THOUGHTS FOR REP. RANGEL
ABOUT GOVERNMENT DEBT:
A MINISTER'S REPLY
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) said on Fox News Sunday that the current debt crisis was a moral issue, that he wanted to hear from “the rabbis and the priests and the ministers and the imams. This is their business, not just politicians.” Earlier he had indicated that Jesus would have something to say about the debt ceiling.
What would Jesus say? Jesus commanded us to pay our taxes, to “render to Caesar (Matthew 22:21).” Rep. Rangel was the first Congressman censured by the House in nearly 30 years for failing to disclose over half a million dollars in assets, and not paying taxes. His political compatriots such as Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Pres. Obama’s choice to scrutinize government spending Nancy Killefer and Obama’s choice as HHS secretary, former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, all had their own tax issues.
We all make mistakes, especially when the tax code is so burdensome and complicated, but if one is going to make a moral issue of taxes, then one ought to pay them. Jesus said, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3).”
Jesus certainly did tell us about our responsibility for the poor. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36). And we see the early church selling their goods and sharing with needy Christians. But these are individual and church responsibilities, not the government’s.
President Obama’s proposals include reducing charitable giving tax deductions. This would harm the very mechanisms Jesus intends to provide for the poor by discouraging people from giving to charities and churches. Jesus knows that man must work (“ If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat [2 Thessalonians 3:10],” the apostle Paul wrote) for their own character development. So, too, those who help the poor need to help them as directly as possible. Charity is a private responsibility, not a governmental one.
Scripture also teaches us to be good stewards of our money. Government shouldn’t spend money it doesn’t have. Jesus teaches an important principal: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him…(Luke 14:28-29).” Our government has desired to build many towers with no funds to build them. The United States has become a mockery as a result.
Proverbs teaches us that “the borrower is the slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).” Our $14 trillion debt has not only made us the object of mockery, but our ever increasing borrowing has made us a slave to the avowedly atheistic communist Chinese government. Can Christ be pleased that our government must honor a foreign government that systematically oppresses those who seek to worship Him?
Jesus described Himself as “the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He is the giver of life. Yet our government continues to borrow money to fund abortion mill Planned Parenthood, a taker of the most innocent of lives.
Again, Proverbs tells us that “when the wicked rule, the people groan (Proverbs 29:2).” Rep. Rangel, I think you are right. There is a lot Jesus and the Bible has to say about the current budget debate.