The current federal budget battle in Washington DC has brought to mind passages from the New Testament that seem relevant in some of the debates. The conservatives such as Paul Ryan are calling for deep cuts to the budget focusing on core welfare benefits that help the poor the most, in favor of giving tax benefits to the richest of Americans. For those that believe America is a Christian Nation, it would be worth taking a read of the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19:
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
19 Jesus replied, “‘you shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
The Republicans and the Tea Party cater to the religious right, and claim to represent those who wish to take the country back in the name of God. However, the budgetary policies they are currently pursuing clearly contradict the teachings that Jesus gives in this passage.
The budget proposed by Paul Ryan seeks to take from the poor to give to the rich, which is the opposite of the advice given by Jesus in the New Testament.
Perhaps if Jesus were alive today he would preach about the conservatives of today as he did of the Pharisees of ancient Jerusalem.
25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.
If America is a Christian Nation, as so many proclaim, It is time for claimed followers of Jesus to stand up and practice what Jesus preached and to advocate for government policy that is more in line with the teachings of the New Testament. It is time to stop clamoring about taking back the country for God (proclaiming outward cleanliness) and then pursuing governmental policies that are aimed to hurt the weakest in the Nation. (unclean policies)