Making a God of Government

Recently, Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners and a leader of the so-called "evangelical left," declared the government shutdown "unbiblical."  On a video produced by Sojourners, Wallis said, "There is a deeper problem here than politics. There is a theological problem. As a Christian, I want to say, shutting down government is unbiblical."

With his longtime, deep-seated liberal worldview, Wallis comes to this conclusion because the conservatives with whom he disagrees "don't believe in government per se. They want to destroy the House [of Representatives] and shut it down. That's not biblical."  He continues, "Secondly, because government has a biblical responsibility to care for the poor, they're against poor people. They get hostile to the poor because they are hostile to government. That's also wrong. It's unbiblical."

In addition to being a complete lie (there are at least three in Mr. Wallis' statement -- is lying "unbiblical?"), it is a worn out, but reliable, tactic of liberals to attack conservatives as uncaring, cold-hearted, uncompassionate, selfish brutes whenever the idea of shrinking government is broached.  But "unbiblical"?  Please.  (As my website has declared for years, "[i]t is no act of charity to be generous with someone else's money.)

One really has to be committed to a Big-Government worldview to use Scripture to try to shame conservatives.  The GOP presidential debate of September 2011 provides a great example of Democrats, aided by their allies in the mainstream media, using this line of attack.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer presented Ron Paul and other Republicans with a hypothetical: a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly finds himself in need of six months of intensive care.  Blitzer wanted to know what the "compassionate conservative" response would be.

Congressman Paul stated, "That's what freedom is all about -- taking your own risks."  Thrilling liberals everywhere, Blitzer pressed the matter and asked whether "society should just let him die."  The New York Times' Paul Krugman piously concluded that "[t]he incident highlighted something that I don't think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions."

Asking "Where Are the Compassionate Conservatives," Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson noted that Blitzer next turned to Michele Bachmann, "whose popularity with evangelical Christian voters stems, at least in part, from her own professed born-again faith. Asked what she would do about the man in the coma, Bachmann ignored the question and launched into a canned explanation of why she wants to repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act."

Robinson then declared that "[a]ccording to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told the Pharisees that God commands us to 'love thy neighbor as thyself.' There is no asterisk making this obligation null and void if circumstances require its fulfillment via government."

The book of Luke records that, when Jesus is asked by "an expert in the Law" what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asks him what the Law requires.  The man answers correctly: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Sounding like a liberal pundit or politician, or as Scripture puts it, "attempting to justify himself," the man smugly asks Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"  That is when Jesus launches into the Good Samaritan parable.  Of course, the parable reveals that, as a true act of love, a Samaritan -- whom the Jews of Jesus's day generally despised -- took care of an injured Jew on his own time and with his own resources.  (Not quite the picture of ObamaCare that today's liberals would have us believe.)

Liberals love to quote Scripture when they think it might help them further their Big-Government social agenda.  They also love to talk about compassion and morality but would prefer it if you left Scripture out of it.  Perhaps if more liberals were for posting the Ten Commandments in every public school and post office in the U.S., more Americans would feel comfortable putting health care in the hands of the federal government.

Perhaps if more liberals were willing to allow their morality and compassion to move them to protect the most defenseless among us -- the unborn -- more Americans would take them seriously when they talk in terms of "moral visions," "compassion," or "caring for the poor."

Why would any sincere Christian want to put caring for the poor, or any other charitable act, for that matter, in the hands of a godless secular government (the type of government that, of course, most of today's liberals crave)?  Is it Christ-like to support legislation that promotes servitude and dependence and massively grows government -- to the tune of trillions of dollars -- all the while piling up more and more debt?

The bottom line here is that most liberals, at least those who end up getting elected, do not allow Christian morality to guide their politics.  (Is that not the song-and-dance we get from Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, et al. when it comes to abortion?)  Instead, bowing at the altar of Big Government, they simply align their politics with whatever morality will get them elected or re-elected.  (See the same-sex marriage debate.)

Good government should be rooted in Christian morality.  (All law is rooted in some morality.)  As I've said recently, good government must recognize what it means truly to come to the aid of those in need; what it takes truly to change bad behavior -- something that "gets to the heart" of individuals -- and, at best, partner with such efforts, or at least do nothing to hinder them.  Most importantly, good government should never enact laws that are contradictory to the laws of God.  As Blackstone taught us, "[the] laws laid down by God are the eternal immutable laws of good and evil. ... This law of nature dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this[.]"

Trevor Grant Thomas - At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.

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