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You might have noticed that what Christian leaders in America preach doesn't always match the ideals that they should probably value. This includes Rick Warren, one of the most prominent and visible evangelical Christians in America today.
Does Rick Warren preach what Jesus preached? No, not even close.
WARREN: Well, certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor. There's over 2,000 versus in the Bible about the poor. And God says that those who care about the poor, God will care about them and God will bless them. But there's a fundamental question on the meaning of "fairness."
Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation...
WARREN: The only way to get people out of poverty is J-O-B-S. Create jobs. To create wealth, not to subsidize wealth. When you subsidize people, you create the dependency. You -- you rob them of dignity. There are a lot of negative things that happen to us. Rather, we should be focusing on wealth creation and job creation, in my opinion...
Source: ABC News
Does this bear any resemblance to what Jesus taught:
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Matthew 19:21)
No, it doesn't. It does, however, look a lot like the Gospel According to Ayn Rand and it's right in line with everything the Republican Party believes about economics these days. This makes Rick Warren's views more a function of conservative libertarianism than compassionate Christianity.
Did Jesus heal people or did he tell them to find better health insurance in order to avoid creating dependency? Did Jesus pass out food to people or did he tell them to go hungry in order to avoid creating dependency? Did Jesus tell people to "render unto Caesar" or "taxation is theft"?
Nowhere in the gospels does Jesus have anything positive to say about wealth. Christian leaders like Rick Warren are just providing religious cover for the most powerful and wealthy elements of society. Of course, they've always done that -- they just haven't always been quite as blatant about it. Rick Warren must think his followers are pretty stupid to assume that they won't see through his words.
And he might be right.