In recent months I’ve seen a trend of quoting Jesus in support of socialism. This, of course, offends my ears firstly because of my strong distaste for socialism, but on a deeper level the subject becomes increasingly ridiculous. When we expand our thinking beyond the parsing of meaning in particular utterances and apply it to the whole of his teachings, the concept that Jesus’ exhortations should be a legal framework becomes laughably absurd.
At no point does Jesus ever speak about legislation. He never says that Roman law ought to be such and such, or that the law in Palestine should be such and such. Never. Not once. To take his guidance and assume that it should be law is a logical leap unsupported by scripture.
Jesus, especially in Luke, speaks about helping the poor. What the socialists are putting into the mouth of Jesus is that charity should become law. In their minds, helping the poor is not just an individual act of morality, but part of our collective responsibility to enforce, with violence if necessary. However, if we are to take Jesus exhortations in their entirety and enforce them through the force of law, one can not be merely a socialist, but a lunatic.
Matthew 5: 22
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment
Get mad? Go to jail.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.”
Uh oh, it looks like we need to start demanding that men who look at women lustfully should be legally required to gouge out their own eyes. (Note: I will be starting a seeing-eye-dog hedge fund to rake in the dough after this one passes)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
So if a man slaps you on the cheek, you will now be legally forced to turn the other to him. Defending yourself or fleeing should be punishable by jail! If anyone wants to rob you, you are now legally required to give him more than he is asking for. If you resist a robber, you should be locked up. Someone carjacks you and wants you to drive them across town? Well, unless you want to risk a lengthy prison sentence; you will drive them twice as far as they demand. After all, Jesus said that you ought to.
Matthew 5: 48
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
We’re going to need some bigger prisons.