“blessed are the peacemakers”
“sell everything you have, and give to the poor”
-Jesus; Palestine, under Roman rule.
So when your country is facing a huge, huge, debt crisis, what do you do?
I’ll tell you what our nation is proposing to do.
Just a few years after spending billions to bail out the big banks that screwed the whole planet over (so they in turn could give billions of dollars in bonuses to the very same people that defrauded most the world) you start cutting off any help for the world’s poorest of the poor.
Cut $450 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Cut $687 million from the USAIDS Food for Peace program. Take out $1.1 billion from the Head Start program for early childhood education in our own country. Make drastic cuts in heating assistance for the poor. Once you’re almost done retracting your hand of social justice from the world, then start destroying all our nation’s efforts at global peace. You cut $69 million from the Peace Corps, and you strip the entire budget of U.S. Institute of Peace, ($32 million).
After eliminating the petty notion of peacemaking, your next step is to start spending lots and lots and lots of money on violence and war. You legislate to increase the nation’s spending on defense to $533 billion, a 2% increase from the previous budget. You decide to spend more on war than almost sixty percent of the world. And then you start yet another military operation: you start dropping bombs on Libya.
Just on Day One of this operation, we blew through more than $100 million in missiles, and that price tag is getting higher and higher each day. If we really go through with fully establishing the proposed no-fly zone? Somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 million dollars—just on crashing missiles into someone else’s country. The price to replace a fighter jet that went down this week could run between $100 million and $150 million. Oh, and fuel prices for each of these jets to fly around runs at about $10,000 an hour.
The current budget for war spending is about $150 billion. This fight in Libya is just one more on top of the bombs we are already dropping on families in Pakistan, the thousands of troops positioned in Iraq, and the war we are fighting in Afghanistan. Defense spending, in inflation adjusted terms, is currently higher than at any time since the end of World War II, and the United States now spends six times as much as China, the country with the next biggest budget. War is big business in this country. It continues to make a lot of Americans very, very rich.
Welcome to the violent economics of the United States of America.
Though these policies stand within the starkest of contrasts to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, your tax dollars pay for such neglect and violence, and the people we voted for, often times have been the ones to support such atrocities.
But worst of all, many, many Christians remain silent. I pray we can all in our own way, repent and beg for forgiveness for how we have been one small part of this very evil system and passively failed to confront it. I also pray that we will take it upon ourselves to vote in coming elections and get involved in some small degree. I truly believe the Gospel speaks to this radical evil, but only if the Church gives the Gospel it’s voice. So take a moment to pause and imagine how you could bring peace to the earth with $100 million. Or $250 million. How many plowshares could you make with all our nation’s swords? Stand up and say something. Be a prophet for peace and justice and salvation in a world horribly upside down.
Be like Jesus.