Rush Limbaugh, in his infinite wisdom, says that the new pope is a Marxist. There is a reason for this. During the late 19th Century and early 20th, Dwight Moody basically codified the way the middle class, especially the prosperous, mid-western middle class felt about poverty and the wealthy. He raised thousands and thousands of dollars that went to help the poor. But, his main interest was on evangelism. His theories are reflected today, in the rants of Bill O’Reilly and the hatred of Rush Limbaugh.
“…In the evangelist Dwight L. Moody there is an amalgamation of the individualism of pietistic revivalism and the social outlook of industrial capitalism. As a result of this union, Moody was not in a very good position to be critical of business values. Another reason for Moody’s inability to make any effective criticism of the business community was his fund-raising activities. Moody was capable of reaping sizeable monetary gifts from the captains of industry. Even if he had wanted to do so, Moody would have thought twice before making a sustained attack upon those who made possible his work as an evangelist and a fund raiser for worthwhile causes. One of his most perceptive followers saw clearly the threat that close association with the wealthy posed to his work. This friend wrote: “If I were asked as to the direction in which his [Moody’s] greatest danger lay, I should say that it would come from his ambition to lead and influence Rich Men and that this might have a tendency to lead him to compromise his convictions…”
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:9-10
I guess, if Pope Francis is a Marxist, so am I. So was Christ for that matter. It has taken a few days for the far right to get over Thanksgiving, and football. By Tuesday evening, their talking points were well in hand, parroting what Rush said about the Pope. What is so remarkable is that there are far right talking points against Pope Francis.
The dislike of helping those in need is deeply entrenched in the American psyche, primarily because of Dwight Moody.
“… Moody contended that economic hardship could be a fine discipline. He commented in a series of meetings in New York City, “It is a good thing that people should suffer.” This step in his reasoning appeared to be brutal. However, in his day-by-day actions Moody never went to such extremes as the preceding statement might suggest. His deep concern for individuals which grew out of his Christian faith prevented such extremities from happening. Nevertheless, his beliefs did possess a callousness if pressed to their logical conclusions. It is most likely that Moody had never thought through all the implications of his point of view. If he had, probably he would not have made such harsh statements as quoted above, or perhaps he would have changed his deeds to align more closely with these conclusions. Even in the nineties, when his opinions seemed particularly naive, if his words are read in context they still reveal a continuing concern for the laboring man (although only as an individual) and a desire to help him in his difficulties….”
Famous Evangelist Dwight Moody believed that those in poverty, in many ways, did nothing to lift themselves from poverty until they became Christians. He was not all that into charity, at all.
“...In the difficult years of the mid-nineties the evangelists had nothing more to offer the depressed laborers that advice to take advantage of vaguely conceived acts of good will on the part of employers.7 In this spirit he requested his middle-class audience to “go and act the Good Samaritan. . . . Send your carriages out and give poor people a drive in the park once in awhile and they’ll call you an angel, I’ll warrant.”…”
He felt that people were responsible for their own poverty, which was caused from sin.
“...In New York City in 1876 where 50,000 men were out of work because of the depression. Moody commented: “I know there is great misery and suffering in this great city; but what is the cause of most of it? Why, the sufferers have become lost from the Shepherd’s care. When they are close to Him, under his protection, they are always provided for.” According to Moody, a man who lost his job should consider it as a judgment of God for his sins. “If you had a son who wouldn’t obey you you would not expect him to prosper, and wouldn’t be anxious that he should, because prosperity in wickedness would be an injury to him.” Moody was convinced that for the most part poverty was the result of personal sin. “I believe today one reason why so many men’s ways are hedged up and they do not prosper is because they have dishonored their parents” or disobeyed some other commandment. Sometimes, Moody believed, poverty was simply the result of not being a converted Christian. He believed this truth about himself. He often commented: “The whole of my early life was one long struggle with poverty; but I have not doubt it was God’s way of bringing me to himself. And since I began to seek first the kingdom of God, I have never wanted for anything. Moody saw the prevailing sins of the poor workers to be the immorality of laziness, a lack of thrift, and the consumption of liquor and tobacco. As far as he was concerned, these sins inevitably led to poverty. Moody understood laziness and idleness to be heinous sins. …
On the other hand, former MLB evangelist, Billy Sunday, while making even more that Babe Ruth during the hard years, was a soft touch. He and his family lived well, but he gave away nearly everything he earned to help those in need.
“...Sunday was a lifelong Republican, and he espoused the mainstream political and social views of his native Midwest: individualism, competitiveness, personal discipline, and opposition to government regulation. Writers such as Sinclair Lewis, Henry M. Tichenor, and John Reed attacked Sunday as a tool of big business, and poet Carl Sandburg called him a “four-flusher” and a “bunkshooter.” Nevertheless, Sunday sided with Progressives on some issues. For example, he denounced child labor and supported urban reform and women’s suffrage. Sunday condemned capitalists “whose private lives are good, but whose public lives are very bad,” as well as those “who would not pick the pockets of one man with the fingers of their hand” but who would “without hesitation pick the pockets of eighty million people with fingers of their monopoly or commercial advantage.” He never lost his sympathy for the poor, and he sincerely tried to bridge the gulf between the races during the zenith of the Jim Crow era,…”
As an aside, Billy Sunday was opposed to eugenics, evolution, cards, dancing, theater, novels, and alcohol. He did though believe in the religion of baseball, feeling it was quite patriotic in nature.
“...Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly home- less person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape….” #53 Pope Francis
Evidently thou shalt not diss capitalism, corporate greed, trickle down economics, or suggest the ultra wealthy of the world might be better served to actually help the poor rather than the corrupt politicians. One of the real problems here is that with Christ, his riches are different from those of Rush Limbaugh and the Koch Brothers.
“…”I’m not Catholic, but I know enough to know that this would have been unthinkable for a pope to believe or say just a few years ago,” Limbaugh continued. In fact, Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, now pope emeritus, could be just as strong a critic of capitalism.
In 2009, Benedict, in an official church document called an encyclical, said there was an urgent need for “a political, juridical and economic order” that would “manage the global economy.”
As Limbaugh notes, Benedict’s predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, was a noted foe of communism, after living under its oppressions in his native Poland. But even John Paul thought that unregulated capitalism could have negative consequences.
In “Evangelii,” Francis called for more of a spiritual and ethical revolution than a regulatory one. “I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: `Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs,’” said Francis, quoting the fifth-century St. John Chrysostom….”
The problem with the far right, with Rush Limbaugh, etc is that they have bought into the false doctrine of Property Theology:
“...Prosperity theology (also known as the “health and wealth gospel”) is a Christian religious belief whose proponents claim the Bible teaches that financial blessing is the will of God for Christians. Most teachers of prosperity theology maintain that a combination of faith, positive speech, and donations to Christian ministries will always cause an increase in material wealth for those who practice these actions. Prosperity theology is almost always taught in conjunction with continuationism.
Prosperity theology first came to prominence in the United States during the Healing Revivals in the 1950s. Some commentators have linked the genesis of prosperity theology with the influence of the New Thought movement. It later figured prominently in the Word of Faith movement and 1980s televangelism. In the 1990s and 2000s, it became accepted by many influential leaders in the charismatic movement and has been promoted by Christian missionaries throughout the world. It has been harshly criticized by leaders of mainstream evangelicalism as a non-scriptural doctrine or as an outright heresy…”
13Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. 7Pay to all what is due to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due. Romans 13:1, 6-7
Then there is this from the American Spectator. Let’s just call it liar, liar pants on fire.
Where to begin on this one? Ever heard of Ronald Reagan? Evidently Thomas Sowell hasn’t.
“…Thomas Sowell claimed that, despite its political prominence, no trickle-down theory has ever existed among economists. In response, many critics referred him to Stockman’s remarks to Greider. Sowell replied in his newspaper columns. Stockman himself had not proposed or advocated the alleged theory, so Sowell rejected him as an example of someone who had done so. Additionally, Stockman had not specifically named anyone who, or quoted a source that, advocated the theory although he did claim that the theory was being adhered to by the Reagan administration….”
Funny, but Reagan is the one who promoted Trickle Down Economics, which George H. W. Bush called Voodoo Economics. Sowell says that no economist ever said such a thing, but um… David Stockman, did. Sowell may be an economist, but he’s lying through his teeth – oh, wait, he’s playing fast and loose with words.
“...The economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that “trickle-down economics” had been tried before in the United States in the 1890s under the name “horse and sparrow theory.” He wrote, “Mr. David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy—what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: ‘If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.’” Galbraith claimed that the horse and sparrow theory was partly to blame for the Panic of 1896.Proponents of Keynesian economics and related theories often criticize tax rate cuts for the wealthy as being “trickle down,” arguing tax cuts directly targeting those with less income would be more economically stimulative. Keynesians generally argue for broad fiscal policies that are directed across the entire economy, not toward one specific group….”
Ironically, as I edit the above paragraph, President Obama is doing a speech, discussing trickle down economics, and how profoundly unequal our economy has become.
“...The Pope’s Christ-like words were too much for Rush Limbaugh to take and he accused Pope Francis of offending unfettered capitalism by labeling it a new tyranny. Limbaugh said “Now, up until this, I thought he was going a little overboard on the common man touch, but the Pope here has now gone beyond Catholicism here, and this is pure political.” Limbaugh likely is unfamiliar with Christ’s teachings because he railed on the Pope for “beseeching global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality,” and claimed Pope Francis went too far in “criticizing the global economic system and attacking the idolatry of money.”
Limbaugh’s assertion that the Pope’s comments were political led him to conclude that “somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. There’s no such — “unfettered capitalism”? That doesn’t exist anywhere.” Limbaugh is wrong; unfettered capitalism is the entirety of the Republican economic agenda. However, Rush is absolutely correct on one count; somebody did get to the Pope and write his opinions for him. Since everything this new Pope said is straight out of the Christian bible gospel accounts, the Pope got his opinions from whoever recorded Jesus Christ’s sermons, parables, and teachings commanding his followers to care for the poor; likely the disciple Luke. It is also likely that Pope Francis used a sentence Founding Father Thomas Jefferson wrote in a 1786 dialogue between Head and Heart that says, “This world abounds indeed with misery; to lighten its burden we must divide it with one another.”..”
“...The pope’s screed on “the economy of exclusion and inequality” will disappoint those who considers themselves free-market capitalists, but they would do well to listen to the message. Francis gives form to the emotion and injustice of post-financial-crisis outrage in a way that has been rare since Occupy Wall Street disbanded. There has been a growing chorus of financial insiders – from the late Merrill Lynch executive Herb Allison to organizations like Better Markets – it’s time for a change in how we approach capitalism. It’s not about discarding capitalism, or hating money or profit; it’s about pursuing profits ethically, and rejecting the premise that exploitation is at the center of profit. When 53% of financial executives say they can’t get ahead without some cheating, even though they want to work for ethical organizations, there’s a real problem.
Unlike Occupy, which turned its rage outward, Pope Francis bolstered his anger with two inward-facing emotions familiar to any Catholic-school graduate: shame and guilt, to make the economy a matter of personal responsibility.
This is important. Income inequality is not someone else’s problem. Nearly all of us are likely to experience it. Inequality has been growing in the US since the 1970s. Economist Emmanuel Saez found that the incomes of the top 1% grew by 31.4% in the three years after the financial crisis, while the majority of people struggled with a disappointing economy. The other 99% of the population grew their incomes 0.4% during the same period.
As a result, federal and state spending on social welfare programs has been forced to grow to $1tn just to handle the volume of US households in trouble. Yet income inequality has been locked out of of the mainstream economic conversation, where it is seen largely as a sideshow for progressive bleeding hearts….”
“…Ever since Pope Francis took over, the Catholic church has been drifting further and further away from America’s corporate Conservatism. Most of us have known for some time that the Right’s association with religion of any sort is a blatant hijacking job, a cynical exercise in demographics that relies almost entirely on inroads through racism, homophobia, selfishness and Southern sensibilities. But Francis is steadily proving that Biblical principles are utterly inconsistent with the Corporate Right…and for once, the world has to listen. And as usual, Rush Limbaugh thinks someone is a Communist. – …”
The series concludes tomorrow.