The Bible, Gross Income Inequity and the Christian Right

I have been pushing for Bernie Sanders with his Democratic Socialism. There has been quite a kickback from the very people who should be endorsing this position, right-wing Republican evangelical Christians. Here's a bit of what I've been saying in opposition to the conservative status quo.

Bible quote: Jesus said, "if you wish to inherit my kingdom, go and sell all your possessions and give the profits to the poor, then come and follow me." (Matthew 19:21)

Actual Christian response:
I'm not sure where you're going with this thought as the quote is simply addressing the dangers of people relying on Government help without working and trying to provide for themselves and contribute to society. I believe the Bible passage you quoted to be more about letting go of items such as wealth that inhibit us from following Jesus with our whole heart rather than dictating how the poor are to be taken care of.

The Bible is quite clear in both. The New Testament and the Old Testament that we are to work to provide for ourselves and our families. Here are just a couple quotes:

2 Thessalonians 3 10-12: For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

Proverbs 14:23: In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
John Loftus:

First off, notice the radical individualism inherent with the misuse of these texts. This may be the over-all problem in America, an antiquated Westward-Ho individualism, and it's still here today.

As far as charity and the government goes it's very clear Jesus would never have had a distinction between private and public ethics, nor private charity and governmental charity, nor a separation of church and state for that matter in his ideal kingdom--the one he hoped would be established in his lifetime. Any ethic he proposed would be for all kingdom people and the kingdom itself. That much is clear.

It's also clear Jesus knew nothing about psychology, leading us to realize that people are not evil so much as influenced to do bad things by their DNA and their environment. There was no understanding from him that when people did bad things they did them based on subconscious forces largely beyond their control. If they disobeyed they were to be cast into hell, which is what they supposedly consciously chose over obedience and faith leading to heaven.

So lazy people consciously choose to be lazy too, and should be left to starve to death because it's their choice, right? This ethic is out of step with all humanitarians and social workers that I know, and I know plenty of them. There are usually children involved. Should we refuse to provide for their parents and let their children starve?

The bottom line is that Jesus was a socialist. The first church community in Acts shows us this. You don't like it because you are a Republican and that's it. You like the family values of that party so it makes you adopt the economics of that party too. There are plenty of moral conservatives that reject it on biblical grounds. They don't have a political party to defend since they don't like the moral positions of the democrats (I do). But at least they're being honest with the data on Jesus and socialism [See book recommendations below].

Actual Christian response:
You cannot have successful people without poor. By what would you base the standards on to be considered either without the other?
John Loftus:

Success isn't about being wealthy. I'm successful living on a pauper's income. If you mean we cannot have obscenely wealthy people without the poor, which is what we're really objecting to, I probably agree with you. No one should be obscenely wealthy when people suffer so much because they are wealthy. And even if it's possible, if the obscenely wealthy use their wealth inappropriately by buying the news media and our elections, then it is YOU who should want to strip them of this wealth. You have been bought through years of propaganda and don't realize it. You have become the pawn of the obscenely rich. Just look again at the societal health if these Nordic countries compared to yours. It's unbelievable you would be defending this.

I find it also extremely bizarre that the GOP is defending the economics of poverty since they're also the party of evangelicals who believe the Bible. It's clear to me their views of the Bible have been bought. It is very odd given what we read about Jesus.

We're told early Christians would rather die than deny their faith. Today's Christians, by contrast, have been bought for 30 pieces of silver. Other socialist passages in the Bible not to be dismissed:

II Corinthians 8:10-15:
Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
Acts 2: 44, 45:
And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Acts 4:32-37
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Be careful, conservative folks, Jesus said you would be judged by how you treat the poor and he made no distinction between the worthy and unworthy poor:

Matthew 25:31-46:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit 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? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I suggest conservative Christians listen to their own conservative scholars:

Ronald J. Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity.

John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus.

Oberly Hendricks, The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus' Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted.

This review of Hendricks book on Amazon:
Evangelical activists claiming Jesus for the Republican Party have finally met a zealous challenger. Combining the skills of a theologian with those of a political analyst, Hendricks sees little evidence that today's Republican leaders are upholding the Gospel ideals Jesus once taught. Indeed, while Hendricks adduces from the New Testament numerous indications that Jesus championed the oppressed and challenged the powerful, he interprets recent political events as proof that President Bush and his Republican allies have done just the opposite. In the president's frequent professions of Christian faith, Hendricks hears only the echoes of the corrupt triumphalism that the Roman emperor Constantine long ago substituted for the true gospel message. Even many Bush voters may concede the justice of this skeptical critique of right-wing Republican claims clothed in religious rhetoric. But many will balk when Hendricks himself drapes the mantle of Christian sanctity around the policies of FDR and LBJ. Despite his excesses, however, Hendricks provides a corrective to the religious partisanship of the Right. Bryce Christensen