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.