What Would Jesus Cut?

With congressional Democrats and Republicans dickering over whether a fraction of one percent of the federal budget should be cut this year, some professing Christians are asking, “What Would Jesus Cut?” Many believers answer this rhetorical question in nonsensical ways, taking a few Bible verses out of context to baptize their political ideology.

For many years, Doug Bandow has been a thoughtful commentator on questions like this one. His 1988 book Beyond Good Intentions, written for Crossway’s Turning Point Christian Worldview series, is quite good, and in the years since he has continually pointed out problems with allegedly Christian policies advocated by both Republicans and Democrats.

Yesterday Bandow published a good piece on Forbes.com, calling attention to some of the erroneous assumptions believers often bring to their political activism: that God is partisan, that one can exercise compassion in an absence of suffering, that rent seekers don’t usually end up controlling government programs created with good intentions, etc. He praises those on the evangelical Left for refusing “to worship at the Pentagon altar,” but chides them for their lack of skepticism towards “schemes to seize power in order to promote social justice.” It’s a good read; check it out.

Also see Shawn Ritenour’s recent post on this same topic.

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About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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3 Responses to What Would Jesus Cut?

  1. Rachel Wishum says:

    I just read that article, and really appreciated its take on how a Christian ought to think about politics. I especially appreciated his point that it is always right to insist that government do what is right and just by the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, but that doesn’t mean that government should toss around a little (or a lot) of money and assume that it’s done its job, or even that it hasn’t made the problem worse. I also laughed at his comment that God has told us to give our money to care for the poor, but he never told us to take someone else’s money and give it to the poor. I most appreciated his point, though, that we should be thoughtful and ask for wisdom in making political decisions, and not assume God is on our side just because we use the right terms to describe our favorite projects.

  2. worldtake says:

    Being the Prince of Peace, would he not cut the entire military budget? Every Penny? And then would he not disband the entire industrial military complex? And if we were attacked, of course he would turn the other cheek. Would he not?

    • Dr. J says:

      I think that inferring all of that from one three-word appellation given to Jesus in the Scriptures is emblematic of the faulty reasoning Bandow is complaining about in this column.

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