I am saddened and dismayed when Christianity is twisted and co-opted to bless and baptize predatory capitalism in the United States. Perhaps we could re-write our Pledge of Allegiance to mirror this?
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one God under nation, divisible, with poverty and injustice for many.”
It’s certainly not a new phenomenon, but Christianity is increasingly twisted to serve the corporate interests of the powerful at the expense of people experiencing poverty, economic stagnation, and vulnerability.
All day yesterday and through the night, people in power negotiated and debated legislation which is projected to result in a loss of health care for 24 million people. Some demanded to alter the bill so insurers will no longer have to provide essential services. With fewer people able to pay into the market, prices will likely go up for many of us.
At some point in these negotiations this week, the Congressional Budget Office updated their initial projections to account for updates to the bill, indicating that 24 million people will still lose coverage, but the new changes will cost approximately $187 billion more than the original draft.
Who is being served here? I can assure these leaders that most Americans who demanded better health care in the last election did not ask their representatives to price them out of the market. These changes serve the corporate interests of insurance companies and will result in enormous tax breaks for individuals in the wealthiest 1% income bracket.
Deep down for some, a “free market” capitalism that serves corporate interests and the rich at the expense of the poor has risen to the level of a national religion. It is frequently baptized in Christian language, though it is anything but Christian.
How do people smatter campaigns with Christian language and believe deep down that people in economically impoverished situations are just lazy or a necessary casualty of a survival-of-the-fittest economy?
How does a Freedom Caucus make us more free by demanding that essential services are no longer required? Are we more free when emergency room visits, hospitalizations, mental health care, and maternal care and delivery are no longer covered in the plans we pay for?
How do people say they are pro-life yet move forward with legislation they know will result in a loss of coverage and life-saving treatment?
Folks can move in these directions, and they are. But they should not bless it with Christian language.
In his very first sermon, Jesus said,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
This piece was first published at Smuggling Grace.
Renee Roederer is the founding organizer of Michigan Nones and Dones, a community for people who are spiritually curious but institutionally suspicious. This community in Southeast Michigan includes people who are religiously unaffiliated (the Nones), people who have left established forms of institutional churches (the Dones), and people who remain connected to particular faith traditions but seek new, emerging visions for their expression.
Please visit Smuggling Grace to subscribe to Renee Roederer’s blog. You can also follow her on Twitter: @renee_roederer.