Thursday, July 06, 2006
49 - Venezuela As Prism: Bush, Chavez, Jesus & Oil
There are two things longtime listeners know I'm truly passionate about.
One of them is economic justice, particularly as it relates to the oppression and exploitation of the Third World poor. In past podcasts we've discussed how the US and other Western industrialized nations have, since colonial times, economically enslaved Third World and developing nations, and still to this very day do their best to destroy whichever of them even hint at trying to throw off their chains. I've spoken often of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who is indeed now trying to throw off his nation's chains, and is accordingly being demonized by the right-wing.
The other area I'm passionate about -- and haven't spoke enough about -- is the utter hypocrisy of right-wing Christians, who from the roots of their right-wing ideology to the fruits of their policies, violate the most fundamental of the teachings of Jesus regarding how we are to interact with our brother and sister humans. These teachings are most powerfully expressed in the 25th book of Matthew, verses 31-46, the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
On Judgment Day, Jesus will gather the nations before him, the sheep on the right, the goats on the left. Judgment will be based on how they treated the hungry, the naked, the thirsty, the sick…the "least of these." It is in this parable that Jesus uttered the words "As you did it unto the least of these my brethren, you did it unto me."
To those who pass the test, Jesus grants access to his Kingdom, to eternal life, to Heaven; those who do not pass the test, Jesus condemns to everlasting fire, to everlasting punishment, to Hell.
Even if, like me, you are not a Christian, it is well worth being familiar with this passage, one of world spirituality's most extraordinary expressions of a fundamental moral truth concerning economic justice. (Podcasts 9 and 10 treat this subject in more depth.)
Obviously my two passions are linked. One of the ways right-wing pseudo-Christians violate Matthew 25 is in their eager and violent oppression of the Third World.
Well, I just came across a piece written by Gary Vance, who's an evangelical pastor and writer in rural Tennessee. It combines in a delicious way my two passions, economic justice for the Third World poor, and the Matthew 25-based hypocrisy of right-wing Christians.
This theological reflection was published by commondreams.org, a must-go-to site for progressives. It will provide the springboard to examine my two passions through the prism of a present-day intersection of, and battleground over the two, Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.
Jack Clark 2:51 PM
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