Christmas, Greed And The American Way

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Greed is antithetical to giving. Ecclesiastes 5:16 tells us “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver.” Enough is never enough. With all we’ve witnessed, in recent years, isn’t it clear needless suffering is increased by gluttonous greed?

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Over the next few days, many Americans will pretend to be good Christians by engaging in the Christmas gift giving ritual. The so-called “season of giving”
is here.

Yet, is Christmas the only time we should engage in giving? Luke 6:38 instructs us to “Give and it shall be given unto you…” Moreover, Deuteronomy 15:11 admonishes us to “open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

Ironically, for many, the noble virtue of giving has been relegated to an annual commercialized farce. If America was truly a giving nation, why do we have so many social ills?

Here’s a few statistics to ponder: according to the National Law  Center on Homelessness and Poverty, on any given night, as many a two million Americans
are homeless. Families with children are 36 percent of those homeless. And, African-Americans represent 50 percent of the homeless; although, we’re a mere
12 percent of America’s population. Here in New York City, some heartless New York Police Department (NYPD) cops—to fill quotas the NYPD tells us are non-existent—actually give tickets to homeless people.

If people are homeless and hungry, how do these godless people expect them to pay? Proverbs 14:31 warns us “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.”

Homelessness is surely on the rise since the great Wall Street sub-prime mortgage swindle. In their 2008 State of the Dream report, United for a Fair Economy said “A deeper look into the crisis reveals that the sub-prime lending debacle has caused the greatest loss of wealth to people of color in modern US history.”

Here are a few findings from that report: (1) People of color will lose “between $164 billion and $213 billion for sub-prime loans taken during the past eight years.” (2) “From sub-prime loans, Black/African American borrowers will lose between $71 billion and $92 billion, while Latino borrowers will lose between $75 billion and $98 billion for the same period.” (3) “If sub-prime loans had been distributed equitably, losses for white people would be 44.5% higher and losses for people of color would be about 24% lower. This is evidence of systemic prejudice and institutional racism.”

Greed is antithetical to giving. Ecclesiastes 5:16 tells us “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver.” Enough is never enough. With all we’ve witnessed, in recent years, isn’t it clear needless suffering is increased by gluttonous greed? Sure Bernie Madoff is in prison. He had the audacity to steal from the rich. What about those Wall Street sharks who’ve gorged themselves on the flesh of the poor? Well, they’ve just given themselves a Merry Christmas to the tune of $144 billion in bonuses. However, we should remember the lesson taught us, by Jesus, in Luke 12:26 “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

Recently, President Obama and the Democrats were bullied—by Republican extortion tactics—to give America’s richest two percent tax-breaks; the same Republicans had opposed extention of unemployment benefits for more than two million Americans. Republicans have repeatedly argued that tax-breaks for the
wealthiest somehow would have a trickle-down effect and will spur jobs. If that were  true, why didn’t jobs materialize during the eight years of the Bush White
House when he gave the wealthiest Americans billion in tax cuts? The only thing trickling-down is the neglect and disdain many in America now have for the least fortunate.,

Since Barack Obama struck a blow against institutional racism, becoming the first African-American president, some Whites have exhibited their bigoted
colors. The Republicans, whose base is filled with racist reactionaries, have used prejudiced opposition, with political calculation, in their attempts to weaken President Obama.

Republicans were whining that Democrats were trying to pass bills, while Republicans wanted to go home for Christmas. Do Republicans realize—because of
their filibusters and obstruction—how many will be jobless, homeless and hungry this Christmas, while they’re busy stuffing their stomachs and singing Christmas Carols? While they’re splurging on gifts for their kids, do they have any consideration for the 13 million children now living below America’s poverty
line?

Acts 20:35 tells us Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” But those who control the economic engine of the American system live by the extreme
opposite to that principle. The ideals at the heart of the Christmas celebration, family and giving, are essential to bringing “peace on earth and goodwill to men.” These ideals should be practiced everyday of the year. Yet, they take a backseat within the carnivorous, capitalistic money-driven mindset.

1 John 3: 17-18 reminds us “But whosoever hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him how
dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and truth.”

Merry Christmas.


"Speaking Truth To Empower."


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