Gospel, Politics and the Corruption of Money

Our gospel and our politics have both been corrupted by the same thing: the love of money. Money backs conservative politics and theology, it always has. It's simple. Wealthy people generally generally like the status quo. They want to keep things as they are since they are doing well. If changes are to be made, the wealthy want those changes to favor them.

Billionaires and multi-millionaires don't want to pay any more taxes or change the health care system or make any other changes (like to improve the environment) other than cuts to programs that benefit the poor and middle class. They benefit enormously from things as they are. And, we all know our political system is dominated by money and thus corrupt.

Now, of course there are millions of people who are not rich who are conservatives. In fact, most people who vote conservative/Republican are not rich. But, they are conservative because of the political and religious institutions that have taught them to be conservative. And, those institutions dominate the money game.

For the Christian, politically conservative politics nearly requires a politically conservative theology -- which means a small gospel. So, why don't we fix these things? Here's where The answer is as old as human history. You've got to follow the money.

Our politics are increasingly dominated by money. The wealthy have the money and thus are able to dominate our political system. The wealthy sin, selfishness, greed and corruption. It's about injustice and oppression of the weak, by the strong. We know the truth. We all know that our political system has become corrupted by the wealthy who receive a good return on their investment. Less well known, and more controversial, is the idea that money is also a big reason the Christian church in America is mostly silent about obvious injustice around it.

Few Christians consciously decide to adopt a smaller gospel. Most would gladly accept a broader, more relevant, gospel. But, many are influenced and subtly misled by the conservative Christian institutions they belong to.

And, those institutions, in turn, have been shaped by the views of the people who built them -- surprise -- again, we are talking about the influence of wealthy people.

I want to be clear that I believe the vast majority of politically conservative Christians are very good people. [Disclaimer: I used to be one.] The vast majority of politically conservative Christian clergy and leaders are also very good people. I don't think most of them ever made a conscious choice to believe and promote a partial gospel instead of the full gospel. They simply believed and proclaimed the gospel they were taught by the religious institutions that influenced them and which aligned with their political views. It is these institutions that, over time, have been the problem.

The reason is that those institutions, especially various colleges, seminaries, publishing houses (books, magazines, newspapers), radio stations, TV networks, etc) have been influenced by money. Money generally flows where it feels most comfortable. In the Christian world, that means it will flow most natrually to institutions that support a small gospel.

Rich people are more likely to join and give money to an institution that tells them the gospel demands little more than a mental thought. They are unlikely to give money to an institution that says the gospel also requires a commitment to social, economic and environmental justice.

Over time, the resources flow to the conservative, small gospel, institutions which then are able to provide the services people want. For instance, a family, looking for a church, will be more likely to attend one that offers a nice facility and robust services -- like a youth pastor for the children. All of that costs money. It all snowballs as more and more people are attracted to churches, and other institutions, that have money.

There simply is no money in politics or theology that benefits the poor; all the incentives flow the other way. The bulk of the money goes to conservative political and theological institutions (foundations, associations, etc). Lots of people and their families owe livelihood to money from wealthy interests and naturally this helps slant their thinking and at times the conservative manpower and resources can overwhelm the debate.

If a liberal wants to investigate corruption at the State Capital, he or she will have to fund it themselves; maybe while on vacation. Realistically, it just won't happen. Conservatives will have a dozen people, all paid for, doing it.

As noted at America's Gospel Problem, Christianity is the largest religion in the world; particularly dominant in America. Yet, it also is in decline when compared to the growth of other religions and most especially among young adults who are the future. The primary reason for this decline is that the church has generally discarded a well-rounded biblical view of the gospel of Jesus Christ and replaced it with a smaller, weaker, gospel concerned almost exclusively with spiritual thoughts, individual salvation, and the afterlife. The full gospel of Jesus is much, much more than that.

Yet, against all odds, perhaps supernaturally, Jesus' gospel remains. Solid proof, in my book, that it's true!

Read more about this at Liberal Christianity Should Offfer the Whole Package and the Gospel and Politics.

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