Jesus Advocated %100 Taxes and Rebuttal

Posted: August 15, 2012 in Category - Cultural War, Jesus Advocated 100 Percent Taxes and Rebuttal

The first article is Ms. Christakis’ frankly, ridiculous attempt to  make Jesus support the liberal’s social agenda. My rebuttal follows. Enjoy.
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christakis

Is Paul Ryan’s Budget ‘Un-Christian’?

Jesus believed in a tax rate of at least 50 percent. So how does Paul Ryan’s budget proposal stand up?
By ERIKA CHRISTAKIS | @erikachristakis | August 14, 2012 | 222
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Paul Ryan

BROOKS KRAFT FOR TIME
Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan campaigns in Virginia on Aug. 11, 2012

Americans often tell pollsters they yearn for a return to the Christian principles on which the U.S. was founded. If so, they should take a closer look at the Mitt Romney–Paul Ryan ticket. Jesus’ teachings regarding wealth are nowhere to be found in Ryan’s budget proposal.

(MORE: Jon Meacham: Why the Ryan Pick Won’t Bring Clarity to the Budget Debate)

As near as we can tell, Jesus would advocate a tax rate somewhere between 50% (in the vein of “If you have two coats, give one to the man who has none”) and 100% (if you want to get into heaven, be poor). Mostly, he suggested giving all your money up for the benefit of others. And Jesus made no distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor; his love and generosity applied to all.

What about Ryan? Ryan hasn’t released his tax returns yet, so we don’t know what rate he pays. But under his budget plan, according to a recent analysis in the Atlantic, Romney would pay only 0.8% of his income in federal taxes. That’s right: in Ryan’s budget scenario, one of our wealthiest citizens would pay less than 1% of his income in taxes, or less than $200,000 from a taxable income of almost $22 million. When it comes to paying taxes, Ryan is Romney’s wing man.

Theologically informed individuals are beginning to weigh in on the ethics of Ryan’s budget plan. Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social-justice lobby, has called Ryan’s budget proposal “unpatriotic” and “immoral.” As she notes, Ryan’s budget “rejects church teaching about solidarity, inequality … and the common good.” In a recent address at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Campbell observed that it’s the government’s responsibility to control society’s excesses. “In our culture of individualism,” she said, Catholic social teachings can “counter that individualism with a keen knowledge of solidarity.”

(MORE: Karen Hughes: Paul Ryan: An Inspired Choice That Says ‘We Can Fix This’)

Ryan’s proposed tax cuts for the rich would be shouldered by the working and middle classes. According to Forbes magazine, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center calculated that those earning more than $1 million would get an average tax reduction of more than $250,000, while 50% of people earning $20,000-$30,000 per year would get nothing. Put another way, under Ryan’s proposed tax plan, the after-tax incomes of the rich would grow by 12%; those of the poor would increase by less than 1%.

But it gets worse. The estimated $4.6 trillion increase in the national deficit over the next 10 years as a result of these tax cuts will be absorbed by cuts to programs that provide economic opportunity to working poor and middle class, such as Medicare and Food Stamps. Some might argue that freeing our wealthiest taxpayers to keep more of their own money will allow them to care for the poor privately and in their own way. Indeed, we have a long tradition of private philanthropy in the U.S., and religiously affiliated people are known to be generous — albeit mainly to their own churches. But no amount of private giving can compensate for such a massive breakdown in the government infrastructure that gives needy people a helping hand. As Campbell has noted, the many people receiving food stamps are not lazy ingrates but full-time employees struggling to make a livable wage and nearly half of all recipients are children.

(PHOTOS: Paul Ryan’s Life and Career in Photos)

We’ve heard a lot of Bible-based discussion in this election season, but if we are going to evaluate social policy using so-called Christian principles, why stop at abortion and insurance coverage for birth control? Jesus’ distaste for wealth is an uncomfortable reality that many Christians ignore at the ballot box. It’s one thing to lower taxes for rich people, but these plans actually hurt the poor. That’s not noblesse oblige; it’s cruelty.

Christakis, M.P.H., M.Ed., is a Harvard College administrator who blogs atErikaChristakis.com. The views expressed are solely her own

Read more:http://ideas.time.com/2012/08/14/why-paul-ryans-budget-unchristian/?iid=op-main-lede#ixzz23e1ORbXU

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Bo’s Rebuttal:

Rebuttal: “Jesus believed in a tax rate of at least 50 percent. So how does Paul Ryan’s budget proposal stand up?”

On August 14 Erika Christakis writing for Time Magazine decided to tackle Mr. Ryan’s budget, Biblical principles and taxes. The title of her article is “Jesus believed in a tax rate of at least 50 percent. So how does Paul Ryan’s budget proposal stand up?” Her bio states, “Christakis, M.P.H., M.Ed., is a Harvard College administrator . . . ” Harvard says a lot.

It would be foolish to claim that Ms. Christakis (despite the name) is a Biblical expert. Rather it would be more appropriate to state that she is not even familiar with the Bible.

Ms. Christakis begins by demeaning believers who desire for this nation to return to the Biblical moral principles upon which our founding fathers built the Republic we have inherited. She argues that those who desire to do so ought to look more closely at the Romney-Ryan budget proposal for if they did they would see that the Republican budget does not include Jesus’ teaching on wealth.

Well, according to Ms. Christakis, what is Jesus’ teaching on wealth? She claims, “As near as we can tell, Jesus would advocate a tax rate somewhere between 50% (in the vein of “If you have two coats, give one to the man who has none”) and 100% (if you want to get into heaven, be poor).”

Ms. Christaki makes a number of fatal errors in concocting her fantasy. The coat’s story’s context revolves around a time when John the Baptist was baptizing those who came to him. The heart of the story is showing about fruits of repentance (Luke 3:7-14). It is interesting that the context says nothing about government. Additionally, Jesus did not make this statement about the coats nor are we told he supported it. John the Baptist made the statement as an example of how those who were being baptized could show their fruits of repentance. Also, John’s audience was not government officials although there were soldiers and messengers from the Jewish Council but instead, individuals Jews. Finally, the coats to which John referred to had nothing to do with taxes. It had to do with charity. The fruits of repentance is not paying fifty to 100 percent of your income as taxes to the government but sharing your extras with those who are in need.

Frankly, I cannot fathom how Ms. Christakis can divine that John’s statement about coats came from Jesus and is a tax. This means that Ms. Christakis’ application of her Biblical fantasy to Mr. Romney’s current tax situation is meaninglessness. Nevertheless, what did Jesus say about the poor?

A lot. But Ms. Christakis cannot use any of it to prove her point. We will look at Jesus later in this article. Ms. Christakis fails to prove that Jesus actually supports such absurd tax rates so she turns to someone a bit less than Jesus and tries to create a wedge between Mr. Ryan and the Catholic church.

She claims, “Theologically informed individuals are beginning to weigh in on the ethics of Ryan’s budget plan. Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social-justice lobby, has called Ryan’s budget proposal “unpatriotic” and “immoral.” Ms. Christakis fails to grasp the possibility that Mr. Ryan and Sister Campbell do not see eye-to-eye on this subject which means Campbell’s accusation that the Ryan budget is “unpatriotic” and “immoral” is meaningless on its face. For Ryan’s budget to be unpatriotic it would have to mean that the budgetary principles of Network would have to be the same as the Federal government since that is the baseline Campbell uses. The same argument stands for the claim that Ryan’s budget is immoral. Immoral according to whom? The answer would have to be Network, but Network is not the government. So, Mr. Ryan’s budget may be unpatriotic and immoral according to Network but this does not mean that is unpatriotic according to our Republic nor immoral according the Bible. It is interesting that Ms. Christakis reveals why she chose Ms. Campbell’s statement from all the sources to which she has access. Network is clearly politically liberal or Progress because Ms. Campbell clearly is anti-individualist placing her hopes for a better society on the progressive social agenda. Campbell states, “In our culture of individualism,” she said, Catholic social teachings can “counter that individualism with a keen knowledge of solidarity.” So if Network had its way individualism would be swept aside for socialism at the least and Marxism at the most.

Next, Ms. Christakis attempts to divide Mr. Ryan from the general believer. I will not attempt to counter her anti-Ryan budget argument though providing counter-evidence to her proposal would be possible. What is interesting is that in the midst of her mindless regurgitating of Progressive budgetary lies, is the claim that Mr. Ryan’s budget plan will reduce the wealth of believers reducing their ability to give charitably. Why would she bring this us? She hopes that she will turn the base away from Romney-Ryan if she can convince them that they would become poorer under their budget. Funny, she doesn’t mention that according to government statistics these same believers have already become poorer and therefore, less capable to give charitably today because Obama’s budget.
So, Ms. Christakis concludes, “We’ve heard a lot of Bible-based discussion in this election season, but if we are going to evaluate social policy using so-called Christian principles, why stop at abortion and insurance coverage for birth control? Jesus’ distaste for wealth is an uncomfortable reality that many Christians ignore at the ballot box. It’s one thing to lower taxes for rich people, but these plans actually hurt the poor. That’s not noblesse oblige; it’s cruelty.” Where did she come up with these accusations? Where does, the Bible claim Jesus had a distaste for wealth? Where, but in a Progressive mind could lower taxes on the rich hurt the poor? At this point she does not even try to find a Scripture from the Bible to support her baseless lies about Jesus.

If Ms. Christakis really had studied the Bible she would know the following truths. Jesus is the Word (John 1:1). It is the Word who guided the saints of the Old Testament and set up the nation of Israel. It is he who made Abraham, Isaac and Jacob rich. It is he who promised Israel if they remained faithful they would be given walled cities, homes and vineyards which they did not build or plant. This was real wealth. Additionally, it is he who promised God’s people that if they were faithful he would open the store houses of heaven and reign down upon them more blessings that they could count. It is also interesting that Israel did have a “welfare” system. The truly needy in Israel were to be taken care of either by individuals or on a state or local level (Deuteronomy 24:28). Israel’s Federal government was not permitted to get involved but I do understand why she failed to tell her readers. This bit of information would destroy her baseless story.

If that is not enough Jesus, he spoke out against wealth only when the wealth got in the way of a person’s relationship with God. Jesus stated that a person cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24) This passage does not mean Jesus hated wealth but instead, he is warning us that we have to choose which will be our god! Does this mean that a wealthy person cannot be faithful? According to Ms. Christakis yes, but not according to the Bible which is the source she uses to prove her point.

The Rich Young Ruler and the Rich man in the story of Lazarus are two great examples. The Rich young ruler asked Jesus what he must do to get to heaven (Mark 10:17-22). Jesus told him to give away his wealth for the sole purpose that it would keep him out heaven. In fact, Jesus looked at him and loved him. Jesus was not against the man’s wealth but against his attitude toward the wealth. In the story of the Rich man and Lazarus, the Rich man ends up in Tartarus and Lazarus goes to Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19-29). Yet why? The Old Testament clearly taught Jews they were to care for the less fortunate
individually and not Federally. The Rich man failed in his religious and political duties and by so doing sinned. He did not end up in Tartarus because of his wealth but because he refused to use it properly. Again, Jesus did not claim to be against wealth.

Also as Jesus the Savior his words and principles are what the Spirit delivered to the Apostles (John 16:14). Interestingly, Paul had something to say to the rich (1 Timothy 6:17-19). He states, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” Notice that Paul does not tell the rich to become poor or that Jesus hates wealth. Instead, he warns them to keep the wealth in perspective and that charity, not taxes, will allow them to store up true treasures in heaven. Ms. Christakis must really hate this passage.

In summary, there are so many more examples that I could list what the Biblical teaches about government, wealth, taxes and charity. Nevertheless, there is not one Biblical passage to support Ms. Christakis’s contention that Jesus supported a tax rate of any amount nor that Jesus had a distaste for wealth. Ms. Christakis’ useless argument falls apart the moment she states, “As near as we can tell” which means she knows nothing! Actually, a thorough study of what the Bible reveals about government, welfare, taxes and charity would instead reveal the liberal state model to be immoral and harmful to the poor! The Bible is not a book about fairness but equality, not equality about outcome but a standing before God’s love, mercy, justice and law.

I do agree Ms. Christaki with your suggestion to open the Bible and examine our positions. I will say that based on my experience and knowledge it will be the liberal agenda that is declared to be immoral and “un-Christian.”

Are you ready to discuss it?

Bo Perrin
Minister, Black Robe Regiment
theamericanheritageproject.org

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Comments
  1. Sheila F says:

    Excellent rebuttal!

  2. Lovely website! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also

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