Last night I went to my Jewish service here. I mentioned this earlier, but going to your local church or synagogue’s events are great ways to meet girls. But besides that, I have two friends in the choir and last night was a special service. In honor of MLK day, they team up with a gospel choir and the service is kind of like a combined black and Jewish church/temple thing. I never seen anything like it and it was quite fun. Especially when the black pastors get up and do their thing — just like the movies and the black women are like “Yes!”
Regardless, I’m not particularly religious or spiritual. I like going because it has more of a cultural and social significance to me. And at the end of a hard week at work programming and dealing with general business shit, I don’t mind going to a service and listening about God and prayer. It’s a complete change of pace from my daily operations. So I do this once a month.
The pastors sermon is the reason for this post. I’ve never heard a sermon that has made me physically agitated until this one. The sermon started off pretty good actually. The pastor wanted to talk about God and his role in our lives, etc, etc, but it took a sharp turn and went downhill. Now I understand that many black pastors in the inner-cities are deeply liberal and hardcore for Obama. He started talking about inequality and that how the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. How it is unfair that unemployment benefits are being cut and that food stamps aren’t expanding…Standard liberal stuff, okay. Take from the rich, give to the poor. It was very emotional and no facts were included, despite more people being on food stamps than ever before in history. I get it, you have to get people fired up. But then he said this…
I was speaking to this individual one time and he told me, he said, “I made my money. I don’t want anyone to take it away and give it to someone else.” Well you know what I told him? That money that he has does not belong to him. All of his money belongs to God. Can I get an amen!?
There is nothing more infuriating to a libertarian like myself than to hear that statement. My money does not belong to me? Are you fucking kidding me right now? Do you think I work 60 hours a week for God? No. I do it for myself. I want to grow a business. I want to create something that has meaning in this world.
The pastor went on to talk about injustices in the world and that how the rich need to give up their money, blah blah blah.
Now some people might read this blog post and say, “What the fuck do you know about black culture and black identity? You’re just a white Jewish boy.” Fair point. I’m not really that familiar with inner-city culture. But what I do understand quite well is human motivation. What drives people to do the things that they do. Why some people work their asses off and others sit back idly waiting for handouts.
This pastor is dangerous and is doing the black community of DC an injustice. Instead of preaching the idea of self-reliance, independence, fortitude, and hard work, he is advocating that the divide between the rich and poor is an injustice and that the rich needs to give more. How can you preach that if you’re poor, you’re entitled to someone else’s money? How is this supposed to help inner-city black people? What ever happened to individual accountability? Is no one responsible for their own well being anymore?
“But Shakedown, you’re such an asshole. Black people have been at a disadvantage because of the history of racism that has pervaded this country for so long!” It’s true. Black people had to endure many injustices and disadvantages for many years and we have MLK and the civil rights movement to thank for the amazing progress that has been made. But you have to ask yourself, does this give you the right to feel entitled to other people’s money? Because of the shitty history, is it okay to believe that you should be given handouts and not take on responsibility for your life now?
That money that he has does not belong to him. All of his money belongs to God. Can I get an amen!?
This is one thing that liberals don’t seem to understand. For most rich people, it’s not about “being rich” and having material goods and what not. Being rich is a side effect. A side effect of what? I want to be of value. I want to be a value giver. I want to create something that will have significant meaning and others are willing to deem highly valuable to them. And money is just the determinant for how valuable the service is that you’re providing. When I get money, I am receiving it under the notion that I am producing an item or service of equal value. That pastor is not preaching that you should be a value giver. He is preaching that people who provide the most value in this world need to give money to people who produce less value. And the most offensive statement of all is that you are not entitled to your money because it belongs to God. Therefore he has the right to redistribute it.
I am not rich. I make an average salary and I make less than what I could be making if I worked elsewhere. But I’m a partner in this business that I am helping grow and I know the payoff will be great for me. I know that I will be a millionaire if we keep on this trend and continue to work hard. I am not entitled to money from someone who makes more than me. Someone who makes less than me is not entitled to my money either. My money does not belong to God. Nobody’s money belongs to God.
I think this is something that people who begin their self improvement journey and come out the other side an enlightened individual come to realize. All the work they put in was a result of their own doing. And they saw the payoff. They had to understand that their realities had to be shattered in order to see the world in a different light. This applies to all aspects of life though — not just self improvement. The pastor’s reality, and those that follow his speeches, is that of “I grew up in a harsh, unfair environment, and there is little I can do to get myself out of this. Therefore, I need the system to help support me.” That’s the reality they were raised in and now pass on to their children. But many who have gone through self improvement have a new found understanding of self-reliance. And that pastor’s reality no longer relates to them. Which reality would you rather live in? And if you don’t believe it’s a choice, then you haven’t become enlightened yet.