Inscribed on the Liberty Bell is Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” The line in Leviticus following "proclaim liberty" is, "It shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family."
As our government reaches ever further into our wallets with corporate buyouts and printing ever more money, further devaluing the dollar, greater burdens are heaped upon our collective backs. American taxpayers will now carry the debt loads of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, making us slaves of debt that we never agreed to pay.
In light of these events, if we were view our government optimistically, we could see them as leading by example, reminding us that forgiveness may be the only way out of our current slavery to the failed obligations of others. It is radical, is it not, that our leaders have actually called for the forgiveness of our debtors?
Yet as a nation that professes to be founded on Christian principals, that is exactly what Jesus taught His followers to do.
In a church that I helped establish, every week we recited the Lord's Prayer saying,“...and lead us not into temptation, but forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors...” For me, the word “debtors” meant that I was to forgive those that violate God's law as I too would be forgiven of such "trespasses."
This passage is reverently spoken by most Christians—85% of the American population. This sacred prayer serves as a reminder for Christians to forgive those that lie, steal, hurt, cheat, and kill. and to forgive even the worst of sins: those who value power and money over God's teachings.
In other words, the Lord's Prayer tells us to forgive -- our government.
According to Christian teachings, the “good news!” is based upon forgiveness, but in the pending onslaught of American financial chaos and ruin, how can the forgiveness of such massive debt also carry “good news?”
If we really have to ask, perhaps American currency should replace the inscription, "In God we Trust" with “Oh ye of little faith!”
The Chinese word for crisis, weiji, is comprised of both wei (danger) and ji (opportunity/crucial point).
As “our” government leads us into the brink of impending economic crisis-- widely recognized as having been caused by funding wars waged on lies (also known in Christian circles as bearing false witness against our neighbors) the added danger we now face is that “our” representatives have called for the forgiveness of the debts of such giants as Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Isn't it only reasonable then to conclude that at this crucial point, we the people have the opportunity to expect the same forgiveness of our fellow homeowners' comparatively small debts?
If we were to risk being completely honest with ourselves, what is there to forgive after all? If the U.S. dollar is backed by nothing but faith, don't we really only have to forgive ourselves for our collective -- albeit misguided -- faith? If the U.S. dollar is created out of thin air, (and it most certainly is) then isn't all that stands between the American taxpayer and their debtors, just a little bad faith?
A government which calls for the transfer of the debts of large corporations to its people is by definition, corporatist. Of course, that is just a nice word for fascist. On the other hand, if America is a land which values the rule of law and the Constitutional republic upon which it was founded, then we would surely value and preserve the interests of the individual over such corporate interests, and we should thus call for our leaders to forgive us our debts as we have, in effect, forgiven our debtors.
In the words of Paul Wellstone, "If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them." So what does America stand for? Are we really a "Christian" nation that stands on the tenets of forgiveness and the Golden Rule, “To do unto others as we would first have done unto us?”
It is at this moment that America's very foundation of freedom may lie in our faith to assert our Christan teachings of forgiveness. I pray that the Christians and all the people of conscience of this nation will find the courage to rise up and, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17 because in the words of Elmer Davis, "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
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