While progressives refuse to allow the Bible to guide them on social issues, they do claim their economic policies are Biblically driven. But is this really true? There is a treasure trove of guidance on economics in the Bible that unfortunately is not being utilized by those in positions to influence said policy. There is so much in fact that I do not pretend that I will be able to cover all of it. However, I think I can cover enough to prove an important conclusion. The conclusion being, from a Biblical perspective, progressives in the Democratic Party (such as our President) are fundamentally wrong on economic policy. I would add this distinction to those in other parties as well who believe in liberal economic policy. The end result of this policy is largely seen in how the government regulates business and in how it taxes the population. But before we get there, it is important to address the fundamental problems with their philosophy.
One of these underlying problems I see is the perception of wealth. Is being successful and wealthy intrinsically evil? The left would have you think so. Even the founder of BET (who is not exactly a political backer of the Republican Party) has publicly denounced President Obama’s constant demonization of the wealthy. It is so common that I do not think I have to provide links to his comments (if anyone thinks that is an issue I can provide them). From Wall Street to Big Oil…the comments present the argument that somehow having significantly more money than someone else is immoral. Often it is presented with the guilt ridden argument that the wealthy are not paying their fair share of taxes (a dishonest statement in itself that I will cover later). The idea of guilt comes with it the idea of having done something wrong. The bottom line is that simply being wealthy or having a large salary is not evil in of itself. The economy is not a zero sum game. Wealth is not accumulated at the expense of someone else as Obama proclaims in his campaign speeches. In most cases the wealthy create wealth for others in the process. I will cover some more specifics on these policies but first I think it is important to show the fundamental flaws in the progressive argument from a Biblical perspective. One of the most common illustrations of my point is the intentional or unintentional misreading of the following verse:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
Very often this verse ends up being quoted as “money is the root of all evil”, but that is not the point of this verse. It is the love of money, not money itself. It is the idea of making money an idol; of making it more important than your relationship with God. The same holds true with the story of the rich young man:
“And behold, a man came up to him, saying, Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life? And he said to him, Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments. He said to him, Which ones? And Jesus said, You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The young man said to him, All these I have kept. What do I still lack? Jesus said to him, If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:16-24)
It is not that the young man had great wealth. It was the fact that his wealth was more important to him than following God. A love of material things can be a real problem; for some a barrier from the kingdom of God, but nowhere in the Bible does God promote civil governments controlling how much wealth a person can have. It does not promote government involvement in protecting people from themselves when it comes to money. Just like salvation is a personal decision that cannot be dictated by civil legislation, the love of money cannot be constrained by government. It is a heart issue as illustrated in this passage:
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
The simple message here is that if your heart is in the right place, you will be generous with your money and not place it above God. In a way it is a way God reveals people’s hearts. Nowhere in the Bible does God say that money or possessions in themselves are evil. Actually, scripture affirms the opposite. Giving someone wealth is one thing God can do to bless people.
“The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22)
“Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:19)
“wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.” (2 Chronicles 1:12)
This does not mean that all Christians will be blessed with wealth, but it certainly affirms that having such wealth is not inherently evil. And because the Biblical purpose of civil government is to promote good and restrain evil, progressives in our government do not have a basis for enacting economic policy simply because someone has a significant amount of wealth. Additional circumstances outside of simple wealth would have to exist in order for the government to have a moral argument. This would include unjust gain (Habakkuk 2:9, Jeremiah 22:13)…essentially gaining wealth through some type of illegal activity. A government has a right to enforce its just laws, but this is not a part of economic policy; it is about enforcing the rule of law.
This is the first fundamental flaw I see in progressives’ claim of the moral high ground on economic policy. It is a flaw based upon something emotional, not Biblical. And it is a flaw that I believe guides Obama’s policy decisions.