Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mitt Romney and the Eye of the Needle

Check out this excerpt from one of the (hundred) debates during the Republican primaries. 
That was an interesting reaction, wasn't it? Romney stammers his answer and has to think fast before he commits his soul to the fiery furnace. As Anderson Cooper gives him a second chance to clarify, Romney hesitates and finally- to smattering of applause- takes the plunge. 
(In an earlier post, we pointed out how Romney has violated repeatedly his own Mormon code forbidding lying in every form. He was quite willing in that case to break the tenets of that faith to the cost of his salvation.)

As a man who claims to be Christian- or as close as any Mormon can get to Christianity- he must know how Jesus felt about great wealth. Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25 and Matthew 19:24 all have Jesus saying the same thing:
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Given the rare consensus from the disciples, it's pretty certain that Christ said those words (as opposed to a later interpretation of his philosophy.)
Here's another selection that Romney also seems to have ignored, this from Chapter 18 from the book of Luke.
Jesus Mosaic
A certain ruler asked Jesus what he could do to enter the Kingdom of God.  Jesus gave him the familiar checklist from the commandments. The man assured Jesus that, since his childhood, he had kept those vows to God.
When Jesus heard his answer, he said, "There is still one thing you haven't done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.
When Jesus saw this, he said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!
A tall order to be sure but then if he hadn't wanted an answer he should never have asked. 
Obviously the man Jesus counseled wasn't prepared to surrender his great wealth, even in order to enter into heaven. When he was asked to choose between two kinds of wealth, the earthly or the divine, the reply caused him great angst.

In the Christian philosophy, the hold that great wealth has on some people's souls can be the one thing that prevents them from the true blessings from God. Again this is stated with complete clarity in this statement from Matthew:
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
For good reason, Romney has chosen to keep the details of his personal wealth rather vague. Here's a tidbit:
The former Massachusetts governor has disclosed only the broad outlines of his wealth, putting it somewhere from $190 million to $250 million. That easily could make him 50 times richer than Obama, who falls in the still-impressive-to-most-of-us range of $2.2 million to $7.5 million....
Romney and his wife, Ann, have been making 50 times that — more than $20 million a year. In 2009, only 8,274 federal tax filers had income above $10 million. Romney is solidly within that elite 0.006 percent of all U.S. taxpayers.
He has smirked on Fox News that the reason why so many people see him in a negative light is because they are "envious" of his wealth. That may or may not be true. One thing is true is that, although he has stated his deep regard for the Bible, he has skipped somehow over another passage from the Bible.
"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Even the piecemeal release of his tax returns make it clear that Romney has chosen the love of making money above any other. Apart from faith, his 2011 tax returns show no love for his country, as this source observes:
His 2011 taxes reveal he bet against the American dollar. The Romney Trust profited if the American dollar fell in value versus foreign currencies. That means Romney was hoping the American dollar would decrease in value. Meaning he wished for America's economy to keep declining. The farther down the hole America went, the richer Mitt Romney became!
There's also his Chinese investments:
The Romney Trust also owned stock in a Chinese-state-owned oil company, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). CNOOC recently purchased Nexen Inc. in Calgary, Canada. So, Mitt Romney owned shares of a Chinese company that has its hands in the Keystone pipeline deal. Makes perfect sense why Romney would support the Keystone pipeline deal doesn't it? And the Republicans in Congress that are pressing for that pipeline should have their investments analyzed to see if they just happen to own stock in CNOOC or any other company that would profit from such a deal.

CNOOC is also be under fire for human rights violations too. Not surprising that Romney would invest in physically hurting people as well; after all, if they don't make at least a million dollars a year, what good are they?
Even in secular terms, the love of money can be corrosive to our sense of shared humanity. Because of the nature of the choices- between the profitless compassion or the accumulation of ever-greater wealth, it should surprise nobody that a wise teacher like Jesus would have given this warning to his followers.

The fact that so many people who claim to be devout Christians, people who take each and every word of the Bible as the literal truth, can overlook this aspect about Romney's background and biography is a testimony to the art of deception.

It is also a sign of the failure of the evangelical movement to keep its promise to follow the actual words of their Christ, instead of carefully selected excerpts or biased re-interpretation of them.