It’s one of the most interesting complex circumstances that we strive to deal with everyday, extending our faith convictions in the public square in the search of salvation for humanity. But this is also one of the areas where we at times fail to really live out to our expectations and compromise a lot about our faith and easily get misguided. Politics and social justice are two things that as Christians and humans are called to bring together, not allowing it to be considered separate aspects of our lives. I will try to take some time to reflect on the economic aspect of social justice and the ways in which we fall short as Christians.
One of things that i keep to mind from my internship in DC is that public finance is also a moral issue. An issue that we have to approach with an understanding of the values and principles of Christianity. But it is surprising that the world is continuing to cry about the economic injustice that is widening in our communities, and at the same time the people in charge of regulating public finance identify themselves as Christians. It’s basically that our response as Christians to some of these economic realities have been highly politicized and the political views have overshadowed our spiritual convictions to the extend that we never know what is right and what is wrong when placed in the public square.
Most of us commit our time to the defense of capitalism in the claim that it is the best economic system for the world and have long demonized communism and socialism as enemies of human freedom and development. Capitalism isolates an individual into his own corner but we do also, most of us frequently use the famous quotation of Martin Luther King Jr that ” We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” We have been very selective on the application of this quotation only when it serves our interests in the domains of civil liberties and compassion to those discriminated in our societies. How good would the world be if we applied this quotation in the way we view economic policies and plans, so that we are able to support and stand with one another at the most difficult part our life for are meant to live together. In a similar way we have chosen to support economic polities that widen the social divide not just in our countries but globally. If indeed the good of one fellow has to interpret into the good of the community, have we lost our morals or we just say things without attaching a meaning to it. We condemn others to poverty in systemic ways and offer excuses of doing things in good faith when we intentionally deep within our hearts know the wrong we are doing. God can’t be cheated, and honesty isn’t what others see and say of you, but that still small voice deep within your heart.
Taking a look at the Christian teaching of economic systems, we’ll come to the understanding that the Bible and even justice in no way stand for capitalism. Jesus encounters the young man and counsels him that if he desires to have eternal life let him sell all his belongings, give to the poor and follow him. It is also reported that at the beginning of the church, those who chose this way of life had to bring their goods together and share it in the fellowship of believers, for they understood the good and joy that exists when we share our wealth with others. Are the economic policies that you support or which your political support share similar beliefs and convictions to your faith, or you separate your political life to social justice.
As Christians we are called to live a life that seeks to take us a step forward to inclusion of all people at the table, the table of grace and wonderful meal with Jesus. We have the responsibility to bring this to a reality, not necessarily by committing our wealth and resources to charity but enabling the poor to develop their productive capacity so they can be independent. And this is what we are called to do, but what we experience and do daily is different. We support trade and economic policies that discriminate nations and communities so that we live a good life and allow others to depend on our mercy and boast of being good citizens because of our tax deductible donations.
We are called to stand for economic policies and decisions that truly represent the mutuality of our Christian faith, the policies that make sure others will not look up to us for charity. Let us not be part of the the groups that stand for things that they do not wish to question its moral base and relation to spirituality. If we indeed are Christians, we are called not just to identify ourselves as such but live as such, a life that represents the presence of Christ in the world. Our political life needs to be tied to our faith. In everything that we do, let us remember that God is watching us and the Prophet Amos offers a warning, it is not only to those who manage and regulate the economic systems but also to those of us who benefit from it and do nothing to change it. The Prophet says ” Therefore, because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops and exact a grain tax from them, you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone, nor will you drink the wine from the fine vineyards you planted” Amos 5:11 NET.
Let us stand strong with the values and principles inherited from the Almighty and that’s how the world will know that we are truly Christians.