(UNEDITED) I know this will come as a surprise to many of you , but the Bible says that Republicans are wrong--at least when it comes to caring for the poor and needy. I can't count the number of times my Republican friends have told me that government shouldn't be in the business of helping the poor, but that it should be left to other institutions--churches and charities and the like.
'The government doesn't have the right to co-opt our free agency,' many a good Christian conservative has said to me. 'Whether or not I should give--and how much--should be left up to me!' And they pound their feet like Rumplestiltskin. Really, they do.
But that's not how it is in the Bible. In the Bible, they were all taxed--it's called tithing--and if they weren't honest about it, God fetched the armies of hell and set them loose upon their villages, hamlets and fields. Even in the New Testament, the people were taxed and if they weren't honest about it they dropped dead at the apostles feet. Read Acts. Read Amos and Isaiah. All these tithes were brought into the storehouse and distributed not, as in Egypt, to the high mucky-mucks, but to those who truly needed it.
And, furthermore, there were rules and 'needless regulations' on their use of private property. A part of the land had to be left for the poor to harvest the crop and they got to take the crop home with them. And then there was the Jubilee Year! Well, you don't want to hear about the Jubilee Year.
Now, here in America, we've decided it's better not to mix church and state and we've kind of left the poor in the middle--not that anyone is playing tug-of-war with them. It's more like a push-of-war. 'You take the them.' 'No, you!' But here's the thing. The church cannot do it. People just don't give enough to the church--they really don't--because, well...because they don't have to. Same thing with charities. There's no falling dead at the apostles feet anymore.
Here's the thing--it was always a matter of the state compelling the payment of taxes, tithes and offering, what have you. The Old and New Testaments were always a social contract and the stipulations were always enforced. No one had the right to shrivel up their nose and talk back. "You can't make me"
and "You don't have the right to reach into my pocket" wasn't heard much in biblical society.
Since, in America, the power of enforcement remains with the State, so must the responsibility to care for the poor. It's as simple as that. Conservative Christians should holler 'Uncle!' on this one. They really should.