Sunday, February 05, 2012

Socialism Is Un-Christian

Jesus never once told us how we were to govern ourselves here on Earth; instead, he instructed each of us how we should conduct our own lives such that we can go to Heaven. Invoking Jesus to support higher taxes is about as sacreligious as one can get:
During a speech on National Prayer Breakfast at the National Cathedral, President Barack Obama went partisan (shocker!) in what is usually a bipartisan event by invoking Jesus Christ to justify his push for higher taxes:

President Obama offered a new line of reasoning for hiking taxes on the rich on Thursday, saying at the National Prayer Breakfast that his policy proposals are shaped by his religious beliefs.

Obama said that as a person who has been “extraordinarily blessed,” he is willing to give up some of the tax breaks he enjoys because doing so makes economic, and religious sense.

“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,” Obama said, quoting the Gospel of Luke.

I’ll admit upfront that I believe raising taxes is a terrible idea. It’s even worse of an idea in economy that just now seems recovering from an severe downturn, a point that the Congressional Budget Office recently echoed. But President Obama’s invocation of Jesus and religion to push tax hikes is sickening and it makes him no different from someone like Rick Santorum, who frequently uses his faith to justify authoritarian social policies.
A related quote from PJ O'Rourke, as well as links to two other posts on this same topic, here.


Ellen K said...

I find it ironic that the same president who avoided attending his first prayer breakfast now attends and quotes scripture. Who does he think he is fooling?

allen (in Michigan) said...

Whoever he can.

Pomoprophet said...

So how exactly is it "unchristian"? It's no more or less Christian than capitalism. It's easy to attack socialism. A more bold and important post series would be how capitalism is unchristian! Especially considering how conservative Christians assume Jesus sanctions capitalism and all other things American.

Darren said...

It's un-Christian in exactly the way I've said in every post I linked to in this one. It's not *charity* when you're forced to pay taxes, and it's not charity when you give away someone else's money. Nobody gets "going to Heaven points" for paying taxes to support a welfare state.

Pomoprophet said...

That doesn't make it un-Christian. Unless by un-Christian you simply mean "not Christian" Then I would agree since no particular form of government or economics is ordained by God. But if by un-Christian you mean "anti-Christian" then you're still not supporting the claim. You're right that its not charity. But if the poor are not taken care of by the Charity of others, should not then the government do something?

Why don't you talk about how un-Christian capitalism is?

allen (in Michigan) said...

Free enterprise - not capitalism - is Christian because is implicitly a relationship between equals.

Free enterprise is simply a voluntary exchange of considerations of value. The equality is implicit in the voluntary nature of the exchange.

Socialism, in all its various forms, is by contrast a coercive relationship, therefor not a relationship between equals, therefor un-Christian.

Happy Elf Mom said...

I see what Pomoprophet is saying, though. An extreme capitalist system does NOT embody the character of Christ. I don't know that any economic system does.

The system laid out by God in the Old Testament does lay out some provision for slaves to be freed after seven years and for the very poor to glean the edges of the fields (sort of a work-welfare program if you will). But still Jesus said "the poor you will always have with you." I don't think that excuses us individually from helping the poor (!!) but just an acknowledgement that this side of Heaven all things will not be solved.

I'm a conservative and I'm more concerned about the cost (economic and in terms of people's lives) of war and the handouts our nation gives to other nations and its people...

Happy Elf Mom said...

PS I think Ellen hit the nail on the head, though. Nobody is fooled by this play-actor.

Darren said...

Had I meant "anti-Christian", I'd have said "anti-Christian", Pomo. I think Allen addressed the rest of your point.

allen (in Michigan) said...

What's an "extreme capitalist system" Happy Elf Mom?

If you've got a definition of free enterprise different from mine, one in which there's a place for a phrase like "extreme capitalist system" then spring it on me. If, however, you see free trade as I've defined it the phrase "extreme capitalist system" is meaningless.

The un-Christian - and un-Jewish of course - nature of socialism lies in its inherent inequality requiring as it does a class of law-givers and a class of law-obeyers. In a socialist system the former, by virtue of their virtue, are empowered to coerce considerations of value, whether they're physical goods, labor or intellectual property from the latter. Clearly, the idea of a voluntary exchange of considerations of value has no place in such a system.

Monotheistic religions, by their nature, are anti-socialist since there's God and there's all of us. If we want to erect distinctions between ourselves well that's no skin off of God's nose and doesn't change the fundamental relationship that labored ideas like the divine right of kings seeks to undermine.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I buy your argument that monotheistic religions are anti-socialist by nature. The existence of significant priestly class, to interpret God's wishes and direct followers accordingly, has been a significant part of history. Certainly, the Catholic church has played that role in the past (particularly in the Middle Ages and in the New World colonization period) and the Islamic world seems to be similarly structured today.