By Tony Russell|
"...the church ought to be a community of liberated people, committed to the liberation of all..." - Fr. Bernard Haring
"Congratulations on the success of your most recent book, Rev. Verkslaven," I said. "I appreciate your willingness to grant me an interview."
"Not a problem," he said, glancing at his watch. "It's free publicity, and publicity sells books."
"I'm pleased to meet you too," I said. "Look, this is a bit awkward, but I haven't been able to read Subjugation Theology in advance. My editor assigned me to meet with you, but he wouldn't approve the $249.95 for the book, and I couldn't afford to buy it myself. If you don't mind my saying so, that price seems a little steep. Don't you think it might cut into sales?"
"Not at all," he sniffed. "It's priced for a niche market. My buyers have the wherewithal. In fact, the book has been sitting at the top of the Forbes Best Sellers List for more than twenty weeks. Many people buy multiple copies to bestow upon their friends."
"So a lot of people are reading it?"
"Oh, I wouldn't quite say that. The good news is that, among the upper class, it's become another status symbol--like a Cartier diamond-encrusted crucifix, dangling from a gold necklace."
"Then it doesn't bother you if people don't open it once they have it?"
"People who own the book don't have to read it. The book is simply a systematic explication of what they already believe--a theological validation of the way they live their lives."
"Well, I guess that works out well for both you and them," I said. "But I have to admit I'm on the outside looking in here. I don't know where to begin. It's hard to ask intelligent questions when I haven't been able to read the book."
"That's one factor, I'm sure," he said with a grimace. "Fortunately, I've prepared a brief 'cheat sheet,' if you will, that I keep for just this kind of situation. Not a new concept, for a person of your type, I suspect." And he handed me a couple of laminated pages.
"Thanks," I told him gratefully, "that's a big help," and he stood there while I hastily skimmed the notes.
Main theological tenets:
- Wealth is a sign of God's favor, bestowed upon those whom he loves most
- Worldly authority accrues to God's favorites
All people are created unequal
Creation is God's gift to humans, to manage, dominate, and exploit
Core operating principle: "A preferential option for the rich"
- "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Genesis 1::28, King James version
- "The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it." Proverbs 10:22, NIV / "The blessing of the Lord makes rich, And he adds no sorrow to it." Proverbs 10:22, King James version
- "The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys." Job 42:12, NIV
Other sacred texts:
- The Wall Street Journal
- Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
- Trump: How to Get Rich; see also Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life [both by Donald Trump]
- Collected works of Ayn Rand
Sacraments: Incorporation, mergers and acquisitions, appointment to Boards of Directors, military coups
Holy sites: Gated communities; banks; investment firms; corporate boardrooms; U.S. Supreme Court; cathedrals; country clubs; Wall Street; the Pentagon; Washington, DC
Prayer list: tax cuts, tax shelters, tax breaks, military spending [for]; tax hikes, entitlement programs, unions, whistleblowers, government spending for housing, health, and education [against]
Saints: The Forbes 400 ("The Richest People in America"); Alan Greenspan
Existential focuses: Net worth, success, security, power, social status
Primary symbols: Walls, weapons, precious metals and gemstones, trophy wives, multiple homes, private schools, servants (gardener, nanny, cook, cleaning person, dog walker, personal trainer, etc.)
Style: Hierarchical, triumphal, centralized, authoritarian, exclusive, aggressive, repressive, abusive, punitive, manipulative, secretive, dogmatic, opaque, violent, intolerant, self-indulgent
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