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A tale of two Bible quotes

Barack Obama and Rick Perry both got into the news by quoting the Bible recently.  In Obama’s case, the quote wasn’t even accurate, but of course he gets a total pass.  Plumping for his illegal amnesty orders at a campaign stop in Tennessee, the President – who also claims to be a leading authority on the Koran and the authentic tenets of Islam, when it’s time to lecture groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS about how their claims of religious inspiration are bogus – declared that Scripture covered immigration policy.  “The Good Book says don’t throw stones at glass houses, or make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before we are pointing out the mote in other folks’ eyes,” sayeth the President.

Actually, the specific advice concerning stones and glass houses is that it’s unsafe for the people who are inside such houses to throw stones, it’s not from the Bible, and it has absolutely nothing to do with granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.  It’s just a crude attempt by the President to subvert religious authority to suit his political agenda, something he does quite frequently, often claiming that Jesus Christ was mad for taxes because of all that jazz about rendering unto Ceasar’s that which is Ceasar’s.  The contemporaneous Ceasar had a much more limited idea of what belonged to him than Barack Obama does, and Jesus can hardly be said to share Obama’s belief in the State as the only right and proper dispenser of charity, but hey, you can spend all day trying to make sense of the Gospel According to Barack.

In the same appearance, Obama tried subverting the story of Christ’s birth in the manger to make a ham-fisted point about amnesty: “If we’re serious about the Christmas season, now is the time to reflect on those who are strangers in our midst and remember what it was like to be a stranger.”  People who cross your national borders illegally are invaders, not “strangers,” and as serious Christians indignantly pointed out, Mary and Joseph weren’t violating anyone’s borders; they were traveling to their home district to pay taxes.  Also, all this talk about generosity toward strangers is hard to swallow from someone who’s being “generous” with billions of dollars of other peoples’ money.

Naturally Obama will be permitted to use and abuse Scripture however he wishes.  It’s just another prop to him, like science and history.  All things are bent to serve the agenda.  Liberalism is all about beginning with a conclusion, which always involves increased power and wealth for the Ruling Class, and works backward to find, modify, and invent whatever “evidence” it needs.

Retiring Texas governor Rick Perry, meanwhile, invoked the Bible while discussing income inequality and economic mobility with the Washington Post:

Last week, Perry studied income inequality and economic mobility with experts Scott Winship, Erin Currier and Aparna Mathur. In the Post interview, he was asked about the growing gap between rich and poor in Texas, which has had strong job growth over the past decade but also has lagged in services for the underprivileged.

“Biblically, the poor are always going to be with us in some form or fashion,” he said. He cited statistics showing that since he took office in 2000, wages have increased among all four income quartiles. He said a young man who dropped out of high school in South Texas could make more than $100,000 a year as a truck driver.

Perry acknowledged that the richest Texans have experienced the greatest amount of earnings growth, but dismissed the notion that income inequality is a problem in the state, saying, “We don’t grapple with that here.”

This did not sit well with Luke Brinker at Salon, who decided to ignore all that narrative-clouding stuff about income increasing across all quartiles and zero in on Perry’s supposedly callous use of the Bible to blow off poverty concerns:

Texas may have the country’s highest rate of people who lack health insurance and rank in the top 10 states with the highest poverty levels, but Gov. Rick Perry can’t be bothered. In an interview with the Washington Post published today, Perry suggested that the Bible proves that poverty is “always going to be with us.”

A high rate of people who lack health insurance, you say?  You know what else Texas has a high rate of?  The people Barack Obama was just mangling Scripture to defend servicing.  “Non-citizens make up about one-quarter of Texas’ uninsured population, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities’ Texas Health Care Primer,” the Washington Post observed as Perry was entering the 2012 presidential campaign, citing this as one of four major reasons for the high rate of uninsured people in his state – the other three being jobs that don’t offer insurance, a limited Medicaid program, and unregulated insurance rates, which supposedly made coverage expensive for “those who are older or have a pre-existing health condition.”  Since ObamaCare is supposed to “fix” those other three factors, the large illegal-immigrant population would loom even larger as a reason for having a high rate of uninsured people.  (Remember, Obama swore that his health-care scheme wouldn’t cover illegal immigrants, and Rep. Joe Wilson was pilloried by the Left for daring to call him a liar!)  You don’t suppose a large number of illegal aliens might have something to do with “income inequality” too, do you?

The strangest thing about this response to Perry’s (accurate) quotation of the Bible about the constant presence of poverty is that liberal dogma asserts exactly the same thing.  We just observed the big golden anniversary of the War on Poverty, and when critics proclaimed it a failure because poverty rates are as high as ever, defenders of the welfare state said that doesn’t matter, because “success” means that poverty is less unpleasant than it used to be – in fact, with generous enough welfare benefits, the life of technically impoverished people is nearly indistinguishable from the life of the hard-working lower middle class, and that’s supposed to be a good thing.  (It is considered very rude to point out that making poverty so comfortable kills incentives for joining that hard-working lower middle class, and can make it frankly illogical to give up government benefits to accept employment.)

Of course, those who launched the War on Poverty explicitly sold it to a 1960s electorate much less comfortable with lifetime government dependency as a brilliant plan to reduce poverty rates, not make poverty more comfortable; it’s an abject failure by the standards of its authors, but since liberals aren’t even held accountable for campaign promises they made last year, it doesn’t do much good to recall what they claimed fifty years ago.  Even the most dedicated poverty-fighter would likely agree with Perry, and the Bible, that it’s always going to be with us to some degree; the best approach is to create a vibrant economy brimming with employment and opportunity, which can afford a carefully-monitored temporary safety net for the most unfortunate among us.  

That’s not the kind of future income-inequality obsessives have in mind.  They’re more about cutting down the unacceptably successful, confiscating wealth to enrich and empower themselves, and using whatever remains to toss the poor a few bones.  It’s all part of the religion of the State, which is fond of appropriating the trappings of other faiths to conceal itself, and boasts a notoriously thin-skinned, arrogant clergy.

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