Sunday, May 15, 2011

Plain English

This country suffers from a chronic, degenerative spiritual disease. Like cancer it has a first cause and then a series of symptoms. In particular the symptoms are hate, narcissism, cruelty, bigotry, deceit, fraud, misrepresentation and elitism. The first cause is greed. I believe without exception that every single one of these symptoms is born of a need to exploit and manipulate for gain. How else can you explain people on the right insisting that Christ was a Free Market Profiteer? That he did not believe in helping the poor, the outcasts and the sick.

Cancer is caused by a cellar disruption of one kind or another. Greed is the result of obsession. I once had a man tell me that he had a right to be greedy in America. I answered that he could exercise his right providing he did not trash my life or my planet. He looked at me like I was out of my mind. That’s when I got it – the man was a bloody junkie. The more greed gets, the more it wants. The more it has, the more it needs. Heroin has a similar effect on people. After the first blissful pop the heroin addict is on the same treadmill – the more they get, the more they want. The more they have, the more they need. As Sherlock Holmes said, “The parallel is exact.” There is only one way off the treadmill, save death, you give up the Jones.

Considering the fact that heroin addicts are primarily engaged in killing themselves, but greed addicts are killing the world we might be much better off with heroin users in Congress and heading corporations. It is appalling and despicable that we are in the hands of lawmakers sick with greed and gluttonous corporations that daily devour our economic freedom only to crap out public policy that works for them alone.

I am told that greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Pagans don’t believe much in sin. We believe in stupid, and greed is stupid. I am not talking about wanting to earn a decent living and provide for your children. I am talking about taking one-half out of the middle to earn a gargantuan living while leaving little or nothing for anyone else. Even though greed is supposed to be a sin, in this most Christian of all countries it is venerated, extolled and worshiped as a cardinal virtue. Like a heroin addict who has five-thousand reasons why they can’t get off the needle, the greedy in this country have five-thousand and one reasons why greed is a good thing. It keeps the Free Market running, creates jobs, gives us the edge internationally, provides incentive for entrepreneurs, whitens our teeth and will replace Viagra.

I am a student of the English language. I have studied it all of my life from its grammar to its syntax to its literature to my beloved Shakespeare. I am disgusted and horrified with the fog of flimflam and trickery that passes for civil discourse in our society. English is a powerful and beautiful instrument that can in its plainest and most unadulterated form sweep away cobwebs and build bridges all in the same moment. It is time that we begin to use it the way it was designed to be used – to make clear our world view and our personal reality unambiguous and succinct. What follows is plain English.

Greed is not good. Whether you view it as a sin or just stupid, it is not good. It destroys lives. It hurts people. No matter what some two-for-a-nickel-Elmer Gantry-sleazy-politician or carnivorous corporate executive tells us, it is not a virtue. Greed is killing this Planet and her children. There is such a thing as right and wrong. Profit cannot make wrong right.

In many religious traditions, including mine, Christ is the bringer of compassion not commerce. To an outsider it seems that he is being crucified all over again by people who use the Bible like a bludgeon and his teachings to shackle millions. He has been spun, sold, bought, bartered and bargained. He is big business and good politics. He is a curtain of righteousness for the wicked to hide behind. He is, in point of fact, everything but what he was a good and decent man who healed bodies and souls. I won’t speak to his divinity because I am not a believer. I will say this, it is time for Christians of good faith and conscious to stand up and fight back openly and loudly and stop letting the children of Mammon costumed as holy warriors hijack and maim their religion. Pagans have been doing it for centuries. We’ll be glad to give them some pointers.

This assertion that greed makes holy the acquisition of wealth is putrid. No face of any Deity is seen on U.S. currency, unless you consider the eye of Horus, which the Christians call the eye of Providence. It is the All Seeing Eye. It could be the eye of Jehovah, or Osiris I suppose. Then again it might be the eye of the Security and Exchange Commission, or even Ralph Nader. Whoever is watching they haven’t been watching very well. It is up to us to cure our disease and realize that wealth is not the only indicator of success – it isn’t even the most important. Money is certainly not more valuable than people or than the Earth. It is not more precious than integrity, dignity or veracity. Faith for hire is no faith at all. Anyone who doesn’t understand these principles should check into rehab like any other junkie – and quickly.

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