Is being a socialist really so terrible?

Accusations have been flying around over the last few weeks about Obama being a socialist. John McCain repeatedly points out that Obama wants to “spread the wealth around” and take from the rich to give to the poor – more hysterics from a party desperate to win against nearly impossible odds. While I find it hard to believe that Barack Obama will be some modern day reincarnation of Robin Hood, I also don’t see why the American public is so repulsed by the very mention of socialism.

Our way of life is virtually teeming with socialistic programs that we all benefit from. Our much-lampooned tax system provides everything from schools for our children to attend to roads for our vehicles to drive on. Our tax dollars feed hungry children and adults, provide incomes for the elderly and handicapped, and health care for the poor and aged.

A closer look at the New Testament reveals a Christ who might well have been labeled a socialist if he were still on earth today. After all, he admonished the rich to sell their belongings and give the money to the poor. He stated that the poor were blessed and would receive the kingdom of God. He advocated forgiving our debtors and giving to beggars. Try to imagine the political fallout if Mr. Obama were running on such a radical platform!

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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.’

- Matthew 25:34-36

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

- Acts 4:32-35

However wrong or right the socialism accusations against Obama may be, at least he seems to care more about the “least of these” than any other politician in recent memory. It’s hard to find any fault in that.

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Comments

spiritualway
Reply

The operative word for the two communities you use as examples in your post might be “voluntary”!

Be careful when someone makes claims to speak for the “least of these” especially if they want you to do the funding!

All examples of “socialism” require some kind of force to make work over time; in many cases very brutal force!

Nothing wrong with an individual making a choice to be a part of your two examples of community but when community (our government) through elected representatives require individuals to participate thats “socialism”!

Personally, I don’t care to participate in that manner!

themikeyreport
Reply

Nice try. But with Jesus the giving was voluntary, not mandatory. With Obama it’s the other way around.

jimthomp87
Reply

Good points guys. Let’s not forget the Old Testament where care for the poor was commanded, not left to volunteerism. Gleanings were to be left in the fields for the poor and “sojourners”, a “year of jubilee” (Brian, I recall you have written about this before) was mandated wherein all debts were canceled. In fact, it was forbidden to charge a fellow citizen interest on a loan. (How would that play on Wall Street?) Radical stuff, following God’s plan.
It’s interesting that some politicians/political party that claim “America is a Christian nation” would have the biggest problem with this nation following Christ’s economic plans.

JimT

deek1973
Reply

This is a good post! Why are people suddenly acting surprised and indignant about socialism when it has never been voluntary? Taxes for schools, fees for roads – all mandatory. The bailout? We didn’t get to make that decision. Somebody made it for us. We’re funding it with a guarantee that we’ll get our money back – we’ll see.

If it’s only 5% of the population who’s wealth would seemingly be affected by certain elected officials, why hasn’t it been them complaining about “socialism”? Thus far, the loudest complainers have actually been people who have something to gain by some of the proposals.

Bigger than that, there is no question that a lot of people are suffering right now. Since so many only want to help when it’s voluntary, why aren’t they helping? Doesn’t sound so genuine then. My guess is that some people are defining voluntary differently then Jesus would have.

When you strip all of the rhetoric away, is it really “socialism” that people are afraid of?

Just to make it clear – Brian, this was an excellent post! Nice job!

Brian
Reply

To those who point out that Jesus’ message of giving was voluntary:

If a person believes the Bible is infallible and that they have to follow Christ’s teachings to get their eternal reward, then it doesn’t seem so voluntary. Even many of those who don’t view the Bible as infallible will still accept these as the core principles of Christianity.

It’s interesting that some politicians/political party that claim “America is a Christian nation” would have the biggest problem with this nation following Christ’s economic plans.

Spot on, Jim!!

Heather
Reply

I have long held the (unpopular) view that Jesus is a socialist – he offers everyone something we haven’t earned and don’t deserve.

Of course, accepting it could be viewed as “voluntary…”

Heather

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