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Gleaning from Krauthammer


Lest there be any doubt that Charles Krauthammer has lost his brain, consider today's column. It's devoted mostly to savaging President Obama as anti-religious for upholding the HHS contraceptive coverage mandate (today's accommodation of which to religious concerns will be taken up in this space in due course). But to set up his screed, Dr. K. takes a swipe at the president's classic mainline Protestant claim that Christianity supports government programs to aid the least among us.

Now, I’m no theologian, but I’m fairly certain that neither Jesus nor his rabbinic forebears, when speaking of giving, meant some obligation to the state. You tithe the priest, not the tax man.

The Judeo-Christian tradition commands personal generosity as represented, for example, by the biblical injunction against retrieving any sheaf left behind while harvesting one’s own field. That is for the gleaners — “the poor and the alien” (Leviticus 19:10). Like Ruth in the field of Boaz. As far as I can tell, that charitable transaction involved no mediation by the IRS.

Now, I'm no theologian, but you don't have to be one to apprehend that Leviticus 19:9-10 has to do with a legal obligation, not "personal generosity." That's to say, when God spake unto Moses, He was, like, laying down the law, as in Public Policy for the Promised Land. As Josephus noted, Ancient Israel was not a monarchy, oligarchy, or democracy but a theocracy. And under God's rule, there was a mandate to redistribute wealth, from the owners of the vineyards and the fields to those who had not. 

I call that an obligation to the state.

Topics: Politics, Government & Politics
Tags: obama


  1. And Leviticus addressed a people who were largely herders and farmers who would live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone and need would be apparent to all. Not exactly New York City, nor the United States at large, and not an economy affected by doings half way around the world.

  2. And the tithes of grain and animals—without spot or blemish—were brought to who—the priests—to be warehoused, slaughtered or otherwise used as the priestly class of that day, dictated. Not much was said about how these tithes were used to help the poor and needy—in fact, the poor and needy were expected to ante up their own fair share of animals and grain for the good of the cause. 

    Perhaps our enlightened blogger above, chooses to continue living under a theocracy and the rigid rules of the archaic Hebrew Scriptures, but happily, most all of us Americans (and Christians) do NOT. Happily we recognize a wall of separation between the tax money that government compels from it’s citizens to fight wars, pay for massive bureaucracies, failed green technologies, and to spread around to the politically-connected, rewarding friends and buying votes—that forced, legal obligation, and the money from disposable incomes of people of faith, who freely choose to give to help the poor-either directly or through charitable organizations.

    Of course Obama wants it both ways—if you are financially “blessed” you have the obligation to ante up ever-bigger taxes to assuage your guilty status in his class envy scheme, as well as to support the various non-profits that he wishes to regulate and bend to the will of the government.

    There’s little that’s either “Christian” or spiritual about the Obama vision—in fact, his vision is of some “social justice” utopia here on earth that’s engineered by government. I defy any of you to find THAT talked about anywhere in the Holy Scriptures of either faith.

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