Thursday, July 29, 2010

Checkbook Christianity excuses Arizona's fascist law

(Jesus driving the moneychangers from the temple. Rembrandt, 1626. Wiki commons)

Apropos the situation in Arizona, a few questions:

Why is it that those who claim most loudly to be Christians also complain most loudly about a supposedly Christian nation (it’s not, but that’s another column) allowing immigrants, legal or illegal, into the nation? I refer, in fact, to some comments on Facebook this morning in response to a Johnson City Press article regarding the judge who put the brakes on Arizona’s juggernaut toward becoming an armed camp where only white Anglo faces need appear.

Do they not in fact believe that Jesus of Nazareth fed a crowd of thousands from a few loaves and fishes? If they do believe that he did―and further believe as they claim that the living Christ is among us―then why do they not think the immigrants in their “Christian country” will be provided for?

If they believe, also, that God is the source of all, as they claim they do, why do they not believe that there will be enough to go around, enough for them and enough for immigrants, legal or illegal? Is their God, then, a limited God?

Many have said that, “Oh, yes, I sure enough believe in Christian charity. Why, I give through my church to buy blankets and such for poor folks.”

However, charity with the checkbook absent charity in the heart is no charity at all, and is, further, about as far from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as it is possible to get.

It might also interest the Checkbook Christians to note that they are no more than the distant, rapacious, disconnected, greedy Wall Streeters they so love to vilify. If one’s only aim in life is to have enough wealth to write the check for whatever―from humongous yachts to ten buck drops in a bucket of need and misery―there is no difference. None at all. As the Wall Streeters were merely protecting their lifestyle, so the Christians practicing checkbook charity are protecting theirs. When you add to it laws such as those in Arizona, you’ve got something arguably worse than what Wall Street did…because it is in the name of God. At least the bankers were honest about it; they did it in the name of greed.

But, but, but….I hear them saying, all in chorus. No buts. If a Christian is not practicing compassion and charity in his or her heart as well as via his or her pocketbook, that person is no Christian at all, no follower of the man or myth known as Jesus of Nazareth. It cannot be both ways. Either one is charitable in all ways, or one is not a Christian. Amen.