Stephen Prothero of USA Today wrote an article back in February in which he opined that Bernie Sanders is the most Christian candidate in the presidential race. He said that although Sanders is a secular Jew, he displays more Christian qualities than any of the other candidates, even those who claim to be devout Christians. Prothero cited Sanders’ stances on universal healthcare and income inequality as well as his support for government programs for the poor. But I wonder what that stuff has to do with Christianity.
If Prothero has ever read the Bible, he would know that Jesus never advocated using government programs to help the poor. And he certainly would not have favored using the government to take money from some in order to give it to others. Jesus believed in paying taxes, but only for the purpose of paying the emperor what he was rightly owed. Yes, Jesus certainly taught that we should help the poor. That was a point he greatly emphasized. However, he said we, as his individual believers, are to do that freely and willingly.
Using the government to do it would necessarily involve forcing non-believers to give up their money too. Not once during his time on Earth did Jesus ever attempt to coerce anyone to do anything. Jesus is not going to make us obey his commands, and certainly doesn’t want the government trying to make us do so. Therefore, Mr. Prothero’s assertion that Sanders is the most Christian presidential candidate makes no sense unless Sanders is using lots of his own money to help the poor – and I have seen no evidence of that.
By the way, I wonder what Jesus would think of the fact that Sanders supports abortion rights and homosexual marriage. Jesus condemned anyone who would cause harm to a child (Luke 17:2). I believe he extends that condemnation to those who kill innocent babies in the womb. He also said that God created marriage to be between a male and a female, a husband and wife (Matthew 19: 4-5). And he clearly indicated this definition of marriage will never change.