Liberals love to appeal to Jesus and the Bible when it suits them. Al Gore referenced the Bible at the Tennessee Democratic Party’s annual Jackson Day dinner in 2009 in support of national healthcare. “[P]laying off the focus of the [Ted] Kennedy funeral on the Gospel of Matthew’s parable of Jesus taking care of ‘the least of us,’ [he] thundered that the country has ‘a moral duty to pass health care reform this year.’”
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes she must pursue public policies “in keeping with the values” of Jesus Christ, ”The Word made Flesh.” At a 2010 Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill, the then speaker said: “They ask me all the time, ‘What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that? What is your favorite that?’ And one time, ‘What is your favorite word?’ And I said, ‘My favorite word? That is really easy. My favorite word is the Word, is the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word.”
If Christians were to point out that the Bible prohibits abortion and homosexuality and homosexual marriage, they would be accused of imposing their morality on others, violating the separation between church and state, and mixing religion and politics. But if a liberal appeals to the Bible, they are viewed as compassionate. Unfortunately, then a liberal quotes the Bible it’s almost always out of context. Here’s the latest example from NPR blogger Frank James:
The realities of governing as opposed to the unrealities of presidential campaigns may have made President Obama a much more human figure compared with the almost messiah-like status he had in the eyes of many supporters in 2008.
But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t the occasional moment reminiscent of a Bible story.
At a rally on the campus of North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C. Wednesday where President Obama went to drum up support for his jobs bill, this happened.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, Barack!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.) But first — but if you love me — if you love me, you got to help me pass this bill. (Applause.) If you love me, you got to help me pass this bill.
Here’s John 21:15, the New International Version, describing a scene between Jesus and his disciples:
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
There are at least two problems with Mr. James’ using this section of Scripture. First, the food that Jesus is speaking of is spiritual food. Second, if the food mentioned by Jesus is physical food that a person eats for nourishment, the command is to Peter. Jesus didn’t tell Herod or Caesar to tax the people generally to feed His lambs. He commanded Peter to do it.
Some liberal evangelicals argue in a similar way. For example, Tony Campolo declares “that there are more than 2,000 verses of Scripture that call us to express love and justice for those who are poor and oppressed.” What Campolo needs to find in these 2,000 verses is one verse that gives authority to civil government to redistribute wealth. Like Mr. James, Campolo takes verses that are directed at individuals and turns them on their head and gives them a political twist. Here’s an example:
Most important, when we reflect on all Jesus had to say about caring for the poor and oppressed, committing ourselves to His red-letter message just might drive us to see what we can do politically to help those he called, “the least of these” (see Matt. 25:31–46) .
On the day of judgment . . . [God] will ask whether or not we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, received and cared for aliens, and brought deliverance to captive peoples (see Matt. 25:31–46).
Campolo sees a political solution in these verses when Jesus is addressing what individuals have or have not done.
I have no problem with politicians quoting the Bible, but when they do make sure they include the conext.