by Jay Johansen | Oct 16, 2020
In Matthew 36:34-36, Jesus says, "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you voted for food stamps; I was thirsty and you wrote to your Congressman; I was a stranger and you called for loosening immigration laws; I was naked and you marched in a Gay Pride parade; I was sick and you campaigned for government-subsidized health care; I was in prison and you rioted and looted to protest against the police." (Revised Democrat Version)
Well, that's not quite what Jesus actually said.
Liberals often say that if you were a real Christian you would support government programs to help the poor and the sick because the Bible commands Christians to help the poor and the sick.
Frankly, I wonder if liberals really advocate these policies because they are devout Christians who want to obey God's will, or if they are using Christianity and the Bible to manipulate people. I wonder if they don't care what the Bible says themselves, but they know that many people do. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt for the sake of argument.
So what does the Bible actually say about helping the unfortunate? Here's what Jesus actually said: "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me."
Notice that Jesus did not praise people for supporting government programs to help the unfortunate. He praised people for taking personal action. He doesn't say, "I was hungry and you petitioned Caesar to provide food to the poor". No, he says, "YOU gave me food". The Bible praises people for making personal sacrifices and doing the work themselves. I don't know of any place where the Bible praises people for calling for government programs.
It is no answer to say, "Well, things were different back then. They didn't have government welfare programs." Actually, yes they did. The Roman government operated the "corn dole", which gave free food to poor people. They also provided free entertainment. Historians refer to this as the Roman policy of "bread and circuses".
Liberals often say that conservatives are greedy and heartless and that they oppose these government programs because they don't care about the poor. But I don't know any conservative who says that we shouldn't help the poor. Rather, the question is how to most effectively help the poor. Conservatives believe that private charity is more efficient and effective. And they put their money where their mouth is: studies routinely show that conservatives give more to charity than liberals. (See, for example, Don't Call Them Stingy.)
Indeed, it's kind of ironic. Liberals bash conservatives for being greedy because conservatives want to decide for themselves what charities they will support. Meanwhile liberals brag about their own generosity because they are willing to force other people to give money through taxes to pay for their favorite charities. Sometimes they even boast of their generosity for demanding that other people be forced to give them money.
© 2020 by Jay Johansen
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