Capitalism and Christian Values

Over the last week we’ve been citing Frye on religious fundamentalism and false literalism. This week we’re turning our attention to the affinity of the Christian right and laissez faire capitalism.

That affinity is confirmed by a Religious News Service poll published in April. According to the poll, 36 percent of Christians say capitalism and the free market are consistent with Christian values; 44 percent say the two are at odds.

However, party affiliation significantly influences this view. Among Democrats, only 26 percent say Christian values and capitalism are compatible, while a majority, 53 percent, say they are at odds. Among Republicans, on the other hand, a full 46 percent say the two are compatible, while only 37 percent say they are at odds. (Not surprisingly, among Tea Partiers a solid majority, 56 percent, say they are compatible.) Finally, 44 percent of white evangelicals say that fully unregulated businesses would act ethically.

Add to all of this massive tax-exempt funding of conservative megachurches, as well as the deeply entrenched influence of conservative think tanks, corporate sponsorship, talk radio, the increasingly rightward slant of the mainstream news media, as well as the nonstop agitprop of Fox News, and that’s a heavy thumb on the scales in favor of Christian/conservative/laissez faire values.

We’ll see what Frye has to say about this shortly.

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One thought on “Capitalism and Christian Values

  1. Veronica Abbass

    “We’ll see what Frye has to say about this shortly.”

    Everything I know about Frye I learned from this blog, In turn, this blog has prompted me to read Frye for myself. I started with The Double Vision, which Johan L. Aitken says is “his most accessible.”

    If I’m reading _The Double Vision_ correctly, Frye says that people can make the Bible say what they want it to say because the Bible contains portions of history, myth, fact and fiction and people need to be able to distinguish among these features.

    The word “values” in the title of your post above makes me uncomfortable because the word “values” always makes me uncomfortable. The OED defines “values” as

    “principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.”

    It is the second of the two definitions that I think of when I hear the word “values” used and misused. It is not an individual’s or a group’s values that motivate; it is what an individual or a group values that motivates. Values is a verb masquerading as a noun to suit an individual’s or a group’s purpose.


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