The church has failed to properly denounce greed. Mammon (money) is our national god and greed is our national liturgy. Advertisers have become our American clergy, and they are paid far more than the long-suffering clergy in the Christian church. While the nation may be in an uproar over abortion, never doubt that money is what really matters. The economy, the stock market, the price of oil, our wallets – we love them.

Rodney Kennedy

Advertisers stole the language of Christianity in order to ensure a smooth transition from Christianity to Mammon. The mixture of faith with excessive capitalism has made us more capitalist and less Christian. The god of the free market has won and poses a far greater danger than the United States becoming socialist.

The advertising clergy have made greed a virtue. In Christian churches, there is rarely a sermon on greed. Preachers are more likely to proclaim versions of the prosperity gospel. The hardcore prosperity gospel asks the preacher to solicit funds for an $80 million private jet, while the soft-core prosperity gospel asks the minister to spearhead a stewardship campaign that suggests the blessing of God if the faithful make a bigger promise. This seems odd compared to the New Testament where greed is more of a threat to our ability to follow Christ than lust.

In the new church in America, the teachings of Jesus are ignored. No one takes seriously that Jesus once said, “You cannot serve God and wealth. In our minds, we’ve been very successful at doing both. Jesus tells stories about the dangers of wealth that are terrifying, but not to hardened wealth-makers. Paul insists that the love of money is the root of evil. In Colossians he asserts that greed is idolatry. The book of James tears church members apart for thinking they can ignore God’s will in order to mind business and make money. James (4:2) guts the rich: “You want something and you don’t have it; then you commit murder. And you covet something and can’t get it; then you engage in disputes and conflicts.

In the new church in America, wealth and the desire to have wealth is not an issue. Greed is not a sin – it is a virtue. The incessant need for more fuels the zeal of the faithful. Greed sustains economic growth. Producing billionaires keeps the faith hopeful. Greed becomes the main virtue of the Church of Mammon. If you don’t have greed, you don’t have faith. There is envy, pride, anger and greed; but the greatest of them is greed. Greed is good. Greed creates good competition. The praise of greed shows the absolute necessity of avarice for economic growth. Greed is seen as the proper desire for all church members to possess. Acquisitiveness is a fundamental good. A higher standard of living should be desired by everyone. There can be no barriers erected that will impinge on unlimited economic growth.

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Advertisers converted even Christians. Casinos dot our national landscape as if gambling were a new career choice for the gluttonous. There are over 1,000 casinos scattered across the country. They will soon be as ubiquitous as McDonald’s. As we indulge in more and more luxuries and seek to accumulate more and more things, the advertising clergy call us to the altar of mammon in untold verses of the same invitation: buy more to be a better person. . The advertising preachers, who steal the language of Christianity, tell us that they provide love and not a product. Look at Subaru’s clever advertising campaign. “It takes love to make a Subaru.” The car company’s web page contains a “promise of love”. It looks more like a church than many Christian churches.

The advertising clergy, skilled in slogans that serve as litanies, prayers, promises and comfort, offer a panoply of religious themes to mask the death of greed. Religious language allowed idolatry to descend easily. Hardly anyone notices that we trust money more than God.

As Cornell West puts it, “In short, the dangerous dogma of free-market fundamentalism is diverting our attention from schools to prisons, from working conditions to profit margins, from health clinics to high-tech facial surgeries, from healthcare from healthcare for all to cosmetic surgeries for the rich, from civic associations to pornographic websites, from daycares to strip clubs, from churches to casinos. Market fundamentalism gives a premium to the activities of buying and selling, consuming and taking, promoting and advertising, and devalues ​​community, compassionate charity, and improving the general quality of life.

The American obsession with wealth, health and security is linked to modern America’s discomfort and fear of death, which becomes an “ideology for a culture of death”. Apocalypse Man: The Death Drive and the Rhetoric of White Male Victimization tells the story of white male victimization and his compulsion toward death and self-destruction. Here is the notion that white men should be seen as victims of contemporary socio-political systems.

To hear men’s rights advocates say, they have been disenfranchised by a social order that strips economic and political power from white men in order to empower women and minorities. Even modest demands for equality trigger fear and anger among white men. A life of privilege becomes shackled by negative emotions when the threat is imagined. They insist that they have been excluded from all social justice movements and that there is no rights movement for them.

This church of Mammon ultimately offers a culture of death. According to Augustine in his city ​​of god, wealthy Romans indulged in luxury, pleasure, and entertainment to distract them from death. While sponsors, my friend, will sell you anything they can, no amount of goods will hide the reality that a faith that encourages greed tries to avoid the reality of death. The story of the wealthy farmer planning to build bigger barns while eating, drinking and having fun has become the American gospel, God’s judgment still awaits at the end. Those who worship in the house of Mammon live in fear of losing their wealth, status, and security, but this can never be allowed.

Maybe some people need a new church with better long-term investments.

Rodney Kennedy has his M.Div. from New Orleans Theological Seminary and his doctorate. in rhetoric from Louisiana State University. Pastor of 7 Southern Baptist churches for 20 years, he pastored the First Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio – which is an American Baptist church – for 13 years. He is currently professor of homiletics at Palmer Theological Seminary and acting pastor of Emmanuel Friedens Federated Church, Schenectady, New York. His sixth book – The Immaculate Mistake: How Evangelicals Gave Birth to Donald Trump – is out now from Wipf and Stock (Cascades).