Don’t you just love it when liberals quote the Bible in support of some wealth-distribution scheme? The Bible is off limits when it addresses the subjects of homosexuality, homosexual marriage, and abortion, but it’s OK to use it when wealth redistribution is on the table.
President Obama quoted from Genesis 4:9 to support his argument for more taxes and wealth redistribution in an address to campaign supporters at at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. Here’s what he said:
“I hear politicians talking about values in an election year. I hear a lot about that. Let me tell you about values. Hard work, personal responsibility — those are values. But looking out for one another. That’s a value. The idea that we’re all in this together. I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. That’s a value.”
No, that’s an insult. President Obama was saying, given the true meaning of the Bible verse he cites, that the government is the “keeper” of the less fortunate. He completely misses the meaning of the text. A “keeper” is like a “Zoo Keeper.”
Here’s how the conversation goes after Cain kills Abel:
“Where is Abel your brother?” And [Cain] said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
This is a question from a liar (Cain knew where his brother was) and a murderer. To use Cain’s reply to God as justification for wealth redistribution by government decree is like using Joseph Stalin’s “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs” to support social and political “change.”
The Hebrew word for “keeper” is what a prison guard is among prisoners. He “keeps” prisoners in cells similar to the way a shepherd keeps sheep in a pen (1 Sam. 17:20). Is this the image that President Obama has in mind? Maybe so.
In Cain and Abel’s day, flocks and fields were the occupations of choice. “Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground” (4:2). Abel is not a lamb that needs “keeping.” The State has been the “keeper” of the poor for so long that many of them act like caged animals. Like caged animals, they are fed through the bars of their limited freedom, beholden to the State for sustenance. Dr. Gary North’s comments on this passage from his economic commentary on Genesis, Sovereignty and Dominion (Vol. 1), are well worth reading:
Unfortunately, the passage has become a familiar one in liberal political and theological circles. “My brother’s keeper” has become a catch phrase. More to the point, “your brother’s keeper” has become the shibboleth of shibboleths of the so-called Social Gospel movement, second only to “the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.”
The standard explanation of this passage — completely out of context — is that each man owes his neighbor a great deal. Specifically, we all collectively owe each other life, liberty, and property, especially property, and most importantly, property confiscated from the rich through political action. We are supposedly the legal guardians of the poor, the infirm, and the feebleminded. We have this responsibility not as Christian individuals, members of churches, or contributors to voluntary charities, but as members of the body politic.
A “keeper” implies control of “a flock of docile, stupid, incompetent, wandering, helpless, and very profitable sheep. The primary economic function of sheep is, after all, to be sheared.”
A better illustration of care would be the Good Samaritan. But this doesn’t work for a Statist like President Obama because the Samaritan used his own money.