Just how bad is it the United States? Consider this:
Presidential and congressional elections are basically bought by an oligarchy of corporations and very rich people.
Every decision by the supposedly non-partisan Supreme Court now falls along party lines.
The fourth estate, aka the Press, is now owned by the oligarchs and rather than work elections to help the public elect the best candidates, they work elections to make money, and draw out elections to make even more money.
Why are the presidential election "cycles" getting longer and longer? Do we really need two years to learn about the candidates?
You do know who ends up with all that advertising money, right?
If the oligarchs pay politicians so the politicians can get re-elected, and the politicians pay the media companies (aka the Press) for advertising so they can get elected, and the oligarchs own the Press, then the money keeps spinning around and around.
All this means that the government of the United States now exists to serve the oligarchs, which are now their true constituents.
Do you believe our government is functioning as intended? Do you know anyone who believes our government is functioning as intended?
The reason is not because of entitlements, welfare, Social Security, gay rights, abortion, or too many taxes.
The reason is not because of tax breaks to the wealthy, a shrinking middle class, unemployment, or poor education.
All the above, while important issues, are simply tools of division, and diversion from what is really going on.
The Indiana Religious Freedom Act has dominated the U.S. news the last two weeks, mainly due to concerns over how it enables discrimination. As a Christian, I think there is something even more troubling about this and similar acts, and that is institutional Christianity’s participation in and support of the acts. When considered in context of Holy Week, I think that institutional Christianity involvement in governmental legislation such as this is highly ironic.
One can make the argument that the penultimate moment of Holy Week occurs on Monday with the event the Bible labels “Jesus cleanses the temple.” (Luke 19:45-48) Jesus enters the Temple and causes a ruckus, overturning tables and chasing animals. The event was witnessed by ordinary people, the religious authorities, and the Roman political authorities, and it was taken by the religious authorities as a challenge to their practices and position. It is the catalyst that leads to Jesus’ arrest, conviction, and execution.
The religious authorities, through their control of temple sacrifice, saw themselves as the gatekeepers of God’s forgiveness. Further, the religious authorities collaborated with the Roman authorities by keeping the people in line and collecting taxes for Rome so that they could retain their positions of power. The religious authorities where expected to prevent the very type of scene Jesus caused on that day, lest they lose their positions and most likely their lives. (John 11:45-53)
During Holy Week Christians remember the outcome of the collaboration between the religious and political authorities with the crucifixion of Jesus on what is called Good Friday. Let me say it again to be very clear, religious and political authorities worked together to execute Jesus, the person who Christians claim to follow. See the irony?
History has shown that collaboration between religious institutions and empire leads to the corruption of the religious institution.
Are you a member of the church of Constantine or the church of Christ?
Members of the church of Christ, those who dare to declare Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not, know that in Jesus’s resurrection on Easter Sunday we gained freedom beyond what any earthly power or principality can provide. Freedom to follow The Way as Jesus taught and we learn in the gospels such as Matthew 25:31-46. Rather than working with the empire of our day to enact laws so that Christian institutions do not have to do something, these institutions ought to be challenging the empire to feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked, and provide water to those who thirst.