Friday, January 13, 2017

The danger of looking at things through an economic lens. . .

The world is awash with people suggesting that economics is the lens through which everything must be viewed.  These are the globalists who long for the day when borders no longer matter and the world is one big supermarket with brands on the shelf but free access to purchase anything and everything by everyone.  It has long been suggested that the path to peace and justice will come when one currency rules the marketplace and everything that might cause conflict or division is viewed through the lens of economic best interest (that is the best interest of the world and not the individual nation or people).  Trade agreements have for a long time attempted to minimize the distinctions of border and nationality and make for an even playing field.  For a few decades this was a conservative cause that had a few champions on the liberal side as well (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama among them).  Then populism and nationalism raised its ugly head in Britain, America, and now it seems in many other places.

I once thought the free market vision was a real path to peace and justice until it began to sink in that this path was also a very real threat to freedom, especially the freedom of religion.  Globalism has not exactly been friendly toward Christian orthodoxy.  Now most see religion as best a private idea that dare not intrude upon the politically correct ideals of subjective truth in an egalitarian world where we are tolerant of anything and everything except a challenge to our confidence in technology, science, and relativism.

Apparently faith is no longer a comfort to children in the throws of despair over Britian's exit from the EU or to children who woke up to find Donald Trump as President-elect.  Nationalism is the enemy every bit as much as globalism is the universal hope.  Religion that refuses to bend over backwards in support of this elitist view of the world is also an enemy that must be silenced.  Let's see how well Christianity has fared in this global dream of world economic and social union.  The UN treats the pro-life cause as an offense to humanity.  A church which dares to offend the minority du jour (now GLBTQ) has forsaken its right to a place at the table (unless, of course, you are an Islamic religion).  It is the commonly accepted wisdom that religion is the cause of war, violence, and oppression and not an agency of compassion, respect for all life (except the unborn, of course), and good.

It has been a stain on our policy in the Middle East that Christians have fared better under dictators than the governments that replaced them.  It is the great inconsistency that the elites smile and look the other way at the overt discrimination against Christianity, women, and the GLBTQ community in the Middle East while treating the stance of Roman Catholics (and Lutherans of the Missouri stripe) as incompatible with science, morality, and modern ideals.  Never mind that no Christians are murdering or raping those whose lifestyles they cannot countenance. 

Because China owns so many American dollars we tip toe around their abuses of human rights, their restrictions of free speech and religious freedom, and their environmental irresponsibility.  Because Russia has an economy half the size of California, we treat them as no credible threat.  (Tell that to those who thought the same of Japan's small economic power at the start of World War II.)  No, I am no longer certain that globalism is a friend to peace and justice OR to Christianity.  I am not at all suggesting that we ought to return to the days when wars were fought over every presumed or real offense against nations and peoples.  I am merely suggesting that Christians rethink the idea that globalism and its corollary of free trade are the only real means to a peaceful world and justice for the oppressed.  On their own they guarantee little for those who suffer most.  For this reason alone, the Church must not bow down before this altar or modern idealism and must continue to raise up the sacredness of life, the real freedom to disown modernity when it conflicts with Scripture and tradition, and remind all that goodness and virtue flow from the Gospel first of all.

Politics makes for strange bedfellows so do trade agreements and globalism.  But the economic value is hardly the sole or even the primary value to be protected in our world.  In fact the truth remains.  The love of money is the root of all evil (and oppression, violence, and countless wars).  Greed can be dressed up to look pretty but it cannot lead us into the utopia we want.  Nothing can.  Only Christ can set us free.

1 comment:

Ted Badje said...

Ps 146:3. The Church should exert its moral influence on the world, but not be caught up in political machinery.