When it comes to the subject of economics – or any subject for that matter – I would rather go with what Jesus says about it than President Obama. And you can almost be assured that if Obama starts quoting Jesus to support his position, he is misquoting him and mangling the Gospel accounts.
We found this very thing happening when Obama gave a speech at the recently held National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. He tried to drag Jesus into supporting his economic policies, and he of course failed miserably in the attempt.
Actually, he offered four brief quotes from the Bible in his speech – a speech filled with just as many references to Hinduism, Islam and other faiths by the way. His first quote was “love thy neighbor as thyself”. He of course has cut this most important text in half, ignoring the vital bit about loving God first. Without doing the first we cannot really do the second.
His next three quotes are also meant to justify his economic policies. He cites Jesus who said “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required”. This is simply another text out of context. Luke 12:48 is part of a larger message on watchfulness (vv. 35-48). It of course has nothing to do with government tax policy, or with taking money forcefully from the rich and giving it to the poor.
But more on this in a moment. He next mentions a proverb, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” This happens to be Prov. 31:8, and it is rather repugnant of Obama to be quoting it. This passage can equally be applied to an issue such as abortion and the care of the unborn.
Given that Obama has been one of the most pro-abortion presidents ever, he really should not be citing biblical passages which clearly condemn him on the spot. He simply has blood on his hands in this regard.
His last passage is “be doers of the word and not merely hearers”. This, coming from James 1:22, also should not be so glibly coming forth from his lips. He has rejected God’s word so many times on so many levels, that he really risks major judgment by invoking such a passage.
But back to economics. Obama’s economic policies are hardly the stuff we find in the Gospels, or in the rest of Scripture. A number of commentators have already noted his blatant mishandling of Scripture. Doug Giles for example said this:
“This past Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama said that his Christian faith crafts his domestic policies—particularly his desire to rob from the rich and give to the poor. In my humble opinion, I think the president is getting Jesus and His disciples confused with Robin Hood and his Merry Men.
“I don’t know which White House wizard crafted that speech for him, but the verse he or she gave to our Spender in Chief to back his socialism was more twisted out of joint than a Gumby doll being worked over by a frustrated Gary Busey.
“I can’t believe that hot coffee didn’t spew from hundreds of Christians’ mouths when Obama took a text that refers directly to believers’ judgment and contorted it to be interpreted as a ratcheted-up government imposed higher tax rate upon those who already bear the brunt of the tax burden.”
He concludes, “Lastly, with just a cursory glance at the gospels, the honest reader will note that Christ Jesus never commanded Caesar or Herod to collect taxes in order to take care of the poor. He told his disciples to give to the needy, of their own volition, as worship to God and in service to mankind, and only—only—when it’s done by these means and motivations is it deemed virtuous and Christian.”
Michael Youssef put it this way: “The president quoted the Bible to justify punishing those who have worked hard, and most of whom are very generous givers, in order to take their money and give it to many of his constituencies who are always standing outside the doors of the White House with out-stretched hands.
“Mr. Obama, in justifying his misguided policy, quoted Jesus in Luke 12:48: ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.’ No, you do not have to have a seminary degree to know that Jesus is talking about individual stewardship in an individual’s relationship with God.
“For it is God who gives each person different portions of gifts, talents, and treasure to manage according to His sovereign will. It is God who entrusts people with what they have, not the government. God is the One who will judge the faithfulness of each individual’s stewardship and blessing, or lack thereof. In Luke 12:48, Jesus, God the Son, is exhorting individuals to be faithful and give generously without regret.
“Understanding this, one has to wonder if Mr. Obama has replaced God with his administration. He must believe that when he says ‘much is given,’ he refers to what is given by the government, and ‘much is demanded,’ as that which is demanded by the government. This is 180° opposite to the truth.
“This is a very dangerous precedent. We have had egotistical presidents before, from both political spectrums, but never to my knowledge have we had one who saw himself as replacing God, or one who views his administration as acting on God’s behalf or instead of God.”
Gary DeMar also weighed in to this: “At the National Prayer Breakfast, the President said that as ‘a person who has been “extraordinarily blessed,” he is willing to give up some of the tax breaks he enjoys because doing so makes economic, and religious sense.’ Then why doesn’t he? No one’s stopping him from giving more money to the government if he wants to. Just do it and quit talking about it!
“There is not a single word in the Bible that directs the State to confiscate money from the rich to enlarge the power and authority of civil government. Governments can’t follow the Golden Rule. Government doesn’t have any money to be gracious with. You can’t love your neighbor with someone else’s money. If I stole money from a rich person and gave it to a poor person, I would not be following the Golden Rule. President Obama wants to be benevolent with someone else’s money.
“In biblical terms, the State is a minister of justice not a dispenser of benevolence (Rom. 13:1–4). Jesus challenges the Rich Young Ruler to give his money to the poor not to Rome….
“Gleaning is the closest thing the Bible comes to in requiring the prosperous to help the poor (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19-21.). But gleaning is hard work. The owners of fields, vineyards, or orchards were not required to harvest the leftover grain. If the poor wanted to eat, they had to work for it. Paul most likely had these passages in mind when he wrote to the Thessalonians, ‘Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat”’ (2 Thess. 3:10).
“Wealth redistribution today is punitive; it’s about punishing the rich, not helping the poor. The rich don’t hoard their money. They loan it, invest it, and spend it. It’s these actions that help the less prosperous.”
I have already had one believer ask me in relation to all this, ‘what about the Year of Jubilee in Lev. 25?’ I said that I had already written on that passage, so I directed him – and I direct you – to this article: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/09/02/difficult-bible-passages-leviticus-25/
This is not the place to go into a detailed look at what the Bible has to say about economics and related issues. But if you want to know what it says, please do not go by the gospel according to Obama. He will take you light-years away from the Scriptural teaching on all this.