It's campaign season, so President Obama's ridiculous rhetoric has gotten something of a pass recently from me. Then he tried to claim Jesus supports liberalism, and it was time to dust off the old "dissecting the liberal talking points" header.
On February 2nd, if you haven't heard already, President Obama claimed that Jesus would support the Buffet Rule, quoting Luke 12:48b, "To whom much is given, much is required." Unfortunately for the President, like most of his theology, he is incorrect in this false use of scripture.
For one, this passage is about salvation and the requirements of believers to behave as believers, specifically saying that we as Christians ought to behave as followers of Christ, always ready for Jesus to return so that our Lord will find us about His business when he comes back:
And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. - Luke 12:42-48
This passage specifically is saying that Christ expects more out of Christians because we have been blessed to know the truth and we should walk in it. It has absolutely nothing to do with taxes, or government.
Secondly, God did have a tax system. The Tithe. It was a FLAT TAX not a progressive tax. As I wrote in my Treatise on Biblical Conservatism:
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 was no "millionaires surtax" in the Bible. There was not an increased requirement for giving from the wealthiest. The rate was the same for all.
Furthermore, there is a major issue with Obama's entire logic. Nowhere in the Bible is there any statement that the government should take care of the poor. Rather, it was clear that it was up to the individual to do it. Again, from my Treatise on Biblical Conservatism:
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 the 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! Again, Mr. President, it's not about government caring for people. Compassion exists in more than just government spending. There are better, more efficient ways to take care of the needy. Like private charities. The conservatives that you rip as being evil and heartless have consistently out-given you supposedly compassionate liberals. That's because conservatives are compassionate with THEIR OWN money. Let's compare Obama's charitable giving to the "evil, greedy Republican" Mitt Romney.
According to the Obama Campaign, President Obama gave about 6% of his income in the two years before he became President to charity. Vice President Joe Binden gave a pathetic .15% of his income in 2006.
Now according to the Romney Campaign, In 2010 and 2011, Romney gave an average of over 16% of his income to charity.
Finally, let's take an average, middle-class conservative, hardworking single adult. Me. Without diving into too much detail because I do believe my giving is between myself and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I will say unequvically that I also gave a larger percentage of my income to charity (primarily via my church, which uses that money to give to missionaries and Christian charitable organizations throughout the world) than candidate Obama did.
So, Mr. Obama, who is the compassionate one? I say it is the person who gave nearly 3 times as much of his own money away as you did, not the one who wants to be generous with everyone else's money. Then again, I personally believe that "to whom much is given, much is required," with my own money, and not other people's money.