Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Post on Theology and the Writer's Strike

On a message board I frequent, somebody asked about the Hollywood Writer's Strike; specifically, they asked whether or not unions "line up biblically." This was my response. What do you all think?

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I find that questions like this are too broad to create much conversation on the subject. You can't find any verse or passage that speaks directly to the topic, so unless you define some issues, there's not much to discuss/debate. To that end, let me propose three smaller issues that might point us toward an answer to the bigger question.

1. Is there a justice issue involved? Is there an injustice being perpetrated that unions might be able to stand up against? In the 20s and 30s, this was the case. Sweat shops, virtual slave labor, paying a pittance for backbreaking work, fatcat corporate owners getting wealthy on the backs of the poor, uneducated, illiterate, immigrant population. Unions stood up for the rights of those who suffered greatly, and brought about great reforms for the working masses (sadly, many churches fought against the unions in the misguided belief that God had ordained capitalism, and unions seemed inherently socialist). So, are unions today seeking after justice and fair treatment? Or are they after vain power, liberal politics, or excessive monetary gain? wrt the hollywood strike, are the studios being unjust toward the writers (note: unfair and unjust are not the same thing)? Is the writer's union striving after justice for its constituents?

2. Is it even fair to talk about injustice toward writers, when so many others are truly suffering? How does the suffering of Hollywood writers compare to the suffering of the immigrant mother working as a hotel maid at the Travel-lodge? Is it right for somebody who's making a livable wage in Los Angeles to demand more, even strike for more, when a lot of people are struggling to survive on minimum wage or worse? How does God feel about writers demanding more, when the rest of the world is surviving on a couple cents per day at best? Does any American Middle-class worker have the right to complain, when all over the world people are still in slavery, in deathly conditions working in Chinese coal mines or African diamond mines, when families are selling their daughters into prostitution just so they can eat?

3. Considering the garbage that Hollywood continuously spews forth, are any of these the right questions to be asking? In other words, "do unions line up biblically" may be a non-issue, when the writers have proven that they have no intention of "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with their God." Considering the incessant glorification of violence, the normalization of aberrant sexuality, the objectification of women, the fame and glory given to every kind of sin, the commercialization of everything decent, the unhealthy attention paid to Paris and Jessica and all the American Idols, and considering the mockery of Christianity and God's ideals (love, justice, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, etc.), is the strike really an issue? Or is the entertainment system so broken, so diabolical, so ungodly, so anti-christian, that God couldn't care less about whether or not they have a union? Perhaps his only desire is that they learn what it means to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord.

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