Following is an abridged version of an email I received from Chuck Bentley of Crown Financial Ministries. I think he’s gotten to the crux of the OWS protests. He expects the protesters to return next year, in greater vigor. We should prepare …
We should pay attention to the Occupy Wall Street protests. Their demands are all over the map, and few people are taking them seriously. That is a mistake.
A broad demographic but relatively small base of our population is in the streets chanting in favor of placing government in control of matters that have historically been dealt with in the realm of personal responsibility based upon a strong adherence to Judeo Christian values. The reasons given for the protests boil down to three general complaints.
First, they are bothered by greed. According to the demands of the protestors, greedy corporations and individuals (the “1 per centers”) need to give more of their wealth in taxes to fund government programs for the benefit of everybody else (the “99 per centers”). In nations where this financial fairness doctrine has been fully implemented, it has led to slavery and untold suffering. How could anyone in our country embrace something so disastrous, you might ask? The answer is, they’re confusing government with God.
Logically, you can accuse a corporation of being mismanaged, but not of being greedy. Greed is a problem within the heart of a human. It cannot be legislated away. The protesters’ solution is twisted and based on another sin—envy. They should abandon their desire for communism and espouse one of God’s key financial principles, that we should avoid greed and love people more than we love money or possessions.
Abstaining from envy or covetousness is one of the most overlooked of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:17). Though not in the Ten Commandments, the Bible declares greed to be a sin: “The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper” (Proverbs 28:25 NIV). The protestors are missing that a change of heart is the only way to effectively deal with the problems of selfishness and exploitation.
The next thing on the protesters’ agenda is closing the wealth gap. Caring for others less fortunate than us is one of God’s principles—that we should give to the poor. Doing so gives our life meaning and significance.
The protesters, again, put their faith in government to carry out the need for a generous spirit in our culture. They would force the redistribution of wealth through taxes. Wealthy and poor alike would lose their desire to be productive. When the culture of a meritocracy is eliminated, history shows that it leads to fewer benefits for everyone, not more.
And finally, there is this business of the 99%, the idea that the “little people” have no voice and no one caring for them. Well, it’s another of God’s principles that He will provide for us, that He will hear our prayer. In God’s kingdom, there are no little people … or big people, either.
The protesters want folks to become more dependent on government. They are advancing an ideology that if adopted, will be the downfall of the freedoms that made America the greatest nation in history. If the Occupy Wall Street protesters sincerely want to see greed decrease, the wealth gap closed, and have the voice of the “99%” heard, they need the good news of Jesus Christ. The gospel leads to freedom, while a misplaced dependency upon government leads to slavery. The protesters and America need God, not more government.