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The American Family Association is promoting a “Naughty or Nice?” Christmas campaign by listing the top retailers and how they recognize Christmas. There are three categories:
1. Companies that use the term “Christmas” on a regular basis are considered Christmas-friendly.
2. Companies that refer to Christmas infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others.
3. Companies that may use “Christmas” sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, do not recognize it.
Many companies are using “Happy Holiday” as a substitute for “Merry Christmas.” Of course, it’s their right to do this. These companies might like to know that the word “holiday” is a contraction of “holy day.” A holy day is set apart for particular religious reasons. So the next time a salesperson says “Happy Holiday,” ask him or her what “holy day” they are referring to.
The “Naughty or Nice?” campaign of AFA stirred up Liberal talk-show-host Thom Hartmann. Hartmann’s show is carried by Dial Global, a radio syndication company which is an owned subsidiary of Triton Media Group, a multi-million dollar company.
Hartmann charged that AFA is “promoting blasphemy” because of the commercialization of Christmas when people say “Merry Christmas” and also buy presents for other people. Here is the essence of Hartmann’s argument to Bryan Fischer:
HARTMANN: The AFA and you, Bryan, believe that when Jesus said you have to choose between God or Mammon, which is money and the things — and commerce, that He was what, lying or was he mistaken? Jesus made it very clear that you could choose between getting rich and choose between [sic] being virtuous and holy… A company that uses Jesus Christ to hustle goods is profaning His name and the work that He did.
Mammon describes greed, avarice, and unjust economic gain. It was personified as a false god in the New Testament (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16.13). The term is often used to refer to excessive materialism or greed as a substitute for godliness.
Jesus could not be referring to riches in and of themselves since He never told the rich man Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57) to sell everything he owned, and it seems rather contradictory for God to bless Abraham, who “was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold” (Gen. 13:2), and Job who was blessed by God with riches (Job 42:10–12) if riches in and of themselves are evil. Notice that “the rich man” of the “rich man and Lazarus” story is contrasted with the rich man Abraham (Luke 16:19–31).
If we are to follow the implications of Hartmann’s convoluted logic, every business now in existence, including the company that he works for, would have to sell everything and give the proceeds to the poor (Matt. 19:21). How could the rich sell their stuff except to other rich people? Would these people now be guilty of Mammon worship? If the wealthy just gave away their possessions there wouldn’t be any incentive to get any more. In time everybody would be poor, and within a few weeks, everybody would be starving to death because no one would be permitted to have any money.
“Citing the Gospel of Matthew, Hartmann also insisted that Christianity and welfare statism are synonymous, and that the House Republicans are terrible Christians because they propose ‘Oh, we’ve got to cut these social safety net programs – which is the essence of what Jesus Christ said you’ve gotta do to get into Heaven! And instead replace them with tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.’”
People with money employ people. They build buildings, open factories, buy trucks, and purchase manufactured goods to produce their products. When the government taxes the rich, it means they have less money to invest and unemployment rises.
Hartmann claims to be a Christian, but obvious by his next statement that he does not have a handle on what the Bible says on this topic:
HARTMANN: I’m a Christian, and I am horrified, for example, when people, Republicans, stand up and call themselves Christians, and then say, and then completely forget about Matthew 25. The one time in the entire New Testament where the disciples came to Jesus and said ‘How do we get into heaven?’ and he said ‘Feed the hungry. Heal the sick. Clothe the naked. In other words, house the homeless. Visit those in prison.’ And they all freaked out and said, you know, We’re screwed. We’ll never make it into heaven, you know, because we’ve never seen you….we’ve never seen you hungry, we’ve never seen you naked, we’ve never seen you sick. How are we going to get into Heaven? And he said as you’ve done these to the least of my brethren, you’ve done unto me.
Anyone reading Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 will see that He never calls for government to tax the people and set up poverty programs to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and heal the sick. Those closest to the power, that is, those just one step out of poverty are the best people to judge who’s poor. They know poverty when they see it. Bureaucrats don’t know and don’t care. If people were taxed less, they would be able to fund the truly poor. Governments create and perpetuate poverty.
Riches, like food, sex, and power, can be a snare. There is a tendency to forget God who gives us the power to make wealth (Deut. 8; cf. Dan. 4:30–31). It’s the sinful use of these gifts — and of them — that’s the problem, not the gifts themselves.
Hartmann denigrates Walmart because it makes lots of money. But what he doesn’t tell you is that Walmart employs 1.4 million people in the United States. This is 1% of the U.S.’s 140 million working population. The average Walmart employee makes $11.75 an hour, considerably higher than the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Walmart’s global sales crossed $400 billion in 2009. Its profits exceeded $15 billion.
If Walmart had $15 million in profits, then it had $385 million in costs. Where did the $385 million go? It went to pay 2.1 million employees worldwide and businesses that make products that Walmart sells, utility companies, insurance carriers, other business entities too numerous to list, and lots of taxes. What about the $15 billion in profits? Most of it goes to stock holders in the form of dividends ($1.21 per share). Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed $2 billion cash and in-kind donations to help end hunger in America.
Liberals like Hartmann would like to see a company like Walmart taxed more. Who would benefit? Bureaucrats.
Jesus did not believe that the State should be empowered. Take a look at 1 Samuel 8 if you do not believe me. The rich are in a better position to help the less fortunate by investing in a free economy, something this present government makes expensive to do. The way to eliminate crony capitalism is to decrease the power of government at all levels. Unfortunately, there are lots of so-called conservatives that don’t want to do this. And it’s not all rich people.