Friday, January 04, 2008

Andrew Leonard reflects on the emergence of Huckabee and the Religious Left

He says:

Maybe Iowan evangelicals were so blinded by the light shining from that cross that they couldn't see (or didn't care about) his heretical economic platform. Or maybe the opposite is true -- maybe the Republican punditocracy is so blind to growing economic angst and uncertainty in the United States that they simply can't comprehend that Huckabee's popularity might have something to do with the fact that he is the only Republican candidate (outside of, possibly, Ron Paul) who sincerely appears to care that some people are having a hard time right now.

If some portion of Huckabee's support does come from evangelicals who are comfortable with the thought that Jesus might care about the environment, poverty, and hunger, or that, as Huckabee said in August, "we can't ignore that there are kids every day in this country that literally don't have enough food and adequate drinking water in America," then Republicans are faced with a great paradox. The GOP long ago made its bed with Jesus Christ. But there's nothing in the Bible that equates belief in the savior with a belief in small government and tax cuts for the rich. By selling its soul to Christian conservatives, the GOP may have surrendered its own ability to define the conservative economic platform.

I know plenty of evangelicals here in the Northeast who prefer greater government coercion to salve their guilty consciences on the social ills they see. But Jesus never taught that loving one's neighbor meant increasing the government and the taxes paid. Rather, he taught that love requires direct aid, not government-intermediated programs.

And here are some other inferences that one might draw from Christ's teachings on taxes:

1. Tax collectors represent the bottom rung of morality.

2. Tax collectors are the sick people whom He came to heal.

3. Children of God should be exempt from taxes.

4. Fellowship should not be extended to tax collectors, who are on an equal level with pagans and the unrepentant.

Of course, Jesus did teach that citizens enjoying the benefits of government need pay their taxes. Ironically, the only group of people who were deemed worse than tax collectors were the legalistic and coercive religious leaders (apt description for Huckabee)?

All of the scripture links are to passages from the Gospel of Matthew, except for the Good Samaritan link, to Luke. Matthew was a tax collector who realized that there was a better way, and left government work to follow Jesus.

No comments:

Post a Comment