It’s a Great, Big, Stupid World (Part 1)

If Jesus came back today
They’d try to book him on the Oprah Winfrey show
‘Cuz it’s a great big stupid world
Great big stupid world

Randy Stonehill, “Great Big Stupid World,” Wonderama

This is the first in a series looking at stupid ideas people have.

Today’s topic: What Would Jesus Cut?

I ran across this ad while Web-surfing:

click to enlarge

It was printed in Sojourners Magazine in 2011, and endorsed by 28 “progressive” Christian leaders.

Why do I think this is stupid?

First, it assumes that Jesus would have anything to do with American politics.

I’ve read the New Testament several times, but I can’t remember reading that Jesus involved Himself in secular politics at all. The closest He came was to make the statement about Roman taxes, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Jesus never stated anything about how those taxes should be spent. He never indicated anything about how the secular government of His day, the Romans, ought to do business. Most of His followers thought He would be a political Messiah, overthrowing the Romans and setting up an independent Jewish state. Jesus made it very clear that His kingdom is not of this world, and He intentionally stayed out of Roman political issues.

Secondly, although Jesus did make numerous statements about the poor, He never said the government should take care of them. Jesus made statements like:

“One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” Mark 10:21

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.” Luke 14:13

These passages do show that Jesus taught that it is important to give to the poor. However, His comments were directed at religious leaders, not secular politicians.

Jesus also stated the following:

“The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

“For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.” Matthew 26:11

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor” Luke 4:18

These statements demonstrate that Jesus was more interested in having the Gospel preached to the poor than in making sure their material needs were met. Jesus taught that it is more important that the eternal spiritual needs of the poor are met than their temporary physical needs. This obviously does not mean that meeting the physical needs of people is unimportant. Jesus Himself healed the sick. But, it does mean that Jesus was far more interested in drawing people to Himself than He was in meeting worldly needs.

Jesus never said anything about:

  • International aid that directly and literally saves lives from pandemic diseases
  • Critical child health and family nutrition programs – at home and abroad
  • Proven work and income supports that lift families out of poverty
  • Support for education, especially in low-income communities

Thirdly, I find it interesting that the “Christian” ad in question doesn’t quote any Scripture to support their position.  It’s also interesting that these “progressive” Christian leaders ignore what Jesus said about other issues, like marriage, prayer, and evolution.

To ask “What would Jesus cut?” is a stupid question. There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that Jesus would have involved Himself at all with the issue, and in fact, there is much to indicate He would stay completely out of the discussion. This ad is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to invoke the name of Jesus to promote a liberal political agenda.

Don’t get me wrong; the federal government should work to prevent diseases, feed the poor, help people get jobs, and support education. Both liberal “progressives” and social conservatives would agree that these issues need to be addressed, although they would disagree with how to best provide for these needs. But, to claim that Jesus would cut parts of the federal budget, but wouldn’t cut international medical aid, nutrition programs, work and income supports (aka welfare), or education, is completely unsupported by the Bible.

Jesus is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, neither a conservative nor a liberal. He is the Creator of the universe and Savior of mankind, not a political pundit. For any so-called Christian political group to imply that Jesus is on “their side” is heretical, ignorant, and downright stupid.

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