Ah yes, the post that's been swimming around in my mind forever. The last couple of posts have tried to at least lay the foundation for what Jim Wallis believes and what he thinks the role of government should be in our lives. Worry not, I'm not finished with him, believe you me. Yesterday, I mentioned more than once that I believe Jesus and the New Testament as a whole are silent on politics and whether we are to strive for theocracies. I don't think we should, I will attempt to explain my rational.
My pastor has said on more than one occassion that we get ourselves in trouble when we ask the Bible questions it does not answer. Maybe I'm falling into the same trap, but because I feel the Bible does not explicitly say how I should vote, I am forced to come up with standards on my own. The Bible is fairly clear that God's priorities should be my priorities. Also, because politics will inevitably require you to take non-believers into account and because I feel that most of the New Testament (especially those epistles) is instruction for believers, those admonitions cannot be applied to citizens who have yet to choose to follow Christ. So, I take the two things that I believe are imperitive for anyone to find God through Christ. The two things that God grants us so as to allow us the opportunity to choose correctly. One: Life. Pretty much a given. Hard to do anything if you have yet to live. This is essentially from where my stance against abortion stems. God created you...and me (with some slight modifications). Life is the first gift He chooses to bestow on all of us, it's the universal gift. Therefore, it should be protected. The second is of almost equal importance. One that is reinforced by C.S. Lewis in Mere Chrisitanity. The one that says God has no use for automatons, robots, human puppets. Free will.
Without free will, we can never choose to follow God. Never choose to do right instead of wrong. Never choose to hand the fiver to the guy on the corner instead of the barista at Starbucks. Never choose to swallow the insult that sits at the tip of the tongue. Life is a series of choices, and with most we have the opputunity to choose to go the way of God or to stay on the path of self.
So, those things being said, if we must have a form of government, I believe God would have us choose some form of democracy. Any other type would force one to heed to the will of another without any say in the matter. It would then follow that when choosing which candidate to lend my vote, it would be the one that supports a philosophy that remove governments retraints on my liberty, including how I use my money. I therefore think that instituting high tax rates with the purpose to redistribute the wealth to those who are considered in more need can be considered a moral issue. Taking money, or property, from someone against their will and giving it to someone else is called theft, no matter how benevolent the motive might be. God wants me to use my money and energy to help those in need. I think he has a far different view if I were to sneak into a neighbor's house, and take what I found and "donate" it to the poor. I think he has a commandment that addresses that, but my Bible has come under some suspicion lately, so you might want to check it out yourself. I agree with the words of Linda Bowles when she wrote,
"At the heart of American capitalism is the principle that what a man earns by his creativity and effort, no matter how much or little, is his own. It is not the property of government, and no other citizen, no matter how needy, has a claim or a right to it. This is one of the core principles that made America the most prosperous nation the world has ever known. It is a principle based on individual sovereignty and freedom."That, in a very verbose nutshell, is it. I believe that in most cases Rebublicans currently emphasize liberty over goverment interferance. Therefore, I believe their priorties are closer to God's priorities.
Some will say, well what about all that money for defence. I also believe that the purpose of government, the reason we need it in our lives at all, is to do the things which the single citizen or small community cannot. One of those things would be to ensure that China doesn't come in through the back gate and to make sure that every building over 10 stories doesn't get leveled by some cadre of fundamentalist muslims, christians, atheists, or other nuts who decide it's a symbol of evil.
We are not commanded to take money from the "tax collector" and give it to the poor before he figures out it is gone. We are not asked to steal from the "rich young ruler" because he has accumulated much and obviously won't miss it. We are implored to talk them, the sit with them, to dine with them, to walk with them, to love them. Not so we can lure them into a false sense of security so to liberate their property into the hands of those who "can really use it", but to change their hearts so they make the choices God wants. Mr. Wallis wants a government that removes the possibility of stories like that of Dr. Robert Cade, or he hope renders them moot. If the tale is true, Dr. Cade invented Gatorade in 1965 and has since reaped millions in royalties. He still lives in the same house in Gainesville, FL. He has used the proceeds for various charitble needs. When asked about it he is said to have replied, "God has blessed me in all kinds of ways--including a big income. In the book of Deuteronomy God tells the Israelites a man should give as he is blessed. I think I am duty bound to do as He suggests."