Friday, December 20, 2013

Public morality--rich and poor

For years, actually decades, and in rural, urban and suburban settings I've noticed that the background assumptions of our culture, our economy, our policy, our leaders and, yes, even our churches would lead one to believe that the poor are bad, evil or flawed.  At the same time, the rich we consider basically good, moral and favored largely because of their superior moral decisions.  This uniquely American brand of economic morality feels very Calvinistic in its interpretations of life and the human struggle.

These assumptions have led us to a national battle over the proper response to poverty and those captured by it.  Food stamps and unemployment benefits set over against corporate subsidies and tax loopholes:  these are the particulars of our current national debate. On Thursday, (12-19-13), The New York Times published an op-ed piece by Timothy Egan titled "Good Poor, Bad Poor."

It will be worth your time to read it right here.

Reactions invited.

1 comment:

David Dillman said...

In reference to the Egan piece,you are correct to characterize our attitudes toward the poor and the resultant public policies as matters of public morality. The attitudes of Americans, including many Christians,toward the poor have been informed more by Social Darwinism and Lockean liberalism than Jesus. One only has to compare the latest uproar among many Christians over A&E's treatment of Phil Robertson (of Duck Dynasty fame) after his comments about black agricultural workers with the deafening silence after cuts in food stamps to know that our public values are terribly askew.