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What Would Jesus Do About Occupy Wall Street?

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WWJD, or, what would Jesus do? That’s the question that evangelical Christians ask themselves when they face a moral quandary in the personal lives. WWJD has also been appropriated by pop culture, with blogs like “What Would Tyler Durden Do” (based off the character in the book and movie, Fight Club, from Fox, a subsidiary of Newscorp (NWS)) and “What would Don Draper Do” (based off the character in AMC Network’s (AMCX) Mad Men).
WWJD can be applied to any situation – What would Jesus do if he was attacked by a polar bear? What would Jesus do about illegal immigrants? Two months into the Occupy Movement, which came about in part because of the outrage over fat bonuses at bailed out banks like Goldman Sachs (GS), Citi (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), Bank of America (BAC) and JP Morgan (JPM), it seems this week that the pertinent topic is: What would Jesus do about the Occupy protestors?
Well, according to Tony Perkins, president of the controversial Family Research Council, “Jesus was a free marketer, not an Occupier.” Blogging for CNN, Perkins wrote about a passage in the Gospel of Luke, in which Jesus, because he had to be absent from the kingdom for some time, entrusted his disciples with specific responsibilities and told thm to ‘occupy till I come.’ (Luke 19:13, King James Version)

Writes Perkins:

The fact that Jesus chose the free market system as the basis for this parable should not be overlooked. When the nobleman returns, after being established as king a stand-in for Jesus he calls all his servants together to see what they had accomplished in his absence.

The first servant reports a nice profit: 10 minas. While the story lacks specifics on whether he invested the money in a herd of sheep or a hedge fund, we do know that he made his gain by engaging in business transactions of some sort. He used a free market system to bring a tenfold return on investment. No doubt such a return took a lot of diligent, dedicated effort.

The newly established king praises the servant and gives him a reward that's an even greater return on his efforts, "because you have been faithful in very little I will give you authority over ten cities.

According to Perkins, “Jesus rejected collectivism and the mentality that has occupied America for the last few decades: that everyone gets a trophy equal outcomes for inequitable performance. There are winners and yes, there are losers. And wins and losses are determined by the diligence and determination of the individual.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams would disagree with Perkins though. The Washington Post notes that the Anglican leader has spoken out in support of the Occupiers in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, saying that Jesus would be right there amidst the protestors, “sharing the risks, not just taking sides.”

In the St. Paul’s encampment, Williams added, Jesus would be “steadily changing the entire atmosphere by the questions that he asked of everybody involved — rich and poor, capitalist and protester and cleric.”

The archbishop said that when Jesus said “give Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” he was asking “what’s the exact point at which involvement in the empire of capitalist economy involves you fatally.”

While the jury is still out on where Jesus would stand on Occupy Wall Street, one thing’s for sure: As with just about everything under the sun, Jesus, the Bible and the Occupy movement will always be interpreted through subjective lenses that makes reaching a consensus difficult.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.