"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty."
---James 5:1-4, The Bible, New International Version.
By MARC McDONALD
One of the great political mysteries to me has always been how on earth the money-worshipping, screw-the-poor Right Wing in today's America have somehow managed to convince many people that the Bible supports their twisted beliefs.
In reality, the Bible is full of hard-core socialist messages as radical as anything I've ever written on this blog. To be sure, I've blasted America's greedy rich on a number of occasions on this site. But I've never said that, simply because one is rich, one will almost certainly burn in hell (like Jesus did).
After all, the rich who I target are those who (like the Koch brothers) who seek to destroy organized labor and America's already skimpy social safety net, simply so they can pad their already fat pockets. But I don't condemn all rich people. For a start, I admire George Soros.
Anyway, back to the Bible. It's one thing for deluded Right-Wingers to wrap themselves in the Scripture and to claim that the Bible somehow supports their beliefs. But what disappoints me far more is that the Progressives allow them to get away with this.
The fact is, the vast majority of the Bible is full of archaic, obscure verses that only a fool would claim to understand. However, the Bible does contain a number of verses that are quite clear and unambiguous.
James 5:1-4 is a good example of the latter. This passage doesn't beat around the bush: it very clearly issues a warning to rich oppressors. It condemns the greedy, exploitative rich ever bit as much as anything Marx ever wrote.
The problem is that Bible verses like this languish in obscurity. Right-Wingers carefully tip-toe away from such explosive verses that they no doubt find deeply disturbing. Instead, they dig through the Old Testament, looking for passages that seem to validate their homophobic, bigoted views. And Progressives, as always, sit around passively and allow the Right-Wing to get away with it.
We Progressives need to reclaim the Bible from the bigots, the hate-mongers, the money-grubbers and the supporters of brutal dog-eat-dog "capitalism."
Every time one of these bigoted money-grubbers claims that the Bible supports their views, we need to take crystal-clear Progressive Bible verses like James 5:1-4 and throw it into their faces.