President Barack Obama on Thursday tied his proposal to raise taxes on wealthy Americans to his faith, telling leaders gathered for the National Prayer Breakfast that Jesus’s teachings have shaped that conclusion.
The rich should pay more not only because “I actually think that is going to make economic sense, but for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’” Obama said at the Washington Hilton, delivering remarks at an annual event that every president has attended since Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“We can all benefit from turning to our Creator, listening to him,” Obama said. “Avoiding phony religiosity. … This is especially important right now when we’re facing some big challenges as a nation.”
Obama infused his remarks on spirituality with a populist message of economic fairness, echoing rhetoric he unveiled in December in Osawatomie, Kan., and returned to in his State of the Union address last week. Without countering his Republican presidential opponents head on, Obama offered a contrast to Mitt Romney’s positions on class and wealth.
“When I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us,” Obama said, “I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody, but I also do it because I know far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years. And I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’”
The Bible verse that Obama choose to support this opinion with was from Luke 12:48, which states, in the King James version, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required.” It is perhaps a more decorous Bible verse than Mark 12:17 which states, in part, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” meaning give to Obama what is his. The latter verse may better capture the true attitude Obama has toward taxes, but he showed some discretion in not invoking it.
Most people reading the Bible verse that Obama invoked would marvel at his interpretation of it. It has been assumed that God would do the requiring and not the president of the United States, even if he sees God every time he looks in the mirror. The admonition is understood to be a call to perform charity and to help one’s neighbor, not to pay ones taxes.
To be sure, Obama invoked Islamic and Jewish doctrine to support his soak the rich proposals as well. But under Islam, a believer is required to directly give alms to the deserving poor, not to the Department of Health and Human Services to hire bureaucrats to in turn give money to other bureaucrats to run programs that might or might not help the poor. Judaism has similar requirements of its adherents.
The problem is that the three great religions were founded long before the bureaucratic welfare state was created or even conceived of. It was well understood that helping the least among us was a highly personal act, which benefits the giver as well as the recipient. The welfare state model that Obama favors is not only more impersonal, but far more wasteful.
Obama’s invocation of religion is also very offensive. Imagine if George W. Bush, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, had said it was God’s will that we end the reign of terror and misrule of Saddam Hussein. The outrage would have been heard around the world. But Obama feels that he can get away with enlisting Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed in a partisan fight over tax policy.
Got that right!
This guy has a nasty habit of invoking the bogus “Jesus was a liberal” argument whenever it suits both his purpose and audience. It’s something he learned from his spiritual mentor – the Rev. Jeremiah Wright – who was a proponent of “social justice” from the pulpit. Anyway, remember when Obama said the Sermon on the Mount justified civil unions? How about the time he bizarrely suggested to roomful of black evangelicals that if he were elected President, “we [could] create a Kingdom right here on Earth”? Or how about Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech in which she declared that Barack Obama could “heal this nation” and “fix our souls” if elected? Deeply disturbing. All of this is just more effort to support the frequent assertions made by conservatives – Christian and secular alike – that this guy really does believe his own press, supporters, and family when it comes to favorable opinions about him being a “messiah-like” figure.
It’s an election year, so except these types of outrageous invocations by this absolutely shameless President and his minions to continue. He and they will stop at nothing to try and keep him in the WH for another four years, even if it means using scripture (that he and they obviously don’t understand – more on that here) to justify his positions in such a way that would have had George W. Bush testifying before Congress had he made similar statements.
Buckle up, peeps. A long, bumpy, windy-road ride is ahead of us.