Egalitarian: adj. affirming political, economic, and social equality for all
[< Fr. egalite]
Defined that way, I’d have some problems with the idea, unless we’re pretty careful how we define “equality”.
But the Bible certainly touches related issues. I have found a couple of lines in the Old Testament recently that shed some light on the question of the relative value of people of different social or economic classes.
If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants when they had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me?
What will I answer when called to account?
Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?
Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their Jewish brothers. Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.”
Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.”
Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our countrymen and though our sons are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.”
When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry.
And guess what. Nehemiah was not angry at the outcry nor at those making the charges. He did not have that vigorous self-insulation from reality that some in high positions have today.
And this clearly has serious implications for public (and private) social policy – for how we treat each other and how we talk about each other in our society.
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