Christian economics

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Evangelicals interpreted the mental anguish of poverty and debt, and the physical agony of hunger or cold, as natural spurs to prick the conscience of sinners. They believed that the suffering of the poor would provoke remorse, reflection, and ultimately the conversion that would change their fate.

Christian economics is a combination of theology and economics that attempts to biblically justify a strict laissez-faire free market system, which makes it the opposite of actual Christianity.

Christian economics and Christian Reconstructionism[edit]

The term itself is highly misleading in that it doesn't refer at all to economic thought endorsed by Christians in general, but is a term most often used within Christian Reconstructionist circles to refer to their own brand of ultra-right wing economic thought. Its leading proponent in the United States is probably Gary North, who founded the Institute for Christian Economics (ICE).[2] While organizations such as the Foundation for Economic Education and the Ludwig von Mises Institute aren't dedicated to Christian economics, they have published numerous works by North and his followers.

Christian economics draws largely on Dominionist theology with a side order of Austrian school economics and other libertarian economic thought. Thus it tends to come packaged with the attendant economic crankery, such as support for the gold standard, extreme anti-labor positions, and opposition to the Federal Reserve.

The Bible was written roughly between 6,000 and 2,000 years ago, so inevitably not everything in the Bible suits the modern world. When a modern tax or other institution helps poor people at the expense of rich people, right-wing proponents of Christian economics declare it unbiblical. Modern institutions that favor rich people are not similarly condemned even if there is no Biblical foundation. [3]

What Would Did Jesus Do?[edit]

The irony is that nothing in Christian economics seems to gel with most mainstream versions of Christianity or what was taught by Jesus. By most readings of the Bible, Jesus believed it was important to give to the poor, help feed and clothe them, and heal them when possible - not when productive. It is important to note here that Jesus appears to have never traded in mortgage derivative markets. He also stated fairly emphatically that "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."[4] This verse is in the club of Famous Words Everybody Ignores, along with "Congress shall make no law...". Several sites on the internet offer the idea that Jesus was only giving an example of pure perfection, and that no one need actually try to obtain such perfection other than Jesus,[5] or that it only related to this one individual man who turned down a chance to walk by Jesus' side.[6]

If these explanations strike you as unrealistic, then you may have a brain stem. However, many Christians are so used to living with the constant cognitive dissonance that this logical jump seems to them like the height of reasonableness.

Other definitions[edit]

While the term "Christian economics" is most often applied to the Reconstructionist brand, others have tried with less success to claim the term. Never one to pass up trying to piggyback onto an existing theme, Lyndon LaRouche also uses the term and has even written a book: The Science of Christian Economy.[7] LaRouche's meaning is very different from that of Gary North, in that LaRouche claims to promote a Hamiltonian and Rooseveltian "American system" of economics, typically involving central banking and large government-funded infrastructure projects.

A few left-wing Christians have been attempting to claim the term as well.[8]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]