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Who Would Jesus Short?

Location: deep in the Bible Belt, southeastern USA. The state is Georgia, stomping grounds of the crony capitalist and single-issue voter.

"Georgia is open for business!" our elected officials say. Being a Republican-dominated state, they are business friendly, as long as it's the right kind of business. Green industry? No thanks, we love to pollute in Georgia. Tech? Only in Atlanta.Sex trafficking? Keep it in the massage parlors, and limit the ladies to Asian heritage.

A common thread running through my particular part of the state is that of the "Christian businessman." This creature attempts to marry two seemingly incompatible ideals, that of the money-making titan and the holy renunciate, into a self-conflicted superbeing.

Henry Miller once wrote about this sort of person, but it wasn't until my 30's that I met a self-professed CBM. Oddly, this was in Australia, a very secular state. Prosperity gospel, however, knows no bounds, reaching even into Sydney. The duality of a man who could preach the sanctity of life and modesty while cheering a layoff-driven stock price bump and vilify immigrants, sometimes in the course of one breath, was truly stunning.

The CBMs I deal with today would find my former acquaintance's behavior quaint. These are the gun-loving, racism embracing old boys of the South writ large and turned loose via the 2017 tax cut and general moral degeneracy seen since November 2016. Calling themselves job creators, they hire temporary workers and pay a pittance. (The joke is on them; a smaller force of skilled laborers could do more and better work than a large force of unskilled laborers, so where is the savings?) Convinced of their piety, they hate the "other" mightily and without end. "Other" meaning the usual suspects, such as LGBTQ, immigrants, non-whites, anyone less powerful than themselves.

They also believe their president is a Christian, in spite of everything they've seen with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. But why wouldn't they? He is their ideal, or perhaps I should say idol. He is what they imagine themselves to be.

What is one to do in the presence of such creatures? I consider myself a man of faith, but that faith is so different from the alleged belief and behavior of my employers as to be unrecognizable. Perhaps following the suggestion of one Mike Ehrmantraut, who advised a kingpin to "know your place and do your job," is a good idea. And I do so, always with an eye open for opportunity.

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