By Bryan Fischer
Politico ran a long piece today about President Obama’s increased references to his “Christian faith.” It’s difficult not to think that this is raw political pandering on the president’s part, given his ardent and quite public support of everything Muslim and the virtual invisibility of Christianity in his administration heretofore.
He can read poll numbers like anyone else. He likely knows that 32% of all the votes cast on November 2 were cast by evangelical Christians, and that he’d better suck up to them right quick if he wants to have a prayer of getting reelected in 2012. The Democrats suffered a bloodbath at the hands of evangelical Tea Partiers this fall, and he’s running scared. His handlers likely are urging him to at least pretend to be a devout Christian.
Of course, they add, just be sure to ignore all those pesky verses about the sanctity of life in the womb, the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, and the evils of homosexual behavior. We don’t want you to be devout enough to take any of that stuff seriously.
Hence his very public attendance at a worship service while on vacation in Hawai’i this week and his newfound fondness for quoting the Bible.
Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, his favorite verse does not mean what he thinks it means, and if properly understood, would be more likely to make you a conservative than a socialist.
The president is fond of reminding us all that we “our brother’s keeper, our sister’s keeper,” a politically correct, gender neutral paraphrase of Gen. 4:9. This verse, the president says, is why he’s a Democrat.
In its original setting, the phrase is used by Cain just after he’d murdered his brother Abel. God speaks to Cain, and asks him where his brother is. Cain responds essentially by saying, “I have no idea, it’s not my day to watch him.” Literally, he says, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
So these words are originally found on the lips of history’s first cold-blooded killer and were part of a bald-faced lie to the Creator of the universe, spoken by a guy trying to dodge a homicide beef. If you’re going to pick a Bible verse to be your mantra, I’d frankly recommend you start somewhere else.
Be that as it may, the phrase has come down in modern parlance as a sort of variation on “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Okay, fine, let’s go with that and accept for the sake of argument that this utterance represents one of the moral high water marks on the pages of Scripture.
The question then becomes, “Who is my brother’s keeper?”
Answer: it’s not government.
The answer to the question, “Who is my brother’s keeper?” is obvious. It’s me.
The brother is the keeper of the brother, not the government. Nowhere in the Bible will you find an admonition that government is to be anyone’s keeper. I am to take care of myself, with God’s constant help, and if I need outside assistance, it is to come from my family, my friends, and my faith community.
Or to switch it around, if my brother needs help, he’s supposed to get that help from me.
Keeping my brother, even using the president’s own favorite Bible verse, is not government’s responsibility. It’s mine.
Democrats, including the president, are fond of trying abysmally to turn the Scriptures into a Marxist screed. It can’t be done without prostituting the word of God.
Regressives (my term for liberals, who want to take us back to the dark days of socialism) believe that compassion is giving away other people’s money, and they believe in the involuntary transfer of wealth to get it done. But the involuntary transfer of wealth is just stealing.
Conservatives, on the other hand, imbued with a biblical worldview, believe that generosity is giving away your own money, out of a heart of compassion inspired by the example and Spirit of Christ.
Taking money from the pocket of one citizen at gunpoint and transferring it to the wallet of another citizen is theft, whether a thug does it or the government does it under color of law.
And so the president’s worldview is predicated on a gross violation of both the eighth and 10th commandments. The eighth commandment is blessedly straightforward and unambiguous: “You shall not steal.” Just because government does it doesn’t make it right. That just makes it legalized plunder, to use Frederic Bastiat’s deft turn of phrase.
The president’s entire approach to the redistribution of wealth comes from Marx, not from the Bible. In fact, the 10th commandment prohibits class warfare of all kinds. “You shall not covet … anything that is your neighbor’s.”
But the entire mindset of regressives, including Mr. Obama, is based on a covetous, slavering, slobbering, trembling, itching greed for the possessions of others. It is accompanied by a dark, angry and thoroughly unchristian jealousy that some have more than others. That kind of greed comes from the pit of hell, not from the Father of lights.
So Mr. President, you can have your favorite hacked-up Bible verse, just as long as you take it seriously. Let’s get brothers back into the business of caring for brothers, and let’s bind Big Brother down with the chains of the Constitution and the word of God and keep him out of our wallets and our families.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, Bryan Fischer, is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, and is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. ‘Focal Point’ airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network.