This past week was a fruitful one. I spoke at the Techonomy event in New York City as well as at a national gathering of Christian entrepreneurs upstate.
Photo by Rebecca Greenfield for Techonomy
Meeting with the Christian entrepreneurs was enlightening. I found that the themes of the campaign and their point of view are aligned in many important respects — a mindset of abundance, of community, and of lifting up the least among us.
My wife and I have been bringing our boys to church for the last several years. It has been very positive for the whole family. During this time, I have become friends with my pastor, Mark Mast. We have discussed whether the Freedom Dividend and Universal Basic Income are consistent with Christian beliefs. As he is much more of an expert than I, I wanted to share what he had to say on the matter:
“When you read Christian scripture, you find a continued mandate to care for those who are poor or on the margins of our society — to love your neighbor as yourself. People don’t end up on the margins because ‘God put them there.’ They are there, even if they’ve made some bad choices, because we as neighbors have failed to take the command to love and care for them seriously — to give them every window we can for a second, a third, a millionth chance to have the same opportunities for life, security, and happiness that so many of us take for granted.
Most people who are struggling today aren’t struggling because of choices they made. Often economic hardship is the result of things outside of a person’s control, like job loss, illness, or the place where they were born. It can also be the result of a culture that cares more about stock portfolios than people in need. I know the only reason I am where I am today is that I had a network of friends and support, including support from the government, that helped me up and showed me a path.
Jesus’ command to love our neighbor is at the heart of Christianity. More than 70% of Americans call themselves Christians. My question for each one of them comes from 1 John 3:17: “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?”
Universal Basic Income is a beginning for followers of Christ, and all who believe in putting Humanity First, to begin to love our neighbors as ourselves and begin caring for and helping others the way we have been commanded.”
— Rev. Dr. Mark E. Mast, Pastor
Reading these words from Mark gave me a real charge. The support for Universal Basic Income spans centuries, political parties, religious traditions — from Stephen Hawking to Milton Friedman to Martin Luther King Jr., all the way back to the gospels. Regardless of what you believe, I hope Mark’s message inspires you, too. Let’s bring abundance to our fellow countrymen and women and remind them that a more just world is possible.
In the coming weeks we’ll be launching a drive to get 100,000 people to donate $1 to our campaign, in order to demonstrate how many people believe in our mission. If you could donate $1 right now, that would get us off to a great start. Let’s show the country that we believe in people, and that we have the capacity to change the world for the better.