John Kasich appealed to Matthew 25:42-43 in support of Obamacare. “Promoting Obamacare in South Dakota, Montana and several national interviews last week, Kasich touted the Bible chapter’s depiction of judgment based on individual charity as a sweeping endorsement of government programs for the poor.” “Individual charity” is not government confiscation in the form of taxes, mandates, and fines for non-compliance.
“Now, if you ever read Matthew 25, I think, ‘I wanna feed the hungry and clothe the naked,’” Kasich said when asked about Obamacare in Pierre, South Dakota. Again, there are ways to feed the hungry and clothe the poor that does not necessitate the creation of a government program and a huge bureaucracy.
Let’s take a look at the passage Gov. Kasich references in support of Obamacare:
“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”
Taking a closer contextual look at the passage, one can see that government programs are not in view. Jesus is not addressing Caesar or the civil rulers in Israel. In each example Jesus gives, help comes from individuals, not the State. Jesus is not describing the development of government programs.
Governments don’t visit people in prison; private citizens do. Governments put people in prison; private citizens do not. Governments can’t legitimately be charitable and magnanimous with other people’s money.
In the book of Acts, people voluntarily helped those in need by selling their own property (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37; 5:4). There was no petitioning of the government to implement a form of Obamacare in the name of Jesus or the Bible.
Civil governments are the biggest obstacles in helping the poor, and it’s not because they don’t tax enough and redistribute wealth efficiently. High taxes and control of the money supply (inflation/deflation) enable civil governments to control people and their property.
A ten percent tax is a sign of tyranny (1 Sam. 8:15), and yet Christians like Kasich and others believe that higher taxes help the poor. It was a taxing policy by Rome that forced Mary and Joseph to leave their stable home environment, Joseph’s job, and to spend money they probably did not have in order to register for a government taxing program (Luke 2:1–7). Wealth redistribution policies, with all their seemingly good intentions, hurt the poor and make them dependent on civil government — forever.
History shows that Christians took Jesus’ admonition to heart and created numerous care agencies. These agencies would be overwhelmed today because governments have created an unmanageable number of poor people by creating poor people.
Economist Thomas Sowell “argues that the Great Society programs only contributed to the destruction of African-American families, saying ‘the black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”
He goes on to show that for blacks, prior to the mid-1960s, economic changes were taking place at an accelerated rate:
“The economic rise of blacks began decades earlier, before any of the legislation and policies that are credited with producing that rise. The continuation of the rise of blacks out of poverty did not — repeat, did not — accelerate during the 1960s.
“The poverty rate among black families fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent in 1960, during an era of virtually no major civil rights legislation or anti-poverty programs. It dropped another 17 percentage points during the decade of the 1960s and one percentage point during the 1970s, but this continuation of the previous trend was neither unprecedented nor something to be arbitrarily attributed to the programs like the War on Poverty.
“In various skilled trades, the incomes of blacks relative to whites more than doubled between 1936 and 1959 — that is, before the magic 1960s decade when supposedly all progress began. The rise of blacks in professional and other high-level occupations was greater in the five years preceding the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than in the five years afterwards.”
None of this is to say that current economic policies are good for the nation. There is too much government intervention, too much cronyism, too much taxation, too many regulations, and too much debasement of the currency.
Calling on the government to do more will only create more economic chaos and hurt more people.