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Good Samaritan, Meet a Philadelphia Eagle: Part 2

I’ve already outlined how I spent a plane ride with a Philadelphia Eagle football player who showed me, among other eye-popping riches such as his son’s elementary school tuition that costs as much as college tuition, his expensive watch collection. This caused me to think through why, although the Bible does say, as President Obama likes to repeat, “to whom much has been given, much will be required,” this does not mean it’s biblical to redistribute wealth, even if the wealthy aren’t giving to charity as much as others like me think they should. Here’s the basic question: Does the mere fact that someone has a lot of money and spends it on non-essential goods like watches while other people starve mean it’s “social justice” to take from the rich man and give to the hungry man? I see no biblical basis for this, and I’m interested if any of you can provide one. I welcome your thoughts, and I promise a polite, thoughtful response. Here’s the central reason for my current stance. Look at the context in which Jesus says, “To whom much has been given, much will be required.” He’s talking about what God requires of the wealthy, not what governments should require of the rich. And he’s talking about way more than money: Some people are wealthy in intellect, others in patience, and still others in handy skills like fixing the plumbing. Imagine if the government began to manage talents and abilities as many think it should manage citizens’ income. All you have to do is read Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s “Harrison Bergeron,” a short story depicting an America in which the government attempts to make everyone equal in every respect. This means beautiful people must wear masks, athletic people must wear devices that cripple them, intelligent people must wear earphones that pipe in obnoxious noises so they can’t think well, and so forth. Also, think of the utter arrogance inside me, and anyone else, who sits next to a wealthy man for two hours and comes away thinking, “I know better how to manage this guy’s life and money than he does.” Besides Christ’s admonishment that we set our affairs in order before digging into others’, the Golden Rule is another of the many teachings indicating God frowns on this attitude. In short, the government cannot provide social equality, and it’s entirely God’s job to judge what both the rich and poor do with what he’s given us. One day, God will do that job. Until then, the government and busybodies like me need to focus on the duties he’s given us.