Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Rick Warren, Jesus, money and heaven's gate
Joan Walsh, erstwhile commentator for Salon. com, tells about a tweet sent by the Rev. Rick Warren following the debt-ceiling commentaries by President Obama and Rep. Boehner. The Rev. Warren, in godly guise, wrote thusly (in support of the Republican plan to zap the elderly, the poor, the disenfranchised and to support his many wealthy friends in high places):
"HALF of America pays NO taxes. ZERO. So they're happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES."
Ah, it's tough to be rich. It's tough to be the only group in this country that pays taxes! And isn't it terrible that the poor people get by without paying any taxes whatsoever? It's just not right to see people on or below the poverty line laughing and singing and dancing on their way to the unemployment office because it's only the rich that have to pay taxes!
Except the Right Rev. Warren is the Wrong Rev. Warren. As Ms. Walsh points out, Mr. Warren's comment is "absolutely false." She explains:
"Thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit, a bipartisan innovation adopted under President George H. W. Bush and expanded under President Clinton, it's true many low-wage workers pay no taxes and may even get government subsidies to bring them above the poverty line. As many as 47 percent of workers today pay no income tax, a number that jumped substantially during the recession. They do, however, pay payroll taxes and of course the regressive sales tax, which disproportionately burdens the poor, so it's false to say they pay no taxes. ...
"The low-wage workers aren't the moochers; in fact, the subsidies [under EITC] benefit industries that profit from low-wage workforces."
Now, Ms. Walsh bends over backward to give Mr. Warren some credit for his "caring about poverty issues and his sometimes bipartisan posture." I don't and won't!
Even though Warren twitted this private message to Ms. Walsh: "I take zero salary & we feed over 2000 families a wk. ... "
Ok, they feed some families. That's a good thing. But the no salary thing is no biggie as Walsh points out. The guy is mega-rich from his "publishing empire."
The Wrong Rev. Warren is also anti-gay and anti-choice.
I wonder what Bible he reads. I wonder if he's ever read the Synoptic Gospels. In a letter to Salon, I wrote the following:
"So often so-called Christians neither know nor care about what their legendary Jesus said [or didn't say] much like the Apostle Paul, who never refers to the Jesus of the Gospels to make a point. He never knew the Jesus of the Gospels, of course, because that Jesus hadn't been created at the time Paul went about preaching his heavenly, mythical Christ and writing about this Christ in his letters to the 'Christ' churches dotting the Med. area.
"Warren is like most so-called Christians on the 'right' side of things: they worry excessively about matters which Jesus never addressed in any form or fashion and ignore those things he is reported to have felt strongly about.
"Warren is anti-gay. The Jesus of the Gospels said not a word about 'gays.' And it should be clear to Warren that if he had he would have been sympathetic as he was to all those who were abused by the system.
"Many right-wing Christians are opposed to abortion. Jesus never spoke about abortion.
"But Jesus did speak about wealth and riches and rich people." The bit about a rich man finding it harder to get into the kingdom of Heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle should give us a clue. Hyperbole, certainly, but it is very clear that so far as Jesus is concerned, rich people people don't have a chance to enter Heaven's gates.
Not a chance. In hell!
So, I've got to say, "Sorry, Mr. Warren. Your religion sucks, no matter your 'good' works of which you are so proud, much like the Pharisees who stood, in Jesus' day, preening on the street corners."
Maybe you ought to take Jesus seriously: Go ahead! Do exactly what Jesus told the rich, young man: sell all you have, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow him.
Nah, you don't really believe that crap, do you?