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The Real Sin of Sodom
I recently watched an old episode of my mom's favorite television show, the "Billy Graham Crusades". Dr. Graham surprised me with some of his comments about the Biblical city of Sodom. He said that greed was one of the sins of the people of Sodom. According to Ezekiel 16:49 - "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
Many members of the Republican Party have a problem with this same sin. So why do Christians in the Republican Party encourage this sin by supporting low taxes for those with high incomes? Why do Christians support Republicans who don't believe in helping the poor?
Sodom isn't the only Biblical location whose residents were punished by God for mistreating the poor. The Israeli prophets warned the leaders of Israel about the consequences of mistreating the poor before wealthy Israelites were taken into captivity and the land left to the poor.
Ezekiel 22:12 - "you take interest and make a profit from the poor. You extort unjust gain from your neighbors. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD."
Amos 4:1 - "Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”
Amos 5:11 - "You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine."
Luke and other gospels carry a statement by Jesus about the problem facing the rich. " Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Luke 18:24-5
Preachers often suggest the camel analogy is about something large going through a tight opening. The analogy is more likely a camel saying like the "straw that broke the camel's back" or what happens if someone lets a camel get its head inside a tent. People of that era likely used the task of getting a camel through the eye of a needle as a way to determine how difficult the task was.
The problem with getting a camel through the eye of a needle is the shape of the animal and its sometimes uncooperative nature. The long neck, legs and hump means the task isn't simple even with a very large needle. Keep in mind that a needle has a long portion connected to the eye.
Christian Republicans need to recognize that abortion and sexual morality aren't the only moral issues in politics. Mistreatment of the poor and how the rich acquire wealth are at least as important. Christians need to move away from the greedy Republicans who believe the rich should escape the taxes needed to fund government.