If ever sober-minded folks thought that they could take refuge in the Christian church from the left-wing juggernaut that is our culture’s zeitgeist, they can think this no more.
In the vestibule of the Lutheran church in which my son’s summer camp is held, I noticed that the most recent edition of The Lutheran is devoted to the topic of “economic inequality.”
Norma Cook Everist, a professor of church and ministry, quotes Luther who wrote that “the poor” are routinely “defrauded” by the rich. Matters, she declares, are “no less” true “today.”
Dividing, as it does, the world into “makers” and “takers,” “inequality” fosters the invidious fiction that some, including some people, including “some children,” are “worth more than all the rest.” This, though, contradicts the Christian’s belief that we are all “created in God’s image [.]”
“Congregations,” Everist writes, “need to welcome, include and minister among people across socioeconomic boundaries.” She assures us that “we don’t need to fear those named ‘of no worth’ becoming filled with power and potential because,” she concludes, “together we can become life-givers in the world.”
Where to begin?
For starters, the term “inequality” when used in this context is both inaccurate and unfair. “Equality” is a morally charged word. In this respect it is not unlike “good,” “justice,” “virtue,” and the like. Some of “the rich” that Everist and her ilk loathe may know how to cook their books, but Everist and her fellow proponents of economic “equality” most definitely know how to cook their arguments: casting one’s position in the language of “equality” is a sure-fire way of stacking the deck in favor of one’s view from the outset.
That this is so becomes obvious once it’s considered that the very same people who incessantly bemoan “inequality” while arguing for income and wealth redistribution are the first to demand ever greater “diversity.” They are the first to bludgeon us into “celebrating” our differences.
Income/wealth “inequality,” however, is diversity.
If we are going to promote real diversity, then it is a foregone conclusion that there will be differences, dramatic differences, in the life choices that individuals make.
And this in turn means, necessarily, that there will be staggering differences in the amount of money that people earn, for among the choices that people make throughout their lives is the choice of, well, their livelihoods.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.