Book Plunge: The King Jesus Gospel

Are we doing something wrong in Evangelicalism? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Recently, I finished reading Scot McKnight’s book “The King Jesus Gospel.” (By the way, if anyone wants to know about what I’m reading, just head over to GoodReads and feel free to add me. I regularly update it.) I had heard much good about the book and with N.T. Wright pointing out what a good book it was, I knew I was in for a treat.

The book is telling us that we are doing something wrong in evangelicalism. McKnight starts by sharing how he went door to door with someone from his church shortly after his “conversion” (I say it that way because I hate the term) and they spent an hour with the guy who had visited their church and really wasn’t interested, but eventually he did accept Christ as Lord, though most likely from McKnight’s perspective, it was an outward show. They went back to church and there was much celebration. The man was never seen at the church at all.

McKnight wants us to think about what has happened.

We have got to a point in our society where we have the message of salvation, which is really part of the gospel, and made it the whole gospel. This fits in well with our individualistic culture where the question then becomes “What is God going to do to take care of my problems?”

In this kind of society, people can make decisions quickly, but McKnight wants us to konw that the apostles were not sent out to get people to make decisions, but were sent out to make disciples. If we can get someone to “convert” and then not have anything required of them or any incentive for them, then we’re pretty much getting them to just say “Yes. You’re right.” We are not instilling in them a desire for Christlikeness.

When it becomes about our problems, then McKnight takes the saying from Dallas Willard that the gospel becomes simply “sin-management.” Of course, no one would say we need to downplay the importance of dealing with our sins. We certainly must deal with them. We just must make sure they are not the only aspect of reality that we deal with.

McKnight proposes we do that by broadening our picture. The coming of Jesus is not about getting someone to come and deal with our problems. It’s about God dealing with the problem. Interestingly, I just today started reading “Bart Ehrman’s book ‘God’s Problem.’ ” It is Ehrman’s work on the problem of evil and why he thinks the Bible doesn’t address it.

Ehrman is partially right. Evil is the problem. It is what the cross and the empty tomb are there to deal with, but part of the reason that problem is not taken care of is that we’re so fixated on our problems. Now of course we all have problems to deal with, but even our own problems can be seen in a different light when we place them under the kingship of Christ.

Could it be that when we start dealing with God’s problem, that we’ll find out not only do our problems get taken care of, but so does God’s problem? Could it be that if the church were to start acting the way that Christ had meant for us to act that maybe the problem of evil would not have been as severe? There are aspects we cannot change. There would still be hurricanes and earthquakes and tsunamis, but there would be more Christians to help those in need and more resources to help them.

McKnight wants us to see that the gospel is about the story of Israel reaching a fruition. It is about the Messiah, the rightful king, coming and taking the throne and when He takes the throne, He begins working out the problem to the proper solution. We are so busy looking at ourselves that we are not aware that God is at work in the universe and bringing about His mission.

We send people out to make decisions, but we don’t instruct them in what it means to be a disciple of Christ. It is as if we seek to get someone to an emotional high and then assume that our work is done. You might as well say that when a woman goes through the labor of childbirth and gives birth to a child, that she can then leave and go her own way. Her work is done. That does not work in parenting. It will not work in discipling.

McKnight urges us to return to the Old Testament also and see about the life of Israel. Don’t just look to see how it relates to Israel for the time-being. Look and see about the story itself. What is Israel dealing with? Why is God using these people? What is His overall purpose? Is it just a random thing, or is there some purpose to Israel?

Lately as I go to sleep, I’ve been trying to think through the OT and get the story of Israel in my mind. My mind has to have something to think on serious usually to get any peace and this is a great aid to me. It’s fascinating to see how the story of Israel could play itself out. I’ve been doing this for a few days and I’m not even through Genesis yet!

Upon reading this book, I have realized that this is the kind of book that every pastor needs to read. We are giving our people only part of the story. We are giving them forgiveness, but giving them the impression that God is there to deal with their problems instead of this idea that God wants something from His people. He wants them to be seeking Him continually and acknowledging His Son as the king of their lives.

The only downside I can think of is that with a place like Amazon, I cannot give this book six stars. Five is just not enough.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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51 Responses to “Book Plunge: The King Jesus Gospel”

  1. LJ Alexander Says:

    Interesting read!!!

    God Bless,

    Jacob

  2. randy reneau Says:

    Nick Peters: in this Sunday paper you talk about secularism. I think you need to read a Chris Hedges book American Fascists The Christian Right and the War on America.It’s in the local library.People like you want a state religious government. Because of the flag on the cross and what you say. You hide behind the Bible. You have no love of Christ. You are the same as people like Pat Robertson.You see nobody having a mind of their own. You want totalitarianism for Christ. Your column was more of a right wing idea than anything about Christ read Matthew 19: 16 – 21 Luke 6:35-38 Matthew 25:34-46

    • apologianick Says:

      Wow. Talk about mischaracterization. No. I don’t want a Christian state. I do support a separation of church and state. I don’t want the church to rule the world. I do want Jesus to be in charge though and I think Christians should be able to vote according to what they believe. So when you say I want a state religious government, the claim is simply false. I support freedom of religion. A theocracy in the sense people take it today with the church leading is the last thing needed since that makes Christianity to be popular and able to be bent for personal gain. Now if you want to discuss these passages with me, I urge you to come to TheologyWeb.com. I will be starting a thread there tomorrow where I debate under the name of ApologiaPhoenix. It’s the great chance for you to come and tell me all of these things you think I believe but don’t.

      On Sun, Apr 21, 2013 at 1:41 PM, Deeper Waters

      • randy reneau Says:

        You talk about secular humanism, is this a non-believe ? Your topic is secularism but does it constitute the failures of Christian life.I know our society is decaying. I know some in the religious right are ploying to change laws. I would like your opinion on a book I read by Chris Hedges Called American Fascists about the Christian right. You can go to goggle and read the first 87 pages . Maybe I misjudged you they got it the library He talks allot about the TV preachers, the wealth which they say is a gift from God.I don’t understand why Christ would condemn wealth if it was not right I believe like he told a rich young ruler, sell and follow me. But some in the Christian right scares me. They want go back to 1536 in a book called Institutes of the Christian Religion By Calvin.I think his first name was John. The laws they want to make as the law of the land. Look at R.J. Rushdoony and his laws.

      • apologianick Says:

        Randy: You talk about secular humanism, is this a non-believe ?

        Reply: Yep. Pretty much atheism. Just this idea that we need to remove anything religious from the culture and have our culture act as if there is no God.

        Randy: Your topic is secularism but does it constitute the failures of Christian life.

        Reply: If you’ll check this blog, you’ll find I regularly go after the church today which is responsible for the mess that we’re in. Note when you write a column, your word count is limited and I don’t actually choose the title, so I say what needs to be said. I could say thousands of words more.

        Randy: I know our society is decaying. I know some in the religious right are ploying to change laws.

        Reply: EVERYONE wants to change laws. Everyone also has the right to change laws. How is that done? You make an argument. You give a reason why your side should be the right side and note I do not say the reason is “The Bible says so.” In fact, my stance is that nothing is moral or immoral because the Bible says so, but the Bible says so because it is moral or immoral. For instance, it’s a fact of history that Jesus was crucified. This is not a fact because the Bible says it. The Bible says it because it is a fact.

        Randy: I would like your opinion on a book I read by Chris Hedges Called American Fascists about the Christian right. You can go to goggle and read the first 87 pages .

        Reply: I’ll wait until I can get it at the library. I disdain reading books on Google. I’ll also need to finish the books I am reading now and the book that I have to write a review for.

        Randy: Maybe I misjudged you

        Reply: Big time. I don’t have a single friend or family member who would think your description is accurate at all, even those in the scholarly circles who know my theology quite well. Your approach was to shoot first and ask questions later and your accusations are incredibly severe. Do you usually spout out such accusations without hearing the other side of a story and letting someone explain their worldview?

        Randy: they got it the library He talks allot about the TV preachers, the wealth which they say is a gift from God.

        Reply: I once worked at the Christian Research Institute before they let me go due to donations being low. You know a major group we went after there? The Word of Faith prosperity teachers. I still go after them. I think the world would be better if a meteor shower would knock all the TBN satellites out of the sky.

        Randy: I don’t understand why Christ would condemn wealth if it was not right I believe like he told a rich young ruler, sell and follow me.

        Reply: Christ did not condemn wealth for everyone. He condemned it for those who saw it as an idol. Consider the centurion whose servant Christ healed in Luke 7 and Matthew 8. THis guy had to be wealthy. He built a synagogue and was a high-ranking official in the Roman army and Christ applauded his faith.

        There is no sin in having wealth. There is no sin in making money. It can be a sign of God’s blessing on someone’s life that they have money, but not necessarily. We should be thankful there are people who are good at making money since they provide the jobs for our society. The problem is not having wealth but wealth having you, as it did for the rich young man. Note Jesus would not have been able to do his ministry unless he had financial backers. Paul had a number of friends who were wealthy as well.

        People can be wealthy and love Jesus more than anything else in this world. They will use their wealth to the best of their ability to help those in need and it is also not wrong for them to enjoy that wealth themselves. There is nothing wrong with getting to live a good life.

        Randy: But some in the Christian right scares me. They want go back to 1536 in a book called Institutes of the Christian Religion By Calvin.I think his first name was John. The laws they want to make as the law of the land. Look at R.J. Rushdoony and his laws.

        Reply: Yes. John Calvin. You’re talking about the reconstructionist movement with the concept of a theonomy. That’s not my stance. I’m not Calvinist at all. I have friends who are, but I’m not. I don’t want Christianity married to the state. That happened with Constantine and it led to problems. I want Christian morality in the world and that should come about the proper way, through good argumentation and legal voting procedures. I don’t want it to be forced into law that you must submit to Christ as Lord and savior. I want it to be that if someone wants to be a Muslim in this country or a Hindu or a Buddhist or an atheist, as long as they follow all the other laws, have at it! At the same time, I want Christians to be able to voice their beliefs and say what they want and not have their opinion dismissed because they’re Christians and told they can’t vote according to what they think is right and wrong while everyone else can.

      • randy reneau Says:

        You did not send me a E-mail on your idea of wealth.Matthew 6:19-21
        “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 16:19-31
        “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. … Did Christ say that the rich man did anything wrong but being rich. This is what HAPPENING TO THIS NATION! Some say, it is that people don’t believe, to them I say MOST CHRISTIAN ARE HYPOCRITES, How many have I talked have no compassion. They think being a conservative is GODLY, They only live in a illusion, they have no heart, and lies to their selves that they are saved just because a minster told them. Being saved comes from the heart and with passion for the master Jesus Christ and what he taught, you are not saved without passion from Christ. I have seem a many Baptist, saying they were saved but when it comes to helping a person that need help, and they say they are dirty and smell. I don’t want to help him. I don’t consider no rich person that will enter heaven. Too many people that are Christians have a narrow minded view. My brother in- law told me me I was an UN-believer just because I am a Liberal. And a barber told me I didn’t believe in God because I was a Liberal. You see what kind of people they are.Would Christ say that because, I will take his Judgment. How should I think about these people. I go to Church and if a man judge me just because my believe in helping the poor, what will heaven be.

      • apologianick Says:

        Randy: You did not send me a E-mail on your idea of wealth.Matthew 6:19-21

        Reply: I considered my response on wealth in general adequate to address anything. I also note that you did not acknowledge any point you thought I was right on. If you think I’m wrong elsewhere, you did not show it.

        Randy: Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

        Reply: Correct, and that does not just apply to wealth. For some people, sex is their god, but that does not mean because some people idolize sex that no one should get married. For some people, power is their god, but that does not mean no one else should have power. In the same way, I notice that you’re inconsistent with the rich young ruler. If that’s the way to salvation, then why have you not sold everything you have and given it to the poor? How rich do you have to be before you start selling everything because if you live in America, compared to the rest of the world, you are rich.

        Randy: Luke 16:19-31

        There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. … Did Christ say that the rich man did anything wrong but being rich.

        Reply: YES! He makes it clear that Lazarus was by his gates every day, something the rich man would have known about, and he did nothing. This man meanwhile had a banquet every day and if you read Ken Bailey’s book “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes” you’d know that he says the language about the clothing indicates that even this man’s underwear was purple. This man lived only for himself. The sin was not having money, but money having him. Let me ask you on the other hand. Did this poor man do anything good besides being poor? We’re told of nothing. Being poor is not the key to Heaven. The idea in this parable is to go against common Jewish thought. For them, if you were rich, that was the blessing of God. If you were poor, that was the curse of God. In the ancient world, the poor were not trusted. These are the ones who will steal. Go read James Jeffers’s book “The Greco-Roman World” to see how it was for them. What is being said is to not assume God’s favor because one is rich or his curse because one is poor.

        On the other hand, if the Bible was ipso facto opposed to wealth, why is it that the book of Proverbs tells so many ways that a man can follow the right rules with money and accumulate wealth?

        Randy: This is what HAPPENING TO THIS NATION!

        Reply: This nation has always had rich people. If you have some steel around you, thank Andrew Carnegie. If you drive a car, thank Henry Ford. If you have a job, thank your employer who has more money than you have. The problem is not wealth. The problem is greed. If you have a government that can simply take away money from you on whim and call it a tax and make it just, that is greed in itself.

        Randy: Some say, it is that people don’t believe, to them I say MOST CHRISTIAN ARE HYPOCRITES, How many have I talked have no compassion.

        Reply: I think you’ll regret saying this.

        Randy: They think being a conservative is GODLY,

        Reply: I am a conservative because I think it is wise. I think it’s good economic policy and good moral policy.

        Randy: They only live in a illusion, they have no heart, and lies to their selves that they are saved just because a minster told them.

        Reply: I have several friends who are conservatives. I have several who are liberals. This accusation does not apply to any of them.

        Randy: Being saved comes from the heart and with passion for the master Jesus Christ and what he taught, you are not saved without passion from Christ.

        Reply: May it never be! This is the thinking of Rousseau on passion. He was certainly no Christian. Being saved comes from the gift of God in grace and whether that comes with emotion or not will depend on the individual. Some people have temperaments that make them more emotional. Some don’t. If people judge salvation based on how they feel, many are in trouble.

        Randy: I have seem a many Baptist, saying they were saved but when it comes to helping a person that need help, and they say they are dirty and smell. I don’t want to help him.

        Reply: Yes. By all means condemn the sin, but there but for the grace of God go you and I and let the one without sin cast the first stone. Are you going to tell me you don’t do some similar things at times in some way?

        Randy: I don’t consider no rich person that will enter heaven.

        Reply: Remember that Job was a wealthy man and was seen as blameless before God. Abraham was a wealthy man and was considered the friend of God. David was a king and thus wealthy and considered a man after God’s own heart. Your view leads to salvation by works and is inconsistent with Scripture.

        Randy: Too many people that are Christians have a narrow minded view.

        Reply: Everyone does! You have to! As soon as you argue that you are right on anything, you automatically make a statement that those who disagree are wrong. Truth is narrow! We must always be open to the fact that we could be wrong, but we must not deny that the truth is a narrow path. Narrow is the way. There are an infinite number of angles at which one may fall but only one at which a man may stand.

        Randy: My brother in- law told me me I was an UN-believer just because I am a Liberal.

        And a barber told me I didn’t believe in God because I was a Liberal. You see what kind of people they are.

        Reply; And you told me at the start of this that I do not have the love of Christ in me and hide behind the Bible. You did the exact same thing that your brother-in-law and the barber did to me because I am a conservative. I’ve seen you stereotyping people like myself left and right here and then come along and condemn hypocrisy. If it is wrong for them to do it to you, and it is, it is wrong for you to do it to others, and it is.

        Randy: Would Christ say that because, I will take his Judgment.

        Reply: I think Christ would say you are wrong, but not non-Christian. We’re all wrong on some areas.

        Randy: How should I think about these people.

        Reply: How? The same way Christ thinks about you when you sin against Him.

        Randy: I go to Church and if a man judge me just because my believe in helping the poor, what will heaven be.

        Reply: I do not know a single conservative who is opposed to helping the poor. We just have a different way that we plan on doing it. What I notice too often is that it is assumed that good intentions produce good results. They do not.

      • randy reneau Says:

        Why are you a conservative? would not Christ be a conservative, I think not.“Was Jesus Christ a Liberal The first step to answer this question is to define the terms. Much disagreement exists not because those arguing fundamentally disagree, but because they’re simply defining terms differently.
        If by “liberal ” one refers to a person who seeks to serve his fellow man with compassion and charity, and who spends his life voluntarily clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, liberating the captive, educating the ignorant, and caring for the sick and afflicted, then yes, Jesus Christ was a liberal and we should all strive to be liberal.
        If being a liberal means striving to attain just and equitable society, a society where there are no rich or poor, where all men are treated equally, then Jesus Christ was a liberal.
        If liberal means to give of our talents and substance to serve and uplift others, then Jesus Christ was a liberal. Do you know that a conservative is? How many have conservative organizations that take care of the poor. Conservative believe in small government. they believe that government should not help the poor. In your writing you still hold up for rich because of your conservatives believe.But my judgment is not the judgment of Christ. I know that rich people look down on the poor as lazy, they see themselves as better. But what does our father see? And how many Conservatives throw off on welfare people as trash, and single mothers as tramps. What did Christ do to be a conservative? Did he love the Rich? Did he preach the value of wealth? Did he not throw the money changers out of the Temple? Being a conservative goes against everything Christ stood for. This is what’s the matter with this nation. The decay of society is cause by our nation worshiping wealth. How many people that go your Church, and say you give them a winning lottery ticket, what would they do with the money? Me I would give it away, or set a trust to help the poor. I live a good life. Wealth only poisons a person values.Christ knew it did,and we know who the rich are. Wouldn’t it impress you to see Bill Gates at your Church? God knows your ideas,your likes and dislikes, as for me being a liberal means I can look at myself and be in good conscience that hold Christ values, which allot of conservative do not.

      • apologianick Says:

        Randy: Why are you a conservative?

        Reply: Already answered last time. Did you not read? Once again, it looks like you don’t acknowledge where other people are possibly right and can’t admit any wrong.

        Randy: would not Christ be a conservative, I think not.

        Reply: I don’t really care what you think. I care what you can demonstrate.

        Randy: Was Jesus Christ a Liberal The first step to answer this question is to define the terms. Much disagreement exists not because those arguing fundamentally disagree, but because theyre simply defining terms differently.

        Reply: Correct.

        Randy: If by liberal one refers to a person who seeks to serve his fellow man with compassion and charity, and who spends his life voluntarily clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, liberating the captive, educating the ignorant, and caring for the sick and afflicted, then yes, Jesus Christ was a liberal and we should all strive to be liberal.

        Reply: But I seek those things also and I’m a conservative. it sounds like you want to win by definition. How many legs does a dog have if you count the tail as a leg? Answer. 4. Counting the tail as a leg does not make it a leg.

        Randy: If being a liberal means striving to attain just and equitable society, a society where there are no rich or poor, where all men are treated equally, then Jesus Christ was a liberal.

        REply: Sorry, but someone has to have money in a society and a society like this won’t exist if men still have a sin nature because of greed. The best thing to do is to find a way to contain the greed. Your position assumes man is basically good. I find enough evidence to the contrary.

        Randy: If liberal means to give of our talents and substance to serve and uplift others, then Jesus Christ was a liberal.

        Reply; I don’t know any conservative who disagrees with this. Ever straw man anyone?

        Randy: Do you know that a conservative is? How many have conservative organizations that take care of the poor. Conservative believe in small government. they believe that government should not help the poor.

        Reply; Correct. I think the church should help the poor. The fact that the government is doing it is proof that the church has not been doing its job.

        Randy: In your writing you still hold up for rich because of your conservatives believe.But my judgment is not the judgment of Christ. I know that rich people look down on the poor as lazy, they see themselves as better.

        REply: Stereotype again? The reality is I know rich people who don’t announce their wealth but give much of their money to Christian organizations and charity for the cause of spreading the gospel. You get upset when people stereotype you, but you do the same to everyone else. Jesus said something about hypocrisy.

        Randy: But what does our father see? And how many Conservatives throw off on welfare people as trash, and single mothers as tramps.

        Reply: I am entirely for welfare reform. Too many people abuse the system. I remember someone in the unemployment line behind me once saying that it was awesome getting paid to chill. Too many people on welfare are just having babies and getting more money. I know for I know people who are social workers. Welfare has too often become government sponsored prostitution. Let’s go with what Paul said. If a man will not work, he shall not eat.

        Randy: What did Christ do to be a conservative? Did he love the Rich?

        Reply: Yep. He sure did.

        Randy: Did he preach the value of wealth?

        Reply: In the parable of the talents, he blessed the man who earned more income with what he had. In the parable of the dishonest manager, he championed the use of worldly wealth to build up connections here.

        Randy: Did he not throw the money changers out of the Temple?

        Reply: Yes, because they were fleecing the people and using a place of worship as a place of business. Now note other aspects. Did Christ believe in work? Yes. Did he uphold the sanctity of life? Yes. Did he uphold the union of a man and a woman? Yes.

        Randy: Being a conservative goes against everything Christ stood for. This is what’s the matter with this nation.

        Reply: I suppose if you ignore everything against you and make everything be for you by definition, yes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work here.

        Randy: The decay of society is cause by our nation worshiping wealth.

        Reply: No. The cause of decay is that we have forgotten God.

        Randy: How many people that go your Church, and say you give them a winning lottery ticket, what would they do with the money? Me I would give it away, or set a trust to help the poor. I live a good life.

        Reply: I am sure quite several would. You don’t know my church. Do you want to make a statement about it? In our small group, my wife and I were so blessed by our group going above and beyond to give us so much for Christmas seeing as we have so little.

        Randy: Wealth only poisons a person values.

        Reply: Were Abraham’s, David’s, and Job’s values poisoned by wealth?

        Randy: Christ knew it did,and we know who the rich are. Wouldn’t it impress you to see Bill Gates at your Church?

        Reply: Yes, but not because he’s wealthy.

        Randy: God knows your ideas,your likes and dislikes, as for me being a liberal means I can look at myself and be in good conscience that hold Christ values, which allot of conservative do not.

        Reply: I can look in the mirror and say the same thing. You can’t win by definition.

      • randy reneau Says:

        You are playing a game of definition. You are totality wrong. You are as the TV preachers that preach of wealth, you are just another Hypocrite, who loves this wealth if you has it. I am so sorry for you. You are so misguided. You think you are right , you talk about Job being a rich man this was in the Old Testament but a look can you take up Satan illusion and believe not in Christ. For you I pity you because as a man who know all. Your arrogance can only be seen as for distaste for the TRUTH.You have to go to your judgment for that you think ,as I. Does it make sense in what you said, counting a tail on a dog. Why is Christ a conservative? Look it up and you will find the different. People like are so sat in believing as a fool, that being a conservative is great, you are like barber or my brother-in -law. Be as you are but remember don’t throw your stones, just because you think you are right.Remember in the last days there will false prophets of God.But I will not engage in a dialogue with those who deny my right to be,who delegitimize my faith and denounce my struggle before God as worthless.All dialogue must include respect and tolerance for the beliefs, worth and dignity of others, Conservatives Christians believe in curtailing of federal assistance programs and turn inward, assisting only those within their exclusive Christian Community and damning the world out side.If you group your self as a conversation,here is some of the things they think. These men are not responsibility They lived with their welfare moms. They don’t work, live off welfare Create babies . It’s sickening. the middle class that lose their jobs, and who does the conservative blame not the rich corporation. You believe in free trade , unfetter capitalism. Being a conservative I Lump you in the same class as the barber did me. Un- worsely

      • randy reneau Says:

        This article is an excerpt from the book “The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted,” available from Viking.
        Having observed politics up close and personal for most of my adult lifetime, I have come to the conclusion that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism may have been the key ingredient in the transformation of the Republican Party. Politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes—at least in the minds of its followers—all three of the GOP’s main tenets: wealth worship, war worship, and the permanent culture war.
        Religious cranks ceased to be a minor public nuisance in this country beginning in the 1970s and grew into a major element of the Republican rank and file. Pat Robertson’s strong showing in the 1988 Iowa presidential caucus signaled the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. Unfortunately, at the time I mostly underestimated the implications of what I was seeing. It did strike me as oddly humorous that a fundamentalist staff member in my congressional office was going to take time off to convert the heathen in Greece, a country that had been overwhelmingly Christian for almost two thousand years. I recall another point, in the early 1990s, when a different fundamentalist GOP staffer said that dinosaur fossils were a hoax. As a mere legislative mechanic toiling away in what I held to be a civil rather than ecclesiastical calling, I did not yet see that ideological impulses far different from mine were poised to capture the party of Lincoln.
        The results of this takeover are all around us: If the American people poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution, scriptural inerrancy, the presence of angels and demons, and so forth, it is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the Republican Party, and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary beliefs. All around us now is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science. Politicized religion is the sheet anchor of the dreary forty-year-old culture wars.
        The Constitution notwithstanding, there is now a de facto religious test for the presidency: Major candidates are encouraged (or coerced) to share their feelings about their faith in a revelatory speech, or a televangelist like Rick Warren will dragoon the candidates (as he did with Obama and McCain in 2008) to debate the finer points of Christology, offering himself as the final arbiter. Half a century after John F. Kennedy put to rest the question of whether a candidate of a minority denomination could be president, the Republican Party has reignited the kinds of seventeenth-century religious controversies that advanced democracies are supposed to have outgrown. And some in the media seem to have internalized the GOP’s premise that the religion of a candidate is a matter for public debate.
        Throughout the 2012 Republican presidential campaign, Mitt Romney was dogged with questions about his religion. The spark was a hitherto obscure fundamentalist preacher from Texas, Robert Jeffress, who attacked Romney’s Mormonism by doubting whether he could really be considered a Christian. The media promptly set aside the issues that should have been paramount— Romney’s views on economic and foreign policy—in order to spend a week giving respectful consideration to an attention-grabbing rabble-rouser. They then proceeded to pester the other candidates with the loaded question of whether they thought Romney was a Christian. CNN’s Candy Crowley was particularly egregious in this respect, pressing Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann for a response and becoming indignant when they refused to answer. The question did not deserve an answer, because Crowley had set it up to legitimate a false premise: that Romney’s religious belief was a legitimate issue of public debate. This is a perfect example of how the media reinforce an informal but increasingly binding religious test for public office that the Constitution formally bans. Like the British constitution, the test is no less powerful for being unwritten.
        The religious right’s professed insistence upon “family values” might appear at first blush to be at odds with the anything but saintly personal behavior of many of its leading proponents. Some of this may be due to the general inability of human beings to reflect on conflicting information: I have never ceased to be amazed at how facts manage to bounce off people’s consciousness like pebbles off armor plate. But there is another, uniquely religious aspect that also comes into play: the predilection of fundamentalist denominations to believe in practice, even if not entirely in theory, in the doctrine of “cheap grace,” a derisive term coined by the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. By that he meant the inclination of some religious adherents to believe that once they had been “saved,” not only would all past sins be wiped away, but future ones, too—so one could pretty much behave as before. Cheap grace is a divine get- out-of-jail-free card. Hence the tendency of the religious base of the Republican Party to cut some slack for the peccadilloes of candidates who claim to have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and reborn to a new and more Christian life. The religious right is willing to overlook a politician’s individual foibles, no matter how poor an example he or she may make, if they publicly identify with fundamentalist values. In 2011 the Family Research Council, the fundamentalist lobbying organization, gave Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois an award for “unwavering support of the family.” Representative Walsh’s ex-wife might beg to differ, as she claims he owes her over one hundred thousand dollars in unpaid child support, a charge he denies.
        Of course, the proper rituals must be observed before an erring politician can obtain absolution. In November 2011, at a forum sponsored by religious conservatives in Iowa, all of the GOP presidential candidates struck the expected notes of contrition and humility as they laid bare their souls before the assembled congregation (the event was held in a church). Most of them, including Cain, who was then still riding high, choked up when discussing some bleak midnight of their lives (he chose not to address the fresh sexual harassment charges against him, which surely would have qualified as a trying personal experience preying on his mind). Even the old reprobate Gingrich misted up over some contrived misdeed intended to distract attention from his well-known adventures in serial matrimony.
        All of these gloomy obsequies of repentance having been observed, Gingrich gave a stirring example of why he is hands-down the best extemporaneous demagogue in contemporary America. Having purged his soul of all guilty transgressions, he turned his attention to the far graver sins bedeviling the American nation.
        If we look at history from the mid-1960s, we’ve gone from a request for toleration to an imposition of intolerance. We’ve gone from a request to understand others to a determination to close down those who hold traditional values. I think that we need to be very aggressive and very direct. The degree to which the left is prepared to impose intolerance and to drive out of existence traditional religion is a mortal threat to our civilization and deserves to be taken head-on and described as what it is, which is the use of government to repress the American people against their own values.
        That is as good an example as any of cheap grace as practiced by seasoned statesmen like Gingrich—a bid for redemption turned on its head to provide a forum for one of the Republican Party’s favorite pastimes: taking opportunistic swipes at the dreaded liberal bogeyman. How quickly one forgets one’s own moral lapses when one can consider the manifold harms inflicted on our nation by godless leftists!
        – – – – – – – – – –
        Some liberal writers have opined that the socioeconomic gulf separating the business wing of the GOP and the religious right make it an unstable coalition that could crack. I am not so sure. There is no basic disagreement on which direction the two factions want to take the country, merely how far it should go. The plutocrats would drag us back to the Gilded Age; the theocrats to the Salem witch trials. If anything, the two groups are increasingly beginning to resemble each other. Many televangelists have espoused what has come to be known as the prosperity gospel—the health-and- wealth/name-it-and-claim-it gospel of economic entitlement. If you are wealthy, it is a sign of God’s favor. If not, too bad! This rationale may explain why some poor voters will defend the prerogatives of billionaires. In any case, at the beginning of the 2012 presidential cycle, those consummate plutocrats the Koch brothers pumped money into Bachmann’s campaign, so one should probably not make too much of a potential plutocrat-theocrat split.
        Most of the religious enthusiasts I observed during my tenure on the Hill seemed to have little reluctance to mix God and Mammon. Rick Santorum did not blink at legislative schemes to pay off his campaign contributors: In 2005 he introduced a bill to forbid the National Weather Service from providing weather forecasts for free that commercial forecasters—like AccuWeather, a Pennsylvania- based company which had contributed to his campaign—wanted to charge for. Tom DeLay’s purported concern about the dignity and sanctity of human life, touchingly on display during the controversy over whether Terri Schiavo’s husband had the right to tell doctors to remove her feeding tube after seeing her comatose for fifteen years, could always be qualified by strategic infusions of campaign cash. DeLay’s quashing of bills to prohibit serious labor abuses demonstrates that even religious virtue can be flexible when there are campaign donations involved.
        One might imagine that the religious right’s agenda would be incompatible with the concerns for privacy and individual autonomy by those who consider themselves to belong to the libertarian wing of the Republican Party—the “don’t tread on me,” “live free or die” crowd that Grover Norquist once called the “leave me alone” conservatives. Given their profound distaste for an oppressive and intrusive federal government, one would think they might have trepidations about a religious movement determined to impose statutory controls on private behavior that libertarians nominally hold to be nobody’s business, and particularly not the government’s business.
        Some more libertarian-leaning Republicans have in fact pushed back against the religious right. Former House majority leader Dick Armey expressed his profound distaste for the tactics of the religious right in 2006—from the safety of the sidelines—by blasting its leadership in unequivocal terms:
        [James] Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies. I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid. There’s a high demagoguery coefficient to issues like prayer in schools. Demagoguery doesn’t work unless it’s dumb, shallow as water on a plate. These issues are easy for the intellectually lazy and can appeal to a large demographic. These issues become bigger than life, largely because they’re easy. There ain’t no thinking.
        Armey had previously been an economics professor at several cow colleges in Texas, and when he came to Congress in 1985, libertarian economics was his forte. I do not recall religious issues motivating his political ideology; instead, economics was what gripped him, particularly the flat tax, which he tirelessly promoted. I believe his departure from Congress was impelled not only by the fact that he was not on the inside track to become Speaker, but also because of his disillusionment with the culture wars, as his passionate denunciation of Dobson suggests. But later, Barack Obama’s election and the rise of the Tea Party induced a miraculous change of heart in Armey, as no doubt did the need to raise money for his lobbying organization, known as FreedomWorks. By 2009, Armey had become a significant voice of the Tea Party. As such, he attempted to declare a truce between fiscal and social conservatives, who would thenceforth bury their squabbles and concentrate on dethroning the Kenyan usurper in the Oval Office. That meant soft-pedaling social issues that might alarm fiscally conservative but socially moderate voters, particularly women, who lived in the wealthier suburbs.
        In September 2010 Armey took one step further in his reconciliation with the people he had called thugs and bullies when he announced that a GOP majority in Congress would again take up the abortion fight, which was only right and proper for those who held such a sincere moral conviction. When the Republicans duly won the House two months later, they did precisely that. State legislatures across the country followed suit: Ohio, Texas, and Virginia enacted the most severe abortion restrictions in any legislative session in memory. Suddenly Armey didn’t seem to have any problem with social issues preempting his economic agenda.
        The Tea Party, which initially described itself as wholly concerned with debt, deficit, and federal overreach, gradually unmasked itself as being almost as theocratic as the activists from the religious right that Armey had denounced only a few years before. If anything, they were even slightly more disposed than the rest of the Republican Party to inject religious issues into the political realm. According to an academic study of the Tea Party, “[T]hey seek ‘deeply religious’ elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates.” The Tea Party faithful are not so much libertarian as authoritarian, the furthest thing from a “live free or die” constitutionalist.
        Within the GOP libertarianism is a throwaway doctrine that is rhetorically useful in certain situations but often interferes with their core, more authoritarian, beliefs. When the two precepts collide, the authoritarian reflex prevails. In 2009 it was politically useful for the GOP to present the Tea Party as independent-leaning libertarians, when in reality the group was overwhelmingly Republican, with a high quotient of GOP activists and adherents of views common among the religious right. According to a 2010 Gallup poll, eight in ten Tea Party members identify themselves as Republicans. Another study found that over half identified as members of the religious right and 55 percent of Tea Partiers agree that “America has always been and is currently a Christian nation”—6 points more than even the percentage of self-described Christian conservatives who would agree to that. This religious orientation should have been evident from the brouhaha that erupted in mid- 2009 over the charge that the Obama administration’s new healthcare reform plan would set up “death panels.” While there was plenty to criticize about the health-care bill, the completely bogus charge garnered disproportionate attention. Republican political consultants immediately recognized that they had found a classic emotional issue that would resonate with the same people on the religious right who had been stirred up over the Terri Schiavo case. The Tea Party, a supposedly independent group of fiscal conservatives outraged by Obama’s profligate spending plans, fell prey to the hysteria Republican Party operatives whipped up over end-of- life counseling. This self-unmasking of the Tea Party may help explain why, after three years in existence, public support for the organization has been dropping precipitously.
        Ayn Rand, an occasional darling of the Tea Party, has become a cult figure within the GOP in recent years. It is easy enough to see how her tough-guy, every-man-for-himself posturing would be a natural fit with the Wall Street bankers and the right-wing politicians they fund—notwithstanding the bankers’ fondness for government bailouts. But Rand’s philosophy found most of its adherents in the libertarian wing of the party, a group that overlaps with, but is certainly not identical to, the “business conservatives” who fund the bulk of the GOP’s activities. There has always been a strong strain of rugged individualism in America, and the GOP has cleverly managed to co-opt that spirit to its advantage. The problem is that Rand proclaimed at every opportunity that she was a militant atheist who felt nothing but contempt for Christianity as a religion of weaklings possessing a slave mentality. So how do Republican candidates manage to bamboozle what is perhaps the largest single bloc in their voting base, the religious fundamentalists, about this? Certainly the ignorance of many fundamentalist values voters about the wider world and the life of the mind goes some distance toward explaining the paradox: GOP candidates who enthuse over Rand at the same time as they thump their Bibles never have to explain this stark contradiction because most of their audience is blissfully unaware of who Ayn Rand was and what she advocated. But voters can to some extent be forgiven their ignorance, because politicians have grown so skillful at misdirecting them about their intentions.
        This camouflaging of intentions is as much a strategy of the religious right and its leaders—James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson, and the rest—as it is of the GOP’s more secular political leaders in Washington. After the debacle of the Schiavo case and the electoral loss in 2008, the religious right pulled back and regrouped. They knew that the full-bore, “theoconservative” agenda would not sell with a majority of voters. This strategy accounts for Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition (who famously said that God sent a hurricane to New Orleans to punish the sodomites), stating the following in October 2011: “Those people in the Republican primary have got to lay off of this stuff. They’re forcing their leaders, the front-runners, into positions that will mean they lose the general election.” I doubt he thought the candidates held positions that were too extreme, merely that they should keep quiet about those positions until they had won the election. Max Blumenthal, author of Republican Gomorrah, argues that this is a “lying for Jesus” strategy that fundamentalists often adopt when dealing with the snares of a wicked and Godless world. Since Satan is the father of lies, one can be forgiven for fighting lies with lies.
        Hence the policies pursued for at least two decades by the religious right on the federal, state, and local levels. It usually starts at the school board, after some contrived uproar over sex education or liberal indoctrination. The stealthily fundamentalist school board candidates pledge to clean up the mess and “get back to basics.” After a few years they capture a majority on the board, and suddenly “Catcher in the Rye” is heaved out of the curriculum and science teachers are under pressure to teach the (imaginary) controversy about evolutionary biology. This was the path to greater glory of Michele Bachmann: Her first run for public office, barely a dozen years ago, was for a seat on the school board in Stillwater, Minnesota. Up until then she had drawn a taxpayer-funded salary for five years working as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service, not, of course, because she was one of those lazy, good-for-nothing government bureaucrats that Republican candidates routinely denounce. She was secretly studying the ways of the government beast so as to defeat it later on.
        Bachmann, Rick Perry, and numerous other serving representatives and senators have all had ties to Christian Dominionism, a doctrine proclaiming that Christians are destined to dominate American politics and establish a new imperium resembling theocratic government. According to one profile of Perry, adherents of Dominionism “believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take ‘dominion’ over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the ‘Seven Mountains’ of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world.” Note the qualifier: “stealthily.”
        At the same religious forum where the GOP candidates confessed their sins, Bachmann went so far as to suggest that organized religion should keep its traditional legal privilege of tax exemption while being permitted to endorse political candidates from the pulpit. The fact that government prohibits express political advocacy is in her imagination muzzling preachers rather than just being a quid pro quo for tax-exempt status equivalent to that imposed on any 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. But for Bachmann and others of like mind, this is persecution of a kind that fuels their sense of victimhood and righteous indignation.
        Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of the Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from “The Party is Over” by Mike Lofgren. Copyright © 2012 by Mike Lofgren.
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        What If the Tea Party Wins?
        They Have a Plan for the Constitution, and It Isn’t Pretty
        SOURCE: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
        Education is on the Tea Party’s chopping block. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), pictured above, routinely grills education secretaries at congressional hearings, insisting that the Constitution does not authorize any federal involvement in education.
        By Ian Millhiser | September 16, 2011
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        In the Tea Party’s America, families must mortgage their home to pay for their mother’s end-of-life care. Higher education is a luxury reserved almost exclusively to the very rich. Rotten meat ships to supermarkets nationwide without a national agency to inspect it. Fathers compete with their adolescent children for sub-minimum wage jobs. And our national leaders are utterly powerless to do a thing.
        At least, that’s what would happen if the Tea Party succeeds in its effort to reimagine the Constitution as an antigovernment manifesto. While the House of Representatives pushes Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to phase out Medicare, numerous members of Congress, a least one Supreme Court justice, and the governor of America’s second-largest state now proudly declare that most of the progress of the last century violates the Constitution.
        It is difficult to count how many essential laws would simply cease to exist if the Tea Party won its battle to reshape our founding document, but a short list includes:
        • Social Security and Medicare
        • Medicaid, children’s health insurance, and other health care programs
        • All federal education programs
        • All federal antipoverty programs
        • Federal disaster relief
        • Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
        • Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
        • Federal civil rights laws
        Indeed, as this paper explains, many state lawmakers even embrace a discredited constitutional doctrine that threatens the union itself.
        What’s at stake
        The Tea Party imagines a constitution focused entirely upon the Tenth Amendment, which provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”—which is why their narrow vision of the nation’s power is often referred to as “tentherism.” In layman’s terms, the Tenth Amendment is simply a reminder that the Constitution contains an itemized list of federal powers—such as the power to regulate interstate commerce or establish post offices or make war on foreign nations—and anything not contained in that list is beyond Congress’s authority.
        The Tea Party, however, believes these powers must be read too narrowly to permit much of the progress of the last century. This issue brief examines just some of the essential programs that leading Tea Partiers would declare unconstitutional.
        Social Security and Medicare
        The Constitution gives Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” thus empowering the federal government to levy taxes and leverage these revenues for programs such as Social Security and Medicare. A disturbingly large number of elected officials, however, insist that these words don’t actually mean what they say.
        In a speech to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, Texas Gov. Rick Perry listed a broad swath of programs that “contradict the principles of limited, constitutional government that our founders established to protect us.” Gov. Perry’s list includes Medicare and “a bankrupt social security system, that Americans understand is essentially a Ponzi scheme on a scale that makes Bernie Madoff look like an amateur.” And Perry is hardly the only high-ranking elected official to share this view.
        Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) mocked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for calling upon the federal government to provide “a decent retirement plan” and “health care” because “the Constitution doesn’t give Congress any of those powers.” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who engineered the House of Representatives’s dramatic reading of the Constitution earlier this year, claimed that Medicare and Social Security are “not in the Constitution” and are only allowed to exist because “the courts have stretched the Constitution to say it’s in the general welfare clause.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said we should eliminate Medicare because “that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.”
        Because this erroneous view of our founding document is rooted in an exaggerated view of the Tenth Amendment’s states rights’ provision, many so-called tenthers claim that eliminating Social Security and Medicare wouldn’t necessarily mean kicking millions of seniors out into the cold because state governments could enact their own retirement programs to pick up the slack. This proposal, however, ignores basic economics.
        Under our current system, someone who begins their career in Ohio, moves to Virginia to accept a better job offer, and then retires in Florida pays the same federal taxes regardless of their residence. These taxes then fund programs such as Medicare and Social Security. If each state were responsible for setting up its own retirement system, however, the person described above would pay Ohio taxes while they worked in Ohio, Virginia taxes while they lived in Virginia, and would draw benefits from the state of Florida during their retirement. The state which benefited from their taxes would not be the same state that was required to fund their retirement, and the result would be an economic death spiral for states such as Florida that attract an unusually large number of retirees.
        For this reason, tenther proposals to simply let the states take over Social Security and Medicare are nothing more than a backdoor way to eliminate these programs altogether. If the Tea Party gets its way, and our nation’s social safety net for seniors is declared unconstitutional, millions of seniors will lose their only income and their only means to pay for health care.
        Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other health care programs
        The Tea Party’s constitution has plenty of bad news for Americans below the retirement age as well. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), for example, recently claimed that any federal involvement in health care whatsoever is unconstitutional because “the words ‘health care’ are nowhere in the Constitution.”
        Sen. Coburn lumped Medicaid in with Medicare when he claimed that providing for the frailest Americans is a “family responsibility,” and Gov. Perry includes Medicaid on his list of programs that “contradict[] the principles of limited, constitutional government.” Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) claim that “the Constitution doesn’t give Congress” any authority over health care is a blanket statement encompassing all federal health programs.
        If this vision were to be implemented, all federal health care programs would simply cease to exist and millions of Americans would lose their only access to health insurance.
        Education
        Education is also on the Tea Party’s chopping block. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) routinely grills education secretaries at congressional hearings, insisting that the Constitution does not authorize any federal involvement in education. Similarly, Rep. Foxx insists that “we should not be funding education” because she insists doing so violates the Tenth Amendment. And Sen. Coburn does not “even think [education] is a role for the federal government.”
        In its strongest form, this position wouldn’t just eliminate federal assistance for state-run public schools. It would also eliminate programs enabling Americans to pay for their college education. Millions of students would lose their Pell Grants and federal student loans if the Tea Party’s full vision of the Constitution were implemented.
        Some tenthers, however, offer a slightly less drastic position. It is commonplace for the federal government to grant money to the states if those states agree to comply with certain conditions. Federal law, for example, provides generous public education grants provided that states gather data on student achievement and comply with other such conditions. Many Tea Partiers argue that these conditions violate the Constitution. Thus, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), claims that the Constitution only permits the federal government to provide states with “block grants.”
        The truth, however, is that the federal government has never told states how to educate their children—and it could not do so if it tried. Under a Supreme Court decision called Printz v. United States, federal laws ordering a state to take a specific action actually do violate the Tenth Amendment. So, the state of Texas is perfectly free to turn down federal grants if they do not like the conditions attached to them.
        Moreover, it is not clear how federal grants of any kind can exist if Congress is not allowed to attach conditions to them. If Congress cannot constitutionally require states to spend grant money on standardized testing, for example, how can they require that it be spent on education and not on building a new wing for the governor’s mansion? Thus, even the slightly more moderate position advocated by people like Rep. Farenthold would likely eliminate the federal government’s ability to provide educational assistance to low-income students or otherwise help fund public schools.
        Antipoverty programs, federal disaster relief, and other help for the less fortunate
        Sen. Lee would go even further in cutting off assistance for low-income Americans. In an interview with a Utah radio host, Lee claimed that the framers intended all antipoverty programs to be dealt with exclusively at the state level. This would not only eliminate programs like income assistance and food stamps, it could threaten unemployment insurance, federal job training, and other programs intended to provide a bridge out of poverty.
        In the same interview, Sen. Lee claimed that federal relief for hurricane, earthquake, tornado, and other disaster victims is “one of many areas where we ought to focus on getting that power back to the states,” a position that would kill the Federal Emergency Management Agency and prevent the nation as a whole from rallying to the support of a state whose financial resources are overwhelmed by a major natural disaster.
        Food safety
        Sen. Lee also claims that “the framers intended state lawmakers deal with” food safety in this same radio interview. This position would not simply endanger the residents of states with inadequate regulation of their food supply, it would also create costly and duplicative state inspection programs and impose logistical nightmares on food-importing states.
        If a cow is raised in Texas, slaughtered in Oklahoma, and then sold as steaks in New York, which state is responsible for inspecting the meat? The likely answer is that all three states would have their own system of laws, tripling the regulatory compliance costs for the meat producer.
        Moreover, if New York decides that Oklahoma’s inspections’ regime is inadequate, its only recourse would be to require meat producers to submit their products to a customs check at the border before it could be sold in that state. The result would be higher taxes for New Yorkers forced to pay for these customs stations, and higher costs for businesses forced to submit to inspections every time they brought food across a state border.
        Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
        Nearly 100 years ago, the Supreme Court declared federal child labor laws unconstitutional in a case called Hammer v. Dagenhart. Twenty-two years later, the Court recognized that Hammer’s holding was “novel when made and unsupported by any provision of the Constitution,” and unanimously overruled this erroneous decision.
        Sen. Lee, however, believes that, while Hammer might “sound harsh,” the Constitution “was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh,” and thus we should return to the world where federal child labor laws are unconstitutional. Moreover, Lee has a very powerful ally prepared to sweep away nearly all national protections for American workers.
        Under existing Supreme Court doctrine, Congress’s authority to “regulate commerce … among the several states” includes the power to regulate the roads and railways used to transport goods in interstate commerce, as well as the goods themselves and the vehicles that transport them. Additionally, Congress may regulate activities that “substantially affect interstate commerce.” This “substantial effects” power is the basis of Congress’s authority to make labor laws universal throughout all places of employment.
        Yet Justice Clarence Thomas claimed in three separate cases—U.S. v. Lopez, U.S. v. Morrison, and Gonzales v. Raich—that this “substantial effects” test is “at odds with the constitutional design.” It is possible that Thomas’s vision would still allow some limited federal labor regulation—such as a law prohibiting children from becoming railway workers—but anything resembling the essential web of federal laws that protect American workers today would be impossible.
        Civil rights laws
        Shortly after he won his party’s nod to be a U.S. Senate candidate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) revealed that he opposes the federal bans on whites-only lunch counters and race discrimination in employment. In a rambling interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Paul explained that, while he believes that Congress may ban discrimination from “public institutions,” he does not support antidiscrimination laws that regulate private business.
        As Sen. Paul suggested in that interview, these basic civil rights laws—like national laws banning child labor and establishing a minimum wage—can be snuffed out of existence if Congress’s power to enact commercial regulations is read too narrowly.
        In 1964, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters—once again relying on the “substantial effects” test to do so. For this reason, it is likely the Justice Thomas would strike down this and other federal laws protecting civil rights.
        The union
        Gov. Perry suffered well-deserved ridicule when he suggested in 2009 that Texas may secede from the union if “Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people.” But Gov. Perry’s ill-considered remark is merely a distraction compared to a much larger movement to effectively secede from the union one law at a time.
        Gov. Perry joins lawmakers from New Hampshire, Montana, Virginia, Idaho, Florida, and many other states in backing unconstitutional state laws purporting to “nullify” a federal law. Many state legislatures have passed, and a few governors have signed, laws claiming to nullify part of the Affordable Care Act, and Perry signed a law that partially nullifies federal light bulb standards.
        Nullification is an unconstitutional doctrine claiming that states can prevent a federal law from operating within their borders. Although nullification conflicts directly with the text of the Constitution, which provides that Acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding,” it has experienced a significant revival among state lawmakers eager to second-guess national leaders’ decisions.
        This doctrine is not simply unconstitutional, it is a direct attack on the idea that we are the United States of America. As James Madison wrote in 1830, allowing states to simply ignore the laws they don’t want to follow would “speedily put an end to the Union itself.”
        Conclusion
        America has long endured the occasional politician eager to repeal the entire 20th Century, but, as President Dwight Eisenhower observed nearly 60 years ago, “Their numbers [were] negligible and they are stupid.” Sadly, this is no longer the case. Tenthers increasingly dominate conservative politics and their numbers are growing.
        If this movement succeeds in replacing our founding document with their entirely fabricated constitution, virtually every American will suffer the consequences. Seniors will lose their Social Security and Medicare. Millions of students could lose their ability to pay for college. And workers throughout the country will lose their right to organize, to earn a minimum wage, and to be free from discrimination.
        Worse, because the Tea Party believes their policy preferences are mandated by the Constitution, they would do far more than simply repeal nearly a century of essential laws. Once something is declared unconstitutional, it is beyond the reach of elected officials— and beyond the voters’ ability to revive simply by tossing unwise lawmakers out of office.
        For this reason, the Tea Party’s agenda is not simply one of the most radical in generations, it is also the most authoritarian. They do not simply want to eliminate decades of progress; they want to steal away “We The People’s” ability to bring it back.
        Download this issue brief (pdf)
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        Ian Millhiser is a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress and is the Editor of The Center for American Progress Action Fund’s ThinkProgress Justice.
        Randy,

        8 Ways America’s Headed Back to the Robber-Baron Era
        We are recreating the Gilded Age, a period when corporations ruled this nation, buying politicians, using violence against unions and engaging in open corruption.
        July 3, 2012 |

        Over the past 40 years, corporations and politicians have rolled back many of the gains made by working and middle-class people over the previous century. We have the highest level of income inequality in 90 years, both private and public sector unions are under a concerted attack, and federal and state governments intend to cut deficits by slashing services to the poor.
        We are recreating the Gilded Age, the period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries when corporations ruled this nation, buying politicians, using violence against unions, and engaging in open corruption. During the Gilded Age, many Americans lived in stark poverty, in crowded tenement housing, without safe workplaces, and lacked any safety net to help lift them out of hard times.
        With Republicans more committed than ever to repealing every economic gain the working-class has achieved in the last century and the Democrats seemingly unable to resist, we need to understand the Gilded Age to see what conservatives are trying to do to this nation. Here are 8 ways our corporations, politicians and courts are trying to recreate the Gilded Age.
        1. Unregulated Corporate Capitalism Creates Economic Collapse
        In the late 19th century, corrupt railroad capitalists created the Panic of 1873 and Panic of 1893 through lying about their business activities, buying off politicians and siphoning off capital into their own pockets. Railroad corporations set up phony corporations that allowed them to embezzle money from the railroad into their bank accounts. When exposed, the entire economy collapsed as banks failed around the country. The Panic of 1893 lasted five years, created 25% unemployment, and was the worst economic crisis in American history before the Great Depression.
        In the early 21st century, the poorly regulated financial industry plunged the nation into the longest economic downturn since the Depression. Like in the Gilded Age, none of the culprits have served a day in prison.
        2. Union Busting
        In the Gilded Age, business used the power of the state to crush labor unions. President Hayes called in the Army to break the Great Railroad Strike of 1877; President Cleveland did the same against the Pullman strikers in 1894.
        Today’s corporations don’t have to use such blunt force to destroy unions, but like in the past, they convince the government to do their bidding. Whether it is holding up FAA renewal in order to make it harder for airline employees to unionize, Republican members of the National Labor Relations Board leaking material on cases to Republican insiders, or governors Scott Walker and John Kasich seeking to bust their states’ public sector unions, not since before the Great Depression has the government attacked unions with such force.
        3. Income Inequality
        Today, we have the highest levels of income inequality since the 1920s and the gap is widening to late 19th century levels with great speed. In those days, individuals like John D. Rockefeller had more money than the federal government, while the majority of Americans lived in squalor, poverty and disease.
        In the Progressive Era, we started creating laws like the federal income tax, child labor laws and workers’ compensation to begin giving workers a fair share of the pie. For decades, labor fought to increase their share and by the 1970s, had turned much of the working class into the middle class. Today, that middle class is under attack by a new generation of plutocrats who wish to recreate the massive fortunes of the Gilded Age.
        4. Open Purchase of Elections
        In 1890, copper magnate William Clark paid Montana lawmakers $140,000 to elect him to the U.S. Senate. While most plutocrats did not share Clark’s interest in being politicians, they ensured their lackeys would serve in office, often by offering corporate stock to politicians. Disgusted by this corruption, America in the Progressive Era of the early 20th century created a number of reforms, including the 17th Amendment that created direct elections of senators, as well as a 1912 Montana state law limiting corporate expenditures in politics.
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        Beginning with the Citizens United decision and continuing with the recent overturning of that 1912 law, the Supreme Court has allowed corporations and wealthy plutocrats to buy elections openly once again.
        5. Supreme Court Partisanship
        In the Gilded Age, the Supreme Court interpreted laws not as to the intent of the lawmakers, but to promote business interests. It refused to enforce the 14th Amendment to stop segregation, but it did create the idea that a corporation was a person with rights. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 was intended to moderate monopolies; the Supreme Court only enforced it against unions since organized labor “unfairly restrained trade.”
        Today’s Supreme Court has resorted to this aggressively partisan stance. The Court is fine with the open flouting of the 4th Amendment, allowing strip searches of middle-school girls if they’re suspected to be carrying drugs, but creates a grotesque expansion of the 14th Amendment in the Citizens United decision. Meanwhile, Antonin Scalia just took the opportunity in a Supreme Court dissent to lambast his colleagues for striking down much of the Arizona anti-immigration law by approvingly citing 19th-century laws in the South that limited the movement of African Americans.
        6. Violations of Civil Liberties
        In the late 19th century, civil and military authorities looked down upon protesting citizens. Widespread violations of civil liberties took place when Americans protested for almost any reasons, whether it was labor unions, political gatherings in Washington, D.C., or African Americans organizing to protect themselves from white supremacists. Police shot strikers and thugs and mobs murdered organizers.
        Today we are seeing a growing recreation of this society with no respect for civil liberties. The use of police violence against Occupy protesters, like the pepper-spraying of nonviolent activists at the University of California-Davis did spawn some outrage. But in the aftermath of the PATRIOT Act, the authorities have tremendous power to suppress protest and are not afraid to use it against peaceful citizens.
        7. Voter Repression
        The Gilded Age saw the rolling back of Reconstruction, with black people unable to vote in the South due to the grandfather clause, poll taxes, literacy tests, and threat of violence. Conservative extremists have chafed at black people voting ever since the civil rights movement ended segregation.
        Today, voter ID laws and voter roll-purging seek to limit black voting again. Florida Governor Rick Scott hopes to purge enough black people from the voting rolls to swing the Sunshine State to Mitt Romney this fall, while a lawmaker in Pennsylvania openly said the Keystone State’s recently passed voter ID law would do the same. Even more shocking, the recently released Texas Republican Party platform has a plank calling for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, passed in the wake of police beatings of civil rights protestors in Selma, Alabama.
        8. Anti-Immigration Fervor
        In the Gilded Age, Americans feared the millions of people coming from eastern and southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia to work in the nation’s growing economy. Fearing these immigrants would never assimilate, Americans looked to bar their entry. Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and continuing through the Immigration Act of 1924, the country slowly closed its doors to the world’s tired and hungry.
        Today’s immigrants face an increasingly militarized border, states like Arizona trying to usurp federal immigration policy, and increased numbers of deportations. Conservatives fear the changes Latinos could bring to the United States and talk about English-only laws and the evils of bilingual education. They also recognize the likelihood of Latinos voting for the Democratic Party in coming decades and thus use the same kind of voter repression strategies that target black voters. The Gilded Age was a horrible time and I fear the nation slipping back into this hell of poverty, violence and hate. I believe that young people largely reject the extremist agenda that is hurtling us through a time machine to the bad old days of the 1890s, but they don’t have the power right now. Republicans know the demographics do not favor them and are trying to fix the game through voter suppression, packing the courts with extremists, and concentrating wealth and power so they can control politicians and the media.
        During the Gilded Age, people throughout society began organizing for reform: labor unions, farmers, middle-class reformers. After 1900, this organizing paid off as government began passing reforms to alleviate the most extreme problems of the Gilded Age. Child labor laws, worker compensation for injuries at work, government regulation of the railroads, and the direct election of senators all took power away from corporations and put it back in the hands of the people. It wasn’t perfect, but it started the social reforms that created the American middle-class.
        Like in the late 19th century, we need to take back our country from corporate control. We need to create well-paid jobs in the United States, revitalize the labor movement, and pass legislation to respect civil liberties, give undocumented immigrants legal status, and ensure that voting rights laws are enforced. Like our ancestors, we can fix these problems. First we need to recognize that the 1% has declared war upon the middle class and then we can start organizing to create the better tomorrow we crave.
        Erik Loomis is a professor of labor and environmental history and a blogger at Lawyers, Guns and Money.
        I know most conservatives are against paying taxes but how do compare with the rest of the world? Among OECD countries only Mexico, Chile and Turkey had lower taxes than the United States as a percentage of GDP. In many European countries taxes exceeded 40 percent of GDP, but those countries generally provide much more extensive government services to their citizens than the United States does. • Personal income taxes made up 38 percent of U.S. tax revenue in 2008, more than in most other OECD countries, where such taxes averaged 26 percent of the total. However, individual taxpayers paid a larger share of tax revenue in Denmark (52 percent) and New Zealand (41 percent). • Corporate income taxes accounted for a slightly larger share of U.S. tax revenue, 7 percent in 2008, than the OECD average of 10 percent. The limited empirical international data on quality that exist—life expectancy and infant mortality statistics—place the United States in the bottom quartile of industrialized countries, although most observers do not attribute this poor performance primarily to the performance of the medical care system. The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London. “Far from serving as a model for the world, contemporary America is viewed with horror,” James Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale, wrote last year in Social Research. “Certainly there are no European governments sending delegations to learn from us about how to manage prisons.” The nation’s relatively high violent crime rate, partly driven by the much easier availability of guns here, helps explain the number of people in American prisons. Despite the recent decline in the murder rate in the United States, it is still about four times that of many nations in Western Europe.
        Commentary | Jobs Wages and Living Standards
        Child poverty rises dramatically in most states
        By Kai Filion | September 27, 2010
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        Poverty
        Mississippi and Arkansas have the highest poverty rates in the nation (at 21.9% and 18.8%, respectively), and Florida saw the largest increase in poverty (2.8 percentage points) over the course of the recession, new Census data shows. Poverty was lowest in New Hampshire (8.5%) and Alaska (9.0%), but even in those states at least one in 12 residents lived in poverty.
        While the new data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) are similar to the nationwide data on poverty released earlier this month, the ACS provides a more detailed look at poverty in every state. The result is more evidence of the widespread pain resulting from the Great Recession. In the nation overall, there were 42.9 million people in poverty in 2009. For the average family of four, this means that their combined income for the year was less than $21,954 (the exact threshold varies by family size and number of children). From 2007 to 2009, 47 states and the District of Columbia experienced increases in their poverty rates. The first Map shows poverty rates by state and how they changed throughout the Great Recession, which began in late 2007.
        Child Poverty
        While the overall poverty rate was high in 2009, the child poverty rate was even higher. Nationwide, one in five children lived in poverty in 2009. The second Map presents the new data on child poverty rates by state, which ranged from highs of 31.0% in Mississippi and 29.4% in the District of Columbia to a comparable low of 10.8% in New Hampshire.
        It is important to note that poverty today is likely to be even higher than what is reported in this new report because the economy has deteriorated since these data were collected. In general, as the unemployment rate increases, so does the poverty rate. These data reflect the economic situation between the middle of 2008 and the middle of 2009, a period when the national unemployment rate averaged 7.5%. The most recent data from August 2010 show that the unemployment rate is now 9.6%. Furthermore, the poverty rate often increases even after the unemployment rate has peaked. So not only is poverty likely to be higher now, it could be even higher next year.
        These data show just part of the impact of the Great Recession on families across the United States. The unprecedented length and depth of this downturn calls for a strong response to combat the rise in poverty.
        Research assistance by Anna Turner
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        The U.S. Census Bureau released alternative estimates of poverty yesterday that give yet another reminder of the disastrous effect the recession has had on workers and families.
        The official poverty measure tells us that 14.3% of Americans are living below the official poverty threshold. Note, however, that this standard has long been criticized for failing to be an adequate measure of deprivation in the United States. The root of the problem is that the current poverty measure is not dynamic: It does not reflect non-cash transfers from the government, like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps), housing vouchers, child care subsidies, Medicaid and Medicare, or the Earned Income Tax Credit, nor does it reflect changes in spending patterns, like increasing housing and medical costs, or that these costs might vary by state or region.
        In order to be more dynamic, the Census Bureau offers myriad alternative measures, which can be grouped into two categories: thresholds and income. Threshold refers to the dollar amount under which someone is poor. The official threshold is three times the food budget in 1959 (adjusted for inflation). The alternative thresholds adjust this to reflect increasing out-of-pocket medical expenses, to show the differences in cost of living for various parts of the country (like rural south versus urban northeast), and to show multiple ways in which prices can be inflated over time. Figure A shows the official measure and a range of alternative thresholds. Though the recession has certainly exacerbated the official poverty rate, the threshold measures show that the situation appears even worse.

        Thresholds, however, are only half the story. Income is a measurement of a person’s earnings and money available to spend. Under the official measure, income is restricted to cash, so that it captures wages and cash transfers, such as Social Security and unemployment insurance. But there are alternative measures of income that allow us to examine poverty after government policy (e.g., food stamps, child care subsidies, etc.). In effect, it shows the ability of the government to mitigate the effect of poverty. While the threshold adjustments indicate why the official measure is outdated and why more people are struggling, the income adjustments demonstrate how effective government policies are in reaching and helping those that we know to be poor and near-poor. As Figure B demonstrates, Social Security is the most important anti-poverty program in the United States.

        Taken together, the alternative measures of poverty show how much the recession has increased poverty and how vital government programs and policies are to mitigating those effects.
        INCOME
        This morning’s release by the U.S. Census Bureau of the 2009 income and poverty numbers is yet another reminder of the severity of the Great Recession that began in December 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, the real income of the median working-age household fell by $2,674, from $58,495 to $55,821. The labor market is the core building block of household incomes — when the labor market falters and people lose work, household incomes drop. The data released today are a clarion call for Congress to do more to create jobs so the people of this country have the work they need to provide for their families. –Heidi Shierholz
        POVERTY
        After nearly a decade of neglect that ended with the most severe recession since the Great Depression, it is no surprise that poverty hit its highest rate since 1994. In 2009, one in seven people were in poverty, and one in five children were in poverty. For those over 65, on the other hand, poverty is at an all-time low. Social Security provides seniors with an income that insulates them against severe economic downturns like the Great Recession. Today’s numbers show that the social safety net, which was boosted by the Recovery Act, is critical.–Elise Gould
        HEALTH INSURANCE
        The steady erosion of employer-sponsored insurance in the 2000s became a landslide in 2009 when the unemployment rate took its largest one-year jump on record. 6.6 million fewer Americans had job-based health insurance last year than in 2008. Public insurance and critical provisions in the Recovery Act mitigated the damage, to an extent—the number of uninsured Americans rose by only about two thirds that amount, or 4.3 million. –Elise Gould
        See more work by Heidi Shierholz

        supporting President Obama, has been “muzzled” by his bosses at UBS.)
        The energy industry, too, is proving a gusher for Mitt Romney and his Restore Our Future Super PAC. Hours after being named an oil adviser to the Romney campaign, Harold Hamm of Continental Resources contributed $1 million of his $11 billion net worth to Restore Our Future. Charles and David Koch have pledged $395 million for the 2012 election cycle, which combined with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Tom Donohue’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce could produce a billion-dollar tidal wave of cash to wash Barack Obama out of the White House. (As one Democratic consultant described the operation, “It’s just like the Cold War. They’re going to force Obama to spend himself into oblivion.”)
        Others among the usual suspects on the right are opening their vaults as well. Former Newt Gingrich sugar daddy and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has said his donations could be “limitless” and will likely top $100 million. While billionaire investor and Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts may have abandoned his Jeremiah Wright smear campaign, his is bankrolling other projects including the ersatz documentary based on Dinesh D’Souza’s book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.” Meanwhile, Texas billionaire Harold Simmons has already delivered $18.7 million to Republican political organizations, a sum which will likely double by November.
        (It is worth noting, as the New Republic and Huffington Post did recently, that many of Mitt Romney’s Super PAC donors are embroiled in corporate bribery scandals. Adelson’s casinos, the Walton family’s Walmart operation in Mexico, Koch Brothers businesses in the Middle East and Meg Whitman’s Hewlett Packard are all entangled with alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.)
        But Mitt Romney’s gilded-class allies won’t merely win if he slashes taxes and regulations for their businesses. They will reap a huge return on their multi-million dollar investments from the massive tax cut windfall for the wealthy would-be President Romney has in mind for them.

      • randy reneau Says:

      • randy reneau Says:

        Here is verses on wealth since you have see nothing in them, Why do you believe in the BIBLE?
        176 Bible Verses about Obtaining Wealth

        Proverbs 10:4 ESV / 23 helpful votes

        A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

        Proverbs 11:4 ESV / 19 helpful votes

        Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

        1 Timothy 6:17-18 ESV / 18 helpful votes

        As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

        Luke 16:13 ESV / 13 helpful votes

        No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

        Mark 8:36 ESV / 13 helpful votes

        For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

        Proverbs 30:8-9 ESV / 13 helpful votes

        Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

        2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV / 12 helpful votes

        Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

        Proverbs 22:1 ESV / 12 helpful votes

        A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

        James 2:5-6 ESV / 11 helpful votes

        Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?

        Proverbs 28:27 ESV / 11 helpful votes

        Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

        Proverbs 14:31 ESV / 10 helpful votes

        Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

        Luke 6:38 ESV / 9 helpful votes

        Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

        Proverbs 22:7 ESV / 8 helpful votes

        The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

        Proverbs 16:18 ESV / 8 helpful votes

        Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

        Proverbs 11:2 ESV / 8 helpful votes

        When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

        Psalm 94:12-13 ESV / 8 helpful votes

        Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked.

        Deuteronomy 8:18 ESV / 8 helpful votes

        You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

        Ephesians 4:28 ESV / 7 helpful votes

        Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

        2 Corinthians 9:11 ESV / 7 helpful votes

        You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

        Mark 10:25 ESV / 7 helpful votes

        It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

        Proverbs 28:6 ESV / 7 helpful votes

        Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

        Proverbs 13:18 ESV / 7 helpful votes

        Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.

        Nehemiah 5:10-11 ESV / 7 helpful votes

        Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.”

        1 John 3:17 ESV / 6 helpful votes

        But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

        2 Thessalonians 3:8-10 ESV / 6 helpful votes

        Nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

        Malachi 3:9-10 ESV / 6 helpful votes

        You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

        Hosea 4:6 ESV / 6 helpful votes

        My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

        Ezekiel 22:12 ESV / 6 helpful votes

        In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.

        Ecclesiastes 4:4 ESV / 6 helpful votes

        Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

        Proverbs 23:21 ESV / 6 helpful votes

        For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.

        Psalm 24:1 ESV / 6 helpful votes

        A Psalm of David. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,

        James 5:1-6 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. …

        1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

        1 Timothy 6:9-10 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

        1 Timothy 5:18 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

        2 Thessalonians 3:10 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

        Philippians 2:3 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

        Romans 12:19 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

        Acts 7:34 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.’

        Luke 18:22 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

        Luke 16:22-26 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

        Luke 12:48 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

        Mark 10:23 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

        Matthew 25:44-46 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

        Matthew 18:26-35 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. …

        Matthew 4:8-10 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”

        Ezekiel 45:9 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        “Thus says the Lord God: Enough, O princes of Israel! Put away violence and oppression, and execute justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people, declares the Lord God.

        Jeremiah 22:17 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.”

        Ecclesiastes 4:1 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.

        Proverbs 31:9 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

        Proverbs 28:11 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out.

        Proverbs 22:22 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate,

        Proverbs 22:2 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.

        Psalm 15:5 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        Who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

        Deuteronomy 24:19-22 ESV / 5 helpful votes

        “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.

        Revelation 3:17-18 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

        1 Corinthians 7:21 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.)

        Micah 6:12 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

        Amos 2:7 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted; a man and his father go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned;

        Ezekiel 18:17 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live.

        Jeremiah 6:6 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        For thus says the Lord of hosts: “Cut down her trees; cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem. This is the city that must be punished; there is nothing but oppression within her.

        Isaiah 49:26 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

        Isaiah 19:20 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them.

        Proverbs 28:8 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.

        Proverbs 23:4-5 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.

        Proverbs 22:4 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.

        Proverbs 21:20 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.

        Proverbs 20:13 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.

        Proverbs 15:6 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.

        Proverbs 14:24 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        The crown of the wise is their wealth, but the folly of fools brings folly.

        Proverbs 13:21 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good.

        Proverbs 13:20 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

        Proverbs 11:28 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.

        Proverbs 10:22 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

        Proverbs 10:15 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.

        Proverbs 8:13 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

        Proverbs 6:9-11 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

        Psalm 119:134 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts.

        Psalm 72:14 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.

        Psalm 12:5 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

        Job 42:10 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

        Job 35:9 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        “Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out; they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.

        Nehemiah 5:7 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, “You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them

        Judges 6:9 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land.

        Deuteronomy 28:33 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually,

        Deuteronomy 26:7 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.

        Deuteronomy 10:18 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.

        Deuteronomy 8:17 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’

        Deuteronomy 8:1-20 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        “The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. …

        Leviticus 27:30 ESV / 4 helpful votes

        “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.

        James 5:2 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.

        James 1:27 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

        2 Timothy 3:1-2 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

        1 Timothy 6:17 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

        2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

        1 Corinthians 16:1-24 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me. I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, …

        1 Corinthians 12:25 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

        Romans 12:2 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

        Romans 8:29 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

        Romans 8:28 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

        John 19:6-18 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” …

        Matthew 6:33 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

        Zephaniah 3:1 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city!

        Hosea 13:6 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        But when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.

        Lamentations 5:3 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows.

        Jeremiah 9:23 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,

        Isaiah 47:9 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments.

        Ecclesiastes 5:19 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.

        Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

        Ecclesiastes 2:1-26 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. …

        Proverbs 28:24 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys.

        Proverbs 28:20 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

        Proverbs 28:15 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

        Proverbs 27:17 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

        Proverbs 19:14 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

        Proverbs 13:22 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

        Proverbs 12:19 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

        Proverbs 12:11 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.

        Proverbs 6:6 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

        Proverbs 6:1-5 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

        Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

        Psalm 109:16 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        For he did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.

        Deuteronomy 28:1-68 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …

        Deuteronomy 6:5-7 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

        Leviticus 19:9-10 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

        Genesis 13:2 ESV / 3 helpful votes

        Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.

        James 5:16 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

        James 1:11 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

        1 Timothy 6:10 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

        1 Timothy 5:8 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

        1 Timothy 4:7 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;

        Colossians 2:1-3 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

        Ephesians 6:12 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

        2 Corinthians 9:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints,

        2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

        John 8:32 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

        Mark 10:43 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

        Mark 10:30 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

        Mark 10:28-30 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

        Mark 8:1-38 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” …

        Matthew 19:19 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

        Matthew 4:4 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

        Malachi 3:7-12 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. …

        Ecclesiastes 3:22 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

        Proverbs 29:3 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

        Proverbs 28:25 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

        Proverbs 28:22 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.

        Proverbs 27:23-27 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? When the grass is gone and the new growth appears and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field. There will be enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household and maintenance for your girls.

        Proverbs 24:27 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.

        Proverbs 23:20 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat,

        Proverbs 23:5 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.

        Proverbs 22:16 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

        Proverbs 21:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

        Proverbs 21:5 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

        Proverbs 20:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.

        Proverbs 19:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

        Proverbs 19:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

        Proverbs 17:18 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.

        Proverbs 16:19 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.

        Proverbs 16:16 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

        Proverbs 15:27 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.

        Proverbs 15:25 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        The Lord tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries.

        Proverbs 15:16 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.

        Proverbs 14:23 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

        Proverbs 14:4 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

        Proverbs 13:11 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.

        Proverbs 12:27 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.

        Proverbs 11:24-26 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. The people curse him who holds back grain, but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.

        Proverbs 11:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.

        Job 1:8 ESV / 2 helpful votes

        And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”

        Philippians 1:21 ESV / 1 helpful vote

        For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

        Proverbs 11:16 ESV / 1 helpful vote

        A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches.

        Proverbs 8:18 ESV / 1 helpful vote

        Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.

        Proverbs 6:6-11 ESV / 1 helpful vote

        Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, …

        Job 1:1 ESV / 1 helpful vote

        There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.

        Deuteronomy 29:29 ESV / 1 helpful vote

        “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

  3. randy reneau Says:

    This is what conservatives are read Chris hedges : American Fascist The Christian Right and the War On America

  4. randy reneau Says:

    I have read your piece in the newspaper and your reply to my comments. You only prove your intolerance. I do not see you to be a man of God just a hollow Christian that only sees and not listens. Your perdition is just a lax of your understatement.

  5. randy reneau Says:

    Andrew Carnegie said riches was a curse.and Henry Ford was a fascist. both was from the Gilded Age. Both being robber barons. You need to do some praying. Riches are a curse. and people who up hold the rich are as the devils own.

  6. J.C. Thibodaux Says:

    Randy,

    @you are just another Hypocrite, who loves this wealth if you has it.

    Boy, Randy’s starting to become quite judgmental, and not in a godly way.

    @you talk about Job being a rich man this was in the Old Testament but a look can you take up Satan illusion and believe not in Christ.

    That statement doesn’t even make sense. What does “take up Satan illusion” even mean?

    @Be as you are but remember don’t throw your stones, just because you think you are right. … All dialogue must include respect and tolerance for the beliefs, worth and dignity of others

    Then you go on to write,

    @Being a conservative I Lump you in the same class as the barber did me.

    Wait, so you just got finished calling Nick a hypocrite because he disagrees with you about money, then you judge him in your near-total ignorance, and now you want to preach that we shouldn’t throw stones? Are you not seeing your own blatant hypocrisy here? So “throwing stones” is bad if someone else does it, but okay for you?

    @Conservatives Christians believe in curtailing of federal assistance programs and turn inward, assisting only those within their exclusive Christian Community and damning the world out side.

    That’s a blatant lie. My church is conservative, and helps people who don’t even attend (and are not even Christians).

    @I do not see you to be a man of God just a hollow Christian that only sees and not listens.

    Way to show respect and tolerance.

    @Your perdition is just a lax of your understatement.

    Seriously, what are you smoking?

    • randy reneau Says:

      You talk about what I am smoking I see the anger, the rage. It’s the things conservatives Christians do. It’s my way or the the highways. Why do you even read the Bible you don’t go by it.Do you know that the different in a conservative ,and a Liberal ?Talking about money only look at Job, did the Bible say he was rich? How many places in the Bible did the Bible condemn wealth? Did Christ preach to the rich. He preach to the masses and when for instance a rich young ruler and him about salvation what did he tell him? You are as a fool saying you are something that you don’t know that you are about. I still say Christ was a liberal.. The argument is how to achieve them…
      Job 1:1 ESV / 1 helpful vote

      There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
      Liberals believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems.
      Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems. Which one would Christ Be? If Christ looked at both definition,who would he say he would be. Conservatives can only be what are selfish, into their selves, free markets are money. Give me a brake. Believe in what you want to but the truth will stand when the world on fire.Do you not see, or hear Satan uses wealth to over look things or making the person feel more important than his neighbor. He uses his wealth to look down on his less wealthy neighbor. I believe in a part of conservative that will product the ant-Christ or a fascist dictator.For two people that say and not know:”WELL” It’s not me to to judge. Ever read Ayn Rand? She’s a atheist author that conservatives love.Her ideas on wealth, if you like wealth read her two books.

  7. randy reneau Says:

    Where your Church at?You think of yourselves and your friend as self-righteous? I do not see it. You probably like the saying blind leading the blind in your Church. Do you handle snakes? You are just two people that cherry- pick the Bible to create what you want.We are saved, in the end, by faith Human kindness is deeply intrusively by Christ to help our fellow man.Faith presupposes that we cannot know. We can never know. You will tell us you know that is right or wrong in the eyes of God. You tell us how to act, how to live, and this process you elevate yourselves about us.We accept your authority, and we too are as you say conservatives as you say of your Church. But as sheep follow the flock.What will judgment be?

  8. apologianick Says:

    No. Faith is not opposed to knowledge. Faith is trust. Btw, you want the evidence Job was rich? Let’s see what the next two verses say.

    “2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”

    Believe it or not, owning that much back then was a sign of wealth. Heck. It’s be a sign of wealth today.

    btw, where can I get one of these hate detectors liberals seem to spout on about?

    So Randy whines with “These conservatives question my Christian devotion!” and then spews on to conservatives about how they lack devotion.

    Hypocrisy anyone?

    Yes. Jesus spoke quite a bit about that.

    • randy reneau Says:

      Does the Bible say he was rich?” No” You are just trying to say you are right. See you bring in about liberals, I only proves your connection with Satan. I am sorry for misguided views. A man that know he’s wrong will always throw thorns. Especially if he thinks he Godly. How many times have I seem conservatives throwing stones at liberals. Christ talks about the false prophets. The more I communicate the more I think the people of your Church should have better leaders. Talking about Job why do you bring up wealth. How many verses did I send about wealth and still your ideas of wealth has not change.Being stubborn and intolerance will not work. If you believe that Christ was a conservative you can believe it. but I have talked to many a conservatives and all are alike. Liberals are nicer and more compassion.If you two want to be conservatives, more power to you but I will let you tell something that you can presume. There nothing to support your’s claim but of the opposite. It hard to be wrong when make a living in the Church . Remember Christ driving the money changers out of the Temple. If you go by his examine why did he love the money.

    • randy reneau Says:

      read 2 Samuel 12 1 through 24

  9. apologianick Says:

    Randy: Does the Bible say he was rich?” No” You are just trying to say you are right

    Reply: I cannot believe that you said this. Seriously? Really? Let’s take a look at all he owned.

    “and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”

    This might sound like a shock to you, but if you live in the middle easy and have all of this, you’re wealthy. If you owned all that today in the Middle East, you’d be wealthy.

    Meanwhile, let’s take some highlights of what you said in this post:

    Randy: Liberals are nicer and more compassion.

    How many times have I seem conservatives throwing stones at liberals.

    Being stubborn and intolerance will not work

    A man that know he’s wrong will always throw thorns

    Reply: Now let’s look at some other statements earlier. Let’s play a game! Who said the following?

    “You probably like the saying blind leading the blind in your Church. Do you handle snakes? You are just two people that cherry- pick the Bible to create what you want.”

    “I do not see you to be a man of God just a hollow Christian that only sees and not listens. Your perdition is just a lax of your understatement.”

    “You are totality wrong. You are as the TV preachers that preach of wealth, you are just another Hypocrite, ”

    “People like you want a state religious government. Because of the flag on the cross and what you say. You hide behind the Bible. You have no love of Christ. You are the same as people like Pat Robertson.You see nobody having a mind of their own. You want totalitarianism for Christ. Your column was more of a right wing idea than anything about Christ read Matthew 19: 16 – 21 Luke 6:35-38 Matthew 25:34-46”

    Let’s see. Who said all those things?

    The reality is you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. If you’re so sure, then here are some questions. Give your best answers.

    What church do I attend?

    What position do I hold there?

    How much do I get paid?

    How much income does my ministry overall bring me?

    What is my financial status now?

    • randy reneau Says:

      I only ask about your Church?are you ashame of it? You are the only one considering wealth not me. Yes I do know what I am talking about, do you? Go back a little farer. Do consider different than what God considers. Why did the author of Job in the Bible say he was rich. Just four letters?Do you use the Conservapedia Bible?With your favoring the rich and you being a conservative maybe that’s your choice.Remember these words Jesus said,” Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” This quotation is a favor of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.” Well , if liberals like it, it’s gotta go, who care if Jesus said it. See that is what I say. “But ,nah, that’s a liberal plot. The conservative Jesus didn’t want to see lazy hippies get affordable health care, and he wanted the poor to screw themselves.He was also really into tax cuts. And a party given by the Kohn Bro. And you say you are conservative and Christ is conservative. Give me a brake, there is more bull flying than all the steers in Texas Have you went to the Creation Museum in KTY you know T-rex lived in the Garden of Eden. he only ate plants. you are just getting me started, men of God should only asker to God, men of materialism will only asker to the materialism of self. I think you need to read the right Bible, not the right wing Bible.

    • randy reneau Says:

      Here is some facts:Christians downplay the wrathful deity of the Old Testament in favor of a newer conception of God, exemplified in the New Testament (the Christian Bible) by his son Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Certainly loving one’s enemies and turning the other cheek constitute an advance over utterly destroying all that breatheth. Jesus, to be sure, was not above using violent imagery to secure the loyalty of his flock. In Matthew 10: 34– 37 he says: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. It’s not clear what he planned to do with that sword, but there’s no evidence that he smote anyone with the edge of it. Of course, there’s no direct evidence for anything that Jesus said or did. 25 The words attributed to Jesus were written decades after his death, and the Christian Bible, like the Hebrew one, is riddled with contradictions, uncorroborated histories, and obvious fabrications. Hebrew Bible offers a glimpse into the values of the middle of the 1st millennium BCE, the Christian Bible tells us much about the first two centuries CE. Indeed, in that era the story of Jesus was by no means unique. A number of pagan myths told of a savior who was sired by a god, born of a virgin at the winter solstice, surrounded by twelve zodiacal disciples, sacrificed as a scapegoat at the spring equinox, sent into the underworld, resurrected amid much rejoicing, and symbolically eaten by his followers to gain salvation and immortality. 26 The backdrop of the story of Jesus is the Roman Empire, the latest in a succession of conquerors of Judah. Though the first centuries of Christianity took place during the Pax Romana (the Roman Peace), the alleged peacefulness has to be understood in relative terms. It was a time of ruthless imperial expansion, including the conquest of Britain and the deportation of the Jewish population of Judah following the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The preeminent symbol of the empire was the Colosseum, visited today by millions of tourists and emblazoned on pizza boxes all over the world. In this stadium, Super Bowl– sized audiences consumed spectacles of mass cruelty. Naked women were tied to stakes and raped or torn apart by animals. Armies of captives massacred each other in mock battles. Slaves carried out literal enactments of mythological tales of mutilation and death— for example, a man playing Prometheus would be chained to a rock, and a trained eagle would pull out his liver. Gladiators fought each other to the death; our thumbs-up and thumbs-down gestures may have come from the signals flashed by the crowd to a victorious gladiator telling him whether to administer the coup de grâce to his opponent. About half a million people died these agonizing deaths to provide Roman citizens with their bread and circuses. The grandeur that was Rome casts our violent entertainment in a different light (to say nothing of our “extreme sports” and “sudden-death overtime”). 27 The most famous means of Roman death, of course, was crucifixion, the source of the word excruciating. Anyone who has ever looked up at the front of a church must have given at least a moment’s thought to the unspeakable agony of being nailed to a cross. Those with a strong stomach can supplement their imagination by reading a forensic investigation of the death of Jesus Christ, based on archaeological and historical sources, which was published in 1986 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 28 A Roman execution began with a scourging of the naked prisoner. Using a short whip made of braided leather embedded with sharpened stones, Roman soldiers would flog the man’s back, buttocks, and legs. According to the JAMA authors, “The lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh.” The prisoner’s arms would then be tied around a hundred-pound crossbar, and he would be forced to carry it to a site where a post was embedded in the ground. The man would be thrown onto his shredded back and nailed through the wrists to the crossbar. (Contrary to the familiar depictions, the flesh of the palms cannot support the weight of a man.) The victim was hoisted onto the post and his feet were nailed to it, usually without a supporting block. The man’s rib cage was distended by the weight of his body pulling on his arms, making it difficult to exhale unless he pulled his arms or pushed his legs against the nails. Death from asphyxiation and loss of blood would come after an ordeal ranging from three or four hours to three or four days. The executioners could prolong the torture by resting the man’s weight on a seat, or hasten death by breaking his legs with a club. Though I like to think that nothing human is foreign to me, I find it impossible to put myself in the minds of the ancients who devised this orgy of sadism. Even if I had custody of Hitler and could mete out the desert of my choice, it would not occur to me to inflict a torture like that on him. I could not avoid wincing in sympathy, would not want to become the kind of person who could indulge in such cruelty, and could see no point in adding to the world’s reservoir of suffering without a commensurate benefit. (Even the practical goal of deterring future despots, I would reason, is better served by maximizing the expectation that they will be brought to justice than by maximizing the gruesomeness of the penalty.) Yet in the foreign country we call the past, crucifixion was a common punishment. It was invented by the Persians, carried back to Europe by Alexander the Great, and widely used in Mediterranean empires. Jesus, who was convicted of minor rabble-rousing, was crucified along with two common thieves. The outrage that the story was meant to arouse was not that petty crimes were punishable by crucifixion but that Jesus was treated like a petty criminal. The crucifixion of Jesus, of course, was never treated lightly. The cross became the symbol of a movement that spread through the ancient world, was adopted by the Roman Empire, and two millennia later remains the world’s most recognizable symbol. The dreadful death it calls to mind must have made it an especially potent meme. But let’s step outside our familiarity with Christianity and ponder the mindset that tried to make sense of the crucifixion. By today’s sensibilities, it’s more than a little macabre that a great moral movement would adopt as its symbol a graphic representation of a revolting means of torture and execution. (Imagine that the logo of a Holocaust museum was a shower nozzle, or that survivors of the Rwandan genocide formed a religion around the symbol of a machete.) More to the point, what was the lesson that the first Christians drew from the crucifixion? Today such a barbarity might galvanize people into opposing brutal regimes, or demanding that such torture never again be inflicted on a living creature. But those weren’t the lessons the early Christians drew at all. No, the execution of Jesus is The Good News, a necessary step in the most wonderful episode in history. In allowing the crucifixion to take place, God did the world an incalculable favor. Though infinitely powerful, compassionate, and wise, he could think of no other way to reprieve humanity from punishment for its sins (in particular, for the sin of being descended from a couple who had disobeyed him) than to allow an innocent man (his son no less) to be impaled through the limbs and slowly suffocate in agony. By acknowledging that this sadistic murder was a gift of divine mercy, people could earn eternal life. And if they failed to see the logic in all this, their flesh would be seared by fire for all eternity. According to this way of thinking, death by torture is not an unthinkable horror; it has a bright side. It is a route to salvation, a part of the divine plan. Like Jesus, the early Christian saints found a place next to God by being tortured to death in ingenious ways. For more than a millennium, Christian martyrologies described these torments with pornographic relish. 29 Here are just a few saints whose names, if not their causes of death, are widely known. Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus and the first Pope, was crucified upside down. Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, met his end on an X-shaped cross, the source of the diagonal stripes on the Union Jack. Saint Lawrence was roasted alive on a gridiron, a detail unknown to most Canadians who recognize his name from the river, the gulf, and one of Montreal’s two major boulevards. The other one commemorates Saint Catherine, who was broken on the wheel, a punishment in which the executioner tied the victim to a wagon wheel, smashed his or her limbs with a sledgehammer, braided the shattered but living body through the spokes, and hoisted it onto a pole for birds to peck while the victim slowly died of hemorrhage and shock. (Catherine’s wheel, studded with spikes, adorns the shield of the eponymous college at Oxford.) Saint Barbara, namesake of the beautiful California city, was hung upside down by her ankles while soldiers ripped her body with iron claws, amputated her breasts, burned the wounds with hot irons, and beat her head with spiked clubs. And then there’s Saint George, the patron saint of England, Palestine, the republic of Georgia, the Crusades, and the Boy Scouts. Because God kept resuscitating him, George got to be tortured to death many times. He was seated astride a sharp blade with weights on his legs, roasted on a fire, pierced through the feet, crushed by a spiked wheel, had sixty nails hammered into his head, had the fat rendered out of his back with candles, and then was sawn in half. The voyeurism in the martyrologies was employed not to evoke outrage against torture but to inspire reverence for the bravery of the martyrs. As in the story of Jesus, torture was an excellent thing. The saints welcomed their torments, because suffering in this life would be rewarded with bliss in the next one. The Christian poet Prudentius wrote of one of the martyrs, “The mother was present, gazing on all the preparations for her dear one’s death and showed no signs of grief, rejoicing rather each time the pan hissing hot above the olive wood roasted and scorched her child.” 30 Saint Lawrence would become the patron saint of comedians because while he was lying on the gridiron he said to his tormenters, “This side’s done, turn me over and have a bite.” The torturers were straight men, bit players; when they were put in a bad light it was because they were torturing our heroes, not because they used torture in the first place. The early Christians also extolled torture as just deserts for the sinful. Most people have heard of the seven deadly sins, standardized by Pope Gregory I in 590 CE. Fewer people know about the punishment in hell that was reserved for those who commit them: Pride: Broken on the wheel Envy: Put in freezing water Gluttony: Force-fed rats, toads, and snakes Lust: Smothered in fire and brimstone Anger: Dismembered alive Greed: Put in cauldrons of boiling oil Sloth: Thrown in snake pits 31 The duration of these sentences, of course, was infinite. By sanctifying cruelty, early Christianity set a precedent for more than a millennium of systematic torture in Christian Europe. If you understand the expressions to burn at the stake, to hold his feet to the fire, to break a butterfly on the wheel, to be racked with pain, to be drawn and quartered, to disembowel, to flay, to press, the thumbscrew, the garrote, a slow burn, and the iron maiden (a hollow hinged statue lined with nails, later taken as the name of a heavy-metal rock band), you are familiar with a fraction of the ways that heretics were brutalized during the Middle Ages and early modern period. During the Spanish Inquisition, church officials concluded that the conversions of thousands of former Jews didn’t take. To compel the conversos to confess their hidden apostasy, the inquisitors tied their arms behind their backs, hoisted them by their wrists, and dropped them in a series of atrocity, later centuries would treat these horrors in lighthearted ways. In popular culture today witches are not the victims of torture and execution but mischievous cartoon characters or sassy enchantresses, like Broom-Hilda, Witch Hazel, Glinda, Samantha, and the Halliwell sisters in Charmed. Institutionalized torture in Christendom was not just an unthinking habit; it had a moral rationale. If you really believe that failing to accept Jesus as one’s savior is a ticket to fiery damnation, then torturing a person until he acknowledges this truth is doing him the biggest favor of his life: better a few hours now than an eternity later. And silencing a person before he can corrupt others, or making an example of him to deter the rest, is a responsible public health measure. Saint Augustine brought the point home with a pair of analogies: a good father prevents his son from picking up a venomous snake, and a good gardener cuts off a rotten branch to save the rest of the tree. 35 The method of choice had been specified by Jesus himself: “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” 36 Once again, the point of this discussion is not to accuse Christians of endorsing torture and persecution. Of course most devout Christians today are thoroughly tolerant and humane people. Even those who thunder from televised pulpits do not call for burning heretics alive or hoisting Jews on the strappado. The question is why they don’t, given that their beliefs imply that it would serve the greater good. The answer is that people in the West today compartmentalize their religious ideology. When they affirm their faith in houses of worship, they profess beliefs that have barely changed in two thousand years. But when it comes to their actions, they respect modern norms of nonviolence and toleration, a benevolent hypocrisy for which we should all be grateful.

      Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 689-690). Penguin Books.

  10. J.C. Thibodaux Says:

    Randy,

    @You are as a fool saying you are something that you don’t know that you are about.

    That you’re a hypocrite and a liar? No, you’ve made that painfully obvious all by yourself. You whine about people insinuating that you’re not a Christian because of your political views, then you turn around and do the very same thing. How is that not hypocrisy?

    @If Christ looked at both definition,who would he say he would be.

    If you find some passage that talks about Christ wanting the government to give everyone food stamps, let me know.

    @Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need.

    You criticize me for supposedly not believing the Bible; where do you find that concept in the Bible?

    @Conservatives can only be what are selfish, into their selves

    Really? Then why do a great many religious conservatives give money for the needy?

    @Do you not see, or hear Satan uses wealth to over look things or making the person feel more important than his neighbor.

    And Satan uses women, and Satan even uses the Bible (by twisting it) to deceive the gullible (hint, hint). Shall we dispose of them as well?

    @Ever read Ayn Rand? She’s a atheist author that conservatives love.

    I don’t. I think she had some good ideas on property, but was philosophically inept, overly emotionalistic, and her philosophy is guided by utter selfishness.

    @You are just two people that cherry- pick the Bible to create what you want.

    Like your purposefully ignoring the fact that people like Job were both wealthy and righteous? Caught you again, hypocrite.

    @You tell us how to act, how to live, and this process you elevate yourselves about us.We accept your authority, and we too are as you say conservatives as you say of your Church.

    Your babbling is completely incoherent. It’s impossible to understand what you’re raving about because your sentences make no sense at all.

    @I am sorry for misguided views.

    Ah, so now you’ve admitted your views are misguided. Do more than apologize, change them.

    @How many times have I seem conservatives throwing stones at liberals.

    Just like you’re throwing stones at conservatives, hypocrite.

    @Being stubborn and intolerance will not work.

    Yet you persist anyway.

    @If you go by his examine why did he love the money.

    Christ didn’t love money. What kind of crazy doctrine are you preaching?

    @This quotation is a favor of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.”

    And why is that? And now you’re quoting Steven Pinker as a source? So your “Christianity” is actually in accord with Atheist dogma?

    • randy reneau Says:

      Debate with the radical Christian Right is useless. We cannot reach this movement. You do not want a dialogue. It is a movement based on emotion and cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. Naive attempts to reach to your movement, to assure, too, we are Christians or, we, too, care about morals values, are doomed. This movement is bent on destruction. The attempts by liberals to make peace would be humorous if the stakes were not so deadly. These dominionists conservatives hate the liberal, enlightened world formed by the Constitution, you can only see them wanting to put God on government buildings and do away with science in explaining things, a world they blame for the debacle of their lifes. Remember Abraham Vereide, he has a dream, ” God came to him one night in April 1935 and said Christianity has focus on the wrong people, the poor,the suffering , But to help the rich as Ayn Rand said in her books. They wanted to destroy those uppity trade unions. My quote about Christ came another source. The The book wrote by Steven Pinker is a document. You are so set on calling people atheist, and you call your selves Christians. You are as a spoil fruit, your view of Ayn Rand a atheist can only be seen as prove you are no Godly people. She has contempt for God, and you say she has good ideas and you have never read her books. She said weak people believe in God. Look at some of the interviews she has on the net. She was monster and you say she had good ideas. I know you throw your arrows , because of your stupidity, does that make you happy. Do you think Christ would be happy?Of all people Ayn Rand . And you talk about a atheist in the Steven Pinker which you have not read. And Ayn Rand ideas are good? I guess you “hell” is good? For persons who try to teach the word of God, sorry but you missed the grade.

      • J.C. Thibodaux Says:

        Randy,

        @The The book wrote by Steven Pinker is a document. You are so set on calling people atheist, and you call your selves Christians.

        I’ve read Pinker before, he is an Atheist (or at the least agnostic).

        @You are as a spoil fruit, your view of Ayn Rand a atheist can only be seen as prove you are no Godly people.

        I’m sorry, didn’t I just say above that I don’t like Ayn Rand’s writing? Are you all-but-totally illiterate?

        @She has contempt for God, and you say she has good ideas and you have never read her books

        Yes, she did. I’ve read excerpts of her before; here’s a newsflash since you can’t seem to grasp even the simplest concepts: just because I believe someone is right about certain issues doesn’t mean that I agree with what they say generally. I believe that Karl Marx was correct in what he concluded about democratic governments being vulnerable to people effectively voting themselves money. That doesn’t mean I like Karl Marx’s writing or ideas in general. The fact is that truth is truth, no matter who is telling it. I think Rand’s concept of things like individual worth & the free market were pretty good, her ideas about God, philosophy, and altruism were batty and flat-out wrong.

        @I guess you “hell” is good?

        I guess you sentence is incoherent? And I won’t hesitate to point out yet again how spitefully hypocritical you are being: you whine like a spoiled child about people judging you, yet you yourself judge others harshly over things that they don’t even believe or do. You’ve simply twisted my words into unconditional support for everything Rand said (which I do not support). You are a paragon of hypocrisy and deceit. If you really believe what Jesus said, then why aren’t you acting like He commanded?

      • randy reneau Says:

        I guess I’m stupidity But I’m not a hypocrite. You see you have read some Pinker books and you call me Illiterate and you call your self a Christian where the compassion where the love? True Christians are not like you just calling people name. Talking down to me as if I was trash. If I was Christ, how would he view you two? and Ayn Rand you got to be kidding. I would like to attend your Church and see A Ayn Rand person.Read this:he Southern State Fast Becoming Ayn Rand’s Vision of Paradise
        Tennessee lawmakers have elevated hatred for government and disgust for poor people to an art form.
        April 10, 2013 |

        poverty, Hard Times, USA.

        If you’re worried about where America is heading, look no further than Tennessee. Its lush mountains and verdant rolling countryside belie a mean-spirited public policy that only makes sense if you believe deeply in the anti-collectivist, anti-altruist philosophy of Ayn Rand. It’s what you get when you combine hatred for government with disgust for poor people.

        Tennessee starves what little government it has, ranking dead last in per capita tax revenue. To fund its minimalist public sector, it makes sure that low-income residents pay as much as possible through heavily regressive sales taxes, which rank 10th highest among all states as a percent of total tax revenues. (For more detailed data see here.)

        As you would expect, this translates into hard times for its public school systems, which rank 48th in school revenues per student and 45th in teacher salaries. The failure to invest in education also corresponds with poverty: the state has the 40th worst poverty rate (15%) and the 13th highest state percentage of poor children (26%).

        Employment opportunities also are extremely poor for the poor. Only 25% have full-time jobs, 45% are employed part-time, and a whopping 30% have no jobs at all.

        So what do you do with all those low-income folks who don’t have decent jobs? You put a good number of them in jail. In fact, only Louisiana, Georgia and New Mexico have higher jail incarceration rates.

        From the perspective of Tennessee legislators, it’s all about providing the proper incentives to motivate the poor. For starters, you make sure that no one could possible live on welfare payments (TANF: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). Although President Clinton’s welfare reform program curtailed how long a family can receive welfare (60 months) and dramatically increased the work requirements, Tennessee set the maximum family welfare payment at only $185 per month. (That’s how much a top hedge fund manager makes in under one second.) As a result, the Volunteer State ranks 49th in TANF, just above Mississippi ($170).

        Kick ’em when they’re down or tough love?

        In the Randian universe, it’s not enough to starve public education and the poor. You also must blame the poor both for their poverty and for the crumbling educational system. If a poor child is failing it must be the fault of low-income parents. So how do you drive the point home? You take away their welfare checks if their kids don’t do well in school, which is precisely what the Tennessee House and Senate are about to do. TheKnoxvilleNews.com reports:

        The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school.

        More amazing still, the bill originally applied to all children of TANF parents, even if they were severely disabled. Realizing that they had gone too far, the bill was amended so that, “it would not apply when a child has a handicap or learning disability or when the parent takes steps to try improving the youngster’s school performance — such as signing up for a parenting class, arranging a tutoring program or attending a parent-teacher conference.” (Imagine the uproar if those provision were applied to upper-income parents, assuming any still use the public school system.)

        Dennis told the House Health Subcommittee the measure now only applies to “parents who do nothing.” He described the measure as “a carrot and stick approach.”

        Obviously, this is insane, right? Not if you’ve already started down the road of whipping the poor into shape. The proposed draconian cuts are just an extension of previous policies that already made welfare contingent on school attendance. As Travis Waldron reports in ThinkProgress:

        When Campfield introduced the legislation in January, he said parents have “gotten away with doing absolutely nothing to help their children” in school. “That’s child abuse to me,” he added. Tennessee already ties welfare to education by mandating a 20 percent cut in benefits if students do not meet attendance standards, but this change would place the burden of maintaining benefits squarely on children, who would face costing their family much-needed assistance if they don’t keep up in school.

        By the way, the Tennessee legislature is lily-white: One percent is Latino, 6% AfricanAmerican and 91% Caucasian. But the complexion of poverty is darker. Nearly 80 percent of Tennessee’s poor children are black and brown.

        Attacking the poor as the answer to the Wall Street crash?

        These attacks on the poor, rather than on poverty, are not peculiar to Tennessee. In fact, similar concepts circulate among political and policy elites in Washington. For Ayn Rand acolytes, Wall Street’s reckless, greedy casinos couldn’t possibly be the real reason the economy crashed. After all, the rich get rich because they are terrific at what they do. We should reward these creators, not blame them for their foresight, their ingenuity and their obvious success. The blame instead should fall on the poor — the takers — and on the collectivist government liberals who cater to them. Didn’t the government force banks to put unqualified poor people in homes they couldn’t afford? (It doesn’t matter that the data shows that low-income buyers who gained loans through the Community Readjustment Act didn’t default in higher numbers than anyone else. The idea of blaming the poor has power.)

        Blaming low-income people for chronic unemployment is the next move. As the rate stays stubbornly high (precisely because all Republicans and even a few Democrats don’t want the government in the business of job creation) we hear talk of “structural” unemployment. That’s code for the jobs would be there if only the workers were qualified. But you know, those lower-income workers just don’t have the skills and work habits to compete in our globalized economy. Even older middle-class workers are hopelessly out of date. So there’s really nothing government can do about it.

        The final twist is to claim that the richest country in human history doesn’t have the means to eradicate poverty. Instead, we are told, rising debt is forcing us to tighten our belts — rather, we need to tighten the belts of the poor by taking away a few more dollars from Medicaid and Social Security.

        How to justify meanness?

        It’s not easy to be cruel to someone who is down and out. After all, most of us feel ashamed when walking by a homeless person or watching kids crammed into over-crowded classrooms. It requires several psychological twists and turns to make life even harder for low-income Americans.

        You have to blame low-income parents for their own economic problems. Even if the unemployment rate is sky-high it must be the poor person’s fault.
        You need to feel superior — that somehow you got to where you are today not by an accident of birth but rather by your own hard labors. Anyone not as successful as you, by definition, is inferior.
        You have to believe that meanness really is tough love — that by taking benefits away from the poor you are actually helping them on the road to self sufficiency.
        It’s helpful to have access to the broader Randian/libertarian philosophy that argues all forms of collective government action are an attack on freedom. In this view, altruism is seen as a curse that justifies collective government programs which essentially steal money from the makers and to waste on the takers. All collective caring by the state, therefore, is evil, so that all support for the poor via government is evil as well.
        It’s psychologically crucial to have your prejudices confirmed by charismatic alchemists like Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan who peddle selfishness as the highest form of morality (although only Ayn Rand had the guts to say it so bluntly).

        Is Washington locked into increasing inequality?

        While the Republicans in Congress are committed to supporting the rich and crushing the poor, smug Democrats can too easily look down upon the bumbling Tennessee legislators. Tie welfare to school success? How crude. But many of these same Democrats also are totally in sync with the Wall Street hucksters who have, for a generation, siphoned off America’s wealth into their bottomless pockets. In fact, both parties again are in competition for Wall Street campaign cash as if nothing much has happened. And both parties clearly are unwilling to break up the big banks, cap obscene financial incomes, or create public banks to serve the public interest.

        Washington politicians and pundits from Obama on down (with very few exceptions) are enthralled by Wall Street wizardry. Making a million dollars an hour no longer seems strange or repugnant. Too big to fail, jail and regulate are just the natural order of things. In fact, more than a few public servants can’t wait to race through that revolving door to get in on the big casino games.

        This should tell us that the path to social justice requires a new political movement that operates outside the two great corporate parties.

        Is it too late?

        I ran into a young woman who is very concerned by the enormous gap she sees between life on campus and the hardships of the low-income people. She wants to know what she can do with her life to really change things.

        What can we say? I look back over a lifetime in the cause of social justice and I don’t have much to show for it — more war, more poverty, more inequality, more disinvestment in critical human infrastructure. Yes, we’ve made great strides on gender, sexual preference and overt racial discrimination compared to a generation ago. But how can we explain why America has the world’s highest incarceration rates? Why couldn’t we prevent a criminal justice system from sending 40% of young black males to prison? How, on our watch, did our relatively egalitarian country develop the most obscene wealth gap in the world? How is it possible that so many of our cities are in worse shape than a generation ago? It’s almost to impossible to comprehend, and even harder to change.

        But that young woman already senses that we have no choice but to try. And that requires building a movement that targets the core of the problem — the systems that allow the economic royalists and their political minions to hijack our country.

        It’s a long-term project. After all, it required almost two generations of painstaking work for the Ayn Rand right to take over the national debate. It may take just as long to recapture it. Let’s hope there are enough caring young women and men who still have a sense of the common good. Altruism may have died in Galt’s Gulch, but it’s still alive and well in the hearts of those who share a passion for justice, even in Tennessee.

        Les Leopold’s latest book is How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour: Why Hedge Funds are Siphoning away America’s Wealth (John Wiley and Sons, 2013).

        Where is your SOUL? And you think Ayn Rand got good ideas. are you a parasite? Ayn says you are

      • randy reneau Says:

        You said Ayn Rand has good ideas. You ask me what I was smoking, all I can do is say you is eternal in Hell the the valve you put in believing Ayn Rand. It’s not my judgment. You need to read this:The Alarming Revival of Ayn Rand: The Right’s Weirdest Idol of Them All
        A passion for the prose and philosophy of Ayn Rand tells us a great deal about an individual, none of it good.
        July 18, 2011 |

        The Republican Party’s slapstick search for a leader would be heartwarming and sidesplitting, but for the tragic knowledge that one of these scrambling midgets will collect tens of millions of votes in the presidential election of 2012. Never have so many amounted to so little, talked so much rubbish, dreamed of an office so far above their abilities. Blood pressures rose among party elders when Donald Trump, marginally Republican and one of the greatest fools in the solar system, momentarily tossed his hairpiece into the ring and became the instant favorite.
        The GOP dilemma — a golden opportunity to rule but nothing to say and no one to say it — is so desperate that my instinct is to help them sort it out. Could we make a start, at least, by dismissing candidates who called for President Obama’s birth certificate or raised the specter of Sharia law in America, followed briskly off the stage by lunatics who dismiss global warming as a socialist plot?
        That would leave plenty of unbalanced extremists still in the running, yet reduce the stench of sheer evil and madness. The “birther” and Sharia cults reek of cheesy talk-radio racism; climate-change denial is a stranger faith yet, a political assault on basic science that insults a ground squirrel’s intelligence and casually threatens the survival of life on earth.
        The party that produces birthers and global-warming deniers no doubt harbors End-of-the-Worlders, too, Christians who packed their bags for heaven with the senile prophet Harold Camping on May 21. Though none of them, I suppose, would commit to the time and expense of a presidential campaign just to preside over a nation of sinners expiring in fire and pestilence. Leo Rangell, the prominent Freudian analyst whose obituary is in this morning’s Times, once lamented that the American public is “gullible or easily seduced, and susceptible to leaders of questionable character.”
        Dr. Rangell wrote that in 1980, long before gullibility became such an epidemic that we began to doubt the value of our schools, before media demagogues made a billion-dollar industry of manipulating our most credulous citizens, before the Republican Party dedicated itself to gathering most of them into its fold. Before Rush Limbaugh, before Fox News, before the Tea Party.
        “Finally, people’s stupidity will break your heart,” observed my father, a small-town politician and a loyal Republican of the moderate traditional strain that has been systematically exterminated by the radical Right.
        My father lived long enough to vote for George McGovern and against Ronald Reagan, but the rhetoric GOP candidates churn out to charm this Tea Party would sound extraterrestrial to most Republicans of his generation.
        The odious hypocrite Newt Gingrich, who considered himself a serious presidential candidate until his entire staff abandoned him in disgust, rests his appeal on his intellectual superiority to Sarah Palin and Rick Perry — a distinction much like being a faster runner than Dom DeLuise. In his obligatory pre-campaign book Gingrich claims that Barack Obama, a cautious centrist if there ever was one, drives a “secular-socialist machine” that “represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.”
        Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Father Coughlin, move over. Newt is just full of Shariah, among other things, and accuses Obama of “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior,” a blatant pitch for the racist vote the Tea Party has re-energized. A colossal irony — demonstrating how hopelessly divided America has become — is that the radical philosopher Cornel West, a black Princeton professor, calls Obama “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.” This is not helpful of Dr. West, nor even responsible. He and Newt Gingrich are equally useless if a calmer, more logical and coherent political culture is what we’re after. But if I had to say which of these two hostile portraits of our president is less preposterous, I’m sure I’d choose West’s. Virtually all the valid criticism of Barack Obama has come from the left.
        When Tea-stained legislators gut environmental laws to protect corporate profits, when they sneer at climate change while America bakes in its bedrock like a big green casserole — when Republican educational reform means classrooms with fewer teachers and more guns — there’s a temptation for reasonable Americans to throw up their hands and succumb to despair. Is it a death wish or a scheme to kill the rest of us, when “conservatives” fight against clean air laws, or legislate to place a loaded pistol in every yahoo’s holster? I’ve reached the second half of my seventh decade, and I’ve never seen such an intimidating swarm of fanatics and fools marching under one banner. The election of a non-white president has brought out the worst in the worst of us. But who guessed that there were so many, or that their worst was so awful?
        The late Albert Einstein, of my father’s persuasion if not of his party, once wrote despairingly, “The tyranny of the ignoramuses is insurmountable and assured for all time.” But the coalition that poisons this struggling republic is an unnatural one, made up of rich cynics who supply the money and poor ignoramuses who supply the votes. They have nothing in common, except that the cynics will say anything and the morons will believe it. There must be something, optimists insist, that could drive a wedge between the exploiters and the exploited — some irresistible revelation, some fraud or contradiction so flagrant that the most obtuse voter could see how callously and criminally he’s being used.
        How about Ayn Rand? The latest Republican poster boy, congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, stole the media spotlight with a slash-to-the-bone budget proposal that Fox News heralded as the Magna Carta of fiscal responsibility in America. I lack the expertise to take on Rep. Ryan’s budget digit-for-digit, but I place considerable confidence in the opinion of the Times’ Paul Krugman, who won a Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008. “The proposal wasn’t serious at all,” Krugman wrote. “In fact, it was a sick joke. The only real things in it were savage cuts in aid to the needy and the uninsured, huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich, and Medicare privatization. All the alleged cost savings were pure fantasy.”
        That sounds about par for the current Republican course, with fresh infusions of Tea Party belligerence and unreality. But what frightened me most about Rep. Ryan was the report that he is an avowed disciple of the writer/philosopher Ayn Rand, and has declared in public that Rand is “the reason I got involved in public service.” Good grief, she’s back. She died in 1982, but someone neglected to drive a stake through her heart.
        A passion for the prose and philosophy of Ayn Rand tells us a great deal about an individual, none of it good. There are few surer signs of a poor reader, a poor thinker and an unpleasant person than a well-thumbed copy of Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead.
        In 2005, Rand’s acolytes gathered in Washington for a symposium to celebrate her 100th birthday — the occasion for Rep. Ryan’s disturbing confession — and I admit I’d give anything to see the seating chart. If there was some way to ban everyone in that room from holding public office, we could probably turn the United States of America back toward the generous light of reason.
        She was to literature what Rod McKuen was to poetry, what Fabian was to rock n’ roll, what Guru Maharaj Ji was to religion. Look them up. Like them, she once enjoyed a huge audience of admirers. Unlike them, she was never harmless and she’s enjoying an alarming revival.
        Since Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957, it has sold seven million copies. It’s possibly the most polarizing book ever written. For every Paul Ryan who finds it life-shaping, a dozen readers are mystified and a dozen more appalled. Few actually finish the 1,200-page novel, which ends with the mysterious Galt drawing a dollar sign in the air with his finger. If you wade into this stuff up to your ankles — the hokey melodrama, the backlit macro-characters posed like Easter Island monoliths, the cruel and obvious message stamped on every page—-you begin to fear that you can never wash it off.
        At times her critics oversimplify Rand’s beliefs, which embody any number of contradictions and opacities. But essentially she glorifies the will and celebrates Nietzsche’s Ubermensch, the superman whose blazing passage through the world need never be impeded by the interests or opinions of mediocrities like you and me. It’s the same string of arrogant assumptions that spawned the Master Race theories of Herr Hitler: ego-deification, social Darwinism, arbitrary stratification of human types. Adapted for capitalism, it becomes the divine right to plunder — a license for those who own nearly everything to take the rest, because they wish to, because they can. Because the weak don’t matter. Let the big dogs feed. This repulsive theology was the work of a fairly repulsive person.
        For an eyewitness portrait of Ayn Rand in the flesh, in the prime of her celebrity, you can’t improve on the “Ubermensch” chapter in Tobias Wolff’s autobiographical novel Old School.
        Invited to meet with the faculty and student writers at the narrator’s boarding school, Rand arrives with an entourage of chain-smoking idolaters in black and behaves so repellently that her audience of innocents gets a life lesson in what kind of adult to avoid, and to avoid becoming. Rude, dismissive, vain and self-infatuated to the point of obtuseness — she names Atlas Shrugged as the only great American novel — Rand and her hissing chorus in black manage to alienate the entire school, even the rich board member who had admired and invited her.
        What strikes Wolff’s narrator most forcefully is her utter lack of charity or empathy, her transparent disgust with everything she views as disfiguring or disabling: a huge wen on the headmaster’s forehead, the narrator’s running head cold, the war injury that emasculated Hemingway’s Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises.
        To the boy, she appears to be exactly the sort of merciless egotist who might have designed a fascist philosophy that exalts power and disparages altruism. Rand is wearing a gold pin in the shape of a dollar sign. After meeting her, he can no longer read a word of The Fountainhead, which as an adolescent romantic he had enjoyed.
        This division of the human race into the elect few who are destiny’s darlings and the “second-rate” multitudes above whom they soar—-this Ubermensch nonsense—-is perilously thin ice on which to rest a philosophy (Nietzsche, you recall, went hopelessly mad.)
        Since there’s no agency that rates human beings the way we rate bonds, the elect are always self-elected supermen and superwomen. Super, says who?
        If it’s supposed to be intellect as much as will that sets them above us, I sense a critical problem. Whenever a person of superior intelligence begins to comprehend the human condition, the first fruits of his knowledge are humility and irony—-those two things Rand and her heroes most spectacularly lack.
        Personally, I never feel more superior than when I see someone carrying a copy of Atlas Shrugged. What actually sets the self-styled super race apart is an unrepressed infantile id, a raging “I want” that defies socialization. These are damaged children, people of arrested development drawn to an ugly philosophy that legitimizes narcissism and socially unacceptable behavior. Donald Trump would be a perfect example. For an apostle of self-willed happiness, the goddess of greed led a troubled life, marked by depressions, amphetamine addiction, messy love affairs and betrayals. But you could say that she had a capacious mind, if not a healthy or an orderly one.
        She was well educated, she had actually read Aristotle and Nietzsche before she hobbled them and hitched them to her wagon. Her unlikely 21st-century resurrection is the work of much smaller, often almost invisible minds that cherry-pick the vast creaking structure of her oeuvre for their own ends, just as they cherry-pick the Bible or The Wealth of Nations.
        If corporate feudalism is your dream for America, she’s the prophet for you. Her naïve faith in capitalism and contempt for “the welfare state” are just what the right-wing doctor ordered.
        Much of the rest, alas, will never fly in Alabama. Pundits have been delighted to note that the heroine of the new Republicans was a pacifist who opposed the Vietnam War, a feminist who supported abortion, an adulteress who preached free love, a bohemian who mocked family life and child-bearing, an elitist who sneered at the common man, and, after all her “nanny state” rhetoric, a recipient of Social Security and Medicare and a late, sick convert to the benefits of socialized medicine.
        Worst of all, for tea-stained Christian Republicans, she was a militant atheist. In Rand’s ideology religious faith was the most abject form of weakness, a sniveling retreat from the hardheaded, self-centered “objectivism” her heroes impose on the world. She not only would have rejected Jesus and his gospels, she actually did—-repeatedly. Christ’s message that the poor are blessed and the meek will inherit the earth is antithetical to Rand’s belief that the poor and meek are no more than mulch where the dreams of the mighty take root.
        So adamantly did she denounce the altruism and self-sacrifice at the center of the Christian message, it’s no exaggeration to call her the intellectual Antichrist.
        It’s no great exaggeration to say that praising her is like spitting in Christ’s face.
        How do Paul Ryan, Ron and Rand Paul and company manage to pass off this radical atheist, this subversive Russian Jew (born Elisa Rosenbaum) as an iconic role model for Christian conservatives?
        Apparently they don’t think they need to get into the details, not with their particular constituency. Assuming that they know the details themselves. The careless condescension of their leaders is not yet a scandal to the tea-baggers of America’s unlettered hard Right. But Ayn Rand seems like the biggest joke of all, one that might yet blow up in the party’s face.
        The plutocrats she worshiped are so few, the plebeians she scorned are so many. The GOP’s little people can’t all be totally illiterate, and Limbaugh and Glenn Beck actually urge them to read this woman’s books. It’s in-your-face deception that reminds me of the old stage villain, the silent-movie heavy with the waxed mustache, cackling behind his cloak and inviting the audience to share the cruelty he’s about to inflict on his innocent victims. It’s as if Wall Street is surreptitiously giving the finger to Main Street Republicans, laughing at the gullible recruits as they march to the polls to lower corporate taxes and deregulate markets. Ayn Rand, indeed. She would have applauded the big dogs’ ruthlessness but rolled her eyes at the Christian-family rhetoric they’re obliged to use for bait.
        She wasn’t one of them, of course; she certainly wasn’t one of us. She was one of a kind, thank god. In her defense, you might argue that her love affair with capitalism was rooted in a Russian Jew’s horror of the totalitarian systems that devastated Europe in the 20th century.
        That offers her a gravitas she doesn’t share with ultra-light Midwestern reactionaries like Paul Ryan or Michele Bachmann. But the more Americans read her books, the better for liberals and the worse, I think, for Republicans.
        Her work illustrates conclusively what a few brave clergymen and a few ink-stained relics like me have been saying for years to anyone who would listen, and to Republicans who refuse to listen — that Christianity and the wolverine capitalism of a John Galt are totally incompatible systems, two mutually exclusive human possibilities. They cancel each other out. Any political party that pretends to integrate them is a party of liars, and doomed.
        Hal Crowther’s most recent book is Gather at the River. Write him at 219 N. Churton St., Hillsborough, NC 27278.
        And you think she has good ideas. To try to make me mad you two have demonstrated your lack of wisdom,for two men of God you are a big disappointment. If you don’t repent, may God have mercy of both your Souls.

      • randy reneau Says:

        Look at name calling, calling me a liar, calling me a hypocrite, what Am I smoking. I am copying all this on a word Doc. I might come to your Church what kind of Christian are you? How many times was you just nasty. I don’t how you can look in a mirror. I might give it to a TV station. I know people in one pretty good. I will let some of my friends see it. It not nice to belittle you. Maybe I wait until Christmas and all my liberal friends come to your Church

      • J.C. Thibodaux Says:

        No Randy, Christians are not forbidden from calling hypocrites and liars such as yourself out on what they’re doing. It is quite Christlike to shame hypocrites like you for your sinful behavior.

        @I would like to attend your Church and see A Ayn Rand person.

        That doesn’t make sense. Ayn Rand doesn’t attend my church -she’s been dead for some time now.

        @You ask me what I was smoking

        A valid question, since your gibbering hasn’t made a lot of sense, and your conclusions lack any semblance of coherent thought. Case in point: what you say next: “all I can do is say you is eternal in Hell the the valve you put in believing Ayn Rand.” This is utter nonsense. You are literally blabbering like someone who’s strung out on drugs, and I’m not convinced that you aren’t. Some people idolize Rand. So what? I don’t.

        @And you think she has good ideas.

        Yes, a few of her ideas were good. If you disagree, then systematically lay out her ideas and objectively and exhaustively refute ALL of them. Note that I’m ignoring your stupid copying and pasting of articles.

        @Look at name calling, calling me a liar, calling me a hypocrite, what Am I smoking. I am copying all this on a word Doc.

        Good. I hope you remember the lesson of what your evil habits of lying and being hypocritical will get you.

        @How many times was you just nasty.

        Please, you’ve been spewing little but filth this whole time, now you hypocritically want to smear us for being mean to you because we’re pointing out how dishonest and hypocritical you’re being?

        “You are as a fool saying you are something that you don’t know that you are about.” – Lie.

        “You are just two people that cherry- pick the Bible to create what you want.” – Lie.

        “You tell us how to act, how to live, and this process you elevate yourselves about us.” – Lie.

        “Be as you are but remember don’t throw your stones, just because you think you are right. … All dialogue must include respect and tolerance for the beliefs, worth and dignity of others.”

        “Being a conservative I Lump you in the same class as the barber did me.” – Hypocrisy.

        “Conservatives Christians believe in curtailing of federal assistance programs and turn inward, assisting only those within their exclusive Christian Community and damning the world out side.” – Lie.

        “I do not see you to be a man of God just a hollow Christian that only sees and not listens.” – Lie.

        “You are as a spoil fruit, your view of Ayn Rand a atheist can only be seen as prove you are no Godly people.” [after you quote anti-Christian Stephen Pinker] – Hypocrisy.

        @I will let some of my friends see it.

        Yes, please do. Then your hypocrisy & raving intolerant will become evident for even more to see.

      • randy reneau Says:

        Are you a member of the Baptist Church on Emory Road? If people like you believe in Christ you are a disappointment . You are trash in my opinion. Why do you have a web sight?

      • randy reneau Says:

        I have copy your thorns and I let my minster look at it . And i have look back at what i said it is not close to what you said. I am copying and letting some of my friends at court house look at it. And maybe it will get out in the community just what kind of Christians you are. I never have run into a person that claim to be something he not.

      • J.C. Thibodaux Says:

        @Are you a member of the Baptist Church on Emory Road?

        No, never heard of it. I don’t even know what city you’re talking about.

        Randy: “True Christians are not like you just calling people name. Talking down to me as if I was trash.”
        Randy: “You are trash in my opinion.”

        Then you have the gall to say, “And i have look back at what i said it is not close to what you said.” There’s more of your legendary consistency. So first you claim that true Christians don’t call people names and talk down to them as if they were trash, then you directly call me trash. Do you not see how hypocritical that is?

        @I am copying and letting some of my friends at court house look at it. And maybe it will get out in the community just what kind of Christians you are.

        You go right ahead and do that. I’m sure they’ll be absolutely riveted seeing how inconsistent you’re being.

        @I never have run into a person that claim to be something he not.

        So you’re claiming we’re not really Christians? On what basis? Because we’re committing the “sin” of disagreeing with your political views?

        @I don’t care what you think you are nothing but a bunch of aholes

        Randy, there you go talking down to people as if they were trash again.

        @and you better never e-mail me again

        Newsflash: I’ve never emailed you before. You subscribed to the comments on Nick’s blog, and they’ll be automatically emailed to you until you unsubscribe. You don’t have the authority to regulate what’s said on someone else’s blog.

        @I’m a combat veteran with PTSD and about know where you live.

        I’m an actual combat veteran, and I know hollow threats and childish bluffs when I see them.

  11. apologianick Says:

    What church do I attend?

    What position do I hold there?

    How much do I get paid?

    How much income does my ministry overall bring me?

    What is my financial status now?

    You can answer those questions or admit you’re making assumptions on ignorance, which is pretty clear already.

    • randy reneau Says:

      I just ask about what Church you attend. I hate to be be a judge. I think you got a anger problem. But if I wanted to I can find where you go to Church. It doesn’t matter believe I have figure out that kind of person you are. Only look at what you wrote last. But you like to call people names. If all the the people that attend your Church are like you,well. I am happy who I am.I know very little but I am so sorry that any Christian would think that Ayn Rand has good ideas.@Ever read Ayn Rand? She’s a atheist author that conservatives love.
      I don’t. I think she had some good ideas on property your ideas on wealth surprises me.The last thing you wrote,”WHY” when you saidYou can answer those questions or admit you’re making assumptions on ignorance, which is pretty clear already. You are sick A MAN of GOD?

      . If people judge salvation based on how they feel, many are in trouble.
      : I do not know a single conservative who is opposed to helping the poor. We just have a different way that we plan on doing it. Randy: would not Christ be a conservative, I think not.
      Reply: I don’t really care what you think. I care what you can demonstrate.
      Reply: But I seek those things also and I’m a conservative. it sounds like you want to win by definition. How many legs does a dog have if you count the tail as a leg? Answer. 4. Counting the tail as a leg does not make it a leg.
      REply: Sorry, but someone has to have money in a society and a society like this won’t exist if men still have a sin nature because of greed. The best thing to do is to find a way to contain the greed. Your position assumes man is basically good. I find enough evidence to the contrary.
      . You get upset when people stereotype you, but you do the same to everyone else. Jesus said something about hypocrisy.
      Randy: But what does our father see? And how many Conservatives throw off on welfare people as trash, and single mothers as tramps.
      Reply: I am entirely for welfare reform. Too many people abuse the system. I remember someone in the unemployment line behind me once saying that it was awesome getting paid to chill. Too many people on welfare are just having babies and getting more money. I know for I know people who are social workers. Welfare has too often become government sponsored prostitution. Let’s go with what Paul said. If a man will not work, he shall not eat.
      Randy: What did Christ do to be a conservative? Did he love the Rich?
      Reply: Yep. He sure did.
      Randy: Did he preach the value of wealth?
      Reply: In the parable of the talents, he blessed the man who earned more income with what he had. In the parable of the dishonest manager, he championed the use of worldly wealth to build up connections here.
      Did he not throw the money changers out of the Temple?
      Reply: Yes, because they were fleecing the people and using a place of worship as a place of business. Now note other aspects. Did Christ believe in work? Yes. Did he uphold the sanctity of life? Yes. Did he uphold the union of a man and a woman? Yes.
      Randy: Being a conservative goes against everything Christ stood for. This is what’s the matter with this nation.
      Reply: I suppose if you ignore everything against you and make everything be for you by definition, yes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work here.
      : If being a liberal means striving to attain just and equitable society, a society where there are no rich or poor, where all men are treated equally, then Jesus Christ was a liberal.
      REply: Sorry, but someone has to have money in a society and a society like this won’t exist if men still have a sin nature because of greed. The best thing to do is to find a way to contain the greed. Your position assumes man is basically good. I find enough evidence to the contrary.
      Randy: Do you know that a conservative is? How many have conservative organizations that take care of the poor. Conservative believe in small government. they believe that government should not help the poor.
      Reply; Correct. I think the church should help the poor. The fact that the government is doing it is proof that the church has not been doing its job.
      Randy: Does the Bible say he was rich?” No” You are just trying to say you are right
      Reply: I cannot believe that you said this. Seriously? Really? Let’s take a look at all he owned.
      “and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”
      Randy,
      @You are as a fool saying you are something that you don’t know that you are about.
      That you’re a hypocrite and a liar? No, you’ve made that painfully obvious all by yourself. You whine about people insinuating that you’re not a Christian because of your political views, then you turn around and do the very same thing. How is that not hypocrisy
      food stamps, let me know.
      @Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need.
      You criticize me for supposedly not believing the Bible; where do you find that concept in the Bible?
      @Conservatives can only be what are selfish, into their selves
      Really? Then why do a great many religious conservatives give money for the needy?
      @Ever read Ayn Rand? She’s a atheist author that conservatives love.
      I don’t. I think she had some good ideas on property, but was philosophically inept, overly emotionalistic, and her philosophy is guided by utter selfishness.
      @You are just two people that cherry- pick the Bible to create what you want.
      Like your purposefully ignoring the fact that people like Job were both wealthy and righteous? Caught you again, hypocrite

  12. apologianick Says:

    You made claims about me in relation to what I do with the church and how much wealth I have and my position and you have no evidence of them.

    I also stand by what I said. You’re a hypocrite. That’s a fact. (Note also if you oppose calling people hypocrites, realize Jesus did it as well.)

    • randy reneau Says:

      I stand on what I say. How many people do you call names? When people call people names they are lowering themselves. You don’t even know me and call me names. And you judge me and call me names, and you say you are a Godly person? And you say Ayn Rand has good ideas on property. You must have read her book pretty good. A Christian should take the high ground,and you say you’re a man of GOD. We put labels on every thing, how do you label some one that calls you names.Pride is a sin, and the ability to know right from wrong is escaping you. If a man sees only that he only wants to see and does not know the different between what is right or wrong. How can a man know what is correct.Just because it’s seems correct does not make it correct. Most persons sees them selves as perfect or as perfect to themselves but interpretation are seem by others. Do you see your faults? How can you correct a problem if you don’t see it? You have broke every rule for being nice.

  13. randy reneau Says:

    You see, you are not a nice person. You are man what is void but we liberals see that conservatives may hate admit the obvious, you are dangerous threats to the ability of free people people to live their lives in accordance with their principals and conscience.

  14. apologianick Says:

    You make claims against me without evidence. ALso, is it impossible that you could be a hypocrite? Is anyone who calls you a hypocrite ipso facto wrong?

    • randy reneau Says:

      What claims did I make? How many times did you call me a hypocrite,you insinuate I was a Atheist, call me a lier,. You know I go to Church every Sunday, I believe in Christ as My Savor and try to have a conversation with you and you blown up just because I don’t believe in wealth and just because I call myself a liberal. You are as a man what owns a boat without a paddle.

  15. apologianick Says:

    I never once insinuated you are an atheist and I never called you a liar. I called you a hypocrite. You condemn others for stereotyping you and then you go and do the exact same thing. You made claims concerning the wealth I have and a position at my church. You are unable to back your claims.

    Also, if calling someone a hypocrite is a problem, go after Jesus. He did the same thing.

    • randy reneau Says:

      You sure throw the idea since I read the book by Pinker calling him a atheist. @This quotation is a favor of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.”
      And why is that? And now you’re quoting Steven Pinker as a source? So your “Christianity” is actually in accord with Atheist dogma?@I guess you “hell” is good?
      I guess you sentence is incoherent? And I won’t hesitate to point out yet again how spitefully hypocritical you are being: you whine like a spoiled child about people judging you, yet you yourself judge others harshly over things that they don’t even believe or do. You’ve simply twisted my words into unconditional support for everything Rand said (which I do not support). You are a paragon of hypocrisy and deceit. If you really believe what Jesus said, then why aren’t you acting like He commanded? Would I consider you as a friend, or just a man into his self. Would say Nick if this is your name why have you been so mean to this man. Maybe you did not call me a liar but your spoke in ways that insinuated it. Iam so sorry for you.

      If it’s supposed to be intellect as much as will that sets them above us, I sense a critical problem. Whenever a person of superior intelligence begins to comprehend the human condition, the first fruits of his knowledge are humility and irony—-those two things Rand and her heroes most spectacularly lack.
      Personally, I never feel more superior than when I see someone carrying a copy of Atlas Shrugged. What actually sets the self-styled super race apart is an unrepressed infantile id, a raging “I want” that defies socialization. These are damaged children, people of arrested development drawn to an ugly philosophy that legitimizes narcissism and socially unacceptable behavior. Donald Trump would be a perfect example. For an apostle of self-willed happiness, the goddess of greed led a troubled life, marked by depressions, amphetamine addiction, messy love affairs and betrayals. But you could say that she had a capacious mind, if not a healthy or an orderly one.
      She was well educated, she had actually read Aristotle and Nietzsche before she hobbled them and hitched them to her wagon. Her unlikely 21st-century resurrection is the work of much smaller, often almost invisible minds that cherry-pick the vast creaking structure of her oeuvre for their own ends, just as they cherry-pick the Bible or The Wealth of Nations.
      If corporate feudalism is your dream for America, she’s the prophet for you. Her naïve faith in capitalism and contempt for “the welfare state” are just what the right-wing doctor ordered.
      Much of the rest, alas, will never fly in Alabama. Pundits have been delighted to note that the heroine of the new Republicans was a pacifist who opposed the Vietnam War, a feminist who supported abortion, an adulteress who preached free love, a bohemian who mocked family life and child-bearing, an elitist who sneered at the common man, and, after all her “nanny state” rhetoric, a recipient of Social Security and Medicare and a late, sick convert to the benefits of socialized medicine.
      Worst of all, for tea-stained Christian Republicans, she was a militant atheist. In Rand’s ideology religious faith was the most abject form of weakness, a sniveling retreat from the hardheaded, self-centered “objectivism” her heroes impose on the world. She not only would have rejected Jesus and his gospels, she actually did—-repeatedly. Christ’s message that the poor are blessed and the meek will inherit the earth is antithetical to Rand’s belief that the poor and meek are no more than mulch where the dreams of the mighty take root.
      So adamantly did she denounce the altruism and self-sacrifice at the center of the Christian message, it’s no exaggeration to call her the intellectual Antichrist.
      It’s no great exaggeration to say that praising her is like spitting in Christ’s face.
      How do Paul Ryan, Ron and Rand Paul and company manage to pass off this radical atheist, this subversive Russian Jew (born Elisa Rosenbaum) as an iconic role model for Christian conservatives?
      Apparently they don’t think they need to get into the details, not with their particular constituency. Assuming that they know the details themselves. The careless condescension of their leaders is not yet a scandal to the tea-baggers of America’s unlettered hard Right. But Ayn Rand seems like the biggest joke of all, one that might yet blow up in the party’s face.
      The plutocrats she worshiped are so few, the plebeians she scorned are so many. The GOP’s little people can’t all be totally illiterate, and Limbaugh and Glenn Beck actually urge them to read this woman’s books. It’s in-your-face deception that reminds me of the old stage villain, the silent-movie heavy with the waxed mustache, cackling behind his cloak and inviting the audience to share the cruelty he’s about to inflict on his innocent victims. It’s as if Wall Street is surreptitiously giving the finger to Main Street Republicans, laughing at the gullible recruits as they march to the polls to lower corporate taxes and deregulate markets. Ayn Rand, indeed. She would have applauded the big dogs’ ruthlessness but rolled her eyes at the Christian-family rhetoric they’re obliged to use for bait.
      She wasn’t one of them, of course; she certainly wasn’t one of us. She was one of a kind, thank god. In her defense, you might argue that her love affair with capitalism was rooted in a Russian Jew’s horror of the totalitarian systems that devastated Europe in the 20th century.
      That offers her a gravitas she doesn’t share with ultra-light Midwestern reactionaries like Paul Ryan or Michele Bachmann. But the more Americans read her books, the better for liberals and the worse, I think, for Republicans.
      Her work illustrates conclusively what a few brave clergymen and a few ink-stained relics like me have been saying for years to anyone who would listen, and to Republicans who refuse to listen — that Christianity and the wolverine capitalism of a John Galt are totally incompatible systems, two mutually exclusive human possibilities. They cancel each other out. Any political party that pretends to integrate them is a party of liars, and doomed.

  16. randy reneau Says:

    Have you every heard of the Conservapedia Bible ? It’s a Bible being wrote for conservatives.I see some the verses they even change John 3:16 . Being wrote just for Conservatives, who love the rich. They take allot about riches out. You would love it BYE

  17. apologianick Says:

    I never said a word about Pinker. That was Josh. Josh is right though. Pinker is an atheist. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong on economics or other areas, but he is an atheist.

    Also, I can’t stand conservapedia. The Bible should be translated by textual critics and not ideologies on either side.

    Now my earlier questions still stand and this one. Is someone ipso facto wrong if they say you are a hypocrite? Is it not possible it’s true? Note if you say it isn’t, then do you not have pride?

    • randy reneau Says:

      In some sections of God’s true , there is substantive contradictions. Is God a loving or a vengeful God? Exodus 11:7 God kills all the new born Exodus 12:30 exodus 12:35-36 God orders Moses to loot Egyptian Exodus 10:2 God makes sport of Egyptian Exodus 21:21 the slave master can beat his slave, Is this not human bondage, does that mean anything or as our Constitution. Children who strike their parent are to be executed Exodus 21:15-17. homage to another God person destroyed. Exodus 22:20 Menstruating women are unclean. Leviticus 15:19-32 the blind the lame or scabs cannot become priest. Leviticus 21:17-21 Blasphemers be executed Leviticus 24:16 jealous man , woman to drink bitter water if she has guilt of adultery she will die.number5:11-31 Men can sell their daughters into sexual bondage Exodus 21:7-11 Hatered of Jews and non- Christians pervades John 3:18-20 Jews are the children of the devil John 8: 39-44. Love your enemies Matthew :5 :44 then he said his enemies a brood of vipers Matthew 12:34 the book Revelation allot of its comes from the Greek about the end Socrates even talks about the streets of gold You can about make up anything about the Bible. I look to the four books Mat., Mark, Luke And John, who wrote them? The book of Revelation was omitted from some of first canons and only Martin Luther put it in the back of the Bible. I don’t understand your ideas on wealth and theres nothing in the the Bible that says it OK. And don’t see why Christ would be a conservative. There is too many questions and I don’t see you answering them. And this is only a small part of the Bible. That the reason I though you read the consev. Bible.

  18. apologianick Says:

    Here’s a source on Pinker: http://www.salon.com/2007/10/15/pinker_goldstein/

  19. randy reneau Says:

    you know that salon.com is a liberal sight.

  20. apologianick Says:

    For making a threat to me and my family, you are banned from this blog and from forever posting here again. You truly are the greatest of hypocrites.

    • randy reneau Says:

      I tried to be nice but you are piece of sht I told you not to E-mail me. Your blog is just like trash. You might think you are cool but just typing is like a coward. Now you act like a baby you are banned from my blog. Ha! Ha! I got 94 pages on you creeks At your Church NIck Peters Corryton If I make a threat you wouldn’t know about it. Like I said you are a piece of SHT You’re so brave typing Iam a combat veteran100% PTSD It best to stop both you Ted Haggers not more

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