I was attracted to Cheryl Chumley’s book on socialism because of the subtitle: Christians Must Rise or America Will Fall. She dedicated her work to “Jesus, the hope of humanity.” Okay, to my liberal friends, it sounds like so much more right-wing political propaganda. But sometimes, it’s good to read outside our comfort zone, if we can stomach it.
What interested me is one tenet of the DSA’s ideology. [Democratic Socialists of America] to realize a “world without oppression.” [Chumley, 34 ] This is a notable idea, but this is also why I introduced on my FB wall a look at the Beatitudes of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. The disconnect between the DSA credo and reality is the simple fact that “civic virtue,” to use the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s words [Chumley, 60], like any form of justice or righteousness, cannot be legislated or imposed in law. [Galatians 5:23] I get it, the poor are, indeed, oppressed. Even our Bible says that! [Isaiah 1:17]
Chumley prefers the word “collectivism.” It supports the idea of equality. (If everyone has the same rights and economic status, poverty no longer exists?) According to the Democratic platform of 2016, “..use government resources against inequality of all kinds.” [Chumley, 33] But we live in a time when the hope for such a utopia is sadly, irretrievably, lost: “postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races.”
To use a Biblical idea, it has to be written “on the heart.” [Ezekiel 18:31; 36:26] Jesus’ words must be heeded by His followers if the Church is serious about a heaven that is reachable. And that’s the Beatitudes! [Matthew 5:3-12]
History has been kind to FDR’s “New Deal” even if, as some historians reevaluate, it didn’t work to bring the nation out of “the” great depression. LBJ’s Great Society didn’t work, either—perhaps, the Vietnam war was a distraction. (And now, we are told that things are worse!?) As Jesus said, “… you always have the poor with you.” And then He added this caveat, “but you do not always have me.” [John 12:8]
As unforgivingly harsh as it sounds, we need to redirect the conversation away from utopian impossibilities to the biblical message of how best we can follow Christ. That’s what the Beatitudes are all about, even though, as Jesus recognized, they would be unpopular in a world that still carries the false hope of an evolutionary progress toward “equality for all.”
We need a humble realization of our utter need for God if oppression is to end. A humble heart cares about the poor because we equally need to be loved. When we learn to care enough we develop a passion for service which begins to realize heaven’s definition of justice (love). Our merciful heart begins to grows. Mercy is God’s idea. He shared His definition of it on Calvary. You get the idea.