'O,' He of Little Faith

In light of the fact that an increasing number of Americans are questioning his faith, President Obama has apparently been told by his advisors to ratchet up the Jesus talk. So at a staged event in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Obama complied by responding to a question about why he became a Christian.

"I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead," he explained, adding that he was moved by the thought of "being my brothers' and sisters' keeper."

One has to wonder whether such an answer was really what his advisors wanted. After all, who would ever suggest that the president use the Biblical phrase "being my brothers' keeper," when his actual half-brother (blood-related) resides in a shack in Kenya?

If I may be so bold, I think this strained proclamation of faith by the president is far more about a Machiavellian manipulation of the masses (trying to convince people he's something that he's not) than it is about a devotion to the teachings of Christ. In other words, I call bull.

Anyone who has actually studied and taken the "precepts of Jesus" to heart knows that Jesus taught us to be personally charitable. This is fitting with Christ's testimony that his was not a political kingdom, but a spiritual one (John 18:36). He came to conquer not earthly thrones, but the human heart.

Yet false teachers like Obama seek to confuse that point. They tell us that obedience to Christ comes in the form of high taxes on the wealthy to fund social programs for the poor. Even if these programs weren't as miserably ineffective as they are, look at what they foster: envy, greed, bitterness, and resentment. Not exactly the motivations of love and altruism that Jesus said were to be at the heart of our goodwill.

In truth, there is not one recorded instance of Christ advocating government confiscation and redistribution of wealth in the name of charity.

Jesus did say, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'" (Matthew 25:40).

Jesus did not say, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you forcibly took from the masses through taxation in the name of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Jesus did say: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me" (Matthew 19:21).

Jesus did not say: "If you want to be perfect, go, get elected to high office and then use the law to confiscate the property of those who have, and give to those you deem more worthy of it. Then claim you are following me."

You get the point. Barack Obama's social gospel of government-sponsored theft is a flat contradiction to what Jesus taught. 

So keeping in mind another Biblical precept that "by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:16), perhaps it's time to put Mr. Obama's fruits on trial against the actual principles of Jesus he claims are so moving. If these words of our Savior truly spoke to Obama about the kind of life he wanted to lead, the evidence should be manifest.

But oddly, according to the New York Times, "[i]n 2004, before Mr. Obama entered the Senate, he and his wife gave $2,500 to charity, 1.2 percent of the taxable income ...'Their charitable giving only went up when it looked like he was campaigning for the presidential office,' said Paul L. Caron, a professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law."

Moreover, cited and notated research of conservative writer Ann Coulter reveals something truly astonishing: "For purposes of comparison, in 2005, Barack Obama made $1.7 million - more than twice President Bush's 2005 income of $735,180 - but they both gave about the same amount to charity.  That same year, the heartless Halliburton employee Vice President Dick Cheney gave 77 percent of his income to charity."

In other words, while Mr. Obama is very interested in being charitable with your money, he's pretty stingy with his own. While you may find that in the teachings of Marx, you won't find it in the precepts of Jesus.

As I watch Mr. Obama's persistently arrogant, sanctimonious sermonizing to a nation of citizens far more personally charitable than he is, there's another phrase of Christ that comes to mind. Perhaps the president would be wise to familiarize himself with it..."whitewashed tomb."

Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana. E-mail peter@peterheck.com or visit www.peterheck.com.