"My religion is the market."
Bush's former chairman of the FCC
and the son of General Colin Powell.
"Thou shall not covet" is the last of the Ten Commandments. Perhaps it is listed last because covetousness leads to the breaking of the first nine commandments. After all, Paul wrote that the love of money was the root of all evil. Back in the days of Moses, the Jews were very much a tribal people living in a harsh environment. To covet meant that you put yourself above the greater good of the tribe, which greatly endangered the very survival of the tribe. Covetousness meant that you felt entitled to steal, swindle, exploit, rob or even kill to get what you wanted. According to James, the brother of Jesus, all wars originate internally within our hearts wherein we want and do not have so we go to war to get what we cannot otherwise obtain legitimately. The ends justified the means whereas Christ taught that the means justify the ends. We reap what we sow. We don't rape what our neighbors sowed.
Now, if the unknown James, Moses or Paul was to proclaim that greed is evil today in America he would likely hear his name denigrated on hate radio and hear something like "Greed: A word commonly used by liberals, low achievers, anti-capitalists and society's losers to denigrate, shame and discredit those who have acquired superior job skills and decision-making capabilities and who, through the application of those job." So said the champion of "traditional American" values, Neal Boortz.
"Greed is good" declared another conservative champion, John Stossel, who went so far as to defend price gouging following hurricane Katrine's aftermath. He argued that charging 20 dollars for a one dollar bottle of water was what makes America great and that anybody that argues otherwise is just a bleeding-heart liberal. Jesus was obviously a bleeding-heart liberal that many conservative Christians apparently cannot stand for Jesus was all about giving water to the thirsty and housing the homeless out of love and certainly not out of greed. Jesus clearly said that you cannot serve God and Mammon, the idol of covetousness. Jesus explicitly said that we are to help the least of them. He even advised to sell all we own and give alms to the poor for it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle before a rich man enters heaven.
Never mind that greed is recognized across cultures for being a vice and dangerous to the general good. Greed is good and pursuit of the all mighty dollar is the consuming commandment in the economic system of Mammon where the bottom line is making even more money. Greed is highly addictive and seemingly oblivious to its consequences. Around the time of Jesus the Roman philosopher Seneca said "To greed, all nature is insufficient." Ann Coulter said that "God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'"
If that doesn't sound exactly like what the proverbial devil would have us do, to violate the sanctity of creation in the name of God, then I don't know what does. The only thing that comes close is the empire of Mammon using the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to start a war under false pretenses for economic and political gain. Then again, war and global warming both seem to be the direct result of a culture that idolizes covetousness and materialism and feels empowered and entitled to do so in the name of God.