Letter: What would Jesus do … with the economy?
As the nation’s debt debate rages on in Congress, one lawmaker may be turning to Jesus for an answer. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) recently appealed to his Congressional colleagues and Americans at-large during a press conference to do "the Lord’s work" as a possible solution for healing the nation’s economic woes. Mr. Rangel, who was censured late last year by the House for ethical violations, sees the issue not as a political one, but a moral imperative that deserves to be addressed by America’s spiritual leaders. And, to that end, he appeals to all Americans to ask, "What would Jesus do?"
Whereas I agree that the debt debate has profound moral implications on America’s future and that of our children’s economic freedom or servitude, I also see couched in Mr. Rangel’s argument the presumed responsibility and role of Uncle Sam to perpetuate an entitlement society that can suffer no loss of funding regardless of the ominous signs of a coming economic earthquake. Unfortunately, the expanse of the nanny state is not likely to contract as our lawmakers have caused millions to become dependent on social welfare.
Considering today’s secular dominance and overt hostility for most things religious, it is interesting that Mr. Rangel would seek the counsel of Jesus or the country’s spiritual leaders. Has he failed to demonstrate the requisite sensitivity for those Americans who may argue that God and government should be separated as far as the east is from the west?
But what would Jesus do? Frankly, it is difficult to imagine what the God-man would do to solve America’s debt crisis. Rest assured, however, our esteemed lawmakers would have abundant advice for Him. Some would likely suggest that America return to the gold standard and implore Jesus to perform a Midas-miracle by multiplying the nation’s gold reserve ten-thousand-fold. But considering Jesus had to ask for a coin to drive home an object lesson, gold minting would not likely appeal to His sensibilities. Even His disciples lacked the stuff. Perhaps Jesus would visit the House while in session, fulminate a scathing rebuke for stealing the wealth of future generations, overturn a few legislative tables, and drive the wastrels out with a whip? This, too, does not seem reasonable given that Jesus’s zeal was for His Father’s house of prayer, not a House that has no prayer to practice fiscal responsibility. Or, would Jesus simply say give to Uncle Sam what is his and to the Lord if anything is left? Perhaps the latter is not too difficult to imagine, considering many in Congress desire to raise taxes so as to sift the American people like wheat.
Although one can only speculate what Jesus would do in regard to solving America’s plague of debt, the Author and Inspirer of scripture did speak centuries earlier that "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave." It is worth noting that nearly half of the members of Congress are millionaires. Fifty-five of these august citizens have an estimated worth of $10 million or more. As of January 2011, foreign countries owned approximately 32 percent of America’s $14.1 trillion national debt. The two largest U.S. debt holders remain to be China and Japan. Americans may want to start giving their children Asian names since "the borrower becomes the lender’s slave." When the next presidential candidate comes preaching hope and change, may I suggest we start praying earnestly for Jesus’s second coming.