Monday, September 29, 2008

A Biblical look at the Bailout

Anyone who was in church in the United States on Sunday, September 21 should have heard the Parable of the Workers in the Field as the Gospel reading. Most mainsteam Protestant churches and the Catholic Church use a common lectionary, so the readings are usually the same.

In the Parable of the Workers in the Field, those who went out to work in the field at 7:00 AM were paid the same as those who went out to work at 5:00 PM. All the workers were paid a fair day's wage, even though some worked many more hours than others. When the early morning workers complained that such a pay system wasn't fair, the landowner replied that they had agreed to work for a fair wage, and he could do what he chose with his money. The closing line of this parable is very familiar: "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matt.20: 1-16)

I just heard a conservative columnist in a discussion with Donna Brazile claim that the bailout was unfair because of some provisions that would allow mortgage principle and payments to be adjusted by the government.This, he claimed, was unfair to those who had honored their mortgages. [For once I was watching TV and didn't catch his name.]

Does this sound familiar? This claim of unfairness is exactly the plaint of the workers in the field! For conservative Republicans, who claim to be church-going, God-fearing people, that stance is distinctly anti-Biblical.

Many Republicans have publicly declared that we are a Christian nation. If this is true, then the parable of the Workers in the Field is perfectly timed for the bailout situation. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

BTW, here is a really good discussion of the Parable of the Workers in the Field from a businessman's perspective.

No comments: