On Thursday, February 2nd, President Obama attended a National Prayer Breakfast for one of the few times during his presidency. And as he stood before those gathered there, he said “we can all benefit from turning to our Creator” and “avoiding phony religiosity.” Not only that, but he added that our economy can benefit from higher taxes on the wealthy, and then intimated that no one supports higher taxes like Jesus supports higher taxes.
Therefore, as Obama pushed “spread the wealth 2.0,” he justified his latest attempts at financial redistribution by saying “it…coincides with Jesus’ teaching that ‘for unto whom much given, much shall be required.'” He even suggested that the idea of higher taxes on the wealthy was in line with the Golden Rule when he said, “I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to love thy neighbor as thyself.” The president didn’t explain how using confiscatory taxes to take money from one’s neighbor can be equated with loving one’s neighbor, but I guess he’s saving that for another time.
Anyway, as I listened, I couldn’t help but notice that the president steered clear of other popular quotes from scripture while making his spiel. For example, he didn’t bother referencing the command, “Thou shall not steal. (Although in all fairness, I suppose it’s somewhat counterproductive to make a push for confiscatory taxes on the one hand while making the case against stealing on the other.) Nor did he reference the Apostle Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8)
Moreover, Paul said he had worked thus so the Thessalonians could see in him “a model…to follow.” Added Paul: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man does not work, he shall not eat.'” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
But I suppose if Obama had quoted these scriptures, or the many others like them, he might have accidentally reminded us that the Bible is demonstrably opposed to stealing by any other name. And he might have also helped us remember that the Bible is equally opposed to living off the government dole instead of working.