Written by Bob Siegel and originally published by Washington Times Communities, February 4, 2012. Used by permission.
It might be nice if politicians would go to the National Prayer Breakfast simply to pray. Unfortunately, they also say things to the audience. In this case, the name of Jesus was invoked by President Obama to justify his love affair with wealth redistribution.
I suppose we shouldn’t be too concerned that the man is only comparing his policies to Christ. It’s an improvement. After all, in 2008, many people thought Obama was Christ.
Before evaluating Obama’s latest scriptural revelation, there is always a consistency factor which kicks in when politicians open their mouths and allow actual words to come out.
In 2006, Senator Obama said, “I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God’s mandate. I don’t think it’s healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or avoid dialogue with people who disagree with them” (Cathleen Falsani, The God Factor Inside The Spiritual Lives Of Public People, 2006).
Then, in 2008, Candidate Obama was being interviewed by Cameron Strang:
Strang: Your plan specifically prohibits discriminatory hiring policies based on religion. Don’t you think faith-based organizations that would otherwise want to join this program would bristle at the limitation that they can’t hire a staff that reflects their organization’s values?
Obama: I think it’s important to distinguish between people who are hired as part of a church to carry out that church’s mission or ministries, or administer the church. There’s always a religious exemption there from Title VII. It’s important for us to make sure that a Christian church can hire Christians or a Jewish church can hire people of the Jewish faith. That’s different from programs that are specifically funded by the federal government and offered to the public (Cameron Strang, Q and A With Barack Obama, July 1, 2008).
Interesting, Mr. President. So let me ask: Will your proposed taxation, freely aimed at the rich and offered in the name of religion, be a program sponsored by the federal government?
Such contradictions should not be a surprise. They come up often. How many Democratic politicians use that tired old line about being “personally against abortion” all the while protecting the practice to “keep church and state separated?” Yes, isolating religion and government is always handy until it becomes convenient to play the “Jesus Card” in support of a liberal policy.
Meanwhile, President Obama’s Bible knowledge should have already been under suspicion long ago when a 2006 report said, “Obama doesn’t believe he, or anyone else, will go to hell” (Cathleen Falsani, The God Factor Inside The Spiritual Lives Of Public People,2006).
Hell may not be a popular doctrine but it is a Biblical one, taught by Jesus throughout the New Testament (Ex. Matt: 10:28). People are free to believe or disbelieve the Bible, but claiming acceptance and then cherry picking its teaching is another matter altogether.
In any event, despite his less than stellar track record, Barack the Biblical scholar took another stab at theology this week during the National Prayer Breakfast in the midst of a justification for raising taxes on the rich:
“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.”
Obama was quoting Luke 12:48 which followed the parable of the master returning from a wedding banquet:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
In context, Jesus is discussing the coming of His kingdom. It was understood that all of his parables were about the Kingdom of Heaven:
”The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you” (Matt 13:10-11).
Christ’s parables may, on the surface, be stories that talk about money, or agriculture, or servants, but our readiness for God’s kingdom by turning from personal sin and accepting the rule of Jesus in our lives are the main points to be gleaned. His parables were not trying to make statements about government imposed taxation. For Christian views about financial giving to the needy, we leave the parables and go to other portions of the Bible. Here we find that the church was indeed encouraged to give, but only as an option.
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).
While we’re in the neighborhood, it wouldn’t hurt to look at a few other passages frequently taken out of context by liberals to justify government redistribution.
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” (Acts 4:32).
People who use this scripture are often sincere but they sincerely miss the difference between mandatory redistribution of wealth and voluntary redistribution of wealth. One has to do with authentic generosity. The other is simply stealing, despite Orwellian tradition which substitutes the word fairness for the word, theft.
If any care to study the Bible in context, they are invited to turn to a passage on the heels of Acts 4:32, Chapter 5, and read the account of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira. They sold their property and turned money over to the church of Jerusalem, but this act of “altruism” was accompanied by deception. They lied about the amount of profit, having kept a portion for themselves. With an intuition from God, Peter accused them of lying to the Holy Spirit. Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead on the spot.
As you can see, the lesson here is not that the couple was too stingy. Peter only had a problem with their dishonesty.
“Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men, but to God” (Acts 5:4).
See? The money was at their disposal. Yes, the New Testament encourages a giving, generous spirit. No, it does not teach mandatory redistribution of wealth.
Before Obama makes even more news by finally admitting that his intention is to “steal from the rich and give to the poor,” leaving Jesus in the dust and this time comparing his policies to Robin Hood, let us keep in mind that in the conventional Robin Hood legend, our hero was stealing from the king’s government and giving back to the people what the government had taken from them through taxation. But then, neither legend nor sacred scripture will ever sound as amazing a political ramblings.
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.
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Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net Many comments to posts are discussed by Bob over the air where anyone is free to call in and respond/debate. Call in toll free number: 1-888-344-1170.