A new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religious News Service indicates that most Americans see a moral dimension to our economy and the economic crisis which plagues our country.
Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (58%) see the Federal budget as a moral document that reflects our national priorities. A full 60% believe that this recession is something other than a "natural" downturn, and 30% blame greedy businesses making risky market speculations, while another 52% blame government failure to regulate business activity.
66% of Americans think it is fair to ask wealthier Americans and corporations to bear a greater tax burden than the poor and middle class and 62% believe that the concentration of wealth in the hands of a small minority is a serious problem. 44% believe that Capitalism is fundamentally at odds with Christian values.
The findings seem to hold true across political and demographic lines, except for the Tea Party, a majority of whom seem to believe that capitalism (like America) was ordained by God. To them I offer the following:
Exodus 22:25-27 "If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest. If you ever take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body. What else shall he sleep in? And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious.”
Psalm 15:1-5 “O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD; He swears to his own hurt and does not change; He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.”
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.”
Deuteronomy 15:10-11 "You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'”
Deuteronomy 24:14 “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns.”
Leviticus 25:35-38: “'Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.’”
Matthew 19:21-24 “Jesus said to [the wealthy young man], ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’”
Mark 10:21-25 “Looking at [the wealthy young man], Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’”