Jesus: A Big Government Spender?

Carol Platt Liebau
|
Posted: Mar 01, 2011 11:40 AM
Jim Wallis and a coalition of left-wing Christian leaders have started a "What Would Jesus Cut?" campaign intended to support the continuance of big-spending government.

No doubt the campaign is aimed at identifying government activism with Christianity, and a bid to peel off some of the faith-based voters who are part of the conservative/Republican coalition.  But the approach is annoying (and even offensive), and here's why.

For starters, one sees no mention from Wallis or his ilk about the de-funding of Planned Parenthood.  It seems pretty likely that Jesus -- believing as He did that all of us were made by the Father and are His children -- wouldn't have "been okay" with the killing of unborn babies as just another "lifestyle choice."  Until Wallis and the rest take a stand on this one, to me, he's completely ducking the biggest religious issue in the budget.  Period.

In fact, the entire effort to inject Jesus into national budgeting just seems manipulative and off-putting.  Jesus wasn't some "community organizer" equipped with a mouthful of instructions about how governments should spend their tax monies -- remember the whole "render unto Caesar" thing?  Earthly governance wasn't His primary concern.

Rather, each individual Christian's spiritual and moral well-being was the focus of His attention.  And because of Jesus' injunctions, Christians can surely agree that each of us is obligated to help his or her neighbors, and those less fortunate.  Sometimes, the only way to do that is through government.  But often, it is not -- and to insinuate, as the Wallis campaign does, that the correct Christian approach is to sign off on all proposed government spending at all times, is silly. 

In essence, the entire campaign comes across as an exercise in "look at me, aren't I a good Christian?" moral preening.  And ultimately, it's inauthentic -- because the goodness of one's heart and the purity of one's Christian belief have nothing to do with how much of OTHER PEOPLE's money we think government should have the right to forcibly collect and spend.