I always knew that the United Church of Christ was, shall we say, a bit lax on theology. Susan Brooks Thistlewaite, a UCC-ordained minister, writes on faith for the Washington Post. And she has determined that God wants the government to forgive student loans. Based on the Lord’s Prayer:
Currently, I’m advocating debt forgiveness. It is the moral thing to do and it is the right civic thing to do. This is what Jesus actually meant; real debts, real debtors, forgiving and forgiven. This is what government is actually about-of the people, by the people, for the people. We still have a chance to show young people that democracy can work for the common good.
It’s a novel interpretation, never before proposed in the two millenia since Jesus walked the earth. (Thanks to Ken Shepherd of NewsBusters for publicizing this.) But I guess that is what good, innovative theologians do. Come up with heretofore unrecognized (cynics might say implausible, silly, and nonsensical, but not I!) interpretations of traditional texts.
But why stop at student loans? I’ve been meditating on the word and I believe God believes in a lot more forgiveness. To start, he would have the government forgive my taxes. I’m not getting good value for my money, could use the money better myself, and have been feeling unloved recently. Some tax fortgiveness would be a very good thing.
Government also should forgive us our duties to fill out census forms. Government shouldn’t pry, and time is money, as we all know. So when I repeat the imprecation to “forgive us our debts,” it should apply to the census.
Also, entrepreneurs should be forgiven their legal duty to pay the minimum wage. Economists long have recognized that setting wages discourages the hiring of the least skilled, educated, and experienced workers. It also punishes people hiring the most vulnerable and disadvantage. Sounds like a good opportunity for some governmental forgiveness to me!
In fact, there are a lot more regulations with which all of us should be forgiven having to comply. Many are special interest measures intended to enrich the special interests who often gain control of expensive and expansive government. When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray he obviously was telling us that government should forgive us following other arbitrary rules and laws.
I’m sure there are some areas that I’m forgetting. I mean, God is a God of forgiveness. Think of all the other areas where God obviously wanted government to forgive us!