Cutting Up the Pie

We have more than one equality problem in the United States. It is clear we have an equality problem relating to LGBT people, and we have not fully solved racial and gender equality problems either.

But we have an economic equality problem, too, and it is creating a spiritual problem for all of us. It is not that everyone must have exactly the same share of the economic pie, but there is increasing evidence that, as Nicholas Kristof says, “our stunning inequality is not just economics but also is a melancholy of the soul.”

What Kristof refers to is the fact the wealthiest one percent of Americans possess a greater collective wealth than the bottom 90 percent.  There is evidence, scientific evidence, that this kind of inequality undermines social trust and community life. That hurts everyone, not just those at the bottom.

There is biblical evidence, too. Jesus is not against wealth, per se, in my view, but he cautions people from being owned by their wealth. He clearly is concerned, as were the Hebrew prophets, with rich people who ignored the plight of those around them.

Indeed, he suggests that each of us–rich and poor alike–care as much about our neighbors as ourselves.