country. Republicans believe you work hard and earn your way. Democrats want to take handouts from others from what you make it sound like. And last, if you knew anything about embrionic stem cells vs. adult stem cells, you would know that with adult stem cells they only take a vial of blood and the results from adult cells is greater than killing babies and taking their cells. What does your religion say about killing babies? Do you have religion in your life? Christians don't hate gays or any other sinner. Christ loves sinners. I just love how the democrates love to spout their opinions whithout ever backing them up.

    • Metavirus says:

      wow. i imagine it must be lovely living in that fantasy world of yours. if you don't realize that most fundamentalist christians in this country hate gay people, you aren't living in a universe governed by reality.

      • Rupert Psmith says:

        Or spell check, apparently.

      • Bobo says:

        Actually no you have no idea about the law or speech of Christ do you? Connie is right, actually Christ as well as many Christians love sinners, because just like you and me, they are all children of God. you have no idea what you are talking about. You tie religion with politics. This is a big mistake. That’s like tying a race with a birthmark. Religion has no influence on political views and in fact I find all of this incredibly offensive. If anything, Christianity pushes the idea to take care of those below you. The Bible is a wonderful rule book on how to act to others given to us by God. If you don’t believe in it thats fine I’m not going to discriminate you but please don’t talk about Him and His rule if you don’t know about it yourself, and please don’t tie that in with a political view because there are plenty of people who are good Christians and still democrats or republicans or independent. I know some of each. Plus there are people in many other countries who fought (as well as your ancestors from Rome I guarantee) and are still fighting for the right to be Christian and live the way they want, yet here you are implying that you don’t even respect God. Again I’m not asking you to respect Him but please don’t just insult Him if you don’t know His law or love.

        • Metavirus says:

          Wow. “Religion has no influence on political views.” Really? Tell that to the Republicans. When they (and your fellow “loving” brethren) stop screaming in the public square about how gays are damned to hell and, as a result, shouldn’t have protections like anti-discrimination legislation or civil unions, then we can talk.

          Also, too, “Christianity pushes the idea to take care of those below you.” Again, talk to the Republicans, who think it is perfectly fine for tens of millions of americans to die without health insurance or go bankrupt in order to pay for treatment. If there is any political party in the country that has strayed from Christ’s message of caring for your fellow man, it’s them.

          I look forward to your efforts to bring Christ’s loving message to the people who need it most (i.e., conservative Republicans). Liberals are pretty aligned with the idea that we are judged by how we treat the least among us.

        • Schu says:

          Ah but I do know the Lord. And I do know that many fundamentalist claim that a man that has been married 5 times stands for “American Values.” That you can assassinate a doctor because he does not follow your religious values. Or the minister that loses 2/3 of his church members because he preaches that the president is a Islamic terrorist? You cannot turn a conservative GOP member over with out finding him preaching hate, and not the Lords love. Please get in touch with reality and start talking rational.

    • nolan says:

      1 Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”

    • Nolan says:

      1 Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”

    • Schu says:

      Then the Lord must really love you and yours. You have taken the word of God and perverted it to support nothing but greed and hate. The Lord is a God of love, not a God that hates gays, or long hairs, or people that disagrees with you and yours. The
      Lord does not rate us by how much we earn nor can you buy your way to heaven with donations after you have ripped everyone else off like robber barons. The Christian way is to help others more unfortunate than themselves. Something that the average GOP follower does not do, they would rather condemn them for needing any help.

  10. Cornholio says:

    You should all drop the religious horse shit. I’m not an American and sometimes I have the feeling you don’t even understand how indoctrinated you all are. I laugh my ass off watching CNN sometimes even though it’s really horrible how your politics work and Americans view the world Christianity really boned the world ever since it was brought into existence.

    • Mark Schumaker says:

      So instead of looking at the problem and discussing it and trying to find an answer, you would have us ignore the problem and hope that it will go away? The only way to refute the religious miss information usually presented by the candidates is to keep asking them about it an pointing out their mistakes
      .

  11. David says:

    Actually I think it’s two fold. First I DO think they use religion as a mask for greed but truthfully, in a very childish way I have noticed evidence that they actually believe that God bestows money on them because he loves them more. Really, I think they feel that God loves the rich more, thus they have wealth. Totally absurd!

  12. David says:

    Yes I agree Cornholio. I AM American an frankly it’s a total embarrassment as the ridiculousness that Christianity takes in this country to justify whatever the “believer” wants. It’s shameful!

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