The First Amendment and Corporate Power

Since the violent insurrection that happened at our nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021, a lot of social media platforms have been dropping far-right groups from their company. They will not host that kind of rhetoric because it affects their bottom line and their safety. Twitter even got a conscience and finally dropped our President from their platform. Twitter got a conscience before many pastors and our nation’s leaders got one. What confused so many “conservatives”–I am putting this in quotes because the rhetoric of these groups should not represent what conservatism actually is, but right now no one can tell the difference–is believing the government stepped in and took away their voice. They believe this is a violation of the First Amendment. That is not true. What happened is exactly what conservatism has always taught us, the market will take care of justice. This is the first time the market turned on them. The market is silencing them, not the government. What they have idolized as the source of freedom finally told them no. Why this did not happen for school shootings grieves me beyond words. Pro-life is a scam, and I will not mince words on this anymore. This is about money. I am going to give a few examples of what is driving where we find ourselves today: Corporate power, the bank bailout of 2008, Dave Ramsey, compromising with the gods of the philosophers, and denying the diving feminine for so long.

Conservatives are the ones who gave corporations the amount of power they have today. Democrats are not innocent, but this is largely a conservative ideology, because they believe only big government could be corrupt. Never considered big corporations could do the exact same thing, or at least would not ever go against their favor. In this instance I am with the corporations, I believe you can drop people who misrepresent your company, but I also know the danger that comes with giving this power to corporations (and to churches!), too. In all things we need wisdom. There are a lot of pastors who would love to say what I am saying right now in their pulpit, but their family healthcare is tied to not saying it. I care about this, and I hope my voice makes some kind of difference for them to be freed from this tyranny that is also market-driven.

Lets talk about the “bank bailout of 2008”, actually the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and signed into law by George W. Bush. This passed because banks had behaved badly and were in big trouble with the market downturn, market doing her job revealing. The banks had not prepared for a downturn. They had loaned out more money than was being paid back and our economy was going to crash because of it. Presidents cannot let that happen. We judge Presidents based on the economy, even though they have little to do with it. They are at the mercy of market conditions, just like all of us. Yes, they do make some decisions that make a difference, and this is one of them. What happened here with the passage of this law is the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the history of our nation. The banks were too big to fail, and individuals we do not give a damn about. This is why the same people who did not complain about saving banks are a lot of the same people screaming in opposition to student loan forgiveness. Because of what we did in 2008, there is no case to be made to not bailout our youth who furthered their education to make society better. We have set a precedent, and businesses being considered too big to fail and people expendable is a horrible theology to have as a country. This is why we are not well. The banks were not going to be able to get out of their debt. This happens to people, too. And for a lot of people they were making good decisions: education, medical expenses, life just being freaking expensive and wages are too low.

Another problem, Dave Ramsey and his financial scheme is a driver creating our apathy towards the poor. Without business knowledge, or they have business knowledge and believe cheating is the way to win, churches brought his Financial Peace University to their congregations and all hell has broken loose because of it. I am a Finance major, so I know what I am of talking about, and I experienced the error of Ramsey’s model. We were a family in debt who worked really hard and there was no way we could make it without credit cards. I ignored Ramsey because I could not afford his advice, and because of that I had no idea what people were hearing. We were too poor for Financial Peace, and we were middle class. Now I know Dave Ramsey made horrible statements about the poor that could not be further from the truth. He judged them, and believes helping the poor is socialism, putting fear in people about socialism instead of having a heart for the poor. He was bankrupt once himself, my how he has forgotten how socialism has gotten his ass out of trouble. Or he only thinks he is the only one important enough to get help. Dave Ramsey also held a conference in this pandemic charging $10,000 a person! Then has the gall to call an employee at the hotel holding the conference who is asking the attendees to wear a mask a twerp who only makes $8/hr. Ramsey should be banned from all our churches and stores. His philosophy is not Christian. I have been reading interviews with him and his narcissism is obvious. He also blocks people on Twitter who criticizes him. Signs of a corrupt leader. This is not cancelling Ramsey, this is protecting the flock. And the best way to heal a narcissist is to starve them of attention.

Narcissism is prevalent in the white evangelical church. I am of the mindset that Christianity compromising with the gods of the philosophers was a bad idea. I believe philosophers serve a purpose, but they are not defining who God is for us. Most of them were unbelievers and believed there is a hierarchy for order, and they were speaking from their own privilege when saying this. I am with Justo Gonzalez, the gods of the philosophers need to die. The compromise with the philosophers to make Christianity relevant and legit to the Roman empire has done a great disservice to our witness. Making God a Supreme being does not reflect the God of Israel, or Jesus Christ who we as Christians believe is the revelation of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Scripture, as the God who is with us. God who is on the side of the oppressed. If it is not good news for the poor, then it is not good news.

Denying Lady Wisdom and Lady Justice who reveal truth, all feminine attributes of God, has caused grievous sins by the church worldwide. There is no answer that we can give that does not require wisdom and the need to consider what is just and true. What we have done to women is a travesty, and God is over it. She is upset, and wants us to hear this: What might work in one case, in this case corporations dropping violent rhetoric from their platform because words lead to action, can also cause us to silence a voice that needs to be heard. We need to be able to handle the paradox. If a law does not promote love and does not allow flexibility, then, believer or unbeliever, we are headed for disunity and chaos. Good order is when we all have a place at the table, and we all get to be heard with no one owning the whole narrative. Our truths all come together to reorder the world more justly. It is not easy, but that is the future my voice is working for.

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