Guest Post – Dan Itse: Christianity is not Socialism

by Skip

Christian CrossI sought this consent today to apologize. To apologize for not having a ready answer. For the record, I will be mentioning the Bible, but only because someone else brought it up first. Back when we were debating SB 302, I commented to a fellow representative that I would probably vote for it, if only because I saw it as a chance to roll back socialism, at least a little bit. He challenged me with words to the effect of, “whats wrong with socialism, doesn’t society have an obligation to take care of those in need.” On another prior occasion a representative said to me that Christianity was socialist. In neither case did I rebut these as I ought to have, so it is at least partially in penance that I am here before you today.

First, NO Christianity is not socialist. It is based entirely upon personal responsibility. While, first century Christians often lived in a communal manner, it was voluntary. Socialism and communism are never voluntary. When Aninias and Sophira were struck down, it was not for holding back a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their property, but for pretending that they had not. Peter rebuked them saying, “When it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.” (Acts 5:4) The Bible does say that they (the early Christians) sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among them all, as anyone had need. But, the phrase “from each according to his ability to each according to his need,” it sounds lovely, even scriptural doesn’t it. But it’s not. “From each according to his ability to each according to his need,” does not come from the Bible; it comes from the “Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx, a man whose chief aim was not to promote or glorify God, but to dethrone Him supplant God with government.

Like it or not our nation has its origins in Christianity and the Bible. Some of the first to come to these shores, the Pilgrims, formed at first a socialist government. It was an abject failure. They discovered that instead of inspiring selflessness, it appealed to the worst of human nature, inspiring laziness and indolence. They quickly abandoned that experiment, and created something similar to that created in our constitutions. James Madison, a devout Christian and principal author of our national constitution, stated that the primary purpose of government is to protect private property. Alexander Tyler through historical study determined that the redistribution of wealth by government was the very cause of the demise of every great civilization. The purpose of our governments was not to redistribute wealth, but to prevent involuntary redistribution. We have forgotten a founding principle: no man, king or common, has a right to, or is entitled to another man’s wealth.

The Bible does direct us to care for the widows, but only the widows indeed; those who are too old to remarry and have no children and no family. That same Bible states “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” 2 Thes. 3:10. Whether, it is Deuteronomy 15:7-11 or 1 John 3:17 the directive to help the poor is personal not societal. Yes, we here in this room do have a responsibility to the poor; but, it is as individual citizens, not as legislators, nor as the legislature. You see the Bible is a book of virtue and of charity. There is no virtue in giving what did not and does not belong to you. There is no charity in giving what you did not earn.

For those of you who ascribe to Christianity, Jesus directed us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If you love your neighbor as yourself, and he is in distress, you will do whatever you can to meet his need. But just as certainly, if you love your neighbor as yourself: you will not steal his money only to give it to someone else, for any purpose. There is no difference between stealing at the point of a gun or a knife and stealing at the point of a pen, especially when that pen is backed up by the power of the sword.

Dan Itse is a NH State Representative

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