Sunday, March 22, 2009

Honor God

According to A study of compensation levels in 2007, the average CEO pay at S&P 500 companies was 344 times higher than the average worker's wage, and that the top 50 investment fund managers took home 19,000 times -- yes, that's with three zeroes -- as much as typical workers earned.

I have no problem with a capitalistic system that allows people to acquire wealth and for entrepreneurs to reap a justifiable profit from their investments of time and energy. I have serious questions, however, about the moral and practical implications of such levels of inequality. E. J. Dionne reminds us that capitalism worked extremely well during the three decades following World War II, without such radical inequities.

When those inequalities soar over the horizon the system soon runs into trouble; that was what happened at the end of the 1920s, when inequality reached levels similar to today's.

With the unleashing of the current populist fury, the Obama administration appears to have two choices: fight the public, or use the public's outrage to move the country in a better direction (without being threatened as a BIG spender or being called a socialist).

When greed drives the financial market, society becomes dysfunctional. Such greed as we see currently, denies the principle of “we the people” and disallows that “all men are created equal.“ At a time when we should avoid wasting time on wedge issues, we are too busy fighting political wars.

What has been turned loose is an “unfettered greed” that moves from the political arena to the moral, ethical and religious realm. The inequities we practice today deny two of the most fundamental laws in human relations, both found in the Ten Commandments: “You shall not steal . . . You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:15, 17).

If you would honor God, declared the ancient Prophet, be fair to your workers, undo their chains and free those unfairly imprisoned, free those unfairly treated and stop their hard labor, share your food with the hungry and bring poor, homeless people into your own homes. Stop using cruel words and pointing your finger at others; free those who are hungry, and supply the needs of the troubled (Isaiah 58:3-4, 6-7, 9, NCV).

A major theme of the ministry of Jesus was the Kingdom of God--God’s authority. “May your kingdom come,” He taught us to pray, “and what you want be done here on earth as it is in heaven.” During this Lenten season, leading to Easter, the abundant inequities that surround us should compel us to pray “Forgive us our sins” (Matthew 6:10-12).
From Warner’s World

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