Last week, Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat Congresswoman from Chicago, defended deficit spending and welfare by advancing the old Social Gospel on the floor of the House. She asked fiscal conservatives four questions and quoted the Bible in support of each one.
(Why there was no huge outcry from the ACLU or the Freedom From Religion Foundation over separation of church and state is a mystery. Actually, it’s not, but that’s another story.)
The story here is how badly leftists abuse biblical texts in support of socialist agendas, while Conservatives sit silent with no biblical rebuttal.
Here are Schakowsky’s four questions and the proper biblical replies:
Why does your budget resolution protect and indeed increase the wealth of the already wealthy at the expense of everyone else?
“He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich — both come to poverty” (Prov. 22:16).
The question is simply misguided. The “wealthy” already pay far more in taxes and in tax percentage than “everyone else.” Cutting unjust taxes on the upper brackets comes at the expense of government, not other taxpayers.
The biblical model for taxation—if there is to be any civil taxation at all—is a single percentage for everyone. That model is the tithe. Since the rich pay a higher percentage than the lower brackets now, then the system in thoroughly unjust and lowering taxes on the rich is a move toward biblical justice.
Eliminating most, if not all, taxes and the government programs they fund would be an even better step in that direction.
God versus Socialism: A Biblical Critique of the New Social Gospel
The Bible verse she chose here is a good one, and it is true, but it does not apply to cutting government deficits or budgets. In fact, just the opposite is true. Huge deficits place huge burdens of repayment on future generations. This is pledging the wealth and resources of everyone—including the poor—in many ways into perpetuity. And they don’t have a choice in this matter: Schakowsky and her liberal allies will use their government powers to impose it by force. That’s oppression, and that’s why the nation is bankrupt—“poverty”—already.
Second, she asks conservatives,
Why does your budget resolution take away the Medicare guarantee?
“You shall give due honor and respect to the elderly” (Lev. 19:32).
Who says Medicare honors the elderly? It doesn’t. How does forcing seniors (or anyone else) into only one choice for health insurance honor them? Medicare is using government force to say, “We know what’s best for you, grandma—you don’t, and no one else does—and you can’t choose any other option without steep government-imposed financial penalties.”
Insulting people’s intelligence and rigging the market to limit any possibility of proving otherwise is not honoring anyone.
And thus, even to begin to chip away at that system is to move toward honoring the elderly. If Schakowsky and her allies really care about Leviticus 19:32, they should unite behind an effort to abolish Medicare, not sustain it.
God and Government: A Biblical, Historical and Constitutional Perspective
Why does your budget resolution increase defense spending while cutting investments in our children and families?
“A just balance and scales are the Lord’s” (Prov. 16:11).
The concern over increased “defense” spending is a very legitimate question, but has nothing to do with just balances and scales. The passage is about honest money and markets, not about spending priorities. It is forbidding schemes of theft, which includes all government-financed programs, military or otherwise.
If Schakowsky is really concerned about the passage, she should work to eliminate all deficit spending and all national debt, in which current generations are spending and wasting massively via debts that future generations will have to pay. “Quit stealing from your grandchildren,” is the proper application.
So is “quit stealing from everyone else.” All programs funded by government taxation and debt which involve any form of wealth redistribution fall in this category. Schakowsky should be calling to end all of these in the name of Prov. 16:11, etc.
As one of her peers responded from the floor: “When we talk about the morality of our budgets, we’ve got to talk about the morality of continuing to run budgets that are unbalanced. We’ve got to talk about the morality of continuing to pay for our priorities today with IOUs from our children in the future.”
On Money and Finance
Most importantly, the proper application of this commandment includes the inherently unjust weight and measure called the Federal Reserve. Manipulating the money supply—which is a government monopoly—is the ultimate form of falsifying scales. Schakowsky should join the campaign to End the Fed.
Finally, she asks,
Why does your budget resolution take away food from the poor?
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:17–18).
The concern for the poor and the command for love-motivated charity are certainly proper, but using government coercion and debt to pretend to fulfill it is not. Like all liberals, and some conservatives, Schakowsky is confusing coercion and charity.
If the money is taxed to begin with—extracted from innocent working, productive people by government threats of violence—then it is not and never will be motivated by love. Taxation is not charity, and charity cannot involve taxation. Period.
The verse does not say having material possessions is evil to begin with, or that the person has no love because of it.
The verse does not say that if a brother has possessions, the government should take them and give to someone else who is in need.
The verse does not authorize government schemes or even mention civil government doing anything.
It’s not that average Joe conservative doesn’t have pity, it’s that he have little money to give to the poor because the government took it all before he had the chance. And yet, conservatives far more than liberals still give money to charity.
Principles of Christian Politics
When the government steps into the scenario mentioned in this verse, it deprives the wealthy brother of even the opportunity to help that needy brother. In this way, the government actually steals love from society, not promotes it.
If anything, this verse is a good argument for the government to get out of the welfare business. Schakowsky and Co. should join conservatives in eliminating funding for these programs, and even in abolishing them altogether.
We should thank Jan Schakowsky for bravely bringing biblical principles into the public square—indeed right onto the floor of the legislature. She’s obviously not a theologian, however, so her applications are a bit skewed. With a little help, thankfully, we have righted these problems, and now she can advance biblical principles for government correctly:
1. Cut taxes.
2. Get government out of health and elderly care.
3. End wealth redistribution schemes.
4. End the Fed!
5. Get government out of welfare.
These are a few simple, straight-forward principles of government deduced directly from the Bible verses Representative Schakowsky quoted. Now all she and her liberal allies have to do is decide whether they would rather follow the Bible they quote, or the liberal platform that contradicts it.
By Joel McDurmon