Monday, August 1, 2011

Treatise on Biblical Conservatism


Biblical Conservatism. It has become the primary focus of my blogging here. The idea is that Conservatism as a political philosophy lines up closely with the teachings of the Holy Bible. Yet it occurs to me that I have not taken the time to set out a full treatise on the philosophy of Biblical Conservatism.

In the interest of full disclosure and clarity, I would like to take a moment to give a more accurate explanation of what I mean in certain terms. First of all, when I say "God," I mean the God of the Bible, also known as Jesus Christ, Yahweh, and The Lord, among other names. I believe that the God of the Bible is unique to the Bible. I do not believe, as a Christian, that I serve the same God Muslims, also known as Allah the God of Islam. There are far too many discrepancies between who the Koran says Allah is and who the Bible says Jesus Christ is...this cannot be the same God.  (For example, either God has a Son or He doesn't.  These two things cannot exist at the same time.)

I also believe that I follow the same God as the Jews only in part. I believe we both pray to the same God the Father. However, I also believe that the majority of Jewish people currently do not know/realize that the Messiah did in fact come and His name is Jesus Christ. The fact is only one person in recorded history has ever fulfilled every single prophecy of the Messiah from the Old Testament and it is Yeshua bar Yosef, or in English Jesus son of Joseph of Nazareth, is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  (Jesus Christ is either the Messiah or He isn't.  I believe He is the Messiah.  This cannot be reconciled as the same faith as those who do not believe He is the Messiah.  Further more, if I believe Jesus Christ is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" and "no one comes to the Father except through (Jesus)" (John 14:6) I cannot believe that the Jews are also correct. It is,a again, incompatible. (I recognize that I could be the one in the wrong, however I do not believe this is so.  Most Jewish people I have met would agree with this statement, with the exception that they ernestly believe they are right.)

Finally, it is important to note that I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God. By that I mean that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by the hands of men as the Spirit directed them. This means that the message is perfect, but it is possible for us to misinterpret it. It also means that the best way to look at scripture is through the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, because often the English word does not perfectly translate. However, if one chooses a well derived translation like the New King James Version or the New International Version, I believe you can in fact trust the words you are reading as God's correct message.

As a historical document, the Bible is beyond compare in terms of it's accuracy across manuscripts and the support of extra-Biblical evidence. If you would like a source to support this, I recommend The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. I will do my best to derive my arguments for Biblical Conservatism directly from the Bible and the founding documents of the United States. Please be aware as we proceed that such statements as "well that's what you believe" are going to be met with tremendous scrutiny. As I have stated above, I believe the Bible is the Word of God, that God has communicated to us what HE thinks through it. It's not about "what I believe." It's about me taking God at His word.

What Is Biblical Conservatism?

You have heard it said that God is not a Democrat, and He's not a Republican either. I agree with this statement completely, because God is not associated with any one political party. I do, however, believe that God does in fact subscribe to one political PHILOSOPHY: Conservatism. If you dive into the infallible Word of God, the Holy Bible, you find that God is very much a Conservative. He believes in government handled locally of, by, and for the people with a central government to mediate between these local governments and to handle larger issues that the local governments cannot handle. When you look at the original government setup in Israel, you will see a foundation which is strikingly similar to the preferred government of Conservatism.

Unfortunately, no dictionary has ever given a satisfactory definition of Conservatism. defines Conservatism as "the disposition to preserve or restore what is established and traditional and to limit change." (2) While this is perhaps the best definition I've seen of Conservatism it is not entirely accurate. Conservatives are not driven by a lack of change or by tradition, per se. Rather, as Conservatives, we believe that the framers of the United States Constitution created a governing document which, as it sits now (including the 27 Amendments which have been added since it was ratified in 1787) best provides for a common defense and a system of laws while also best protecting the fundamental, God-given rights of all human beings, among which are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is to be true to the United States Constitution we desire. It is not that we have a general “disposition to preserve or restore” rather we desire to preserve the specific ideals of the founding fathers along with the correction in certain cases like abolishing slavery and providing for universal adult sufferage (that's the right to vote, for those of you from Palm Beach County, FL) is the best government that exists in the world today, bar none.

So let's look into the government which God Himself created for His people at the founding of Israel:

The Original Government of Israel

Before Israel even became a nation, God gave forth The Law. While a good majority of people know only the Ten Commandments, under which nearly all laws can be categorized, the Old Testament Law actually has over 600 individual laws and regulations. These laws were enforced by the assembly of the people under the supervision of the priesthood. At the beginning of the nation, God, through Moses, instructed the people to appoint judges to enforce the law:

You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the LORD your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the LORD your God is giving you. - Deuteronomy 16:18-20

A few important things to note about this system of government. First and foremost, it was The Law as God had set out in great specificity for the priests in Leviticus and for the lay person in Deuteronomy.  Second, there seem to be two types of judges in the Law. The words are identical in the original Hebrew for both these national and local judges. However, in context, it does appear that the former were more of a military general to protect the nation while the latter seems to fit more into the description of what we call a judge in America.

However, there is something here that is highly important to the concept of Biblical Conservatism: The majority of judges were LOCAL! Only when a need arose did a national judge arise to protect the nation, and their job was far more that of a general then of an executive.

Government served an important purpose in maintain order and to prevent one person from taking away the rights of another, such as that person's life (that's "murdering them" for those of you from Palm Beach County, FL), their right to be at liberty (that's "making them slaves" for those of you from Palm Beach) and their property (that's stealing from them or destroying their property, for those of you from Palm Beach). All these things which government truly ought to do was handled at the local level with a few, important things being handled by the priests in Jerusalem. In the next chapter of Deuteronomy those national courts are also discussed:

“If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge, between degrees of guilt for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another, matters of controversy within your gates, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the LORD your God chooses. And you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days, and inquire of them; they shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment. You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the LORD chooses. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you. According to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you, according to the judgment which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence which they pronounce upon you. - Deuteronomy 17:8-11

"The place where The LORD your God will choose" was later Jerusalem. That was the centralized authority of the priesthood. Here's the thing that it is important to realize: This is the original basis of Federalism! Several small, local governments handling disputes, crime and punishment, and so forth with a small central government which can mediate between the local governments and handle larger disputes.

You may ask, "Didn't Israel have a King as it's government for the majority of it's history?" This is true, however, was this what God INTENDED or was this God granting the request of His people? The Bible demonstrates that it is the latter in the book of 1 Samuel:

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel,

“Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”
1 Samuel 8:4-9

Notice that God notes that asking for a king is "rejecting God." God did not intend a King for His people...rather, He allowed them to have one since they were asking for one. Yet God did not comply with this request until he forewarned them through Samuel:

“This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” -1 Samuel 8:11-18

God proceeds to list all the evils that can be expected from a monarch. Clearly, He is trying to convince Israel to reject the idea of a monarch because of the freedom a king would take away from them. The people do not listen, and God lets him have their way, but this was not the intention of God for Israel!

Comparing God's Original Government to Our Founding Fathers

Let us compare what we've just read from the Bible to the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. (3)

The founding fathers saw us as being automatically entitled to certain rights which should not be taken away from us by anyone. Not government, not other people. Further, it came from the belief that since our sovereign God had created us with these inalienable rights, that the LORD would never take away those rights He had promised to us without just cause (such as committing a crime). Under Biblical rules, crimes had multiple penalties. Murder was punishable by death (Exodus 21:12), but manslaughter (intending to harm without intending to kill) was punishable by a form of exile (Exodus 21:13), (which was as much to protect the person from unwarranted vengeance as it was a punishment). Theft of property was punished by requiring the thief to restore double the property (Exodus 22:4). In many ways, you might think of this as returning the property and paying a fine, albeit the fine was not paid to the government but rather to the person who was wronged. Righteous reasons and practices for war was lined up (Deuteronomy 20).

This system of crime and punishment lines up nicely with Conservatism. Laws that are simple and concise, not to mention impartial. The same laws applied to the priest as to the peasant. Kings were even required to fulfill this system upon their own children if necessary. Blind justice. The way to go to war properly. On a foundational level, the Biblical principles of government line up nicely with Conservatism!

God is a Flat-Taxer

Liberals in America are in love with the idea of a progressive income tax (for those of you in Palm Beach that's "paying a higer percent of taxes as you become richer).  However, God did not instruct a progressive tax from people in the Bible...rather he was in favor of a single tax for all!  The Bible gives us two examples of taxation.  The first is the Temple Tax.  The second is tithing.  We'll start with the Temple Tax:

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:  “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them. This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the LORD. Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the LORD.  The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.  And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.” - Exodus 30:11-16

This atonement money became known over time in Israel as the Temple Tax (Matthew 17:24-27).  You will notice this particular tax was taken from each individual in identical amount regardless of personal wealth!  In this particular case, each person was paying that temple tax in atonement for themselves in Israel.  Since each person's forgiveness for sin was equal in God's eyes, so also was each person's temple tax was equal.

Then there is tithing. The word tithe means 10%. God requires the tithe of all your increase (that's money gained for those of you from Palm Beach) of all his people.  He does not require 10% from the poor, 15-20% from the middle class, and 35% from the wealthy.  Here is what God says in Deuteronomy.

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.  Deuteronomy 14:21-23

There is no progressive tithing required from God. Just a flat percentage, which still leads to a higher gross receipt because a flat percentage is still more net money when a person has more wealth coming in!

Comparing American Taxation to the Biblical Model

In America, on the local level, people are assessed property taxes.  Nearly all adults pay property taxes in one form or another. If you rent, you better believe that your rent does include a share of the property taxes your landlord pays. These local taxes pay for such things as road repairs, bridge repairs, police departments and fire departments. I don't think it can be reasonably stated that the wealthy use the roads more than the poor or middle class, nor that they use police or fire protection more than the poor or middle class. There can reasonably be adjustments on how many people are residing in a house, because a family of five would proportionally require more protection of police or ambulance than a family of two over a lifetime and a three-car family utilizes the roads more than a one-car family. Also it can be reasonably stated that someone with a larger house would require more time/man power when it catches fire than someone with a smaller house.  To this end, I do not have a particular issue with property taxes being based upon the size of the property or based upon the residents of that property.

Yet on a national level, taxation has a level of equality of use. We all require the same protection of military and of rights. Social Security, to a point, pays out proportionally to what you paid in (theoretically) but there is a ceiling to what you can receive. Same goes on the state level for unemployment insurance.  In New York State, where I live, the maximum amount of unemployment you can receive is $405 per week (which is meant to be 50% of your working income).  So if you make more than $42,000 per year (approximately), even though you pay an increasing amount of taxes toward that unemployment fund you cannot receive more money in the event of being unemployed.

For those who think that the United States Government could not subsist on a 10% flat the math.  The Gross Domestic Product (GDP for the United States in 2010 (that's the total amount of money earned in the country for those of you in Palm Beach) was $14.6 Trillion.  10% of that would be $1.46 Trillion annually, and that's the first year.  If we increased it even to a 15% federal flat tax, the receipts would become $2.19 Trillion in the first year.  For the record, in the 2010 Federal Tax Revenue Receipts were $2.1 Trillion.  Isn't it amazing how the same amount of money can be raised by everyone giving an equal percent rather than half the people paying zero taxes while the majority of the other 50% paying 15-35% in federal tax (4)? 

For those of you who want to get self-righteous about people paying "their fair share," I'm not going to let you pretend that equal percentage is synonymous with equal taxes paid.  Let's look at three individuals.  Person A makes $20,000 per year.  Person B makes $200,000 per year.  Person C makes $2 Million per year.   Under my the flat tax rates which I have proposed, let's look at what each person would pay:

10% Flat Tax

Person A: $2,000 per year in federal taxes
Person B: $20,000 per year in federal taxes
Person C: $200,000 per year in federal taxes

But wait?  I thought if they all paid 10% each person would be paying the same taxes and that's just not fair to the person who makes $20,000 per year?  This can't be right!  Person C, who makes significantly more in salary would also be paying 10 times more tax than Person B and 100 times more than Person A.  That sure seems like that wealthier person is indeed paying more in taxes!  Let's look at it again under the 15% Flat Tax:

15% Flat Tax

Person A: $3,000per year in federal taxes
Person B: $30,000 per year in federal taxes
Person C: $300,000 per year in federal taxes

But wait?  I thought if they all paid 15% each person would be paying the same taxes and that's just not fair to the person who makes $20,000 per year?  This can't be right!  Person C, who makes significantly more in salary would again be paying 10 times more tax than Person B and 100 times more than Person A.  Once again, that sure seems like that wealthier person is indeed paying significantly more in taxes!

What you will see is that under a Biblical model of taxation, not only are you still seeing people pay more tax DOLLARS as their wealth increases but also these individuals are able to retain more of their own money to do with what they please.  If we utilize my 10% recommended tax (identical to God's tithe) there is a huge difference in the amount of money these people have each year.  Please note that each person would be receiving a reduced tax based upon the amount they were previously paying. It is proportional.  It is also important to realize that under the current system, these three men were paying significantly different taxes under our current federal tax system (4).  So let us again look at what these people are paying NOW in taxes:

Person A:  Person A is currently under the 15% tax bracket, meaning he is currently paying $3000 each year in taxes.  By moving to a 10% Flat Tax, Person A's taxes drop from $3000 annually to $2000 annually.  This means he is paying 50% less in taxes.  With this reduction, he now has approximately $80 more per month to add to his budget.  This is the equivalent of a 5% pay increase.  With that money he and his wife can go out to dinner twice (which creates work for a server, a cook, etc), invest in a new appliance by saving that money for six months (which someone has to make), or set it aside for a year and go on a nice vacation (which means you're paying for a hotel, a plane trip, etc).  For this individual, this is a nice help to his budget!

Person B:  Person B is currently under the 33% tax bracket. By moving to a 10% Flat Tax, Person B's taxes drop from $66,000 per year to $20,000 per year.  This means he is paying 30% less in taxes and now has $3833 more in his budget, representing an increase of 8% to his budget each month. With this money, he can now invest in a new home (which someone must build) or invest in the stock market (giving new capital to businesses which helps them grow and hire new people). For this individual, this is a nice help to his budget!

Person C: Person C is currently under the 35% tax bracket.  By moving to a 10% Flat Tax Person C's taxes drop from $700,000 each year to $200,000 each year. This means he is paying 28% less in taxes, giving him $41,600 in new money in his budget.  For the sake of argument, let's pretend this person is the owner of the Acme Widget Factory, which I spoke about in a previous'll have to read it because I'm going to assume you have in the next bit (5).

Quickly stated, they employ 500 people at an average salary of $45,000 per year.  With this new $41,600 EACH MONTH, Person C can now invest that money into their company, which means they can hire 11 new people to increase production.  Person C sees it as a good investment since that company turns a 12.5% profit annually like clockwork. 

Person C is where this policy really helps grow the economy, because now that wealthy person, who is a business owner, invests in his company and creates new taxpayers!  Herein utilizing Biblical principle in taxation becomes wonderfully successful, because people with more of their money in hand can spend it and invest into the economy through purchases, through investing in stocks, or through their own business. 

Some may say that the purpose for tithing is different than the purpose of taxation.  I disagree completely.  Let us look at one of the most famous passages of scripture on the subject of tithing:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.  Malachi 3:10-12

Notice the purpose of tithing, "that there may be food in My house."  Tithing existed then and exists now so that priests in the Old Testament, apostles and teachers in the New Testament, and pastors in the modern Church and their families can be paid for their work, thus freeing them to serve as spiritual guides, to run their churches, etc as a career rather than trying to do that job around holding another job.  It is so a modern pastor can not only take care of the preaching on Sunday but also serve to direct finances of the church toward benevolent offerings (that's giving money to the poor for those of you from Palm Beach), as a counselor for the members, to train other people within the church to do various tasks for the Kingdom, etc.

Taxes serve a similar purpose.  There are certain things which government naturally ought to do.  Such things as maintaining roads, plowing streets, police departments, ambulances (or organizing volunteer ambulances), fire departments (or organizing volunteer fire departments), drivers licences, etc on the local level as well as things like military defense, maintenence of relationships with other nations, etc on the national level are best handled by government.  These things do need to be funded, and taxes are the way the Constitution provides for said funding.  Even certain emergency safety net programs like unemployment insurance, social security, and Medicaid are fine by me, provided those remain ONLY A SAFETY NET and NOT a hammock.  Beyond that emergency safety net, I believe the Bible provides important instructions for caring for the poor.

God's Plan: Caring for the Poor

Many well-meaning Christian Liberals are under the impression that government welfare is fulfilling the commandments of the Bible to take care of the needy.  The Bible does instruct us to care for the needy. But it does not say that the government is responsible for it...not even in the theocracy that was Israel.  Rather, it was the job of individual Israelites and later Christians to take care of the needy through multiple different commandments:

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 18:9-10

And again:

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 23:22

For those of you from Palm Beach, gleaning is to go over the field again to pick up what was left behind.  In an agricultural society, this was a way of physically leaving food out for the poor and even travelers.  God commanded the children of Israel to leave some sheaves, some heads of grain, some grapes, some olives on the stalks, vines, and branches so that those who were hungry could simply walk up and help themselves to some food.  There was no government collection of a percentage of the grain, graps, olives, etc, it was incumbent upon the individual to be sure that a poor person or even a traveler could simply walk up and have some food.

What about money?  Certainly money was also used in Israel, right?  Absolutely.  In Deuteronomy, we are given instructions on giving to the poor:

If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. Deuteronomy 15:7-8

The instruction here is clear.  If there is someone who is in need and you are capable of providing for that need, YOU DO IT.  Jesus gave teh same requirements for providing for that need, YOU DO IT.  Jesus also made it clear that He would reward His children for caring for the poor THEMSELVES:

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;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me."

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?"

And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."  Matthew 25:34-40

Nowhere in here does Jesus say "you paid taxes and your government cared for the people."  He says "YOU fed me" and "YOU clothed me."  YOU DO IT.  As a matter of fact, Jesus told us in Matthew that He sees caring for the poor as precisely the same as caring for Him! 

Now there are some differences between the modern Conservative mindset on caring for the poor and the Biblical model. However, those differences are mainly pragmatic ones (that's done for a logistical reason for those of you from Palm Beach County).  Since very relatively speaking very few people are farmers, simply leaving crops for people to walk up and help themselves to is no longer practical.  Furthermore, a hungry person would not know which fields he could glean for food without fear of prosecution.  Besides, this practice has been replaced with other more organized systems for caring for the poor.

I speak of course of private charities.  National organizations like the Red Cross, the Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and others are joined by thousands of small local organizations which provide similar services on a local level.  Whether it be through missions, food pantries, churches, private organizations which teach people fresh out of prision trades and offer them jobs to get on their feet, the Jesus Christ's worldwide Church is doing a wonderful job of providing for the needs of these individuals.

Furthermore, as I have quoted in other previous writings, these private organizations can do a better job of caring for the poor than the government!  The government spends approximately $ .35 on every dollar on help for the poor and $ .65 on every dollar on beauracracy.  Yet private charities spend on average $ .85 - $ .95 on every dollar on care for the poor. There is a reason for this phenomenon.

Christian charities are able to be far less concerned with being ripped off than government welfare.  The reason comes from the places where these two types of organizations obtain their money. Government obtains their money via taxation.  Paying taxes is compulsory.  You must pay your taxes or you can have your property taken from you, your wages garnished, or even put into prision. 

Government operates on the principle (in theory, anyway) that they are spending someone else's money.  It's true, by the way.  Government must ideally recognize that it is spending someone else's money and therefore tries (unsuccessfully) to be responsible with it.  That's where government beauracracy comes into play.  It's goal is to ensure minimal misappropriation of taxpayer dollars.  (They stink at it, but they try.)  That's why so much of every dollar is spent on red tape.

Christian charities are operating under a far different principle.  Every cent they have is given freely and without compulsion.  When I give to my church or to another charity, I give to God. I trust God to ensure that this money is used properly.  I give to charities which I choose because I trust them.  I'm not worried where it goes because I trust my Heavenly Father, and even if it does get used inappropriately, I know my Jesus will reward me in Heaven for my giving.  I can give without question and trust God.

It is obvious private charities are a far better place to take care of the poor.  God set it up that way in His (legitimately) infinite wisdom.  It was his intention for caring for the poor.  Government wasn't part of the caring for the poor in Biblical Israel, EVEN THOUGH THE CHURCH WAS THE GOVERNMENT!   It was left to private individuals.

Final Conclusions

God's plan for mankind isn't about big, intrusive government.  It isn't about taxation to the level of your ability to pay.  It's about freedom.  God created us to be free.  This includes the freedom to choose to follow Him and the freedom to choose not to follow him.  He created Israel to not have a King but to have local judges to enforce the law and national Judges (official title) who were actually more generals. He created a system of government with flat taxes in the form of a flat percentage (the tithe) and a flat amount (temple tax). Most importantly, He created a system with private citizens caring for the poor and for all of us taking care of each other.  Government was not part of the equation!

Certainly there are some things government ought naturally to do.  Conservatives argue with such things as roads, police departments, fire departments, and the military.  Most of us are even fine with a basic safety net, (i.e. 13 weeks of Unemployment Insurance, OPTIONAL Social Security (where people can opt out of it) and Emergency Medical Care for those in need).  We draw the line at Government replacing God.  I believe I have demonstrated that God agrees.  Government does not exist to meet people's needs.  Jesus Christ made that His job when He created us and then assigned His children to carry out the task. 

I say it again without question:  God may not be a Republican, He may not be a Democrat, but His Word demonstrates that He is a Conservative!
Note: All Scriptures taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Henceforth referred to as NKJV.

(1) 1 Kings 12

(2) Definition of Conservatism -

(3) The Declaration of Independence

(4) Federal Tax Brackets 2003-Present

(5) Reality Check: Liberal Tax Policy Has Not and Will Not Succeed

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