A few days ago, Barack Obama spoke at a prayer breakfast and claimed that he wants to raise taxes because of his Christian faith:

But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.” It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.

This is the kind of argument that usually comes from people who don’t have much familiarity with the Christian Gospel. That teaching didn’t get addressed to policymakers. Jesus was teaching the wealthy and powerful to act on a personal, individual basis for the sake of their soul, not to confiscate resources for others to put to their own use.  In fact, the idea that government should exist to mandate the confiscation of wealth for redistribution ends up negating the need for personal commitment to the poor.  It demotivates the impulse as people assume they’ve done their part by paying their taxes and nothing more.

The purpose of taxation is to fund government.  The mechanism of Christian charity comes through the individual, not through government.  Government will not save anyone’s soul. There may be good reasons to push tax increases as a tax policy, but Jesus Christ is not one of them. This is nothing more than a clumsy attempt to pander to Christians while lecturing them — and displaying his lack of understanding of the meaning of the Gospel.

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