Nicholas Kristof's Welfare State Jesus
There are few things more intellectually pathetic than a political liberal who tries to make Jesus look like a political liberal.The Progressive political movement known as the social gospel is based on this view of Jesus. Its theology can be summarized as follows: "Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote."
Nicholas Kristof writes for The New York Times. He recently attempted to nail Paul Ryan as a disciple of Jesus who was confused about Jesus' message. For Kristof, Jesus' message was all about authorizing the State to steal money from one group and hand it over to another group.
He constructed a parable for readers of The New York Times, American liberals' Bible.
A woman who had been bleeding for 12 years came up behind Jesus and touched his clothes in hope of a cure. Jesus turned to her and said: "Fear not. Because of your faith, you are now healed."Then spoke Pious Paul of Ryan: "But teacher, is that wise? When you cure her, she learns dependency. Then the poor won't take care of themselves, knowing that you'll always bail them out! You must teach them personal responsibility!"First, Jesus was God walking on earth, according to Jesus.
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death (Mark 14:60-64).So, when you are God, you have the power to heal.
Second, political liberals usually don't believe in a sovereign God who brings eternal, final judgment, but they surely believe in a sovereign State that brings temporal judgment. In their view, the State is the only god worth considering. So, when people want healing at no cost, liberals say, they should be able to get healed at the expense of the State.
Kristof's Paul Ryan does not believe in dependence on the State. Sadly, this is not the real Paul Ryan.
They were interrupted by 10 lepers who stood at a distance and shouted, "Jesus, have pity on us.""NO!" shouted Pious Paul. "Jesus! You don't have time. We have a cocktail party fund-raiser in the temple. And don't worry about them -- they've already got health care access."In the actual parable, nine of the 10 lepers refused to thank Jesus (Luke 11:17-19). Only one did: a hated Samaritan. In this sense, the nine were like virtually all recipients of stolen money from the welfare state. They are not grateful at all. They do not thank the taxpayers whose stolen money healed them. "That money is our right! That's why we call the money an entitlement. You owed us. And this is only the beginning. Curing our leprosy was only the beginning. We need free medical care on a permanent basis."
Jesus turned to Pious Paul, puzzled.
"Why, they can pray for a cure," Pious Paul explained. "I call that universal health care access."
Jesus turned to the 10 lepers. "Rise and go," he told them. "Your faith has made you well."
Then he turned back to Pious Paul, saying, "Let me tell you the story of the good Samaritan."A man was attacked by robbers who stripped him of clothes, beat him and left him half dead. A minister passed down this same road, and when he saw the injured man, he crossed to the other side and hurried on. So did a rich man who claimed to serve God. But then a despised Samaritan came by and took pity on the injured man. He bandaged his wounds and put the man on his own donkey and paid an innkeeper to nurse him to health. So which of these three should we follow?"The parable was about the charity of a hated Samaritan to a man who had been attacked by robbers. A priest and a Levite walked by him on the other side of the road but did not help him. Jesus was criticizing the Jewish religious establishment (Luke 10:25-37). Kristof ignored the context.
"Those who had mercy on him," Pious Paul said promptly.
Jesus nodded. "So go ----"
"I mean the first two," Pious Paul interjected. "For the Samaritan's work is unsustainable and sends the wrong message. It teaches travelers to take dangerous roads, knowing that others will rescue them from self-destructive behaviors. This Samaritan also seems to think it right to redistribute money from those who are successful and give it to losers. That's socialism! Meanwhile, if the rich man keeps his money, he can invest it and create jobs. So it's an act of mercy for the rich man to hurry on and ignore the robbery victim."
The Samaritan helped to heal his wounds. Then he paid for all the man's future expenses. Well, he promised to pay. Actually, a profit-seeking innkeeper paid, but only because the Samaritan promised to come back and pay. The innkeeper bore the initial risk.
In Kristof's parable, the State is the good Samaritan. The State has extracted money from taxpayers. An agent of the State takes the victim to a hospital. He tells the hospital's government paperwork assistant to fill out several forms to submit to the government agency for future payment. Taxpayers will pay the bill, after at least 25% for handling fees by the government agency.
"How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven," Jesus mused to himself. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter heaven."In liberalism's version of Jesus' warning, the State is supposed to tax rich people at far higher rates than it taxes the average Joe, making them poorer, thereby having a better chance of getting into heaven. But, of course, in the real world, rich people hire lawyers who use the loopholes that these lawyers got Congress to create. So, the average Joe pays a higher percentage. This outrages liberals, but when their representatives are in power in Congress, as in Obama's first term, they refuse to reform the tax code. Surprise, surprise!
"Let me teach you about love, Jesus -- tough love!" Pious Paul explained. "You need a sustainable pro-business model. And you need to give people freedom, Jesus, the freedom to suffer misery and poverty."The real Jesus had an answer: "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always" (Matthew 26:11). But that was not what Kristof's Jesus said.
"The Lord God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor," Jesus replied, emphasizing the last two words. Then he turned to a paralyzed beggar at his feet. "Stand up!" Jesus told the man. "Pick up your mat and go home." As the man danced about joyfully, Pious Paul rolled his eyes dismissively."Look, Jesus, you have rare talent, and it should be rewarded," Pious Paul said. "I have a partner, The Donald, who would like to work with you: He'd set up a lovely hospital, and the rich would come and pay for you to heal them. You'd get a percentage, and it'd be a real money-spinner. Overhead would be minimal because every morning you could multiply some loaves and fishes. You could strike it rich!"The masses of Jesus' day thought of Him exactly as Kristof does: a source of endless wealth at no cost. This text describes their quest for free bread.
The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed (John 6:22-27).Instead, Kristof cites another passage, one that has nothing to do with the masses' love of free goodies.
"Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God," Jesus said. "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received comfort.""Oh, come on, Jesus," Pious Paul protested. "Don't go socialist on me again. Please don't encourage class warfare. The best way to help the needy is to give public money to the rich. That then inspires the poor to work harder, galvanizes the sick to become healthy, forces the lepers to solve their own problems rather than kick back and depend on others. That's why any realistic health plan has to focus on providing less coverage for the poor, and big tax benefits for the rich. When millions of people lose health care, that's when a country is great again!"Jesus did not advovcate giving money to the rich or poor. He was a follower of the Mosaic law (Matthew 5:17-18). What does the Mosaic law say? This:
Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour (Leviticus 19:15).This is called equality before the law. It is what all forms of the welfare State reject.
"From everyone who has been given much," Jesus told him, "much will be required.""Well, sure, this hospital would have a foundation to do some charity work. Maybe commissioning portraits of The Donald to hang in the entrance. But let's drop this bleeding heart nonsense about health care as a human right, and see it as a financial opportunity to reward investors. In this partnership, 62 percent of the benefits would go to the top 0.6 percent -- perfect for a health care plan."This article is an assault against truth in the name of Jesus. Kristof would be wise to pay attention to this:
Jesus turned to Pious Paul on his left and said: "Be gone! For I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; and I was sick, and you did not help me."
"But, Lord," protested Pious Paul of Ryan, "when did I see you hungry or thirsty or sick and refuse to help you? I drop your name everywhere. And I'm pro-life!"
"Truly, I say to you," Jesus responded, "as you did not help the homeless, the sick -- as you did not help the least of these, you did not help me."
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord (Leviticus 19:16).