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View Diary: Why Do Fundy Christians Love the Rich and Hate the Poor? (324 comments)

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  •  No evangelical Christian I know (8+ / 0-)

    interprets that passage to mean that it's impossible to get to heaven if you are rich.  Rick Warren, for example, has made zillions from his book "The Purpose Driven Life" but gives away the vast, vast, vast majority of those zillions to charity.  No evangelical Christian I know thinks people like him who make zillions of dollars inherently bad people.  No evangelical Christian I know thinks it's bad to make a lot of money.  

    They DO think that rich people should give a lot of that money TO CHARITY -- not to government in taxes.  They think that helping the poor and the needy is the purpose of charity, NOT the purpose of government.  That's why citing all of the Bible statements about helping the poor, and not keeping your riches to yourself, and linking that to paying more taxes, will convince almost none of them.  It's a misstatement of what they believe the Bible says.  Their come back (I've heard it from my evangelical relatives over and over) is "show me in the Bible where it says I should give all of my money to the government instead of to charity.  None of the Biblical passages about giving to the poor mention the government."   Yes, there are some very good responses  to that argument.   I point out their arguments because so many people here don't understand their positions when they argue to them that the Bible says "give away your money to the poor" and try to tell them that means that the rich should pay more taxes.  To convince any of them, you need to address THEIR argument.  

    •  Sorry but I disagree with you. (13+ / 0-)

      Luke, Chapter 20, verses 19 - 26:

      The Scribes try to trick Jesus to say something to use against him, starting at verse 21:

      21; They questioned Him, saying, "Teacher, we know that You speak and teach correctly, and You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God  in truth;
      22: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?
      23:  But he detected their trickery and said to them;
      24; Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have? They said Caesars.
      25; And He said to them, "Then render to Caesars the things that are Daesars, and to God the things that are Gods;
      26; And they were unable to catch Him in a saying in the presences of the people; and being amazed at His answer, they became silent.
      Also, the Priests and Scribes were part of the "government" and people had to give taxes to them which were supposed to help the poor.

      I hear RW Christians argue all the time against paying taxes and especially for programs for the poor.  700 Club, Billy Graham and his son, etc, etc.

      •  Then you aren't listening to them (3+ / 0-)
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        Yes, the passage you quoted says to pay taxes.

        Here is their retort: That simply says it is lawful to pay taxes.  Where does it say Caesar is the one who will provide charity to the poor and needy, so paying taxes is the way to give to the poor and needy?  Where is the Biblical verse regarding giving to the poor and needy that says, "and your taxes are the way to give charity to the poor and needy?"  

        In fact, they argue that the quote you cited specifically de-links the two -- the "things that are God's" are, to them, their contributions to the poor and needy in the name of their religion.  They say that passage means, "it's lawful to pay taxes, but charity -- 'God's work' -- is separate and due to God, NOT to the government."  

        Evangelicals recognize that it is lawful to pay taxes.  They see giving to the poor and needy as a separate obligation, because the Bible doesn't link the two.  "Caesar" didn't provide charity.  

        There are reasons why the government plays the role of providing for the poor and needy, not the least of which has to do with whether charity alone is sufficient to provide for people who are in need.  And you can make this argument to evangelical Christians.  But you can't make the argument that the Bible says that you provide charity to the poor and needy by paying taxes, because the Bible never links the two.  That passage you quoted simply says, it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.  It does not say, in that quote, "because that is a way of helping the poor and needy."  The Bible never says, "you need to provide to the poor by paying taxes."  

        People can make practical arguments to evangelicals that they ought to be willing to have the government provide for the poor and needy and they ought to be willing to pay taxes to do that.  But quoting the Bible is not a way to do that, because the Bible never links the two.  

        •  That is just not true (11+ / 0-)

          Our Jewish contributor can help here, but the Priests and the Scribes were part of the government.  People had to pay taxes to them as well as to the Romans.  The Jewish religious/government was supposed to assist the poor.  Thus the old woman who gave her last coin to the temple's poor box.

          The quote I used says that citizens are supposed to follow the laws.  It doesn't say anything about what Caesar does with it. If Caesar had chosen to take care of the poor, then that would have been the law and should be followed.  He never says that the poor is strictly for "God's realm".  And again, the tradition of the time was, yes, a part of the government was supposed to assist the poor.

          The reason RW Christians argue against helping the poor via the government is because they want to use charity as a club to hold over peoples heads. "If you don't belong to our church we won't help you in your hour of need."

        •  The Constitution give our government... (1+ / 0-)
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          ...taxing authority. Last time I checked, our government was secular, not a theocracy. Your religious views are yours alone, not our governing principles.

          Be happy, try not to hurt anyone, and fall in love.

          by glb3 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:57:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That gospel was written... (4+ / 0-)
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        ...decades after Jesus' death. To link a particular event to Jesus, let alone his exact words, is a stretch. It is not certain who actually wrote the Gospel of Luke. It may not have been an eyewitness to any of the events. The "church" comes along even later and massages an interpretation from another language as part of creating a bible that solidifies its power and control over the population. An illiterate population had no chance against the power of the church. Tell them it is all divinely inspired. Ya, that's the ticket.

        Be happy, try not to hurt anyone, and fall in love.

        by glb3 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:41:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know of a government official... (7+ / 0-)

      ...that has advocated that anyone give all of their money to the government in taxes. Help me out here. Seems like the government allows for religious organizations and individuals to make use of some pretty generous tax deductions and exemptions.

      Be happy, try not to hurt anyone, and fall in love.

      by glb3 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:53:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's true (15+ / 0-)

      But when you dig deeper into their reasons for not wanting to pay taxes, you get to one of two things:

      1) "Those people" don't work, are lazy, etc., and are thus undeserving of my money

      2) (more politically correct thing to say for someone who really believes #1) "The government is bloated and inefficient."

      My point to the people who bring up number one is always quite simple. So after telling me that you think poor people are undeserving of your tax dollars because you are hard working and awesome while they are lazy and destitute, you are going to then turn and give your money to those people on your own? Really? I liken it to the guy who says, "Just take down this 45 MPH speed limit sign; I promise I'll go the speed limit anyway." But when I look at that guy, I see that he's driving a Ferrari...and he's late for work. The point is - it's all bullshit and deflection. A person who truly has a desire to use their wealth to help the poor would not fight vehemently for policies that disadvantage the poor.

      The truth comes in one of two things - first, it's like I said earlier, and they don't want to give anyone anything. If they do want to give away some of their wealth, it's that they want control. When they give some of their wealth to the poor through taxation and spending, they have no power to tell "those people" what to do or how to act. Acts of "charity" or "giving" confer two benefits to the giver. He gets a feeling of direct superiority over the receiver of that charity. In most cases, he also gets the ability to require something of his receiver.

      This is what's behind a lot of their bullshit.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil." ~Bobby Kennedy

      by Grizzard on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:43:49 PM PST

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    •  The problem is charity doesn't work (6+ / 0-)

      The poor are much better off in welfare states such as Sweden and Denmark so if you ACTUALLY care about the poor - rather than your own righteousness or some non-Christian principles about the evils of government - then you should support the welfare state.

      If you actually care about real world results for the poor, that is. And you should, if you are Christian.

      Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

      by Joe B on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:41:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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