Read my lips: The Bible is not socialist.
I know this might be difficult to believe, given the fact that the left has suddenly rediscovered the Good Book. (Just not any of the parts about sexual morals or personal responsibility; those still remain verboten.)
Some of the analyses of biblically mandated socialism are more nuanced (if still wrong) looks at certain passages, particularly in regards to descriptions of the early Christian community in Acts.
But most of them aren’t, and take passages we all know and using them out of context.
Guess which category Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez falls into?
“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” https://t.co/wS8C0tdIOW
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 28, 2019
Well, at least she didn’t use “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
The link she shares is an unconvincing, unintentionally comical article from Soujourners, the publication of a liberal Christian community in Washington D.C.
“Virtually from the day she assumed office, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her avowed democratic socialism have been under attack,” Obery M. Hendricks Jr., a Columbia University professor of religion and African-American studies, wrote in the piece, which was published back in January.
“Much of the condemnation is from the same crowd that so vigorously insists that America is and always has been a ‘Christian nation.’ This is quite ironic, because democratic socialism and the Bible share a strikingly similar vision of what constitutes a fair and just society. Capitalism, however, does not share that vision.”
So tell us, Professor Hendricks, what passages represent this vision?
Well, here’s the Bible’s take on health care, according to Hendricks: “Jesus modeled universal health care by healing everyone who asked, regardless of their gender, nationality or ability to pay. ‘Great multitudes followed him,’ mostly poor peasants, ‘and he healed them all’ (Matthew 12:15).”
Yes, it’s really happened. Welcome to a form of liberalism where the Savior of man, who could perform miracles and did it as a symbol of both His grace and His power, is an argument for socialized medicine simply because he healed the sick.
By the way, I do hope the left has a lot of doctors on hand who can cure people merely by rubbing mud on their eyes, because the general consensus is that “Medicare for all” will cost in the neighborhood of $30 trillion, and that’s a conservative estimate.
The Bible also notes that those Jesus healed had faith in him. I’m assuming that Hendricks’ vision of socialized medicine doesn’t include doctors asking about that.
So what about providing everyone with a “minimum income?”
“The book of Leviticus is clear: ‘There should be no poor among you … if any of your neighbors become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them … so they can continue to live among you.’ (Leviticus 25: 35-36),” Hendricks writes.
Um, are you positive you want to use the book of Leviticus as a model for society? There are, as you might remember, a few other things in Leviticus that might not make it into the Democrat platform.
By the way, at no point does anyone in the Bible suggest there ought to be a government mechanism to enact any of these things.
In fact, one might argue that we’re a Christian nation inasmuch as we’ve limited the role of government in our lives so that we can worship as we choose, not expanded it so that it shall be done on earth as we personally think it should be done in Heaven.
Hendricks certainly wouldn’t argue that all parts of the Bible should be enforced by the government, just the parts that agree with his worldview.
And then there’s Ocasio-Cortez’s choice of quotes. Again, it’s worth noting that Jesus didn’t tell the multitudes, “Truly, I say to you, as your elected government did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
I’d like to think that if he did endorse this interpretation, he might have left us with a bit more of a clue in that direction.
That’s the invariable problem with this broken view of the Bible. It doesn’t take a lot to cherry-pick a quote or two and use it as the justification for any sort of political worldview.
As for the whole message of the book, well, people tend not to get into that.
We’re in an age where passages about voluntary sharing are being used by those who would make it mandatory, all by the Caesars whom neither Jesus nor any of the early Christians were particularly fond of.
That’s what liberals never seem to remember — particularly when they’re out bashing Christians.
Professor Hendricks and the editors of Sojourners may be on their side, but I’m going to guess this flawed thinking won’t sway many people of faith.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.