Capitalist American idol
Wal-Mart as Antichrist might be believable, considering the barely-disguised worship of cheap labor sacrificed on the altar of nonstop consumption. But this book by historian Moreton says it all in the subtitle—The Making of Christian Free Enterprise—then proceeds to produce evidence of how this unnatural marriage of capitalism and popular Christianity has been accomplished. It’s been a puzzle to those of us who recognize that what little Jesus actually said about economics and politics leans more toward the left, but Wal-Mart is the drive-through chapel featuring an Elvis impersonator where populist Christian capitalism wed, then began to reproduce. Wal-Mart may be the biggest example, but it’s not the only one. Moreton makes her point with a combination of economic and cultural history, offering an explanation for working-class Americans’ continued embrace of beliefs that hurt them economically. Just count the “Honk if you love Jesus!” bumper stickers in a Wal-Mart parking lot.