You’d think by now people would know to never believe a single word the Left says about Trump (or about anything) without first verifying. It doesn’t matter what the story is. If they tell you Trump ate pancakes for breakfast, you should just assume he had waffles until evidence proves otherwise. That’s how blatant and pervasive the lying has become.
We were treated to another example of this yesterday when the President released his budget. Immediately, the Left went into Apocalyptic Outrage Mode because it cuts a number of programs, agencies, and commissions that mostly exist just to provide paychecks to useless bureaucrats. It also slashes funding to “the arts” and PBS, which provoked a lot of weeping and wailing about the impending unemployment crisis on Sesame Street. Even on this issue, as unimportant as it is, the Left is lying. Sesame Street is on HBO now. So if you’re really concerned about the continued employment of Big Bird, you need not worry. As for cutting “arts” funding, I think I speak for the average American when I yawn dismissively, roll my eyes, and proceed to not care in the slightest.
All of this pales in comparison, however, to the outrage over the fact that Trump is planning to “end Meals on Wheels,” thus directly causing the death and starvation of our nation’s senior citizens. Social media exploded, and is still exploding, with millions of tweets and lengthy Facebook diatribes castigating Trump and the evil Republicans for defunding the program. Dozens of articles were written with headlines like “Trump Just Announced Plan to End ‘Meals on Wheels’ for Seniors,” which, if you didn’t know any better, would make you think Trump just announced a plan to end Meals on Wheels for seniors.
The only problem with all of this is that it’s total nonsense. Trump did not end Meals on Wheels. He didn’t do anything close to ending Meals on Wheels. His budget doesn’t mention Meals on Wheels. Instead, his budget cuts a program called the Community Development Block Grant. This program, which is often abused, partially funds Meals on Wheels. But the funds it gets from the CDBG are small in comparison to the funds it gets from sources like the Older Americans Act, which remains unscathed by Trump’s budget. Meals on Wheels also subsists largely on private donations. So, it’s not close to accurate to say that Meals on Wheels is “ended.” It’s not even accurate to say that government funding of Meals on Wheels is ended. Rather, one single source of government funding to the program is ended, while may other sources, including private ones, will continue.
Yet even as the real story surfaces —a story anyone could have figured out for themselves simply by reading the budget proposal — the Left continues to wring its hands and shake its finger at conservatives who have so far refused to weep openly about a partial cut to a charitable program that’s only partially funded by the government. As is always the case when the subject of entitlements arises, suddenly the godless Left has decided that the government must follow a Biblical mandate to help the poor, and anyone who disagrees with them is a “bad Christian.” Just imagine how they’d react if Trump actually cut entitlement spending, instead of just trimming around the edges like this.
Twitter has been full of Leftists insisting that Jesus would support funding for Meals on Wheels, therefore we Christians have a duty to oppose Trump’s plan. I have been personally lectured dozens of times over the past 24 hours about my lack of Christian charity and my refusal to abide by Biblical teachings on this subject. It’s fascinating that the very people who normally dismiss the Bible as a book of primitive fairy tales will suddenly appeal to its authority on an issue like entitlement spending (or refugees or immigration).
There are two problems with the Left using the Bible as a cudgel on this issue. First of all, Jesus does not endorse nor command that we support the notion of a massive, out of control Welfare State. When He speaks of helping the poor — and He does speak of it often — notice how the exhortations are phrased. Here are just a few examples:
“Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” – Matthew 5:42
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” – Matthew 25:35
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” – Matthew 25:40
“Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Luke 12:33
Take note of two words that keep appearing. Namely, “you” and “give.” You need to give. You. Personally. Physically. Of your own free will and volition. Christ is not outlining a budget proposal or advocating for a certain form of government. He did not say, “I was hungry and you lobbied your political representative to write a piece of legislation that will appropriate money from your neighbor and, after a portion of it is siphoned off for other purposes, and much of it is wasted on fraud and abuse, a certain small percentage was used to fund programs that would eventually give me food.” The New Testament would be, like, 600 pages longer if this is how Christ approached things. Luckily, He was far more direct.
What He actually said was simple: “I was hungry and you gave me food.” As in, you saw a hungry person and right there on the spot gave him food. Or, knowing that there are a lot of hungry people in your community, you, through your own efforts, took your own money and gave it to charities that help the poor in your neighborhood. That is what the Bible tells us to do. And do it we must.
You can only call a Christian a hypocrite if he does not help the poor with his own time and money. His position on entitlement spending is irrelevant. If he supports entitlements but does not help the poor on his own, he is ignoring Christ’s commands and exposing himself as a hypocrite. If he disagrees with entitlements but uses his own money to help the poor, he is obeying the commands and acting consistently and compassionately.
Now, why did Christ tell us to approach the poor in this direct and personal way, rather than instructing us to set up elaborate welfare schemes. Well, I think this passage gives us a hint:
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” – Luke 21: 1
If the goal of Biblical charity were simply to get as much money into the hands of the poor as possible, or to treat poverty like a disease that must be eradicated systematically, then Jesus would not put forth this example as a model for us. Practically speaking, that poor widow achieved nothing. Two copper coins won’t get you much, even in those days. But it’s not about the money, primarily. It’s about the love that went into it.
What Christ is telling us is that we must love one another. And when you love someone, you give to them. You give of yourself, not of someone else. You give your own money, not your neighbor’s. Personal charity is an act of love. Helping at a soup kitchen is an act of love. Giving a hot meal to a homeless man is an act of love. Volunteering for Meals on Wheels is an act of love. But sitting back and letting the government take care of it with other people’s money is not an act of love. It’s not an act at all. It’s nothing. You have not fulfilled your moral obligation to give to the poor by cooperating with the government’s various entitlement schemes. You’ve done nothing. If that’s all the “charity” you perform, you perform no charity.
This is what it comes down to: if every person whining about these minor cuts to Meals on Wheels were to go online and donate next month’s Starbucks allowance to the organization, there wouldn’t be an issue. Here’s the link, by the way. Put your money where your mouth is. Don’t tell me you’re concerned about Meals on Wheels if you aren’t willing to contribute to it personally. And that’s what Jesus wants you to do: contribute personally.
I’m not in favor of letting poor people starve. I’m also not in favor of entitlement programs that are rife with abuse, foster dependence on government, and have done nothing to actually minimize the poverty rate. I’m in favor of individuals helping their fellow citizens, as Christ instructed.
Second, if the government is supposed to follow a Biblical mandate to give to the poor, is that where its Biblical responsibilities end? If so, why? It seems to me that if we are (inaccurately) using Christ’s teachings and examples to support government funding of Meals on Wheels, we should look through the rest of the Book to see what else may apply.
What about this from Matthew:
“He said to them, “Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.”
Wow. Christ kind of hits three liberal birds with one stone there, doesn’t He? If we’re following the “government should do what Jesus said” model, it looks like we have to outlaw gay marriage (“man and wife”), transgender protections (“he made them man and woman”), and even divorce (“let no man divide what God has put together”).
And what about this from Luke:
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.
Note that the being in the womb is called a “baby, and that the baby is said to have consciousness. Also note that Jesus Christ Himself came into this world as an unborn baby, which seems to confirm the sanctity of life in the womb. And if that isn’t enough, there’s this:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” – Jeremiah 1:5
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.” – Genesis 1:27
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139
Well, there goes abortion. The Bible couldn’t be any clearer about the value and dignity of unborn life, could it?
I could go on, obviously. The Bible is chock-full of teachings that the Left rejects. And if you proposed that the government model itself after these teachings, the very people now pulling the “Christian” card for entitlements would suddenly accuse you of advocating for a theocracy.
Of course, you might argue that the reverse is true. Why am I proposing “Christian laws” with regards to abortion and marriage but not when it comes to welfare? Well, I’ll tell you: First, as I’ve explained, the Welfare State isn’t necessarily in keeping with Christian teaching. Second, feeding the poor is something I can and should do myself. I am not, however, capable of preventing women from killing their unborn children. The government must step in. Third, the “Christian teachings” I want the government to follow are universal and embedded in Natural Law. You don’t have to be a Christian to believe that it’s wrong to crush a baby’s skull, nor do you have to be a Christian to recognize that marriage and the family are the foundations of human society and should be protected.
I am not actually advocating for a theocracy. Ironically, it’s the Left doing that. But, as we’ve seen, in a very limited and inconsistent way.
To see more from Matt Walsh, visit his channel on TheBlaze.