What do our Bible-believing Christians do? Fight for policies and elect politicians who seek to remove hope of health care for the vulnerable, that yank food from their mouths, that make housing even more unaffordable, that deny a communal social good of making sure the least among us has adequate and safe shelter, nutritious food, the kind of medical care that leads to health, not just crisis care with its temporary bandage over pus-filled wounds.
I read a commentary the other day about what some people see as the stakes in the fall elections:
For many obsessed with politics, the upcoming midterm elections are perceived as a fight between good and evil that will determine the fate of the nation. In the narrative framed by true believers and much media coverage, it’s a fight between those who are convinced that President Donald Trump can make America great and those who dream of a socialist future.
Now, the writer went on to stay that most simply don’t fit this tight dichotomy. A significant majority of us stand somewhere in the middle and hold far more nuanced positions.
Nonetheless, something hit me: Any person who claims to be a “Bible-believing Christian” has no choice but to support socialism. Why? Because a socialist-type economy with special and intentional care for the poor and for those unable to contribute to the general economic health of the society is one of the primary themes running through the Scriptures.
However, I think it is fair to say that Evangelicals, who loudly proclaim themselves as faithful “Bible-believing Christians” and who also soundly placed Donald Trump into the highest office in the world, most definitely do not support a socialist economy, one with particular care for the distressed. Truly, they are all for a free market, let the chips fall where they lay, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, cut the social safety net, economy.
Essentially, their economic world-view makes every single one of those “Bible-believing Christians” liars. They most definitely do not “believe the Bible.”
Let’s talk for a moment about what the Bible says where the poor and dispossessed are concerned. Keep in mind that the Bible uses the phrase “widows and orphans” to represent people with an inadequate economic and social support system.
That particular world was structured around household economies of extended families headed by a patriarch. There, all females were embedded in the households of some male. The male would first be their father, second their husband, and upon his death, her oldest son. If, in the worst tragedy that could befall a woman, no son is available, she is cast out on her own.
Again, the household was the economy–if someone is not part of an extended household, that that person was stripped of any means of financial support and would be reduced to begging to stay alive. Unprotected widows, because of their lack of ability to contribute economically to some other household, faced certain starvation. Orphans, those with no parents, faced the same fate unless some other extended family group took them in, but that usually resulted in a state of oppressed slavery.
In other words, the “widows and orphans” phrase represents the most vulnerable members of the society at that time.
If you have never done this, do a quick Bible search of the verses where the phrase “widows and orphans” is used. The results are eye-opening. Time after time, we see that a just society is judged solely on how well those with power and means treat the most vulnerable.
Perhaps my favorite understanding of this worldview comes from the Psalms: “Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God gives the desolate a home to live in; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land (Psalms 68: 5,6, NRSV).”
Or, as it reads in the great paraphrase, The Message, “Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in his holy house. God makes homes for the homeless, leads prisoners to freedom, but leaves rebels to rot in hell.”
Who are the rebels? Those who refuse justice to the poor, the dispossessed, the vulnerable.
Again, how is God described in the Bible those Bible-believing Christians profess to follow without question? Father of orphans, champion of widows. Father: loving, caring, protecting, providing, guiding. Champion: fighting endlessly for their cause, expending energy on their behalf, standing up against those who would in anyway deprive or oppress.
Now, note the way Luke, physician, historian, early follower of Jesus, traveling companion to Paul, describes the earliest church in its phase of most rapid growth:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2: 42-27, NRSV,
This is the church in its purest form–this is what happens when the Spirit of God to falls upon the people and radically changes their lives in ways that mimic the way the Kingdom of Heaven works.
This, my friends, is the core of true Evangelicalism, the real Good News. And this, my friends, is socialism at its very best.
Now, what do our Bible-believing Christians do? Fight for policies and elect politicians who seek to remove hope of health care for the vulnerable, that yank food from their mouths, that make housing even more unaffordable, that deny a communal social good of making sure the least among us has adequate and safe shelter, nutritious food, the kind of medical care that leads to health, not just crisis care with its temporary bandage over pus-filled wounds.
That is an anti-biblical as it gets.
Again, “Bible-believing Christians:” either wholeheartedly support a socialist governmental structure or acknowledge that you are liars. At this point, I think most are just liars.
Photo Credit: David Hayward, AKA “The Naked Pastor,” used with permission.