President Obama advertised some big endorsements for his tax-the-rich more policies and class warfare reelection strategy yesterday. In a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast — text here, video below — Obama made the case that Jesus, Muhammad, Moses and Plato (?!) are all on board with him, although that may be understating the matter:
[W]hen I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense.
But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.” It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.
Reverend Obama not only offers up the endorsement of Jesus for his economic policies, he also presents himself as standing in the shoes of Jesus, requiring much from those to whom much is given.
I don’t recognize the teachings of traditional Judaism in the heart of Obama’s teaching. Compare Maimonides’ “eight degrees of charity.” As for Obama’s invocation of Jesus, when Obama demands that “the rich” pay their “fair share” — the text implicitly underlying yesterday’s sermon — Obama is closer to Caesar than to God.