Demonizing the poor is not merely a Republican strategy of aligning the middle class with the financial elites, it is a meme that has been sanctified by the Church since the 19th century. This phenomenon is known as the "Protestant Ethic" which was founded on the Calvinist principle of predestination which held that all people were selected by God either for salvation or eternal perdition. According to scripture, God's presence in ones life manifests in the fruits of the spirit and industriousness is one of them. Because it was also believed that affluence was solely a result of hard-work, the leaders of the religious establishment were inclined to presume that the rich were saved by definition. By contrast, poverty appeared to be solely a result of indolence and the poor were presumed to have been condemned to hell.
In light of the premise that no-one could
override God's will, the secular and the religious elites concluded that
it was pointless to attempt to alleviate poverty. After all, they are
poor just because they are lazy and they are lazy because God made them
that way and no-one could change that, so no-one can stop them from
being poor! Who could possibly argue with that!? Besides, colluding with
the industrialists was a far more lucrative venture than abiding by
Christ's dictum of a "rich man is just as likely to enter heaven as a
camel is to go through the eye of a needle".
Since then, the
religious establishment has been a foremost ally of the financial elites
who were granted a moral justification to renege on their
responsibilities to the poor. In return, the Church received ample
financial support and procured a large number of lucrative followers who
had little interest in being sincere Christians. Within a century,
religion emerged as a multimillion dollar business and the net-worth of
its best practitioners exceeded that of many Wall-Street speculators.
Virtually any person with a conscience would find this enormous
hypocrisy daunting, if not altogether unbearable. That is why a
significant percentage of preachers have lost their faith but the
financial incentives compel them to preserve their stature as religious leaders.