There is no American flag in heaven.
Whether you believe in heaven or not, there is still no American flag there. God is not an American, and neither is Jesus. I state this in a position contrary to one seemingly adopted by hard-right conservative Christian ideologues.
Neither God nor Jesus has signed any sort of trade deal, mutual defense pact, or even a treaty of goodwill with the USA. God, therefore, is not on our side. He’s on His own side and those who are not with Him are against Him.
Who is against Him? Jesus said one cannot serve both God and Mammon. Mammon is the Hebrew word for money, not some arcane Philistine deity. Mammon is money. Money is the world made to go ’round by money. Money is not love – it is cruelty, it is interest rates, it is moral hazard, it is corruption, it is that, when loved by man, becomes the root of all evil. To say otherwise is to lie.
You pick one to serve, and the government of America has chosen to serve money. The hard-right conservative so-called Christian ideologues have chosen to serve money. The Democrats have chosen, ultimately, to serve money. We have what we have: a nation in which the ability of the rich men to trample the poor is taken for granted, with the argument over a few small points leading to ideological chasms between the leaders.
Should we punish the poor with more taxes or with turning them out into the wilderness when they are destitute, or some combination of the two? That is the debate among the leaders of America. Right now, the strongest demands to turn out the poor and cut all support for them are emanating from the so-called Christian conservatives.
They do not put forward beliefs guided by the teachings of Christ, but beliefs based upon the perversion of the words of but one key Christian preacher. Jean Calvin once wrote in private that, perhaps, some argument could be wrought to justify interest charges on lent money. That phrase of his has been seized upon by the money-lovers and used to justify the creation of vast banks that themselves serve to move money from the poor to the rich.
Calvin’s comment came reluctantly, and he told his friend not to mention it to others. Calvin made his logical twist through reasoning and human assumptions, rather than through an appeal to scripture. It was his own philosophy, not a teaching of Christ’s or God’s.
Since the hijacking of Calvin, a strain of Protestantism has emphasized an idea that God shows his favor to men through material wealth on the earth. Again, that was an invention of men built upon an invention of men. It is false religion, but it serves as the base of inspiration for an American brand of Christianity that has been warped to serve money.
Christ taught men to take only what they needed and to share everything they had. He told rich men that they could not go to heaven. When he talked about moving a camel through the eye of a needle, there was no gate anywhere in the world called “the eye of the needle” or anything like that. Christ meant that the rich had the same chance of getting into heaven as moving a great big camel through an itty bitty needle eye: ZERO.
Why the zero chance? They had chosen to love money instead of loving God, who is love, unconditionally. When the rich young man asked Christ if there was anything else he needed to do to win eternal bliss, Christ told him to give all that he had to the poor. That wasn’t a command to just that one man: it was an instruction to everyone. You have to let go of your attachments to money if you want to go to heaven. Like the US flag, there is no money in heaven.
When I make this argument, one of the first responses I typically get is, “Well, have YOU given everything you have to the poor?” That’s not a valid defense for someone that has transgressed the law of compassion. “Everyone else is doing it!” is never a valid defense. It avoids responsibility – which is exactly what money-lovers seek to do. Theirs is an evil craft, and self-examination results in confronting a gaping hole in their selves where a soul and a conscience used to exist.
Consider Rupert Murdoch. The man held powerful sway over all his holdings. He was no incompetent fool, unaware of what his underlings were up to. Yet, when revelations emerged that his employees had tortured the parents of a murdered child, he claimed great gulfs of distance existed between him and his disparate fiefs. He then expanded his defense to point at all the political higher-ups that must have also known if he knew as well, so as to say that either the buck stopped just before him or that it proceeded beyond him. Murdoch is saying he is innocent, or, if guilty, he’s dragging entire governments down to hell with him.
What made him and his corporate followers do these great evils? Money. What makes him squirm and attempt to evade justice? Money. Power goes with money, so they are one and the same. Money.
Governments in the EU and USA are squirming like Murdoch right now, all over money. None are yet willing to do as Solon of old did: repudiate debt and forbid the charging of interest. Solon did that in his Athens to eliminate the oppression of the poor and to create a just society.
The governments in the EU and USA, however, depend upon the machinery of money and interest rates to fuel their own ambitions and to secure their powers. The men in government have a love for money that must exist if they are to be in government. One cannot hold elected office without winning an election, and the monied interests have made sure that one cannot win an election without first loving money.
Once elected, the typical US congressman or senator has to spend at least half of his time in fundraising events with an eye towards re-election. That’s half of his waking hours devoted to groveling at the feet of those richer than he, be they individuals or be they PACs. That is a devotion to money that few can afford. The far-right so-called Christian conservatives are no exception to this rule.
I put forward the idea that salvation for America’s ills will not be found in a crowd of people that claim to follow Christ, but who reject His teachings with their actions and conduct. They seem to believe there is an American flag that waves over the streets of heaven and that there will be money for all the righteous there, presumably off of exploiting markets and resources in hell. For this crowd, the rich are heaven-bound, so their needs must be catered to on this sphere.
Jesus taught that one must forgive debts, not raise interest rates. He taught that the rich must give liberally to the poor, not the other way around. A true Christian political movement would reflect those ideals.