MANY politicians would prefer spiritual leaders and spiritual people have nothing to say about economics or politics.
But Indian spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi said those who said religion had nothing to do with politics did not know what religion was.
Gandhi pointed to the direct and deliberate political actions of Buddha, who fearlessly brought down an arrogant priesthood, and to Christ, who drove out the money changers from the temple.
Politics without principles was one of the “seven blunders of the world’’, according to Gandhi. The others were wealth without work, commerce without morality, worship without sacrifice, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character and science without humanity.
He said people should take only what they need. There were enough resources for the world’s need, but not for the world’s greed.
Gandi said Jesus knew the world about him. “He is himself the greatest economist of all time…he was the most active resister known perhaps to history. His was non-violence par excellence.”
Jesus’ name has been linked to many anti-establishment movements. But the original Jesus revolution was something unique. He was a spiritual revolutionary who touched lepers, dined with social outcasts and said the first would be last and the last would be first in God’s kingdom. He respected existing order while preaching a different one.
But he disrupted business at the Jerusalem Temple, insulted the pompous religious leaders of his day and said material riches on earth weren’t worth much compared to riches in heaven.
His revolution was marked by service to others and turning the other cheek, not with swords and bombs and guns. He proved that social change could only occur when hearts were changed.
Jesus would surely have sympathy with the modern-day protestors’ complaint that the poorest on the planet have too little and the richest far too much. He would be dismayed, but not surprised, by corruption and greed.