Via @OccupyCatholic, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins writes at CNN that Jesus, indeed, told his followers to “occupy” until he returned (Luke 19:13), but what he really meant was to be a free marketer:
But just what does Jesus’ order to occupy mean? Does it mean take over and trash public property, as the Occupy movement has? Does it mean engage in antisocial behavior while denouncing a political and economic system that grants one the right and luxury to choose to be unproductive?
Heavens, no. I’m not going to get into a discussion of hermeneutics, but perhaps we could discuss Perkins’ purposeful misrepresentation of Occupy? He continues:
No, the Greek term behind the old English translation literally means “be occupied with business.” As with all parables, Jesus uses a common activity such as fishing or farming to provide a word picture with a deeper spiritual meaning.
Occupied with multinational corporations and Wall Street hucksters? But here’s the kicker:
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.
Ah. The kingdom Jesus is expecting upon his return is a free market system? Novel. Perkins goes on to argue that 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.” Rather, Perkins maintains, “we are to “occupy,” not by railing against a free market system that rewards diligence, even though it is occasionally abused. Rather we are to occupy by using that system ethically as a means to advance the interests of the one we serve.”
I’m sure Wall Street is thrilled with the biblical endorsement.