While Bible scholars agreed that income inequality is not in itself wrong, they attacked the distribution of wealth in modern America as unfair and proposed solutions to it.
"The level of inequality is unjust and economically counter-productive," Ron Sider, distinguished professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry & Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. Sider argued that economic and political power are "enormously centralized" in modern America, so that "both parties are essentially controlled by the richest one percent."
In light of this, Sider supported higher taxes on the rich and a combination of tax breaks and education reforms to help the poor. He supported an upper income tax rate of 50 percent for those making over $5 million per year. He also called for the federal government to "tax dividends and capital gains at the same rate as other income," which would target the rich and raise more money to reduce the deficit. more >>
Christian scholars agree that the unequal distribution of income is not inherently unChristian or unjust, so long as the poor can produce enough wealth to sustain themselves.
"I think that a good, short statement of a biblical definition of economic justice is that God wants every person and every family to have access to the productive resources, so that if they act responsibly they can earn their own way and be productive members of society," Ron Sider, distinguished professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry & Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. "I am not arguing for equality of income and wealth," Sider stated, bluntly.
Jordan Ballor, research fellow at the Acton Institute and executive editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality, agreed with Sider that income inequality is not inherently unbiblical. "The challenge is distinguishing natural inequalities, which arise out of the variety of human gifts and talents, from unrighteous and unjust inequality," Ballor explained. more >>
Pope Francis condemned the increasing inequality between the rich and the poor as well as society's exploitation and manipulation of nature in a lengthy message released ahead of World Peace Day on Jan. 1, 2014.
"It is a truly pressing duty to use the earth's resources in such a way that all may be free from hunger," Francis wrote in his message.
"It is well known that present production is sufficient, and yet millions of persons continue to suffer and die from hunger, and this is a real scandal. We need, then, to find ways by which all may benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality and respect for every human being." more >>
In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
An Indiana church recently opened the state's largest food pantry that will benefit thousands of families each month and serve its community through workshops, aimed to help individuals in need gain fundamental life skills.
For years, Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Ind., has operated two food pantries in different locations. Now the new pantry, The Community Ministry Center, housed in a 15,000 square-foot facility, will combine the resources found in both locales to serve over 3,000 families each month.
"The vision for this ministry is to be able to offer classes that help with fundamental life skills, skills that will improve the quality of daily life for our clients," said Tracy Watson, the ambassador coordinator for Mount Pleasant, to The Christian Post. "Offering food and clothing will help meet their immediate needs, but we are looking forward to investing in their lives." more >>
The Los Angeles City Council is considering a ban on the feeding of homeless people in public spaces even as the city's homeless population has dramatically defied a national decline.
The county's homeless population stands at 57,737, a 15 percent increase from 2011 to 2013, reports the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As the population moves into areas like West Hollywood, Venice and Brentwood, it has frustrated homeowners and led two city council members, Tom LaBonge and Mitch O'Farrell, to introduce a resolution that would ban outdoor feeding.
But even while the rest of the city grapples with the influx of homeless people, the majority of them are still concentrated in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Skid Row. Back in the 1970s, the city decided to intentionally concentrate homeless and drug addiction services like missions, shelters and recovery centers in the neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles. more >>