Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Were the Early Christians Socialists?

As someone who places tremendous value on the liberty we have in Christ Jesus, I am always troubled when I hear it said that the believers in the book of Acts were socialists. This claim is based primarily on the following passage: "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need" (Acts 2: 44-45).

At first glance, the verse appears strikingly similar to a slogan popularized by Karl Marx, who wrote the Communist Manifesto and was one of history's biggest proponents of socialism: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." But there is a vast difference between the socialism propagated by Marx and the type of communal living practiced by the Early Church. As noted by Anthony Randazzo, director of Fiscal Studies at the Reason Foundation, "[the believers'] actions flowed from their own free will. Believers were free to sell as much or as little of their belongings to participate in the community as they wished. We see this in Acts 5:4 when Peter tells Ananias that he was free to use his wealth however he chose. The land was at his own disposal" ("Was the Early Church Socialist?", http://www.crosswalk...ntary/11584245/).

Under socialism as envisioned by Karl Marx, there is no free will. The 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto are completely antithetical to the liberty that believers have in Christ. Among other things, the Manifesto calls for the abolition of private property and all rights of inheritance, as well as the confiscation of property belonging to emigrants and dissidents. It also calls for a progressive, graduated income tax, which essentially punishes those in society who are the most productive.

In contrast, no New Testament writer ever called for the confiscation of private property by the state; neither is there any verse in Scripture seeking to abolish the right of parents to pass on an inheritance to their children. When it comes to taxation, the Bible never calls for a graduated income tax and even warns against choosing rulers who would burden the people with oppressive taxation (see 1 Samuel 8:15).

In his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky writes, ". . . socialism is not merely the labor question, but it is before all things the atheistic question, the question of the form taken by atheism today. It is the question of the tower of Babel built without God, not to mount to Heaven from earth but to set up Heaven on earth."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care Reform: WWJD

For people on Facebook or Twitter, the debates raging through cyberspace since last Sunday’s historic health care vote have probably put many friendships to the test. Emotions have run high on both sides, and even those united through their relationship with Jesus have found themselves divided on this hot-button issue.

After accusing Christians who oppose federal health care legislation of not caring about anyone but themselves, one Facebook friend asked a salient question: “What would Jesus do?” Her assumption was that Jesus would have supported the federal government’s takeover of our nation’s health care system—that He would have endorsed a plan that forces individuals to purchase health insurance, taxes their neighbors to subsidize it, and imposes fines, penalties and jail time on those who are unwilling or unable to comply with the bill’s requirements.

Quite frankly, it astounds me that anyone who claims to know Jesus would even entertain the idea that He would have used the power of the state to compel my neighbor to pay for my medical treatment—that He would force my fellow citizens to provide for any of my needs.

Reading the gospels, we know full well what Jesus did whenever He saw a need. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, mended broken hearts, and raised the dead to life. He befriended those who were despised by the religious leaders of his day, and He preached the forgiveness of sins to all in need of redemption.

Freely Give

Whenever Jesus saw a need, He met it. And He commanded His disciples to follow His example, reaching out with love and compassion to the “least of these”—the poor, the sick, the lame, the orphans and widows: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Feely have you received, freely give” (Matthew 10: 8).

In light of Jesus’ command to “give freely,” can we honestly believe that He would endorse any legislation that forces people to be charitable by taking their property—including the fruits of their labor—and giving it to others under the threat of deadly force?

Ultimately, the government enforces all of its mandates with brutality. You comply, or you are arrested and prosecuted. If you resist arrest, lethal force is used against you. Is this the kind of "charity" Jesus taught His followers?

In the article, “Is Scripture Statist,” David Puller writes:
Jesus preached about living a holy, virtuous life, and unhesitatingly rebuked sinners. But at no point did he suggest that it was acceptable to use force to compel virtue. Christ commanded the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give to the poor (Luke 18:22). But he did not rob the rich man’s house and redistribute his goods. . . And the teachings of Christ themselves provide no endorsement whatsoever for state redistribution. The earliest Christians understood this. The Apostolic-era church never forced people to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, and nothing in the New Testament suggests that the church used force to take property from those unwilling to give. (

As we consider the question “What would Jesus do?” it is equally important to be clear about what He didn’t do. Jesus never used the power of the state to make people do the right thing. He never threatened anyone with fines or jail time for refusing to give to those in need. He did not appeal to Caesar to raise taxes in order to care for the poor, the sick, or the lame.

Worshipping the Secular State

Nowhere in Scripture did Jesus ever encourage people to look to the government to provide for their basic necessities, since this would elevate the secular state to the level of godhood. Instead of relying on government to meet our needs, we are to trust God to supply what we need. “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

As soon as believers start demanding that government provide for needs such as health care, food, or housing, they enter the realm of idolatry. The One who gave us the Lord’s Prayer would never tell His followers to look to the state as the source of their daily bread or any other necessities that God promises to provide.

In his book Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture, Herbert Schlossberg aptly notes, “Looking to the state for sustenance is a cultic act; we rightly learn to expect food from parents and when we regard the state as the source of physical provision we render to it the obeisance of idolatry.” (

Condoning Theft

Since government produces no wealth, it can give away only what it takes from others—either through the threat of fines and imprisonment or through brute force. When I insist that the government provide me with free or subsidized health care, I am really asking the state to steal from my neighbor to give it to me. Is there any biblical basis to believe that Jesus would condone this type of theft—that He would ask people to steal from their neighbors in order to receive a benefit?

Jesus came to set captives free. He died to redeem us from the curse of the law. As His disciples, how can we possibly believe that He would have us use government force to heal the sick or care for those in need?

Is forcing our neighbors to be charitable really what Jesus had in mind when He spoke about caring for the “least of these?”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rendering Unto Caesar?

As a Christian who has spent most of my adult life advocating for tax reform, I am always saddened when pastors interpret Matthew 22:15-22 as giving Caesar unlimited taxing authority. I heard one pastor say that based on Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ question—“Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”—Caesar could take it all.

I believe that Jesus’ statement, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s,” is not so much about taxation as it is about giving God His proper place. A Pharisee living during the time of Christ would have understood that everything in existence belongs to God. Therefore, only God can rightfully lay claim to everything we earn and everything we own.

God Owns It All

This is why the Pharisees left Jesus and went away after hearing His answer. Their attempt to trap Him had failed, because Jesus elevated the discourse beyond the realm of taxes, reminding them that one’s primary loyalty, allegiance, and financial obligation are to God. When it comes to rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, the Scriptures make it clear that no earthly government can rightly demand everything from us, since it all belongs to the Sovereign Lord who created all things and for whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16, Exodus 19:5, Psalm 24:1-2, Haggai 2:8).

Using Matthew 22:15-22 as a proof text for the government’s taxing authority seems to miss the heart of what Jesus was saying to the Pharisees. Wikipedia puts it this way: “One interpretation of Jesus’ words was that he was making an analogy—the coin is made on the orders of the emperor and is stamped with the image of the emperor, and the emperor may call on you to give it to him in tribute; by analogy, you were made by God and in God’s image, and you must therefore devote your life in tribute to God, rather than Caesar.” Moreover, if the Pharisees really were trying to trap Him, they may well have expected Him to come out against paying taxes to Caesar.

Wikipedia also notes that Jesus’ interrogators “were unsuccessful in getting Jesus to unambiguously come out either in favor of paying the tribute to Rome or in favor of tax resistance. Advocates for either argument could interpret his words in either way. Time has not resolved this ambiguity, and people continue to interpret this passage to support positions that are poles apart.”

A Biblcal View of Taxation

Because a government’s taxing power can be used for good or evil, it is important to note that not all forms of taxation are biblical or just. Therefore, believers are responsible for holding Caesar to account in this area. Certain passages of the Old Testament—including Exodus 30:15—suggest that taxes ought to be uniform, which is not the case with the graduated income tax—one of the 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto—currently used in America. Also, since the government’s role is to promote the general welfare, excessive and burdensome taxation is incompatible with a biblical view of government. The Old Testament suggests that oppressive taxation inevitably leads to rebellion (1 Kings 12:1-19).

From the standpoint of Scripture, it can be argued that oppressive taxation is a type of theft—and therefore a violation of the eighth commandment against stealing (if individuals are prohibited from stealing, it would follow that governments are as well). Moreover, taxes that are used to fund entitlement programs/transfer payments may violate the tenth commandment against coveting what belongs to our neighbors.

Is Caesar Equal to God?

Under the Law of Moses, God commands His people to give Him 10 percent of the increase of livestock and agricultural produce; a secular government would hardly be justified in demanding more than that, or even as much as 10 percent, since that would imply that Caesar is equal to God. Yet in America today, the tax rate on the average citizen is far higher than that; two years ago, it hovered around 32 percent, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Paul’s language in Romans 13:7 suggests that the requirement to pay taxes is conditional. He says, “If you owe taxes, pay taxes.” An open-ended interpretation of Matthew 22:15-22 would imply that citizens are obligated to turn over whatever money Caesar demands, regardless of whether they are legally obligated to pay it, and that is obviously not true. Under the U.S. system of government, there is no obligation to pay whatever tax the government demands, but only what is constitutional.

Indeed, one could legitmately ask if followers of Jesus owe taxes to a government that is using their tax dollars to fund immoral or wicked activities, such as mass murder or unprovoked wars of aggression. For instance, would it have been right for Christians living in Nazi Germany to pay a tax specifically earmarked to build the gas chambers where the Jews were put to death?

Stealing Widows' Homes

In America today, the federal government spends trillions of tax dollars on programs and activities that were never authorized by the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps even worse, the Internal Revenue Service routinely violates the due-process rights of countless Americans who have dutifully paid their taxes. I know of hundreds of cases where innocent people were wrongly assessed for taxes they never owed, including Linda Sanders, a single mother whose home was seized by the IRS due to a clerical error. Linda spent 13 years fighting the IRS in court and was denied justice at every turn. Her heartbreaking story is chronicled in her book, Exposed! Tyranny on the Bench.

What happened to Linda—and others like her—is a gross violation of Isaiah 10:1-2: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey,” and Mark 12:40: “They devour widows’ houses…”

A Rouge Agency

In far too many cases, people have been driven to suicide as a result of the vicious enforcement tactics of the IRS. According to author Martin L. Gross, “The IRS has power and privileges not granted to anyone else in America, including the president.” Shirley Peterson, IRS commissioner under President George Bush Sr., called the current tax system “an unwieldy, inefficient, ungodly mess.” IRS employees are granted time off and promotions based on the amount of property they are able to seize from taxpayers. A careless interpretation of Matthew 22 makes it easier to gloss over such abuses.

In 1997 congressional testimony, Houston IRS agent Jennifer Long explained that the agency teaches its employees to use "tactics ... which appear nowhere in the IRS manual... to extract unfairly assessed taxes from taxpayers, literally ruining familes, lives, and businesses—all unnecessarily and sometimes illegally."

A Broken Covenant

Finally, under the system of self-government established by our Founding Fathers, there is no “Caesar” in America. The American people are the ultimate governing authority, and all public servants are supposed to work for us. The U.S. Constitution is the covenant between the American people and our political representatives; public officials who violate the Constitution are defying the law of the land and are thus guilty of disobeying Romans 13:1-2. Where is the outcry?

As Americans, our Christian responsibility to government consists in holding our representatives accountable in terms of their obedience to the Constitution. Tragically, we have failed miserably in this area and have allowed the federal government to usurp vast powers far beyond the limits prescribed by the Constitution. No-knock raids, government seizure of private property without due process, public funding of abortion and obscene art, and warrantless surveillance of American citizens are just a few examples.

As Tim LaHaye wrote in the foreword to Where Are Today’s Daniels, “If the oppression now creeping over the country continues, Christians can blame no one but themselves for allowing the government to become the final authority over us.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Obama Deception

Produced by award-winnng documentary filmmaker Alex Jones, this video is a must-see for anyone (right or left) who thinks that Obama is only doing what he believes is best for this country.

Here's a summary: "The Obama Deception is a hard-hitting film that completely destroys the myth that Barack Obama is working for the best interests of the American people. The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery."

And for those who think that a Republican president would have been any better, the video will put that belief to rest as well!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Did the pioneers worry about their right to affordable health care?

Lately I’ve been reflecting upon the American pioneers and what they would think of the current debate concerning government-run health care. Perhaps they should have lobbied Congress to build publicly funded hospitals in the wilderness so they could have had better access to medical care. Or, maybe they would have preferred personal body guards, paid for by taxpayers, to protect them from wild animals or from attack by bandits. And let’s not forget those pioneers who lost their crops to locusts, famine, or floods. They sure would have benefited nicely from a $7 or 8 billion bail-out package!

I guess what I’m saying is that much of the political debate on Capitol Hill these days illustrates that Americans have lost (or forsaken) the pioneer spirit that made this country great. Because we don’t have to contend with the difficulties and dangers that our forefathers faced just to survive from day to day, many of us have gotten used to thinking of the things we need—or even want—as rights, whether it’s health care, a college degree, or affordable housing.

For nearly 200 years of our nation’s history, most Americans did not consider those things to be their birthright. They embraced their freedom to pursue happiness without demanding that government provide it for them at taxpayers’ expense. Even during the civil rights movement, America’s oppressed minorities gladly fought for equal opportunity and equal protection under the law without demanding equal results.

In addition, prior to the middle of the 20th century, most Americans did not lobby their government to redistribute other people’s wealth, yet they were known as some of the most generous people on the planet. And Americans are still generous. According to Operation Kids, “In 2007, they gave more generously than they ever had before—to the tune of more than $3 billion dollars.

“[A report from Giving USA Foundation] indicated that while that number had fallen during the economically turbulent months of 2008, that figure still remained above $3 billion, a generous amount, given that Americans as a whole ‘lost 2 percent of their wealth last year.’”

At various times in my life, I have been without things that I needed, including health insurance and the ability to pay for health care. But I never for a moment believed that I was entitled to those things, even though life was sometimes difficult without them. I knew that if I demanded that the government provide for my physical or financial needs, it would be at someone else’s expense.

While serving as congressman in the 1830s, Davey Crocket, a true frontiersman, said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.” It is my hope that the American people will take these words to heart when congress resumes in September to vote on the president’s health care bill.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Benefiting at another’s expense

I just got my paycheck today and saw that I am about $20 richer than I was last pay period, before Obama’s stimulus package went into effect. My unemployed husband and I sometimes struggle to make ends meet, so any extra money that comes in truly is a blessing from the Lord.

But I am not doing cartwheels. Why? Because two of my friends, a married couple with two incomes, are paying dearly for the tax break I was given, to the tune of a $7,000 tax increase per year. Small business owners also are footing the bill for Obama’s apparent largess.

In addition, my friends’ children and grandchildren will be paying for Obama’s $800 billion in deficit spending for years to come.

Currently, U.S. federal debt obligations exceed the Gross Domestic Product not just of the United States, but of the entire world. “The total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, effectively have placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy, even before new continuing social welfare obligations embedded in the massive spending plan are taken into account,” says economist John Williams, quoted in WorldNetDaily.

“In the seven years of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) reporting, we have seen an annual average deficit in excess of $4 trillion, which could not be possibly covered by any form of taxation," says Williams.

“Put simply, there is no way the government can possibly pay for the level of social welfare benefits the federal government has promised unless the government simply prints cash and debases the currency, which the government will increasingly be doing this year,” Williams says.

Last month, Christianity Today’s liveblog cited an anti-stimulus ad that had Christian economic professors among its signatories (“Losing Faith in the Stimulus”). A number of readers attacked the professors for their stand. One person wrote, “I know some people in need are in that position because of their own mistakes and poor choices, but I don’t see that as a Scriptural reason not to reach out in compassion.”

My question is this: how is it “compassionate” to demand that future generations pay for other people’s poor choices? Furthermore, as Christians we need to consider the stewardship implications of passing on such onerous debt to our nation's children.

Would I prefer not to receive that extra 20 bucks every two weeks? Let’s put it this way: I would prefer to live a country where all people are free to keep the fruits of their labors, so it can be saved, invested, spent or given away as each family sees fit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Greatest Social Need

A timeless reminder from Christianity Today:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

May Christians Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils?

The following is an excerpt from an article that was written before the outcome of Tuesday’s elections, but I feel it is worth posting. For the full article and URL, click here:

Sen. Barack Obama’s ardent support of abortion is evil. Yet Sen. John McCain’s less active support of abortion is evil as well. While Sen. McCain’s advocacy for abortion is less pronounced than his opponent, he nonetheless condones the shedding of innocent blood in some circumstances — something God Almighty abhors (Proverbs 16:16-17).

In view of this fact, many well-thinking Christians have asked this important question: Should we vote for the lesser-of-two-evils in this circumstance? If we believe Sen. Obama will vociferously promote abortion, while Sen. McCain will be less of an advocate for the murder of the innocent, should we cast our vote for the latter?

To answer this question rightly, we must turn to God’s Word, the ultimate source of authority that gives us everything we need for life and practice — including a theory of ethics on how we should approach choosing civil magistrates:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

In considering our duties at the ballot box, we cannot appeal to our human autonomy in deciding this question; we must bow our knees to God’s inscripturated Revelation. William Einwechter states the matter succinctly, “In voting, the question is not, ‘What makes the most sense to me?’ but rather, ‘What does God’s Word require of me?’”

In short, whatever God says goes. To quote the prophet Moses, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:32).

So just what are the biblical requirements for choosing civil rulers? To explore this question in detail, we would urge you to examine William Einwechter’s excellent article, “Biblical Standards for Choosing Civil Magistrates.” For the purpose of this discussion, we offer these brief thoughts.

Exodus 18:21 is among the primary biblical texts that establish the requirements for choosing magistrates:
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.

One of the chief qualifications for rulers found in this passage is that they “fear God.” Elsewhere, King David affirms: “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Samuel 23:3).

How do we know if a respective ruler fears the Lord? Among the most important indicators are these: that he hates evil (Proverbs 8:13) and is committed to executing justice as God prescribes (Romans 13:3-4; Psalm 82:1-4; Jeremiah 22:1-3; 7:4-7).

One of God’s primary mandates to civil rulers is to protect the shedding of innocent blood (Deuteronomy 19:10; Exodus 23:7) and to punish those who take life unlawfully (Genesis 9:6; Deuteronomy 19:13) so that evil will be purged out of the land.

A God-fearing ruler will hate what God abhors — including the murder of the innocent (Proverbs 16:16-17), and he will not hesitate to use every means within his duly-constituted power to protect the lives of the defenseless (Proverbs 24:11-12).

Civil rulers who support the shedding of innocent blood invite God’s judgment upon a nation (2 Kings 21:2-4; 24:2-4) and should expect His wrath as punishment (Psalm 106:37-42).

Being mindful of these truths, our nation’s founders wisely recognized the right to life as an inalienable right in our Declaration of Independence, and the framers of our Constitution affirmed this same principle in the Fifth Amendment to the Bill of Rights. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution sought to further protect this inalienable right.

The legal sanctioning of abortion as well as embryonic stem cell research directly violates our nation’s charter documents, but more important than this, these heinous practices violate the fundamental order that God established for His creation and commanded civil rulers to oppose in their jurisdictional posts as God’s ministers of justice (Romans 13:3-4; Jeremiah 22:1-3; 7:4-7).

What then of the lesser-of-two-evils argument? If only two candidates appear to have a reasonable chance of gaining the presidency, should we support the one whose advocacy of the evil practice of abortion is likely to lead to fewer unborn babies killed?

The answer is no, for God holds men accountable for how they steward their individual vote — whether or not they cast it for a biblically-qualified candidate — not for the outcome of an election.

Man’s whole duty is to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). We are thus not permitted to break His law in seeking to influence the outcome of an election, even when we believe that our vote could “save more lives.” The Almighty Sovereign governs the affairs of men and nations (Daniel 4:34-35; Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 46:9-11); and it is He, not finite voters, Who ultimately raises up and brings down the rulers He wills should rule (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; Psalm 75:6-7), whether they be good (Psalm 78:66-72) or evil (Exodus 9:14-15).

When it comes to our vote in an election, the standard is clear: Duty is ours; the results are God’s. Voting for a lesser-of-two-evils candidate is not a lawful option for us to pursue. God will raise up whom He wills; let us trust Him to decide the election as He deems best.

While their advocacy varies by degrees, both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain support abortion in some circumstances and are thus disqualified from receiving our vote to serve as rulers in the civil realm. Neither man “fears God,” and neither man should receive the support of God-fearing Christians.

Might abortions increase if Sen. Obama is elected as America’s next president? Quite possibly. But as believers, we must fear God more than man. We must fear violating the standards established by our great Creator in how we cast our vote even more than we fear the potential results of a Barack Obama presidency.

Such is our duty before the Lord.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How can we vote for evil and expect to get good government?

Over the years around election time, I’ve heard many conservative Christians grudgingly state that they plan to “hold their noses” and vote for what they consider the “lesser” of two evils. This year is no different, apparently. When faced with the possibility of an Obama presidency, many evangelicals acknowledge that John McCain’s record on promoting righteous government hasn’t been much better. They realize that while McCain claims to be “proudly pro-life,” he has hardly been stalwart in his defense of the unborn, our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. He did not support Congressman Ron Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act, which would have ended abortion.

McCain also has stated that he does not favor overturning Roe v. Wade and has been endorsed by the pro-abortion PAC Republicans for Choice ( In addition, McCain was a member of the infamous Gang of 14 senators whose purpose was to oppose pro-life, strict constructionist judges ( He voted for pro-abortion Supreme Court justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg and has voted many times to increase federal funding for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.

Considering that many who plan to vote for McCain will do so because of his perceived commitment to family values, McCain is far from being a paragon of virtue in that area. His biographer, Robert Timberg, chronicled McCain’s numerous sexual affairs with subordinates both when he was an executive officer and later squadron commander in the U.S. Navy. Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief, 2-1-08, states: “McCain cheated on his first wife after she had a severe accident. He then divorced her and married his multimillionaire mistress…”

When it comes to governmental ethics, McCain’s record has been abysmal. He was a ringleader of the infamous Keating Five ethical scandal, which cost taxpayers $160 billion and through which many elderly investors were defrauded and lost their life’s savings ( He also used his influence as senator to have his POW records permanently sealed from public scrutiny, most likely due to allegations that he collaborated with the enemy ( Even more reprehensible, McCain, along with Senator John Kerry, blocked congressional efforts to locate abandoned POWs who were still being held prisoner in Laos and Vietnam (

Finally, McCain supported the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, showing that he is willing to force American taxpayers to pay for the poor choices of wealthy corporations.

Conservative Christians are quick to point out all of Obama’s flaws (and they are many) but are strangely silent when it comes to the evil McCain has done while in public office. When they are confronted with these things, the typical response is, “But we HAVE to vote for McCain to prevent Obama from becoming president!” Their support for McCain is based on nothing more than fear. They are so afraid of a greater evil that they are willing to vote for a lesser evil. But to me, choosing our leaders out of fear does not seem to be compatible with God’s standard, the Bible. 2 Samuel 23:3 states, “He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” Since God wants rulers to govern justly, it follows that He expects His people to choose righteous leaders when given the opportunity and not to settle for any kind of evil, whether greater or lesser.

What few conservative Christians are aware of today is that there is a truly righteous candidate running for president: Chuck Baldwin, a born-again Christian and pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. He is running on the Constitution Party ticket, the fastest-growing third-party in America (to find out more, visit He has been endorsed by Republican Congressman Ron Paul, is a staunch defender of the unborn, and fully supports the U.S. Constitution. Unlike McCain—who voted to give Social Security dollars to illegal aliens and whose Hispanic outreach director, Juan Hernandez, is known for his “Mexico First” declarations—Baldwin will protect our borders and has said that his first official act as president would be to free border agents Ramos and Compean.

When I tell my fellow conservatives that they have the chance to vote for a genuine man of God who is unequivocally committed to the ideals of individual liberty, limited government, and America’s national sovereignty, they tell me to “get real” because Chuck Baldwin has no chance of winning, as if choosing goodness is supposed to be based on whether it has a “chance” of prevailing (if America’s founders had thought that way, we’d still be subjects of Great Britain). Some Republicans have told me that if I vote for McCain, I would really be voting for Sarah Palin, even though she has stated that if McCain enacts any public policies that violate her principles, she will be forced to stand by his decisions.

This past Saturday, a volunteer for McCain’s campaign stopped by our apartment, asking my husband and me if the Republican Party can count on our support for McCain. We told him that we had already voted for Chuck Baldwin and explained why (and there are many more reasons than those I’ve listed here). The volunteer said that he was aware of all of McCain’s deficiencies and agreed with us that Baldwin would be a much better choice. He admitted that the only reason he was supporting McCain was out of fear of Obama.

If Christians are not supposed to fear the enemy of our souls, why are we so afraid of man that we won’t even consider voting for a truly righteous candidate? Why not choose goodness and trust the outcome to God?

How can we vote for evil and expect to get good government?

For an excellent review of the current political dilemma we are facing in America, check out the following three articles:

Today's Christians: No Hope in God's Way

Three Peas in a Pod

Conservatives Offer No Hope

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Urgent message from Focus on the Family

I don't agree with everything James Dobson says, but this is right on. I urge you to read it and share it with anyone else who cares about our nation's economic future.

Dear Friends:

In recent months, I've become friends with Glenn Beck, one of the few conservative commentators on CNN who also hosts his own national radio talk show. You may have heard me discuss current events with Mr. Beck on a few occasions in the past. I appreciate his firm grasp of the values we hold dear and his ability to use humor to address some very serious issues.
One of those concerns is our national budget, a subject on which Mr. Beck offered some insightful commentary during his CNN program on March 26th. A transcript of those remarks, edited for clarity, is included below. (Brace yourself, because he opened with a scary but phony news story.)

"Right now, we are getting word from my newsroom that says scientists are tracking a large asteroid that appears to be heading towards Earth. Information is coming in right now. Initial reports say the impact will be around the year 2019 and the consequences could be 'catastrophic.'

The president has just released a statement. He will be speaking here in just a few minutes. Apparently his message is, 'The threat is real, it is dire, and we have decided to let the next administration figure it out.'

'Let me ask you something--first of all, there's no asteroid headed our way. If that were real, would you be sharpening the end of your pitchfork and driving to Washington [to demand action from our leaders]? Yes, of course you would. We're going to let the next administration figure it out?

If there was an asteroid [coming our way], we would take care of it. And there is an economic asteroid, and no one seems to care. The Social Security and Medicare trustees--and I use that term loosely because it has the word 'trust' in the center--released their annual report yesterday. The news isn't really good.

This year, 2008, Medicare will pay out more in benefits than it takes in from taxes. Got it? The same thing happens to Social Security in 2017. That's when the government will have to start paying back all the money it has stolen from the people from the Social Security "lock box" [that doesn't exist] over the years, something that could be a little dicey considering the fact--you might have heard this--we're out of money!

By 2019, Medicare becomes completely insolvent. And by 2041, Social Security runs dry.

Great. By most estimates, this is a $53 trillion asteroid.

Now, you find one person--if you can find them, I'll pay you--that's credible on either side of the aisle that disputes the size of this threat or how quickly it's coming. In fact, most would say the dates and the figures I just gave you are conservative.

So, why is it no one's doing anything about it? If there were a real asteroid, do you think we'd allow our leaders to keep passing the next buck to the next administration until we could actually see the flying rock in the sky?

We're not only letting [our leaders] get away with that, we're letting them do something worse. We're letting them actually go out into space, and they're [asking] 'I wonder if we could make the asteroid bigger?'

I mean, they're putting prescription drugs on. We've got billions in bailouts and rebate checks. I'm sorry, this is criminal negligence.

I don't know who people think are going to swoop in and save us from this disaster ... I've got news for you, it's not going to be Congress ... The president is not going to do
it. And believe me, Bruce Willis and Tommy Lee Jones, are going to be a little too old. They'll be on that non-existent Social Security system by then.

Like always, we have to save ourselves. And we have to start right now... "

Glenn Beck is absolutely right. Our political leaders are spending us into oblivion, and guess what? They plan to raise our taxes exponentially so they can waste even more.

One of my personal heroes, Winston Churchill, once said that "for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."1 He was, of course, talking about the economic situation in Great Britain many decades ago. But his words have striking relevance to the United States today and to the scenario described by Glenn Beck on CNN. If you're like most Americans, you filed your income taxes this month. And as you realized just how much of your hard-earned money will go to support the bloated bureaucracy and to an ever growing catalog of entitlements, you may have felt as helpless as a man in a bucket trying to lift himself up--or a scientist watching an asteroid hurtling towards earth while the government leaders did nothing to prepare.

Last month, our Congress passed its proposed $3 trillion national budget for 2009.2 While the headlines of the day focused on the presidential race and the latest Hollywood starlet to enter rehab, the budget received surprisingly little attention. It has frightening implications for all of us.

Thanks to the efforts of liberals in the Senate and the House, you will almost certainly be paying even more taxes next year than you did in 2008. Voices on the Left have long decried President Bush's tax cuts, which they claim favor the "wealthy." But by their reckoning, "wealthy" Americans include those who are barely making enough to scrape by. The Associated Press reported that the Senate's budget would "allow income tax rates to go up on individuals making as little as $31,850 and couples earning $63,700 or more."3 In other words, congressional liberals are coming after middle-class families with a vengeance.

The budget passed by the House of Representatives is even more damaging, as it effectively eliminates all of President Bush's tax cuts, including the 50 percent reduction that citizens in the bottom tax bracket received when he cut the rate from 15 percent to 10 percent. The House budget also ensures that the "marriage penalty" tax will return, saddling 50 million married couples with an average of an additional $3,000 in taxes for the coming year while those living together without benefit of marriage will pay less. How ridiculous is that? Even more outrageous is the fact that the per-child tax credit will be cut in half, from $1,000 down to $500.4 This is an outrageous assault on the well-being of the nation's families. It is shameful to require moms and dads to pay for useless pork and it should bring howls of protests down on the heads of our elected officials. Instead, liberals in Congress are proposing up to $683 billion in new taxes over the next five years.5 Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the House's budget for 2009 is not that it will increase taxes, but that it will weaken the financial stability of families.

What are elected leaders doing with this additional money? Let's consider a few facts based on past trends:

  • Each year since 1969, Congress has spent more money than it brought in. The Treasury Department has to borrow money to meet Congress's appropriations. The national debt is now more than $9,000,000,000,000 (that's $9 trillion) and growing. Even when government officials claim to have a surplus, they still spend more than they get. You and I pay enormous interest on that huge debt. In fiscal year 2006, the U.S. government spent $406 billion of our money on interest payments to the holders of the national debt.6 Alarmingly, we are heavily in debt to the Chinese government, which could "recall the loan" at will and throw the U.S. economy into a tailspin.
  • The complete Internal Revenue Code is more than 21 megabytes in length and contains more than 7.8 million words. If printed 60 lines to a page, it would fill almost 16,000 letter-size pages. In reality, the exact number of tax laws and codes cannot be ascertained due to constant changes.7
  • The IRS sends out 8 billion pages of forms and instructions each year. Laid end to end, they would circle the earth 28 times! American taxpayers spend $200 billion and 5.4 billion hours working to comply with federal tax regulations each year--more than it takes to produce every car, truck and van in the United States.8
  • The IRS employs 114,000 people--twice as many as the CIA and five times more than the FBI. A full 60 percent of taxpayers must hire a professional to get through their own returns. Taxes consume 38.2 percent of the average family's income--more than for food, clothing and shelter combined.9

It's not that the government doesn't have enough money--it's that it's mishandling money and spending the lion's share of it in the wrong places. Of prime concern is the issue of "earmarking," which refers to provisions in legislation that direct federal funds to be spent on the politician's pet projects, often in his or her home district. It is called "bringing home the bacon" and is one of the ways they stay in office. Republicans and Democrats alike have been guilty of abusing this practice for years now. At the 11th hour, earmarks are quietly slipped into massive spending bills by members of Congress. Do you remember the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" fiasco? Congress tried to fund a $230 million bridge that led to an Alaskan town of 50 people.10 The funding was ultimately axed--but only after public outrage demanded it.

A few of the saner voices in Congress have called for a serious reform of the earmark system, or even for the elimination of earmarks altogether. But alas, during its budget proceedings, the Senate failed to implement even a temporary ban on this wasteful and irresponsible practice. It's worth noting that the three front-running presidential contenders did, in fact, vote for the temporary ban, perhaps because they are in the spotlight and know how unpopular pork-barrel spending is with the American public. Nevertheless, for the majority of Senators in both parties, earmarks are a sacred cow. Or is that a cash cow? Whatever the case, the effort to end earmarks went down in flames in a 29-to-71 vote.11 Alas, the asteroid is heading our way!

Clearly, our elected representatives do not represent us when it comes to their spending habits. The much-publicized economic stimulus checks that are being mailed out this year will, for all intents and purposes, be sent straight back to the government to help cover the $683 billion tax increase. Meanwhile, hard-working families will continue struggling to make ends meet. Our leaders in Congress continue to play fast-and-loose with our tax dollars because they are so out of touch with what it means to live on a limited income. A recent study from the Center for Responsive Politics found that the median net worth of a U.S. senator is nearly $2 million, while the median net worth of a member of the House of Representatives is more than $600,000.12 Rush Limbaugh has called Congress our "House of Lords," and it's not difficult to see why. And yet these same leaders have the audacity to suggest that people earning $31,000 a year are somehow "rich" citizens who owe the government a larger proportion of their income. Liberals call it "paying your fair share." What this really means is that the big spenders in Washington want to build their version of a "bridge to nowhere."

There is much more that could be said on this point, but I do not have the space to expand on the topic here. The role of the government is discussed in greater detail in Focus on the Family's The Truth Project® DVD curriculum, which offers a biblical view of the government as part of a larger discussion of what constitutes a biblical worldview. In particular, Dr. Del Tackett argues that in modern times, the government has endeavored to take over the role of the church. We believe that God did not institute governments to "save" people, especially in a manner that intrudes on every citizen's God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For a further exploration of this idea, visit

I hope my comments this month haven't left you feeling depressed. I also don't want you to be gripped by fear. You've heard about the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles in which many listeners mistook a dramatic presentation of H.G. Wells' book, War of the Worlds, for an actual news report about an alien invasion. The public panic that ensued was of historic proportions--at least until listeners realized that the radio program was fictitious. Although the economic crisis we are facing is not fiction, it is no cause for panic, especially for those of us who find our peace and security in Jesus Christ. We must not be fearful, but we do need to respond to this impending crisis with concern and a sense of urgency.

Despite our government's flaws, we are still blessed to live in a country in which our voices can be heard and in which we have the right to choose the men and women who will represent us in the corridors of power. Indeed, our elected leaders often "get away" with so much because the rest of us aren't paying attention or holding them accountable. If nothing changes, politicians will grab more and more of your family's income. I hope you'll contact your representatives in Washington and let them know what you think. Tell them respectfully but passionately when you think they've gone too far. After all, they work for you and at your pleasure. When you've had enough, elect other representatives who will be more responsive to the nation's well-being.

Thanks for your continued interest in the ministry of Focus on the Family. I hope you'll let us know how we can serve you and your loved ones in the days ahead.

God's blessings to you.


James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
April 2008