Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2 Thessalonian Politics, aka The Church of Koch

“They're real life demonstrations of the biblical adage 'If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. If you teach the man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime.'” - David Koch
 American religion and politics has confused me.  I'm baffled--stumped really--why so many self-professed Christians are using their religion to help support contradictory politics.  Personally, I don't believe any political platform represents the embodiment of any particular religion.  Lately though, I've been seeing more gun-toting, Jesus-loving, enthusiasts shouting from the mountain tops of Facebook that God hates various groups of people: poor people, gay people, and democratic people chief among them.

That's Not the Jesus I Know

I've been around the block and have dabbled about in religion.  I would even consider myself a Christian.  Despite reading through the Bible (King James Version) six times, I just can't recall the level of hate these people are generating.  Old Testament aside, the Bible seems very loving and caring to every person.  I think most people would agree with me.  We see the modern church feed the poor and help the needy, but something else seems missing.

My life has dropped me in a number of rolls:

  • Church Secretary: my job was to count the money and help send it where it belonged.  The church had a majority of tithe payers that would faithfully give 10% of their pre-tax income.  On top of tithe, they would give in regular pledges and offerings.  The church had no debt and was financially stable.  During my three years in this position, nothing was given to anyone needing assistance.
  • Christian non-profit EA: my job was supporting the Senior Vice President of a large Christian organization.  No one was allowed to work there unless they professed the Christian faith.  Lots of money was given by donors and several worthwhile programs were in place for people around the world.  However, no money or programs were offered to transitional families within the United States.
  • Unemployed: probably the lowest point of my life.  The only money we had to feed our children came from state agencies and federal programs.  Despite previous involvement in churches and having a Christian belief, no money was given to us from any church or Christian-based program.
Which Jesus do you remember from Sunday School?

One Verse Religion

There's a large variety of churches out there, many of which I'm familiar with.  The most dangerous ones are those that seemed hinged on one or two Bible verses.  One group thumps around with Mark 16:18 and then drops dead from poisonous snake bites.  Another group touts Acts 2:38 as the only way into heaven, but unless you're speaking tongues after being dunked in water, you'd best be ready for hell.  Oh, and that same group doesn't believe in that whole Trinity thing either--you know, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

There's a new group on the rise, which I refer to as The Church of Koch.  I started out this blog with one of the Koch brother's quotes.  The Bible verse this group seems to cling to is 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which says, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."  As for the Bible verse David Koch is referring to above, it's not actually in the Bible, it's a Chinese proverb.

The Church of Koch, which tends to be very libertarian in thought, seems to completely ignore these other scriptures (all New Testament):
  • Acts 2 & 4, where everyone had everything in common and there wasn't any needy among them.
  • Matthew 19, where Jesus tells followers to be perfect, sell what they have and give to the poor.
  • 2 Corinthians 8, where the same writer of Thessalonians says fairness is giving out of their abundance so that no one would be in need.
  • 1 John 3, asks how the love of God can abide in someone who ignores a brother in need.
  • Ephesians 4, talks about doing honest work so that they can have something to share with someone else in need.
  • Galatians 6, commands us to fulfill the law of Christ by bearing one another's burdens.
  • Matthew 25, where Jesus talks about feeding and clothing Him every time they feed or clothed another needy person.
  • Luke 3, shows Jesus commanding us to share our clothing if someone else has none and then to do the same with our food.
Current one-verse religions

What's Koch Got to Do With It?

The Koch brothers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to try and stop social welfare programs.  Of the $600 million in noteworthy donations given, none of them support the homeless or those indebted by medical bills.  Contrarily, the organization that is heavily funded by the Koch brothers, the Cato Institute, has published a handbook for congress, asking to abolish ALL federal funding of welfare.  God bless 'em.

This last weekend, the oil billionaire, David Koch invited the Morman presidential candidate over for a quaint, $50,000-per-head dinner. (Having Christians rally behind a cult member for President will have to be another topic of mine.)  Political fundraisers have become a sad and necessary evil on both sides of the fence; they also serve to show us allegiances.  

Mormans tend to hold very similar beliefs to the libertarian Tea Party: smaller government, fewer services, do less for the needy, do more to protect mortality (anti-gay marriage, etc.), and have less environmental laws.  

And that's why I'm confused--why do so many Christians seem to support this way of thinking?  

Jesus as an all-American bad-ass