I was listening to a call-in radio show on the way to church this past Sunday morning when I heard a caller make a statement that I hear liberals make often: “Jesus was a liberal.”
The connecting of his dots consisted of the numerous commands and examples of Jesus helping the needy and the extensive government entitlement programs legislated largely by liberal representatives.
The disconnect is that Jesus wasn’t an elected, government official nor were his commandments given to governmental bodies. These mandates were always directed to the individual believer and the church body. It isn’t charity if you are giving financial aid from the pocket of someone other than yourself.
There was a time in our recent history where family members and churches handled the task of taking care of the needy. The beauty of that system (God’s system) is that the recipients were more easily monitored and the circumstances that brought about their “hour of need” could be readily evaluated. Were they busting their hump looking for employment, doing odd jobs and generally being willing to work for what they received? Or were they living in mom’s basement, playing video games all day? You can bet if they were doing the latter, the flow of funds would (or should) stop in a hurry. Severe hunger pangs can serve as a great motivator to put the joystick down and pick the broom up.
The myth that liberals are more generous than conservatives has been blown up in study after study. Arthur Brooks documented this in his 2006 book, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism.” According to Brooks, conservative-headed households give 30 percent more to charity than liberal-headed households, on average, although liberal families’ incomes are higher by an average of six percent.
As we view government through the prism of scriptural principle, I do not believe that they can be credited with generosity nearly as much as they can be found guilty of fraud, bad stewardship and outright thievery.
As we near what I consider the most important election of my lifetime, it is not relevant to consider whether Jesus was a liberal or a conservative. It is crucial, however, to elect the candidates that are personally charitable with their own money and fiscally responsible with mine.