Michael Moore’s new movie is Capitalism: A Love Story and he wrote For Those of You on Your Way to Church This Morning …a note from Michael Moore on his blog. He makes the same mistakes that many Christians and non-Christians do, namely taking verses out of context to match his view of the word and his version of God. He also makes major errors in analyzing capitalism.
I’d like to have a word with those of you who call yourselves Christians (Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Bill Maherists, etc. can read along, too, as much of what I have to say, I’m sure, can be applied to your own spiritual/ethical values).
In my new film I speak for the first time in one of my movies about my own spiritual beliefs. I have always believed that one’s religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private.
Since Moore is claiming to speak for Jesus, perhaps he should tell us how the Bible teaches that we should be private about our religious beliefs. That would make it hard to fulfill the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
And despite his introduction, he is violating his own belief by blasting his religious views on his blog.
After all, we’ve heard enough yammerin’ in the past three decades about how one should “behave,” and I have to say I’m pretty burned out on pieties and platitudes considering we are a violent nation who invades other countries and punishes our own for having the audacity to fall on hard times.
He should know that Jesus is about saving people from their sins, not just telling them how to behave. And he begs the question that we deliberately punish those who fall on hard times.
I’m also against any proselytizing; I certainly don’t want you to join anything I belong to. Also, as a Catholic, I have much to say about the Church as an institution, but I’ll leave that for another day (or movie).
That’s a bit hypocritical. Moore’s profession involves changing people’s views.
And he is profoundly unloving. If Moore thinks his religion is the one true path to God, how can he keep that to himself? If he doesn’t think it is the true path, why doesn’t he keep looking?
Amidst all the Wall Street bad guys and corrupt members of Congress exposed in “Capitalism: A Love Story,” I pose a simple question in the movie: “Is capitalism a sin?” I go on to ask, “Would Jesus be a capitalist?” Would he belong to a hedge fund? Would he sell short? Would he approve of a system that has allowed the richest 1% to have more financial wealth than the 95% under them combined?
Does Moore even know what capitalism is? It is defined as an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.
How is that inherently sinful? Did God speak against that in the Bible? I’ve read the Bible a few times and noted that God endorses the concept of private property (“thou shalt not steal / covet”), the rule of law, etc. — even in the Israelite Theocracy.
The hedge fund / short selling concepts are just empty sound bites. To propose that we dump the whole system of capitalism because of a few exotic financial instruments is absurd.
I have come to believe that there is no getting around the fact that capitalism is opposite everything that Jesus (and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha) taught.
Everything? That’s a rather bold and broad statement. Let’s see if he comes up with any Bible verses for that, in context.
All the great religions are clear about one thing: It is evil to take the majority of the pie and leave what’s left for everyone to fight over.
That begs the question. He never demonstrated that as fact and just assumes it. He ignores how the pie got so big to begin with: People working hard, taking risks with capital and generating jobs.
Jesus said that the rich man would have a very hard time getting into heaven. He told us that we had to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly.
Yes, a rich man would have a hard time getting into Heaven — but with God all things are possible! (Luke 18:18-30) Why do people stop reading once they find their proof text?
How will he determine how to divide things “fairly?” I’ve noticed that Moore is one of the richest 0.5% of the people in the world. What is stopping him from donating more of his money today?
He said that if you failed to house the homeless and feed the hungry, you’d have a hard time finding the pin code to the pearly gates.
What is Moore doing about that? Also, he assumes that taking money from neighbor A via taxes to give to neighbor B qualifies as charity on your part. It doesn’t.
Moore said we would be judged by how we treat the least of these, but he did so in the error-filled way that many people do when quoting Matthew 25. And of course, as a pro-legalized abortionist Moore’s prattling about caring for the “least of these” rings hollow.
I guess that’s bad news for us Americans. Here’s how we define “Blessed Are the Poor”: We now have the highest unemployment rate since 1983. There’s a foreclosure filing once every 7.5 seconds. 14,000 people every day lose their health insurance.
He should re-read the Sermon on the Mount. It was about spiritual poverty, not physical. C’mon, Michael, it was only two more words to read! Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Yes, unemployment is high now, and other economic factors are negative. But notice his non sequitor: Things are worse than usual today, so capitalism must be done away with. Huh?!
At the same time, Wall Street bankers (“Blessed Are the Wealthy”?) are amassing more and more loot — and they do their best to pay little or no income tax (last year Goldman Sachs’ tax rate was a mere 1%!). Would Jesus approve of this? If not, why do we let such an evil system continue? It doesn’t seem you can call yourself a Capitalist AND a Christian — because you cannot love your money AND love your neighbor when you are denying your neighbor the ability to see a doctor just so you can have a better bottom line. That’s called “immoral” — and you are committing a sin when you benefit at the expense of others.
How preachy. Again, how does this prove that we must eliminate capitalism? Perhaps his movie has the perfect economic model we should move to with his bulletproof action plan to get there. Maybe it is Communism. That transition worked well in the 1900’s. All you had to do is kill 100,000,000 people first and then it flourished. Oh wait, it didn’t. It collapsed on itself.
When you are in church this morning, please think about this. I am asking you to allow your “better angels” to come forward. And if you are among the millions of Americans who are struggling to make it from week to week, please know that I promise to do what I can to stop this evil — and I hope you’ll join me in not giving up until everyone has a seat at the table.
I’m all for giving more. It is an embarrassment how little professing Christians give to others. Anyone reading this is virtually certain to be one of the richest 2% of people who ever lived. For us to give away such a paltry amount is sad.
But Michael, if you’d tell us how much of your wealth you are donating to real, live charities that would be the best example. Otherwise, you just continue to profit from the misery you document. That makes you part of the system you criticize.
Once again he never demonstrates how destroying capitalism will improve the lives of those he claims to care about.
Thanks for listening. I’m off to Mass in a few hours. I’ll be sure to ask the priest if he thinks J.C. deals in derivatives or credit default swaps. I mean, after all, he must’ve been good at math. How else did he divide up two loaves of bread and five pieces of fish equally amongst 5,000 people? Either he was the first socialist or his disciples were really bad at packing lunch. Or both.
Hmmmm . . . so Jesus’ definition of charity was to have Caesar take money by threat of force or loss of freedom to redistribute to others? Got any Bible verses for that?