A Christmas entreaty
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Because neither our Constitution nor our laws in any way sanction any religion, the United States of America cannot be called a “Christian Nation”. However, it can be claimed that the U.S. is a country predominantly inhabited by Christian people, but much of our behavior contradicts the validity of that claim. Christmas is a time for reflection – a time to question whether our social, economic, and political systems honor the message of the man whose birth we honor on this Holiday.
It is true that there are many, like Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, who lead philanthropy by their example, but what about our society as a whole? It seems to worship “mammon” (the acquisition of wealth) far more devotedly than the teachings of Christ. How else do you account for the massive flight of money from the middle class and the poor into the pockets of the wealthy?
Let’s look at the facts: all of the rewards from the increases in productivity in the past forty years have gone to the wealthy. During that time the income and assets of the wealthy have increased tremendously, while the real income of the working classes has decreased by nearly ten percent – an enormous upward redistribution of wealth. People are being worked harder and paid less for their labor, producing big profit increases for corporations and bigger dividends for their stockholders. Quoting Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”. But that is not happening. Instead, our country is being increasingly run for the benefit of those who have it all and want even more.
The conservative element in Congress has made preserving the tax cuts for the wealthy a condition for continuing any benefits for the middle class and poor, among them being: unemployment payments for those who, through no fault of their own have seen their jobs vanish in the Great Recession, earned income credits for the working poor, and tuition grants to help students whose families are unable to afford the cost of college. These same conservatives seem bent on repealing legislation designed to curb the excessively speculative practices of the investment and banking industry whose greed brought on the recession, thereby reopening the door for it to return to the destructive practices that enriched a privileged few at the expense of the rest of the country. And the conservative-controlled Supreme Court has granted corporate wealth carte blanch to in effect buy future elections, thereby insuring a government no longer “for the people” but instead subservient to the power of money.
For those who look to the Bible for the teachings of Jesus to guide their lives, and especially for those claiming to be Christians – who do not, but should – I offer the following from the Gospel according to Matthew:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,… 6,19
No man can serve two masters…..Ye can not serve God and mammon. 6,24
If thou would be perfect, go and sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. 19,21
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 19,24
Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 25,40
To all, I wish a Happy and Generous Christmas and New Year.
Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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Recently the challenges have mounted against making another bridge connecting south Glenwood Springs to the Colorado Highway 82 corridor.