Like many things in life, one’s view on the debate over the proper role of government depends a lot on the assumptions one starts with. The argument that I have frequently had with my more liberal Christian friends often turns on the interpretation of a number of New Testament verses dealing with our responsibility to the poor.
The following conservative Jewish writer puts his finger precisely on the problem:
A more fundamental problem with the “What Would Jesus Cut?” campaign is its planted axiom that Jesus would want Congress to do anything at all. Yes, we are emphatically commanded by Scripture to help the poor, to comfort the afflicted, and to love the stranger. But those obligations are personal, not political. It requires a considerable leap of both faith and logic to read the Bible as mandating elaborate government assistance programs, to be funded by a vast apparatus of compulsory taxation. I admit that I am no New Testament scholar, but I cannot recall Jesus ever saying that the way to enter Heaven is to dole out money extracted from your neighbors’ pockets. ~ Jeff Jacoby
Numerous times I have tried to point out to my liberal friends that Jesus’ call to help the poor is to us as individuals, rather than to the government. Many still don’t get it.
At times I wonder if they ever will!