The original context of Noam Chomsky’s quote was regarding the government and big corporations in Canada who wanted to proceed with fossil fuel developments at the expense of the environment and the indigenous people are the ones taking the lead in combating climate change. But the same can be said of megachurch pastors, who rank among the richest and most powerful ones who are trying to drive the society to destruction while the so-called ‘least advantaged’ people who choose to become social justice activists are the ones taking the lead in trying to protect all of us.
Evidently, the lavish and comfortable life of these pastors shield them from experiencing the harsh realities of the daily struggles of the less advantaged people. These pastors often seek to protect their privilege and status quo by continuing to keep the masses in fear through fear-based doctrines and myths such as the literal hell message and penal substitution theory based on the concept of a vengeful, blood-thirsty god. The pastors also attempt to keep the masses in delusion through promises of an utopian afterlife in heaven and a preoccupation with the capitalistic, consumerist and materialistic lifestyle that is unsustainable and destructive to both humanity and the environment.
In fact, one sign that shows whether we are preaching and advocating the gospel of peace and equality is that we will be framed, ostracised, imprisoned or killed by those who want to hold on to their power, privilege and influence in an unjust and dysfunctional system. Examples of such revolutionaries include Martin Luther King Jr, Steve Biko, Che Guevera, Sandra Bland and other advocates of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The apostle Paul who delivered the good news that all are equal in Christ himself suffered at the hands of the oppressors whose power and privilege were challenged by the gospel of grace and peace. Like Paul wrote:
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.” (2 Corinthians: 11.23)
Are the so-called megachurch grace preachers really preaching the gospel of grace and peace? Are they standing in solidarity with those who are oppressed and marginalised by the race and class privileged system? Have they suffered from hunger, imprisonment, exile or ostracisation in the name of preaching the gospel and liberating the oppressed? Are they willing to go through the same struggles as the revolutionaries who have paved the way for the emanicipation of the disenfranchised and the discriminated? If we look at how these pastors propagate a fear-based literal hell message and live a lavish and comfortable life in order to keep the well-oiled machinery of the religious business running smoothly and maintain the status quo, we will see for ourselves the irony.