We must ask if we are on God’s side
By: Robert E. Meyer
A Community Columnist for a local paper wrote a piece reasoning that since this year’s presidential election revolved around economic issues, we ought to survey which political party had economic policy most pleasing to the Almighty. He went on to quote Jesus and John the Baptist, then concluded that since both commanded people to share of their extra goods, and the Democratic Party wanted to redistribute wealth, then we should vote for democrats.
While I agree with the title of his column, inferring that we must ask which political party best reflects God’s values, but I disagree with his calculus. There are essentially two problems. While it may be true that this year’s election is focused on economic issues, discerning Christians understand that God’s values aren’t limited to economic issues. Likewise, understanding biblical economics requires a more comprehensive approach than offering a couple citations and trying to contort them to fit your preferred party’s platform.
Anyone claiming their political party is the “The party of Jesus,” etc., is either obtuse or arrogant. God is prior to and sovereign over any political party. Ronald Reagan said during his 1984 State of the Union address, “…I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.” So perhaps the appropriate question for Christians concerned about the election is “Which party is trying to be on God’s side?”
Let’s look at the latter problem first. A complete examination of biblical economics exceeds the scope of this forum. However, we can quote Jesus, John the Baptist, or any other biblical figure until we’re blue in the face, and we’ll never find a reference to a government program that takes from one and gives to another in exchange for political patronage, as being a substitution for “sharing,” or charity that comes from the heart. To equate the two denies the most fundamental aspect of charity: it is always voluntary. If we want to understand the distinction between true charity and a government program, let’s look at the parable of the Good Samaritan. If we want to find out which ideological group contains the people most generous in charity with their own money, I suggest consulting a 2008 study done by Arthur Brooks, identifying which ideological group gives more to charity.
While Jesus decried greed and the failure of the rich to help the poor, what he never did was attempt to organize a rebellious movement that played on class warfare. The scriptures have a word for the entitlement mentality; it’s called coveting. A popular bromide that conveys this idea is that if you rob from Paul to pay Peter, you will probably have the support of Peter.
Now let’s move on to God’s values.
“If a man will not work than neither should he eat.” Which party is responsible for making more people dependent on government, and makes it more attractive live off the labor of others rather than work?
“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.” Which party recognizes the need for limitations on the jurisdiction of government over all aspects of life, and which political party condones the government taking over more and more duties that aren’t legitimate functions under our Constitution, so that government functionally replaced God?
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” So which political party seeks to honor God’s configuration of marriage and which party views exclusive patronage to this configuration as bigotry equivalent to racial discrimination?
The pro-life position argues that one cannot take innocent life without proper justification. Which party agrees with this premise, and which argues that life in the womb does not constitute personhood, but it’s existence hinges on a choice?
“Neither a borrower or or a lender be.” Much of our economic problems are the result of overleveraging. While government in general has violated this admonition, the current administration has built their whole “radical transformation” on mountains of public debt.
Of course some people will point out that in highlighting bits of biblical texts, I’m guilty of the same misappropriation as the guy I’m criticizing. Perhaps so, but that just the point: I’m may be guilty of what he has already done. Liberals have made a virtual cottage industry out of mining these truncated biblical verses for far too long.
I’ll simply default back to the reflections of Reagan and submit to the idea that we must never claim God is on our side, but endeavor to be on his side in consideration of public policies. The answer of who to support is easy when we look at the entire party platform of the candidate in question.