by Greg Johnson

I was on my morning commute riding my bicycle and thinking about how there are so many labels that divide us: political, religious, economic, racial, and national.

The latest and most prominent distinction to divide us is a philosophy that claims humanity falls into two camps: the 1% and the 99%.

We’re told that the one-percenters are the rich and powerful who own most of the world’s wealth, having obtained their position of power and riches by exploiting the 99%.

I’ve known many wealthy people in my life. Presumably 1 out of ever 100 people I meet are among the 1%. Most people I know who are wealthy spend much of their time, energy, and money giving to charity. They are compassionate, hard working, creative, and giving people.

With all of the forces trying to drive us apart, I thought to myself, “Why should have a movement proclaiming that we’re all part of the 100%.”

I did a Google search for “We are the 100 percent” and sure enough, such a movement exists. Here are a few articles about this growing movement:

  • Jakarta Globe, “We Are the 100 Percent, A Modern Gandhi Might Say,” 1 December 2011.
  • Shambala SunSpace, “We are the 100 Percent: What Occupy Wall Street means for an Enlightened Society,” 25 October 2011.
  • The Interdependence Project, “We are the 100 Percent,” 15 October 2011.
  • Daily Kos, “We are the 100 Percent,” 9 September 2011.
  • Common Dreams, “Can we be the 100 percent?,” 4 October 2011.

Viewpoints of the Wealthy

We’re all familiar with the scripture where Jesus states, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

This scripture is almost always taken out of context and used as a sound bite to portray rich people as greedy and exploitative – unworthy of heaven. That’s actually the opposite of what Jesus intended to convey.

The very next verse of this story states: “When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?'” (Matthew 19:24-25)

Notice the disbelieve among the disciples. Their response was, “Who then can be saved?” The rich person described just previously in this story was actually a very good person who had kept all the commandments. Having much wealth, he was probably able to give generously. This is why the disciples were astonished. If he can’t be saved, then who can be saved? Jesus intended to choose a person who his listeners would assume was worthy of heaven. (Matthew 19:16-30)