“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” [Jesus] said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:8-14).

Reportedly, Kim Kardashian’s wedding cost $10,000,000 for 500 celebrity guests. Each of her Vera Wang wedding dresses was $20,000. Her invitations had a real crystal border. And despite all that expenditure, she’s no more or less married than somebody who spent very little and went down to the courthouse or had a quiet ceremony in a church chapel with a minister and a couple of friends. Not much cash outlay is actually necessary if your main interest is getting married, not showing off for the media.

Such self-indulgence and expenditures like it, such as huge bonuses for corporate moguls, should be condemned for what they are: an obscenity and idolatry, an affront to decency and a dismissal of the concerns of those in our nation who are unemployed, underemployed, and struggling financially. Most people in our nation will never make $10,000,000 in their entire lifetimes nor will their families realize such gain over two or three or more generations. Yet this “celebrity” and her family spent that amount on one party! (And by the way, shame on the American public for making this woman and those like her famous by watching their “reality” shows and shame on the starry-eyed, superficial media for following her around.)

For comparison to spending $10,000,000 for one self-centered event, consider the following:

  • a Habitat for Humanity home in a midwestern city I know of costs a total of $80,000 when administration and program expenditures are added in; “hard” costs for construction amount to $63,000. The Kardashian wedding could have housed 125 families. Internationally, the figure would be 10 times that.
  • the median household income in the US is $51,425 according to the US Census Bureau (figures from www.ask.com); one event thus cost almost 200 times the annual income of the American family on the middle of the income scale.
  • in Mississippi, where I live, the median household income is $37,790 (2008 figures; http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/rankings.html), making us 50th on the state ranking; Ms. Kardashian’s elaborate nuptials cost 264 times more than what a Mississippi family can expect in a year; in other words, her party budget would provide for one MS family and its descendants until the year 2275.
  • my congregation helped found and continues to support a local food pantry; a significant percentage of its food is donated, for example by Wal-Mart through its “Feeding America” program or obtained free, from the Mississippi Food Network. Still, that was not enough to feed the 11,567 people/4204 families who needed its help (and received it) in 2010. The Food Pantry had to purchase $50, 795.48 worth of food last year. 
  • at Wal-Mart in Amory, 2% milk is $4.33/gallon; one dozen large eggs, $1.78; basic whole wheat store-brand bread, $1.50 a loaf; a 32 oz. bag of carrots, $1.48; cabbage, 54 cents/pound; and a five pound bag of potatoes, $3.97. You do the math.

If Kim Kardashian and her ilk have the money and want to spend it on idolatry and partying, they will be held accountable for that by the Judge of us all. Perhaps the judgment against her kind would be tempered if at least she would at least give an equal amount to charities that help put food in the mouths and roofs over the heads of those who would never be on her wedding banquet guest list.

© 2011 Tom Cheatham

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