Christian Values

Christian Values

For decades, all denominations of the Christian church have been pre-occupied with human sexuality: sexual orientation, gender identify, birth control, and abortion. Some denominations seem to focus on these issues to the exclusion of all other social issues. As I read the Bible, Jesus taught more about concerns for the poor and the downtrodden. Some who call themselves Christian, however, seem comfortable with throwing 23 million people off of access to medical care. I don't recall any righteous indignation about spending $110 million on a painting or $300,000 for a purse. The media portray it as cool even if it is outrageous.

When I was active with the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) 30 years ago, the buzzword was social responsibility. Corporations and other organizations not only existed to make a profit, they were to work with their local communities as citizens of those towns and not as dictators. CEO's did not have rubber-stamp boards of directors who approved obscenely high salaries or unlimited profit sharing options. They were paid well, but they also had a responsibility to serve the public welfare, their employees, and their shareholders. Now too many seem to be in business just to see how much money they can get for themselves and their cronies. That may seem like a too broad indictment of corporations, but that attitude seems to be rampant ¾ particularly in the financial services industry that doesn't actually produce anything other than to simply shuffle money around electronically. They're in it to game the system and not to provide resources or funds for other businesses and individuals like the old-fashioned banks used to do. They provided a valuable service of giving credit to those who needed it to build a business or buy a house.

Even the word welfare has assumed a negative connotation as though it only meant giving a hand-out. Some say that is the sole role of charitable organizations and not a function of government. When the economic structures of our society dislocate people who through no fault of their own lose jobs, then the government is the only entity that has the resources to help these people. A more reasonable definition might be "the public good." Henry Ford understood this. When he paid his workers a living wage, they were able to buy his cars and thus created a "virtuous circle." When many in the lower economic classes are struggling just to survive, they are not able to purchase anything but the bare necessities. Better wages would grow the economy, and economists have demonstrated that it would have a neutral effect on costs. Better trained, healthy and self-sufficient employees are more efficient, and the turn-over is lower. A 125 years ago the robber barons considered their employees to be expendable because there were monopolies and no unions. There always was someone willing to take the place of someone who was fired, and there was no recourse. That seems to be the attitude of some CEO's today. We'll just take our business elsewhere if you don't capitulate to our demands.

The United States is a nation of immigrants, and the President's family were immigrants. Yet we treat them as less than human. Our service industries, like restaurants and hotels, and farms could not survive without migrant workers. The distinction is made between those who enter via temporary permits and those who enter without a permit, that is illegally. Those who are hostile to immigrants see themselves as protecting law and order even though the mass deportations create chaos as well as untold human suffering. It's really a code word for racism.

The LGBT community is just one group of many minorities in this nation, and we must all bind together to defend our rights from those who would persecute us for their own gain or bigotry. I won't even go into the issue of race relations. That will have to be a topic in itself.