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If you’ve ever studied religion or had to memorize the Ten Commandments, then you’d know that the tenth is often referred to as: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” Which is specific and easy to remember.

But some texts translate it more perplexingly as “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s donkey.” And most texts actually elaborate on the two versions and state that “thou shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife, male servant, female servant, ox, donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Basically, you can’t want anything your neighbor’s got, or you’re going to hell. Keeping up with the Jonses just got Biblical.

WANT

But if you’ve ever studied economics, then you’d know that coveting is kind of important for a society to grow. Especially a capitalist society, which is the majority of the world now, regardless of what people are calling themselves these days. Coveting is what keeps us going and growing.

One might think that a society based on coveting is a bad thing, since at its worst it represents the kind of rampant consumerism and unabashed greed that will eventually destroy the nation if not the entire world. And there may be truth to the fact that “want” can definitely go too far if it’s not kept in check. But the reality is that you can’t just get rid of coveting altogether, or the world would stagnate permenantly and then man would things get boring around here.

For example, if no one ever coveted their neighbor’s Xbox, then no one would ever have to compensate by going out to buy their own Xbox, which would then translate into billions of dollars of lost revenue for America’s economy. This pretty much goes for anything you’ve ever bought, owned, or enjoyed. So basically, if you are against coveting, then you hate America. Which means the Republicans hate you.

The Catholic Church (and the religious right) must have gotten wise to this economic and societal reality, because now the meaning of “covet” has been tightened to “a strong overwhelming desire,” so basically you can covet your neighbor’s donkey all you want. Just don’t covet it too much.

So go ahead and covet your neighbor’s man servant if that floats your boat. It’s what makes us Americans. And apparently God is okay with it now that Republicans are okay with it.

Sin Lets the Jesus In

Coveting your neighbor’s donkey is effing awesome.


 

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