A recent letter writer is offended by atheists and the ACLU because they “don’t recognize Christmas” — but they still enjoy the “greedy season.” Some Christian reflections seem in order.
The season of Advent intended to prepare us for Christmas is based on proclamations of biblical prophets about a coming “Day of the Lord.” The message is two-fold. First, beware! Repent if you and/or your society excessively trust in riches and power, practice dishonesty in the market place, or disregard the poor and powerless. God’s judgment may cripple you with historical forces. Second, rejoice! If you repent and show it by loving neighbors as self, God has prepared an eternal “kingdom not of this world” for you. God may also bless your lives by withholding negative judgments.
The question therefore is how we measure up in God’s eyes this past Advent season, when those we have elected extended a tax cut for the rich and do not want to guarantee health care for all U.S. children like most other industrialized nations do. Does God accept these actions as authentic “trickle down” steps toward the common good of all neighbors?
Some pundits think that the goddess of current U.S. economic policy is Ayn Rand, the atheist whose basic economic doctrine is allowing minimally regulated “greed is good.” Her influence on many prominent U.S economists and politicians is well documented, and some think her philosophy is an important factor in triggering our recent economic downturn. One former Wall Street executive has paraphrased Jesus’ words in describing our ethics as “straining for moral gnats while swallowing economic camels.”
If we denigrate atheists while sliding into anti-biblical economic doctrine draped in Christian slogans, we should heed the prophetic warnings of Amos, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and Jesus: Beware — before you judge others and rejoice too much.