Dear Mr. Romney,
I know you’re a Mormon, but you seem to represent a lot of Christians. That’s why I thought I’d ask you to help me understand something. I hope it isn’t too early in our relationship to impose, but I’m going to have a hard time at the polls if I don’t know the answer.
Why do so many Christians vote Republican?
I understand that the GOP is primarily pro-life, and I guess the Bible talks about that. After all, there is the Commandment “Do not kill,” right? But Jesus Himself didn’t spend much time on the subject. He mostly went on about helping other people.
His first recorded job was to heal the sick and diseased. I imagine some sort of early Médecins Sans Frontières but, you know, Jewish. While curing their injuries, He told them:
· The merciful shall receive mercy
· Give to those who ask you
· Forgive your debtors
· Don’t lay up treasures on this Earth
· You can’t be a Christian and be rich
· Treat others the way you’d want them to treat you
Following that sermon (on the Mount I think they’re calling it), he had some other choice advice:
· Pay your taxes
· If you want to be perfect, give everything to the poor.
· There’s nothing wrong with paying everyone the same even though some do more work. (Socialism?)
· PAY YOUR TAXES
I’m no great Bible scholar, but I can read. While Jesus rarely spoke about women’s rights, He talked a lot about caring for the poor. He doesn’t say “only the poor with jobs,” or “just the poor who deserve it.” He merely says “the poor.”
So when I try to figure out which party most closely aligns with His teachings, I can’t help but think of the Democrats. Some teachings go the other way of course (He’s very tough on crime, for instance) but He seems to be more socially Liberal.
He had some thoughts on economics, too. He talked a lot about how you could be rich - or you could be a Christian - but that you couldn’t be both. I understand that to mean earning a lot of money wasn’t something He encouraged.
So that brings us to this debate about taxes. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Christians are so opposed to public spending on the less fortunate. Is it because it isn’t a government’s job to help the poor?
Numbers 1 and 2 on Jesus’s to-do list are to help the poor and pay taxes. As an outside observer, it seems that the government is a huge time-saver in this regard. Plus, Jesus told his people not to give publicly, so what can be better than giving it to an umbrella group (the US Treasury) who will hand out the money without revealing the donor?
From what I read in the paper, you talk about the American-ness of paying as little tax as possible, and how the poor benefit from you paying less. I know you can’t speak for Him, but it seems fair to ask: Do you think the Republican view on social welfare is the view that Jesus would have?
Do you think He would say “If you give too much to the poor they’ll become dependent on it and not work?” or “Teach a man to fish and if you see him doing it wrong well hey, you tried, right?”
I know that there are lazy people who take advantage of the welfare system and I hate that. But I also know there are real people who can’t make it without a hand. I know those freeloaders have children who didn’t choose to be hungry.
But that’s coming from a guy who doesn’t read the Bible much. What do you think, Mr. Romney?
As always, Thank You for your time.
Image: via the Flickr photostream of DonkeyHotey.