The Economy: Opiate Of The Classes
October 3, 2011
By Rev. Michael Bresciani
Yes, the title of this piece is a takeoff on the overworked paraphrased quote of Karl Marx who said, “Religion is the opiate (opium) of the masses.” Religion is under fire in America but if statistics are worth anything it can be seen that cocaine is at the height of its popularity and in full demand, whereas religion or more exactly, Christianity, is taking a beating.
With drug cartels battling on the borders of our nation with military grade weapons, mobster tactics and disregard for any nation’s laws, it would seem that cocaine is the opiate of the masses in this nation.
For those with no interest in cocaine there is yet one more opiate that is saturating the hearts and minds of most Americans. Concern over the economy is second to none. The only exceptions are those who are in a cocaine induced trance, probably so they won’t have to think about our crumbling economy, joblessness and stock market plunges.
The meaning of Marx’s labored phrase is probably understood, but I wouldn’t take anything for granted in a world like ours. But I will take a moment to describe this world, or at least our little part of it, with just a few current events highlights that once again, sound all too much like something from “Ripley’s Believe it or Not.”
In Tulsa, Oklahoma police Captain Paul Fields was not scolded for refusing to attend Sunday school at the local Christian church but did have his pay docked and his chance for promotion withdrawn for not attending an Islamic-sponsored event at the local mosque. Essentially he was reproved for not taking a look at a religion he has nothing to do with. Yes, the Oklahoma I am referring to is the one where, “the wind comes sweepin' down the plain” right here in the United States.
Congress is hearing testimony this week about one U.S. based airline that is considering complying with Sharia and not allowing Jews, bibles, Christian literature, crosses or religious medals to board any airplane bound for Saudi Arabia. While America is trying its darnedest to keep dangerous materials off our flights, the Saudi’s have decided that the real danger may be a gospel tract or a little black New Testament or the Book of Psalms.
An honor student in Fort Worth, Texas was sent to the principal’s office, suspended from school and punished because he was overheard telling his classmate that he thought homosexuality was wrong. The ninth grade German class often found the teacher bringing up the subject of homosexuality which seems strange enough, but suspending the young man for his Bible-based beliefs is such a blatant attack against his first amendment rights that it is hard to believe that this happened in the same state where the Governor used a huge stadium to have a prayer meeting to petition God’s help for the future of the nation. Perhaps they should suspend the Governor for a few days.
These three examples ripped from the pages of today’s journals of goofus americanus are merely a microcosmic cross section of what happens when Americans are summarily distracted by what they obviously see as the one subject that alone is worthy of a 24/7 non-stop scrutiny. I picked up the remote this week and several times throughout the day I handed it to my wife for her to turn on any national news outlet of her choice to see if she could find any network that was not discussing the economy. She could not do it, and neither can you.
The economy is holding center stage in everyone’s thinking. Is this a good thing or is it a national obsession that keeps us distracted from seeing what is going on elsewhere, like our airlines, our schools and our police departments? Is talking about the economy becoming the opiate of the classes? Is that perhaps exactly what the present administration had in mind when it coined another well known quote?
The Obama administration’s “change we can believe in” has been bumped by “Never let a good crisis go to waste” in a very real sense. While we are seeking to undergird our portfolios with purchases of precious metals and getting the best advice on the markets to plan for our own fiscal future, there is a pandemic of immorality, concupiscence and a loss of our rights and freedoms taking place right under our noses. This is a pandemic whose symptoms have yet to be properly diagnosed due to our distractions, which some say, are approaching the level of a national panic.
The learned Apostle Paul admonished a group of believers in the Church at Corinth by reminding them that the weapons to defeat a moral decline are not carnal, (of the flesh) but they are spiritual. (2Cor 10: 4) Our strength as a nation still rests in our relationship to our God. The economy is not our God but is subject to him.
If I deferred to people of other religions because I thought they were actually worshipping the same God as me I would be untrue to all that I believe. But if I defer to them because they are after all flesh and blood like me and worthy of my basic love and respect then I can live with myself. Having given as much of a disclaimer as I’m wont to do let me conclude with this.
America’s God and her relationship to that God, has always been predominantly the God of Christianity. I am not distracted by sharia, a bad economy or the gay agenda; I am driven by the Spirit of God to pronounce that we need to return to the God of our fathers; or perish.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, and carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4: 13, 14 NIV)