What Version of the Bible Does John Kasich Own?

Some time ago I ranked the Republican candidates for the White House in order of my own personal preference. At the time I ranked Ohio governor John Kasich in the middle of the pack. I think I was way too generous.

“Look at Medicaid expansion! Do you know how many people are yelling at me? I go to events where people yell at me. You know what I tell em? I mean, God bless em, I’m telling them a little bit better than this, there’s a book, it’s got a new part and an old part,  they put it together. It’s a remarkable book. If you don’t have one, I’ll buy you one, and it talks about how we treat the poor. Sometimes you just have to lead.”

Video at the link.

Kasich echoes an oft-repeated trope of left-wing Christians in claiming that those who oppose expanding the size and scope of the government are somehow not living up to biblical teachings. I’ve read different translations of the Bible – RSV, NRSV, Douay-Rheims – all in their entirety, and somehow missed the passage in which Jesus says, “Truly, Truly, I say to you that whoever grumbles when the government takes money from thy pocket and gives it to someone else surely will face the fires of Gehenna.” I mean there’s a whole lot in the Bible about personal charity and individual responsibility for taking care of the widow and the orphan, but I gotta say there’s nothing in there about government programs and the need to redistribute wealth.

Even if we concede that as a matter of some notion of community justice the state is responsible for providing some minimal sustenance to the least privileged among us, that does not preclude some kind of debate as to the means of providing said sustenance. What the hyprocrites who cry “Cafeteria Catholic!” at conservatives who oppose certain economic measures miss is that there is plenty of room for legitimate debate about the type of programs that we should establish to help the poor. Blindly accepting that any government program is ipso facto good and worthy of expansion is at a minimum foolish, and certainly does not justify this type of arrogant and condescending dismissal of fellow believers.

Surely there are libertarian-leaning folks, especially among the Ayn Rand acolytes of the modern era, who truly don’t indicate any concern for the poor whatsoever. Conservatives and libertarians alike can be at times dismissive of the genuine hardships that people face, and I earnestly pray that my own political opinions are informed by an honest interpretation of biblical and magisterial injunctions. Kasich’s attitude implies that only one path is correct in the field of economics. Well John, welcome to the land of disregarded candidates. Enjoy your time with George, Jim, Lindsey and the rest.

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  1. He’s the current lead in John Weaver’s latest bit of anti-conservative performance art. Last time it was Huntsman, with the same sharp-elbowed cluelessness. You’d think the candidates would wise up a bit, but Weaver always finds another desperate crash-test dummy with which to work out his issues.

  2. Kasich would fall over dead I suspect if he actually read some of the Bible passages regarding charity:

    [6] And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us. [7] For yourselves know how you ought to imitate us: for we were not disorderly among you; [8] Neither did we eat any man’ s bread for nothing, but in labour and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you. [9] Not as if we had not power: but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us. [10] For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

    [11] For we have heard there are some among you who walk disorderly, working not at all, but curiously meddling. [12] Now we charge them that are such, and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ, that, working with silence, they would eat their own bread. [13] But you, brethren, be not weary in well doing. [14] And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed: [15] Yet do not esteem him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

    2 Thessalonians 2-15

    There will always be people who can’t work through no fault of their own and I am not opposed to the government helping them. However, someone would have to be blind and deaf not to recognize that there are far too many people living lives courtesy of Uncle Sucker that take away their self respect and willingness to work. The greatest harm of the welfare state is not the money it costs but the pride it takes away.

  3. Probably more than a few years back Marvin Olasky wrote a book entitled the Tragedy of American Compassion in which he posits that government has undermined the authentic charity and good works of the citizenry through their associations, churches, etc. The charity of our forefathers, he maintained, was far more efficient and comprehensive than the rot caused by a never ending cycle of government dependency Indeed, it is our heritage as Catholics to build for the sake of the kingdom hospital, schools, and orphanages, and to feed and clothe the needy in order to promote the material welfare of all mankind. Today, the USCCB is nothing more than an shill for more government spending and programs. We, the Church included, have yielded to the charlatan political rulers the role of the giver of all good. Government compunction is not charity. Salvific charity, our Catholic heritage, is prayer, and the giving of treasure and self…..not the taking from others to satisfy an emotive need to be benevolent, and yet far from charitable. During the Reagan years the bishops conference fought hard against tax reductions claiming that by doing so us commoners wouldn’t give as much to charity in order to obtain tax deductions. It was, and remains, a darkly cynical view of freedom and of us, the parishioners in the pews. What happened instead was that charitable giving increased when the tax burden was lessened. The call for government coercion to take from some and give to others is not a roadmap to eternal salvation. Rather, it robs all of us of our dignity…..both the one from whom the government steals, and the one to whom the government gives. Kasich masks his ignorance with nothing more than sanctimonious drivel.

  4. I wonder how close he is to the combined thinking of the members of the USCCB who managed to push Stupak into allowing Obamacare to become reality.
    There’s that Pius XI’s problem he has with Subsidiarity being the government’s job.
    And we all know Christ demanded that Caesar solve the world’s economic problems…

  5. The corporal works/Christian Charity consist of freely giving your money,talent and time. It’s not confiscating other people’s money. Social justice don’t count as Christian Charity. It’s Ali Baba/Robin Hood stuff, at best. At worst, it foments class envy/hate and supports abortion, gay privileges, etc.
    cthenfly25, You’re correct. I pay so much in Federal, state, local income taxes and property taxes and my descendants’ economic chances are so bleak, I refuse to donate to a charity outside my parish.
    Even worse than being a faux socialist, Kasich is almost a bad as that eunuch Boehner in the “I’m about to burst into tears” department.

  6. Excellent post. The Gospel ain’t social justice from Caesar’s hands. It’s repentance and conversion.

  7. Kasich is a lapsed Catholic, from Stowe Township (McKees Rocks), near Pittsburgh. He did a good job in the House in the 1990s. Ohio was a mess when he was elected Governor (Kasich went to Ohio State after graduating from Sto-Rox and never returned – having been in Stowe & McKees Rocks I don’t blame him) but he has gone soft in the conservative department.

  8. However, someone would have to be blind and deaf not to recognize that there are far too many people living lives courtesy of Uncle Sucker that take away their self respect and willingness to work. The greatest harm of the welfare state is not the money it costs but the pride it takes away.

    I think the TANF rolls comprehend 4 million people, about a third of the AFDC caseload in 1996. The Section 8 census is not any larger. That amounts to less than 2% of the population, and some of the Section 8 caseload is old or disabled. SNAP is witlessly oversubscribed, comprehending a share of the population half-again as large as it did in 1976, but the benefit per household amounts to a mean of about $4,000 per annum. No one’s livin’ large on that. The trouble you get with Medicaid is that means-test thresholds encourage people to restrict their work effort to maintain their eligibility. These others have that problem as well, but more serious foundational ones. Means-testing can be quite troublesome. A much larger problem has been the progressive relaxation of standards of ‘disability’ incorporated into the Social Security Disability and SSI programs. A discussion of SSDI is here


  9. Voinovich. Boehner. Kasich.
    Good grief. What an insufferably smug bunch of crybabies Ohio has gifted to the national polity over the years. The Buckeye State’s version of the GOP makes me ashamed to live in Ohio.

  10. Jay, Don’t move to Connecticut, where I’m certain Dante neglected to mention its special place in Hades for our many “Catholic” progressives.

  11. Aww, Kasich has a version of the Bible many Catholic bishops themselves rely upon; the one with the passage about rendering the poor unto Caesar. It seems to be a popular version yet I cannot find it in print anywhere. Strange.

  12. I recently had an interesting discussion with an older gentlemen who was sharing the story of a friend of his who managed to get her four children through college while working as a waitress. He was expressing dismay that because of her low income through the years her SS benefit paid out only $800 a month. He felt that the government should double the benefit. I asked him why her four college educated children with good jobs (his words) were not each sending their mother $200 bucks a month in gratitude for her tireless efforts? The gentleman looked at me, shook his head and walked away.

    I guess it makes sense to some people to have the four children each pay $300-400 per month in SS taxes versus just helping your mother.

  13. Oh, and how could I have forgotten Rob “Love Wins” Portman?
    He is not Catholic. He’s a perfectly banal haut bourgeois type, as is, no doubt, his wife.

  14. Ken.
    Great story and point.

    A couple of Bastiat quote’s; ” the government offers to cure all the ills of mankind. It promises to restore commerce, make agriculture prosperous, expand industry,encourage Arts and Letters, wipeout poverty, ect..all that is needed is to create some new government agencies and to pay a few more bureaucrats.”

    ” in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, but everyone wants as much bread and as little sweat as possible.”

    “Let a merchant begin to sell his good on the principle of brotherly love, and I do not give him even a month before his children will be reduced to beggary.”

  15. Pretty petty attack on Kasich. Given his mission as gov of OH and the fact that these funds were available from federal + medicaid is an established far more efficient program vs new Obamacare.

    Says “KASICH: Yeah, well, you know very well, Laura, that if i don’t bring Ohio money back they are not going to put it in a piggy bank. And I think that it’s critical that they are able to help people to help themselves get them to work. Now, we promised the mentally ill when we took them out of the big institutions that they would get help. Where are they now? We have ten thousand in our prisons, many in the jails and many on the streets. Conservatism means that you help people so they can help themselves and that they can enter into the economic strength of our country. Now you have to separate that from the fact that the government was designing the program to take over our whole healthcare system in the back rooms of. Capitol Hill. I don’t support, but there is a big distinction between Medicaid and our ability to bring our money back to fix our problems as opposed to the a government takeover of the healthcare system. I think it’s not fair to draw a distinction between the two.”

  16. The virtue of charity is dealt with under the principle of separation of church and state. “Render unto Caesar…” The virtue of charity is is dealt with through the person’s sovereign conscience over his charity and his duty. The virtue of charity demands that the neighbor’s life be sustained to the neighbor in need. Atheism denies the human conscience. Government policy to extort one person’s private property and render the owner’s private property to another for the benefit of votes is extortion, the imposition of atheism and the violation of the principle of separation of church and state. That Obama thinks that we are slaves to the state is troubling enough with out losing our liberty.

  17. “Let a merchant begin to sell his good on the principle of brotherly love, and I do not give him even a month before his children will be reduced to beggary.”
    Jesus drove the merchants from the temple because they refused to sell their goods on the principle of brotherly love. Brotherly love is a two way street. If a merchant is reduced to beggary, he hasn’t been loved by his customers in a brotherly fashion.

  18. “Pretty petty attack on Kasich. Given his mission as gov of OH and the fact that these funds were available from federal + medicaid is an established far more efficient program vs new Obamacare. “
    Kasich engaged in some fairly underhanded tactics to bypass the will of the legislature on Medicaid expansion. But I guess some people are just fine with him acting like Obama in that regard.
    And the “attack on Kasich” is not so much for his dirty dealing to expand Medicaid, but for his resorting to his faith and to the Bible to justify his actions, while implying that his critics will have to explain themselves for their opposition to Medicaid expansion on Judgment Day.

  19. Consider the Gleaning Laws (Lev. xix. 9, 10, Deut. xxiv. 20, 21) and the Tithe of the third year (Deut xiv, 29), which most commentators agree are part of the civil law of the Jewish commonwealth and not mere moral precepts.

  20. Mary De Voe.
    “Brotherly love is a two way street.”
    Welfare state is a highway without limitations.
    May loves pathway be open to all.

  21. Well said.

    It is important to remember that the Devil apes true Solidarity by making it compulsory.

    Almsgiving is correctly administered by the baptized. It ought in every case to be the hand of Jesus Christ which the poor man observes providing his assistance, so that the hand which assists him may always be the hand which blesses his efforts to provide for himself and to live a moral life.

    The social lesson taught by the administration of almsgiving through the government — which, because of the either-or choice whereby taxation “crowds out” tithing, is always over and against that provided by the Church — is always a straightforward assertion that man lives by bread alone.

    And this, of course, undermines the social capital which preserves a society. God’s Laws are for the benefit of man, and we can’t live in violation of them for very long without finding them coming back to bite us on the arse, after the fashion of the Gods of the Copybook Headings.

    So, for the preservation of the society long-term, the social order should shove the poor and needy firmly towards the Church and make the Church’s provision for them as exclusive as possible. There are, of course, ham-handed ways of achieving such an end which would produce even worse results than the current welfare-state system. But it is entirely unnecessary to do it in a ham-handed way. And a well-executed version of this vision would produce great benefits in our society and culture.

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