A lesson we’ve heard before

This papal brouhaha that Rush Limbaugh is stoking surprises me, somewhat.

As the self-proclaimed spokesperson for the far right wing, one would think that he would be less taunting of the Pope’s Exhortation.  I mean, the Republican Party has always struck me as thinking they’re the only political party that believes in God and the rest of us are just heathens bent on spending eternity in the bowels of hell.  But his latest statements professing that Pope Francis is not only wrong about capitalism but is also Marxist in his views makes me think that he not only has no idea of what Christianity is about, he also doesn’t truly know who Jesus was or what he stood for.

If he did, he’d know that Jesus was concerned for the every day plight of the common man, those who’d been cast aside and forgotten, the poor.  He wondered if they had enough to eat, about the well being of their children.  This is the premise that Christianity is supposed to be based on; an always present helping hand reaching out to aid others, without strings or any desire for reward.  Instead, we have the modern reality of dog eat dog

53. …Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless.  As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

You can see how such thoughts clash violently with the Right’s notion of a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps America.  And with battles raging in the House on the ACA, immigration reform, affording people a livable wage or anything that remotely resembles something that would benefit the shrinking middle class, it should also be easy to see why the Pope is saying what he is.

The problem lies in that Rush and his bunch have no choice but to attack parts of the Evangeli Gaudium because they cut directly to the heart of all that conservatives extol as the right and true path America needs to be on in order to find prosperity for all.  Only thing is that it’s a path that protects big business and the interests of a few at the expense of the many; and the many are the ones who need the help.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so to is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. 

 I’ve read the transcript of Rush’s show, It’s Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is (Unless It’s a Deliberate Mistranslation by Leftists) and I did find something that I could agree with him on.  Rush called the Catholic Church out as being something of a bastion of capitalism itself, taking shots at its wealth as well as the Vatican’s.  And that’s a valid point.

Thing is, it was the only valid point I read as the rest of his shtick ranged from American exceptionalism, the marvel of trickle-down theory, unrecognizable Communism and the latest BBC attack on capitalism, all rolled up into a treatise against the Evangeli Gaudium.

On the other hand, Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Chapter Two, Section I, Some Challenges of Today’s World, 52-75, speaks, I thought, succinctly to the plight of the many; the forgotten, the set-asides and the cast-offs.

53. …those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”. 

 It debunks bogus economic theories put forth to justify years of waiting for some magical turnaround that will never happen.

 54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. 

 It even addresses the gun violence that’s threatening to tear our cities apart and continues to send our young men either to prison or their graves.

60. … Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. It serves only to offer false hopes to those clamoring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts.

 Is all this Marxist?  While I’m no theologian or even a “devout” catholic (it’s been many a moon since I’ve been to Mass) and as much as I consider Jesus to have been a revolutionary, I’d have to say no.  Trouble is that when you start speaking “inequality” to republicans, the only thing they can think of to counter your argument with is to call you a communist.

In truth, what we’ve been given are guidelines that hopefully lead to something of a better world; lessons, if that floats your boat better.  Maybe it’d all go down easier with conservatives if they’d only realize that in fact, they’re lessons we’ve heard before, a long, long time ago.

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Filed under Life and Society, Opinion, Politics and Government, Religion

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