Human Events Blog

Obama’s divine imperative for taxation

 

President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.  He’s attended the event regularly, as both President and Senator.  The Washington Post offers a full transcript of his remarks here.

Much of the speech was Obama’s usual campaign boilerplate, mixed with the invocation of Christian religion.  For example:

We can all benefit from turning to our Creator, listening to Him. Avoiding phony religiosity, listening to Him.

This is especially important right now, when we’re facing some big challenges as a nation. Our economy is making progress as we recover from the worst crisis in three generations, but far too many families are still struggling to find work or make the mortgage, pay for college, or, in some cases, even buy food. Our men and women in uniform have made us safer and more secure, and we were eternally grateful to them, but war and suffering and hardship still remain in too many corners of the globe. And a lot of those men and women who we celebrate on Veterans Day and Memorial Day come back and find that, when it comes to finding a job or getting the kind of care that they need, we’re not always there the way we need to be.

He went on to assert that “faith and values play an enormous role in motivating us to solve some of our most urgent problems.”  So if you avoid phony religiosity and listen to the Creator, He’ll tell you how urgent Obama’s latest “jobs bill” is.

A lot of the speech involves the President talking about his personal relationship with God, and how religious inspiration helps him cope with his difficult job.  That’s what one would expect at the National Prayer Breakfast, exceptional only in that Obama’s left-wing supporters tear Republicans to shreds when they say precisely the same things.  It would be fun to read some passages from Obama’s prayer breakfast speech to liberals, tell them it was from a Rick Santorum stump speech, and watch their reaction.

Here’s the passage that caused so many eyebrows to rise, when Obama’s speech made its way across the Internet on Thursday afternoon:

And so when I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick, or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody. But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” I know the version of that Golden Rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs — from Hinduism to Islam to Judaism to the writings of Plato.

That “individual mandate” at the heart of ObamaCare isn’t an outrageous offense against Constitutional liberty that will forever change the relationship between Americans and their government!  No, it’s Jesus ordering you to buy health insurance, so that insurance companies can be financially supported while they obey Obama’s… excuse me, Jesus’ order to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions.  And that economy-crushing Dodd-Frank legislative nightmare sounds a lot less objectionable when you think of it as Dodd-Frank-Yahweh.

And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.

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.

Yay, I say unto you that an even higher power than Warren Buffett’s secretary commands me to raise your taxes.

Of course, it never occurs to this deeply incurious and ideologically fervent President to ask who is supposed to be doing the “requiring” from those “unto whom much is given.”  For Obama, the answer is the sacred and almighty State, which takes the concept of Christian charity and streamlines it by stripping away all that messy “free will” stuff… which they would have noticed God is deeply concerned with, if they actually bothered to take the Bible seriously, instead of viewing it as a supplement to Das Capital and the work of John Maynard Keynes.

The key sentence is, “I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.”  Well, you’re wrong, Mr. President.  Demonstrably, historically wrong.  We have decades of proof that it does not make economic sense.  Your collapsing one-percent-growth statist economy is further proof. 

But none of that matters when leftist ideology becomes a religion, infused with twisted Biblical meaning and cherry-picked Scripture.  Early in his Presidency, Obama was informed that increasing capital gains tax rates results in depressed investment, a slower economy, and little net gain in revenue to the Treasury.  He said he would do it anyway, because high taxes on the wealthy are transcendently fair, even when they don’t make economic sense.  That’s a religious zealot talking, and State power is his true religion.

Once tax-and-spend liberalism is stripped of its ludicrous economic justifications by brutal encounters with reality, only the religious imperative remains… and the word “willing” disappears from that key sentence.  The point of Obama’s redistributionist faith is that it doesn’t matter whether those who are extraordinarily blessed are willing to part with some of their “tax breaks.”  They don’t even have any say in whether they’re “extraordinarily blessed”… or even “blessed” at all.  A blessing is given, but most targets of Obama’s class warfare earned their fortunes, with plenty of hard work and risk. 

Not that people who think like Barack Obama could ever begin to understand that argument.  They would not allow themselves to begin understanding it, because such challenges to their sacred beliefs cannot be tolerated.

There’s nothing new in Obama’s address to the National Prayer Breakfast.  “New” ideas are not his bag.  Using the Bible to push redistributionist ideology on religious people is perfectly in keeping with Alinsky’s strategy of subduing the majority by clubbing them with their own standards and rules.  Liberals have been mining secular power from Biblical notions of charity for a very long time.  Christ the Tax Collector has been a part of the American Left’s iconography since its inception.  The Left will tolerate no other role for Him in our public discourse.

 

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