Using Scripture to advance your political goals isn’t just for Republicans anymore!

by wfgodbold

President Obama referenced Matthew 25 in a meeting where he prayed with Christian leaders that budget cuts wouldn’t fall on “the least of these.” (H/T Iowahawk)

Now, I don’t begrudge Obama the solace he finds in asking for God’s help; he’s not the first president to do so, and won’t be the last.

What I do object to is the arguable misuse of this passage to justify government spending. The relevant passage follows:

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Jesus doesn’t tell his followers that whatever the government does for the least of these, you did for me; he puts the admonition square on you.

This is often used as a club to convince Christians that they ought to support whatever the liberal cause du jour happens to be; amnesty, helping the poor, etc. If you don’t support those programs, then you’re a bad Christian.

To borrow the president’s favored phrase, we should reject the false choice between profligate spending and helping the poor; should the US default, or be crippled by ever-increasing debt, there will be no shortage of the poor to help, and Uncle Sugar won’t be in any position to provide jack to the least of us.

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