For Those of You on Your Way to Church This Morning
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
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. 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.
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).
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?
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.