What?! Socialism in the Bible? Say It Isn’t So!

So I’m still mired in a Facebook debate about the election, this time in response to this article:

http://townhall.com/columnists/KenBlackwell/2008/11/03/obamanomics?page=full

I probably get a bit pointed in my responses below, but like I say, it’s been a long election season.

(Working hard to give a measured response here…) It still shocks me how often “Christians” are double-minded about this stuff. “Conservative Christians” seem to like treating the U.S. like a theocracy (which, last I checked, it’s not) when it comes to “moral” issues like abortion and, from their point of view, gay marriage, but are outraged when more “liberal” Christians want to use the power of the state to bring about justice, included the much maligned- but entirely Biblical- “spreading the wealth around.” Ever hear about Jubilee, folks? That’s in your Bible too. If all Christians focused as much on loving and serving the “least of these” as Jesus and Scripture do, we’d have little to disagree about.

  • My friend replied on 3:43pm November 4: “Please Robert, show me some scripture from the Bible. I would like to know where you are getting this. I do not see in the Bible where the government is spreading the wealth. I do see the Lord wants you to give to the poor.”

I then go on to say:

Here you go: Exodus 21:2-6, Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:1-7, 18-22, and Deuteronomy 15:1-11, 12-18. In the theocratic society of the First Testament, God’s special concern for the poor was so pronounced that provisions were made in the Law for a Sabbath Year. After six years of working the field, God’s people were to let the land lie fallow. This served a number of purposes, including taking into account what we would now call “environmental concerns” (apparently God’s a tree-hugger; go figure), and more importantly, providing for the poor. During the Sabbath Year the poor were permitted to harvest whatever grew of its own accord, thus insuring they had something to eat. More importantly, all debts among neighbors were to be forgiven (there’s that pernicious” spreading the wealth around” by “government”- since it was written into the Law, after all).

Oh, but that’s not all. God really shows his socialist colors (sorry, it’s been a long election cycle) when he doesn’t just stop with the Sabbath Year, but also calls for a Jubilee Year. The Jubilee was to occur every 50 years (after 7 Sabbath Years, interesting, eh?). In the Jubilee Year, not only did all of the above occur, but also the following:1) compulsory restoration of ancestral lands to families that may have lost control of the land, and redemption of land by other family members; (2) the emancipation of all Israelite indentured servants whose term of servitude was unexpired; (3) the emancipation of all Israelite indentured servants who had opted to become long-term “slaves” to their Israelite “masters” even when their original term of servitude had been completed (apparently an additional regulation to insure that servitude of one generation would not become multi-generational); (4) land allocations for Levites.

Silly God, here he is in the Jubilee freeing slaves and disrupting hard-fought land gains by making everybody give everything back to the original owners. It’s no wonder the people wanted a king like everybody else rather than having to abide by all this goody-two-shoes share and share alike nonsense. But hey, thank goodness (not God, naturally) that smart Westerners finally came up with free market capitalism by which we can entrench minority groups in cycles of generational poverty and insure a form of economic slavery more than a century after Christian slaves and northern liberals finally had the good sense to overthrow their Christian masters. Sorry, I’m ranting there against my “Christian” private school Texas education that inculcated all that nonsense about state’s rights, etc.

Anyway, hopefully you see my larger point. I’m saying you can’t have it both ways. If you want the U.S. to act like a theocracy by legislating Christian mores (according to some) regarding abortion and gay rights, you better be prepared for the same argument to be made about equally valid (and perhaps more Biblical, even!) mores concerning the Biblical call for economic justice through government redistribution of wealth (property). It’s still amazing to me that rock stars like Bono have more of a prophetic voice about this stuff than many Christians, but I digress. For more, see:   

  

 

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