Poverty, Welfare, and ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’

A new song has taken the conservative world by storm. It was written and is performed by a former Virginia factory worker named Oliver Anthony, and it’s called “Rich Men North of Richmond.”

At its heart, the song is about the plight of rural Appalachian people who struggle with poverty. It’s a protest song directed at the elites of Washington D.C., who are the rich men who live and work north of Richmond, Virginia. The song’s lyrics have resonated with many conservatives, who have praised Anthony for giving voice to some of their feelings and frustrations.

This story also has a faith element. Anthony recently came to faith and is in addiction recovery for alcoholism. He has even recited Scripture at recent shows. As such, a number evangelical leaders have expressed their heartfelt support for him.

Nevertheless, the song isn’t without controversy. Some of its lyrics could be characterized as having racial overtones, and the song briefly alludes to conspiracy theories championed by QAnon.

In this episode, we dive into the lyrics of the song, the Scripture that Anthony has pointed his fans’ attention to, and common assumptions among conservatives, including many evangelicals, about the “deserving” versus “undeserving” poor.

RELATED RESOURCES

LISTEN: Expanding the Pro-Life Conversation
LISTEN: Why Do so Many Christians Believe in QAnon?

REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE

VIDEO: Oliver Anthony – Rich Men North Of Richmond
Oliver Anthony’s Viral Hit Doesn’t Love Its Neighbors” by Hannah Anderson

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