It was interesting to read Dr. Paul Song, an avid Bernie supporter, appeal to the Scriptures to justify democratic socialism while discussing his grandfather.
He believed that we as a society were defined by how we cared for the least among us and practiced Matthew 25:35-36 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
A few observations to make:
- There is certainly a strong Scriptural mandate to care for the poor and needy. In Proverbs 22:9, “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” We see the virtuous woman who opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needy. In the book of James, genuine and acceptable religion is to look after orphans and widows in their distress.
- However, giving to the poor has to come from the heart. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says that our giving is not to be done “grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” It is voluntary, and does not involve coercion by another person or the government. It also does not mean stealing wealth from one person, and giving it to the poor.
- There is also a Scriptural mandate to work. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 clearly states, “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” We also see in the book of Ruth, that grain was deliberately left on the harvested fields. This was designed to provide for the poor. But note, they were responsible to work and glean for their food. Colossians 3:23 commands, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” The Scriptures do not condone sloth, laziness, and living off the hard work of someone else.
- America has always been the shining example for taking care of the poor. Progressives want to lecture Americans for not doing enough, when in reality, we’ve done more for the poor and needy than any other country in the world. America is home to over 1 million public charities. In fact, charitable contributions by individuals, foundations, bequests, and corporations reached $358.38 billion in 2014. The truth is, charities do their job immensely better than the government ever has and ever will.
It’s not surprising that Bernie Sanders doesn’t believe in charities. Philanthropy is what distinguishes America from the rest of the world. It’s no surprise that charities cannot receive their necessary funding from socialist countries. The government has taken away too much and there’s nothing left to give. Tragically, moving towards a socialist/Marxist system means that the poor will fare much worse.