Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)
As Obamanomics is literally crumbling before our eyes, and we are witnessing once again how incredibly devestating socialism is for everyone (including most of all the poor - who suffer the worst under the failed policies of central planning), left wingers are pulling out all the stops in trying to prop up their failed coup. And by pulling out all the stops, that means the one that they pretend to hold that "religion has nothing to do with politics."
Not that they don't play the Jesus card whenever they believe it can benefit them (as in, "do you really think that Jesus would not let illegal immigrants into the country," or "who would Jesus hate"). But the latest round of "Jesus was a socialist, so don't talk bad about it" nonsense deserves a healthy smackdown. Recently, liberal Gregory Paul made that silly accusation at the Washington Post.
Thankfully, Jordan Sekulow and David French were ready to do the smacking:
Socialism is a relatively modern construct, a governmental system invented roughly 1,800 years after Christ's death, not a biblical mandate. The question, then, is whether socialism is compatible with Christianity, not whether the Bible mandates socialism.
How can Mr. Paul claim Jesus was "pro-socialist?" Jesus, after all, despite many demands from His followers, pointedly refused to establish an earthly government. Undeterred, Mr. Paul interprets Jesus's "substantial encouragement for the poor" and warnings against the moral pitfalls of wealth as support for socialism. Yet one has to travel quite the intellectual and theological distance to equate admonitions towards charity and warnings against greed with divine sanction for the destruction of private property rights and the forcible redistribution of wealth.
Indeed. And that's why people like Mr. Paul quickly retreat from such a position when pressed with the Biblical evidence and try to use the New Testament teachings on the early Jerusalem church to back up their position. As Sekulow and French point out, that doesn't fly either:
He [Paul] claims the Jerusalem church's famous voluntary sharing of goods and property wasn't voluntary at all but instead represents a "form of terror-enforced-communism imposed by a God who thinks that Christians who fail to join the collective are worthy of death." This theological assertion -- a reading of Scripture that has completely escaped theologians for two millennia -- rests on the story of Ananias and Saphhira, who were struck dead after they "lied to the Holy Spirit." They had sold land, given part to the Apostles but claimed that they had given all. Here are the Apostle Peter's words to Ananias:
Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 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 just to human beings but to God.
Catch that? The very passage which Mr. Paul believes clinches his argument that the Bible endorses "terror-enforced-communism" actually reaffirms private property rights. The land belonged to Ananias, and after he sold it, the money was "at [his] disposal." (Indeed, Jesus Himself declared that "the worker deserves his wages.") His crime wasn't withholding money; his crime was lying.
What's funny to watch is the way liberals will quickly do an about-face when informed Christians respond by speaking truth to the lies and distortions of the left when it comes to Scripture. Much like you hear them weakly assert that "the Bible is not a science book" when it comes to questions over Darwinism, these same folks who attempt to use the Bible to support their socialist designs will quickly start asserting, "well, the Bible isn't an economics book." Fair enough. But just like I say with science, that doesn't mean when the Bible speaks of economics, the Bible is wrong or misleading on that topic. French and Sekulow go further:
While the Bible is hardly an economics text, some economic and social themes do endure, and they are incompatible not just with socialism but also many aspects of the modern welfare state.
While the Bible calls us to help the poor, it is also clear that the poor must help themselves to the extent they are able. In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul warns against idleness and says, "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." In 1 Timothy 5, Paul also declares, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." Even inclusion on the widows' "list" (which entitled widows to receive aid from the church) was conditioned upon age and good conduct.
The requirement that the poor be industrious is also found in the one earthly government that God did explicitly create: Old Testament Israel. In the midst of comprehensive laws that govern everything from religious ritual to sexual conduct to diet comes this instruction: "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner." Not only is private property recognized ("your land") but the welfare that does exist requires the poor to actually engage in the harvest to collect the gleanings.
But the most compelling piece of evidence? These two authors point this out as well: the Bible teaches to take care of, and "strengthen the hand" of the poor, rather than increasing poverty. History teaches without question (and we are proving it again right now with Obamanomics): socialism creates and increases poverty. No Christian, then, should or would support it.