Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Inequality for All

We continue our Tuesday evening study/discussion group, "The Church Beyond Its Walls" with the film Inequality For All featuring former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich.   During Sunday's sermon, Yahweh Goes Camping, I broached the topic of inequality and its corrective through the Jubilee Year in Leviticus 25:
I offer a challenge to those of us with modern sensibilities. In Leviticus 25 we learn about the Year of Jubilee or in the Contemporary English Version, the Year of Celebration. Leviticus 25:10: 
“This fiftieth year is sacred—it is a time of freedom and celebration when everyone will receive back their original property, and slaves will return home to their families.” 
This is radical. This rule makes Bernie Sanders look like a neo-con. Every fifty years we start over. All the money the wealthy made and the land they possessed gets redistributed. Imagine that. Written in to the constitution is redistribution of wealth so that you won’t end up with a wealthy few controlling the lives of the many.
Here is a statistic that should boil our blood:
With a combined worth of $2.34 trillion, the Forbes 400 own more wealth than the bottom 61 percent of the country combined, a staggering 194 million people.
I really don't like Yahweh much. He thinks too highly of himself, is petty, jealous, abusive, and kind of weird. He likes the smell of cooked meat and to be surrounded by nice things.  But, he does kick butt. If Yahweh were real, I bet he'd kick some billionaire butt.
Leviticus 25 that describes this Year of Jubilee is the climax of the Book of Leviticus. The book leads up to this. This is what it is really about. Yahweh says in 25:23: 
"No land may be permanently bought or sold. It all belongs to me—it isn’t your land, and you only live there for a little while." 
Petty, angry, jealous Yahweh said that. It is the most radical verse in the Bible. It is the most radical statement ever made. None of our economists or jurists or legislators or executors or professors or bureaucrats or smart people in general have ever come up with anything as radical as Leviticus chapter 25. 
If you want to be holy as Yahweh is holy, if you want to love your neighbor as yourself, if you want to live sustainably and survive in the land that Yahweh is renting to you, then every 50 years, redistribute. Start over and don’t cheat. 
This rule is not based on charity or voluntarily giving up the wealth. This is the law written into the constitution itself. Justice is not charity. If we are to live justly on Earth, justice must be established by force of law. If this isn’t happening, then it is time for revolution.... 
Inequality in which 400 billionaires own over half the nation’s wealth is not inevitable. It is not part of the human condition. It is not the result of the wealthy working harder than the rest of the population. It is theft at a grand scale. Every day in our country whatever protections we have left are being whittled away by these monsters who are in power and who have been gaining power for a long time. Until we begin to name this theft for what it is, we will never change it.
Where have you gone, warrior Yahweh?
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

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