President Barack Obama said Thursday his proposal to raise taxes on wealthy Americans is in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
“When I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling and 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,” Obama said during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
He continued, “And 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 thinks that’s going to make economic sense.”
“But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that, ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’” he said.
That principle, Obama said, also “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.”
“We can’t leave our values at the door,” Obama said. “If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries and allowed us to become somewhat more perfect a union.”
Obama said he wakes up every morning and says a “brief prayer” and spends “a little time in scripture and devotion.” He said pastors sometimes come to the Oval Office to pray with him, for his family and for the country.
“But I don’t stop there, I’d be remiss if i stopped there,” Obama said. “If my values were limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends — so instead I must try, imperfectly, but I must try to make sure those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation.”
Obama’s address came amid a feud between his administration and Catholic leaders over a decision to require contraception be included in virtually all health plans. He did not mention the controversy during his remarks.