Chicago in April 2011“Leadership gains authority and respect
when the voiceless poor are treated fairly.” Proverbs 29:14 (The Message)

Econotheism is an important, and timely,  word that I have just learned.

On Sunday, March 25, 2012 I attended the fourth annual forum of the Green Awakening Network, called, “Green Choices for Faith Communities.” This annual conference is co-sponsored by Greening Sacred Spaces and the Green Awakening Network. The keynote speaker this year was Elizabeth May, Leader of Canada’s Green Party, who introduced me to the term, “Econotheism.” This word had previously been invented by Peter Timmerman, a Zen Buddhist and member of the Canadian Forum on Religion and Ecology.

Econotheism is, in short, the worship of the economy!

Elizabeth May says that the central organizing principle of econotheism is selfish individualism, and that econotheism is the official state religion in Canada.

One example of this, that I have seen in 2012, is the federal government’s actions in denying workers and their employers the right to freely negotiate labour contracts. The federal government has stepped in when there has been a possibility of strikes at Air Canada, for example, and Minister Lisa Raitt has declared that a strike would damage the economy. The end result has been that workers have been legislated to continue to work. The economy comes first!

Another example is the budget that was proposed by the Ontario government on March 27, 2012. The elimination of “the deficit” is the rationale for many of the measures being proposed in the budget. Let us recognize that previous tax reductions to corporations and high income individuals are contributing factors to the current deficit. One choice that the Ontario government could have made would have been to reinstate those taxes to their previous levels.

Instead, the Liberals chose to hurt the most vulnerable in Ontario. Children living in poverty will have to wait another year for the $100 that their parents were promised for this year, for example. This is the wrong choice!

Why did they make this choice? Could it be, as stated in an editorial in The Toronto Star on March 27, that the poor do not make large political donations and they are too busy surviving to do much lobbying ?

When we make choices for the health of the economy, rather than for the health of the people, there is a proven case of ECONOTHEISM.

I believe that the economy is here to serve people, not the other way around.

“Leadership gains authority and respect
when the voiceless poor are treated fairly.” Proverbs 29:14 (The Message)

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