Saturday, September 05, 2009

economics from the religious right

TheocracyWatch | From Let There Be Markets: The Evangelical Roots of Economics:

[Writing about the early eighteen hundreds] For [evangelicals] it was unthinkable that capitalism led to class conflict, for that would mean that God had created a world at war with itself. The evangelicals believed in a providential God, one who built a logical and orderly universe, and they saw the new industrial economy as a fulfillment of God's plan. The free market, they believed, was a perfectly designed instrument to reward good Christian behavior and to punish and humiliate the unrepentant.

At the center of this early evangelical doctrine was the idea of original sin: we were all born stained by corruption and fleshly desire, and the true purpose of earthly life was to redeem this. The trials of economic life-the sweat of hard labor, the fear of poverty, the self-denial involved in saving-were earthly tests of sinfulness and virtue. While evangelicals believed salvation was ultimately possible only through conversion and faith, they saw the pain of earthly life as means of atonement for original sin.

Moreover, they regarded poverty as part of a divine program. Evangelicals interpreted the mental anguish of poverty and debt, and the physical agony of hunger or cold, as natural spurs to prick the conscience of sinners. They believed that the suffering of the poor would provoke remorse, reflection, and ultimately the conversion that would change their fate. In other words, poor people were poor for a reason, and helping them out of poverty would endanger their mortal souls. It was the evangelicals who began to see the business mogul as an heroic figure, his wealth a triumph of righteous will. more

The God-given Right of Property Owners
"The purpose of government is to protect the life, liberty and property of all individuals, by punishing evildoers and encouraging the righteous." (America's Providential History p.20) On p. 128-129 the book discusses the "Biblical" principles of the Constitution proposed by Samuel Adams, "Father of the American Revolution." The third prinicple is the "right to property," which is one of the "rights of Colonists as Christians."

"Scripture defines God as the source of private property...Ecclesiastes 5:19 states, 'For every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them'...Also in I Chronicles 29:12, 'Both riches and honor come from Thee." (pps 187-188)

The Texas GOP Platform also espouses the absolute right of property owners which puts them in league with the Constitution in Exile movement described in a New York Times article, April 17, 2005.