Inscribed on the Liberty Bell is, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” (Lev. 25:10). The next verse reads, “It shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”
As our government reaches ever further into our wallets with corporate buyouts and printing even more money, greater burdens are heaped upon our collective backs. American taxpayers will now carry the debt loads of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, making us slaves of debt we never agreed to pay.
If we were to view our government optimistically, we could view it as leading by example, reminding us that forgiveness is the only way out of the failed obligations of others. Yet it is radical — is it not — that our leaders actually called for the forgiveness of debt? On the other hand, as a nation that professes to be Christian, that is exactly what Jesus taught his followers to do.
The Lord’s Prayers says, “… forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…” This passage is reverently spoken by most Christians–ostensibly 85% of the American population, and reminds them to forgive those that lie, steal, hurt, cheat, kill and to forgive even the worst of sins: choosing to serve power and money over God. In other words, the Lord’s Prayer is a reminder that we are called to forgive even the people who run our government.
According to Christian teachings, the foundation of the “good news” is built upon Christ’s gospel of forgiveness, but to apply this lesson to the pending onslaught of American financial crisis and ruin, how can the forgiveness of such massive debt carry with it any “good news?”
If we have to ask, perhaps our currency should replace the inscription, “In God We Trust” with “Oh Ye of Little Faith!”
The Chinese word for crisis, weiji, is comprised of both wei (danger) and ji (opportunity/crucial point). As “our” government leads us into the brink of impending economic crisis–widely recognized as having been exacerbated by funding illegal wars, the added danger is that “our” representatives have called for the forgiveness of these massive debts. At this crucial point, we the people have the opportunity to expect the same forgiveness of our fellow homeowners’ debts, but will we have the faith to plead on behalf of them?
If we were to risk being completely honest with ourselves, what is there to forgive after all? If the US dollar is backed by nothing but faith, don’t we really only have to forgive each other for our collective–albeit misguided–faith? If the US dollar is created out of thin air–and it most certainly is–then isn’t all that stands between the American taxpayers and their debtors just a little bad faith?
If America is a land which values the Rule of Law and the Constitutional principles upon which it was founded, then we would seek to preserve the interests of the individual over such corporate interests and should thus call for our leaders to forgive our debts as we have, in effect, forgiven our corporate debtors.
In the words of Paul Wellstone, “If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.”
So what does America stand for?
Are we really a Christian nation that stands on the tenets of forgiveness and “To do unto others as we would first have done to us?”
It is at this moment that we may hold the golden key to living on earth as it is in heaven. If is is the truth that will set us free, may we have the faith to seek it.
Congress has just acted to aid 400,000 households in foreclosure, of an estimated 2,500,000 this year and 3,000,000 in 2009. If we don’t do better than this for families who were lured into a trap designed for the profit of others, what can be our claim to virtue–Christian or otherwise?