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.