This is your reading assignment for the holidays!

Please write a book report.

Jeff Smith of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has compiled a reader about the lives, beliefs, and whims of the super-rich DeVos family.

I haven’t finished reading it. It is a big endeavor.

Jeff Smith writes:

“This is exactly why I have spent years monitoring, investigating and critiquing the DeVos Family. They are the most recognizable and powerful manifestation of the systems of power and oppression in West Michigan. Now, I know there are plenty of people who share the belief that without the DeVos Family, Grand Rapids wouldn’t be where it is today. I fully agree with that belief, but for reasons that are the exact opposite of those who hold the most powerful family in West Michigan in high regard.

“When Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel founded the Amway corporation, they did so by embracing some of the most deeply entrenched lies about this country. Rich DeVos has written numerous books that promote his values. In his book Believe, DeVos, in talking about freedom, states, “that call of freedom went forth from a rugged wilderness, and Europe and Asia and Africa sent their sons of adventure to hew out a new society in a land of forests and savages.”

“This statement from DeVos is essentially an affirmation in his belief of Manifest Destiny. For those who don’t know, the company that DeVos founded with Jay Van Andel, was originally going to be called The American Way, but was changed to Amway so as to abbreviate their take on Manifest Destiny.

“In addition to believing in Manifest Destiny, Rich DeVos is also deeply committed to the values of capitalism, or what he likes to refer to as the free enterprise system. In his book Believe, DeVos states, “The free-enterprise system has outperformed, outproduced any other in the world. It is a gift of God to us, and we should understand it, embrace it, and believe in it.”

“The above statement is the perfect encapsulation of what the patriarch of the family, Rich DeVos, believes and is firmly committed to. The DeVos Family is a deeply religious family, regardless of how one defines religious beliefs. The family comes out of the Calvinist tradition and are members of the Christian Reformed Church. However, the DeVos Family, in many ways embraces a form of Christian Reconstruction. Those who practice Christian Reconstruction theology believe that society should be governed by biblical values, rather than secular values. This is exactly why the family has for decades developed relationships and funded organizations that are deeply committed to homophobia, anti-reproductive rights, patriarchy, white supremacy and free market capitalism.”