I’m a 99-Percenter, And Wilson Is, God Be Thanked, One Of A Kind

As the GOP waxes fearful about what House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia calls “the mobs” he believes are threatening the very fabric of the United States as we know it, and as New York Congressman Pete King compares them to those awful activists of the 1960s whose civil rights, women’s rights, and anti-war sentiments actually — horror of horrors — became law, it’s clear that the 99-Percent/Occupy Wall Street rallies over the last three weeks have struck a nerve.

Thank God they have.

I was beginning to think that the middle class had turned over its mind, self-interest, and voice to the Tea Party, which has succeeded in taking over the GOP and its corporate whoremongering in the name of “the common man.” It’s a testimony to electoral ignorance, or the “under-informed” voter, that the Tea Party would presume to represent the hard-working American shouldering Bush-era debt while the rich continue to smirk and to shirk their share of the social contract thanks, again, to George W. Bush’s tax cuts.

If, as Doug Wilson has said, the poor — even those in his congregation who need help — who avail themselves of Medicaid, food stamps, and any other social aid program are “piglets suckling at the teat” of government, the Tea Party’s GOP favors aggressive corporate hogs who trample the runt, take over the porcine nursery, and suck dry the teats of a government all too willing to let them feed with alacrity. It’s time that the middle class and the poor join together, not to “attack other Americans,” but to attack those policies that harm them, their children, and their hope of a reasonably comfortable American lifestyle.

If any one group in America is attacking another, it’s the rich who reap untold fortune at the expense of the middle class and the poor. There’s definitely a war going on against the have-nots.

The protesters are not engaging in “class warfare,” and they’re not simply demonstrating “the sin of envy.” The former is the secular GOP’s tired, predictable, and impotent response to a group of people, in the most American and patriotic of traditions, who gather to object to policies that in some cases have literally killed those in their midst. The latter charge — that “envy” motivates those who advocate for the poor and object to their marginalization — is the classic rhetoric of the “Christian” who searches the Proverbs for verses condemning sloth and slumber while blithely skipping over the Old Testament’s defense of and protection for the poor and the New Testament’s message of reconciliation and equality. It works only among the Biblically illiterate and the irrepressibly smug; it’s the message not of Christ, but of political privilege. Period.

In Genesis 41, the Yahweh-worshiping Joseph, working under a Yahweh-indifferent ruler, addresses the impending seven-year famine by appropriating the grain produced by the people, storing it, and then re-distributing it — again, as part of and in the name of Pharaoh’s government — to save the lives of the people under his rule. Until someone, perhaps a classically-trained rhetoricist, can explain to me how that’s NOT a Biblically-sanctioned government sanctioned social safety net, then I’ll continue to believe that government has a God-ordained role in providing for the needs of his people. Not his Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches people, or his Calvinist people, or even just his Christ-confessing people, but all of the people created in his image. And the God who delights in those created in his image abhors discrimination, racism, classism, inequality, and — especially — the embrace of those things in his name.

It’s not, therefore, that far off for Christian social activist Jim Wallis to say that the protesters are “standing with Jesus.” (Ps. 82:3) That might not be the intention of all of the demonstrators, but they’re standing for the right things nonetheless. God cares little for — in fact, likely despises — our patriarchal “free enterprise” system. He does care for the poor. And that’s true whether Doug Wilson likes it or not.

I mention this because of the October 10 Blog and Mablog post Wilson wrote regarding the 99 Percenters. I expected Wilson to side with the rich; I expected Wilson to show serrated disdain for the demonstrators. But I didn’t expect this, and if it doesn’t sicken you, you need to check your heart.

“As I have thought about how best to respond to this Occupy Wall St. business, it seems to me that it really should be treated with the seriousness it deserves. It is not every day that the body politic gets covered with economically illiterate pustules. We are trying to make out their demands — for are we not profoundly interested? — but unfortunately their peculiar articulation of economic theory indicates that they apparently don’t have a roof in their mouths. I can’t quite decipher . . . But Jim Wallis has said that the protesters are “standing with Jesus.” That, all by itself, is enough to make any right-minded citizen want to scurry up a tree and start throwing coconuts.” (Blog and Mablog, Oct. 10, 2011)

“Economically illiterate PUSTULES?”

There’s a reason that I would never call someone an asshole. It’s not because it means that I think they are equal to a certain ugly part of the body — it’s because, although it’s not a literal pejorative, it’s damned disgusting. Calling God’s created people, standing for justice for the poor and opposing the unjust favoring of the rich, “pustules” is so beyond the pale for anyone, much less a Christian minister, that I’m without words. Almost.

Calling human beings “pustules” while describing them as stupid and deluded, and doing so while mocking their concerns, is an act and an attitude so breathtakingly hateful that God will damn those who continue it. Contempt for the poor in Scripture is equal to contempt for God (Proverbs 14:31). Wilson’s mockery of their plight and his hate for their defenders more than illustrates contempt for God.

Until he repents of that contempt, his presence at the Communion table is wrong, and his position as a “Christian minister” makes a mockery both of Christ and of ministry. I believe his soul is in danger, and I pray for his repentance.

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