Some excellent writing from Walter Wink on the subject of “The Powers”, which is a direct hit from a theological perspective on the very systems against which Occupy rails (with only a few theological caveats and some fine theological tuning)
when evil ran roughshod through corporate boardrooms and even churches, unnoticed and unnamed, while “Satan” was relegated to superego reinforcement and moralistic scare tactics, then we should have caught the stench–not of brimstone, but of putrefaction.
Yes, it is a Satanic system, and “Satanic” does NOT mean, as we have grown accustomed, dealing with hell fire and animal or human sacrifice, or even the most horrfyiing examples of the workings of evil such as Hitler (or, as I see it, the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki– which is an even better example since it invariably invites the justifications of the Pentagon and military industrial complex, claiming that it “saved lives” by avoiding a ground war). The capacity of humans for evil is further acentuated by the effects of “systems” which sweep up entire cultures (with the exceptions of the dissidents, who are often demonized and rendered “radical” for daring to question the “facts” which they present. ) In the case of Hiroshima, the very act of calling these scenarios “facts” rather than “theories” or “scenarios” is a part of the “systemic” ideology which instills in us the very idea that this is “the way things are”.
“The way things are” is also found in various arguments for the bailout of the banks, and that we had to do this to “avoid catastrophe”. Lost in this crisis is the absence of safeguards” in the deal. The extent to which there were virtually no strings attached to these bailouts (and if one wants to claim there were, then of what relevance is this against the lack of holding anybody or any group accountable for it?) But the point is that we have the system’s power elite pushing for the “relase us on our OWN recognizance”, and so we have, shockingly, a series of “voluntary safegaurds” which is a misonomer. The problem in the first place was a lack of safegaurds, BY DESIGN, enabled by lawmakers, and Presidents (such as when Clinton signed the bill that effectively neutered the Glass-Steagall Act put into place as a result of the abuses of the banks leading up the Great Depression. Clinton effectively enabled another economic crisis unmatched since then).
Wink’s ” putrefaction” surely seems like an appropriate word to describe the process of what’s been put in motion since 1980, which the Clinton years, due to the so-called “Financial Services Modernization Act”, which seems to have been more deserving of the name “The Return to the Great Depression Rollback Act”; or what Bill Moyers described a few weeks ago with “”They put the watchdog to sleep”.
There’s much more ahead as Kurt and Jeremy have raised some pertinent and extremely important issues regarding the role of the church in helping to raise the issues of economic justice, because God knows we haven’t been able to trust those we elected to look out for the interests of all Americans. And that also is a Biblical theme. We could never hand the state that much power. We must continue to speak truth to power. Always. And not only the state powers, but to the powers in the church, where we have some unique problems of our own.